Update 16 – Mithos and Elise Saga Preview!
It’s great to see you! How have you been? Since the last update a lot has progressed with Soul Saga, and everyone working with me is really excited to show this update off!
Mithos’ Saga in the first Soul Saga game will cover his early teens. I struggled with the decision of whether I wanted to show the childhood through short cinematic flashbacks, or if I wanted to have you experience the entire epic-ness of it all. After a lot of deliberation, it became obvious that there is just so much going on in this era that an entire game is required to capture it all!
By having Mithos and Garen start off in their younger years, there is a lot of potential for character and world development that will happen as the Soul Saga series progresses. I am SUPER excited to be able to share this fun story and gorgeous artwork with you!
The beautiful collage above was created by Akaneko and will be available as a wallpaper for backers who pledged for those. Wallpapers will be available with the next update along with the updated beta build.
Mithos has an airship! In the first Soul Saga, Mithos cruises around in a modest Koi model design as he explores the blue skies of Medonia. I’ll go into more detail on airship combat and exploration in later updates. Mithos’ Koi airship was originally designed by Kanipanda and then touched up by Zahra Haghiri.
Dragontree Village is the first town Mithos visits. Dragontree Village has a job board for quests, a general store for amber and equipment, blacksmith for weapon upgrades, a restaurant where you can fill up your lunchbox or cook meals, and Mithos’ home. In the next beta update you will get to visit Dragontree Village and help Mithos leave his first marks in the world on his journey to become the strongest Guildmaster! All of the 3d environment art in Soul Saga was created by Zahra Haghiri, and the Dragontree Village concept art was created by Yoshiro Mori.
Pleasant Woods is a small area right outside of Dragontree Village. This is the first dangerous area Mithos explores as he takes his first step of adventure into the huge world of Soul Saga. There are a variety of creatures native to this area, such as Torne, Squabble, Honey Jackets, and Croakers. It is also an abundant source of resources such as cooking ingredients and lost treasure.
World maps are a feature many classic RPGs have. I noticed many modern RPGs have sometimes excluded the world map from their games. With Soul Saga I wanted to make sure I captured that same feeling from the classics, so each of the larger islands in Medonia has its own World Map area to explore on foot! The following image is a screenshot of world map exploration.
The way equipment worked in previous updates is that there were just generic slots that anything could be equipped to. This meant you could have something like 4 leather jackets and equip them all at the same time. This has evolved a bit to help with balancing and progression pacing. Now there are still 4 generic slots to equip in, but equipment pieces now have classifications, and multiple classifications cannot be equipped at the same time. This means that a leather jacket would now be a body classification, and only 1 could be equipped at a time. There are currently 6 different classifications:
Trinkets are special in that multiple of them can be equipped, unlike other classifications.
Stratagems are a new addition to Soul Saga that dictate how your stats are allocated. A Stratagem can be equipped from the equip menu in the Stratagem slot. Each character has a single Stratagem slot. Stratagems can be purchased from vendors, earned from quests, or found hidden throughout the world. Stratagems work like any other piece of equipment, so multiple must be owned if you would like multiple characters to use that Strategem at the same time. The way a Stratagem works is that is pushes around the energy in the owner to enhance them in different ways.
- The Soldier Stratagem moves energy away from the Support stat and moves it to the health stat. This allows the character to have more HP at the expense of less Support.
- The Field Medic Stratagem move points away from the Attack stat and puts it into the Support stat. This will allow a character to heal and augment allies more efficiently at the expense of not dealing as much damage to enemies.
Stratagems can also contain passive skills, such as reducing damage taken from different sources, counter attacking, and other nifty abilities.
Some feedback I got regarding lunchboxes is that they are a little strong at the moment. I’ve attempted to balance these out by implementing a new lunchbox item in Mithos’ journey called the Seared Sushi. This item tests more dynamic situational functionality. Specifically, the seared sushi will heal twice as much out of combat as in combat. This means that using it in combat will not be as effective, but will still allow for the food to be very helpful in regaining health between battles so the characters remain fresh. This will hopefully make amber skill healing more viable compared to the lunchbox items.
Armor and Resist
Two new stats have been added to characters: Armor and Resist. In many RPGs, armor and resist calculations are generally kind of complex. When you think of HP, that stat is simple to calculate. If an enemy deals 100 hp damage to me, then if I add 500 HP to my character, I can take 5 more hits from that enemy before dying. However, armor and resist stats are usually a lot more complex. They use special diminishing returns equations that can be difficult to comprehend with head math. I’m not a fan of these complex equations, so I was initially planning on not having any armor or resist stats. After some planning and designing, I decided that armor and resist stats could be fun if they were simplistic enough to understand. So I implemented Soul Saga’s current Armor and Resist stats, which use a very basic equation: 1 point for 1 damage reduction.
For each point of armor, damage is reduced by 1 point from physical attacks. For each point of resist, damage is reduced by 1 point from magical sources.
There are very few items and Stratagems that give any armor or resist, but those that do can be utilized to make a character quite tanky in the right situations.
Smarter Enemy Artificial Intelligence
I’ve been working with behavior trees and pathfinding tools to come up with a smarter enemy artificial intelligence (A.I.) on the field. I’m still tweaking with it to get the perfect results, but I’m very happy with the progress that has been made so far with it!
In the past beta versions, the field A.I. was very simple. It would simply check to see if you were in its line of sight, then would run at you. This is a basic A.I. that many games utilize, even some AAA RPGs. The downside to the A.I. being this basic is that they get stuck on obstacles in the field, like rocks, walls ,etc. They simply aren’t smart enough to find their ways around it without more of a brain behind them. For Soul Saga, I didn’t want the A.I. to suffer from this, so I implemented in pathfinding so that the enemies can navigate their way around.
Walking vs Running
In previous beta versions, you could only run. If an enemy wasn’t facing you, then you could simply run up behind it and catch it off guard. When the next beta build is live, you will notice this has drastically changed.
Now you can walk or run while on the field. If you run, then nearby enemies will hear you and move to that location you last made a sound at. This means that if you want to get the jump on an enemy from behind, you actually have to take the extra care to walk up behind them. You can also use this technique to lure an enemy you don’t want to fight away form their post if there is something like a rock that you can maneuver around so they don’t see you in time.
Another new equipment slot is called the costume slot. This will allow us to create different color or outfit variations for the characters for you to obtain. I am super excited to announce the first costumes that are available…
Kickstarter Mithos and Elise Costumes!
That’s right! You can obtain costumes to play as Mithos and Elise with their chibi designs from the Kickstarter! Taro and Max will also have costumes available to them. The outfits will be hidden in the game for you to unlock and wear to sport your nostalgic Kickstarter pride.
Saving and Loading
I’ve begun implementing the saving and loading system into the next Beta build. I would like to request beta testers to please test this functionality thoroughly and please report any bugs to the Disastercake Bug Reporting Forum. Saving will be enabled at specific save points throughout the game.
I’ve begun work on the achievement system, and there are a few basic achievements currently implemented. When an achievement has been completed, there will be a pop-up notification on the right hand side of the screen stating so. I’m a big fan of achievement systems, and I have many ideas for them in Soul Saga. If you have any ideas, please add them to this thread started by fans on the Disastercake Forums. We’d all love to hear your thoughts!
So far, there are 4 composers that have contributed to the Soul Saga soundtrack. Their order in number of songs contributed is:
- Ryan Camus
- Aivi Tran
- Shannon Mason
During the Kickstarter, Aivi was planning on doing the soundtrack by herself, which was estimated around 20 tracks in total. However, she ended up getting long term gig with a large animation company soon after Soul Saga’s Kickstarter campaign ended. Aivi has finished contributing what she can to Soul Saga, which is about 10 songs. Surasshu came on mid-way through the project, but works on the same projects as Aivi, so also had limited time. Shannon Mason guest composed to help out a little, but we were still lacking in the amount of songs Soul Saga’s enhanced story and size demanded of it.
Soul Saga was initially scoped at 20 songs, but I felt that the story demanded more of it. It was becoming obvious we’d either have to leave the scope of the soundtrack at 20 songs and cut the new additions, or pick up a different composer to complete everything we needed. I ended up meeting Ryan Camus and bringing him on board. Within a couple months he almost doubled our soundtrack size. You heard some of his work in the previous Betas with the “Item Get”, “Goodnight”, and “Game Over” themes. In this version you will get to hear his World Map theme.
I’m excited to show you the amazing work all of the composers who contributed to Soul Saga created. For now, here is the World Map theme by Ryan you can hear in the next Beta version:
Release Date Pending
I am currently analyzing the release date for Soul Saga, and we are coming very close to having a solid one. Progress is going smooth, and many different areas of development are starting to reach their finish line. Once Soul Saga is at a state that I know nothing can delay it, I will let you know when the release date is. I will try to leave at least 2 or 3 months before the release from the time of the announcement of that date.
Unity 5 Porting
Soul Saga utilizes the Unity game engine, and recently they released their next big version: Unity 5. Unity 5 probably won’t bring anything different to Soul Saga’s aesthetics since we use very optimized shaders, but it will help me on the backend with porting to the consoles once the PC/Linux/Mac version is complete. This porting will cause some delays as a lot of third party tools I use are still porting themselves to Unity 5, and the lighting system has completely changed and will require I redo all of my previous work on the lighting. In the end it is necessary, as tools and support for previous Unity versions become non-existent, as is evident with Unity’s history.
Next Beta Update
The next Beta update will contain the first portion of Mithos’ journey. You’ll be able to explore Dragontree Village, the first town, and the nearby starter area named Pleasant Woods. There is also some story that unfolds. I will post another update will the next beta build is ready in a couple weeks.
In Other Kickstarter News...
I couldn’t have made Soul Saga without your support on Kickstarter, and there are many other talented creators out there in the same boat I once was! I’d like to take this moment to share their project with you for your consideration. Please take a look at their Kickstarter pages by following the links below. =D
EDGE OF ETERNITY (PC, MAC, LINUX, PS4, XBOX ONE)
Edge of Eternity completed their Kickstarter campaign, but you can pre-order the game to continue to help development from their site here: http://www.eoegame.com/index.php/store/
A note from the creators of “Edge of Eternity”:
“Edge of Eternity is an indie tribute to JRPG classics. Explore a universe blending fantasy with science-fiction, intense ATB battles and branching story. The Game is inspired by the great JRPG tradition for the strategical turn-based combats, the characters progression and by the latest success of western RPG for the vast open worlds to explore with a non-linear stories.
In a few words, Edge Of Eternity is all about exploring, building up your characters, fighting and living an adventure to remember.
They’ve been funded and unlocked the collaboration with the great composer Mitsuda Yasunori! They also have an early alpha demo if you want to try the game.”
G.A.M. (GAMES, ANIME, AND MORE) CONVENTION 2015
A note from the creators of “Games, Anime, and More!”:
"We are Kickstarting what will be an annual pop-cultural festival in Utah. The G.A.M. Convention will feature games, anime, and more. (Think along the lines of Anime Expo, PAX, or Comic Con.) It will bring together people of all ages to have fun, celebrate, and enjoy good times indulging their “nerdy” passions! Everyone interested in learning more about the event should visit our Web site at [ http://gam.rocks/ ].
If you would like to be an awesome patron of the G.A.M. Convention by pledging your support, please visit our Kickstarter fund-raising page at [ http://kck.st/1F4hJeL ]. (If nothing else, visiting our page will let you see some ladies cosplaying as Sailor Moon characters.)
There is also some promo graphics at < http://gam.rocks/ > if you’d like to help advertise!
Thank you everyone, and game on!"
What Do You Think?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how Soul Saga is progressing. Please let me know what you think on the forums in this update’s thread here:
Thank you for being an awesome fan and a great friend! I can’t wait to get Soul Saga into your hands, so hang on tight while I work on bringing you some even more awesome news in the future!