Psychopomps Are Missing Progress Report for September 2022

Hello, and welcome to my fifth progress report for Psychopomps Are Missing, the RPG Maker MV game I'm currently developing. This is a quarterly report about the progress I've made towards completion of the game. If you want updates more frequently than that, I recommend subscribing to the $5 tier at my Patreon, as the diary entries at that tier include updates if I've worked on the game that day (along with information about other projects I've got in the works). Videos about the game are  available on my YouTube channel, which you can watch here. I've also started releasing builds of the game on my Discord server in the #game-development channel. The messages that contain the download links are pinned.

Everything Is Subject to Change

Ordinarily I'd now point you to the first article where I explain how I'm determining completeness for Project Psychopomps Are Missing. However, between the last progression report and this one, I've decided to radically alter the game. I'll get into a lot of detail in a moment, but if you want a video of me explaining this decision closer to when it was made, you can watch it here.

Why & What?

So why am I changing basically everything? Isn't that throwing away a lot of work? (It is, but to let that stop me is the Sunk-Cost Fallacy.) Simply put, there are two reasons for this change. The first is a matter of scope and the second is that knowledge gained from what I've done thus far enables me to do something I've wanted to do for ages but previously couldn't figure out how.


Scope refers to how much you are trying to make. Simply put, it was becoming abundantly clear to me that the original design plans for Psychopomps Are Missing were going to result in a huge game. Making all of that myself was going to take a very long time. Consider how long I'd already been working on it, and I hadn't even yet finished the first zone of around 9-10 zones total (depending on how you want to count them). I realized that I was trying to make too much game.

There is also the matter of complexity. A good deal of this is due to how RPG Maker MV works. It's a useful tool, but because it puts a lot of mechanical stakes in the ground, I found myself falling into the trap of creating something overly complex due to feeling like I needed to incorporate all of those stakes.

I had too much going on, and that made for a very complicated, difficult to balance game that was also so big that it'd take me ages to finish. I therefore decided a new design with a much smaller scope would mean I'd be able to finish the game far sooner, even when considering how much work I'd be throwing away. I'll elaborate on how the new scope is smaller and more manageable when I discuss what I'm doing now.

Lessons Learned

For a long time, I've wanted to make a game with a build system like Guild Wars 1's. However, I had no way of doing it in RPG Maker MV based on my previous knowledge. That has all changed, as I now know how to have multiple copies of the same equipment slot, meaning I can easily do skills as equipment. Also, thanks to the Character Stats system, I now know enough to be able to implement an attribute system like the one Guild Wars 1 uses (I'll elaborate more on this later).

There are a lot of other things I learned, but I'll go over those more as I discuss what the new design will be like.

So What Now?

I wanted to take the important lessons I'd learned from what I had been doing so I could address several major issues.

Building Complications

The build system in the previous design was complicated, but more importantly, it was incredibly messy. What I mean is that what any given character had something like 3-5 sources for skills. There was the initial skill that was randomly assigned, the character arc skills, class skills obtained while leveling up, skills from equipment (including omni skills), and I even had ideas for skills obtained in other ways. While I think any given one of these systems could work well if designed correctly, this is simply too much, and also, several of them had design flaws.

Which brings us to the class system. This was a source of many issues, some of which I'll discuss more when talking more specifically about equipment. (Armor, here's lookin' at you!) In short, the ability to direct any character along any class path was a problem. It was a huge issue when it came to character arc skills (of which only the first was ever designed), as making skills that could work with any class while also reflecting changes to someone's character was something I could already tell was going to be extremely difficult. In other words, the flexibility of the class system was undermining my ability to give the characters distinct mechanical identities that would've undergirded their characterization.

I like the idea of the class system in theory, but it was a poor match for the sort of game I was trying to make. I'm not quite sure how I'd handle things differently, but one thing I know for sure is that I would have dramatically limited the possible paths through the system for each character. However, part of what makes it hard to know what I'd want to do here is that I'd also need to figure out how I was handling skills, because that would've needed to change.

A big issue with the class system was the amount of planning it required. While I'm proud of the tools I provided the player for helping them navigate that process, it was still a challenge. You had to be very forward thinking when picking skills (I had plans to make a way to change your choices, but hadn't yet made such a system). Even I, the creator, would make mistakes when picking skills. This often came from trying to plan things out, but forgetting or mixing up my plans partway through.

At this point, if I do a class system like the one in the previous version of Psychopomps again, I'll treat it more like Pokémon evolutions. In general, however, I'm unlikely to want to do this, simply because it does not align with other things I want to make. We'll see, though, what the future holds!

Over Equipped

I actually quite liked a lot about the equipment system for the previous version of Psychopomps. However, it was too much in conjunction with the class system—they were, in many ways (particularly with regards to skills) competing systems, both trying to do the same thing from different approaches. This fact is a big contributor to there being too much complexity with the build system.

While the problem of the class and equipment systems overlapping was a big problem, there were two other major issues with the equipment system. The first was just the huge amount of equipment I needed to flesh things out with the game. The second was armor.

The game needed a lot of equipment. Things to buy in shops, find from treasure chests, get as rewards (for quests or exploration), and get as loot from enemies. It also needed enough that there were interesting equipment decisions to be made. Given I wanted most equipment to feel useful and valuable, this meant having to find a lot of unique design space for each piece to exist in. This was particularly challenging for weapons, as making sure each type had a reason for existing was difficult. Another complication was that many pieces of equipment provided skills, and figuring out how to make sure they didn't step on each others' toes or overlap too much with class skills was a constant struggle.

Armor was another huge area of challenge, and again, overlapping space with the class system was a big culprit. How would armor interact with class defensive stats? I struggled to find a solution, and while I think the one I ultimately landed on works, it (like many of the systems in the game) was not intuitive. It technically works, but I don't think it feels good—it's too mechanical and fiddly.

The Stat Pile

I remember telling a friend about all of the different stats in the game, and his basic response was that it seemed like a lot. And, quite frankly, it was! There were a few reasons for this happening. One is that I was trying to use everything RPG Maker MV gave me. Another, though, is that I was trying to use systems I liked from other games—the Character Stat system in particular was born from this. Finally, I was trying to do stuff with the combat system to address issues I have with other systems, but more on that when I talk about combat.

Overall, there were a lot of stats, which could be overwhelming. I think the biggest issue here was that some stats were very nonintuitive, but the reasons for that are from the combat system, so let's dig into that!


The important thing to remember about the combat system is that I based it on the Pokémon combat system, but with some modifications to address my biggest frustration with that system; namely, how awful it feels to miss. This is why I introduced Glancing as a mechanic; to create a sort of soft failure. What I came to realize over time, however, is that there is already a mechanic that existed to make skill failures (missing or being evaded) feel less bad: having a party of four characters all performing moves, rather than just one.

Like America and employer-based healthcare or social security numbers as insecure national ID numbers, many of the problems with the combat system were things I backed into as I tried to solve other problems. The posterchild for this was types. I originally set up damage types in the style of something like Dark Souls or Guild Wars 1. However, I wanted types to matter, like they do in Pokémon.

What I learned is that for types to matter, they have to be discernable and learnable. Thus I invented various defensive types, but that was a mess of complication. I simplified the systems, but they still produced wild results I wasn't always happy with. Trying to reign things in was a constant struggle, especially with all of the systems of progression that would raise stats over time.

While I like a lot of the formulas for combat, the Glancing mechanic made accuracy and evasion very unclear. The ambiguity of many of these stats—accuracy, precisions, evasions, and glancing chance in particular—made it hard to know what to expect from your characters.

Also, counter attack and reflect needed to be used in a very intentional way. Various things I'd implemented—notably, the Character Stat system—would often result in enemies have small chances of either of these, which would come up more often than one might like. Overall, the role of random effects can be hard to manage when everything takes an entire action.

I also ran into issues with how frontloaded Stamina was. I do think the Stamina system was overall conceptually good, but I don't think I knew how to use it or cost things for it. I'd have to think more on it, but the big thing I found lacking was a system that meant you couldn't just use all of your strongest skills right away. Stamina could have been that system, but it would've needed a redesign to fulfill that role.

And then there was Swapping. While I'm very proud technically of swapping (being able to switch characters from the part of your party active in combat to an inactive row), it had a few big issues. It was strategically challenging to make good use of—when do you swap, and when don't you? However, I think its biggest issue was that it was clunky. For technical reasons, you have to swap before you enter in commands. That meant if you got partway through entering commands, then realized you wanted to swap characters, you had to undo all of those commands, swap, then enter commands again. There was another huge problem, which was that characters had so many skills, keeping track of who could do what was a challenge. There was no way to check if a benched character had a skill without first swapping, and characters would get so many skills, it was easy to lose track of who could do what. This made swapping all the more complicated.

Ultimately, I'd added swapping to try and make you want to actually develop all of your characters (and, notably, give them equipment). It sort of accomplished this, but not as well as I would've liked.

While I liked a lot about the combat system, in the end, it proved to be overwrought in some ways, and too organic in others. I think there are a lot of good ideas there, but maybe too many.

Too Many Worlds

Finally, I want to especially highlight too many worlds. I wanted each world region to be distinct, and I had good plans in place for accomplishing that: region-specific mechanics, loot, equipment, enemies, naming schemes, lore, and even currencies. I think all of this could've been doable, but it was also a lot. In particular, trying to keep so many things distinct is part of what drives the relentless push from more stuff, particularly equipment and consumable items, the latter of which were getting to be quite plentiful. Keep in mind, I also wanted to try to give a reason for each different thing to exist and to make them useful to the player!

As with Astral Collision before it, a big reason for this many worlds all colliding was my desire to use everything RPG Maker MV had to offer when it came to tile sets.

So What Now?

I have preserved as much as I can, including a bunch of code, the character names (though they're all changing for reasons you'll soon see), condition concepts, along with a few other odds and ends. However, a lot is changing. Let's go over the highlights and how the changes address the above issues.

Only One World

Instead of having a bunch of different worlds, there's going to be only one. It does mean I'll be fleshing that one world out more, but there's no reason to have a bunch of different mechanics and things to try to create such sharp distinctions as I had been doing. Also, I'll be using an overworld map.

I didn't want to use an overworld map for the previous design for several reasons (a key one being that I had trouble with one when working on Astral Collision). However, I've come to realize that a larger world map will enable me to give a sense of a scale while decreasing the overall total number of maps I'll need to make to accomplish that sense. This has numerous benefits, not the least of which is decreasing travel time for the player!

This also has impacts on worldbuilding, of course. I do want to make sure to develop several nations in this new world; as such, there isn't as large of a reduction in terms of overall worldbuilding that I'll want to do as it might immediately appear, but it will be a reduction nonetheless (think half the amount of worldbuilding, though, and not a tenth of it).

Changes to Class and Combat

I now want to discuss a bunch of changes I'm making to character classes, stats, and combat. It's a bit hard to know where to start, since these systems are all so interconnected, so please bear with me as I take you on this particular leg of our journey!

As you'll recall, one of the big things I learned was that if I want types to matter, I needed them to be learnable, but because I'd previously started with damage types, then later added defensive types, things ended up a complicated and confusing mess. Therefore, part of the foundation of the rework was to figure out a set of types that will be both offensive and defensive—in this way, they'll work like Pokémon types. After a bit of work, I ended up with 15 types, then came up with a 16th type so I could have an even number to gender-balance the associated party members, which I'll get to in a moment.

I decided to dramatically change the build system, and classes along with it. This includes substantial changes to equipment, but I'll cover those in their own section. The relevant thing here is that I'm going to use a build system very similar to the one used by Guild Wars 1. There are 16 classes, one for each type. Each class has three attributes (for example, the Hero class has the attributes Heroics, Sword Mastery, and Inspiration). Each attribute has ten skills associated with it. You can use attribute points to boost these attributes, which strengthens the associated skills; you can reallocate these attribute points freely when out of combat. Each character also has eight skill slots (currently; this number is subject to change, just like everything else). You can also choose a subclass to get access to its skills and attributes.

While this is complicated to explain in text, it should be substantially simpler in gameplay terms than what I used previously. For one thing, I can hand out skills more easily. Also, the number of skills I need is extremely set. I know that I need 482 skills (standard attack, guard, and 480 class skills), and I won't need any more than that. I know that sounds like a lot of skills, but it's actually fewer total than what is already in the previous design, which showed no signs of letting up. Also, more types means more space for skills because dealing a different damage type while otherwise being similar is actually an important difference!

Also, to be clear, party members will be of one class; they won't switch classes. Skills won't be gained from leveling up or be attached to all manner of equipment. Party members won't learn them for narrative reasons or be taught them as rewards. Any given character will have (according to current plans) at most 10 skills at a time: Attack, Guard, and the eight slotted skills. That's it.

Stats will also be much simpler, in substantial part because combat is simpler. You'll have your attributes, then the standard eight stats of hit points (HP), mana points (MP), attack, defense, magical attack, magical defense, agility, and luck. I've carefully calibrated the possible ranges for these (along with the damage formulas) so that combat will produce the desired results. While there are additional stats, those will require very specific things to raise—either the primary attribute of a character's given class (for example, Heroics is the Hero's primary attribute, and it gives a percentage reduction of physical damage taken) or an accessory, emphasis on only one accessory there. There will also be skills that can temporarily adjust things like evasions or counter attack, of course!

Speaking of evasion, that will actually properly function. Accuracy is similarly simplified. There will no longer be the concept of "precision." The accuracy formula is move_accuracy + character_accuracy_bonus - evasion; then roll a random number on the [0, 100) interval. If it's less than the accuracy value calculated, then it's a hit. There is a bit more nuance here to differentiate between a miss and an evaded attack, but the formula basically boils down to that.

This is significantly more straightforward. Glancing is gone. Precision is gone. Agility is returned to simply being used for who goes first. Luck is calculated to be quite potent, but all it does is determine how likely you are to inflict a status effect. Character stats and their micro amounts of things like counter chance and extra move chance are gone. The emphasis is on your attributes (of which you'll have 3 or 5 you can allocate into at any given time) and the core eight stats listed previously.

I'll also note that stamina is effectively gone and MP has been normalized to 60 across everyone. This allows me to balance MP costs consistently (60 was chosen because it is extremely divisible). Note that I will still use the same meter as stamina, but it'll start low and build over the course of battle. This addresses the problem I mentioned—the system will now be used to prevent the instant use of your most powerful skills.

Another significant change is that I've removed swapping. I mentioned previously how clunky it proved to be practically speaking, but it also would not well support 16 heroes. Instead, you'll be able to change out who is in your party by exchanging active party members. I'll discuss this more in a section on progression.

Overall, I think these changes will remove a lot of complexity. Make no mistake: the game will still be complex. But I'm hoping that it will no longer be overstuffed. Which brings us nicely to...


The massive quantity of equipment caused a lot of problems. Rather than relisting all of them, let's just focus on what equipment is going to be in this version: your weapon, an accessory, a subclass, and eight skill slots. That's it.

Weapons are also much more straightforward. There are ten of them now (up from 6), but they're all fairly similar. The biggest difference is what attribute they're associated with, since they'll be required to use skills from that attribute. They'll all also have a different condition they can inflict when you use the normal attack (and being unarmed slightly lowers the power of the normal attack). Some of them will also be marked as contact weapons, which can be counter attacked.

In addition to their base properties, all weapons will come in 32 varieties. One without additional properties; 6 that raise one stat among attack, defense, magic attack, magic defense, agility, and luck by 10%; and 25 that raise one of the aforementioned stats by 20% and lower another of those stats by 20%. I calculated stat values for the damage formula with these adjustments taken into account. Weapons will be the only gear to staticly adjust stats, though of course skills can temporarily do so. As such, you can easily calculate that I'll need a total of 320 weapons (provided I've done my math correctly).

All weapons will also have an associated accessory type that you can only equip if you have that weapon equipped. Classes will also have an associated pool of accessories, some of which can only be used by those using the primary class. Overall, these are meant to be powerful items, akin to hold items in Pokémon. This is also the most wildcard category, and the only one that doesn't have a definite total number for me to make. None of them will grant skills.

Subclasses give you the same stats as the class they are based on (though not more MP and only a quarter of the agility), let you use two of the three attributes associated with that class, use most of the accessories associated with that class, and equip all skills of that class. There are 16 of these. I'm assuming most people will use a subclass for all of their heroes (they will come equipped with the subclass that matches their primary class), though you could dramatically increase the challenge of the game for yourself by not using them, and thus effectively halving your stat totals.

We've already discussed skills previously, so I won't mention more about them here.

You'll notice that armor is gone, weight is gone, rings are gone, off-hands are gone, and omni-skills have effectively been replaced by the eight skill slots. This is a much more streamlined equipment system. I did like many features of the previous system, but they're better suited to a different game that handles character classes and skills differently—both from the direction I'm now taking Psychopomps Are Missing and from the direction I'd previously been taking it.

Character Progression

A significant aspect of character progression under the old paradigm was the character class system that's now gone. That system ended up having a lot of complications it introduced. In particular, it made it hard for me to want to introduce characters over time, as that would effectively put characters added to the party later behind the curve in development. Alternatively, I could've made set-in-stone build decisions for you, but that would've gone against what I was trying to accomplish with the system in the first place. I could perhaps have found some fix, but it would've likely been clunky and complicated.

There was also character progression in the form of Character Stat Points, which served as rewards for finding the titular missing psychopomps.

With both of those things gone, what will character progression look like under the new paradigm?

Simply put, the progression is external to characters themselves. One of the things that's great about Guild Wars 1's system is that it's a game about expanding your options by getting access to more skills. That same principle will apply to this new version of Psychopomps Are Missing. Rather than get character specific experience points, you'll get knowledge that you can spend to buy more skills and additional copies of subclasses. Another major progression mechanism will once again be rescuing missing psychopomps, but this time, they'll serve to unlock additional stores, thereby expanding your purchasing options.

By making the way you empower your characters external to the characters themselves, progression is more centrally located, allowing the player to in general progress. This also means characters added to the party (or switched out of the active party) effectively enter in at the same relatively strength as other characters.

Another important thing to note is that by focusing the progression on skills and equipment, I avoid issues relating to stat growth. Now, to be clear, I think increasing stats over time can be a lot of fun—I enjoy it in Pokémon, for instance. At the same time, I want to balance the game's difficulty around options, synergy, and player tactical prowess more than raw character power. I love that type of gameplay from Guild Wars 1, but I also love it from competitive Pokémon, where levels are set to all be the same, eliminating them as a factor. This is the kind of game I want to make!

Consumables, Crafting, and Chests

I want to briefly address a few other odds and ends by discussing consumable items, crafting, and treasure chests.

The original version of the game had a lot of consumable items (such as healing items), in part because consumable items were a way I differentiated world regions. I also wanted them to be relevant, which meant they competed with skills for design space. The new design is going to have significantly fewer consumable items (I've already planned them out, though I might come up with a few more ideas for items that seem important). They're all mostly healing items that restore a percentage of max HP or MP, while skills will restore flat values (thus differentiating between the two). I'm notably scrapping the food system.

Crafting is going to be the primary way to acquire new equipment (some accessories may be uniquely available as loot from foes, dungeons, or chests). It'll be a simple crafting system where you give materials to an NPC and pay a fee to get the piece of equipment. I like these sorts of systems, since they let me give you partial rewards for things like defeating foes while also letting the player choose what rewards they actually want. Crafting materials will come in common and rare varieties. Common materials will be loot from regular foes and common materials chests, while rare materials will come exclusively from rare material chests.

Finally, I liked the randomized chests that I used in the previous design of the game. However, rather than have chests by region, I'm planning on a few specific varieties of randomized chests. Specifically, rare crafting materials chests, potion chests (these contain a different set of potions than can be purchased for a few reasons, such as maximum counts), booster chests (these contain items that provide temporary battle buffs similar to Pokémon's X items), and skill chests (which contain a random copy of almost any skill). There will be keys for these chests. Note that the rewards for opening these chests are exclusive to them, except for skills, but skills must be purchased with Knowledge while keys for skill chests will be purchased with Crystallized Energy. As previously mentioned, I'm also planning on having common crafting material chests, but these will not require keys to open.

What Is the Current State of the Game?

The current state of the game can be broken up into the following categories:

  1. Core Mechanics.
  2. Map Completion.
  3. Narrative Completion.
I'll do my best to be thorough with each category, but please note that I may overlook something when trying to compile these various categories, so if their exact contents shifts and fluctuates over time, that'll either be due to me filling in unknowns (such as total number of maps needed) or because I realized I overlooked something (I can see myself easily overlooking a core mechanic, for example).

Core Mechanics

As these are diverse and fairly dense, I'll cover core mechanics in list form.

  • Skills: I have 482 skills to make. At this time, only 10 have been made, though completeness is difficult to calculate, since all of them need icons and most of them need testing. My plans for skill acquisition systems are in place, but not yet implemented. However, they need a certain quantity of skills made to be able to implement them, so it'll be a bit.
    • Placeholders for all of the skills and the linked gear so they can be equipped are all in place!
    • I do have several ideas for skills that I haven't yet implemented.
  • Attributes have all been conceptualized and many of the systems for them are in place. A few of the primary attributes that have bonus effects still need a concept for their bonus effect, though most are in place.
    • Critically, I still need to implement the user interface for allowing the player to adjust attribute values!
  • 10 of the 320 weapons are in place, though none of them are complete. I still need to finish figuring out what conditions each one will have a chance of inflicting.
    • I still need to figure out names for the +20%/-20% weapons. There are 25 names here, and I've figured out 4 of them. (For example, a Sword of Brains would increase Magic Attack by 20% and decrease Attack by 20%.)
    • Once I've finalized conditions and the +20%/-20% names, it'll be a simple matter to add code to a tool to create these weapons.
  • Consumable items are in place to various placeholder degrees. Most of them need icons, though I'm using a few of the icons from the previous iteration.
  • Crafting materials have placeholders, but most of them need names/concepts.
  • While the crafting system code itself was made long ago, the actual recipes for crafting things still need to be made. This process can't begin until the crafting materials are all sorted out.
  • Combat system code is in place and functions, though it may prove to need tweaks. I don't expect any major overhauls, however.
  • Subclass items are all in place, though like most things, they lack icons.
  • Game over handling is in place.
  • The fast travel system is in place, though I may want to create a better user interface for it later down the line. I'm using the same technique I used for the previous design.
  • Much coding is done for general systems, a lot of which was taken from the previous design where possible. More coding likely needs to be finished, but that'll come up as I go.
  • I need a lot of icons for basically everything. The exact number is currently unknown—I don't know how many accessories I'll have, for example.
  • Chests still need to be created. Note that once I've made the base objects, I can copy and paste them into place, however, if I choose to change something about how they function, I'd need to manually go and update each iteration (this is a weakness of RPG Maker MV when compared to more sophisticated engines like Unity). As such, I want to make sure I've gotten the designs where I want them before I make them.
    • Keys as items do exist!
  • The economy needs to be figured out. I'm not sure how much enemies should reward you, how much things should cost, and so on.
    • This is true for both Crystallized Energy and Knowledge, the two types of currency in the game.
    • I have successfully redirected experience point rewards to Knowledge rewards and implemented a technique for shops to switch which they'll use.
    • I do want to turn off the ability to sell equipment for a variety of reasons. I haven't gone about implementing this yet.
  • While I have general concepts for all of the heroes (the possible party members), I still need specific concepts for four of the sixteen and ten of them still need sprites made.
    • Thankfully, they only need one set of top view, battler, and portrait sprites made, unlike the massive number needed for the previous design.
    • More variety in faces are needed for all of the characters.
  • While I know the general mechanical side of the progression structure (which remains effectively the same as the previous iteration—defeat 8 bosses and find 60/100 missing psychopomps to unlock the ability to fight the final boss), many of the specifics still need to be figured out.
    • I've figured out the very beginning, and some of the divisions, but I'll talk about that more in the map section.
  • I'm planning on having 48 unique bosses (one for each attribute line) that has a special skill that you can only acquire by defeating that boss. This idea is in place, but none of these bosses have been implemented.
Those are the major things I can think of at the moment. As you can see, I've gotten a lot of structure in place, but need more specifics, such as exact implementations.

Map Completion

Map completion is very low at present, as most of my focus has been on getting core systems functional. That said, I've begun the process of creating the world map, the starting map, and the maps of the Hall of Heroes. I have generally conceptualized elements of the world map. It will consist of two major continents, a major island, and at least some smaller islands. I may expand the number of smaller islands if I deem that reasonable. Let's talk about some of these locations!

The Hall of Heroes

The Hall of Heroes serves as a central hub for the player and does not exist on any map. It can be reached through Hero Shrines (these shrines function as respawn points, fully heal the player's party when interacted with, let the player fast travel to any other previously visited shrine or the Hall, and simple consumables can be purchased directly from them).

The Hall will be where the player makes purchases, crafts gear, and switches out party members (once they've unlocked more than four heroes). Many of these services will not initially be available.

Rescuing missing psychopomps will unlock more and more services in the Hall of Heroes for lore reasons I've not entirely settled on.

The maps are around 40% complete by my estimation, though that may be lowballing it a little bit. It needs a lot more NPCs, though, including ones that'll be made available as you find psychopomps.

Ainshulan—The Starting Continent

The very top of this continent has been made, since this is where the player starts. I'm still not entirely sure how large it will be. I do have some ideas for the middle and southern regions of the map. I'm planning to have some islands off the west coast. You'll find the first four heroes here, and I think around the first three of the Progress Bosses, though I've not entirely settled on that latter number. It is the smaller of the two continents.

Defeating all of the progress bosses here will unlock a boat you'll be able to use to journey to Nionvula.

Nionvula—The Second Continent

The larger of the two continents, and more horizontal while Ainshulan will be more vertical. I know I want an interior desert. I'm also planning on reusing the randomizer mechanic I'd been using for Eidenomuth in the previous design for an area here where some magitech research went very badly wrong. This is also the more technologically developed of the two continents and most of the remaining heroes will be found here. I've done no implementation work on this continent yet.

Lovoles—The Large Island Nation

This is a large island nation that sits between the continents of Ainshulan and Nionvula and in the southern half of the map. I've figured out a decent amount about its culture. Nothing has been implemented yet. When you unlock the boat that'll let you get between continents, a hero originating from here will appear in the Hall of Heroes and you'll unlock the ability to use a shrine to get here. This is a peaceful place with no combat encounters.

World Summary

As you can see, mapping is still very early and many concepts need to be fleshed out. Cultures in particular are lacking a great deal right now, but I want to finish concepting heroes first. I'll then match heroes to cultures and races and flesh things out from there.


I've mostly figured out the general outline of the narrative, but it does need more details. Many of those will get filled in as I create stuff that needs them. For spoiler reasons, I won't be going into details here!

That said, I've gotten the introduction to a place I'm mostly happy with for the time being, but haven't implemented any further narrative elements. This is definitely an area that's a lot more sparse, as I'm developing this game with a mechanics first, worldbuilding second, narrative third sort of approach. (As a creative, I'm more into worldbuilding than narrative.)

Worldbuilding is still in general development, but the setting itself is modern-technology equivalent (with some areas being a bit less developed) with magic being a major influence on how all of this works. The player's party members are Heroes, individuals who have dedicated their afterlife to protecting and serving the people of the world. They will get explored and fleshed out some as individuals, both from lore and from talking to them in the Hall of Heroes, but characters aren't as major of a focus as I was trying to have them be for the original design. This is in part because I wanted a variant party (I think that makes class/types clearer), which makes it hard to include specific responses/dialog from heroes, resulting in a huge reduction of places to characterize them, and in part because characters and creating unique character voices and perspectives is something I feel I'm weaker at as a creator. As such, I want to deemphasize it a bit.

Wrapping Things Up

It was a big decision to redesign the game from just about the ground up, but it's my belief that this will make the game a lot more achievable. It wasn't a decision made on a whim, either—feedback and advice I got from others encouraged me to make it. Sometimes you've made so big a mess, the only way to clean it up is to burn everything down and salvage what survives. That's not the best metaphor, but hopefully it conveys the idea! I'm excited about this new direction for the game, I'm looking forward to seeing it come together, and I feel a lot more confident knowing that so many entries in the core mechanics list have definite end points.

Thank you all for reading and for your interest in Psychopomps Are Missing!

Please consider supporting Sientir's creativity and writing by subscribing to him on his Patreon.


Popular posts from this blog

Tutorial: Making an RPG Maker MV Plugin

Seeking Tension's Source

Perfect Love