Psychopomps Are Missing Progress Report for December 2022

 

Hello, and welcome to my sixth 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. You can find the most recent progress report here. It also happens to be the first progress report since the big change in direction to the game, which you can read about there.

Note: In November, I ended up starting a short side-RPG Project. This was to get some creative ideas out of my head. It uses a much simpler framework than Psychopomps for worldbuilding, which will help me get it done substantially faster. Psychopomps Are Missing will be on hiatus until I get that game done. As such, these updates will also go on hiatus until I resume work on Psychopomps Are Missing, as there won't be anything to report on.

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).

Note: New information will be bolded to make it easier to pick out.

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, 60 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 fully implemented, though I have started the process.
    • Placeholders for all of the skills and the linked gear so they can be equipped are all in place!
  • 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.
    • Since the last update, I've implemented the User Interface to be able to allocate attribute points, so this system now works!
  • 10 of the 320 weapons are in place, though none of them are complete. I have at least figured out the conditions to be associated with each weapon type.
    • 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!
  • I've calculated out values for a good chunk of the economy. Some values (such as the costs associated with crafting) still need to be calculated, but a framework is in place to do that.
    • Playtesting may show I need to adjust things somewhat—pre-planned math can prove to not play as well as hoped.
    • 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.
  • Heroes are generally fleshed out. They have their sprites, concepts, and stats in place. The lore about them does need expanding, however.
    • 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.
  • A base concept for missing psychopomps has been figured out. Finding them will gain you access to additional services in the Hall of Heroes, along with a few other things. The beginning stages of planning out these rewards has begun.
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. Still, more things are fleshed out than they were previously, so that's good!

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. Right now, I need to do more worldbuilding before I can expand the world. Now, 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 80% complete by my estimation. It needs a lot more NPCs, though the process of making them has begun. It still needs a lot more, though.

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, but I've finished enough other work that they're now the big priority.

Narrative

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 has become the primary focus of development at this time, as I need to figure out the details of the world setting (cultures, species, nations, etc.) so I can build things like NPCs. 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.

Wrapping Things Up

Getting the Attribute Point Allocation user interface implemented has been a huge step forward for the project. It will take time to come up with and make skill ideas, but that was a big technological barrier that I needed to cross to be able to play the game at all properly. Having now crossed it means it's possible to actually playtest the game, get a feel for skills, and overall iterate on things I'm making. That's vital for progress!

That said, I do want to remind everyone that Psychopomps Are Missing is currently on a development hiatus, as I said at the start of this article.

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.

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