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[WIP] Heroes Guard - Interactive Gamebook
Started by Rick.Kelly Oct 12 2014 07:12 PM

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#1

Rick.Kelly

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I'm working full time on my first game called Heroes Guard: The Journal. It is an Interactive Gamebook with RPG aspects. Sort of like mixing a table-top RPG with a choose-your-own-adventure book.

 

mVmXPiVl.png

 

Excited to share that the game is accepting sign-ups for Beta #2! If this niche genre is your thing, please sign-up here!

 

I'm a programmer by trade, but trying my hand at the art - I would love some feedback on the direction I'm heading!

 

b3dEYAjl.png

 

Instead of one large story, the player chooses from several short-stories on the map page of the journal.

 

5DsT4N0l.gif

 

Each story will test the player's characteristics (strength, dexterity, intelligence, charisma).

 

iqeD3XK.gif

 

And for the larger encounters they'll play a mini card game!

 

7pD5JC2.gif

 

You can also find more information and screenshots on my site and social accounts.

 

Heroes Guard: Site | Devlog | Twitter | Facebook



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#2

Prathap Murthy

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In A Hero's Journal you are a weary and weathered adventurer. All of your questing and dungeon plundering days are behind you - but that doesn't mean the stories and hardships need not live on! By filling out this journal you will allow some of your greatest feats... and failures... to live on as campfire and bed time stories.

 

Luckily you still have the same map you relied on so long ago... 

But as you explore the map you will also need to explore your memory as some of what occurred is a bit fuzzy. You will encounter many stories and will have to make many choices.

 

Concept + description = pure win. I salute thee!

 

I'm an RPG fan, and I love everything about your game. For programmer art, it's absolutely amazing. I wish I could do something like this. This game could turn into something really special.



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#3

Rick.Kelly

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Thanks so much! That's the first bit of feedback I've gotten outside of my family & friend circle - your response is such a great motivator to keep plowing through.

 

Thanks again for taking a look.



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#4

Rick.Kelly

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This week I started working on the combat portion of the game - which is a small / quick card game.

 

All the art is temporary, but I really just wanted to show off the direction I am heading in. Let me know what you think!

 

YfAyNxA.gif?1



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#5

Prathap Murthy

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In terms of combat mechanics, I don't get the complete picture. Don't know the purpose of the agility/strength/intelligence cards in the top row. Also, you seem to show the cumulative damage dealt to each character rather than the remaining hit points. Maybe you're trying adjudge the victor of the duel in a short match?

 

Presentation wise, I like it. Nice UI layout and good use of available screen size. Keep going!



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#6

Rick.Kelly

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The main idea behind the game is that the player has lived through all odds - and is now recounting all the adventures and fights he got  through in his younger days (he's old and is now recounting the tails as he remembers).

 

So that is partially the reason why I'm not using health (counting down) - it is indeed about who does more damage (you never die). And as you said, there are only 3 rounds, so that is part of what keeps it quick. This has been unclear to a few folks - so I'll probably work on making this more clear in some manner... or perhaps change the direction altogether.

 

What actually isn't implemented yet is the role the cards along the top play. Basically when you play a card - the attack, defense, and heal values will always take effect, but each card also has some ability. For that ability to trigger - you need to play it on the appropriate top card - and also pass the roll (which ties into your character from the RPG / story side).

 

As mentioned before - I greatly appreciate you taking an interest and giving me feedback. I appreciate it far more than you probably think. Are you working on any projects you want some feedback or critique on?



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#7

Prathap Murthy

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So that is partially the reason why I'm not using health (counting down) - it is indeed about who does more damage (you never die). And as you said, there are only 3 rounds, so that is part of what keeps it quick. This has been unclear to a few folks - so I'll probably work on making this more clear in some manner... or perhaps change the direction altogether.

 

You don't need to change the direction. Remember, there were no directions presented to us here. Just a gif showing us part of the combat. So why not introduce a new mechanic if it's fun and fresh? You just have to present a concise tutorial for the player's very first duel in the game.

 

What actually isn't implemented yet is the role the cards along the top play. Basically when you play a card - the attack, defense, and heal values will always take effect, but each card also has some ability. For that ability to trigger - you need to play it on the appropriate top card - and also pass the roll (which ties into your character from the RPG / story side).

 

You could also probably mix it up by including more options in the top row. Attack/Defense/Heal multipliers for instance. Ex: If a player's card has X attack, and if one of the top row cards offers double damage, then the player can do a 2X attack with his card.

The combat could be easy at first, but it could get progressively harder. For increasing difficulty, you could pre-calculate the maximum damage that can be done by the player by combining his 3 cards in the best possible way with the top-row supplement cards. And then using a damage number (to be dealt by the enemy) just small enough than the calculated maximum figure to keep things challenging. To increase difficulty further, you could include a timer to hasten the player's actions ("I was confronting a giant dire wolf and had to react quickly").

If you haven't checked it out already, I think you should try Hearthstone (Blizzard's free-to-play collectible card game). The matches are not only quick but also offer enough depth to keep both casual as well as non-casual players engaged. You could get some nifty ideas from there.

 

Are you working on any projects you want some feedback or critique on?

 

I wish I was working on something as cool as you are. I just quit my day job to develop mobile games. Tried my hand at designing an arcade puzzler. Since I can't draw for nuts, I ended up getting a quote for the art work from a good design studio. But the cost was too high (although appropriate). The concept wasn't exactly golden, so I shelved it. For my first game, I'm developing a simple casino game (with self-done art) to get the ball rolling. We'll see how that goes.



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#8

Rick.Kelly

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 If a player's card has X attack, and if one of the top row cards offers double damage, then the player can do a 2X attack with his card.

 

 

This is such a good idea - I'll definitely look into things like this!

 

 I just quit my day job to develop mobile games. ... For my first game, I'm developing a simple casino game (with self-done art) to get the ball rolling. We'll see how that goes.

 

I wish you the best of luck sir. I did the same a little over 3 months ago. I'm just hoping I at least make minimum wage at doing this - so I can call it a real job! My wife (who is supporting us at the moment) gave me the best piece of inspiration:

 

Just have fun with it and create something that you can be proud of.



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#9

Prathap Murthy

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Thank you. And the best of luck to you too!

 

If you need somebody to brainstorm with, let me know.



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#10

Rick.Kelly

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Corona is pretty sweet with providing many things out-of-the-box, but sometimes you still have to create your own tools to help with your specific game features or domain.

 

So the past few weeks I've been working on a tool to help build the short stories that will be found in Heroes Guard.

 

1bNRD5V.png

 

Now that is out of the way I can get back to working on the game!



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#11

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The setting of each journal will be randomized, each with unique title/cover art. This one sets a "at war" theme:

 

5VegC2f.png



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#12

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Working on making it exciting to get a stat point or item, here is what I have for the stat point so far - sounds really help to add another dimension to it as well - how do you feel when you see this?

 

Xgj7bBl.gif



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#13

Prathap Murthy

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As an RPG player, I like to min/max. Whenever I make a choice that doesn't yield the stats that I'm after, I feel like kicking myself. In your design, the player has no way of knowing which stats they'll get beforehand. But I also understand that presenting the stats along with the choices can take away from the story telling appeal. If stats aren't very important in the game (especially in the later stages), then the current design looks good (considering how the player can purely focus on making choices based on story alone; stats would just be gravy). If certain stats provide significant advantages later in the game, then you might need a different design... at least to appeal to the hardcore players out there.



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#14

Rick.Kelly

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Yeah that makes sense - stats help to increase your chances on passing most story choices (like trying to lift a boulder, or trying to track your way to a goblin camp).

 

Stats will also play a roll in the card game - the chance of the card's ability activating. 

 

So it is fairly important. For most choices I'm trying to have valid rhyme and reason for the stats you get and the stats that are tested. perhaps I'll add a symbol or color to help dictate - I also like the fact its sort of hidden though... like after you've played through once you've uncovered a little of the games mystery to better min/max it next run.



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#15

Prathap Murthy

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perhaps I'll add a symbol or color to help dictate - I also like the fact its sort of hidden though... like after you've played through once you've uncovered a little of the games mystery to better min/max it next run.

 

Agree with everything you said there. In the end, how all the elements come together is what matters.



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#16

Rick.Kelly

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No RPG-like game is complete without an inventory system!

 

7JpDZZ7.png



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#17

gullie667

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I like your game concept. 

Also, I think that your programmer art is quite good for a programmer.

 

Having said that, It's good for someone not formally trained, no offense. Often I will make decisions about games to try based on the quality of the art. To that end, it's my opinion that you would fair better if you partnered with a talented / experienced artist. That or spent considerably more time polishing what is a great visual starting point.

 

I'm 90% artist so maybe I am not the best test case so take it as you will.

 

To be honest, I often wonder why more programmers that are not artist by trade choose not to partner with a good artist.

 

Cheers,

Kenny



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#18

Rick.Kelly

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Heh, it really comes down to the money. I don't expect this app to rake in tons of money - so keeping overhead low.

 

I think mobile is pretty relax and diverse when it comes to the level of art-quality, the key thing being style. But I too judge a book by its cover :)

 

Honestly, I love doing the art stuff. I'm slow at it. And as you said... it still needs lots of work!

 

Is there any particular tips you could pass my way? Or anything that makes you, as an artist, cringe from the screenshots?

 

One day I hope to find an artist to partner up with. My dream is that they will be amazing at 2d, 3d, and even does the music / sound fx... those exist? hehe



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#19

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I guess it all depends on your goal. If you want to make a living out of this, your best shot is to have a polished product. Sure the app store is quite diverse but >95% of the apps making the money are polished, both artistically and experience wise. Simply look at the top games. If you want experience do what you are doing. 

 

Tips... If you want to split the work load find an art forum and post that you are looking for an artist to partner with. Of course partners cost nothing but require you to split your profit... and you have to consider their viewpoints on game play. Which a lot of people don't want. If you want to go it alone, maybe you should consider a more pixelated / classic look? Sure it's over done but that is because can be a lot easier / cheaper / less time consuming to realize a good look. 

 

Cringe, nothing...seriously. It doesn't look bad, and boy, some games do. Yours looks good but it also looks... basic? like it was made in Photoshop with the stock Photoshop tools. I'm not sure the scope of your game but I don't think it would take an artist much to give these an illustrated look. 

 

I've been a professional video game artist for the better part of 20 years so my perspective is heavily biased... IE, take my comments with a grain of salt.

 

Good luck with your game.



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#20

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like it was made in Photoshop with the stock Photoshop tools. I'm not sure the scope of your game but I don't think it would take an artist much to give these an illustrated look. 

 

Oh man, it was pretty much made solely with photoshop - well actually gimp (money-thing again). I actually thought that was almost the only tool artists use! What other tools would you recommend I scope out or tools you often use?

 

I don't even know what an illustrated look is :( Do you happen to know the techniques that I should look into to take it to the next level? I know My line art is heavy - and I would like to make some of the "real world" objects look more painted (like the book, coins, etc). I don't really know the artsy words, but it would be like the 3rd image here (I did these as well to practice):

BPp9Aqv.png

 

I want to learn this stuff! It's fun when I produce something decent, heh. Thanks again for your words of wisdom - and I'll need that luck!



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#21

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This is the 3rd take at the gold coins. I think I'm getting better at this!

 

obGHDQL.png



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#22

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The skull's progress looks really good. The coins look way better. Obviously, good reference is the key to good art. Don't skip it.
 
Photoshop wise, a samurai sword is made with a anvil and hammer... but it sure doesn't look that way right... In the same way your art should not look like it was produced in Photoshop, even if it is.
 
If i where the art director I would go this direction... But this is much more about personal choice. Your 4th skull looks quite watercolor esque and actually quite "book" like... and maybe a good match depending on who you ask.
 
My example, about 5 min more work in Photoshop and illustrator using a wacom tablet.Attached File  skullEx1.jpg   32.54KB   2 downloads



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#23

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interesting that you used illustrator - isn't it for vector graphics (straight lines and gradients)? What role did it play in the 5th image - the outline?



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#24

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I used it to palatalize the image and clean it up. It's also good to use as you can be really sloppy and it will still look nice. Here's is a version you can see the details in. Don't mind the black outline... that was really quick to show an idea.If the skull was big on screen you would probably want to spend a bit more time with it.
 
Cheers

 

Attached File  skullEx2.jpg   140KB   0 downloads



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#25

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So I did a design iteration on the cards, wanted them minimalized and went for more of a tarot-card like approach. The orbs along the top indicate: damage (red), defense (blue), and healing (green).

 

The outline of the card indicates what type of ability the card has: strength (red), intelligence (blue), dexterity (green), and charisma (yellow). When the user clicks to inspect the card, it will give details about the ability. 

 

BWMrgEC.png




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