AuthorTopic: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)  (Read 3055 times)

Offline ConnorORT

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Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

on: August 25, 2016, 12:10:00 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8tQTkdZf2A  

Towards The Pantheon is a top down turn based 2D RPG in development that follows Freyja the warrior, Bam the cat, Mishima the cyborg, and Phenez the ghost on their journey to destroy The Terrorforce and restore peace to their world. Players adventure through lush forests, freezing blizzards, barren wastelands, horrific mansions and dystopian cyberpunk cities throughout their personal and immersive quest.

Towards The Pantheon is the first full commercial game by game developer and soundtrack composer Connor O.R.T. Linning.

Summary
 
 - Release Date: Aiming for Summer 2017.
 - Developer: Connor O.R.T. Linning.
 - Genre: Role Playing Game, Fantasy, Sci Fi, Horror.
 - Started in: 2016.
 - Website: http://www.towardsthepantheon.com.
 - Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux. Future Console & Smartphone ports TBD.
 - Contact: connorortlinning@gmail.com.
 - Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, & Pinterest



Story

For a thousand years the world has believed itself to be at peace. But behind the scenes, the forgotten group once known as The Terrorforce has reawakened and are using divide and conquer tactics to destabilize the worldís economic, social, and political norms. Tensions are rising between the many races of the world but luckily a small number of people remember the past and are determined to not let history repeat itself.

Towards The Pantheon is a 2D top down role-playing game in development where players journey through lush forests, freezing plains of snow, dystopian cyberpunk cities, and barren wastelands to find and defeat the source of The Terrorforce at The Pantheon.

Gone are the RPG clichťs of potions, wars between elemental gods, and the journey where someone accidentally stumbles upon a unique magical power that enables only them to save the world. Instead Towards The Pantheon is a unique and unusual game that follows the unlikely team of Freyja the warrior, Bam the cat, Mishima the cyborg, and Phenez the dead on their simultaneously lighthearted, fun, dark, and painful journey.

Drawing inspiration from a variety of classics ranging from Paper Mario, Silent Hill, and Golden Sun, Towards The Pantheon is a personal game that is currently aiming for a Summer 2017 release.



Main Characters



Freyja is a young warrior who has yet to find her self confidence and as a result she has yet to say a word in her life. She is loved by her kin for her passion, dedication, and warm heart. Freyja has been chosen by her thorpís elder Wuotan to journey towards the Pantheon and defeat The Terrorforce. Her years of training and hard work can be seen in her impressive melee attack abilities. FreyjaĎs battle system uses Health Points (HP) and Stamina Points (SP).



Bam is a cat who longs for adventure outside of his university studies. He is known around his town for his whimsical and comical ways, playing pranks on fellow cats, and always going back to get seconds during breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinnerÖ and midnight snacks.  While he has basic attack skills, BamĎs strength shines through in his ability to heal and cure both himself and his team mates. BamĎs battle system uses Health Points (HP) and Energy Points (EP).



Mishima is a cyborg residing in the outskirts of her cyberpunk society for which she has been ostracized. She has not yet decided whether or not to replace her organic heart with a computer chip and as a result struggles with acceptance from her cyborg peers. Although she can often leave a first impression of being shy and distant, Mishima will open up to the right people when comfortable. Mishima has a cybernetic arm that allows her to hack computers, pick locks, and attack in a variety of deadly ways. MishimaĎs battle system uses Central Processing Unit Points (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit Points (GPU).



Phenez is a ghost from the dark past. He was a part of the army led by legendary warrior Aeternatus, but was unable to fulfill his duties to himself and his people. In his search for redemption and honor, Phenez joins the party and offers his skills in invisibility and dark magic. PhenezĎ battle system uses Necro Points (NP).

Features

 - Ability to switch between the four main characters, each with unique overworld mechanics.
 - Turn based combat system where each character has unique battle mechanics.
 - A huge fully connected overworld with an additional transportation system.
 - More than 10 regions to explore including lush forests, freezing snow lands, cyberpunk cities, barren wastelands, and a desolate mansion.
 - Dialog and support systems that allow for further character development and stat boosts.
 - A full original soundtrack that combines modern production techniques with SNES/GBC/Genesis era synthesizers. The soundtrack will be released as both an Original Soundtrack (~70 minutes) and Complete Soundtrack (containing every song in the game).
 - A unique and complex overarching storyline that ties together over 5 races spanning over 10 regions, each contributing to a deep and rich lore.

Screenshots

Click thumbnail to view full image:







































Soundtrack

Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack by Connor O.R.T. Linning will be available for purchase on Bandcamp upon release of the game as both an Original Soundtrack (~70 minutes) and a Complete Soundtrack (containing every song used in the game). While the soundtrack includes symphonic, chiptune, and synth elements often found in RPGs, elements of genres such as noise, drone, and dark ambient help set the soundtrack apart from the standard RPG formula.

Listen to the current soundtrack demos HERE.

History

After the completion of two Gameboy Color styled survival horror demo games Overlooker and Overlooker 2, Connor O.R.T. Linning began planning his first commercial game Towards The Pantheon during the first few months of 2016. Development began during summer 2016 and pixel artist Leandro Tokarevski was brought onto the project as both developers had previous experience working well together.

Longtime friend Kyle Mountifield managed to break away from his Tree Of Savior obsession to aid the project with additional enemy design, game design, and quality assurance testing. Promotional artist Maerel Hibadita was soon brought on to create artwork of the four main characters. Daniel Tindall and Tyler Rogers were later brought in to help the project with additional game design and quality assurance testing after having previous experience working well with Connor O.R.T. Linning and Leandro Tokarevski.

The first teaser video for Towards The Pantheon was released on September 14th, 2016, 2 weeks after Connor O.R.T. Linning began developing the game full time. On September 24th, Nicolas Kaufman joined to contribute additional game design and quality assurance testing. The team is currently working hard together to complete remaining gameplay mechanics and artwork so that development of the game's levels can begin.

Artwork









Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 05:43:29 pm by ConnorORT »

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 10:27:33 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 5th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Full time development for Towards The Pantheon begins now, and new devlogs will be posted once a week! This devlog will be short and sweet, showing off some progress in the art department.

First off, Leandro has been hard at work finishing the logo for the game! He has also made great progress in pixel art that will be shown in future devlogs.



Secondly, Maerel has finished up some artwork for our silent protagonist Freyja!



Be sure to check out her artwork on Deviantart, Instagram, and Twitter!

And lastly, here are some new screenshots.









Tomorrow I will spend 10 hours working on the battle system, so there will soon be animated gifs of the battle system in action! I look forward to writing a longer devlog next week after a lot of focused hard work. Livestreaming will begin again during September, especially when working on music.

If you enjoyed this devlog, follow the game on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & Pinterest!

Thanks for reading!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 07:52:42 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 6th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

I began working full time on the game 10 days ago and have been having a blast. I've been working on the turn based battle system, which will be the most complex chunk of scripting created for the game. Here is a gif showing the basic setup of the battle system, along with a few backgrounds and enemy designs:



There is clearly lots of polishing left to do, but my current focus is on getting the functionality down. I've decided to place the characters on the left side of the battle field similar to placement in Paper Mario. You can also see that each character has a unique subsystem that differs from the standard HP/MP systems in most RPGs. I will go into more detail about these subsystems in a future devlog. In the gif there are repeated enemies in each battle, but this is because we only have one completed enemy for each area as Leandro is focused on creating more important pixel art for the game. In the full game, you will be able to battle multiple enemy types at once and there will be multiple original enemies for each area, as well as boss battles.



I have finished basic attacks for each of the main characters and am now moving onto enemy attacks. Once that is completed, I will be working on healing spells and status ailments. I have been taking a lot of care in how I am scripting the battle system as unlike my work with my previous games Overlooker and Overlooker 2 (which were made in 22 and ~30 days respectively), I will be living with this code for the next year. I have also made sure to design it so that when a large chunk of code is written, it can be easily adapted for similar uses. For instance, after completing the code for a fireball attack shot from Mishima's cybernetic arm, I was able to add a poison attack that Phenez can cast in under 5 minutes.

Leandro has also been working hard to create NPCs for each region of the game. Here's a screenshot of some villagers in the first region of the game:



Maerel has also completed artwork for Mishima and is currently working on artwork for Bam and Phenez (click for full size):



There are 4 new soundcloud Soundtrack demo tracks including "Sanity?", "Thoughts By The Campfire", "City Of Charcoal", and "Stargazing". Sanity? shows some experimentation trying to get a Silent Hill 1 sound that may be used in the Survival Horror influenced chapter of the game. Thoughts By The Campfire and Stargazing are drone / dark ambient experiments that may be used in portions of the game where the party is resting for the night and exchanging dialog. One of the most important story elements of the game for me is character development and there will be moments in the game where the player gets to listen in on conversations between the party members. There will be random bits of dialog the player can choose to read (similar to Fire Emblem) as well as scripted moments where the party sets up camp for the night and (hopefully) enjoy each others company. Some of my favorite late nights have been with my friends while listening to dark ambient and drone music by musicians like Akira Yamaoka, Fennesz, Ulver, etc and I want to create similar feelings in the player while playing Towards The Pantheon. City Of Charcoal is an experiment mixing chiptune VSTs, retro drum samples, and modern synths for a later area of the game. Looking back, I think the drum loop could certainly use some cymbals/hi-hats.

Click HERE to check out the Soundcloud soundtrack demo playlist.

I am a huge fan of survival horror game soundtracks, and those often include elements of drone, dark ambient, and noise music. Most RPG games (especially those during the SNES and Genesis era due to hardware limitations) often have very orchestral and classical soundtracks. While I enjoy that kind of music, I am experimenting and trying different things for Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack. A contention I've had with other soundtrack composers is that I find the trend for game soundtracks to move towards as realistic as possible orchestral sounds rather boring. I think part of what made the Resident Evil 3 soundtrack or the Mirkwood project by Austrian musicians Silenius & Protector so enjoyable is the fact that their orchestral patches sound synthesized. This gives the tone of their work some originality.

When you look at more extreme forms of electronic music, you can find some of the most original sounds possible as there is so much you can accomplish with modern synthesizers, whereas a violin is limited to sounding like a violin (unless of course you use plenty of effects afterwards, but then it might as well not be a violin anymore). I am trying to create some unique musical sounds for Towards The Pantheon that will match the plot, characters, and areas of the game. There will certainly be (synthesized) orchestral style sections, but I am trying to avoid that in favor of other genres I enjoy when possible. If you know of any 2D Pixel Art RPGs that have very unconventional soundtracks, please recommend them to me!

I have been working 10-12 hours a day on Towards The Pantheon and along with plenty of exercise, part of the schedule I have set for myself is taking time to sit back and watch movies, play video games, read books, and watch anime. This is to help avoid burn out throughout the year as well as to gain new inspiration for Towards The Pantheon. I've watched Evil Dead, The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, and Halloween all for the first time and am halfway through reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. So far it seems that Metallica's ...And Justice For All is the album I am looping the most while working on the game along with Resident Evil and Silent Hill soundtracks, but I am also listening to lots of classical vinyl I have never heard before.

That's it for this devlog! Livestreaming will begin at some point when I am working on parts of the game that do not take as much concentration as the battle system. This will be announced on the game's social media pages, so be sure to follow for daily updates! Please help promote the game by sharing info about it on social media and with your friends. Thanks for reading!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 11:21:09 pm
Gotta say, the ghost guy looks uh, not great from the side. Might be worth it to revise his design a bit, maybe give him a trail or something so he's not just a brown and black lolipop!
The rest of this looks FANTASTIC though, you're really nailing the visuals here
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
MAJOR BORK TALLY: |

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 09:40:37 pm
The first teaser video for Towards The Pantheon is up now!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8tQTkdZf2A

Gotta say, the ghost guy looks uh, not great from the side. Might be worth it to revise his design a bit, maybe give him a trail or something so he's not just a brown and black lolipop!
The rest of this looks FANTASTIC though, you're really nailing the visuals here

Thank you! I'll forward that comment to my artist :) . Glad you like the visuals so far!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 04:15:22 am
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 7th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

On Wednesday I released the first teaser video for Towards The Pantheon. It contains 50 seconds of basic gameplay footage, the logo, some artwork, and 75 seconds of music for the game. Check it out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8tQTkdZf2A

The purpose of this teaser was to give an idea of what I want to do with Towards The Pantheon. I love comfy games like Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, but also love darker games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. I love dark ambient music but also love music with a strong sense of melody. The game is still in the very early stages of development, but I am pretty happy with the teaser and I look forward to making future teasers as well as a full on trailer closer to release.

Leandro has been hard at work completing more of the pixel artwork needed for the game. Lots of our current assets can be seen in the teaser, but he has also worked ahead on things we have yet to reveal. Most of the compliments regarding the game so far have been on the visuals, and that's thanks to Leandro! He has also reworked Bam's dialog portrait sprite and we are much happier with this version. Here are the dialog portraits for our 4 main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez.



Maerel has also finished up new artwork for the characters Bam and Phenez!





As far as scripting goes, there's not much of interest to report. I've done some refactoring and bits of coding while finishing up the teaser video and promoting the game, but now that the editing of the teaser video is over I look forward to having more scripting things to show off in the next devlog.

Five new tracks have been added to the Soundcloud playlist of soundtrack demos. These include "Save Your Game", "Together In The Future", "Teaser Video 1 Music", "Allowed To Dream Again", and "Bam's House".

"Save Your Game" was an attempt to create a Resident Evil save room style theme. In retrospect I'm not happy with my choice of synthesizer patches, but I am happy with the section after 1:10 when the piano has dropped out. What I'd like to do is write a central melody for the save room theme and have variations of it for each area of the game. I also had the idea of making that into a mini album similar to Ulver's Lyckantropen Themes album. I love how that album is based around a few themes and everything weaves in and out of each other.

For "Together In The Future" I experimented with some different synthesizer patches and chords that I don't often use. Each chord is a fifth with the ninth on top, and with the synthesizer patches I was trying to mix a bit of chiptune with a bit of VA11 HALL-A influence. If you haven't heard Michael Garoad Kelly's music, be sure to do so! The "Teaser Video 1 Music" track is pretty explanatory. "Allowed To Dream Again" is based on a guitar riff I wrote half a year ago. It is an attempt to make some music that sounds a bit more uplifting and hopeful. "Bam's House" shows my Paper Mario influence. With it I tried to make a track that sounds goofy and comedic so that when you enter Bam's house for the first time and meet him, the music already introduces you to his character.

That's it for this week's update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #6 on: October 01, 2016, 09:39:29 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 8th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

I missed posting a devlog last week as I was working on the game itself and didnít want to be taken away from that. Over the last two weeks, weíve gotten a lot done! I livestreamed some work on music and just recently Leandro and I livestreamed pixel art and programming work. We had it set up so that you could see both our screens as well as both our webcams, and I worked on adding features (and fixing bugs) to the battle system while he worked on NPC portrait art. Be sure to follow my Twitch channel so that you can jump in and hang out next time we go live! Here is some pixel artwork Leandro did of a Terrorforce soldier:



Hereís a first look at some artwork for some forest region NPCs:



Iíve worked on a few new soundtrack demos that arenít quite at the level where Iím comfortable adding them to the current Soundcloud playlist. For this devlog however, Iíve uploaded them to instaud.io so you can check them out (and hopefully send me some feedback!) The first is an ambient track that has some instruments playing a 4/4 loop while others play a combination of 6/4 and 4/4 loops. The second is a potential boss battle theme. It currently does not have any melodies or chord progressions as my focus was on rhythm, bass, and ambience. Aside from the classic Sega Genesis drum sample, the drums sound a bit too modern and will likely be replaced when I return to work on the track.

Iíve also released some wallpapers for desktops and smartphones to the gameís main webpage! Some are of single characters and others are of all the characters together, so you can choose what you like best. Pixel art wallpapers will come in the future as well.



Iíve also worked on various programming tasks, such as Phenezí invisibility mechanic, more battle system mechanics (enemy attacks & AI, entering/exiting battles, ability to cast healing spells, etc), and more. Iíve also changed the dialog system so that I can add descriptions in between characters talking (ie. *Freyja pats Bamís head.*) in case I want to use that. Iím currently working on fixing some NPC pathing, the inventory system, and adding emotes during dialog (similar to Golden Sun) should I decide to use them.

Ourfirst teaser video for the game has just past 1K views after two weeks. Thank you to everyone who has checked it out and supported the project, we really appreciate it! Please keep spreading the word about the game!

Iíll cut this devlog short so I can get back to programming! Iím looking forward to finishin up gameplay mechanics so that my focus can shift on building levels and theí actual game itselfí that will end up in your hands. Seeing the project slowly but surely come together is very exciting, since Iím not making any compromises and itís going to be exactly the game I want to make.

Thatís it for this weekís update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #7 on: October 08, 2016, 08:54:13 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 9th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

We've had a very good week of progress in the Towards The Pantheon camp! The focus of the week has been on game mechanic scripting, so let's dive right in. I've gotten functionality working for the player inventory, stats screen, options menu and for picking up items. The current UI has placeholder programmer art that will change when Leandro and I go over it further along in development. Here's a gif that shows picking up an item (green tea) and using it (to heal some HP):



I am taking my time scripting everything in the game so that it is as easy to use as possible. When adding a new item into the game, all I have to do is fill in some variables such as name, sprite, and value (what happens when used). Similarly when adding a new enemy into the game, I just have to type in some information and it all works!

I fixed up the NPC pathing mentioned in last week's devlog so that you can stop an NPC and have them turn to face you and talk. Here's a gif of that:



In the options menu you can increase or decrease the volume levels of music and sound effects (as seen in the following gif using sprites of Bam's head), exit the game, and soon I will add functionality for saving/loading the game and remapping keyboard and controller configurations.



This week has been extra exciting as it feels like all the scripting I have been doing is really coming together. The core gameplay of any turn based RPG - battling enemies, finding items, leveling up - is now there and working! I remember the excitement of the first time I played Chrono Trigger and found a power tab, or the first time finding a super block in Paper Mario 64 and being able to give a stat boost to a party member. Being able to walk around my test level, pick up some protein powder, and give a +1 attack boost to Freyja was a fist-pump-the-sky moment for me. That was an exciting and fulfilling moment!

My plan is to have the rest of the gameplay mechanics completed by the end of the month so that I can start working on the actual game itself in November. Leandro is currently working on more enemy sprites and forest region tiles so that I have everything I need for the first chapter of the game. We've shown off some more villager portrait artwork over social media during the last week, but in case you missed it here they are:



I haven't done much soundtrack work this week but you can listen to the current 20 demos on the soundcloud playlist. I did make new music for our friend Jesper's Scrap Galaxy teaser as I am the soundtrack composer for the game. Be sure to check it out!

I've been working full time on Towards The Pantheon for the last month and I finished my last part time shift yesterday which means between now and next summer I will be doing only game and music work! I've been average around 40-60 hours a week working on Towards The Pantheon and I'm hoping to increase it now. Before the next devlog I plan to work on the leveling up system, which is similar to the weapon upgrade system in Dead Space, as well as implementing shops, battle effect shaders, and a few minigames.

That's it for this week's update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube![/size]

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #8 on: October 15, 2016, 03:52:07 am
It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 10th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

This devlog is going to be split into two parts; the first part is about our progress this week, and the second part contains some more info on our main characters.


Our pixel artist Leandro has begun making videos where he he shows the (sped up) process of creating pixel art for the game! We plan to release one every week or so, and each video will also contain Towards The Pantheon soundtrack demos as well as some of my original music prior to starting development of the game. This first video shows off his work on Towards The Pantheon's logo! This week he has also completed more tiles that will be used in areas we have yet to reveal.

On the scripting side of things, I've gotten quite a bit done. Items can now be used in battles, a battle escape mechanic has been added, you can buy and sell items at shops, and I'm currently working on saving and loading your game. Last devlog I said that I will most likely begin working on levels and the actual game by the start of November, but if this pace continues I may start before then. I haven't run into any serious obstacles yet, although at one point I wrote some terrible code that made my framerate drop to 30. I quickly fixed it and have it running well above my goal of 60. After that incident I spent some time refactoring and now my code is more efficient and even easier to work with than before.


I haven't made any new soundtrack demos this week (as I'm pausing most soundtrack work until I have a handful of finished levels) but I did get to release the main theme I made for a homebrew Dreamcast game called SLAVE. Check it out on Youtube!


Since most of my recent work has been relatively uninteresting to talk about in devlogs, I figured I would share some more information about our main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez.


Bam the cat is based off my real life cat Bam. Bam is known around our house for being silly and goofy which caries over to him being the comedic character of the game. Bam is a law student who is tired of studying and wants to go on an adventure just like I did when I began coming up with Towards The Pantheon during my final year of university. His adventure involves saving his and other civilizations while my adventure turned out to be creating Bam's adventure! I want the player to instantly know the type of character Bam is the moment he or she steps into Bam's house. The way of doing that is through both the music and visuals, so check out my current soundtrack demo of Bam's house on Soundcloud! I'm going to be buying my real cat Bam a green scarf for either Halloween or Yule so that he can cosplay as himself. Instead of a standard HP/MP system found in many RPGs, each character has a unique system in Towards The Pantheon. Bam has Health Points (HP) and Energy Points (EP).

Freyja follows the trope of an RPG protagonist being mute, but part of her backstory is that she's a warrior without confidence. She is praised by her friends and family for her skills but she hasn't found that confidence within herself, which is the cause of her silence. Her opportunity to prove her skills to herself comes when she is called to journey towards the pantheon. She is the first character you control in the game, and is the most traditional RPG character as far as battle system and gameplay mechanics go. Freyja has Health Points (HP) and Stamina Points (SP). The norse godess Freyja (from which the name is taken) coincidentally had a chariot pulled by two cats, and cats are one of the many races in Towards The Pantheon. Since the game is heavily based around my personal life and interests, there is often a lot of purposeful as well as coincidental overlap in the game.


Phenez and part of his backstory are based on a friend of mine who committed suicide a year and a half ago. This summer I was listening to the audio book of The Hobbit while driving at work. I had never asked my friend why he had named one of his music projects Eikenskaden (which means Oakenshield), and when the character Thorin Oakenshield was introduced I immediately wanted to ask if The Hobbit was an inspiration. The next second I remembered that I am not able to ask him. Dealing with the passing of someone who I admired as a musician for many years and later got the opportunity to befriend and make music with has been very difficult. I started wondering what it would be like if we were somehow able to contact those who had committed suicide since the act leaves so many unanswered questions. This was a big part of what would become Towards The Pantheon's fourth race; a tribe of 'ghosts' who had committed suicide but still exist as they have some form of unfinished business in the world. The full backstory of Phenez is fictional and not based around my friend's life, but the general theme of the character is. When I had yet to meet my friend, I thought of him as a musical legend since very little was known about him or his personal life. After I became his friend I got to know the man himself. Now that he is gone, him and his music are almost mythical to me. The character of Phenez is my way of dealing with the loss of a friend. This tribute to him is my way of saying thanks, something I wish I had said more often while he was here. Phenez has Health Points (HP) and Necro Points (NP).


The character of Mishima was initially inspired by concern over the well being of another friend. Eventually I found overlap between that and some social/political issues as well as some of my views on society and people, and that formed the basis of the character.

Having mentioned that, Towards The Pantheon is not an overtly political game. Some of it is inspired by world history and political/philosophical issues, but I have never liked games or music that push any political agendas. I prefer to leave any questions or themes open ended, so that the player decides for his or herself what the answers are or what meanings can be found (if any). For example Silent Hill 2 can be enjoyed on the surface level as a horror game, but if you look further into its themes of love and violence you can enjoy it in a completely different way. I want Towards The Pantheon to be enjoyable as a game in and of itself for those who want a good RPG while also have a lot of depth and content for those who like to dig deeper.

Mishima is half human and half machine. Parts of her society believe humans to be inferior and that it is an insult to technological innovation for her not to replace her organic heart with a computer chip. Her name comes from the Japanese author Yukio Mishima who wrote 'Confessions of a mask'. Some of the themes of that book, along with the title and the fact that Yukio Mishima committed suicide in 1970 influenced various aspects of both Mishima and Phenez. Mishima has Central Processing Unit Points (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit Points (GPU).

Bam has come inside for the night and he wants to play, so that means this is the end of this week's update! In future devlogs I may write more about the game and my influences and inspirations. If you like these devlogs, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 02:42:40 pm by ConnorORT »

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #9 on: October 22, 2016, 11:16:26 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 10th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

We've made a lot of progress this week and things are getting even more exciting! Our pixel artist Leandro released a new Youtube speed art video showing his creation of our initial main character portraits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D958acavJ6Q

This week he has been hard at work on more character portraits, as well as tiles and sprites that we needed to fully begin level design since we're now past the initially scripting stage and are building levels. We currently have a placeholder title screen and intro sequence and are creating levels starting from the beginning of the game. This means that all the elements of the game we have been working on since the start of the summer are finally coming together, and after enough levels are created the team will begin playtesting demo builds. Here's a gif of the placeholder title screen I put together in 2 minutes - don't worry, the final result will look much nicer!



Since it is now autumn, we thought it would be appropriate to reveal a new area of the game with a screenshot featuring Phenez and Bam:



We've also uploaded two new soundtrack demos 'Homesick' and 'Horror Sound Design Test 1'. The 'Horror Sound Design Test 1' track is completely improvised and shows my experimentation with unconventional production techniques trying to create unique sounds for the horror chapter of the game. You can listen to them here: https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

Some people have asked about the tools we have been using to create the game. For pixel art, Leandro has been using GraphicsGale. The engine we are using is GameMaker: Studio, and for audio I use a mix of FL Studio and Sonar X2. My favorite VSTs include Rob Papen's Blue-II, reFX's Nexus, Spectrasonic's Omnisphere, Linplug's Albino, Image-Line's Morphine and many more. I also use live guitar, bass, vocal, and drum recordings, along with my KORG Karma and Roland JV-2080 synths.



I thought for the second half of this devlog I'd talk a bit about Towards The Pantheon's influences.

The Silent Hill series springs to mind immediately - I can still remember listening to the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack for the first time and deciding that I must become a soundtrack composer and game developer. One of my favorite things about those games is that they are often more than just horror games. Silent Hill 2 can be enjoyed on the surface as a great horror title but underneath that is a great love story that explores themes that game developers often shy away from. With Towards The Pantheon, I want people to be able to enjoy the game as a great RPG on the surface, but also be able to look deeper and think about the various themes and questions that have inspired the storyline, lore, and character backstories.

Paper Mario 64 has been a huge influence on Towards The Pantheon in various aspects. The game broke away from many RPG cliches such as the earth/wind/fire/water elements being the basis of the combat system, having potions as standard items, and each party member had unique battle and overworld abilities. Similarly, Towards The Pantheon does not have the earth/wind/fire/water element system, does not use potions as standard items, and each party member has unique battle and overworld abilities. Instead of potions, I included Green Tea as a healing item and our teammate Nicolas suggested adding Coffee based on one of our in-jokes. My memories of playing Paper Mario 64 are also what influenced me to make Towards The Pantheon instead of making another survival horror game. Of course, one chapter of Towards The Pantheon is heavily inspired by survival horror games.



In my previous devlog I mentioned author Yukio Mishima as an influence for our characters Mishima and Phenez. His work, along with the works other authors such as Osamu Dazai and books like Stephen King's The Shining are what led me to make Towards The Pantheon a personal game instead of a standard RPG. This made me think of including the Fire Emblem style dialog system where you can listen in on character discussions and gain stat boosts. This allows me to explore the characters more in depth than classic RPGs and create as much character development as I can. As far as movies go, The Shining, The Divide, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been big inspirations for the horror chapter of the game. Anime and manga are also a big influence. I'm trying to catch up on reading Attack On Titan as Leandro is dying to talk about what has happened in the manga past the end of the anime's first season!

At the end of the day, I am trying not to be overly influenced by other games when it comes to Towards The Pantheon. Instead of looking to other RPGs for ideas, I am trying to look at other media and the personal lives of our teammates for inspiration. I hope this will result in a more unique game for you to enjoy!

That's it for this week's devlog. If you enjoyed it, please share it around and follow the project on social media! We just made a new Instagram account for the game so be sure to follow us there!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #10 on: November 07, 2016, 12:56:23 am
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Last week I took a break from writing devlogs so let's jump in to some of the progress we want to share from the past two weeks. Leandro has released two speed pixel art videos showing his work on our forest areas and main character sprites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faE52xRZGq8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0HqdQzVXAE

He has also completed all the pixel art work for chapter 1 of the game and is moving right along to chapter 2. We have also revealed one of his new tilesets:





Last week I sent demo builds of test levels to my teammates, and after getting feedback I've continued working on levels for chapter 1. I spent a full day working on new music as I needed a game over theme, cave theme, title screen theme, forest battle theme, and more. I've uploaded 4 newer demos to the soundcloud soundtrack playlist which includes Fallen Warriors (the aforementioned game over theme), Cats Love Snow, Go! Fight!, and Rancor.

https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

I've also spent a bit of time working on sound effects, which means I set up my turntables and Korg Kaoss pad. You can check out some of the sounds I've made with just a microphone and Korg Kaoss pad in the last 20 seconds of my song ConTroL. Using unconventional techniques to make the soundtrack and sound effects for the game will hopefully make the audio unique. I've also been enjoying listening to classical vinyl on the turntable while working on new levels along with some Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Masters Of Doom, and The Shining audio books over top!



These devlogs serve as a kind of weekly recap, but I still update Towards The Pantheon's social media pages almost daily with new pictures and screenshots so be sure to follow us! The fact that I'm finally building the actual game itself and seeing the pieces come together is very rewarding. It's hard to decide how much of the game to reveal over time. I remember a few years ago that I was really looking forward to a new game and the developers released a video that showed the first 40 minutes of gameplay. While it was cool to watch the video, I remember being bored during those 40 minutes when actually playing the game as I had seen it all before. I am trying to avoid revealing too much about the game itself so that if you've been following our progress the game will be fresh and exciting, but also reveal enough to attract new supporters. Be sure to let me know what you think of our social media presence so far!



I'm going to make this a short devlog as I want to get right back into building levels and play testing. One thing I will share is that I plan to film a "making of" video for the game's soundtrack, which should release sometime in January if all goes according to plan.



Thatís it for this weekís devlog, which we will end with a screenshot of Freyja waking up after camping for the night! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you'd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #11 on: November 21, 2016, 06:08:59 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Let's start the devlog off with some of Leandro's recent speed pixel art videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOh1VQl7TSQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO-h7yJF4_Y

I've also been showing some of chapter 1's enemies throughout my social media updates. Here are some of the Ferrets you'll be fighting to learn the basics of the battle system before you get mixed up with much tougher enemies!



There are no new soundtrack demos to talk about this update, but my soundtrack demo playlist is still up if you want to hear all of the sound design experiments so far. Soundtrack and SFX work is on the backburner until more of the areas and levels are finishing so that I can make sure the audio fits the visuals. As I mentioned in the previous devlog, 'making of' videos for the soundtrack will start being released in 2017 as audio work begins to ramp up.

https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

I have a lot of levels and areas completed for Chapter 1 now. Things are progressing well but I don't want to share too many details about level design as I don't want to spoil too much of the game. Instead, here are a few of our latest screenshots!







One of the things I love about Tolkien's works are the attention to detail and how each area has its own names. In Towards The Pantheon, each river, mountain, cave, bridge, city, etc has a name that ties into the lore and backstory of the game. I think it will also help players remember where certain areas are in the world.



Harvest Moon on the Super Nintendo has been a huge influence for me as a game developer and musician. I love games like Silent Hill 2 that put as much detail into the game as possible, and I couldn't help put the famous Harvest Moon crop pattern into Towards The Pantheon. I'm making efforts to put detail into the smallest things that most people might not notice. Even 15 years after playing the first three Donkey Kong Country games, I still find hidden areas and secrets. I hope that players of Towards The Pantheon will get that same kind of enjoyment out of the game!

We're hard at work on our current tasks and updating daily on our social media accounts. Once Chapter 1 is finished, I'll most likely start making more animated gifs of gameplay instead of still screenshots, and will show more of the combat system and some dialog with NPCs. A new teaser video will be made sometime in 2017, and then a full trailer video will be made before release. There's a lot of excitement here right now, but I want to hold off from showing too much. The team is looking forward to what we'll have to share in the future though!

Thatís it for this weekís devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you'd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #12 on: December 10, 2016, 09:08:40 pm
Itís time for Towards The Pantheonís 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Let's start with pixel art. Leandro has been hard at work and has uploaded 3 new speed pixel art videos since our last devlog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbSiWy-GB7w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBqO48h634Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoMWvO_7QIc

The night sky tiles were particularly important as they will be helpful during character development sequences. Campfire sequences in RPGs have become a bit cliche since Chrono Trigger, but the general idea for having them actually came from an optional section of the Gameboy Color version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. When you reach the top of Hogwarts, you can choose to look at the night sky through a large telescope. I remember finding that really cool as a kid, and hope that people will enjoy our night sky sequences as well.

Leandro has also been working on new NPC portraits, enemy sprites, item sprites, and more that we will be showing off in future videos! You can find more of his work at https://tokartsmedia.com/ !

On the gameplay side of things, I've been building more levels for Chapter 1 as well as fixing up and optimizing general code. You can now fully play through about half of Chapter 1 with all gameplay mechanics working properly. Here is an animated screenshot of a later part of the game using the night sky artwork seen in Leandro's video above, and another screenshot of the autumn forest area in Chapter 1.





I've also been working on all the stats needed for the battle system - how much health each enemy should have, which enemies should spawn in which areas, how much certain attacks deal to certain enemies, etc! It's challenging and I imagine there will be a lot of balancing going on when all the levels of the game are closer to completion. We're going for more of a Paper Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars style of gameplay and general difficulty as far as battle style goes, as well as that exciting feeling from not knowing what to expect when adventuring and exploring.



There is no news as far as audio goes as audio development is currently on hold until more levels are completed for the game. You can still check out our current soundtrack demos on Soundcloud though! The "Cats Love Snow" track might get you into that RPG winter holiday spirit.

https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

Leandro and I had an interesting conversation about realism in old school pixel art games. He pointed out that items such as sushi rolls in the overworld have to be unrealistically large so that the player can see them. When you compare the size of a sushi roll to Freyja in the overworld  it would be the equivalent of having a 3 foot tall sushi roll next to me in real life! While it may be unrealistic, it can also be charming and wacky. I pointed out that in some levels of Donkey Kong Country 2 you play as chimpanzees who ride carts made out of skulls during a carnival to collect bananas and jump on Kremlins. It makes no sense and the scenario is never really explained, but that's part of what makes the Donkey Kong Country games fun! We plan to have elements like this in Towards The Pantheon that make the game goofy and entertaining, but they will be done appropriately. The ice region where the cats live will feature more of these goofy elements, while the survival horror inspired mansion section will be serious both thematically and visually. Speaking of Survival Horror, I had to put some cranks in the game. Can you hear the infamous *creak creak* sound in your head?



Starting in 2017 I plan to start streaming more often. I'm generally a private person and don't like to be the center of attention which is why I haven't streamed during 2016 as much as I probably should have. I'll be streaming programming, music, and level development of Towards The Pantheon as well as speedruns of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil Survivor and some casual gaming. First up for casual gaming will most likely be Donkey Kong Country 3 as I had never beaten it as a kid, and the DKC series have that fun and imaginative feeling I want to capture in Towards The Pantheon. I've got a big list of games ranging from those I've mastered to those I've never played, so hopefully you'll join the stream so we can chat about games as well as which ones have influenced Towards The Pantheon and how! Follow my Twitch account so you get notifications as to when I go live. I will also announce when I'm going live on my personal and social media accounts. Links are at the bottom of this devlog.



There may not be a new devlog throughout December as I will be pretty busy during the holiday season. That doesn't mean I won't be working on Towards The Pantheon and other projects - it just means I'd rather spend the time working directly on the game itself. We had our first snowfall of the season where I live, and I want to start working on Chapter 2 levels as soon as possible as that's when you'll meet Bam the cat and also where the comfy snow levels begin! This month I am also working on 2 new solo albums; a follow up to my piano/ambient album Reves and a Quake/Doom style instrumental metal album. Check out a current demo from that metal album here! This way I will be able to release new solo albums throughout 2017 while directing the majority of my focus to Towards The Pantheon. You an check out my previous musical work via my Bandcamp and Youtube pages if you want some music to tide you over until the release of Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack!



Thatís it for this weekís devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you'd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, [url=htt

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #13 on: January 05, 2017, 10:38:09 pm
Happy new year everybody! It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 15th devlog. You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Let's start with pixel art. Leandro has released a couple new Youtube videos showing the creation of our snow area, snow enemies, and cat portraits!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsVJwM_Vdyw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BixWOf0XrjM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR8KO5IgGdM

In my previous devlog I talked about how I planned to livestream a lot more throughout 2017. So far I have streamed every day since the new year, and now have a rough outline of a streaming schedule. Starting sometime around 10 AM PST on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I plan to livestream development of the game including programming and level design in GameMaker: Studio. Around 10 AM PST on Wednesdays I plan to livestream some casual gaming and speedrunning, and during the weekend I might livestream randomly when I want to. For the casual gaming streams I will be playing games that influence Towards The Pantheon so I can chat about their game design aspects, and will also be playing new games and old games that I've never had the chance to play. Leandro is in a different time zone than me but he plans to livestream alongside me when he's available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, as well as possible weekend streams. Be sure to follow me on Twitch (http://www.twitch.tv/connorort) to get updates as to when I go live, and follow my and Towards The Pantheon's social media accounts as I also post when I'm about to start a stream.



While I got some work done throughout December, I didn't get quite as much done as usual due to the holidays. However I've been working hard since the start of the year, and have got the cards and combos systems working. Note that the screenshots I'm showing contain placeholder art and UI design. In Towards The Pantheon you can find cards that contain powers and combos that allow you to use those powers (if you have the cards needed). For example if you need to heal during a battle and Bam (who's primarily a healer) has fainted and you've run out of health items, you can use a combo to cast a special healing spell if you have the right cards.



Each card also has a bit of backstory and lore attached to it, so these cards and combos serve as collectibles, as battle attacks/spells, and as parts of the story telling. Those of you who have played the Harry Potter Gameboy Color RPGs will be very familiar with this gameplay aspect.



I also started and finishing all of the Speedster programming during some of the livestreams. The Speedster mechanic is similar to Funky in Donkey Kong Country, the cauldrons in Banjo Kazooie, or the fly mechanic in early Pokemon games. you can pay a Speedster coin to a Speedster to unlock his services and after doing that, you are able to use the Speedsters to travel back and forth to any previously unlocked areas of the game. This significantly decreases the amount of time spent backtracking which is important as there are lots of hidden goodies throughout the game to find!



The Towards The Pantheon twitter page hit over 300 followers just as the New Year struck. We're also gaining followers on all of our other social media pages (like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc) and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive of the game! We're working very hard to deliver a great new RPG for you. Please keep spreading the word around about the game, we appreciate it!



In my development notes I have the game divided up into 4.5 "chapters" and I am nearing the completion of the 1st chapter. There will be actual chapters in the game (similar to Paper Mario) but they may not be divided up the same way I have the development of the game divided up. Each chapter should prove easier to finish than the last as previously completed programming carries over, and what is left to complete is mostly level design and testing. On the other hand, each chapter is larger than the previous as far as length/scope goes, so it's hard to use this as a measurement of how quick development is going. Either way, I feel development is going great, and am looking forward to finishing up "chapter 1" and sending it to the other guys on the team!



For those interested in the soundtrack, I have decided to put off work on the soundtrack (and sound effects) for as long as possible. Ideally, I will finish the vast majority of the game before going beginning audio work again. This way I have all the gameplay and visuals I need to ensure the music fits what the player sees and experiences. That means I will most likely not be updating the soundtrack playlist for quite some time, but also means that it will be fun to livestream a ton of soundtrack work further down the line. Those who are interested in the creation of the soundtrack will be able to tune in regularly and watch the progress in real time.

Thatís it for this weekís devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #14 on: January 18, 2017, 06:49:25 pm
It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 16th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

Since the previous devlog, Leandro has put out a new pixel art video where he reworked Bam's portrait art. More recently, he has completed all the pixel art for Chapters 1 and 2 of the game which means he is roughly 75% complete all the pixel artwork for the game considering he has also completed a lot of work beyond those two chapters. I'm very happy with his work and excited to see his upcoming work in the Cyberpunk and Survival Horror inspired areas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLAudWf83vg

Our digital artist Maerel has also been working on new anime style artwork for Freyja, Mishima, and Bam. Here is a new piece of artwork for our silent protagonist Freyja!



During the past two weeks I have kept and surpassed my promise to livestream development of the game regularly and on schedule. Leandro has also been joining me to livestream together which has been fun and motivating. Be sure to follow my Twitch channel (http://www.twitch.tv/connort) and click the notifications tab so that you'll receive an e-mail every time I go live! I also post to social media when going live.



I've begun putting in 14 hour days on average trying to get a full demo of Chapter 1 ready by the end of the month for the rest of the team to begin testing and giving feedback. Last night I did a speedrun of Chapter 1 with all battles disabled and the total time came to 10 minutes and 3 seconds. When random battles, boss battle, full exploration of all levels, and dialog with NPCs are factored in, I believe I will meet my goal of having this private demo being at least 45 minutes in length. The purpose of Chapter 1 is to introduce the player to basic gameplay mechanics along with the premise of the game's world and story. Each chapter introduces new gameplay mechanics and further explores and explains the plot. I have also designed each chapter of the game to be longer than the previous, so that more time can be spent playing with the full party roster and more time can be spent on character development. Closing in on the completion of Chapter 1 means more time will be spent moving forward on actual gameplay content such as levels, balancing, and polishing since the framework and foundation of the game and all its mechanics will be complete.



I'm very excited to hear what my teammates Leandro, Kyle, Maerel, Dan, Tyler, and Nic will have to say about the demo as I've been working with them on various aspects of development over the past months. This will be the first time they see all the work on the game come together. I'm also hoping to get some very strong criticism and feedback to learn about what aspects at this point are in need of improvement. Bug fixing and polish will be a huge focus especially closer to the end of development when the game can be played from start to finish.



At the time of the previous devlog two weeks ago, there were approximately 13 levels complete for Chapter 1. There are now 34 levels and almost all of them are complete. A second village has been added, and all levels have been appropriately populated with NPCs, treasure, items, random battles, documents, and more. I've also begun replacing the placeholder test cards and combos with actual cards and combos. The cards and combos system are detailed in the previous devlog. New items such as salmon and tuna maki have been added, along with other items that are going to be kept secret for the time being. 4 more enemies along with a boss have been added on top of the previous 2 that were being used for testing.



Let's talk future plans! A new trailer for the game is currently being planned that will be much more in depth than the previous teaser, and a Steam Greenlight campaign is also being planned. I have yet to solidify timelines for both of these as I want to fully plan them out the best I can. I will continue to livestream on a regular basis and update all of the game's social media pages daily, so be sure to follow them and also share your thoughts on those updates. Feedback and questions are always appreciated!



Thatís it for this devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and  if there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #15 on: February 10, 2017, 04:54:03 am
It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 16th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

Let's start with Leandro's recent pixel art videos. Since the previous devlog he has released 3 of them which cover his work on Villager NPC Portraits, Cyberpunk NPC Portraits, and new Wasteland tiles!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLSSOkvk48

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp2HCIAzVys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReuAqeM-CPw

Leandro is currently working on more pixel art for Chapter 4 of the game and once that is done I am going to begin recording and editing footage for a new trailer.

Our promo artist Maerel has finished up new artwork of our cyborg protagonist Mishima. She has also worked on new artwork of Bam the cat which we will be showing in the future!



In my previous devlog I mentioned that I had planned to finish up a demo of Chapter 1 for the rest of the team by the end of January. I managed to finish the demo ahead of time and even begin work on Chapter 2 before January ended. So far the team has given me 14 pages worth of feedback, suggestions, and bugs to fix. All but one minor suggestion (which I will get to later in development) have been resolved or changed, and already the game is much better for it!



I also spent a day refactoring the battle system. Hard coding has been removed where possible, and it is much simpler to add new attacks, items, enemies, and combos. The amount of lines of codes has decreased by over a thousand. Now that I am working on Chapter 2, it only took a few lines of code and a few minutes of debugging to add all of Bam's attacks and battle mechanics. I'm glad I took the time out to rework the battle system as it will be much easier to use and debug throughout the rest of the game's development.



I'm currently working on completing Chapter 2 of the game by the end of February so that I can send another demo to my team members. My plan is to complete one chapter a month until May when the game can then be played from start to finish. After that, I can spend the rest of the year testing, fixing bugs, polishing up everything, adding details (hidden areas, special items to find, etc), reworking dialog, balancing the various systems in the game, and getting more useful feedback from the team. I love how I am still finding bonus areas and secrets in the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy after decades of having played those games, and I want Towards The Pantheon to also be full of secrets and interesting areas to explore. A small example of this is having different phrases randomly occur when talking to an NPC. Here's a temporary example that has a 10% chance of occurring when you talk to a Llama merchant in Garrius:



I'm also happy to say that I've kept my promise to stream development of the game regularly on Twitch. I am averaging about 6 hours a day on week days, and have also occasionally streamed speedruns and casual gaming. Leandro has been joining the stream regularly so that viewers can see pixel art, programming, and level design progress all at the same time. Our team member Nicolas joined me today and we played through a good portion of Resident Evil: Dead Aim together. Be sure to follow my Twitch page as well as our social media pages to get updates as to when we go live so you can come hang out, chat, and listen to tunes!



I'm really happy with how development of the game is going these days. I've been putting in ~15 hour days regularly and the results are very rewarding. I look forward to beginning work on the new trailer soon, releasing it, and then preparing for a Steam Greenlight campaign! Thank you all for your support!



Thatís it for this devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and  if there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #16 on: February 16, 2017, 02:26:53 am
Our new trailer is out and we've launched our Steam Greenlight campaign!
Check them out, and we'd really appreciate your Yes Vote!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHMkS12Ssrg

Offline Curly

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #17 on: February 16, 2017, 03:15:56 am
The game looks nice! I'm going to vote :y:

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #18 on: February 19, 2017, 11:48:58 pm
It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 18th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHMkS12Ssrg



As you can see, we have a new trailer up and we've launched our Steam Greenlight campaign! We were originally planning to wait a bit longer to launch, but with news of Steam changing their Greenlight service we decided to launch as soon as possible. If you like what you see, please go and vote for us!

Our lead developer Connor was also recently interviewed about Towards The Pantheon on the Super Gamer Podcast, so check that out for some interesting info regarding the game! Thanks again to Mark for helping us spread the word about the game with his podcast!

We've also got a bunch of new screenshots that reveal new areas seen in the trailer. These include the sewers, the cyberpunk cities, and abandoned mansion. You can also see a few new enemy designs that we haven't shown off yet! Leandro released a speed pixel art video for the Sewers tiles, and will be releasing another video on Tuesday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vScbbA_WQA

Development of the game has slowed down for about a week as we've been preparing and then promoting the new trailer and Greenlight campaign, but Leandro has livestreamed some pixel art work on his Twitch account and Connor will resume livestreaming development of the game tomorrow on his Twitch account. Now let's check out some new screenshots!



We've reworked our UI; the old gray boxes have been replaced with darker boxes, we have a new arrow sprite, and font now has an outline. We can change the color of both the text and the outline which may be helpful for making certain items and details stand out during dialog.













Thatís it for this devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it and our Greenlight page around and if there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

The game looks nice! I'm going to vote :y:

Thank you, we really appreciate it! :)

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #19 on: February 22, 2017, 02:45:15 pm
The making of Towards The Pantheon's Soundtrack part 1!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRUAMqY9jz4

Vote for Towards The Pantheon on Steam Greenlight!
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=864776690

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #20 on: February 23, 2017, 10:55:31 am
I think the dense trees need some tweaking, it's too obvious a cut and paste job.
I'll definitely be plinking a vote on greenlight though, been following this for a while!
PSA: use imgur
http://pixelation.org/index.php?topic=19838.0 also go suggest on my quest, cmon
MAJOR BORK TALLY: |

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #21 on: March 07, 2017, 12:48:58 am
It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 19th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

Towards The Pantheon has been Greenlit on Steam! I launched the campaign on February 15th 2017 and thirteen days letter the game was greenlit. Throughout the process, the Yes/No vote ratio was always higher than the average of the top 50 games, and I was very surprised at the amount of votes and positive feedback I received. Thank you all so much for your support! I really appreciate it, and being Greenlit in less than 2 weeks after putting so much time and effort into the game has been very rewarding. As I said on social media after I heard the news, it's time to pay that support back by rolling up the sleeves even more and working as hard as possible to deliver the best game that I can for you!

During the campaign I released a video showing some behind the scenes footage working on Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRUAMqY9jz4

Roughly once a month I will be releasing more behind the scenes videos that detail aspects of Towards The Pantheon such as soundtrack and sound effects development, game design, level design, programming/scripting, and more!

Since the last devlog Leandro has released two new videos showing the creation of our Cyberpunk City tiles and Cyberpunk Enemy sprites!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA2Ce17euqY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9-TQhCmbeo

I took a little bit of time off from Towards The Pantheon after being Greenlit, but spent a good deal of time planning ahead. I now have a color coded Google Calendar full of deadlines for devlog releases, new behind the scenes videos, when to have new parts of the game completed, when to distribute new builds to the team, when to livestream, and more. I find deadlines to be very motivating, and this Google Calendar system seems to be much more efficient than my previous system (that consisted of whiteboards, post-it notes, scraps of paper, notes on napkins, etc...)



The previous deadline to finish Chapter 2 of the game has passed, but the news about Steam closing their Greenlight service threw my original plans out the window. The current deadline is March 15th, and earlier today during the livestream I completed the last level for Chapter 2. Next on the agenda is adding in more NPC sprites and portraits, adding dialog, adding new cards and combos, and testing. I'd also like to spend a day or two adding a couple effects such as screen shaking and a couple of new magic attacks.

During our livestream today Leandro asked how many levels were in Chapter 1 and 2, and the answer was 35 and 49 respectively. I consider levels as unique outdoor and indoor maps that the player can explore, so I do not include areas such as the insides of tents where players save their game. The idea is to have each chapter of the game be longer than the previous, so that there is more opportunity for character development as more characters join the party. So far, so good!



In the new schedule the deadline to have the game playable from start to finish is May 26th. That would allow me to distribute frequent builds of the game to the team for feedback and testing, while I spent the remaining ~7 months of the year polishing up and adding details in the game. I've structured development of the game this way so that I don't get too caught up fiddling with smaller things like shaders that get in the way of bigger picture things like completing levels. I've also focused solely on the PC/Mac/Linux builds of the game as I figure it is more important to actually finish the game and worry about porting later, instead of waste time making sure it runs on all the platforms I'd like to eventually release the game on.

This timeframe will allow me to spend a lot of time perfecting dialog and pacing as well as the balance of the game for quite a while. If like me you're a fan of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, you probably also love the insane amount of detail and secrets throughout those games. I want Towards The Pantheon to have that level of detail and hidden areas and treasures as well.

Here are a couple of new screenshots that I've posted recently across Towards The Pantheon's social media pages:









Thatís it for this devlog! If there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog or in the upcoming behind the scenes videos, be sure to let me know! Thank you all again for your help and support that got Towards The Pantheon through Steam Greenlight so quickly!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #22 on: March 23, 2017, 03:13:57 pm
It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 20th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

Let's start off with one of Leandro's new pixel art videos where he shows the creation of some of our abandoned mansion tiles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w4DHPkEo4U

Leandro is currently working on pixel art for the final areas of the game, which shows how much progress we have been making!

Since the last devlog, I have been building levels for they Cyberpunk section of the game along with some scripting for computer hacking puzzle minigames. I am especially excited to be working on this area as I get to introduce the character Mishima and work on more of her battle mechanics. New screenshots from the Cyberpunk areas will be coming soon when levels are completed.



I've also been playing some games and taking notes of things to keep in mind while developing Towards The Pantheon. For example in Banjo Tooie there are character icons next to each area that you can warp to. This helps players choose where to go even if they have forgotten an area's name. I plan to do the same with Speedster transportation in Towards The Pantheon. Players may forget the name of Freyja's hometown, but if an icon of Freyja is next to the name it implies it is of specific importance to Freyja.



I started working on a to-do list that encompasses everything that needs to be completed from now until after release of the game - remaining levels to complete, special effects and attacks to implement, background music and sound effects that need to be recorded, testing that needs to be done, balancing, merchandise plans, looking into possible ports after the initial PC/Mac/Linux release, etc. The list is already 7 pages long and continues to grow, but I am not daunted since development of the game has been going great so far. If anything, I hope the list grows as long as possible to make sure I don't miss anything important. I also have physical notebooks as well as word documents where I write down any random idea I have about the game, in case it may be useful later.



Livestreams have taken a bit of a backseat for the moment, as I've been pretty exhausted since the Greenlight campaign. They will continue regularly soon, but I want to avoid anything that would contribute to getting burned out. I am especially excited to livestream lots of soundtrack after all the levels of the game are completed and I begin the polishing phase around the start of May. Livestreaming music work for other projects in the past has been a lot of fun.



I've set a due date for the next behind the scenes video of Towards The Pantheon by the end of the month, so that will be out soon. Topics such as project management, game design, level design, character design, are planned for future episodes, but I'm not sure yet what I will cover in the next video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu0c5Q3ZkIw

Finally, two very talented and dedicated friends of mine currently have their game Tumbling Apart up on Greenlight. Be sure to check it out and vote for them, they'd greatly appreciate it!

Thatís it for this devlog! If there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog or in the upcoming behind the scenes videos, be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!

Offline JosephSeraph

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #23 on: March 30, 2017, 04:16:14 am
While no doubt there's a lot of potential and the game's shaping up very nicely, I find you tend to use a lot of stiff silhouettes, poses, mapping and stuff -- the rendering is quite nice, you do have a nice art style as well but you pose your things stiffly.

I'd recommend trying to do some more interesting and organic silhouettes, the sprite here looks neat but the silhouette looks like a Ditto!
 
I did a very quick 2 minute touchup to show how you could break shapes down, don't be afraid of using strong angles and stuff, it's gonna make your stuff look even better.

Other places I see the stiffness are in overly round and inorganic trees, the way characters are positioned in the battle scene, menus... Change that one little thing and I feel your art will have a noticeable and quick improvement! ~

Offline ConnorORT

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Re: Towards The Pantheon (2D RPG)

Reply #24 on: May 22, 2017, 03:47:03 am
It has been about 2 months since the last devlog, but I'm back! After working 14 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, I started getting burned out. Combined with some personal issues, I decided that I needed to take a break from working on the game. Now that I'm refreshed and excited again, it's time for an update!

Leandro has almost finished all of the art for the game. Having all the art for the game completed will be a huge milestone for development, and some of the artwork that remains to be finished will make for great pixel art videos which we will be sharing in the future!


I estimate that overall development of Towards The Pantheon is at around 50% completion. Here are a few notes about the current state of development:

 - Aside from the mansion section, the game is playable start to finish
 - Over 2000 sprites, tilesets, backgrounds, and other pieces of art are being used inside the engine
 - Over 30 enemies (not including bosses) have been implemented
 - All scripting for major gameplay mechanics are finished (Saving/loading games, battle system, inventory system, dialog systems, overworld mechanics, puzzle mechanics, etc)
 - Over 250 levels have been made for the game (not including mansion levels)

Now what is left is mostly creative work; writing character dialog, writing NPC dialog, adding fancy attack effects, polishing up anything rough around the edges, lots of testing and balancing, recording sound effects and finishing the soundtrack, and preparing for release. This means that devlogs from now on will be somewhat infrequent, since I will have nothing to write about if I spend a month working on character dialog. Myself and Leandro livestreamed 3.5 hours of work today though, and I will continue to livestream work when I can. I am working a summer job at the moment which will result in my livestreams being less frequent during the week, but I will livestream often during the weekend. I plan to livestream a lot of soundtrack work as I've had a lot of fun interacting with people in the chat while working on music in the past.


Now that the game is fully playable, it has really taken shape. The work that lies ahead is the game development work that I find most interesting and enjoyable, so I look forward to digging into it. That being said, I'm also making an effort to avoid getting burned out again, which means development will be a little bit slower but more steady. I'm still aiming for release by the end of the year, but if the game is not up to my standards at that time then I am comfortable with delaying it if need be. Although devlogs will be a bit more infrequent, be sure to follow the project on our various social media pages as I will continue to post updates whenever I have something new to share!


Thank you to everyone who has supported the project, I really appreciate it! I'm blown away that we were Greenlit on Steam in just 13 days, that the amount of people who are following the project continues to grow, and that the game is finally at my favorite phase of development. There's a lot to be excited about and a lot of work to do, and I look forward to hearing what you think when I have new screenshots, soundtrack demos, and devlogs to share!

Thatís it for this devlog, if there are any topics about the game and its development that youíd like me to cover in a future devlog or in upcoming behind the scenes videos, be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & http://Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp]!