Archive for category wip

Working on Catequesis

Hi everyone.

Just a quick post to tell you that since September 2012, I’ve teamed with a bunch of spanish people to work on a new game using my world-famous RPG engine.

The game is called Catequesis and it’s a 8bit retro survival horror.
I won’t duplicate every news we make about this one here, so I’ll suggest you to follow the dedicated links:



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RPG Engine : Controls, IA and Fights

Hi folks,

In the last post, i was mentionning getting back to my rpg engine and update/finish a lot of things.
And guess what, that’s what i did.

Updating the controls

The controls in the game were a total major failure.
At the time i was satisfied by the ‘single touch’ experience of it. You put your finger on the screen and the hero goes there, like Zelda on the DS. You clicked on a enemy to attack him… but that didn’t work. Putting fingers around the screen right in the middle of what’s happening was NOT a bright idea. Making an usable fight system was way too complicated and hard to make it playable. Added to the fact that range weapons would have been even more complicated, i finally gave up on that type of control.

Now welcome the new controls: a totally fresh and new idea , the virtual D-Pad !

For now, it’s the first try and it works well. You might have some questions :

  • why so big ? -On your phone, it won’t seem so big, and it have to be big enough to be precise. Plus, it won’t be so opaque.
  • why are the buttons on top right, and not down right ? -That’s a more interesting question. You’ll be able to change this. But there’s a good reason for this : Nexus One. The multitouch capabilities of the N1 are rather poor. Touching two point in the same ‘line’ leads to bugs ( example ) Putting the buttons there was the only way for them to work correctly while moving the character.
  • You lame ! We see tiling everywhere ! Yeah, i have eyes too1 It’ll be fixed soon enough.

Updating the Fight System

Fight fight fight. Life is all about fighting. I like fighting, you like fighting, everybody fight every day. Didn’t you just put a metallic stuff through a random being to make the red come out of it just minutes ago before reading this post?

To be honest, i wanted to make a RPG without violence. But hey, it’s a RPG engine, so there should be fights if one want it.

So the fight engine is being updated:

  • A more realistic way to be punched away if taking a hit. This could be used  to simulate wind too or anything that’ll move a being in a direction.
  • More frames for the sword.

Updating the ennmy IA

I’m updating too the way that enemies see and think. Each enemy have is own field of vision ( blue here for demo purpose) and will react if some beings are in it.

There are still a lot to be done before having a real fight system, but things are starting to take shape 🙂

See you.

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Work in Progress : updating the RPG engine


as you may know it, Tales of Pocoro has been built using parts of a RPG game engine i started developing last year.
It was a hard work and i came to pause this project for a game design / gameplay issue. Tales of Pocoro was a way for me to release a simple game with nice graphics and it was a good way to improve the engine too.

So, now that Tales of Pocoro is definitely over, I’m thinking about getting back to my RPG project.
That means updating the engine with all the Tales of Pocoro features and tweaks and adding some missing features.

This project was called Crystalia ( with random i and y in the name ).
At the time i created a page on indieDB, you can see many screenshots and videos here.

The Cristalia engine

The engine offers a lot of features :

  • a tile engine with a tile editor to create maps.
  • a game framework easily modified and extended.
  • a rpg engine with a lot of possibilities such as dialogs, quests, items, and a really nice technical design.

What is really nice about this game engine is that all the RPG content ( basically, what make the game ) is written in XML. Maps, dialogs, people behaviors quests are written in XML. You do not have to code anything to write an adventure, or add a quest, or some new maps.

		<layer id="cliff">
			<grid type="MASK" />
			<grid type="BASE" />
			<grid type="OVERBASE">
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_1" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="1" y="28" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_2" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="5" y="28" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_3" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="7" y="28" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_1" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="14" y="26" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_2" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="18" y="26" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_2" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="20" y="26" />
				<tile asset="town_house1_roof_3" atlas="atlas_town_1" x="22" y="26" />
<friend layer="ground" asset="4x3_people_boy_03" atlas="atlas_charac_2" id="chef2" x="21" y="4">
			<behaviour type="still" />
			<dynamic_condition test="isQuestStarted" value="quest_ring_1">
				<interaction type="dialog" text="here is the the magic ring!" />
				<interaction type="questitem_add" name="magic_ring_1" />
			<dynamic_condition test="hasQuestItem" value="magic_ring_1">
				<interaction type="dialog" text="Please bring the magic ring to the old fart near me" />

This allows one of the coolest feature of the game : world changing.

Let’s imagine a basic quest : free the villagers from the thieves in the forest.

As long as the quest is not complete, the forest will be a dark place with monster and thieves lurking around. People in the village will look depressed and to increase the drama effect, you can even imagine putting dead trees, wandering rats or anything you can imagine. All this details are written in XML under the condition “thieves quest not complete“.

Once the thieves quest is complete, the forest will no longer be a dark and threatening place, the village will be a nice place to live again, and this is written in the same XML but under the condition “thieves quest complete“.

A bit of interaction here :
[WIP] Implementing Interaction #1 – Indie DB

This dynamic xml handling allows a lot of changes in the world. It’s not a static universe anymore. Possibilities are really humongous. Dialogs can be modified, A whole map can became different or just a small part of it. This is a really important feature for me. I played a lot to real western RPG games, and nothing please me more than being able to modify the universe with my actions. I’ll always remember when in Gothic 3, you defeat all the Orcs enslavering a human village, the orcs flee and the humans started to live again in their village. I just tried “for fun” to kill all the orcs around and the universe reacted to these actions.

Updating the graphic engine

When i coded the graphic engine of the RPG engine, i was quite unexperimented with openGl and made some choices that led to some limitations.
To draw sprites on the screen ( basically everything drawn is a sprite from trees to people to ground to buttons ), i used a kind of openGl hack to draw raw images on the screen.
The main problem is that you cannot do anything once things are drawn. no light effect, no rotation, no zooming.

Zooming was much of a concern indeed, and i started modifying the whole game engine just for this feature. The good news is that it is now done. The camera is now able to pan around and zoom gently back and forth.

Next step on the graphic engine will be to add a bit of lighting. I’m not quite sure of how it’ll look like but it’s worth the try.

Updating the controls

Controls where the tricky part. It was even the main reason of the project being paused.
Once again, it was my fault, i made poor choices :
I decided that the game could be played by every one, including people with old phones. That means sometimes only a single touch screen,  no trackball, no keyboard. All the game should have been single-touch. That means a lot. No virtual joysticks, no virtual buttons ( ie , single touch = you can’t move and click in the same time ).
This choice led to a even greater problem : the battles.

People like to fight. They want to be able to draw a piece of metal and put it through another being to make some red stuff come out of him. That’s how RPG are.
Fight gameplay must be perfect  otherwise it’ll be frustrating and the game will be just bad.
With the single touch choice, fights would have been a real nightmare, clicking around on the screen, hiding it with your hand. Using bow would just have been impossible too.

See the horror below :
[WIP] Implementing Weapons #1 – Indie DB

So, i decided to change all the controls, no more single touch crap. Most of the phones are multi-touch now. Bring back the virtual controls !

I’ll keep you updated about the progress 🙂


New UI and HD mode preview

Here are some screenshots of the new UI , finished and with new icons.
It gives the game a really more professional look with 8bit icons and fonts











And here is a preview of what the HD mode gives on a Foio 100 tablet : 1024*600 screen with no scaling ( the icons are still the old ones on those screenshots ):