Hey there! I'm Jon. By Day, I am a back end software engineer on PlayStation's Cloud Gaming Engineering and Infrastructure team; by night... well, I am into a lot of different things, but one of those things is game dev! Over the years, I have created a number of clones for learning purposes, such as basic pong->Mario->Zelda progression and have created my own engine (again, as a learning experience). Now, I am confident enough in my game and software development skills to approach a project that I have dreamed of making for years. I am hoping that in addition to my development skills, my experience working in the game industry (albeit not on games directly) will aid in this pursuit as well.
I am a massive tabletop RPG fan, and as someone who often fills the role of Game Master (or Dungeon Master, as it were), I have been curating a custom fantasy world for some time now. Over time, this world has become quite extensive, and I have recorded various campaigns and one-shots that occurred in this world.
The Chronicles of Ethael series is my attempt at reimagining these campaigns in a more visual medium--as video games!
The Chronicles of Ethael: Oresian Tales is a 2D, single player action RPG with a large focus on player agency as well as fast-paced and fluid action combat. As the subtitle suggests, this game takes place in Ores--the main continent in the world of Ethael, where elves, dwarves, humans, and various other species coexist in a high magic fantasy setting where magic technology is prevalent but wars are still very much waged with swords and boards in hand. CoE:OT is heavily inspired by games such as The Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, Divinity, and more.
The most difficult part of this project for me personally will be the art. I will come out and say it up front: I am not an artist! That being so, I do have a very specific aesthetic in mind, and I hope to eventually work with (whether as a partnership or paid contracts) a talented artist who is capable of bringing the visuals that I imagine to life.
- Massive, open, 2D world providing players with much to explore and many deadly secrets to discover
- Top-down camera view not unlike those of popular retro RPGs such as early JRPGs and Legend of Zelda games.
- A class-based system offering multiple combat options for players with many different play styles.
- Fast-paced and flashy action combat, with different experiences based on the player's chosen class.
- Heavy emphasis on player agency by including features like branching conversations that have a direct impact on the world and story, various methods of quest (both main scenario, and side quest) completion, and a non-linear progression path. I want to emphasize that the world of Ethael is a living and breathing one and life there goes on whether the player likes it or not.
- A simplified character stat system that allows the average player to dive right in without too much math and nitty gritty details, but still provides a satisfying experience for those hardcore players that love the theory crafting and min-maxing side of things.
- A powerful 2D character creator that allows players to customize their character to a significant degree. Things like skin colors, head shape, hair style, hair color, body shape, race, etc... Everything you would expect form a modern 3D character creator, but deployed in a 2D world. Fancy!
Over the years, I have used various game engines and frameworks, such as LibGDX, Unity, and my own custom 2D engine (as mentioned above). Recently, I had become intrigued by a new(er) engine on the block called Godot. With Godot3 on the horizon that would really put the engine on the map, I decided to check it out and see what all the hype was about. Boy, am I glad I did. Being entirely open source with extremely clean source code, the engine is also extremely lightweight--a fraction of the size Unity, for example. What's more, is that there is no sketchy "phone home" system in the engine, so you know exactly what it is doing at all times--a huge win for privacy! While all of this philosophy is great, the thing that turned me on the most about Godot is its architecture. Unlike engines like Unity that utilize a Component Entity System, Godot instead uses a more flexible (and conveniently also simpler) scene system that makes entity organization and reusability much greater and easier to accomplish than a typical CES. I won't go into the details on how all this works, but if you are interested, I strongly urge you to check out their website.
It should also be mentioned that as of right now, the game is only planned to release on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
CoE:OT is currently in the design and planning stage, with a small amount of prototyping occurring in tandem. As such, I don't really have much to discuss in terms of technical implementations and what-not at this time, but you can definitely expect much of this in future posts.
I am very excited to continue working on this game and I hope that you all will find my ramblings entertaining at the very least.
If there are any specific questions you have about the game, feel free to post 'em and I will try to get to them as soon as possible.
I am going to be following this intro post up almost immediately with my first "update." This will include some discussion around stat/attribute systems in RPGs and what kind of system is being designed for this game in particular. You'll find that many of these initial posts will be very design-focused, as that is the current state of the game. As time goes on and more prototyping is promoted to actual implementation, I will have much more media (images, videos, etc..) for you all. I ask that you please bare with me until then!