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RELIC, retro action-adventure 2D (desktop, web)

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Hi all,
 
I am here to talk about RELIC (working title, release title TBD), a project I've been working on for a few months. The game is currently in development ; a portion is fully playable but the product requires additional testing, content and beautification.
 
  • OVERVIEW
RELIC is an action-adventure game in line with 2D Zelda (TLoZ, ALLTP, DX, OoA, OoS). Details of the scenario are still to be defined, there is a semi-opened outdoor exploration area, interior dungeons with a mix of puzzles and challenging fights, and the need to collect items in order to progress.
 
  • SCREENSHOTS
1463328544-hud.png
 
1463328551-dungeon1.png
 
1463328551-dungeon2.png
 
1463328551-cave.png
 
Visuals are temporary, captured from the latest game build
 
  • KEY FEATURES
- Retro style but smooth gameplay with modern accessibility
- Dynamic action including real-time combats
- 4 outdoor environments with distinctive themes
- 5 dungeons with their share of puzzles, monsters and exclusive boss
- 16 items to collect, each granting special abilities or aptitudes (8 active, 8 passive)
- Explorable "onion skin" outdoor world that unlocks progressively
- Diversified bestiary with 20+ types of enemies and behaviours
- Rich interactions, including traditional switches, teleporters, obstacles, secrets, etc.
 
  • INFOS
- Estimated play-time : ~10h, +~5h completionist
- Size of the playable area : ~150 game screens
- Team : me, all by myself !
- Development time : ~6 months starting from scratch (~4 done, ~2 left)
- Platforms : desktop (Windows, Linux, MacOS), web (HTML5)
- Release : ~summer 2016 TBC on Steam and itch.io
 
  • DEVELOPPMENT
I work alone and I do all the programming, game design, level design, production, QA, and I also create additional resources and art assets when I cannot find/buy what I need.
 
The game is fully playable in terms of "flow" (player progress, items, gameplay mechanics, types of interactions, etc.) but only ~20% of the content is really completed at the moment (level design, puzzle variety, monsters balancing, beautification).
The "finished" portion works as a "vertical slice" I intend to use to start focus tests as soon as possible, in order to collect player feedback and drive the upcoming iterations before moving on with the rest of the game.
 
The work left is mostly filling and dressing, but also integrating all the secondary content : scenario, tutorial, audio, etc. ; as well as some late features : options, customisable controls, graphical filters, etc.
 
  • BIO
A few words about myself, in case anyone cares  - I worked for almost 12 years in the game industry as lead programmer and producer for AAA PC and console titles. I've now been creating my own games and learning about game design for about ~1 year, with a first small project released on Steam a few months ago.
 
My activity is not profitable yet, but it's a good way to gain experience with the "business" and "publication"-sides. My goal is to capitalise on my developments and reach a larger market/public with time as I progress, while finding other like-minded creators to join me in bigger productions.
 
 
  • TECHNOLOGY
For those interested in the technical side - The game is developed in TypeScript, a JavaScript superset, allowing high-productivity but also excellent project architecture and maintainability (basically, JavaScript with objects and types, while waiting for ES6).
 
This choice makes it easy to target a collection of platforms - web and desktop (Windows, Linux, MacOS). On the other hand, the integration of specific native technologies, i.e. distribution platforms features, is non-trivial at best.
 
The underlying engine is Phaser 2.4.4 and I used Tiled for all the level design. This is a simple yet robust and efficient and tool-chain.
 
In parallel of Phaser, I have developed my own custom ECS framework (Entity-Component-System) to maximise the reusability of all logic elements and blocks of gameplay. I intend to build on this framework and expand it with future projects, such as a dungeon-crawler and a coop-shooter, which I expect to be shorter to complete starting from this base.
 
My ECS allows a fully data-driven approach, where all the gameplay is specified in the entity definitions (.json) and the instance data from the level file. It is therefore possible to integrate content, create new feature combinations and balance existing elements without the need to "re-program" any gameplay. It takes longer to get results than coding the gameplay directly, but in the long run it is a lot more flexible and reusable.
Still in the interest of factorisation, my entity definition files (prototypes or blueprints, depending on the terminology various frameworks use) support multiple inheritance.
 
  • CONTRIBUTORS
Graphical resources used so far are created by 3 artists. All assets are licensed for commercial use and/or are distributed under CC0/CC-BY(-SA)
 
Henrique "7Soul" Lazarini
Environments, enemies
 
Michele "Buch" Bucelli
Environnements, various entities
 
Carl "Surt" Olsson
Additional characters
 

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Sounds cool, good luck ^_^

 

PS: 
I don't know why but i think there should be a "shadow circle" beneath the character.

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Thanks - and indeed, lots of details are missing at this stage. Beautification and polish to continue as the project progresses.

Edited by LGV

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Quick update regarding progress -

 

I have just completed a first round of focus testing last week (thanks to all the participants !). While still quite far from an actual "demo", this allowed me to answer 2 critical questions :

- in spite of the "work in progress" nature of the project, is there sufficient potential to complete & release the game ?

- how to prioritise the remaining work in order to maximise the time/player experience ratio ?

 

In light of the feedback, I have recalibrated the production tracking and I plan 3 major iterations :

- gameplay : tweak existing elements, redesign weak mechanisms, add missing functionalities, etc.

- content : balance existent areas, redesign some puzzles, integrate additional zones, etc.

- presentation : scenario / tutorial, graphical polish, options and controls customisation, etc.

 

Including publication delays, I am still planning for a release around ~late Summer 2016

 

'Will post updates soon with actual concrete progress !

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