ConnorORT

Towards The Pantheon [2D Rpg]

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Hi ! 

As you've mentioned in one of your dev logs, it IS inspiring to see developers share their experience and watch as the game forms into life. Thanks for taking the time to do so ! Promotional purposes aside (and there ain't nothing wrong with that), it's really cool to read about it :)
 

As far as I'm concerned, the art for the game is super nice ! I love the texture on the trees, stones and various landscape elements. The characters feel right, and so does the more "detailed" stuff like their portraits and the likes.

 

I would have a couple words to say about the soundtrack. Please don't take it too harshly, as I'm aware to be a really, really picky listener (an annoying trait shared among some composers, I've heard) : overall, it -is- a nice, sweet soundtrack, with a variety of vibes and moods to it. It sure does its job, and I did enjoy listening to it a lot !

However, I found it to be uneven. What I mean by that is that the majority of the songs in the playlist had an identity to it. They told a story that had some uniqueness and some distinct flavor, which always adds a supplement of soul into a game. I really loved the SH-inspired ones or the retro flavor ones like Speedsters at your service, for instance !

A couple tunes like Broderskap or Battle music test, though, felt a bit lacking in this area to me. Wether it was through their melodic ideas, their instrumental textures, their rhythmical identity or whatnot, I didn't feel like they were contributing as much, maybe because they sounded a little bit more stereotypical (and so, a little bit more dull) : I felt like they could've been from "any" game. Others, like Rancor, Battle in the Sewers or City of Charcoal, were more memorable : Someone could listen to them again a couple weeks later and tell themselves "Oh, that was that game with the masked dude in a cloak and the robot girl !", if you see what I mean.

 

I also wondered about your thought process in terms of bringing a thematic cohesion to the soundtrack. Like how games like the Zelda Series have main theme (or a couple main themes), with elements and tidbits scattered around some tracks, hidden behind a rhythm or a countermelody ! (Hell, closer to us, Undertale does that -all over the place-, lmao). I know it's by no means necessary, but it's generally recognized to make the soundtrack feel more "organic" to have some elements, even something like a series of chords, a rhythmical figure or a particular texture resurface from times to times : I've noticed you did that with the metallic, trashy drum sound in your SH-inspired tracks (which works really well, imo), and I was curious to know if you had other likewise approaches to your OST !

 

Another thing I was curious about was the writing. You haven't mentioned it a lot in your dev logs, but admittedly, there was already quite a bunch to talk about ! If you're willing to share a little insight about it, I'd be interested to know your approach with plots, sub-plots, dialogues, back-stories, quests and the likes !

Hi L.C.Nohansen, thanks for the reply! :)

Glad you like the artwork so far, I'm very happy with Leandro's work as well. Also glad that you're enjoying the devlogs! 

I don't take criticism negatively or personally, so don't be afraid to critique! I agree with your comments about some of the tracks not being up to par - Working on the soundtrack for this game has actually been the most difficult musical thing I've done as a lot of it is outside of my previous style/experience. As a result some of the tracks aren't as good as others or don't fit their scenario as well as they should. I'm definitely going to be reworking or completely restarting some of the tracks that just aren't good enough. Battle music test is a good example of that, and I will most likely be taking it off the playlist soon. Glad you like some of the darker tracks!

 

I definitely plan to reuse themes and melodies throughout the game to make it feel thematic, I also love how series like Mario, Zelda, Silent Hill etc did that. Some of the Resident Evil soundtracks do that in interesting ways, the Resident Evil 2 soundtrack has a 3 note melody that appears all over the place, and the Resident Evil 3 soundtrack has a Dun-Dun-Dundundun rhythm that repeats often. I think that I will focus more on this closer to completion of the soundtrack, when I start going through each track and adding details, samples, and melodies from other tracks so it all comes together. Since I am still in the earlier stages of development, all the songs right now sound very distinct from each other. As I get closer to completion, I think everything will start coming together and it'll be easier to make everything fit together.

 

For backstories, I've written a bit about that in devlogs 10 and 11. The most that we've said so far about the overall plot can be found on the main page for the game in the description section. Over time I will be releasing more gifs and screenshots of dialog between characters. One of the things I love in Fire Emblem games is all the opportunities for characters to talk to each other, and I've put a lot of focus into creating character development for Towards The Pantheon. It's hard to figure out how much of the game I should reveal so that when the game comes out it feels fresh, but also reveal enough to interest people. Let me know if you think I'm showing off the right amount, or if I should be revealing more!

Feel free to give me feedback any time, I really appreciate it and it's helpful! :)

Edited by ConnorORT

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I'm glad you're keeping this thorough, thoughtful approach to your soundtrack ! It seems you got it all figured out for it to get to the next level, and I'll be looking forward to that ! Not much to add about it since we're agreeing, haha

 

I think you're doing a fine job with keeping the reveals to a middle ground ! I personally am huge on story and character development, but I agree that it's maybe the most delicate thing to tease considering not enough looks boring and too much -makes- the game less interesting to an extent. Maybe I'd be sweet to have a side character or a bit of lore connected to like, a particular place in the game or an item, event or whatnot appear every few dev log ?

 

Also, considering you're doing the writing on your own alongside the music and game design (if I've understood right), I assume it's still something you're in the process of filling out, so it would be understandable that you'd rather focus on the more "presentable" features at this stage of the development !

 

Keep up the spirit :)

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I'm glad you're keeping this thorough, thoughtful approach to your soundtrack ! It seems you got it all figured out for it to get to the next level, and I'll be looking forward to that ! Not much to add about it since we're agreeing, haha

 

I think you're doing a fine job with keeping the reveals to a middle ground ! I personally am huge on story and character development, but I agree that it's maybe the most delicate thing to tease considering not enough looks boring and too much -makes- the game less interesting to an extent. Maybe I'd be sweet to have a side character or a bit of lore connected to like, a particular place in the game or an item, event or whatnot appear every few dev log ?

 

Also, considering you're doing the writing on your own alongside the music and game design (if I've understood right), I assume it's still something you're in the process of filling out, so it would be understandable that you'd rather focus on the more "presentable" features at this stage of the development !

 

Keep up the spirit :)

 

I agree about revealing things being a fine line. I remember the developers behind Silent Hill Downpour released a video showing the first 40 minutes of the game. It was interesting to watch, but when I finally played the game I remember being bored for the first 40 minutes as I had already seen all of it and knew what to expect (which is one of the worst things that can happen for a horror game especially). I'll keep your idea about lore and side character details for future devlogs in mind!

 

I'm actually developing all of the game myself aside from the artwork. I do have some other friends on the team who are helping with general ideas and testing, but the bulk of the work and creation of the game is by me (along with my pixel artist). The majority of the backstories and lore are filled out already, which is nice!

 

Thanks for your feedback, feel free to post more anytime as it's helpful :) 

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It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 13th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

 

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!

 

battle_ferrets-300x169.png

 

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!

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

That’s it for this week’s 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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

Edited by ConnorORT

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It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 14th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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?

 

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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.

 

Mines-300x169.png

 

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!

 

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That’s it for this week’s 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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

 

 

Hey, the game looks pretty cool so far, will you be needing any more music for it? If so I would love to help out, you can check out my portfolio here: www.sbeastmusic.com/portfolio?

Thanks for the offer, but I'm doing the soundtrack for the game. Best of luck finding your next project!

Edited by ConnorORT

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Happy new year everybody! It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 15th devlog. You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/

 

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.

 

newchat-300x170.png

 

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.

 

TestCards-300x169.png

 

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.

 

TestCombos-300x169.png

 

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!

 

SpeedsterShop-300x169.png

 

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!

 

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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!

 

Night4-300x169.gif

 

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.

 

That’s it for this week’s 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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

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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!

 

Towards-The-Pantheon-Freyja-218x300.jpg

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

FreyjaHome-300x169.png

 

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.

 

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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!

 

BamThumbsUp.png

 

That’s 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 you’d like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

 

Follow Towards The Pantheon on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

Edited by ConnorORT

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It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 17th 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!

 

MishimaArtwork1-218x300.jpg

 

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!

 

CatVillage3-300x169.png

 

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.

 

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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:

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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That’s 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 you’d like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

 

Follow Towards The Pantheon on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

 

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

Edited by ConnorORT

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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 

 

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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!

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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.

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That’s 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 you’d like me to cover in a future devlog be sure to let me know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

 

Nice game. It reminds me of old Final Fantasy games. :)

Thank you! :)

Edited by ConnorORT

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It’s time for Towards The Pantheon‘s 18th 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...)

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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!

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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:

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That’s it for this devlog! If there are any topics about the game and its development that you’d 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: FacebookTwitterTumblrInstagramSoundcloudIndieDBTwitchGoogle+ImgurPinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: FacebookTwitterTumblrYoutubeSoundcloudTwitchBandcamp

Edited by ConnorORT

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

That’s it for this devlog! If there are any topics about the game and its development that you’d 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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

That’s it for this devlog, if there are any topics about the game and its development that you’d 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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp

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Hey everybody, the making of Towards The Pantheon part 2 is up now on Youtube! I talk about our new title screen, our battle system, programming priorities, area and level management, and more! Check it out and let us know what you think along with any topics you'd like me to talk about in future episodes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVJeMLC9XWU 

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A prequel game for Towards The Pantheon titled Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eclipse is planned for release on October 12th!

A soldier wakes up in darkness with a headache - Where is he, and how did he get here? 

Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity is a prequel mystery minigame to the upcoming full length RPG Towards The Pantheon. Follow the journey of this soldier as he must solve puzzles and explore to escape from nowhere, discover how he came to be here, and face what lies ahead. Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity offers a unique experience that provides lore and suggests at some themes that will be found in Towards The Pantheon.

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Follow the development of Towards The Pantheon on social media!
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Instagram, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

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

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A soldier wakes up in darkness with a headache - Where is he, and how did he get here?

Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity is a prequel mystery minigame to the upcoming full length RPG Towards The Pantheon. Follow the journey of this soldier as he must solve puzzles and explore to escape from nowhere, discover how he came to be here, and face what lies ahead. Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity offers a unique experience that provides lore and suggests at some themes that will be found in Towards The Pantheon.

Purchase the album on Bandcamp to support development of Towards The Pantheon! https://connorortlinning.bandcamp.com/album/towards-the-pantheon-escaping-eternity-soundtrack

Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity is set to release October 12th, 2017.

STEAM: http://store.steampowered.com/app/709450/Towards_The_Pantheon_Escaping_Eternity/
ITCH.IO: https://connorort.itch.io/towards-the-pantheon-escaping-eternity
GAMEJOLT: https://gamejolt.com/games/ttpee/280482

Follow the development of Towards The Pantheon on social media!
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Instagram, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

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

 

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Prequel game Towards The Pantheon: Escaping Eternity is out NOW!
Download it free from Itch.io and Gamejolt!
Itch.io: https://connorort.itch.io/towards-the-pantheon-escaping-eternity
Gamejolt: https://gamejolt.com/games/ttpee/280482
Due to complications the Steam version will release soon in the coming days. You will be able to find it at:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/709450/Towards_The_Pantheon_Escaping_Eternity/

http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/4.png

Follow the development of Towards The Pantheon on social media!
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Instagram, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

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

Edited by ConnorORT

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