student 20 Productions

Random Thoughts of a Game Developer

Archive for the month “September, 2010”


Well… that sucks.

So, my lappy died late last night. I did a little math, and figured out that if Acer has to blank/replace my hard drive to fix the problem, I’ll loose 4,000 words of progress on 16 Bit heroes based on my last backup. =SIGH=.

I’m torn between waiting to see if I lose all that progress and starting over from my last backup and giving up those 4,000 words as a bad job. Any thoughts?


The CCS and a Plea for Art

Heya. I thought I’d post the Class Creation System as it appears in the 16 Bit Heroes beta book so that all three of my fans could give it a go. I’ve included the complete Dancer class (created as an example for the CCS), and the Simple Skill List (without the complete rules descriptions, but with the brief descriptions that appear in the table in the book) to show how it’s supposed to work and to provide the other tools needed to play with it. If anyone comes up with anything, post it as a comment!

That’s all found by clicking the little “more…” at the bottom of this post. The other thing I wanted to put out today is a plea for pixel art.

I’m looking for pixel art that looks like it could have been taken from – or was obviously inspired by – classic 8 and 16 Bit RPGs. I’m looking for original art only, and it has to be stuff you don’t mind being shared with the world at large. I can’t pay anyone, but I can promise an Art credit. If 16 Bit Heroes ever sees print publication (in electronic or dead-tree format), I will try to give a free copy to anyone who provided art or other content, but I can’t make any promises at this time.

I will include any copyright information you like in the credit, including web addresses or whatever you tell me. Although the rules for 16 Bit Heroes will most likely be Creative Commons Share-Alike licensed, the art won’t be unless the contributor wishes it to be. I don’t want obvious imitations of characters like Link or Zelda, or other such famous characters – I’m interested in original art only.

In any case, if you have any such contributions to make, drop me a line at student (dot) 20 (at) live (dot) com.

In any case, on with the show.

Read more…

Plodding Progress is still Progress, right?

Well, for 16 Bit Heroes, I’ve finished… let’s see… most of the Introduction (some of it can’t be done until I’m done with the rest of it, and other parts can’t be done until after some beta testing),and the chapters for Abilities, Classes, Races and Personalities, and Stats. I’ve made a great deal of headway in the Skills chapter, and I’ve planned out the rest of the chapters in the book:

0. Introduction

1. Chapter One – Abilities

2. Chapter Two – Character Classes

3. Chapter Three – Races and Personalities

4. Chapter Four – Statistics

5. Chapter Five – Skills

a. Chapter 5.5 – Alternate Skill Systems

6. Chapter Six – Spells and Techniques

a. Chapter 6.5 – Alternate Spell Systems

7. Chapter Seven – Equipment

a. Chapter 7.5 – Alternate Equipment Systems

8. Chapter Eight – Combat

9. Chapter Nine – Experience

a. Chapter 9.5 – Alternate Experience Systems

10. Chapter Ten – Adventuring

11. Chapter Eleven – Creatures

12. Chapter Twelve – Game Mastering in a 16 Bit World

a. Chapter 12.25 – Alternate Rewards and Experience System

b. Chapter 12.5 – Alternate Settings

c. Chapter 12.75 – Alternates Overall

A. Appendix A – Classless Play

B. Appendix B – Other Alternate Systems

C. Appendix C – Art Index

D. Appendix D – Other Combat Options

E. Appendix E – Status Effects and Combat Summaries

F. Appendix F – Character Sheets

The decimal chapters and the appendices (except for Appendices C, E, and F) may or may not make the final cut; they’re more musings than anything else. The whole work is about 20,000 words. That’s both cool and upsetting…. I’m halfway to the length of a small novel, and making pretty good overall progress. That having been said, when I started out, I thought I’d be done by the time I hit 20,000 or so words.

So, what might seems like a good pace is positively plodding compared to my original estimates.


Ahh, well. Back to work, I suppose!

Castlevania is Evil

So, every time I sit down to work on 16 Bit Heroes lately, if I run into even a mild stumbling block, I try to “clear my head” with a game that helped inspire 16 Bit Heroes in the first place: Castlevania.

Now, I don’t mean those old Castlevania games that are harder than hell and lack even a coherent storyline, let alone any “role playing” elements. I mean the ones since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that have helped define a sub-genre of of the Platformer: the Metroidvania game, more properly called an “Adventure Platformer”. Personally, I like Metroidvania better… it sounds cooler.

In any case, this groups of Castlevania game includes stats, leveling up, equipment, and so on, and it was one of the inspirations for the game I’m working on now. But the point of this post isn’t to bring that little fact into the light of day; the point is to point out that Castlevania – and most games in the Metroidvania sub-genre – is evil.

I’ll take a break from writing and design, pickup my trusty Nintendo DS,  and fire up Portrait of Ruin or Dawn of Sorrow or some such. The next thing I know, it’s three hours later. I’ve gotten no more writing done, and nothing done around the house. The games are addictive.

There are lots of reasons why they’re so hard to put down. The gameplay is just about perfect. The controls work the way you expect them to. The platforming is hard because of good level design, not because of arbitrary cheap deaths or bad controls. There’s so much stuff to do and collect that one could literally play for days straight without seeing it all. The DS games are pretty – especially Dawn of Sorrow, which has gorgeous backgrounds and great characters. The music is great, and the games have plenty of replay value.

Which is why I desperately want Order of Ecclesia so bad I can taste it. It tastes of plastic and silicon and vampire-slaying goodness.

So, yeah – Castlevania is evil. I thought everyone might want to know.

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