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Shards of Destiny
A lovingly crafted, nostalgic pico-size RPG adventure
This is my second game jam game, and second Pico-8 game (I'll get around to publishing the first one at some point). It was a frantic development in early mornings and late evenings for four days, but I got it into a more or less playable shape. Then I worked on it for about one month, making it less bare-bones and more of a game. It's a very tiny open-world RPG with light puzzles, dungeons and a very vague and generic (on purpose) back story. It basically combines the look of early Ultimas with my take on very light RPG/adventure gameplay. Pico-8 is basically the perfect platform for this type of game, and I've already got ideas for a sequel :)
Ok, after some more playtesting I decided that done is done. The game can be played from start to finish, all features I wanted are in and there don't seem to be any deal-breaking bugs. There will probably be minor updates here and there as I find embarrassing stuff that should've been fixed ages ago, but nothing major is coming. So thus I completed my first RPG ever. Tiny and simplistic, but still. Time to pat myself on the back and move on.
So I'll call it beta now. I've added a new special item, rearranged the location of all items, added the most powerful sword and shield and changed victory conditions, which I will not spoil here, but I hope that the in-game clues point to it clearly enough. I also tweaked the final battle somehow, but I'm still not 100% sure whether it's good enough, I'll probably tinker with it some more. I've also added a small tribute to one of my favourite game music composers, which you can see when you finish the game (with the good ending).
I realised that what I uploaded yesterday was a buggy mess and I had to correct some things. Hence, version number with an ominous "b" at the end. Also, I added a level up message thanks to a helpful comment by @jeb
We're still in alpha and I'm adding features left and right, as the pico-ness of Pico-8 allows me. Here's the gist:
- Added separate dungeon music
- Improved enemy 'AI'. While they are still (intentionally) dumb as rocks, they now have the ability to properly surround you if there are no obstacles in their way.
- Added two magic items: a healing ring and a wand that will severely hurt all monsters within one space of the hero. You have to dig around to find them.
- Added nicer win messages
- Improved some locations to prevent the "invisible wall" effect
- Added more dialogue, replaced some useless lines like "please help us" with clues regarding new items
- Added "tough" versions of monsters to some dungeons, they are palette-swapped versions of normal monsters (don't judge, I'm already at the sprite limit, and I'm using the entire map) with increased stats
The roadmap still includes several items, such as better ending, some simple special abilities for monsters, more weapons and shields and whatever I can fit in the token limit (it's great that the limit is there, it's a clear boundary where you simply have to stop).
Today I released a new version of the game. Let's call it 0.1.0 alpha or whatever greek letter is appropriate. This version contains several improvements, most notably:
- No more obvious crippling bugs, that is you can't load a game when there's nothing to load, to crash and burn, and you can't fall off the edge of the world because I forgot one mountain tile.
- Improved music which now fits on less patterns internally (invisible), and added game over music (definitely audible).
- Raised the cost of purchasable items and decreased gold left by monsters. Otherwise the gold was pretty much pointless. It kind of still is, but I'm working on it.
- Added another item which is not required to win the game, but you can get several nice finds using it, if you know where to look!
- Added some semi-hidden extras for the intrepid explorers of the pico-kingdom
There's still a lot of work, but that's what I call progress!
The work is progressing as fast as my almost-one-year-old allows me to :) Today I focused on the music, I wanted to extend the loop a bit, and also I intend to add some dungeon music and jingles for game over and win screens. By the way, a better win screen would be nice as well, but one thing at a time here...
I am in the process of bringing the jam version, which was incredibly rushed and buggy, to a more polished state. I started by removing two breaking bugs (one was the ability to load game when no saved game was available, and the second was a spot where you could go outside the end of the world and crash the game) and cleaning the code a bit, the next step was to add a nicer game over graphics (I have quite a bit of room left in the sprite section, so why not use it). Now I am reworking the balance of the monsters and the "economy". As is, it's all over the place, it's a miracle that it even kind of works. But the thing is that gold is irrelevant, because everything is super cheap right from the start, and the monsters don't feel that powerful. They are purposefully very simplistic, but perhaps too simplistic? I might end up sprinkling some special abilities here and there, not too much in order not to break the simplicity of the game, but I used just above half of the tokens - might as well add a little bit more content. Speaking of content, I also added a pickaxe which you will be able to use to dig in some special rock tiles, and maybe find some goodies (which are very limited as they are now). I'll post it when I test it reasonably thoroughly.