Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dreamblazers Update Catch Up

I thought of many things I could write to start this post.

Would I talk about my energy level seeming different now than when I started at 29, then segue into a rousing round of rejecting all that noise, declaring mind over matter, and shouting “I”m back, baby!!!”—textually, of course? Would I start similarly to that, but go for a more humorous tone with a sidebar about coffee and not drinking it ever since I once mistook it for soda as a kid?

Would I play the sympathy card and write about stretching myself too thin, then try to justify myself by talking about how I hadn’t really taken a break for years, so in some weird way I “took a break” by nature? Would I take a more psychological bent and mention a discussion I had back in high school with a friend who insisted that I couldn’t force myself into a certain mood when I insisted that I could? (That was absolutely true for me, by the way, but I don’t know about him.)

Would I go for a high concept intro talking about the all-too-fast passage of time or about big projects and the expectations going into them?

In the end, Flora gave me a little push and helped me see what I should say:

I’m here. I screwed up. I overpromised because even now I constantly underestimate time commitments when I should know better. And then I missed a day and it turned into two and I felt like running away and, well, I did.

Is everybody like that? To some extent, yeah, probably. Is that an excuse? No. All I can do is apologize and also say that overpromising won’t happen again on my watch. “I’m aiming to have a post up tomorrow”—I’ll say something like that instead.

And with all that out of the way…

Let’s move on to happier things that I did actually tease last week. This is a new splash screen! I’m showing it here at a decreased resolution like usual, so it’s cleaner in the full art:

Dreamblazers - Title Splash 20 Percent Cropped

Will this be the title screen and move the previous image to being a game over screen or something else? Or will it be, perhaps, the other way around?! That’s a tough call, but what’s not a tough call is that I really wanted a promotional image like this with some key characters facing the camera. And I love this one and hope you do too!

A big difference between the new image and the other “title screen” is the addition of Jig and Tango and the disappearance of Cotelle and Minori. When I sat back and considered these two big factors:

1) who I’m expecting people to gravitate toward, and
2) who drives the story forward in Dreamblazers (and by Dreamblazers I mean Dreamblazers the first and possibly only game, not Dreamblazers the trilogy that I’d ideally like to create given time and resources (see, now I’m hedging and not overpromising :P))

I had to concede that Jig and Tango might be higher up the ladder. Of course, it’s not by much and ultimately both images will be in the game in some fashion, so people can decide which one is more fitting! At least it’s clear that Leaf and Celty are undoubtedly major players.

Let me call attention to the tablet in Jig’s hand, by the way. I insisted on including this because I wasn’t sure if I’ve made it apparent enough that the in-game universe’s highest levels of technology are actually well above our own. So why do characters walk around on foot and why they do fight with swords and throwing stars? Well, I’ve mentioned this before: they’re not human, but rather various humanoid species (though “humanoid” is an unknown word to them).

I’m gonna be honest here: it’s a pet peeve of mine when RPGs feature characters who are explicitly called humans and they’re getting stabbed, shot, frozen alive, poisoned, boiled alive, crushed by meteors, etc. and they don’t die to everything in one or two hits.

And no, even inventing a synonym for “human” doesn’t salvage it! :P You’ve gotta tell me these are beings composed at least partially of energy or magic or magical energy and, sure, then they can do all kinds of superhuman things and we’re cool.

Like my characters, for example.

Moving on! There’s actually a secret to this picture… I cropped the version above a bit, but there’s some more vertical space:

Dreamblazers - Title Splash 20 Percent Uncropped

You see, I wanted a title image that would change over time, expanding just like the in-game universe, so even starting up the game can give you something new to digest before you hop back into playing! A character who wasn’t there originally might appear somewhere on this screen, like Summer:

Preview 1

And I coyly wonder who this is:

Title Teaser

What else might appear? Well, if it’s used as the title screen, then of course a title—though I still need to find someone skilled at typography to handle that. Anything else I can tease? Nope. Perhaps you’ll find out in the future what this screen has to offer, but it won’t be on this blog.

By the way, that shot of Summer represents a slight design change for her that drops her center headpiece, which I sprang on Flora literally at the last second, so we’ll have to go back and tweak her dialogue portraits in due time. And Alex had also been drawing her sprite at this time, so I dug us all into double trouble here. :P (Got a few more important things to take care of than minor fixes to art assets right now, though…)

And speaking of Alex, here’s a preview of overworld sprites for Telia and Lash! These, of course, are shown at triple size:

Telia Sprites Preview Triple Size

Lash Sprites Preview Triple Size

I say “preview” because they actually have full and finished sprite sheets, as do Summer and another character I’m not showing here—hey, I can’t very well spill all the secrets up front. Every art asset in this post still has its mysteries. Anyway, like before, the characters are as expressive in their pixel art forms as they are in their traditional art forms for continuity and just because sprites emoting were always one of my favorite things in classic RPGs.

I’ll end this post here, but there’s always more to come in the future!

Update Tomorrow

I lined up at least a bit of work last week and I’m putting together a Kickstarter page along with all the administrative things that come along with it (making charts and graphs and now reaching out to a couple people for a few other things), so I’m kind of strapped for time, but just as a preview for tomorrow’s post…

Telia Preview Triple Size

Preview 1

Preview 2

Dreamblazers Update: Week of February 2, 2016

I promised a grand time with great art today—and we’re getting it! Remember this teaser from mid-January?

Dreamblazers - Mystery Fighter Animation Shadow

Well, unlike the last two times I showed off teaser versions of Liz’s sprites, this time I’ll go ahead and reveal who she is! After all, some of you may have already figured it out if your memories of material elsewhere on the site served you well:

Dreamblazers - Lash Dialogue Portrait Collection

Yes, this is Lash, also known as the Rogue of the Rose!

Dreamblazers - Lash Entrance Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Entrance Animation Triple Size

Ah, that grace and elegance… Like a rose with its thorns, but on a higher scale, Lash is a beautiful but deadly ninja. She wanders the wilderness always training to become stronger, acting largely of her own accord, and any confrontation with her reveals her to be a cool customer with a great poker face and a calm and collected demeanor to match.

And shown above is her entrance animation! When she first appears on a battlefield, time seems to come to a halt as the breeze heralds her arrival.

Lash is skilled in many forms of battle, so she can fight in melee combat without a weapon…

Dreamblazers - Lash Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Animation Triple Size

…or with one.

Dreamblazers - Lash Katana Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Katana Animation Triple Size

She can even fight with projectile weapons, as you might have guessed based on her dialogue portraits!

Dreamblazers - Lash Throwing Star Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Kunai Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Throwing Star Animation Triple Size Dreamblazers - Lash Kunai Animation Triple Size

As I’ve shown off before, among all the characters in Dreamblazers, Lash is one of the oldest of my creations along with Celty:

Portrait Collection Dates

Even though some of these portraits have been improved upon since they were first drawn, the dates when my characters were made are what they are—so I wanted Lash to stand out compared to other sprites! Most enemy sprites only have one animation, but the idea of giving Lash her own entrance and the usual idle and multiple visible weapon types definitely helps make her distinct.

By the way, even though the style of sprite that I have Liz drawing is obviously used for enemies, don’t read too much into that story-wise as far as who Lash is; I think you’ll be surprised which characters (and how many characters?) pictured above will eventually have enemy sprites. If I thought it was a big spoiler, then I would have kept her hidden like the two mystery monsters I linked above.

Before we go, I just wanted to comment that those of you familiar with the Super Smash Bros. series might find it a bit unfortunate that Lash can hold weapons, but doesn’t visibly attack with any of them—you know, like Ganondorf having a sword in his taunt but not using it in battle. Well, Lash is one of my long-time favorites, so I saw fit to correct that and commission even more for her!

Dreamblazers - Lash Katana Attack Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Katana Attack Animation Triple Size

This took a lot of work to figure out, by the way; one of the most underrated game developer skills might be getting the timing of animations to feel right. Even now I’m still not convinced it’s the best it could be! Liz can make super great art, but it’s up to me to use it well.

View post on

Throughout several versions of her animation, you can get a sense for how I had been trying to make it feel fast enough to convey her ninja speed while not so fast that it was incomprehensible. Speeding up every fame, slowing down every frame, making her slash significantly faster than everything else, making her slash “hang” for more of a “bullet time” Matrix feel… there were many routes to go.

Of course, before I even commissioned this animation, I had already commissioned another earlier one to convey Lash’s speed!

Dreamblazers - Lash Teleport Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Teleport Animation Triple Size

Yep, it’s a teleporting classic! And I can even mix an attack right into the middle:

Dreamblazers - Lash Teleport and Attack Animation Dreamblazers - Lash Teleport and Attack Animation Triple Size

I hope you find all of these sprites as great as I do! And, hey, if you do, post a comment or let Liz herself know. =) Some ways to reach her are listed on the Team page, after all!

There’s actually still more to be drawn with Lash sprites considering that she can use magic, that we haven’t done animations for her other weapons, that she can fight by [redacted], and finally, just like [redacted], she’s capable of [redacted] when she cuts [redacted]! But those will have to wait for another time to be created since I can only cover so many expenses at this specific moment.

Speaking of waiting for another time, these sprites for Lash might represent the final art we see from Liz prior to the Kickstarter—many things are up in the air right now, including me hunting for another source of income (since I don’t intend for the Kickstarter to completely cover living expenses and paying for assets), Flora drawing something special that you’ll see soon, the grid battle system for ORK finally getting funded (this is the one I had wanted since the end of November), and even the ORK creator himself blindsiding all of us in the best possible way this past week by introducing multiple actions per turn into his framework, which I’ve been wanting for ages.

Honestly, just on that last point alone I could probably write another 3500 words about things I intend to do, never mind the other stuff that I also want to write about, but it’s 11:53 PM and I want to actually have this post out on the day that’s written in the title. :P And I have to save something for next week!

In any case, my point is that I don’t completely know where I’ll be putting time and money over the next few weeks and I especially don’t know where I’ll be earning money over the next few weeks, so pixel art from Liz may be on hold for a bit just as it’s been with Becca for about half a year.

And so with that I say thank you to her for everything she’s done, which has all been just fantastic, and we’ll meet again when that time comes—hopefully sooner than later!

Dreamblazers - Lash Entrance Animation Katana Dreamblazers - Lash Entrance Animation Katana Triple Size