Tag Archives: Fire Emblem

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of February 23, 2015

This week I can mostly let the artwork speak for itself… but only mostly!

Portrait Collection 4

Shown here are Ardis, Astrid, Besarre, and Leaf and there’s all sorts of stuff to mention related to this collage:

* These lovely face portraits were drawn by Flora at 512×512 as I asked, but I’m showing them as 256×256 here so that big enough monitors can see an entire row on screen at once. =) 256×256 is what I’m most likely to use in the actual game as well. (I haven’t had menu skins drawn yet, but since I’m not going above a 1920×1080 resolution, full 512x512s would be huge relative to the screen no matter how the menu borders turn out.)

* As seen in games like Fire Emblem 9 and 10, Bravely Default, and Tales of Graces, having the faces at an angle means that I can flip them horizontally to have characters talking back and forth on different sides of the screen. Of course, doing that would result in some clothes being on the wrong sides and such, but those games didn’t worry about it and they’re made by companies with much bigger budgets than me, so I’m cool with it. =P

* Starting tomorrow, I’ll tweet at least one face each week plus a line of dialogue that goes with it. And I’ll call it Talky Time Tuesday! :D Since this site is a more comprehensive collection of Dreamblazers-related material than Twitter, I’ll also add a new Dialogue page here that will embed all those tweets.

* A small Easter egg here is Leaf’s nail polish. Leaf’s a pretty mysterious girl; her magical-musical skirt plays tunes according to her will, but her nail polish made from a liquid rainbow changed colors randomly until she experimented with chemical catalysts to control it. Blue and green are her usual colors!

* While this is the full collection of expressions made so far, the number of expressions per character is subject to go up; for example, I might see a face for a later character and then realize that Leaf should have the same kind of face and doesn’t. Right now Besarre is the most likely to get one or two extra expressions.

* Random trivia time about Ardis! When I was my younger 2000-2001 self who first dreamed of creating my own game, Ardis was a name that I picked out and thought I was making up—just like I’d made up Celty as my even younger 1997 self who was toying around with Blades of Exile. As it turns out, Ardis is an Irish name for girls, which completely changed her character. Her description from my early files says that she was a half-elf with tanned skin who wore a halter, miniskirt, and sandals, so I’m guessing that I conceived her as more of a harem dancer type of character. Although it is just a guess, I did love Dragon Quest IV (localized back then as Dragon Warrior IV), so maybe I thought of Ardis as a girl more clothed than fellow dancer Mara but less clothed than her sister Nara:

Dragon Quest IV - Mara and Nara

Possibly my inspiration for the original Ardis?

We did try darker skin for her during the design process, but my knowing that her name was Irish led me to stick with lighter skin. And while Ardis is technically still a half-elf, she’s now also a half-sylph, fitting in with Irish lore. She was one of my least developed characters back then, basically a glorified set of stats who filled a party slot and faded out of existence at the end of the game (because for some reason all the great RPGs on the SNES had people fading out of existence at the end of the game), but the modern personality I’ve come up with for her has made her one of my top five favorites to write for now.

* Random trivia time about Besarre! Like Ardis, I thought I was making up a name in 2000-2001, but it wasn’t Besarre at the time; he was named Bestiary and wouldn’t you know that’s a real word. He was also underdeveloped just like Ardis and even more than her, but his importance jumped massively in 2012 when I was penciling out the rough progression of the plot and figuring out how to tie different story elements together.

* Random trivia time about Leaf! Yet another tale of 2000-2001: Leaf was the name of a talking orange cat who was one of the 17 main characters instead of a girl who happens to carry a kittyara with her. But fear not! The talking cat is still in the story with a different name, color, and gender—and she’s coming soon!

More faces will be posted here as progress continues. =) And the trivia will roll in with them!

Dreamblazers Devlog: Week of October 20, 2014

Last week’s achievements

* Got a 3D model mostly functional on a 2D tile map
* Various story writing done (more than usual)
* Wrote flavor text for Impini, Gigarat, Greatwolf, Kobold Chief, Ogre, Vivavines

Current focus

Wrapping up character art, starting pixel art, and the transition to 2D.

Sample stuff

Flavor text for Kobold Chief:

Kobold chiefs best exemplify evidence of the common races’ belief that this species could develop and become one of them, like the florauna in the past. Chiefs exhibit multiple high-level combat tactics like body mastery, well-timed reinforcements, and even magic. Although their strategies are slightly let down by their middling strength, all kobolds serve exactly the right masters.

Flavor text for Vivavines:

One side effect of the Shield Our Surface mage rotation, instituted centuries ago, was an upswing in vivavines. These plants always existed in small number, having become carnivorous and more animated by absorbing latent energy from the natural mana flow, but they truly flourished with access to barriers and healing magic continually pumped across the planet. Vivavines primarily aim to trap beasts and siphon energy from them for extended periods, but their own success actually keeps their population in check; after draining a beast for a while, they cease to absorb mana and return to being passive vines.

Weekly goals

* Write bestiary flavor text for remaining enemies
* Figure out how to use 2D Toolkit (and other Unity assets if needed) to get basic top-down map movement functional


One step closer. Previously I couldn’t even make a 3D model (the kind more natural to Unity) operate in a 2D space since it was unmovable or would go through things, so, even though functional 2D still eludes me for now, I’m one step closer. That made me happy enough to focus on that for the week, but I’m still not there quite yet. =P

One bright side of this 2D bottleneck is that I’ve never looked forward to writing the storyline more than I do now. I’ve always enjoyed writing flavor text, of course, but the entire beauty of flavor text is that it’s optional and therefore gets to break all the rules. For example, Metroid Prime is proof that “show, don’t tell” doesn’t apply in video games—it earns the right to tell because the telling is both the reward for and a process of discovery. There are entire backstories about the space pirates and the Chozo and you’d never have the tiniest hint of either one if you don’t seek them out in two ways: physically examining each room for scan points and mentally piecing together the scattered information you’re given. That’s the kind of writing that excites me.

Well, that kind and getting cutesy with alliteration and rhyme and rhythm and homophones.

But the player has to see the main storyline.* So my usual free-form fun with writing feels extra pressure to get all the details right, convey few enough to keep things moving at a good pace but also convey a sufficient number that people know everything they need to know, and so on.

That said, pressure is preferable to not knowing what in the world I’m doing for weeks on end. =P Looking forward to finally figuring this 2D thing out…

* Given infinite resources, I’d make a Gameplay-Only Mode where the story is turned off and even the antagonists join the party as playable characters, kind of like the Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones post-game. After all, if they have no story then they have no character, so there are no moral conflicts or personality incompatibilities. Anything goes and the player who turns off the story is rewarded with superior character choices. But given finite resources, well…