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Thread: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

  1. #1
    Frost's Avatar
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    NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    NEPETAQUEST 2011

    Back in early December, Hussie posted the following snippet on his formspring:

    "There are major characters, and there are minor ones. If you're waiting for me to fire up NEPETAQUEST 2011, don't hold your breath."

    Long story short: we're making this hapen. The last thread, which started as a joke, somehow graduated into a full-fledged plan for an indie RPG game, with around a dozen active contributors. Since forty pages of scattered discussion might be a bit uh discouraging to newcomers, we agreed to recreate the thread, using this OP as a running summary and introduction to the project.

    One thing that I think needs to be made clear: this project isn't a hopeless pipe dream. We've designed it from the ground up to be achievable by a relatively small and disorganised team. Don't worry about the things you contribute going to waste.



    CURRENT FOCUS

    We've finally settled on a graphical style for the battles, and completed our base battle sprite for Nepeta, as below.





    We're now looking to complete similar battle sprites for the seven remaining trolls that are involved in combat. Their base sprites have been completed, and we're now gradually improving and refining them until everybody's happy.

    Nepeta: Complete and animated!
    Gamzee: Complete and animated!
    Karkat: Complete and animated!
    Vriska: Improving.
    Terezi: Near Completion.
    Equius: Improving.
    Feferi: Improving.
    Eridan: Near Completion.

    Incidentally, if you want to make any small changes to the above sprites, feel free to post them in the topic apropos of nothing. No guarantees they'll be used, but there's a good chance they will be. You'd probably be better off searching the end of the topic for a recent version of each sprite; those in the OP aren't guaranteed to be up-to-date.



    PLOT

    Thanks to a ridiculous amount of talking in the previous thread, the game's plot is almost completely finalised. Spoilered below. It's a bit of a text-wall, but I think it makes for a pretty interesting read.




    Due to all of the work and thought that's already gone into the plot, I'm afraid we're not too interested in making any major changes, unless the summary specifically notes otherwise. We've spent a good twenty pages working on it; it's about time we moved on. We will, of course, be doing a certain amount of refinement when we actually come to create each level.

    Since the plot is more-or-less one massive fanfic, we're going to be writing a lot of dialogue, and doing a certain amount of choreography for the field scripting. If that interests you, you're welcome to chip in.



    GAMEPLAY

    The game will play as a fairly typical 2D roleplaying game, along the lines of Paper Mario, Golden Sun or Final Fantasies one through six. The player will adventure through levels and dungeons, collecting treasure, fighting enemies and bosses, and holding big plotty conversations. Thinking of Final Fantasy VI for the walkaround segments, and Mario RPG for the fighting segments, wouldn't be too far off.

    For simplicity, we're going with a two-person party: Nepeta and one other troll. Based on the above plot summary, the playable trolls will be Nepeta, Karkat, Equius, Gamzee, Eridan and Vriska.

    While our ideas for the battle system are condensing relatively slowly, we know the following things:
    • Most battle abilities will be interactive. For instance, if the player presses the correct key just as a troll's attack connects with the enemy, that troll gets a free second attack.
    • The battle options will be Fight, Special, Run and Item. Items will play a non-trivial role, and will be used for offense as well as healing.
    • The only equippable items in the game are fursuits, worn by Nepeta. Each fursuit influences her stats, and is represented on her battle sprite by a palette swap.
    • Each troll gets their own special attack. These aren't quite finalised, but our most current ideas are below:
      • Nepeta gets Roleplay, an ability based on her current party members. It will likely be themed on a companion troll's zodiac sign or lusus. For instance, Roleplaying with Vriska might produce a "Spider's Poison" attack.
      • Karkat gets Rage, the effects of which we haven't yet decided on.
      • Equius gets Strongjump; he leaves the field for twenty seconds or so, then returns to execute some sort of powerful attack on the target.
      • Gamzee gets Summon. This allows him to use some type of item that isn't accessible through the Item command; for instance, various colors of Special Stardust collected throughout Gamzee's level. Each item has a different terrifying-clown-themed effect.
      • Eridan gets Improvvise. This allows him to reverse the effect of a given item, using up two of them in the process. Potions deal damage, antidotes inflict poison, and so on. We're not quite sure about this one; suggestions are welcome.
      • Vriska gets Steal. This might steal items, attributes, or exclusively luck. Vriska's Fight command will also, of course, be modified to reflect her unique weapon. It's possible that stealing luck will cause the Flourite Octet to conjure more powerful effects.

    In terms of "bonus content" and replay value, we seem to have boiled it down to two things: A "Replay Mode" in which you can play through any of the levels with your choice of party member, and a single challenging secret boss in the final dungeon, who can only be fought if the player has scored 100% completion.



    PROGRAMMING

    The game is being programmed as a standalone Java application. It will therefore be playable on any major OS.

    We currently have two programmers; myself, and Geekthras. I'm afraid the distribution of work, and the fact that we're well on top of the workload, means that we're not looking for additional programmers. An up-to-date testing version of the game will in the future be linked here, to track down bugs and so on.



    GRAPHICS

    We've recently put a lot of thought into the game's graphical style. Very soon (but not yet!), we'll be able to start collecting graphics and putting them together.

    The most important decision we've made is that the graphics will be low-resolution; that is, the game will be rendered onto a halfsize framebuffer, giving it a "pixellated", "retro" or "scaled up" look. This should make graphics creation much faster and more straightforward.

    We'll soon be looking for the following pieces of artwork. If you're interested, be sure to speak up.

    • Field and in-battle sprites for each of the playable trolls, plus Feferi, Terezi and Ghost Aradia. Male and female templates will be provided.
    • Field and in-battle sprites for each of perhaps 25 enemies; robots, pirates, wildlife, and the residents of the final dungeon. We might get lazy and do some palette swaps somewhere. The game has only three bosses that are going to require difficult oversized sprites: Crabdad, Equius' Computer, and the final boss.
    • Sprited tilesets for each of the game's settings: Karkat's hive, Karkat's town, The Alternian Wilderness, the Temple's exterior and interior, Terezi's forest, Equius' hive, Eridan's hive, and the High Seas.
    • Digitally painted battle backdrops for each of the above. You'll be given a simple template, but beyond that, the only direction we'll be giving you is "make it look as nice as possible".

    When it comes to graphics, I'm afraid we are going to be enforcing one rule- if you contribute artwork to the project, it may be modified or discarded without warning. We don't have room for hurt feelings if we redraw your sprite for the sake of quality or consistency. Of course, we're not going to be Nazis about it; in a project like this, a mishmash of styles is inevitable and valuable.



    MUSIC

    Music is now being produced at a fairly rapid rate, but more contributors are of course welcome. We're looking to have at least one walkaround theme for each level, probably multiple battle themes, and of course auxilliary tracks for things like the introduction and main menu.

    The following tracks (many of them WIP, and most of them excellent) have been posted to the topic:

    The La2t Meow by Geekthras and konec0.
    Playful Hunt, Snow Crash and No Pounce Nooooo by konec0.
    Aradesque and Good Morning by Geekthras.
    Clockpurrk Ruins, Item Get!, Mecha Nova, Industrial Wasteland and Scorpion's Fang by Dudemaster47.
    Hive Covered in Water and Exploration by The Z-W.



    IRC: #nq2011 at Esper.net
    Last edited by Frost; 01-09-2011 at 09:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderately Interesting GEMPadre036's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Hello new thread! Finally, we're moving forward. YAY!

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    Party Captain AdminGorg Drillgorg's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    I want you guys to know that I am with you every step of the way.

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    Master Derpgineer Geekthras's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Woo progress!

    Eridan's special ability should be EMPIRICISM which removes any special ability (fakey fake magic) of an enemy (temporary effect on a boss, presumably)
    Last edited by Geekthras; 12-28-2010 at 03:29 PM.
    abstractPrescriptus on Pesterchum - Nepetaquest 2011 programmer and musician - Soundcloud and Tindeck

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    Unsolicited Opinion Snuffleheim's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Whew! Just get a whiff of the new-thread smell!

    I vote for the Fountain actually being the Fountain, with little extra meaning beyond what it already means to Nepeta. Also, we must find a way to insinuate lolcats somewhere.

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    I miss my ceiling fan. orderboundChaotic's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Great OP, Frost. Very organized and clear.

    Just had a thought for an Ashen level enemy: Teapot Kitty Pirate. Could shot cannons from its teapot's spout. Possible robotic non-pirate version usable in Pale.
    Last edited by orderboundChaotic; 12-28-2010 at 03:34 PM.

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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    From one big joke to a full-fledged project. I hope to contribute in any way I can, plot/dialogue/gameplay wise. Keep up the good work Frost/Snuff/GEM/Geekthras/oC/etc!

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    Unsolicited Opinion Snuffleheim's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Nice to have some new talkers here, too!

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    Frost's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Eridan's special ability should be EMPIRICISM which removes any special ability (fakey fake magic) of an enemy (temporary effect on a boss, presumably)
    Hm. I think that waiting until the battle system is more fleshed-out will lead to a greater range of possible abilities; we don't need to finalise everything right this minute. We might end up implementing a "stagger" system, for instance, making Eridan's ability the obvious "automatically stagger every enemy using Ahab's Crosshairs".

    And thanks for the good wishes, guys. Kind of shocking to realise how many of us there are, heh.

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    Doesn't Really Look Like Luffy BlueYoshi's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepeta Fanbase
    This game needs cats!
    I was thinking that cats could represent save points. They don’t seem to be involved in the main plot, and players will expect cats/lolcats in the game, since Pounce seems to be at the cave for the entire game. Nepeta can feed a cat (small animation of Nepeta leaning down, her hand hovering near the cat's face), and the save screen can open, asking you to save. Cute cat music (meow meow) can be played when you interact with a cat/save the game. Sea lions are the save points in the ocean environments, much to the disappointment of Nepeta.

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    Frost's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    That is... actually an amazing idea. I mean it's not like wacky save points don't have a heavy precedent. I'm imagining them being actual wandering NPCs that you can interact with, rather than just cat-shaped abstractions.

    The "ocean environment" is on a series of boats. Ship's cats seem blindingly obvious, heh.

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    Unsolicited Opinion Snuffleheim's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    What about Catfishes? Ship's cats works too.

    Edit: But what about the Shipping Wall? Wasn't that an idea for an in-game menu, or something?
    Last edited by Snuffleheim; 12-28-2010 at 03:53 PM.

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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Well. I was lurking the other thread since it was just fun and games - now this new thread's started up, I figured I'd stick my nose in... I see you want pixel pushers? I might be able to add my tablet to the cause... better at sprites than tilesets, though.

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    Frost's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Edit: But what about the Shipping Wall? Wasn't that an idea for an in-game menu, or something?
    Level select screen.

    Well. I was lurking the other thread since it was just fun and games - now this new thread's started up, I figured I'd stick my nose in... I see you want pixel pushers? I might be able to add my tablet to the cause... better at sprites than tilesets, though.
    Niice. Do you have any opinion on the big pixels versus little pixels thing, towards the bottom of the OP? Hate to bug you about it, but it needs to be sorted before we do like any graphics work at all.

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    I miss my ceiling fan. orderboundChaotic's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Cute kitten save points? How did it take this long for someone to think of that? So, maybe the shipping wall could be the pause menu, or something.

    Edit: Yeah, it is the level select, but it would be nice if the pause menu was not just a bland list. Of course, the pause menu is very low priority.
    Last edited by orderboundChaotic; 12-28-2010 at 03:59 PM.

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    Moderately Interesting GEMPadre036's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Honestly, love the kitten savepoint idea. It is simple yet purrrrrrrrrfect! Also, shipping wall is level select.

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    Unsolicited Opinion Snuffleheim's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Huh. Maybe the kittens are weird manifestations of the fourth wall. When you interact with them, the menu you get is actually them interacting back with you. Things like, "if you want to change levels, you should go look at your shipping wall." But more kitteny, of course. Oh! Mebbe in lolspeak?

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    shadowedPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frost View Post
    Niice. Do you have any opinion on the big pixels versus little pixels thing, towards the bottom of the OP? Hate to bug you about it, but it needs to be sorted before we do like any graphics work at all.
    Fair enough. Not sure which I prefer overall for now - lo-res graphics, big pixels, give more of a 'retro' feel, I guess? Is that something we're aiming for? It'll look more like an 'emulated old console game' than a 'developed for PC screen/new system' game - with the references to the RPGs that're inspiring this, it seems to fit. But the hi-res graphics give more space for the little details and whatever. ... I'm probably going over stuff that already got mentioned, sorry.
    I'll have to think on this a bit, I'm afraid...

    And also endorsing the kitten savepoints.

  19. #19
    Frost's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Edit: Yeah, it is the level select, but it would be nice if the pause menu was not just a bland list. Of course, the pause menu is very low priority.
    Since I'm probably in charge of programming it: while out of battle, the pause menu is likely to double as the "party management" menu, Final Fantasy style. We'll definitely need some way to view items and statistics, and it could include any number of other things (such as, say, a map). No sense in doubling up that sort of thing.

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    Cuter Than Pizza Dudemaster47's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Genius idea: Eridan's special is SCIENCE! (exclamation point included). In it, he waves his magic...I mean his SCIENCE! wand and a various effect happens, which will either heal the party or hurt the enemy. It could cause a status effect, buff, pure damage, plain healing, give a character an extra turn (definitely should have a chance of doing that to enemies as well), just simply have an entirely random effect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Isoraķatheð Zorethan
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    I should have a battle theme ready sometime soon(ish).

  22. #22
    Frost's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Holy christ fast work.

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    Untouched mezzoEmrys's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Boink!
    You are now eternitiesReflected. You have gained a tumblr recently, so that is cool.

  24. #24
    Pyramid Slayer Moderator Esrever's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    i think the ending should be a pointless mind-screw that needs about 3 sequels to explain what even happened.



  25. #25
    Doesn't Really Look Like Luffy BlueYoshi's Avatar
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    Re: NEPETAQUEST 2011: Incredibly serious business.

    Wow, good to see the cat save point get some positive feedback. Wandering NPC's sound awesome and adorable at the same time.

    With the shipping wall, I agree, it works best as a level select. It would be pretty cool if Nepeta wrote some text over the quadrant option after completing it (example: sad smiley faces and diagonal line crossing the red heart for the flushed quadrant/part of the wall).

    @Dudemaster

    I think that'll work. It fits him to a tee. Only problem is Karkat's rage special. Wasn't rage supposed to do something like that (it was mentioned in the old thread somewhere)? Well, the effects of Rage are unknown now, and the status effects special attck probably suits Eridan better.

    @Esrever

    3 sequels! Oh nooooooooooooooo....
    Last edited by BlueYoshi; 12-28-2010 at 04:20 PM. Reason: It's not a post from me without editing something.

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