Well, that’s it. The story for Elegy has been planned out in its entirety!
Yesterday Dave and I took a trip to Bento Miso to finally take some time after Fan Expo to regroup and figure out our next move. We decided that with all the features we have in-engine it was time to shift our focus explicitly towards story and content. Not that I’m biased or anything (I am) but I think we’ve got a real doozie of a campaign for
you to play.
What I can say is that it will take place across three distinct Acts, and throughout you will be forced to make some difficult choices about who to help, who to seek out for support, and try and find a way to defeat the Void. As far as what those branching paths are, well, you’ll just have to wait and see!
While I’m on the topic, I thought it would be fun to look at some really cool game stories that influenced both our theme and campaign style. When I was little, RPG’s were my life. I was pretty much a Squaresoft fanboy before I knew that fanboyism was a thing, but in hindsight I definitely was. The 3 games which definitely influenced this game are
Final Fantasy Tactics, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI (III on the SNES way back when).
I still remember my grandmother coming by one day with this game that I had talked so much about, that game being Final Fantasy VI. I must have read that Instruction Manual a thousand times, poring over the gorgeous art inside, and trying to glean as much information as I could. I remember quite vividly trying to make sure that if I was at a point
in the game that had a screenshot in the manual, I had to have my party members at that exact level. Needless to say I probably spent about 50-60 hours just grinding through battles, having no idea what I was doing. It wasn’t until I got near the end of the World of Balance that the actual weight of the story hit me. I was playing a game about characters I had come to love, characters who’s fates I was deeply invested in. I remember getting choked up when Locke and Celes had their little spat after all the crazy events that went down with the Sealed Gate. This was the first time that games really made an impact on me in an emotional way, and that moment alone solidified my love for game-based story telling. I can only hope to one day bring that sense of heightened emotion to someone with Elegy.
Chrono Trigger impacted me in a similar way. The story was one of the most unique and intriguing I had ever played (I was probably 8 so there wasn’t much else to compare it to yet) but it still stands as one of the best stories I’ve ever played. The thought that characters could die, or that I could control their fates by jumping through time really stuck with me, and I feel like it helped influence my desire to add a lot of choice to Elegy. I want the player to forge their own path based on their gut instinct, and be a little less clear about what the ramifications of that might be. There was definitely a lot of interpersonal struggles in CT that I really loved, like the whole conflict between Frog and Magus, or Robo’s abandonment from his kin. The list of these kinds of interactions is pretty long, and I won’t spoil too many. This is a must-play
in my opinion.
As for Final Fantasy Tactics- Where do I start. This game, to this day has one of the most original stories I’ve encountered, and a lot of it was only made evident to me through a recent playthrough. At first pass, little pre-teen me could not understand the kind of weighty story this game had. But, with a little more life experience, and a keener eye for stories, I quickly realized that the significance of the events that transpire in Ivalice ran very, very deep. Deeper than the Airship Graveyard even. The thing this game taught me was that the best stories are not always about the hero, or that the most heroic of figures is not always given the credit they deserve. To think that someone could so selflessly defend a world that seeks to devour itself in the name of what he believed was right is a really important theme to me. No matter what the
consequence, Ramza always pressed on. If you haven’t played this game, please do so. It should be mandatory.
I’ve tried to hint at some really important stuff here. Formative concepts and stories that have helped to shape who I am as a world builder. A true love of video game
storytelling. As we have now reached a really important point in Elegy’s development, we can start bringing the world of Delta to life. I can’t wait to let you in.
At its heart, Elegy is a twin-stick shooter. When we first came up with the game concept, we knew that we wanted to make a top down shooter, but the exact feel of the game wasn’t yet decided on. At the time, I had been playing one game in particular that had a large influence on Elegy’s eventual feel: Super Stardust HD (herein SSHD) for the PS3. SSHD is an arcade shooter that shares an important aspect with our game, that of three attack styles which can be quickly switched between to tackle different problems. By pressing the shoulder buttons, you switch attacks, with no attack ever more than one button press from being active. In Elegy, the Guardians work the same way, though using a control scheme with a keyboard the shoulder buttons are substituted for Q and E by default. While this scheme is quite natural for a controller, it ended up being easier to use on a keyboard as well when compared with a standard number key selection.
The second similarity is most pronounced when using a gamepad. To attack, one simply holds the attack thumbstick in the desired firing direction, with the exception of magic attacks that must be charged before firing. This lack of a standard attack button frees up space for controls, and keeps things simple. As I usually tell people who are new to shooters in general, never stop firing. If you are always shooting, holding down a button at all times is unnecessary, so a control button for that functionality can be omitted. With the mouse, however, the left mouse button must be held to fire. That control scheme doesn’t benefit from the simplification, but holding a button on the mouse tends to be easier than a corresponding trigger hold on a controller might be, at least in my opinion.
As with any game in development, things are subject to change, but the core controls will likely remain as they are going forward. Control remapping will be fully supported (as of now there is rudimentary support for such, but the underlying code for that system is a year old and haunts me with its rickety nature. It will be re-done), so players will be able to switch the scheme to any one that better suits them.
Just looking at the art and already loving the look of this; will be adding this to bookmarks. Are you releasing this onto steam or doing it some other way, either way i want to know.
Thanks for the interest! We’re a little ways out from release, so the details haven’t been completely figured out. We’d love to release on Steam, but there’s no guarantee that we (or anybody, for that matter) will get on. Regardless, we plan to have a way for you to purchase directly from us when the time comes. Keep checking back for more news, as we will be sure to let everybody know when plans become more concrete. You can also view our IndieDB page at http://www.indiedb.com/games/elegy or interact directly with Scott and I at our respective Twitter accounts: @ascottgamble and @djozefacki
It’s been quite some time since we updated this blog, but I can assure you we’ve been hard at work. Dave has gone to huge strides to finish up the engine, and we’re in good shape to start developing the meat of the game now.
It’s been a slow and gruelling process, but we’re finally starting to bring everything together. Levels are taking shape. The story for the campaign is all fleshed out, and we’re now starting to actually write the levels that will pad out the middle section of the game.
It hasn’t all been sunshine though. We are definitely heading into the real grind of the development cycle, where we take all our ideas and prototypes— our rough hewn stones— and start polishing them into shiny diamonds.
One such item that had been sitting unchanged for some time was our protagonist. Back when we started working on the game, I had the “wonderful” idea of hand painting frames of animation. The character on the left was the result of that. It looks decent right? Well, the downside was that this was only 1 of 128 frames I ended up having to do. It looked alright, but I quickly learned how inefficient this process would be moving forward. In the past year, I have made great strides to learn as much about 3D modelling as possible, and this new hero is the fruit of that labour. Although it has been frustrating as hell getting this character modelled/rigged/textured/animated, that’s all done now.
Slowly but surely we are polishing those rough hewn stones. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s all starting to take the shapes we want and that is pretty exciting.