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Time RPG Engine
« on: December 31, 2014, 06:56:14 PM »
I've been creating an RPG engine that incorporates time in a way few games have.  I'd like to say no game has done it, but I'm sure there has to be some out there.

While the engine is not complete, I thought I'd share the current progress.  The main feature on display is the constantly flowing time.  One of the major pieces is character change through aging.  Character stats and graphics can be altered from year to year.  All of it is customized through the game creator application.  The idea is to reduce the amount of experience grinding needed.  There will be support for characters becoming too old to adventure.  A year or two before a character's max age, they will hint that they don't have much longer.  Eventually, a character could die.  On the flip side, a new character could become available because they are of fighting age after several years.

The other major time element will be events that are triggered through time.  The main evil boss isn't sitting around waiting for you to show up.  They have plans that they are trying to accomplish.  For example, a dragon may be released after 5-10 years that goes around destroying towns every few months.  These events would cause a permanent change to the world.  A player would no longer be able to access those areas.  New areas could also be opened up over time.

Time passage is per second of real time.  The two modes available currently are minute and hour of game time.

The calendar is customizable.  The calendar of this game is one month with 4 days to keep the demo short.  This game example shows a chicken from egg to chick to chicken over 3 years.  This example also shows a cave opening after a few days and a sapling growing into a large tree over 4 years.

The demo isn't a representation of the game I'm going to be working on once the engine is complete.  It is mostly just a little example.  The graphics were created by me, so they're pretty terrible.  I am looking for help with art and music if you know of people with skills that are interested in early Final Fantasy games (Final Fantasy 6 and 4 primarily).

I'm also working on a game creator along side this engine.  This will be the primary location to create and alter RPGs.  The example was made entirely using the game creator (graphics and sound created outside and imported into the creator).  However, I can't release a demo of it as it isn't user friendly.

You can download the current progress at goo.gl/6jsM1j.  The README will provide control information (it will also repeat most of what is here, but is a little out of date).

Here are the current features of the game engine:
Progressive time
-Character aging
-Events executed based on time
-Transition from one map to another
-Vertical and horizontal looping
-Three layers (behind hero, same level as hero, and in front of hero)
Party screen
-Inventory screen
-Equipment screen
-Status screen
Combat (currently accessed through Options in Party screen)
-Basic combat for Hero and Enemy
-Multiple sub events fired for one event
-Giving item to party
-Changing map
UI Navigation
UI content dynamic to position of UI pieces
Xbox 360 Controller support
Keyboard support
Save support


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Re: Time RPG Engine
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 11:20:33 PM »
Pretty cool demo. Looks like it could also be a good foundation for a tactical RPG, e.g. Fire Emblem.

As for helping out, I've got some limited pixel art skills, but nothing on par with what the artists who did FF4 and FF6 were able to produce. Great games, though. I'm definitely interested in any RPG you might make that reflects the aesthetic of that era.

Anyway, looking forward to any further progress you make with this.


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Re: Time RPG Engine
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2015, 07:16:35 PM »
Fantastic idea, I had a similar concept mapped out a while back but it wasn't nearly as complex as this. Mine revolved around a 30 day game time limit (hour or two = a day) and certain events can be avoided by going too early or too late, some of which help and some don't. There are some time mechanics I'll keep secret that I had because I still want to use them, but who knows, maybe I'll throw them your way sometime. ;)

I've always been interested in the whole idea of making it so time is an actual factor for games, but in my mind the most important thing to remember is to make it so it's intriguing more than it's stressful. I'll keep my eye on this topic and hope to see more being pumped out in the months to come.


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Re: Time RPG Engine
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 10:48:10 PM »
I do enjoy tactical RPGs like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, so maybe the engine will support this type of battle in the future.  The initial version will probably cater to the game I'm planning on making, but I want to expand it to support ideas for other people.  The engine will be for more than just myself.  I'm wanting to make a game creator for others that may not have as much programming skill or interest.

While skill for art or music is important, I'm more interested in finding people that are passionate about what they do.  If you are passionate, then you will naturally improve.  I need to get the engine fleshed out more before I can start working on my game anyway.  I'm planning on getting the game started in 3-5 months.

I've thought about the time causing stress to the player.  The time element is mostly there to be something interesting as well as help reduce a common problem I hear about RPGs, experience grinding.  Personally, I don't mind experience grind as much, but I can understand the complaint.  To offset potential abuse of leaving the game on overnight the first time you run it so that you're automatically stronger when you actually start playing it is to put in some consequences to waiting too long.  I don't want to harshly punish the player.  I don't want it to be a "countdown to doom" kind of thing.  It should feel natural.  As a player is exploring, they get stronger.  Not just from fighting battles, but also from time passing while exploring.  An alternative to time progression could be "I pushed a rock out of the way, +Strength" or "I solved a puzzle, +Intelligence".  Each of these would then translate to combat enhancement.

I thought about adding some kind of time travel so that a player can go back if they missed something or waited too long.  I decided against it, at this point, as it might be a solution to a problem that may not exist.  I need to create something so that the player is notified ahead of schedule of major changes.  I don't have a solution for this, but it could be something like talking to an NPC that happens to know the latest world gossip "I heard there's a dragon in the North.  The towns there are in danger!" or it would be some item/menu option that does something similar.  The other thing I need to do is prevent major events from being close to each other so that the Player is unable to respond quickly enough.

You don't have to give me ideas that you want to work on unless you don't think you'll get to them.  I've had a few friends give me ideas of games that I could create with the engine.  I've usually replied with "That's a good idea.  I'd like you to be able to create it".  What I want to eventually get to is an engine that people can use to create a game that they want to.  One friend wanted me to create a combination of Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.  Sounds pretty cool, but I don't think that fits with my current game.  Maybe version 2.0 of the engine will support time travel.

I work on this project three days out of the week.  That time may increase if my other project slows down.  I appreciate the interest and I'm trying to get some kind of update out once a week, but sometimes it ends up taking another week for an update.