Merry Christmas 2018: Huge update vid and Patreon is up!

Merry Christmas everyone.  First up, here’s a massive 20+ minute video with some serious updates and footage. The timestamps are in the video details on youtube. A quick shoutout to Jacob Woodruff goes out as well, who made a lot of remade sprites for Alucard. As well as one goes out to Mario Santos for the new wolf design and the bunch of animations he created. And a HUGE one goes out to my current artist as well for all of his hard work and dedication in remaking many of Alucard’s and adding in countless new animations for bat and wolf form!

As always, donations can be made on paypal to esco1979@cfl.rr.com and you can subscribe to my patreon as well at http://www.patreon.com/sotnhacked

I covered lot in the video, so I’m going to be relatively brief here: the goal is to get a demo out this year. Followed by a Patreon. I’m also interested in having a forum set up for brainstorming, feedback and bug testing purposes. If anyone has a site where one can be set up for me like this, please feel free to outreach me ASAP. I have received several offers in the past. So let’s see how many of those people will still put up now that the time has come!

………… no, I won’t be using Dischord. That suggestion has been offered several times and there are multiple reasons why I have chosen not to use it.

Another good question that came up, was in reference to modability. Allow me to reiterate again that the engine is being coded in a way that will make it very user-friendly experience for people to go in and add new things. This means lots of notes, things arranged in a hierarchal and logical fashion, etc. I included a screenshot below displaying my actual workspace to better show what I mean, along with some of my code:

Anyone who codes can tell you that trying to learn and modify someone else’s code is NOT easy. Luckily, the engine is being coded in Unity using C#. Which, in itself, automatically makes modifying things a much less daunting task. But it will still require a person to know how to code and use the Unity editor if they want to make changes. I know people want some magic spell that just makes adding new stuff a button click away…. but that’s just not realistic.

Mind you, I won’t be releasing the code immediately. That will come way later after all the secrets have been discovered and I have finished adding content to it. But it will eventually happen.

Anyway, I’ll discuss mod making at a later date in more detail. For now, there is a much more important subject that I wish to cover. And that is concept art. The project is now at the point where concept art is DEFINITELY needed. While myself and the few people I have working with me have a TON of ideas, it always helps to get feedback from the community. I mentioned this briefly at the end of the vid, but the images found below are actual concept art for the new first stage: the graveyard.

Both of these were done by the artist on my team. And are perfect examples of how to submit assets or even whole rooms for a new area. The first one is what I went with, but there are also a number of assets in the 2nd one that I am having being turned into sprites as well. Submissions like this are extremely helpful and really assist in stimulating the creative process. Even something as simple as the barebones sketch below helps too:

At this point, I could definitely use suggestions for things like room layouts, enemy positioning, decor and various assets that could be used throughout the stage, etc. The flow of this first new area will be:

Graveyard (with a small mausoleum or two we pass thru in it) -> church leading upward -> town of Aljiba (which was rebuilt slightly after Rondo, but still mostly lies in ruins) -> back out to graveyard and boss

Any suggestions, concept art, tiles, etc. can be placed in a comment here. But again I am ONLY looking for ideas for this one stage at the moment. Admittedly, I’m looking forward to seeing what creative things people come up with. I have gotten some really creative ones in the past, and I always look forward to implementing things that will make people go “Wow, that is really nuts!” or “Man, that’s brilliant!” Those are the extra touches that I think make a game really shine.

Anyway, at this point, I’ve said more than enough for the moment. Stay tuned to this blog for any future updates and videos on my progress. I will be putting up a lot more things for the coming year of 2019!

 

Advertisements
Posted in General | 28 Comments

Update 12/25/17 – MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

Happy holidays peoples! It’s been a bit since I put up an update so I wanted to take a few minutes to drop one today as I tend to do most years on Christmas day. As a way of me saying thank you to all the fans who have been so patient with this project!

First up: here’s an intro for the first stage of the game that MeadTree created. I intend to implement this in at the start of the graveyard/besieged town stage which takes place before the castle entrance stage –

Second: MeadTree has also been hard at work creating new icons and weapon animations for Alucard. Here are a sample of some of those:

And also a video of some of the weapons in action. Besides 2 of his normal slash attacks, I also show off his 2 handed sword/club attack (on the ground and in the air), along with his launcher as well:

Credit goes to Jacob Woodruff for making the new Alucard animations. He greatly expanded Alucard’s sprite set from being in the 250-300 range to him having over 800 sprites and created sprites for the project for well over a year! His dedication and contributions are truly appreciated.

There are also two new tracks in this video: Mad Forest by LashMush and Dwelling of Doom by Jason Spishock. Two extremely talented composers who created these tracks specifically for the Castlevania: SOTN Engine. I wanted to take a moment to thank each of them for their generous contributions!

Lastly: Classic Richter’s animations have been completed as well. This is the version of Richter that will be used during the intro stage, NOT the main game. Many thanks again go to Meadtree who has diligently been working on animations for the last 2-3 months and has created a large number of AMAZING sprites for the project in a short time. He not only managed to improve the overall animations themselves and make them look more fluid. But he also gave Richter a more detailed upgrade that is a mix of his classic Rondo attire and his DXC version!

I also wanted to take a moment to thank each and everyone who made a donation to the project this year on my Paypal account at esco1979@cfl.rr.com! While I generally only give shoutouts to anyone who contributes $20 or more, please know that I do appreciate each and every little bit I get in. It really does help considering the fact that I am not a rich man at all. :mrgreen:

And on that note, since it’s Christmas day, I am going to hop off here and go spend some time with the fam partying! Stay tuned here for more updates. And in the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone. And a Happy New Year to you and yours as well! :mrgreen:

Posted in General | 78 Comments

Update 8/22/17: I’m not dead.

Yup. There’s your update people.
Related image
………….. lol, no seriously. I’ve still been working hard on the engine, in the free time I have. I have a ton of stuff I’d love to share…. but no time to do it now. My new job has been keeping me EXTREMELY busy. While it’s good because now I have WAY more funds to invest into spriting….. since it’s a new and professional level job, it is also a lot of work. Which equals less free time UNTIL, much like with my old job, I get good enough to have down time at work and can then mess with the engine there as well. Which seems to be getting very close after almost 3 months there.

So…. I’ll just leave this here: one of the new pop up animations that many enemies now have.
Also, I WILL be needing to hire 2 new artists: a spriter to do enemy sprites and various environmental objects and one to do backgrounds/foregrounds/tilesets. Anyone interested can feel free to message me here with an example of his/her work.

So that’s it for now. Hopefully soon I can put up a much more full update. I know everyone has been waiting a while and I really do appreciate the fans I have and all the patience they show me.

Posted in General | 37 Comments

Fan input & ideas wanted for the first NEW stage!

So since the last update, I have been hard at work coding in more of the animations for Alucard and making various revisions to existing code in the hopes of finalizing everything that I have done already so that I can move onto the phase of trying to get some kind of demo out. I have also been updating the cost sheet for Alucard with 3 new animations that have been done for him (special thanks to Jake W. for his work) and a $50 donation I received recently (special thanks to Philip B. for this second one from him). I will be putting the updated cost sheet up on my next post once the last 2-3 animations I need are done for Alucard. The 3 animations that were done just done are:
  1. an overhead sword/club swing (similar to the great swords from POR)
  2. an aerial version of this same move, and
  3. another aerial attack that is a spear/2handed sword stab that drops straight down.
Other than that, the next thing I have planned is to have someone continue working on redoing classic Richter’s sprites from the Prologue and Rondo of Blood. If anyone feels they are up to this task, please contact me ASAP.
But, the other big thing I have been thinking about is what I’d like to release within a demo. Yeah, I could release just the Prologue stage. But that just sounds………….. lame. I already did that when I made the GameMaker version and I really don’t want to just do that again. I really want to release something where you can play as Alucard. So that you can test a good number of his moves, controls, and gameplay out. I would like to see how people feel about all the new stuff and get a chance to see for themselves that this is all a reality.
The BIG problem there? The Castle Entrance is no longer planned to be the first area after the Prologue. I plan to have 2 areas before it, so I have no intent of releasing a demo with the entrance. The first area I had in mind being a sort of graveyard and ruined town area. I would really like it to start off with a quick scene of Alucard breaking out of his tomb in this graveyard, then starting the stage making his way thru the graveyard, with graves both in the foreground and all over the place in the background as well. Then up some kind of mausoleum/church (similar to CV3’s first stage), and then have him go thru a ruined town of some kind. Ending with a boss battle back in the graveyard on the far edge of town (again similar to CV3) with Malphas.
I even had an idea in mind where Alucard would have to save a few hostages here and there from cultists intent on sacrificing them. The town I had in mind specifically, would be what’s left of the town of Jova/Aljiba from the beginning of Dracula X. I would imagine that after Dracula was beaten, that in the past few years maybe some hermits or cultists would have moved into what is left of it, and possibly even fixed up a bit of it. But that’s as far as I get with this conceptualization.
So that’s what this thread is for: concepts to elaborate on that idea. And not just WRITTEN IDEAS for areas, traps, decorations etc….. but for anyone who would like to do some kind of concept art or sketches or drawings of any kind about it. I would really like to hear what kind of stuff you guys would like to see in this first area. What should Alucard’s tomb look like inside AND outside? What about the graveyard? How should the remains of the town look and the building he ascends? What should be in there? What about scenery, enemies, etc. What else could we throw in to be creative and spice it up?
Fan feedback is really wanted here. I think this would be an excellent opportunity to involve more of the community in this project as well, which I have wanted to do for quite some time. I have seen some AMAZING works created by Castlevania fans out there from sprites, to fan fiction, to drawings…. the list goes on and on. So here’s your chance to see your stuff be in the game. Feel free to post all your ideas, drawing, etc. in the comments below. If this thread is successful, I could see myself doing quite a few more of these. If I use anyone’s ideas/work I’ll be happy to credit them for it of course.
Let those creative juices flow people and spread the word about this too. It all helps. And as always, thanks for the support. 🙂
Posted in General | 62 Comments

Update 12/24: Merry Christmas everyone! Video and Cost Sheet inside!

Ok, so in my last update I promised an itemized sheet detailing the expenses related to Alucard’s new sprite set. And I am a man of my word so I have put that information into an Excel sheet here, INCLUDING any donations over $10 that I have received (For those curious, below that range I received one $10 donation and three $5 ones this year). NOTE: that this sheet does NOT include of the necessary new animations needed for the weapons themselves like spears, swords, etc., which are still being worked on now: sotn-cost-sheet
The bottom line after donations is that I am still down by over $2300. So donations are a HUGE need right now and can be made via paypal to esco1979@cfl.rr.com. Considering the costs, for any other characters, I WILL have to get some kind of fund raising going (the exception being Classic Intro Richter who is part done already) or they just won’t be getting made. Because it’s just not feasible for me to spend about $2000 each for New Richter, Maria’s full moveset and any other characters I try to put in (which I have concept info and full move sets for 3 more Castlevania characters besides them). Not to mention the new animations that will be needed for enemies, effects, weapons, etc.
The other issue of course is time. With more funds, I can afford to pay more artists at once, which equals much FASTER progress. Alucard’s sheet was scheduled to take 3-6 months. But took about 10 months instead since all I could afford was to have only a single artist working on it. Luckily I had one that was truly dedicated and who put his very soul into each animation he crafted.
I understand how before anyone dedicates any major funds that they, of course, want to see what they are getting. And I fully understand that. So my intention is to get all of the new animations for Alucard implemented ASAP, and show a working demo of the game so that people can truly see what I am trying to make a reality for the fans. Hopefully, that will stimulate others to want to help more in any way that they can. As they say: seeing is believing.
Anyway enough about money. Let’s talk about gameplay some! 😀 I decided to expand on Alucard quite a bit. I wanted to make the combat system quite a bit more in depth compared to the original game of basically slash/dodge/slash/dodge etc. I wanted to include things such as the ability to pop up some monsters, knock back others, dealing with enemies who have armor that reduces the damage done to them and being able to actually combo attacks into each other. I wanted you to feel like you had something to handle ANY scenario and for the controls to feel very free exciting.
At the moment, the combat system for Alucard works like this:
  • X (square on playstation controllers) is the normal button for each weapon set. B (circle on PS) is the strong button for each weapon. You switch between both weapon sets by hitting R1 (which can be done during attacks, allowing you to change weapons mid combo).
  • Pressing Up+X uses sub weapon 1. Up+B uses sub weapon 2. You get to choose these at the start of each stage and at menu checkpoints mid-stage if you want to change. There are currently 5 sub weapons: Hellfire, Summon Spirit, Stopwatch, Agnea and one final one. All of these can be used in the air and ground and have animations. The bat still has bat fire which is heavily improved and the wolf has a new howling sub weapon.
  • Blocking with a shield is done via L2, Mist form is set to R2. These both share a guard meter that refills slowly over time.
  • R1 is to do your chosen crash. At the moment there are 5 in human form: Tetra Spirit, a heavily modified Dark Inferno, Power of Sire, a very modified Soul Steal and one final one that I won’t spoil. But trust me when I say longtime fans of the series will get a serious thrill from it. Wolf form also has one: the old moon rod special has been modified into a new Crash called Crescent Moon.
  • Weapon Set 1: Swords & Clubs are designed to be faster, with less range, but allow you to chain attacks in mid-air. The video below demonstrates the basic 4 hit ground and 4 hit air combos for this weapon. They do overall the most DPS, but less damage per individual hit and less stun/knockback amounts than:
  • Weapon Set 2: Spears & 2 handed swords have more range, more damage PER hit, but overall DPS is lower than weapon set 1. These also do more damage to armored enemies than weapon set 1. However, these only have one attack in the air, so no aerial chains. On the ground, they both have a standing 3 attack combo.
  • Weapon set 1 has an attack that can launch enemies into the air, while weapon set 2 has a knockback move that can smack enemies back.
  • Attack priority goes from blocking with a shield, normal attacks, to sub weapons, to special moves, to crashes/mist. So as you see in the vid you can do 4 sword attacks in the air, cancel that into hellfire, cancelled into valmanway, then into mist form if you needed to dodge a counter attack. You could even start it by doing a 3 hit ground combo ending in a launcher, then go into the series above (assuming the enemy didn’t die halfway thru it).
  • Speaking of specials, Alucard has Valmanway, both form changes and the ability to summon a Demon Familiar. Has also has one or two more specials that I won’t be spoiling here. These take MP and generally have cool down. I was originally going to give Alucard a 2nd type of Shadow MP…. but after extensive testing it just felt like it was unnecessary.
  • Wolf Form: has a bite attack, a sub, a crash and a 2nd normal MP costing attack using the runesword. He still has a dash too though it does work different now.
  • Bat Form: has bat echo, a sub and a charging attack now. It also can summon bats to acts as drones to it and can hang from the roof.
I’ve attached a video here that shows off some of his animations as well as how fluid and more modern the attack system is. This includes being able to cancel attacks, more speed, more maneuverability, etc. The white object that you see getting hit is a dummy enemy used for testing purposes. For those with a keen eye, you will notice several combat nuances in addition to the many changes in this video. Please note that effects are missing from this video as are things like weapon attack animations. Some have yellow placeholders and others just aren’t there. That is because those are things that are all WIP and to come later. I also don’t show off a number of things that I may change later as the game is still HEAVILY in development like swimming.
But I wanted to put something out there for the longtime fans of this as all of you have been very supportive and patient. And I thank you for that. I know I haven’t updated a lot in the last few months. Believe me when I say that developing a game on your own that originally was designed and created by a team of professionals while still paying your bills and dealing with all the JOYS of real life is very, VERY time-consuming. But it’s something I am truly passionate about and enjoy doing. Sadly real life (and bills, lol) have to come first, and that causes lots of unexpected delays. But as always I keep plugging away. And gladly so.
Anyways, Merry Christmas everyone. I’m off to celebrate with my family. Stay tuned for more updates!

Posted in General | 13 Comments

10/28/16 ANOTHER quick update:

The engine isn’t dead and has made a TON of progress; Alucard’s sprite sheet has been completed….. blah blah blah, coding in swimming information for Alucard, blah blah blah, made the shaders I needed etc. etc. blah blah…. blah blah…. blah…. and… blah.

…………… oh wait, you guys want more details? Lol, ok then. 😛 Let’s put it this way:

  • Alucard’s original sheet was a little under 300 sprites; mine is at 682. That isn’t counting wolf form or bat form of course. It took about 10 months to do and cost about $2265 (which is far more than I thought it would but the results are really amazing). A detailed cost sheet will be released soon with lots of cost details since I’m sure many of you are curious about why and would like to some details. SPECIAL THANKS GOES OUT TO LVLV & PHILIP BOYNE who each contributed $50 to this endeavor, for a total of $100. It definitely helps. 😀
  • Weapon animations are now being done for Alucard and should be completed within 2 months. I would love to go into more detail here, but a video would explain things much easier. Which I plan to put up in the next few weeks
  • Alucard now has an actual swimming animation along with attacks for it. These are limited to sword/club attacks and the Valmanway/Crissaegrim as a special. I am in the process of coding swimming in along with a new collision box for it. One limit will be that Alucard will NOT be able to change to wolf in the water now since I don’t plan to have sprites made for swimming in wolf form (which would be at extra cost and somewhat useless overall).
  • I taught myself CG shader in the last 2 months or so and managed to create the majority of the rest of the shaders I need. Which was a daunting task in itself. As it stands now, there are just 2 effects left that I may need help on: one is Olrox’s death in his 2nd form where pieces of skin fall off and then pieces of the skeleton revealed underneath blow away (which may need to be done manually piece by piece) and the other is the part of akmodan’s death where he disappears pixel by pixel as that same pixel blows away (which I have a few ideas on too).

In any event, I look forwarding to put up a video showcasing lots more stuff in the next few weeks. Since I know that seeing is believing. I actually meant to put one up for a while, but I always end up thinking “I’ll just do this one more thing and then throw one up.” Which then turns into another thing…. and another… and another…. etc. etc. ad infinitum.  Anyone else out there who programs, I’m sure knows EXACTLY what I mean. 😉

Donations as always can be made to esco1979@cfl.rr.com.

Thanks for the support everyone. And your patience.

Posted in General | 27 Comments

5/1/16 A very quick update:

Hi, everyone. I’m not dead and the engine is still constantly being worked on. Alucard’s sheet is about 70% done which has thus far cost about $1,100 (no that is not a typo; you get what you pay for and sprite work is EXPENSIVE) so any donations would really help speed things up here. I am also working on bat form right now. Just about everything else except wolf form for him is done coding wise.

I know how panicky people get when they don’t see updates for a while, but rest assured that a LOT has been done these last few months. I just have an extremely busy schedule so I haven’t had time to update the sites with a new vid. Any free time is instead spent on working on the engine.

Stay tuned for a much larger update soon! And thanks for all your support! 👍

DONATIONS TO HELP PAY FOR SPRITE WORK CAN BE MADE TO MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT: esco1979@cfl.rr.com. If you make one, please leave me a comment with your name and letting me know how much so I know who to thank.

Posted in Uncategorized | 54 Comments