Announcing One Night: Ultimate Edition!

The horror returns.

Are you ready to survive the horrors of “The Complex” all over again? That’s right – today I’m officially announcing One Night: Ultimate Edition is coming soon to Steam and itch.io, the first in a series of updated re-releases planned to bring the One Night series to a brand new audience. Just as its name suggests, One Night: Ultimate Edition is an overhauled re-release of the original One Night, featuring a brand new soundtrack, an updated engine, new maps, an entirely rewritten story and other cool things.

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Now with updated screen rendering!

First, let’s get the most important (and contentious) thing out of the way: One Night: Ultimate Edition will be a commercial release, retailing at $3.99 USD. There are a few things I’d like to clarify about this price. First of all, it’s mainly intended to offset the Steam Direct fee and other associated publishing costs. Secondly, this price point puts it in right about the same ballpark as the Steam re-releases of RPG Maker horror classics Mad Father and Misao, which were both also previously available for free. Finally, the original free version of One Night (complete with its cheesy writing and outdated engine) will still be available at no cost wherever you originally downloaded it from. You’re not really paying for the game itself here – the idea is that you’re subsidizing the considerable work required to update a 10 year old game to a presentable modern standard.

So, if that’s the case, what are you paying for? What exactly is new in One Night: Ultimate Edition? Behold!

What’s New:

New graphics and overhauled environments.

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Every map in the game has been touched up.

The original One Night was made in 2008, using basically just the RPG Maker VX RTP and whatever handful of “sci-fi” tiles 16 year old me could find laying around. Needless to say, it hasn’t aged particularly well. In the Ultimate Edition, each and every room in the game has been tweaked (and in some cases, entirely rebuilt from scratch) to make each location more visually appealing. Important rooms are now distinct and contain unique set pieces, and The Complex now actually resembles a place where real people may have actually lived and worked. Maps aren’t the only visual elements that have been spruced up, either – monster designs have also been entirely overhauled, both to make them more intimidating and alien and to make each monster type more visually memorable.

Engine improvements and quality of life tweaks.

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Can you believe it took 10 years to get a wound counter?

As my first full featured release, One Night had quite a few design oversights and engine limitations that I simply couldn’t work around at the time. Do you remember monsters continuing to creep up on you while you mashed through flavor text, or not knowing exactly how much health you had left? The Ultimate Edition updates the game’s engine and mechanics to work how they were originally intended. Monsters will no longer move while text is displayed. You can now see how many wounds you’ve sustained at any time. You can actually take files and memos with you, and your inventory is organised by item type. In addition, the screen rendering code has been completely rewritten to upscale better and more smoothly on modern systems.

New and revised gameplay content and pacing.

Not everything in the Ultimate Edition consists of tweaks to already existing content. I’ve thrown in some new stuff, too. Where the original late game (just before crossing over to the other side of the “merge”) was mainly boring backtracking with the same old enemy types, we now have new monsters that show up to make exploration tense again. A couple of new rooms have been added to The Complex, and the game progression has been slightly tweaked, meaning you’ll do different things in a slightly different order. Exploration and puzzles have been streamlined and some new scares have been added in, too.

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Completely rewritten dialogue.

Last but most certainly not least, every single line of text in the game has been rewritten. What was amateurish storytelling 10 years ago is now actually functional. The personalities of the main cast are far more apparent than they were before, and the convoluted backstory has been streamlined and tightened up. Even the descriptions you get when examining scenery have been redone to be more informative and flavorful. Continuity nods and foreshadowing to the events of later games have been tossed into the mix here and there, and additional story content to allow Mythos: The Beginning to serve as a prequel is also present.

Where and when can I get it?

One Night: Ultimate Edition is currently going through the Steam Direct submission process. This process usually takes a couple of weeks, and an additional rule is that a game page must be shown as “Coming Soon” on Steam for at least 20 days before going live. Please stay tuned for more specific release information.

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Heroes of Legionwood Character Building Guide!

Greetings, heroes!

Just like the previous games in the series, Heroes of Legionwood features a fairly diverse character building system, at least for an RPG Maker title. One glaring limitation with RPG Maker is that it’s often quite difficult to provide detailed information on game mechanics, and a common request from players is for an easy way to understand just how everything works. It’s taken a while since there was just so much to cover, but here it is!

Character Building Guide on Steam

This Steam guide is an official reference document detailing everything you need to know about character advancement in Heroes of Legionwood – how stats influence combat, a full list of techs and suggested roles for each class. If you’re the type of player who likes to plan out your character before starting a new playthrough, you owe it to yourself to take a look!

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Heroes of Legionwood: End of Days is coming July 28!

Hello heroes.

You’ve been waiting for the end, and it’s finally here. After a hectic few months of beta testing, balancing and bug hunting, we’re happy to announce the chosen release date for Heroes of Legionwood Episode 3, which will be dropping on July 28th, 2017!

We’re aiming to release DRM-free versions of the game on
our website[darkgaia.com], https://darkgaia.itch.io (along with the previous two episodes) and IndieGameStand[indiegamestand.com] at midnight, 12:00 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time on this date, with the Steam version to follow soon after.

DRM-free versions of the game will be standalone executables and, much like the IndieGameStand versions of Episodes 1 and 2, will not require ownership of the previous installments to purchase. The Steam version, as per usual, will be DLC. Save files will be cross compatible between all versions.

It’s important to note that, like all Dark Gaia Studios titles, the Steam release will be handled by our publisher, Degica, so the Steam release may not coincide exactly with this projected release date, but we will do our utmost best to try and make sure all versions release at relatively the same time. We’ll also be discussing the possibility of a “Complete Set” containing all 3 episodes at a discounted price, but this is still a ways off.

Are you ready to save Legionwood from the Darkness once and for all?

Posted in Games

Heroes of Legionwood #10: Final Touches

Hi everyone.

So, this is it. Despite numerous delays and quite a few missed release dates, development of Episode 3: End of Days is in the home stretch. Beta testing has begun in earnest, and we’re busy adding the final touches to the game’s content and balancing everything to make sure it plays as smoothly as possible.

As such, this isn’t really a devblog that goes into detail about any one thing (since I don’t want to spoil everything this installment has to offer) but is instead a kind of brief round up of some the cool things we haven’t mentioned yet.

Stealth Minigame!

While previous episodes weren’t light on puzzles or dungeon obstacles by any means, one thing they all seemed to have in common is that they were very passive. Aside from some of the stuff in the Weave in Episode 1, there hasn’t really been much in the way of active, timing based minigames or challenges in Heroes of Legionwood. Episode 3 contains a brand new stealth challenge (two of them, in fact, but they’re mutually exclusive and you’ll only see one in a given playthrough) where you have to sneak through a dungeon undetected. Stay out of sight and carefully dodge between hiding spots and you may just make it through without any trouble. Bring along a character with the Subterfuge talent and you’ll have a number of extra options at your disposal. If you don’t want to do things the quiet way, don’t fret, as you can just choose to fight your way through if you really want to!

Multiple Solutions!

As mentioned in a previous devblog, one of the main design goals of Episode 3 (and one of the ways in which it differs a little from previous installments) is a focus on player choice and non-linearity. Going hand in hand with the revised talents system, every quest in End of Days contains multiple solutions or different variations depending on your talents and previous choices. There are more Speech checks than ever before and almost every major NPC can be persuaded in some way. When entering some areas, you’ll be given multiple different ways to proceed (such as sneaking through or going for a no-holds-barred assault). Lesser used classes such as Gunner and Shaman have special options in certain quests to give them more utility. Even seemingly minor talents like Mercantile and Scouting may be put into use to even the odds in a couple of encounters.

The Great Outdoors!

In an attempt to return to Episode 1’s larger scope after spending most of Episode 2 in the city of Port Alexis, End of Days features an increased emphasis on outdoor areas and overland travel rather than dungeon crawling (though there’s still certainly plenty of indoor dungeons to plunder). You’ll cover quite a lot of distance in Episode 3 as your journey takes you across the vast Sonoran Desert, through winding canyons and even to places beyond Legionwood itself. Make sure you’re stocked up on supplies and bring along a character with the Scouting talent to make your travels a little easier.

Ending Slides!

Finally, we want to give you a glimpse at the ending. End of Days has 3 main endings, unlocked by conducting research into the Darkness, and each of those has variations depending on your choices throughout all three episodes, how you handled certain quests, your romance (or lack thereof) and your character’s overall morality score. If you’ve played any of the Fallout games or the original Dragon Age, you’ll be familiar with the ending slides describing what happens to each of the locations you’ve visited after the events of the game and what impact your character had on them. End of Days does something pretty similar, and we’re confident that you’ll be happy with the story’s resolution.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned for release date info and a couple of final announcements. We’re nearly there, folks!

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Heroes of Legionwood #9: Overhauled Talents

Hello again heroes.

This update is kind of a devblog and patch notes in one as it’s time to go into detail about Episode 3’s overhauled Talents system – something we’re also porting back into Episodes 1 and 2 with today’s 2.0 patch.

So, as I just said, the Talents system has undergone a considerable overhaul in End of Days. This is to facilitate the emphasis on different quest solutions in Episode 3 (as detailed by last week’s devblog) and add a little more depth to character growth between levels 20-30, where skill trees are mostly already filled out and options for spending AP were previously lacking. The main change you’ll notice is that your character’s Talents now have multiple ranks:

In contrast to Episodes 1 and 2, where Talents were pretty much a binary flag (either a character has it, or they don’t) the game’s most used Talents now come in three consecutive rank: Basic, Advanced, and Master, representing increasing levels of aptitude. Speech, Subterfuge, Mercantilism, Herbalism and Alchemy have all been split into these three ranks (Knowledge, Medicine, Awareness and Scouting remain unchanged) and how they work has been drastically changed.

  • Speech now gives your character a base 50% chance of successfully persuading an NPC (previously, you always succeeded no matter what), with the Advanced rank bringing this up to 75% and Master making it succeed all the time.
  • Subterfuge now works similarly to Speech, giving you a base 50% chance of disabling traps or finding hidden passages (and it’s now possible to fail and permanently break the trap/passage mechanism), with Advanced and Master ranks increasing this chance to 75% and 100% respectively.
  • Mercantilism now grants you a 25% discount when purchasing items from shops, with Advanced increasing this to 50% (the previous base game value). Where Mercantilism is really different, however, is with the Master rank, which expands the inventory of most shops in the game and unlocks rare, special items for sale.
  • Herbalism works the same at its Basic level. However, the Advanced rank causes more harvest spots to appear in the game, and Master makes the rarer herbs (such as Harp Leaf and God’s Mint) much easier to find.
  • Finally, Alchemy also works the same at its Basic level, but becomes much more useful at the Advanced and Master levels, which expand the number of mixable items and reduce their costs by 50%, respectively.

Needless to say, these changes allow for many more options during character creation and give your characters something to strive for outside of combat, which brings us to the 2.0 patch. In order to maintain consistency between all three episodes, we’re also implementing this system in End of Days and Resurrection, along with brand new and revised skill checks to make use of the new ranks. Your characters in the first two episodes can now access the Advanced and Master ranks of these talents, and they’ll actually unlock new content in the game.

Posted in Games

Heroes of Legionwood #8: Quest structure and focus

Hello there, heroes.

Development of Episode 3, End of Days, is coming along smoothly, so I thought I’d treat you all to a series of dev blogs detailing several of the game’s features and plot elements. In terms of design philosophy and goals, End of Days is actually a little different to previous installments of Heroes of Legionwood in a few notable ways, and I thought it’d be interesting to go into detail about what exactly you can expect.

The first notable difference between End of Days and the previous episodes is its scope and quest structure. Funnily enough, this is simply carrying on a pattern already established by Age of Darkness and Resurrection, which were both subtly different. Episode 1, Age of Darkness, focused on a journey over a relatively large geographical area, featuring several towns and sidequests requiring backtracking to previously visited locations. By contrast, Resurrection‘s structure was much tighter, featuring adventures set inside and around one city with a little less linearity.

End of Days is different yet again, returning somewhat to the linear structure of Episode 1 but retaining the content density of Episode 2. In short, you can expect Episode 3 to be a little more linear when it comes to area progression, with less of an emphasis on optional content, but with more to do in each area and a much bigger content ratio in the main story. To demonstrate this, check out Episode 3’s opening dungeon in comparison to the sewers from Resurrection:

As you can see, in terms of sheer size, Episode 3’s dungeon is definitely bigger, but there’s more to it than that. Unlike Resurrection‘s opening dungeon, this cave in Episode 3 has different versions depending on how you ended the previous installment, with different enemies, a different objective and alternate ways through. There are a number of skill checks and talent uses that affect the difficulty and the boss fight, too, and provide options for different party builds. Compared to Episode 2, there’s simply more content here – what might have been reserved for optional sidequests is right there in the story dungeon instead. The trade off, of course, is that there’s less of a focus on the optional stuff this time around. Side quests still exist, of course, but they’re much simpler and there are fewer of them, at least compared to stuff like the shipwreck exploration or the Champion’s Arena in Resurrection.

Most of this structure is due to the scope and context of Episode 3’s story. Basically, the stakes are high in End of Days (hence the title). The Darkness is finally descending, and you’re racing against time to re-unite the Lore Shards and stop it before there’s nobody left to save. You’re not simply searching for something, like in Age of Darkness, or engaging in faction politics like in Resurrection. With that in mind, it doesn’t really make sense for your characters to be meandering around doing sidequests. Instead, you’re moving quickly from one self-contained area to another in a linear fashion, but in each area there’s much more to do and more scope for your choices to affect the story itself. We’re wrapping up story arcs here – it’s all about building up to a satisfying conclusion.

And that’s all for now. Join us again next time and I’ll go into detail about how exactly we’re going about this. Episode 3 is where the consequences for your choices will finally start to manifest in a big way.

Posted in Games, Writing

The End is nigh!

Long time no see, adventurers!

It’s been a while since we’ve posted an honest to goodness dev diary about Heroes of Legionwood, so we thought we’d just report in and let you guys know what’s going on with End of Days, the third and final episode of the game.

The good news is that work on Heroes of Legionwood: End of Days is well underway and, despite some initial hurdles and delays, we’re well on track to release early next year. We don’t want to reveal too much about the content of the episode at this point (mostly because some of it still subject to change) but in terms of story and player choices this is going to be the biggest installment yet, and simply taking into account everything you may have done so far in Episodes 1 and 2 is no mean feat!

That said, here’s a quick list of things that will definitely be making it into the episode, and our main priorities at the moment:

  • Different opening questlines depending on your faction choice in Episode 2.
  • Continuation of your companion friendships, rivalries and romances.
  • Branching mid-game questlines to account for even more choices.
  • The chance to permanently lose party members.
  • More revelations about the Darkness and hints concerning its origins.
  • Multiple endings.

At this stage, we’re aiming for a February 2017 release, but this isn’t set in stone as this episode is easily the most ambitious one we’ve done so far. Stay tuned towards the end of the year as we’ll slowly dole out more previews and info about the episode’s content and story.

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