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Thread: NEW Dreamcast RPG "Elysian Shadows" - Pre-Order Your Physical Copies Now!

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    Default NEW Dreamcast RPG "Elysian Shadows" - Pre-Order Your Physical Copies Now!

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    Just in case you haven't read this yet, here is a neat new Kickstarter project to make a technically advanced 2D RPG on SEGA Dreamcast. The name of the game is Elysian Shadows, and its trailer speaks for itself.

    To get a physical copy for either Dreamcast, Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows, it's $49 for the regular edition and $125 for the limited edition. Will you jump on the bandwagon?

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ext-gen-2d-rpg

    Here's an example of the game engine at work. The shadows and lighting are done in real time; these things are not merely pre-rendered sprites. [ https://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/assets/...6325_large.gif ] The game features real-time directional lighting, colored lighting, dynamic shadows, scaling, rotation, a day-night cycle... well I'm sure if you have seen the trailer, you know about which I'm writing.
    Last edited by Nz17; 08-06-2014 at 05:06 PM.

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    I watched a few videos, liked what I saw and chose the Dreamcast version.
    Thanks for the heads up!

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    This project has a lot of the red flags that I avoid when supporting Kickstarters. It's an inexperienced team that has already put almost 8 years into the project with mediocre results and they are extremely aggressive in trying to support a large range of platforms for what would appear to be an inadequate amount of money as the goal. They also seem more interested in touting their work on the engine than the actual story or gameplay which makes sense I suppose as none of them have ever really worked on a released game or an RPG. Personally, I care about gameplay and story more than technical aspects or graphics on RPGs, so I just am not sold at all on what they are selling. I also just don't see this as a good risk given what has happened with other similar Kickstarter video game projects in the last few months with inexperienced teams and inadequate financing coupled with expansive ambitions.
    Last edited by Bojay1997; 08-06-2014 at 06:54 PM.

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    Just watched the kickstarter video. I'm wondering why he said "We're not trying to create a retro game..." Then why are you releasing it for the Dreamcast with Super Nintendo graphics? I couldn't really hear too clearly what he said after that, the sound quality of his voice recording was really poor and it was covered over with loud music. I also had to look up the video on youtube as it wouldn't load on the kickstarter page, I'm not sure if I'm alone with that.

    The in game text also looks too small compared to the size of the characters on screen, hopefully that will be changed. I am surprised they're using a custom game engine instead of RPG Maker, just based on what the game looks like I thought it was RPG Maker.

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    I don't know if this will help anyone to make up one's mind, but here is an hour, forty-two minutes long interview which "Sega Addicts" conducted with the developer.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    I am surprised they're using a custom game engine instead of RPG Maker, just based on what the game looks like I thought it was RPG Maker.
    I don't know if this statement was sarcasm or not, but RPG Maker is a Windows-only game engine and it doesn't support many of the features of the engine of this game.

    However, I do agree with you that the sprites and background artwork are... less than thrilling. I am really hoping that they are just placeholder graphics.

    I don't know, perhaps I will lower or cancel my pledge amount... I'll have to think about this some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nz17 View Post
    I don't know if this statement was sarcasm or not, but RPG Maker is a Windows-only game engine and it doesn't support many of the features of the engine of this game.
    I wasn't being sarcastic, I've seen plenty of games made in RPG Maker and many of these games released as freeware actually look better visually. I haven't kept up with newer releases of RPG Maker so I assumed they just improved it to add those newer features, soon afterwards I learned that it was a new custom engine.

    As for Windows-only;




    As another point, I don't get some of these pledge offerings. I'm more surprised people have paid for these.

    Pledge $750 or more
    THE DEVELOPER ============================= Create your own sidequest within Elysian Shadows with your area, map, or house, and your item, NPC, or enemy ● Signed concept piece for proof of authenticity ● Optional invitation to come crash on our couch for a few days and help us realize your creative vision.
    You have to pay $750 to help work on the game for them? If your sidequest isn't good, will it still be included in the game?

    Pledge $500 or more
    THE EXPERIENCE ============================= Come crash on our couch for a few nights and experience the authentic life of indie game development, complete with drinking coffee out of mason jars, participating in software discussions, complaining that our artists' assets don't work in the toolkit, and finding all kinds of bugs for us. ● You can also guest star in a Chapter of "Adventures in Game Development," and even promote your own gamedev project!
    Pay $500 to sleep on their couch?

    There's several more pledge levels like this, to pay them to work on their game. To pay them to beta test and look for bugs. Usually this is done for free, asking for volunteers. Or kept within a tight group to keep stuff from potentially being leaked before release.

    Plus they want to make each platform release unique to their respective platforms with different content between them, yet they also want to make the save files swappable between them. Would this even be possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Pay $500 to sleep on their couch?

    There's several more pledge levels like this, to pay them to work on their game. To pay them to beta test and look for bugs. Usually this is done for free, asking for volunteers. Or kept within a tight group to keep stuff from potentially being leaked before release.

    Plus they want to make each platform release unique to their respective platforms with different content between them, yet they also want to make the save files swappable between them. Would this even be possible?

    Actually, on Kickstarter, that's a fairly common pledge level. I can't recall if I've ever seen someone actually pledge for one of these though.

    I'm also hoping that they're using place holder graphics at this point in time, otherwise it sort of feels like they're spending a lot of effort layering shadows over ugly graphics. Do the shadows have a gameplay/storyline tie-in? Why bother with them at all otherwise? I also hate the inconsistent graphic styles, either do a 2D world or a 3D world, but if you don't have an integrated reason to flip flop between the two then don't.
    Last edited by Daria; 08-08-2014 at 10:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    I wasn't being sarcastic, I've seen plenty of games made in RPG Maker and many of these games released as freeware actually look better visually. I haven't kept up with newer releases of RPG Maker so I assumed they just improved it to add those newer features, soon afterwards I learned that it was a new custom engine.

    As for Windows-only;


    Not to mention that the Dreamcast also has Windows CE built into the system itself to make converting from Windows to the Dreamcast easier for programmers. Not sure if there was ever a version of RPG Maker made for Windows CE, but if there was, there's your answer. If there wasn't, I could see it being easily converted to work with the Windows CE Tools and Libraries. Just saying as people seem to forget this little tidbit about the Dreamcast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daria View Post
    Actually, on Kickstarter, that's a fairly common pledge level. I can't recall if I've ever seen someone actually pledge for one of these though.
    It's mostly the "benefits" of that pledge level that I was questioning. Sleep on their couch, drink coffee out of a mason jar, etc. What else? Do we get to use their pee bucket too?

    Even the previous entry for "The Architect" is better at the same pledge level, but it's still a type of do-the-work-yourself gimmick. "Create your own custom house, map, or area for your item, NPC, or enemy to inhabit! Signed concept piece for proof of authenticity." Usually if you get something like this put into the game like your name or a NPC in your likeness, it's the game developers who put this into the game for you, you don't have to do it yourself.

    Maybe they're just wording the rewards poorly, but that part about proof of authenticity is throwing me off. Why would you need this if it's in the game? Or is it to prove you programmed a part of the game? I'm just used to other Kickstarters like the Leisure Suit Larry one as an example mentioning a limited hardcover autographed artbook for the same pledge level. This type of stuff just sounds different than sleep on their couch for a few days.




    Just mentioning RPG Maker games again, I'll post one below. Honestly, which RPG would you rather be playing?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    As for Windows-only;
    *Sigh* I've known about the PlayStation "RPG Maker" release for over a decade by, you know, owning it since it was new back in the day. Played through the little kitty-cat-takes-over-the-world sample RPG included with it too. But just like the PS2 release of "RPG Maker 2," I wasn't considering it as a part of this conversation since, you know, both of these releases are ancient by today's standards, aren't supported by the developer and publisher anymore, are much more difficult to use than their Windows successors, and don't really offer the option of making professional software available for sale, particularly (for all versions & releases of "RPG Maker") as they are not as cross-platform capable as the "Elysian Shadows" engine. I should know: I've been following these guys for years including their sporadic "Adventures in Game Development" video series.

    You can't just make a game in RPG Maker on Windows 8 and run it on a PlayStation, PlayStation 2, or any other platform of your choosing. The closest to "cross platform" which RPG Maker's engine gets is by running on multiple versions of Windows and WINE.

    But if you want someone to acknowledge that these two PlayStation releases exist, there you go.

    Quote Originally Posted by T2KFreeker View Post
    Not to mention that the Dreamcast also has Windows CE built into the system itself to make converting from Windows to the Dreamcast easier for programmers. Not sure if there was ever a version of RPG Maker made for Windows CE, but if there was, there's your answer. If there wasn't, I could see it being easily converted to work with the Windows CE Tools and Libraries. Just saying as people seem to forget this little tidbit about the Dreamcast.
    Erk, uhh, ahh, haah... nurgh!

    RPG Maker has never been available for Windows CE. However the "Elysian Shadows" game engine is highly portable and compatible by being written in the open graphics standard of OpenGL ES as well as other popular open standards for the rest of the engine.

    Windows CE was pretty much just "Windows" in name, sharing very little code with the mainline OS series. The Windows OS's from back then were very different technology-wise from Windows CE. Those two types of Windows from back then are about as close as Windows Phone is to the Windows OS's of today. While it did help to port games if the program used technologies present in both types of Windows, it was more often the case that the games couldn't easily work as ports because they used features too different or not present in Windows CE. Plus you also have to consider the hardware limitations of the Dreamcast platform which limit the possibilities of ports. Windows CE on the Dreamcast was more for marketing than anything else - it was a way of saying, "Hey look, the big company Microsoft has faith in us! Support our system. Please program for our platform; port if you can!" Ultimately, though, that partnership led to the later help and partnership SEGA and MicroSoft gave to each other in the post-Dreamcast era.

    @Daria: Yeah, I frequently see a lot of those "visit us for big money" pledges at the higher level tiers in Kickstarter projects. Personally, I would have pledged to one of these high levels in some of the projects which I've supported if I could have. A lot of people don't understand that at these "make a level, character, statue, portrait, boss, enemy, stage, mini-game, house, environment, song, weapon, etc." tiers, what the devs really do is help you to design some of these things based on conversations you have with the developers, simple doodles you make, and the like, instead of making the whole thing yourself. It's a way of adding your personal touch to the game, and they really are a way for people to get something extra special and limited as a way of saying thanks for their big amount of generosity.

    And of course, the beta or alpha or early access versions of the games - while they are for finding bugs and making feature requests and UI requests - they are in these Kickstarter projects primarily as a way to get the games to the backers earlier than the general public. Even earlier closed alphas or betas with the development team generally happen before giving the crowd-sourced-funding providers access to the project's code.

    It is a new world of game development, similar to but different from the old world.

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    *pokes the fire*

    There was an Super Famicom release of RPG Maker as well. :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daria View Post
    There was an Super Famicom release of RPG Maker as well.
    That would explain the graphics.

    Of course my post was only pertaining to official releases in our territory. But just to get this out there:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    PC-8801, MSX2, PC-9801, Microsoft Windows, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
    Obviously not all of these platforms would have shared the same code base even if they shared similar designs. But given how text-heavy RPGs tend to be and how arduous text input on consoles without a keyboard is, I think designing anything significant on most consoles would be a nightmare. Thankfully for the ideogram-based and syllabic-based Asian languages, their key input sequences shorten input significantly over semi-phonetic languages like English. Sharing code on the "non-computer" platforms, though, would still be difficult compared to the computer platforms listed above as consoles would need people to use link cables, save carts, and memory cards to swap games which they had made - and forget trying to sell anything commercially as buyers would need a copy of RPG Maker for the target platform and you'd have to sell them memory cards with the "games" on them or trust them to return the hardware after they'd copied the data. Far from impossible, but still far from ideal.

    ...

    Getting back on topic though, what do the rest of you think of this long-in-development Dreamcast RPG "Elysian Shadows?" Anyone else going to pick up a copy even if just a digital-only one? The project has already raised $88,908 of its $150,000 goal with 22 days left to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nz17 View Post
    *Sigh* I've known about the PlayStation "RPG Maker" release for over a decade by, you know, owning it since it was new back in the day. Played through the little kitty-cat-takes-over-the-world sample RPG included with it too. But just like the PS2 release of "RPG Maker 2," I wasn't considering it as a part of this conversation since, you know, both of these releases are ancient by today's standards, aren't supported by the developer and publisher anymore, are much more difficult to use than their Windows successors....
    I guess it makes sense that it's important for everything to still be current and supported by the developers, which is why they chose to design and release their game for the Dreamcast over current consoles<cough>.

    As I've said I never kept up with the progress of this release, or any indie/homebrew game. I only went by what the game looked like to me. I do know that programming for older consoles like the SNES and Genesis required more specialized programming, I just assumed that the Dreamcast would be modern enough to still be compatible with modern programming tools.

    Also, the Dreamcast can play PS1 games using Bleemcast so using PS1 RPG Maker didn't seem completely impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nz17 View Post
    Getting back on topic though, what do the rest of you think of this long-in-development Dreamcast RPG "Elysian Shadows?" Anyone else going to pick up a copy even if just a digital-only one? The project has already raised $88,908 of its $150,000 goal with 22 days left to go.
    I'm going to assume most people won't buy it since there hasn't been any reply in a few days. Hoping this topic will still get more on-topic discussion.

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    I considered pledging since my Dreamcast needs some RPG love, but (besides spending most of my money on something else already) this thing honestly doesn't seem... well, its probably unfair to say it won't be that great, but like others have said I kinda wonder if their heart is in the wrong place.

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    For the record, aside from the generic town graphics, this game looks nothing like an RPG Maker title. Also the team appears to be made up of professional programmers who wanted to program their own game. Which would also explain why the project is very technically heavy and weak in areas of story and graphics. My biggest turn off from the project is how vague it's been on what the game's actually about. Like I mention in my last post, I don't care about real time shadows unless they serve to further the gameplay. It seems like the developers made a list of "cool" features and built a game around them. Perhaps they didn't, but that's how its being marketed.

    I read in an interview where they talked about storyline, and they painted it with similarly vague brushstrokes. They said it had a lot of political intrigue and humor. So in other words they said a lot that told me nothing.

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    Now they are at $118,757 of their $150,000 goal. We're seeing good progress with ten days left to go.

    And in good news no matter where you stand on the game itself, the devs have announced they are going to release their in-house-developed game engine, ESTk, for other potential eager Dreamcast developers to use. See this post on Kickstarter for details. It appears much easier to use than the Linux, command line, and C programming tools of the Dreamcast indie scene's past, with a modern, sleek interface and powerful development options. So even if "Elysian Shadows" doesn't turn out so hot, it could certainly give rise to someone else making something marvelous for the SEGA Dreamcast.

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    So I jumped into their Twitch stream last night and directly asked them what the story was about. Patryk (SP) said that he didn't want to give away any spoilers and proceeded to describe the game's setting. Apparently there's ancient magic lying around that scavengers go out and salvage for big monies because it's a dangerous job. The hero[es]? come across something special and story happens.

    He also said that the story was "all in his head" and it's "generally cool". All I'm going to say is this game had better have some bitchin' gameplay.

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    The story hasnt been penned yet, the engine is underwhelming, and everything looks amateurish... I truly hope they succeed and surprise me the same way water melon did, but they just look like a bunch of stoners with too much ambition.

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    I've been following their dev videos here and there for a few years now. The engine programmer has been the only real constant; the rest have been a revolving door of various team members. I have basically zero faith that there's going to be some great story there, but I still hope the game gets made.

    I think the project is interesting for some of the same reasons I find ulillillia's game development interesting. All of this extraneous shit that doesn't seem like it needs to be there at all keeps getting piled on to the game engine; whereas in the case of uli's game, the extraneous stuff is mostly in the form of focusing on minute graphical background details the player is likely never even going to see.

    The prevailing perception seems to be that, in order to be successful, a game needs to have all its ducks in a row before it leaves the gate. It needs to have a concise design, with a minimalist laser-like focus on stripping away all elements that don't serve this primary function. So there's this part of me that hopes that people who are going the other direction are somehow still successful; that throwing all of this random shit into a blender results in some form of fun coming out on the other side, however flawed it may end up being.

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    The prevailing perception seems to be that, in order to be successful, a game needs to have all its ducks in a row before it leaves the gate. It needs to have a concise design, with a minimalist laser-like focus on stripping away all elements that don't serve this primary function. So there's this part of me that hopes that people who are going the other direction are somehow still successful; that throwing all of this random shit into a blender results in some form of fun coming out on the other side, however flawed it may end up being.
    Really that's the basis of good project management, pinpoint your primary objective and cut out any fat that doesn't support it. I'd say the reason that they've been in development for so long is that without a concrete plan in place their game just keeps evolving. I'm really leaning towards backing this, I mean honestly the game looks like a train wreck but their enthusiasm is admirable. I really like that they're releasing the dev tools, this may be the start of some cool things being done on the Dreamcast. My greatest fear of backing it is that the game just never gets done, but I'd like to support the development.

    I guess what I'm saying is even if the game turns out to be not very good, I can still appreciate it for the things it does get right and the heart poured into the project.
    Last edited by Daria; 08-23-2014 at 07:37 PM.

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