Brave Earth: Prologue Q&A

Just opening a chance for a Q&A for the game. Things are slow and no release date is in sight and people ask me for info on the game so just like, you know… ask away and in a week or so I’ll go write some answers. It’s hard for me to know what people wanna know about and I don’t just wanna give the whole game away right away!

Just don’t bother asking about a release because I doooon’t knoooow.

Brave Earth Prologue: Trevor vos Cruz

Bio

Name: Trevor Martinez vos Cruz
Age: 24
Race/Nationality: Aistorian Human
Height: 5’11
Occupation: Slayer for the
Holy Order of Saint Alistair

Stats

Offense: High
Defense: High
Range: Averge
Speed: Slow
Mobility: High

(art by Neolucky)


Trevor vos Cruz is the eldest child of House Cruz. Trevor was considered an exceptionally gifted child, being gifted both physically and in his studies. Trevor quickly gained rank and prestige in his Order and is a renowned Slayer for the church.

Reserved and studious, Trevor spends the majority of his free time reading or training, often to the neglect of other responsibilities. While seen as somewhat cold to most, Trevor has a warm and talkative relationship with his sister Naomi. Seeing her potential, Trevor has personally seen to her training from a young age, while also trying to teach her topics like history and philosophy.

Due to the large targets Trevor tends to fight, he was gifted the greatsword, Verbanner, a giant slab of a sword, milled from a cold iron slab. While naturally a slow weapon, Trevor’s immense strength allows him to wield to wield it with surprising speed, making it an ideal weapon for taking out giant enemies. Trevor needs time to recover from swings, which is represented by his charge gauge, which by default is represented by a value between 0 and 100%. The higher this number is, the faster and more powerful Trevor’s next attack will be. This gauge will naturally fill to 50% and can be sped up and pushed to 100% by holding down the Attack button to charge. While charging, Trevor’s movement is temporarily slowed. By picking up Sword Power-Ups Trevor can charge up to 200% (and up to 150% without charging)!

While Trevor can’t maintain a fast pace while wielding his heavy sword, he has developed a number of techniques which focus on short bursts of rapid movement to compensate.

Dash

Command: (c) + Forward/Back

A rapid dash that can be canceled at any point by an attack or a jump. If done in the air, the dash will ignore gravity and allow Trevor to span long chasms. The dash also gradually increases Trevor’s charge gauge and can push it over it’s maximum limit.


Dodge

Command: (c) + No Directions

A stationary dodge. Trevor dodges to the side and becomes temporarily invulnerable. If an attack passes by him during this time, Trevor gains further invincibility and a large bonus to his charge game. While powerful, Dodge is quite expensive to use.


Combat Roll

Command: (c) + Down

A quick roll. While faster than a dash, it is more expensive and takes time to recover. It can be used to roll under enemies, which, like the Dodge, will power up your Charge meter. The Combat Roll must be spaced properly so you pass through the enemy completely.


Leap

Command: (c) + Up

A high, floaty jump that exceeds Trevor’s normal jump height. It allows for full freedom of movement in the air and can be canceled into an air attack at any time. It can be used to dodge attacks or reach hard to reach places, but grants on bonuses to your charge meter.


Artwork: Naomi – Snowy Day


(from DA)

I wanted to do a quick little profile drawing of Naomi in a window, in casual clothing. “Quick” soon became “Weeks” as I decided to add details, like a stone arch window frame, or the bookshelf or the background.

I tried to work in as much little detail as I could. I wanted to make a ‘scene’ more so than a portrait and I’m pretty happy with the results. I wish I could have done certain things better, but I think when working on a large project, that’s unavoidable. Also tried to work in tiny little setting related stuf, but nothing too overt.

I’m pretty happy with it

Small BE:P Update

So I’ve finally had some time to work on Brave Earth: Prologue. I haven’t touched the game since ROFLcon and basically got back to doing this earlier this week. Instead of getting right back into content, I decided to make some bigger changes first. Most of this is without any context for you guys though. I’ll be talking about stuff you haven’t been able to play with so it might be hard to say why these changes matter. Either way, you guys keep asking for updates, so have one.

The Jump

Naomi’s jump has always been contentious. I really like the jumps of the old Castlevania games, but they didn’t go over well with everyone. I wrestled with this a bit and thought about making jump control for all characters be an adjustable switch in the options like Castlevania rebirth, but instead I decided to just change the jump. Naomi now has limited air control. She can’t control the height of her jump, but she has some control over her momentum. This is also rolled together with a general speed increase. Where as Naomi previously ran at a plodding 60 pixels a second (1 pixel every ‘tick’ of game logic), she now moves a whopping -66 pixels-, due to a staggering 0.1 increase in her walking speed! That sounds silly, but it’s … 10%, which is enough to make Naomi feel a tad faster on her feet. It also increases her jump distance. Now, none of you have played the game, so there is no frame of reference here, but generally what this means is I’m moving a bit away from “Castlevania” and getting a bit more actiony. A bit more speed and air control means I can make later parts of the game harder in a way that still feels fun.

Also, Naomi is in no ways “mobile”. She cannot turn around in the air line Sinlen can. If you start with a forward jump and hold the opposite direction really fast, Naomi will just barely overcome her forward momentum by the time the jump finishes. Basically, jump distances can almost be seen like this.

Jump Forward (than hold back immediately): Jump roughly one tile forward.
Jump Forward(than release): Jump two tiles forward.
Jump Forward(and hold): Jump 3 tiles forward.

You basically are fighting momentum when you try to change your air velocity. If you wanna have some idea what the jump feels like, imagine the NES Batman jump, but only like 40 pixels high and with no startup. So anyways the hopes for these changes is that Naomi will feel more responsive to players without actually compromising the need to be careful and plan jumps while also giving me a little bit more wiggle room in terms of design space. Hopefully this will be Win Win Win.

New animations

Over time, most of Naomi’s sprites have been changed to some extent.

Here you can see her sprite I made early on, followed by the one I had through most of development so far followed by the current one, which came with these images I posted on twitter months ago. I’ve also added lots of cool secondary cape animations, such as when she’s jumping or stops walking. I also changed what happens if Naomi mashes Attack


(for the old comparison, go here)

This doesn’t increase attack speed, but it does make consecutive attacks easier and looks nicer. It does sorta remove an element of timing (though you do sorta have to time the button press to do it perfectly), but we’ll see. If it proves problematic, I can add recovery frames to make it work out a little better.

Other Stuff

I’m updating the HUD. Not a ton, like some of the mockups that some people made on Twitter — I like keeping it clean and simple, but there is some compositional errors that make it look kinda butt. I’m also messing around with the levels to tweak balance and probably am going to add a few new enemies soon. Now, you guys haven’t seen a ton of enemies, so it doesn’t matter much, but you at least have some idea what I’m working on!

Also my Music Guy, Necrophageon is about to pin down some finished tracks, which really should finish the ‘tone’ of the game.

Brave Earth Prologue: Small Changes

It’s been awhile, so lemme give some updates on Naomi and Sinlen!

Naomi


First change is one to Naomi’s attack animation. While original the game had more of a “Castlevania 1” vibe, the tone of the game has been different from that for quite awhile. At the time, a simple attack animation seemed appropriate, but over time it began to feel outdated. As such a much more ‘ribbony’, fluid attack felt more appropriate. I’m rather pleased with the results.


Naomi’s shield has also been changed. Unpowered, her shield can be held out indefinitely for a small energy cost. Damage is then redirected to your energy. It’s not efficient, but it’s almost impossible to screw up. The parry is similar to the old version, but with a larger window and lower cost. It’s hard to use, but exceedingly powerful.

Sinlen

Bomber

Sinlen’s Arsenal always seemed a little too small. With Gunner being the ‘boring default’, and the Forbidden Knife being an weapon many players will avoid, Sinlen was left with 2 ‘normal’ weapons. Sinlen also had a lot more design space to work with, so I figured “Sure, why not?”. Bomber is a slow firing, high powered spell that detonates when the fire button is released. While expensive and slow, Bomber can one shot most enemies in the game and can do massive damage to bosses if aimed right. The projectile can also bowl through multiple enemies in a row!


Magic Break: Barrage

Barrage’s homing projectiles helps balance out bomber’s slow speed. Barrage summons out 3 projectiles that, after a moment, rush toward the nearest enemy. They don’t do a lot of damage, but can clear out hard to enemies with ease.


Gunner and Renka have some updates too. Gunner not only gets a nicer sprite, but a slower projectile speed with higher damage. It makes it a little harder to spam, but all together more useful as it can do real damage now. While Gunner still scales with energy, the effect is much less severe. Renka’s spreading shots have had more projectiles added, but has a slower rate of fire and lower range.

I feel the balance is much better now, with Renka no longer being a clear upgrade from Gunner and Bomber being a fun new addition.

Brave Earth Prologue: Sinlen

Bio

Name: Sinlen Rothschild
Age: 19
Race/Nationality: Aistorian Human
Height: 5’6
Occupation: State Sanctioned Sorceress

Stats

Offense: Variable
Defense: Low
Range: Very Long
Speed: Fast
Mobility: High

(art by Neolucky)


Sinlen Rothschild is a rather pompous noble-born Aistorian Sorceress. Coming from a powerful and wealthy lineage of mages, Sinlen had all the talent and resources she needed to thrive in the magical arts. Due to her abilities and social position, Sinlen has developed quite a superiority complex that has made it difficult for her treat others as equals. While she enjoys being the life of a party and the center of attention, her conceited nature has left her with few actual friends.

Fortunately, with to a friendship between their two families, Sinlen and Naomi have been childhood friends. While one of Sinlen’s only ‘real’ friends, both their competitive natures and Sinlen’s arrogance make it often appear as a rivalry. While Sinlen has traditionally had an easy time placing her self as superior to Naomi, she sees Naomi’s growing strength as a threat to their friendship.

Sinlen also harbors animosity toward the Holy Aistorian Church and it’s various organizations due to forcing mages in their region to conform to the standards of church doctrine.

Sinlen is a long ranged, glass cannon. Due to the damage she takes, mobility is very important to her survival. Sinlen has the fastest walk speed and highest jump of all the characters, as well as the ability to change direction in mid-air. She even has the ability to levitate for short periods of time by manifesting a magical disk to sit on beneath her.

Her primary attack depends on which spell she is carrying at the time, though in almost all cases she still has longer range than any other character. While her attacks are also often very damaging, her attack energy drains with each shot. Sinlen’s energy operates slightly differently from Naomi’s. While they they both have a maximum of 20 units of energy, Sinlen’s energy slowly recharges and she does not gain energy from destroying enemies. Certain spells also weaken in power as Sinlen’s energy gets lower, so Sinlen has to be very careful in managing her enemies.

Sinlen’s magic lineage also gives her access to forbidden bloodmagic techniques. She can use these techniques perform a unique “magic crash” attack with each spell by pressing her Special button. These Magic Crashes are more powerful versions of normal spells, but they don’t drain energy. Instead they feed off of Sinlen’s life force and reduce her max energy capacity instead. While this max energy can be recovered by picking up gems, overuse of Spell Crashes can leave SInlen unable to attack fast enough to defend her self. Sinlen’s levitation disk can also cause her to experience energy drain, so be careful with how much you use it!

Gunner


Sinlen’s “Gunner” spell is her default attack. While not as great as her other spells, it has excellent range and reasonable damage and a fast rate of fire. Sinlen creates a spell-circle in front of her and rapidly shoots in a single direction and can easily dispatch a large amount of weak foes with ease. Unfortunately, she cannot walk while attacking (though she can attack during a jump) and the spell tends to drain energy rather quickly. Her shots also reduce and size and power as her energy approaches zero, though her shots also become cheaper.

Magic Break: Gun Slicer


While the Gunner spell is somewhat mediocre, it’s Spell crash, “Gun Slicer” is quite powerful. It produces an initially slow moving, high damage, accelerating projectile that can cut through special enemies in one blast and comes out instantly. Gun Slicer can give Sinlen a great emergency source of damage when her energy is low.


Renka


Sinlen’s “Renka” spell functions similar to Gunner, forcing Sinlen to create a spell-circle and remain stationary. Contrary to gunner, Renka fires a spread of high damage rings a moderate distance in front of her. At point blank range, when all rings can hit, Renka can dish out incredible amounts of damage. Like Gunner, it’s efficiency also decreases as Sinlen’s energy does, with the attack firing less rings in a tighter cone.

Magic Break: Burst


While Renka is generally superior to Gunner in all aspects but range, Renka’s Magic break, “Burst” is somewhat less effectivel. When surrounded by enemies, Sinlen can use Burst to create a sphere of renka’s around her body that shoot out in the 8 cardinal directions, hopefully killing everything around her. While useful in a pinch, it lacks the pure destructive power of Gun Slicer.


Chakrams


Sinlen’s “Charkam” spell produces one of 3 boomeranging pentagonal rings which can slice through enemies and can be shot while moving. Chakrams don’t have high damage, but they can often hit enemies multiple times and can cover a lot of the screen. They also have a high energy consumption and no more than 3 can be on screen at a time. Still, due to the coverage and the ability to shoot on the move, Chakrams are one of Sinlen’s most powerful spells.

Magic Break: Soul Nova


“Soul Nova” is chargable beam Spell Break that Sinlen can use to hit whole lines of enemies and do massive damage. Upon pressing Special, Sinlen creates a spell-circle in front of her that she can charge by holding down the Special key. While down, the circle grows and Sinlen’s energy is slowly drained. When released, a beam, who’s size is determined by the charge time, blasts out and can easily reduce a whole swarm of enemies to ruin.

Sinlen can move while the spell-circle is charging, though the spell circle remains in place. Also if a chakram is on the screen when Sinlen presses special, it will convert into the spell-circle instead.


Forbidden Dagger


Not a spell, per-say, but a powerful Rothschild heirloom and bloodmage artifact. Sinlen can use the “Forbidden Dagger” to rapidly slash in front of her at blinding speed and can even attack while moving. In fact, Sinlen can keep attacking as long as the attack key is held down (or until her energy reaches 0). While massively powerful, the hungry dagger reduces Sinlen’s maximum energy every time it’s drawn and will quickly drain her normal energy until it is re-sheathed. This can be offset by killing enemies, which will recover a portion of her max energy. Generally if she can kill multiple enemies in one draw, offset the cost of drawing the blade.

It’s gruesome nature has had weapons like it and bloodmagic in general branded as witchcraft by the church, though the Rothschild family still practices it in secret.

Magic Break: Forbidden Ritual

The Forbidden Dagger does not have a typical magic break. Instead, Sinlen turns the blade on her self. By stabbing her self, she sacrificing some health to completely refresh her energy gauge. While certainly a gruesome technique, it is sometimes necessary when the Dagger has left Sinlen without enough energy to even attack. While mostly used to return her energy capacity to normal levels, it also can be used merely to gain a quick 20 energy and thus keep up a powerful offensive.

Brave Earth Prologue: Naomi

Bio

Name: Naomi Isabella Victoria vos Cruz
Age: 17
Race/Nationality: Aistorian Human
Height: 5’9
Occupation: Paladin of the Holy Order of Saint Alistair

Stats

Offense: Strong
Defense: Average
Range: Average
Speed: Slow
Mobility: Low


Naomi vos Cruz is a young Aistorian noble-lady and Paladin. While she is generally a friendly, kind and out-outgoing woman, she possesses a fiery, competitive and stubborn side. Her personality and lineage soon brought her to Sacred Order of Saint Alistair. While formerly a militaristic Order, noted for it’s gifted female fighters, the modern role of these Paladins were that of honor guards. Determined to fight, Naomi trained in secret with her older brother and notable Hunter* for the Church, Trevor vos Cruz. Due to both her obvious skill and political pressure from the Cruz family, the Order eventually allowed Naomi to assume combat duties. Brave Earth Prologue chronicles her first experience out in the field.

*”Hunter” refer to anyone specialized in fighting large monsters, demons or various undead creatures.

Naomi’s weapons of choice is her mother’s bastard sword and a large heater shield. Due to her armor, she is rather durable, but is a bit lacking in mobility. Naomi moves at a steady, patient pace and has no directional control when in the air. She must move and attack cautiously.

Fortunately she has rather strong offensive abilities. Her basic attack is a relatively far reach slash that strikes out a distance in front of her. The attack does good damage and has good reach for it’s speed, but lacks any vertical coverage. While she can dish out high damage against a stationary foe, her basic attack leaves a lot to be desired. To compensate, Naomi has a special attack button which can be used to access 4 different attacks. The button it’s self is modeled after Super Smash Brothers. By pressing the (C) button and a direction (Up, down, Left/Right or no direction). Naomi can unleash a variety of special attacks, assuming she has enough energy.

Naomi can have a maximum of 20 units of energy, which she can gain by either killing enemies, or picking up energy gems. She may also find “Ex Orbs”. These orbs, which Naomi may only carry one of at a time, will power up one of her special moves, giving it new properties and allowing her to perform a special air attack. The nature of the orb can be determined by treating the individual symbol as an arrow (figure to the right), making sure you know which move is powered up.

Her attacks, in detail, can be found below.

Forward + (C)


Naomi’s Forward+C attack is a low powered, long range projectile While it does half the damage of her normal attack, it is relatively cheap and has a lot of range.

With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s projectiles get cheaper, can be shot faster and can be charged up for large damage. She also possesses an air fireball that goes down at roughly a 45 degree angle. The attack’s recoil can be used to get Naomi to higher ledges.


Down + (C)


Naomi’s Down+C attack is a ground slide that travels roughly 4 tiles. It is relatively slow, but has a large hitbox that stays out for the entire duration of the move, making it easy to time attacks with. It can also be used to slide under small gaps

With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s Slide goes much farther, much faster and much lower. Her hittable area is greatly reduced and she can slide under many enemy attacks and through multiple enemies at once. Her air attack is a dive kick that does as much damage as her basic attack. When she hits an enemy, depending on the direction held she can either jump off her enemy to the left, right or straight up. If she dives low to the ground, her dive kick becomes a slide without costing additional energy.


Up + (C)


Naomi’s Down+C Is an ‘uppercut’ style attack that hits a huge area above her. It’s slightly slow to come out, but hits an area that she could not normally attack otherwise.

With the appropriate EX Orb, Naomi’s Uppercut comes out near instantly. It also throws out a spinning projectile that flies in a parabolic arc as a secondary effect of the attack. In the air, Naomi somersaults rapidly with her sword out, dealing damage to anything that comes close to her. While an incredible attack, it takes a lot of energy and dampens her forward momentum. Using it during a tight jump could be fatal!


Neutral + (C)


If Naomi presses the C button and no direction, she puts her shield up. While the shield is up, her energy drains rapidly but any hit will put her in a temporarily invulnerable state, protecting her from damage.

With the appropriate Ex Orb, Naomi’s parry mechanically changes, functioning more like a parry. Instead of being able to hold her shield up until her energy runs out, Naomi must specifically time her parry (which activates much quicker, luckily). An unsuccessful parry will have her slowly recover (risking a hit), but a successful parry will not only put her in an invulnerable state, but it lasts longer and her recovery animation is canceled. She also recoups energy, making successful parries extremely cheap! In fact, in some situations Naomi can actually experience a net gain in energy! She can also parry in the air!

The Ex Parry is difficult to use, but should be extremely powerful in the hands of an experienced player.


Naomi is Brave Earth: Prologue’s most balanced character. While she lacks the extreme strength the two other main characters have, she also lacks their extreme weakness and a very robust and flexible movelist.

Brave Earth: Prologue

Things are rolling here. I’m about 30 or 40% through development. The best release date I could guess would be “Early 2012”. But what I can say is -I will release another game soon-. Even in the worst case scenario, what I have done now would be released if all else fails. So I figure it’s time for me to stop hiding and subtly hinting at things. I’m officially announcing Brave Earth: Prologue.

Brave Earth: Prologue is a 2d, faux 8-bit platformer which draws heavy gameplay inspiration from NES era Castlevania and cinematic inspiration from Ninja Gaiden. The game follows a young and inexperienced Naomi vos Cruz in her first (and unplanned) combat mission and serves as an introduction to some of the characters of the Brave Earth setting before the events of Tower in the Sky. Prologue follows Naomi through at least 6 different levels of classic Castlevania style action, down to intentionally stiff jumps and a slow, but powerful main attack. Instead of having subweapons, Naomi has a Super Smash Bros. style ‘Special’ button that gives her access to 4 different special moves. She may also pick up powerups that increase the effectiveness of some of her moves and even allow her to reach new locations! The game also features 2 additional characters who take different paths through the game and between them have access to 4 unique stages and each of these characters possessing very different gameplay styles.

The game will hopefully be released on Steam (and possibly other services like Indievania) for the planned price of 5 dollars. This is subject to change and there should be a free demo with a decent amount of content released at some point.   (Times have changed and this is an old post. Expect 10-15 dollars. Steam Refunds will cover those where either the game runs poorly or who do not enjoy it)

Art: Cassara Character Sheet

http://kayinnasaki.deviantart.com/#/d3grbic

This took a disproportionate amount of time to do. Not because of anything you actually see now, but because I spent so long trying to make an holder drawing of Cassara work. I eventually ended up redrawing basically everything and I’m glad I did. I’ll let the rest of the image speak for it’s self. Also I got layers!

5 Layers
4 Layers
3 Layers
2 Layers
1 Layer