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 At the time, a simple attack animation seemed appropriate, but over time it began to feel outdated.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.

14 thoughts on “Brave Earth Prologue: Small Changes

  1. Loving the updates to the sprites and Sinlen’s abilities! Makes me more excited for the game!

  2. Wow those sprites look amazing!
    One thing though: the edges of Naomi’s sprite kinda merges with those blue bushes in the background. Although it’s not so bad with the red cape inner I guess.

    Sinlens abilities look awesome. Could you show us a .gif or video of them?

  3. These updates look amazing! I’d love if the techniques don’t get more powerful when you play, but the essence is on the different techniques and how to use them. I mean: You don’t develop your character so much, but you develop as a player. (in a very bad example: in iwbtg your in-game abilities don’t change, but I’d say that as a player you evolve towards the end.) Just my opinion on it. On a more silly note, Sinlen’s hair resembles Catherine’s from the game Catherine. What is the history for that hairstyle choice?

  4. Oh, and by the way! You should use lighter shades for background, if you can, so the game is easier to read. I don’t know what palette you are restricted on, but NES-palette at least has lighter shades for each color. Just a suggestion that I feel you should try.

  5. @Jon

    There aren’t any metroidvania elements in the game, so what you see is what you get. Naomi can only carry one EX orb (like a belmont with sub-weapons) and Sinlen only one spell (like a Contra character with weapons). Gunner and Renkas weaken when her energy goes low, but that very temporary.

    As for the hair, I asked my artist friend to design her, since I had no real ideas my self. Originally she was going to be another knight and not a playable character. I told her “All I want is someone blonde and bitchy, maybe with drill hair like Karin from street fighter Alpha”. Karin, after all,w as pretty good at being a bitch and a rival! Being Lucky loves drill hair, she made sure to use that element.

    As for the backgrounds, sorta trust me on this, but they work out. There aren’t really any better color options in the palette. Characters an enemies tend to be much brighter and vibrant than the background, so while you might go “Parts of Naomi blend into the background”, taken in as a moving whole, everyone has elements on them that make them easy to track on the screen.

  6. This sounds really good.

    Okay, drill hair is awesome :)

    Background suggestion was for if you had problems with it, but apparently not. If you are going to post more, what about enemies or something? Who will you playtest it with?

  7. I am seriously so looking forward to this thing.

    Anyway though, that is a seriously much improved attack animation, but a couple things seem a little off. For instance, the cape seems to be changing colors. In the standing sprite, it looks like we’ve got a red interior, purple back to it. By the end of the attack though, we can pretty clearly see the back, which is also red. As good as that manages to look with no shading but that tiny fold mid-animation, I have to ask if you’ve tried going more or less solid red on the standing version. Maybe a couple pixels in the corner to imply it folding over.

    Also, with the really emphasized forward momentum, stepping back looks a little odd. At least just watching the animation loop in a vacuum here. I suppose a lot of it depends on how stationary you are when fighting and how many hits things seem to take. If it’s the sort of thing where you’re walking along, see some thing coming, hit attack, lose your forward momentum, take your one swing, then resume walking (which, I suppose, is Castlevania’s default half the time), you’re good, otherwise it could get jarring.

    Meanwhile, if things tend to drop in 2 or 3 hits, I could actually make a case for tossing in a little combo attack backswing if you just mash the button, that actually does carry you forward a tile. It’d work nicely with the animation and add slightly more thought into dropping big slow-moving things that take a few hits. Start at the maximum possible distance and you can do a rather quick 3-hit combo, but if you don’t want to slide forward, you need to slow down enough to get that back step frame before each successive attack. Odds are against this being a useful suggestion, but, hey.

  8. @Googleshng

    Ya know, I was thinking of combo attacks, and you just put together a pretty good reason for me to consider them. Not sure if I’ll do it yet, but I’m definitely thinking about it.

  9. How does the hitbox compare to the new sprite animation on Naomi’s sword? The new one looks significantly “bigger”, and could be really frustrating if you’re not careful.

    Also, combo attacks in a Castlevania-style game seems like a difficult thing to implement well; it seems totally oppositional to the more deliberate pacing and pre-planned, tactical feel of such a game.

    Finally, how are you going to balance having two protagonists as different as Naomi and Sinlen (I’m guessing that they’re really different, given that you compared Sinlen to a Contra hero)? Even if you dropped Mad Dog from Contra into Castlevania with his “one touch = death” restriction, he’d be able to breeze through that game like it was nothing; likewise, even with a lifebar, Simon wouldn’t stand a chance in Contra or Super C.

  10. Actually the original was a bit larger than the actual attack so this actually levels out quite well. The combo attack thing also wouldn’t be something where you attack much faster (if at all), it’d more be an animation thing — if I decide to even put it in. I’ve had a hard time animating a decent return swing. But if I did that I might put a buffer on it where you can ‘over commit’ by mashing, a la Demon’s/Dark Souls

    As for Sinlen and Naomi and Naomis brother, they have their own routes in the game so the stages are balanced around the character. Sinlen can be played on Naomi’s path too, but thats more an added option. So balance isn’t a huge issue. Naomi also has the largest path with the most original stages, so the game is still mostly focused on her and classic castlevania gameplay.

  11. One more question (well, until I think of more, haha):

    How will continues be handled? I know there’s been talk of a lives system in the past; has any of that changed? Will the game have limited continues, like Contra or Castlevania: Bloodlines (please say it does)?

    I’ve been really digging the way Crimzon Clover handles this: no continues, but there’s a stage-select “practice” mode that lets you practice in isolation any stage or boss that you’ve gotten to. It strikes a really nice balance between requiring the player to learn the game well and build skill to lower variance, but making it easy to practice the trouble-spots in the late game without the problem of not being able to see the spot twice in a row less than thirty minutes apart. I’d love to see a system like that in a Castlevania-like!

  12. Now, there are a bunch of difficulty settings the player can change, but by default, it’s like classic Castlevania. Game over and lose your checkpoint. The game has saving and sort of a small meta plot that goes on as you clear stages. Beating a path in one straight shot will be something with it’s own time attack thing. Crimzon Clover’s setup sounds pretty cool and I might consider that for a shmup or something, but BE:P isn’t the type of game to brutally enforce perfection from player. It’s more designed to accommodate those who want it.

  13. hey kayin super excited about brave earth as soon as it hits i will be right on it can i ask you a question are you making brave earth in construct cause i like construct and wanted to start using it and if you are making this awesome game in it it must be good cant wait

  14. Comments on Construct 1 (no experience with C2)

    The EXEs it generates are pretty stable (though there can be some issues with changing layouts in some situations and the xaudio plugin has some issues that can generate crashes, but you can just use the audiere plugin). Useability wise though, C1 for large projects starts getting cumbersome. Again, the EXEs are fine, but the IDE it’s self is kinda unstable and prone to crashing and little issues. This can be mitigated by saving often, but isn’t ideal. If you’re working on a small scale project, C1 should work fine and for large scale, it’s good but you might be able to think of a better option.

    (also thank you for your interest and support of Brave Earth!)

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