"Z Warrior Chronicles" is an independent project being worked on by Xatoku based off of the popular Dragonball Z franchise by Akira Toriyama. This project has been going since early April 2011, and has gone through many revisions along the way, but the story elements are now being worked on and progress is booming. The aim of this project is to emulate the Dragonball Z world in an Action/RPG type scenario,and tell the story of the Z Fighters as best it can. The gameplay is best described as a combination of Legacy of Goku 2 & Dragonball Z Sagas on the GBA & PS2 respectively, along with a ton of Anime inspired gameplay elements as well. Production is naturally at a slow but steady pace due to the development team being only me, but I've invested all of my free time into this project and have no intention on stopping any time soon.
This week's journal will cover some of the steps I'll be taking to continue development.
Posted by Xatoku on Feb 11th, 2012
One of the reasons I am now setting boundaries on the amount of content packed into ZWC is to make sure I can progress it's development fairly quickly and give you guys & girls updates more often. Of course there's tons of stuff I want to be in and some stuff that had to be cut, but trust me that the end result will be much more justified because of these alterations.
The main thing that needs progress is story. I've been sitting at Raditz's fight for around a year now, and I really want to work on something else, hehe. At the current time, I'm about to remake all of the animations for my new Goku model, which has had some mixed reviews. Regardless, it's good enough for it's purpose so it's time to get it in game. Once that's done, there's just Raditz and Piccolo to work on until I can get back to work on those cutscenes.
Speaking of cutscenes, if a few weeks ago you didn't know what I meant by "camera-less" cutscenes, it will basically work something like this:
The best analogy I can think of is the Pokemon games. Instead of using scene layouts and camera movement, you would focus on your character at all times. The currently in place lock-on feature will focus onto the action during the scene, but there won't be a second camera that clashes the style.
This does two things.
One, it makes the cutscenes more of a personal experience. Every event that takes place is seen from our perspective, as if we are one of the Z-Fighters on that battlefield.
Secondly, which is probably a little more important, it doesn't impede the gameplay. The most annoying ass thing is when I am fighting a boss, about to kill him, and the screen blacks out to this arbitrary cutscene without warning. ZWC will do this to an extent with the new cutscenes, but because they're being done from a personal viewpoint, it won't seem as jarring to us because it will flow right into the gameplay.
This is very important to me because I don't want the story to feel segmented into parts. I don't want you to feel like after X point you should either stop or play to the next X point. I want you to judge your current standpoint, and find out if it's a good time for a break. I want the story to feel like this entirety of a canon oppose to separate sagas that feel episodic. If you read one of my previous journals explaining how the first "levels" you'll be playing will be the Kai's struggle against Majin Buu, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.
Imagine it like reading a book without chapters. All one story being told. No intermissions.
For the record, next to Sagas at least, Pokemon Games are my bible to game philosophy. Those games do everything perfectly, yet keep the potential to allow players to have a unique experience. I analyzed it with a friend the other day and we came to a basic conclusion that is the reward for your efforts. Pokemon is built around rewards. You spend 15 minutes searching for a Pokemon in the grass, and when you find it, you put your knowledge to the test to try and capture it. Now, how do we translate walking through grass and throwing balls over to a DBZ Action Game... Hm...
Well, one thing we'd have to do is make a reward system for your combat skills. This means that all of those pretty systems in place; Speed Melee, Energy Struggles, Ki Surges, they'll all have to have some kind of unlocking/reward feature. This could be many things. For one, it could mean that we have to unlock them throughout the game, unlocking more as we level to increase our combat potency. Or, we can assume that participating in the systems is the effort, and winning is the reward.
The idea behind catching a Pokemon is preparing for your attempt to catch it, and then wasting hours throwing your 99 Ultra Balls at it. ZWC could translate this idea to how we control our energy. If I make an unreasonable amount of energy that would take a long time to charge, then when you build it up, you get the choice of how you want to approach using it. Once you're confident of your future actions, you'll get excited in executing them and hope that they pay off. Similar to catching a Pokemon. It's all about making you work for what you want, and then reward you for using it properly. Like a hidden morality of a sort between how you perform your actions based on your motives.
Pokemon is a strategy game too though, because you're always planning for these actions. You know that the next gym focuses on water-type Pokemon, but you don't have any strengths against water-types, so you have to obtain a trump card that will help you through it. How do we translate this over to ZWC?
Well, we can use the AI system to do something similar. The way I see it, we will get a maximum of three AI teammates. Depending on the characters available in that portion of the story, we will be able to swap them out as we see fit and use the characters we want and/or need. When this is decided, we can tell these AI teammates to focus on either Supportive or Defensive play-styles depending on the situation. We can alter these preferences to counter our boss-battles and secure our victory.
The fulfillment comes from the planning, the rush from the execution, and the ease from the success. I believe once these three events take place, players of ZWC will be very satisfied. And that's what I want to create, that feeling of satisfaction. I don't want the game to feel like a chore, but I want you guys give a shit about it, and talk about it with people as I am talking to you about it now.
The reason I'm talking about it is to get input on my ideas, and see how many people truly care about this game, and then I can choose my allies properly. Similar to putting the request for testers at the bottom of the last journal entry. People who give a shit will read all the way to the bottom, people who don't won't even ask me about it. That's how I can separate people who want to actually lend a hand from people who don't.
And I know I dislike teams and working in that environment, but for testing it's way better because I can do it alongside them and we can squash the bugs together. A natural team environment oppose to being like every other god damn kid on the internet, making a thread with a disorganized list of their ideas whilst asking for programmers, modelers, animators, etc. Then once they've assembled, they get about a month in, and say that they're "taking a break."
I do not like those people. And I refuse to be one of them myself. Without me, ZWC is nothing. Without ZWC, I am nothing. I won't stop, not until it is finished, which is debatable. I don't think it will ever be finished, because that would imply that everything is 100% as perfect as it could be. I will get it as close to that point as I can, but when the sagas are done, the systems are done, online works, and everything is functional, I will begin doing the final work. Look at me, talking as if we're almost done and we haven't even got to Nappa's bald ass.
And by the way, I have chosen my testers. I'll be contacting them when the testing is actually ready, but they are the people I feel most confident in telling me what's worthy of fixing, oppose to just pestering me to get their name in the god damn credits. That sounded arrogant, but it was not, promise <3.
So I think that's everything. I feel like I had more to say but it's been a bit of a shit week. All I really did was model Goku and organize my animations, plus a few other things. One thing I did by accident which I am keeping in game is when I was messing with the camera, I got it to have much more fluent zooms and shakes, and it makes combat infinitely times more satisfying, so keep a look out for that in the next update.
Last week I forgot to mention that I added a new system for catching any type of energy and tossing it back at people. It works pretty well, but it's definitely missing something. I'll let you guys tell me what that something is when the update comes out, but if any ideas pop into your heads about how I can make the catching of energy really cool, just drop a comment down below and I'll get something going.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Talk to you next week! And hopefully next week's won't be two days late! =P.