What is "Spirit Huntress"?What is Spirit Huntress? Those of you who have been following me for these last past years already know what it is. It's pretty obvious that the reason to make this introductory post is that I'm trying to promote the game; so I won`t show you much new content today.
Spirit Huntress is a 2d action/adventure & platform game, with side-scroller view in development. Once it's finished, it will be released on PC, Mac, Linux, and maybe on consoles (PS4, Xbox One, WiiU, Ouya) if a Game Maker Studio exporter is ever released. This game will include English and Spanish languages.
Let me explain you a little more about this project.
In Spirit Huntress, you control Hibari, a female character with a wide range of abilities and special movements, in a non-linear 2d world.
As an aventure game, you'll have the chance to explore many levels with very different setting (desert, woods, ghost city, caves, mountains, rivers, modern cities, etc) as you progress throught the story.
As an action game, those levels will often be packed with enemies and hostiles to create different kinds of challenges (regular battle, mini-boss battle, final bosses). In these encounters you'll gradually discover all the abilities that Hibari possesses, learning to control her in a real time, dynamic and smooth battle system.
And finally, as a platformer game, you will find pits to jump over, ropes to climb, platforms you'll have to carefully land on, and many other obstacles that make level exploration harder, and more rewarding.
None of these three game elements (adventure, action or platforms) is more important than the others: Spirit Huntress tries to find the sweetspot between frantic combats, meticulous exploration, and milimetrically calculated leaps.
I'll be talking more on gameplay and Hibari moveset in future posts.
The gameplay comes along with a deep, dramatic story (with comedy bits), almost totally told through Hibari's viewpoint.
Spirit Huntress takes place in a fictional futuristic world with assorted locations and populated by human, animals, beasts and spirits.
These souls aren't but the vital energy that leaves someone's body when they die. They are pacific beings whose only duty is to journey towards their final destination (which won't be revealed at this moment). They are imperceptible for everyone, except certain people with a very rare gift.
However, if something gets on their way, keeping them from completing their pilgrimage, the spiri will turn aggressive, and will posses dead or live bodies, mutating them into terrible beasts craving for destruction. But the worst part about these beast is that they are immune to any sort of physical attack: ain't no bullet, hit or explosion that could harm them, for their essence (the spirit) is physically intangible.
At this point, I proceed to talk you about some of the main characters in Spirit Huntress:
Hibari: Main character. 25 years old female, with a cold personality. She's a little mistrustful, but she's also caring and motherly with those she loves. She's really talented in combat, but her most valuable gift isn't offensive, but perceptive: she's able to sense, see and hear the wandering spirits. This rare sixth sense that only a few women in the world share (those called "the spirit huntresses") is often a genetic inheritance. However, Hibari wonders if this is her case, since she didn't get to know her parents and their only legacy consists of a misterious dagger (wakizashi). She was raised in a quiet mountan village, along with other girls who shared her paranormal abilities, all under the care of Noa, the Elder woman from the Mountain Temple. Hibari learned from her all about fighting, spirits, and the mystic arts of "soul purging". Later, when she turned 18, Hibari left the temple alongside her sidekick, Lei.
Dot (unidad A-00): A tiny flying droid which escorts Hibari in every mission. Assembled by Garren, the engineer from Al's mercenary group, it's equiped with several handy functions for Hibari: items and equipment management, activity log, maps, comunicator, audio-visual player, flashlight, medical kit... Plus, he was designed to analyze Electro-Magnetic fields in search of spiritual energy traces. Sometimes, this detector actually works. Dot was programmed to be obedient and servile.
Al: 45 years old man, a little cad, and often rude, but always joking. He was a soldier for many years, but after certain incident he decided to set up his own mercenary group: the "Cracked Skulls". Initially, the group consisted of Al (the boss), Garren (the engineer) and Sash (heavy artillery). Then, Hibari and Lei joined, for the group needed someone to deal with spirits and the beasts that they possessed. Al is really fond of his group, to the extent he actually ordered custom uniforms and armors for the entire group. However he's the only one wearing this strange outift, what constantly causes arguments in the team. One more thing about the "Cracked Skulls": they do not operate like any other mercenary squad, being hired to solve a specific problem. Instead, they travel searching for conflicts, sticking the nose into other people bussines, "solving" the issue, and then they would address to whoever they apparently helped, asking for reward...
Lei: A vivacious 19 years old girl. She's happy, carefree, rebellious and a bit childish. Companion to Hibari, she's one of her only friends since they knew each other back in the Mountain Temple, where both were raised. She really admires Hibari's strenght and courage. Even her looks. When Hibari left the Temple because she finished her formation as a Spirit Huntress, Lei left too. She was only 12 years old back then, and she was only halfway through her formation, but decided to leave anyway. Not that she was specially gifted when coming to paranormal abilities... but the elder Noa just raised her to be a warrior like the other girls under her care. Lei's naiveness often gets her in trouble during missions. Luckily, Hibari is always there, looking after her, and helping Lei anytime she needs it.
Sash: 30 years old. Rough and somewhat rude. She's constantly swearing and taunting the others, specially Al, whom she holds dear nonetheless. That aside, she doesn't talk too much, but when she does, chaos reigns. Rebel and insurgent by nature, she drives Al crazy -since he's the boss-. She's the heavy artillery of the "Cracked Skulls" team, being large caliber weapons and explosives her favourite thing. She first met Al when they both were soldiers. But after some issue that got them reprimanded and expelled from the army, she blamed Al for everything. Thus, she made him responsible for finding her a new job. From that day on, she follows Al in his missions, resulting in a very helpful team mate. Specially when things require a little more brute force. She gets along with the other girls in the squad without a problem. She even is protective to Lei and Hibari whenever Al "harasses" them.
Garren: 32 years old man. He's shy, helpfull and a little clumsy if you put him out of his lab. He's the engineer, mechanic and scientific of the team. He can create any kind of gadget and fire weapon, and he can repair almost any sort of vehicle. His main occupation is fixing the only conveyance of the group so far: Al's chopper. He's also busy fixing every weapon Sash spoils. He created and assembled Dot, the flying droid that follows Hibari, so she could have a way to contact the group when she was on a solo mission. He also equipped dot with several utilities (lantern, map navigator, etc). He tried to put in Dot an Electro Magnetical Field detector that could help her to detect spiritual energy, but Hibari's intuition has proved to be more accurate. Garen is also the only member of the team that can't get away by himself in battle, what causes him a little complex. He's also really afraid of Sash, specially when she's angry.
I'll cover more information about other importatn characters in future posts. Let's now focus on the game graphics.
Spirit Huntress graphics are made 100 % by me, following digital drawing techniques, on Adobe Photoshop CS3 (my favourite). I often work my designs from a previos sketch I draw on paper.
All the sprites are drawn frame-by-frame, in one piece, using photoshop layers to ease the process. Then, I split the sprite as many times as I need, to draw separately in the game every custimizable pieces (Hibari's hair, weapons and ribbons) or those pieces that require it for optimization purposes. Then, I export everything to Game Maker Studio.
The visuals are somewhat like an animated movie, mixing characters and objects remarked with black outlines, and detailed backgrounds drawn one-by-one (but using assets), so there aren't two identical levels in the entire game.
Besides, thanks to the Game Maker Studio features, I garnish my art with rendered graphic effects, such as particles (fire, smoke, liquid, spray) or shaders (local light, volumetric lighting, night-day ambience, darkness, etc).
The story is carried also by non-playable cutscenes that may come into two forms: as pre-generated animated movies (for the most important sequences), or as in-game sequences made with the game engine, featuring sprites and animations done for the occasion.
The game's music is also being composed by myself. I do not discard getting help on this from any professional musician, but first I'll try to do it all without help. You have some samples on Sound Cloud: Soundcloud.com
I'll poste more samples soon, but I don't want to reveal much of the game music before the game is finished.
The game will feature quality voice acting performed by both professionals and amateur actors, but no matter their previous professional experience, they are all very tallented and skilled for voice acting. I plan to have voice acting for every conversation in the game (and there are a lot of conversations!), except maybe those irrelevant (tutorials, explanations, tips, etc). There will be English and Spanish voice acting, of course.
This means I need tens of voice actors, which I'm hiring gradually. So far, I'm really pleased with the incredible people working on this: Laura (Spanish Hibari), Salva (Spanish Dot), Sydney (English Hibari) and Alvin (English Al).
If you are a voice actor/actress and are looking for a remunerated gig, you can contact me on twitter (@itoaragon), skype (itoaragon) or gmail (itoaragonATgmailDOTcom).
Spirit Huntress is a project influenced by some past great titles, like Metroid saga, Streets of Rage II, Shinobi III; as well as more recent games like Muramasa: The Demon Blade.
Streets of Rage II (GENESIS)
I must not forget about another important source of inspiration, the splendid "An Untitled Story" by Matt Thorson. I encourage you to play it if you haven't already. Download it at: Mattmakesgames.com. Do not be fooled by it's chlidish-looking graphics!
I started working on Spirit Huntress back in 2005, when I used Rpg Maker.
However, the game entered the production stage scarcely two years ago, when I started to code it on Game Maker, scrapping all the previous work. Needles to say that my skills as programmer, artist and music composer have improved since 2005, when I was only 16 years old.
After these two last years, the main character's code is 90 % completed, her animations being at 50 %. The levels, enemies, bosses and cutscenes are somewhere between 5-10%, and the music is around 20 % (there are 15 themes, most of them in need of a good upgrade!).
I made very little progress in these past two years, because I've been working full time since I finished my studies. My job left little to no free time to spend on the game. So, I decided to fix that: I quitted my job to finish Spirit Huntress. It sure was a hard decision to make, but the game's worth it. So long, spanish laws and contracts!
The bad news are pretty obvious: in order to finish the game I need one or two years of my full time, during which I'll need a financial support I lack. So, to finish this game in a decent time period, without having to slow it down because I'm working part time on any mall or restaurant, I'm going to launch a Kickstarter campaing, very soon I hope.
And that was the introduction to Spirit Huntress. I hope that I got to explain everything clearly. Sorry if I didn't show too many screenshots. Also there are no videos today. If you haven't already, you can watch some of my old videos on my youtube channel: Youtube.com.
Thanks for your time, and stay tuned for upcoming news. Take care!