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  • Fat Cerberus
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OFF: Puppetmaster
OFF is a surreal game originally released in 2008 and developed in RPG Maker:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Off_(video_game)

In OFF you play as The Batter, who is on a sacred mission to purify the world of specters, malevolent ghosts which are haunting the populace for unknown reasons.  But all may not be as it seems, and the game will soon make you question your own role in all of this...

The way the game's narrative treats the fourth wall is pretty unique even among games exploring similar concepts.  I played it recently and fell in love with it, but RPG Maker 2003 is quite an old engine and doesn't run so well on modern systems, so I've decided to try porting the game to Sphere, both to keep a great game alive and as a showcase of what our modern engine can do.  I'm not really an artist so my game projects tend to go nowhere, but doing a port like this means I can use the pre-existing assets and focus on what I am good at, which is JavaScript coding.

The original author of OFF is very accepting of fan works, having deliberately left a lot of things in the game open to interpretation, so I don't think there will be a problem with a project like this in that regard, but I'll be sure to try to get formal permission if anything becomes of this.

I'm not sure yet if I want to recreate the RPG Maker-style turn-based battle system or try for something more unique, like what's seen in Spectacles.  The original game's combat was honestly pretty tedious and boring (not to mention easy), so it'd be nice to spice things up for a remake.

Screenshots of the title screen are attached.
miniSphere 5.3.0 RC1 - Cell compiler - SSj debugger
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  • DaVince
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #1
This is nice, has the potential to attract some attention to miniSphere, and gives you the opportunity to play with the source material a bit.

Quote
RPG Maker 2003 is quite an old engine and doesn't run so well on modern systems
I think it's good not to consider this the reason as engines like EasyRPG solve this problem anyway. A good reason, though, is to have an OFF fan game made with miniSphere. :P

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #2
Agreed it's not a good reason in and of itself to remake a whole project (...debatably, considering that miniSphere exists...), but it did serve as initial motivation.  The main thing is I love the game so I'd want to see what a more polished, modern version would look like, particularly as the original was pretty weak in the combat department.
miniSphere 5.3.0 RC1 - Cell compiler - SSj debugger
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  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #3
In the process of making the title screen for this game I made a full-screen Sphere logo.  Anyone can feel free to use it :D
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  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #4
So I was thinking about how, in the original game, there are enemies weak to different elements.  The problem was, you finished the game at around level 15 and didn't even get a chance to learn the techniques using them.  As a result you'd often run into spectres weak to some attack you didn't have and have to resort to boring normal attacks.  This, combined with enemies just being too squishy in general, made the combat as a whole very dull.  It was by far the weakest part of the game.

To solve this problem, I've come up with an idea that you can imbue your bat with different elements on-demand and take advantage of a weakness that way.  Any attack making physical contact would then inherit that element.  Furthermore spectres will be given more HP to ensure you can't get by just attacking normally; you will need to pay attention to weaknesses and adjust accordingly.

For those curious, the elements in OFF are rather bizarre, in keeping with its nature as a surrealist narrative.  They do map pretty closely to the "traditional" elements, though: smoke (air), metal (earth), plastic (water), meat (fire... I guess?)

Thinking about it, metal and plastic bats make sense, I guess "smoke" could be a wooden bat, but a baseball bat made out of meat doesn't sound very useful in combat?  Unless it's like, secretly a piece of ham on a bone or something.  That could work. :P
miniSphere 5.3.0 RC1 - Cell compiler - SSj debugger
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  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #5
I've finished the title screen as well as the entire opening cutscene of the game--save for the name-entry screen so the player can enter his/her name.  This game plays with the fourth wall a bit so that screen is kind of important. :P

This being my maiden voyage of developing for Sphere v2 (Specs doesn't count as that was gradually ported from v1 as-needed and isn't even a full conversion), I have to say developing for the new engine is a joy.  The event loop is great, especially when combined with async-await, it's easy to coordinate concurrent actions and makes the engine very powerful as a result.  Many things that were very awkward to do with the v1 API are trivially easy with v2.  It's awesome.
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  • scojin
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #6
The project is a great idea and sounds like it's off to a great start. It'll be nice to see more games released using the new engine! Personally, to be able to view the code showing off all of the new capabilities would be very interesting. Best of luck!

  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #7
Finally started working on the field in earnest today, I've been trying to integrate @Rhuan's map engine but kept running into bugs.  He was quick about fixing them though so it's all good. ;)

My progress consists of a single map (drawn with shitty placeholder tiles, naturally :P) with a teleport trigger at the top that sends you to another unfinished map with some music... that you then can't escape from.  So nothing special yet, but it's progress at least.  Next up: Fending off the pig with this broomsti*MUNCH*
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  • Fat Cerberus
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Re: OFF: Puppetmaster
Reply #8
Word to the wise: Do not attempt to fight off a giant eaty pig with a broomstick.  The broom will get eaten along with everything in a hundred-mile radius, which naturally includes you (unless you happen to have a broom that's over 100 miles long).

In less pig-eaty news, OFF is coming along slowly but steadily.  The first conversation with the Judge is implemented; next up I need to implement the first few puzzles and eventually the tutorial battle with the Judge.

It's so much easier to make a game when I can use pre-made assets and in general can use the original game as a template.  I just keep RPG Maker 2003 open and cross-reference it when coding the cutscenes. :)

I might post screenshots later.
miniSphere 5.3.0 RC1 - Cell compiler - SSj debugger
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