Himeko Sutori is a tactical JRPG for Windows and Mac that puts the player in control of an army of over 100 unique named units that you can customize, equip, and level-up as you uncover the schemes and betrayals that have thrown the kingdom into civil war. Himeko Sutori will also come with all the assets and code needed for players to build their own campaigns using the Unreal Development Kit. The game will feature a soundtrack by the immensely talented Kevin Won (http://www.kevinwonmusic.com/) and pixel art by Endymion Games (http://www.endymiongames.com/).
Above all else, Himeko Sutori is an interactive story to be experienced, putting the player into a detailed, living world, full of vibrant characters. Set on a continent divided among three mighty empires, Himeko Sutori tells the story of three young women who get caught up in a civil war and who try to find some meaning in the chaos. Throughout their story, they will learn difficult truths, lose their way, and perhaps find victory, depending on how it's defined.
But this story is just one of an infinite number that can be told through the game Himeko Sutori because every download comes with access to the Himeko Sutori campaign builder, where you can make your own story to share with others.
The game plays out in two general modes, immediately familiar to veterans of JRPGs, who will be right at home switching from exploration to combat and back. The player will be able to wander through city and countryside, talk to NPCs, get quests, buy equipment, hire and promote soldiers, and discover new places. At times the player will be thrust into combat mode, where you and your AI opponent will take turns moving your armies squad by squad across the battlefield, positioning them for the best tactical advantage.
In combat, each of your individual and unique characters will use his or her special abilities automatically to heal allies, pick off weak enemies, or deal out massive damage to enemy commanders. As you build your squads, you will have to make strategic decisions: Do you make a squad of all archers in order to maximize your ranged damage? Or do you mix in knights and clerics to make the squad more rugged in close combat? It's all up to you.
If you've ever played games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle 64, you'll find some similarities here, but there is also going to be a lot that's totally new.
Tactical RPGs have to strike a balance between epic scope and personal involvement with the characters. Before, this has meant that either the battles have to be very small, or the progression very impersonal. Now though, you'll get the best of both worlds. You'll have control over a massive army. And you'll get individual control over every character's progression and equipment. This will require a bit of a simplified level-up system so that you don't get bogged down with all the details of managing hundreds of characters.
Himeko Sutori introduces a unique new system designed for simple but deep customization, allowing the player to explore new synergies by combining multiple classes' abilities. By cross-training in classes that share an element, attribute, or skill, your characters can explore new possibilities while still growing stronger in their primary classes. You'll also discover powerful action and reaction combos that will keep your squads alive while fighting much more powerful foes. For more information, see Himekosutori.com.
Just download the free Unreal Development Kit, and you will be free to use all of Himeko Sutori's code and assets to make your own campaigns! The EULA will say that you're not allowed to make your own standalone executable, but aside from that you'll be free to make any kind of game you like using all the same tools I'm using.
For more information, screenshots, a development blog, and more, go to HimekoSutori.com
We have been adding tons of new content and polish, plus some desired features as we head into closed beta testing. We have finally nailed down the look of the game, with cartoonish 3D backgrounds that we hope match the 2D sprite characters. We have added new meshes, materials, and particle effects to reinforce that look. And the editor gives you a chance to take a close look at each one to see how they all work, and then create your own versions to share in your own Himeko Sutori adventures.
Starting off, we can take a closer look at that water shader.
You just take our water material, place it on a landscape, and then shape the water exactly the same way you would shape the land. It automatically flows downhill in 8 directions and switches to a waterfall when it becomes steep. It reflects the color of the sun and sky, simulates waves and distortion, and it's ready to use immediately. If you want to get a close look at how it works...
You can zoom in as much as you want in the editor.
We also added some mountain meshes that we use in-game and let you use in the editor.
With just a few meshes, that you can rotate and scale (and the texture density remains the same, so it blends in regardless of size), you can make a stunning variety of maps. Also shown here is the game engine's dynamic depth-of-field blur, an artistic decision that we think also helps keep your focus on the action.
We have a template all set up in World Machine, so if anyone wants some more mountains, we can add them pretty easily.
We also replaced all of the combat particle effects, using some techniques that we learned from the amazing DucVu FX. His work was a huge help to us and we gladly recommend him here. (And for $1 on Patreon you can get access to his After Effects and Photoshop files.)
Here are a few of the new effects we added:
We also reworked one of the most iconic effects of our game, the Sobel edge shader. We started off with a thick black outline that frankly looked really amateur. We later replaced it with a thin line tinted the scene's shadow color. During the day you had a purple line, at sunrise and sunset you had a red line, and at night you had a dark blue line. We weren't in love with that either. Then we did this:
We take the pixel color, normalize it (so if you think of the RGB channels as a 3D vector, make that vector length 1, so you have the same color, but total brightness is 1), multiply the original pixel color by the normalized color, and you end up with a saturated version of the original color. Now multiply by the shadow color, and you don't just have a purple line over everything, but you have a darker, more saturated color of the pixel, that's pushed toward the color of the scene's shadows the same way everything else is: by multiplying the color.
We've been creating some very detailed towns and other locations to explore. And we have to make sure they all look good under different lighting conditions.
And we've been working on entirely new settings to make Himeko Sutori an epic world-spanning adventure.
And adding those assets was no small feat. These models and most of the textures started life at the Unity Asset Store. We put them into Blender, redid a bunch of bad UVs, made custom collision meshes, vertex painted them, then made custom materials in the engine. In addition to our usual shader that changes color with time of day, we added wind direction, to make the fabric and branches move in waves with the wind, going up and down and stretching slightly in the XY plane. The red vertex color, multiplied by wind strength, tells the mesh how far to move. The blue vertex color tells the mesh if it has to stop moving downward at a certain point, so the fabric meshes don't drop below the wooden frames. It looks really good in close-up, like it's a physics simulation and not just shader instructions.
We also added some code and shader magic to aid with navigating a 3D world with a faraway third-person camera:
Now there's no more losing your character behind buildings or having your camera clip into everything. We also gave all of the meshes a variable that lets you decide whether or not to swap to the translucent material. That way, you don't have thin items like trees and lampposts constantly disappearing.
We've been adding new battlegrounds...
And we've been adding tutorials, both in-game...
And online, to help you make your own campaigns.
All in all, we think we're in good shape heading into the closed beta test. And with this foundation laid, we are ready to start working on the main campaign of Himeko Sutori.
Thanks for sticking with us if you've read through this huge post. If you're interested in learning more about Himeko Sutori, please follow us here on IndieDB and follow Himeko Sutori on Twitter. We will have more to show you soon!
We're putting all the pieces together now. In this month's video you'll see a town filled with interactive NPCs, the world map, combat on a new map, level-ups...
With the world map integrated with the rest of the game--going from world-map exploration to combat, back to the world map, and back to town for supplies--Himeko...
One thing led to another, starting with a simple world map. Time of day would give the game a sense of scale, maybe you should have to rest at night...
Himeko Sutori takes another step toward completion with the upgrade to sound-filled 60 fps menus. See the stat changes before you equip your lewt. Plus...
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