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Now is the time to rise up and fight the shadow of evil that has spread across the land. Heroes are what we need in these dire times! And you can be one of these heroes in the fun filled parody RPG: Shadow of Time 4.

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Reflections on project, answers to frequently asked questions, and interesting details on the game's tactical battle engine.

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Reflections:

Shadow of Time 4 was a short comedy/parody RPG made entirely in javascript for fun, by myself and RedOwl. I don't want to give too much about the plot away, but be prepared for the unexpected - as the plot intentionally tries to lead you in one direction which is stereotypical for old school RPGs, only to send you flying in another. Also watch out for scams, giant evil roosters, cold baths and incredibly high taxes.

Our goal for this game was to poke fun at old RPGs (although I love them anyways), and also have fun - as well as sharing the game with people online. So we encourage people to play the game, and give us comments on it. The battle system is tactics based, but has some interesting additions which I will explain later in this post. Additionally, I made the code for this game completely open source, encouraging people to use it and make their own javascript tactics rpgs with it. You can see the engine's sourceforge project here: Sourceforge.net . Feel free to contact me if you have any questions on how to make an RPG using the engine - as I would love to see more tactics RPGs out there.

You can download the full game here at Moddb: Indiedb.com, which includes all of the graphics and javascript code to play the game without internet connectivity. Additionally, you can play the game online in a browser here: Sot4.aerosphere-studios.com , which will download images on the fly as you play.

And now for some answers to some frequently asked questions, and some insights into the battle engine which should help people play the game and not get stuck.

Introduction to Shadow of Time 4:


Shadow of Time 4 Introduction video - Mod DB



Frequently Asked Questions:

  • When I click the inventory button in the main menu, nothing happens.
    Look at the status bar (gray bar below game screen). The list of items is always displayed there. Hover your mouse over an item for a description of that item. Go to the equipment screen of a party member, and double click the item to equip it (if it is equipable). When your mouse hovers over an event, the status bar will bring up details of that event, and the inventory will close. Just click inventory again to open it.
  • What do I do with the InstaHero Kit?
    Contrary to the belief of the townspeople, the InstaHero Kit can actually be redeemed. If you hover over the contract in your inventory, it tells you that you can pick up your equipment at the store in town. Specifically, give the contract to Gwendolyn, and she will hand over the promised equipment. Double click the contract when in front of the counter to give it to Gwendolyn.
  • How do you talk to Gwendolyn?
    Click anywhere on the counter in front of her. Since there is no direct path to her, clicking directly on her will not do anything.
  • Why does everything move so slowly?
    Open the menu, go to options, and increase the animation speed. This will make everything move faster, which is useful if the computer is slow, or if you find the default speed too slow. If the game still runs slowly after increasing the animation speed, uncheck tile animations to get a performance benefit in areas with lots of animated tiles (water). If the game is still running slow, I recommend you stop using Internet Explorer :P .
  • What do I do after beating the quest at the farm? The farmers do not tell me what to do next.
    Try exploring around town a little. Specifically, the lower right part of town (the church).
  • How do I run away from battle? When I click escape, the battle just starts again.
    Battles start whenever you are in sight range of an enemy (which varies from enemy to enemy). When you escape the battle, make sure you are outside of the enemies sight range, as the enemy does not disappear and can just start the battle again. If you are stuck, end the game, and load the auto-save, it will load the game from when you last entered a map, but will also reselect random enemies for the map. If the enemies on a map look too hard, just walk back and forth between maps, and it will reselect random enemies for that map.
  • Can I use a save game in another browser/computer?
    Not easily - as the games are saved via cookies. Additionally, due to limits on the size of cookies, there is a limit to the number of saved games you can have. If a game you saved does not show up, that is why (you can have several saved games before this limit is reached). These cookies CAN be transferred to another computer/browser, but it requires understanding how cookies work in the two browsers. They are usually small text files in a temporary folder for that browser - just copy them to the right place, and this should work for transferring the saved game to another browser/computer.


Details and tips about the Battle Engine:

Every time you enter a map, enemies will be randomly spawned. The enemies spawned will be selected from a list of enemies available for that map. The levels of the enemies will be computed based on the levels of your party - the higher the levels of your party, the higher the levels of the enemy. Different maps will have relatively stronger or weaker enemy parties, although there is randomness, so even a difficult map will sometimes have easy enemies or even no enemies. If a monster party looks too difficult, try running to an adjacent map and returning to the same map.


Battle against two Tier 3 Monsters.
Know when to fight, and when to run. A battle against two tier 3 monsters can be quite difficult.

Aside from bosses and special monsters, there are 4 tiers of monsters, from tier 0 to tier 3. The characters in your party are between tier 1 and tier 2 in terms of statistics. Tier 0 monsters will be easy to defeat, even if their level is much higher than your own (a level 300 Evil Rooster is still weak). You should have no trouble with Tier 0 monsters, little trouble with tier 1 monsters, some difficulty with tier 2 monsters, and tier 3 monsters will be a challenge to defeat. The more powerful the monster sprite looks, the higher its tier is likely to be. The AI for monsters is pretty good in my opinion, but not as good as a skilled human player - so use your brains and strategy to defeat the more difficult monster parties.

The character stats in the game are as follows:

  • Vitality (V) - Determines your maximum Health Points (HP). Health points determine how much damage the character can take before it dies.
  • Dexterity (D) - Determines your maximum Action Points (AP). Action points determine how much you can do in battle. Every weapon and spell requires action points, as well as using items and equipping items in battle. AP will replenish fully each turn, and over time when out of battle.
  • Agility (A) - Determines your maximum movement range per turn. You can only move that many squares per turn, but you can move multiple times in a turn as long as the total number of squares moved is less than the total movement range (allowing you to move, attack, and move away for hit and run tactics). The blue squares around the character when selected will show where you can still move to.
  • Melee Skill (M) - Determines how skilled you are with using melee weapons. The higher this stat, the more you are able to bring out the full potential of the weapon, allowing for higher average damage. If your average damage is near the maximum damage of the weapon, then you have mastered the weapon, and it is probably time to get a more powerful weapon. Some weapons will be easier to use, allowing you to deal damage even with a low Melee Skill, and some will be complex to use, making it difficult to get a hit in without a high Melee Skill. A character's melee skill will increase every time they use a melee weapon, based on how good the hit was, and how complex the weapon was to use. Always use a weapon that is within your skill to use (the average is above the minimum damage), as this will allow for faster leveling of the skill, and more damage.
  • Ranged Skill (R) - Exactly the same as Melee Skill, except for Ranged weapons.
  • Wisdom (W) - Exactly the same as Melee Skill, except for skills.

The skill system is pretty complex for a simple game (as I wanted to test out some ideas), but in general, just pick one skill (melee, ranged or wisdom), and try to get that skill as high as possible. Typical min-max strategies and using items, weapons and skills that suit the selected skill are both good ways to improve a characters' effectiveness in battle.

Armor class is based on the Armor you are wearing. It determines your strengths and weaknesses to different attacks. In general, the more expensive the armor, the better modifiers it has. Helms and other equipment do not change the armor class - they have other effects (modifying stats, etc).


The equipment menu for a party member.
Includes stats, information, and equipment for the character.

TIP: When you attack a square, keep in mind it will damage all units in that square (friendly and enemy). If a flying enemy is on top of a friendly unit, move the friendly unit before you attack.

TIP: The damage of a weapon (the minimum, maximum and average damage you can do with that weapon) is shown in the Equipment screen, as well as the AP required to use the weapon. In the skills screen, you can see the same information for each skill.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, there is no Shadow of Time 1, 2 or 3, nor is there likely to be a 5 :P . That was just a joke.

Anyways, have fun playing!

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Shadow of Time 4
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Creator
terra0nova
Engine
Custom
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