SADISTIKA - a WIP isometric shooter (in RPGMaker ???)

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SADISTIKA - a WIP isometric shooter (in RPGMaker ???)

Heather_Trammel

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Well howdy again, y'all! It's Heather here. Apologies for not having posted anything in the forums for a little while there, life's been a rollercoaster lately... so it's the usual, heh

I posted about the current project I've started that I'm attempting to put all my artistic attention into in the "lets make video games! (69 days from 4/20)" thread.
Though, I felt I wrote so much compared to the others in there that I sorta overtook the whole vibe; so now there's this thread about this project in specific, as I'm interested in how people take to it.


(((( If you're not into long/personal posts, just *start scrolling until you see images** )))))


I have a fairly explicit and tethered history to a very niche subsect of RPGMaker... enthusiasts(?) ((We all talk shit on every iteration of the engine, but I think a lot of us actually secretly like the pain it brings us.))
A handful of my curerent friends and myself started getting into the first few steps of proper independent game development through 2014's LISA The Painful -- to the point by which I was the first person to ever announce a fangame for the series. (That's a reupload, by the way, the original copies of a lot of the stuff I made for it are looooooong lost.) I was a teenager then, one caught in quite a handful of nasty ruts.
There's a lot of history I could get into, some good most of it isn't. But needless to say, I've stuck by attempting to become a proper developer since around 2016, and have been making pixelart since 2011.

A few games sequentially inspired me to get more and more into the possibility of making games as a means of not starving to death under a horrible nation and economic systems that values profit and control over human dignity.
The Scott Pilgrim beat-'em-up got me into wanting to make pixelart --> later on Hotline Miami (not linking to that one, because I feel like I know all of you have it installed already) would make me think "well, if two guys can make a full game, I'm sure I and my bestfriend could as well" ------> then LISA The First (at the time just 'Lisa') made my puberty-stricken mind say "Woah, wait a minute... video games can be about REAL SHIT?!!!", got hyped for it's RPG sequel in an autistic energy drink fueled lapse all along delving into trying to find the game engine that works for Me!

So why is it I can go on and on about my personal history in trying to make games? Should I instead just be working on one or however many of my ideas now instead of typing this out?
After all, in my own experiences, talking and hyping people up for something so soon after it's inception can often feel like a kiss of death. And I've already got a handful of hefty corpses that had potential in the eyes of particular indiviuals I still actively hold a lot of respect for. Most of the reasons any of my previous projects (both of them RPGs) got canned were because of situations outside of my control in life. Graduations, being a caretaker, having a ton of mental issues with no means of therapy or recovery (I even still lack a proper living situation to fully feel at ease with anything.) My life boiled until it frothed and drowned out my aspirations for quite a few years.

Though, instead of falling into a pit of constant despair over my past failures, I actually look on them with some amount of honor.
I've been told by more than one person that the amount of work I put into the second iteration of my attempt at a LISA fangame on my own was inspiring enough for them to keep on working on their RPG project.
So even though I had lost it and a few other half-hearted attempts at making games to my own internal struggles and external factors... once I got over enough of my issues, I decided to get right back into the swing of it.
And that's what SADISTIKA is(!) Years, and years, and years of personal development and self-understanding mixing in with some of my darker interests.

During my hiatus from trying to make my own games, I started trying to figure out why I even play and like video games (a term I'm not even that big on anymore, I think "interactive experience" works better for a lot of 'em)
which lead to me following another trend of trying to make video essays on them. This... went nowhere, compared to my development attempts which at least had plenty more results and more I could talk on intricately lol
I actually managed to snag someone I look up to for an interview regarding a game that had inspired my handdrawn artwork for many years, none other than Destructoid's Jonathan Holmes, in which I wanted to hear his unique angles (what with him being a writer on games and a licensed mental health worker) about his opinions and feelings on the very first POSTAL entry.

As with a lot of the personal changes I've mentioned so far, I actually stopped working on that video essay for a number of factors; I became a volunteer QA tester for POSTAL 4 (which comes with even more baggage, if you can believe it),
I didn't feel it at the time but my understanding of why I liked POSTAL 1 so much started to shift, and ultimately I felt there was more that could be done with games like it and Hatred (which I got a t-shirt from the devs of for making them a drawing, although when I moved out from Alabama the first laundromat I used fucked the shirt up with heat, ugh...) Ultimately I decided "fuck it, I'll just make POSTAL 1 but actually have it be about something." And so here we all are!

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(notice the error I made on the initial draft? I corrected it on a separate sheet after I started digitizing this one, heh )

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It's still incredibly early, but what can I say? I'mma sucker for showing off my goods.
I even got a drawing tablet just to work on this game, something I never could have afforded back in the deep south (a close friend did lend me one, but for whatever reason it wouldn't work with most of my Pcs.)
Most of the assets in the game use what I call a stencil as their base, meaning I draw out the basic shape(s) and details on paper beforehand and then digitally trace back over them.
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This next image is a more complete iteration of the level I took a screenshot in on the first game dev thread I interacted with on here(!!!)
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Eh, screw it, here's the current full background for the first map you're dropped into in the game!
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Even though this level's art alone has gotten praise in the few private circles I run in, I still feel it's too sparse... and yet, I also don't want to clutter up the screen with too much all at once for the introduction level.
Decisions, decisions.


And with my job and how my homelife currently goes (plus internal struggles and growth), I don't get to work on this project nearly as much as I'd like to.
While my rent may not be "all that much" in some peoples' eyes, there's still groceries and other things that chew into my flimsy cash pile. I'm lucky the bank doesn't close my account, I'm usually broke because literally everything is getting more and more expensive. And I CAN SAY IT FIRSTHAND, since I work in a store and all. I don't even like cars, but they're such a huge part of modern living here in the states; I don't own one, so I have to hitch rides out to work. I was lucky to grab that new drawing tablet in a sale and had to get an emergency used eBay desktop after my last one died (just a heads up, I've got shit luck with technology, ahahahaha!) ((which has made me better able to salvage projects from one harddrive to another in more recent years, rather than teenage me losing everything all at once and having to do a ton all over from scratch... again!


Actually, the nigh... er, morning I'm making this thread I pulled an all-nighter out of nowhere just to see if I could get a bit more done on the main menu screen of all things.
It's 4 AM, I've got a ride reluctantly taking me into work around 6 (when they leave the house), and I don't even clock in till 9. And it's gonna be a seven-hour shift for me today.
I've just been so pissed that I haven't been able to make any fluent progress on Sadistika that I decided "to hell with my health, I'll just down a quarter of an edible and some coffee and fucking GET IT WORKED ON!!!
Do I regret it? Only physically. I know my shift is gonna suck ass. And the stress of possibly not being able to make it into work these next few days is really doing a number on my head.
That's why I'm here, though. This place is, as it says on the tin, quite comfortable. Which I don't usually seek out personal comfort, I'm very tolerant of almost never having any of my needs or desires met. You get used to it, ya know.
I mean we shouldn't, but... Uh... anyhow.

My process of working on this particular project is much different to my past attempts with the RPGs (which if I had the means to stay home and work on while possessing a steady enough income, I'd like to someday come back around to).
I wrote out a lot of stuff to make a progressively sensible plot stringing level-to-level together in my phone's memo program while waiting hours ahead of time to clock in at the oooool' "shit factory", so some details (like the crashed truck in one of the images I posted) will tie into how events unfold in the story. There might also be more than one type of cutscene, taking advantage of how RPGMaker handles differing assets and all (The version I'm in is MZ, by the way, but I started with XP/VX Ace like a lot of other LISAheads.) The scripts more and more people are putting out for most versions of the engine are actually getting incredibly impressive. So yes, it is a possibility to make something like this in such a limited engine. Actually, I learned that POSTAL 1 (not Redux, the OG) itself is almost entirely grid&line-based, so that made me realize that isometric can be done in something as rudimentary as RPGMaker (truly the beat up Toyato pickup truck of personal 'at home use' game engines) Plus, I sometimes like working within limitations. While on the flipside, I also wish I never had to deal with any limitations in my life. I wanna be a floating bodyless mass somewhere private out in space.

... Alrighty, I think it's time I bounced out of here and got a shower to wake my stupid ass up s'more before the sun comes up and I have to leave.
I hope any of y'all who looked into this giant ass thread in any capacity (whether you skimmed it, read it all, or just looked at the art) are doing good today and from now on.
I like this forum site, it reminds me of the first one I ever used back in 2013, same color scheme too ironically enough. I dig the purples on black look, it really strikes me a certain way.
I'm looking forward to updating you guys in specific on this project as I get more involved with it, if God doesn't smite me before then or I somehow become unable to work on anything related to my art.
Strangely enough, I don't even like calling myself an "artist" since art doesn't actually exist. ... But that's a longass thread for another time, lol!

Take it easy, peeps - Heat (my usual nickname)
 
Oh shit! I almost forgot!!! One last thing; I recently made a custom level for Hotline 2 that some friends of mine tried out and liked.
And it's not something I simply shat out (although it did take a relatively short time to put together). The version on the Steam workshop is actually the second iteration and I took the OG off'a Steam.
I might rework the original version of the level with some touchups and upload it again (it's called LATE SHIFT and featured the Fans, as opposed to this one, Afterhours with Detective Pardo.)

This was something I had wanted to do since between my last Pc dying and getting my new one; I'd come home from work, get blasted, and tried to 100% Hotline 2 on the PS4.
I still have a lot of trophies one of my buddies in particular wants me to attempt unlocking. I was lucky to have cheesed my way through the game's hardmode, lol

I also started to revaluate Hotline Miami and LISA, same as I did with POSTAL 1, but came back with much more indirect inspiration than what P1 lent me.
I have a lot I could say on these games and a number of others. I feel like I could say a lot about saying a lot, heh. But uh, for real though, let me know what y'all think about... anything I've said or shared, really.
If you want to, you ain't gotta. I just like it here.
 
I hope you can complete it. I know that kind of feeling, like that my dream would never come to alive only because of my own fault. You are still fighting. Your artwork is really good, i love them. I wish you can finish it and get your world shown.
 
I hope you can complete it. I know that kind of feeling, like that my dream would never come to alive only because of my own fault. You are still fighting. Your artwork is really good, i love them. I wish you can finish it and get your world shown.
Thank you for the kind words! I meant to respond to this in specific sooner, but I've been, uh... Well, life's taken a few turns, that's for sure. Some damning, some (surprisingly) improvements.

I'm not going to get into the piles upon piles of details involved in the recent events in my life, all I need to say at this moment is that I've been living back in Alabama for about a week now.
The things I had going on in Kentucky just weren't shaping up well on any level. I reached the lowest point in my life thus far, which was immediately met with a chance to deal with issues from my past in a manner I never felt would ever come about. I went from not being listened to at all to suddenly everyone around me wanting to hear me talk about anything going on with me. I fell out of a neglectful relationship and now I'm slowly getting some semblance of mental wellness back. Stress, stress, stress; that's all I can say without airing dirty and very personal laundry.

Let's focus on the game, since it's something I'd still like to keep up with!
I decided to try adding in a more interesting layer to the plot, taking the commentary of society the game is intended to be and also commenting on *more smallscale nuances*
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(This is something I drew out during one of my last shifts at the place I worked at previously.)

I was thinking of making SADISTIKA's story sort of like 'a game-within-a-game' wherein the gameplay sections are deliberately unrelated (at least on a first glance) to the active story being told.
Some of these character designs and ideas were pulled out of my previously cancelled projects, being morphed into more original notions.
So, essentially, the idea will be that you're playing someone playing a game; and from there you can either assist or derail their mental progress during a bad time in their life.

I've written two cutscenes so far and are currently spitballing ideas to myself on how to make the story interesting enough for a player to want to engage with it.
The cutscenes (in terms of eventing) are the easiest for me to put together -- the only time consuming part is the drawing and writing, but the actually RPGMaker...ing(?) isn't tough for making them.
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I've also been working on making the art style as interesting as I can without making it so detailed that it takes FOREVER to put assets together for it.
If I do end up releasing an early build through these forums, it will likely have *A TON of placeholders*, which I imagine is somewhat expected given how little time I've had to work on it.
Some stuff I work on with my drawing pad, a lot I still use a mouse to fill in.

I'm not certain how large of a game this will actually end up being. I had it in my mind to do sixteen levels (because POSTAL 1 had that amount on it's launch and my game is heavily inspired by it),
and for a while I even considered going into Early Access or setting up a Kickstarter once I reached at least six of 'em. But after giving it some thought and talking with a mentor, I think it'd be best to make this a full-on game before I actually try selling it anywhere. Besides, I have this unavoidable feeling in myself anytime I get paid for making art or when I finish any sort of piece that it's actually garbage and that my art is shit and not worth anyone's acknowledgement or money. I know that's just nerves and I'm only sick of my own stuff because I have to sit and look at it for hours on end, where as it's utterly new to onlookers; so I have to ignore my feelings and press on if I'm ever going to actually put anything worthwhile out. .... I'm sure some of the more artistically-inclined of you might understand such feelings.

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These past few days I've been helping someone with making wooden outrigger pads for construction site vehicles.
It keeps me busy, takes my mind off things, lets me ponder the game while focusing on something physical rather than just on a computer, and I'm gonna use the small amounts of money I get from it to pay off my last landlord for letting me keep the smartphone he got me for getting work a while back. It's not anywhere near as taxing on my mind as my last job (if it's gonna become a regular gig for me, relatively speaking.)

Anyhow, I think I should either get back to making the game, prepping for work tomorrow, and gearing up for sleep.
It's been a long week and I'm just getting settled into a new rhythm and letting my general attitude and mental health improve with a new hygiene routine and staying medicated as much as possible.
If anyone else would like to ask me anything about the game, I'd be more than willing to let on about it; just know, it's still very early and always subject to changes as with most WIP things ( ! ! !)
 
I'm not sure where to write this, either to myself in private or in one of the little Discord servers I use to pile on files and text related to development;
but maybe it could be sorta possibly maybe I dunno helpful to anyone who tries to use RPGMaker in the sort of way I am with this project.
I made the workload on the actually implementation of the action levels much harder on myself without foresight -- so the first level will function a bit differently than the rest.

I think for the sake of ease I should have the doors to buildings and some mild destruction to certain in-game objects loaded/ready into the map rather than pull them in through eventing.
Now you CAN do it either way, and for some objects it may be better to keep the yet-to-be-interacted-with version be the first iteration. But I'm thinking of having the closed doors to buildings (in particular)
be open on the actual tileset and then making the closed versions an event. So it would go "closed door event on map, make that invisible so opened tile version is seen when doors are stood near, then after
whatever needs to happen around the door (people running out usually) the initial event could be flipped back on a self-switch.

I tend to do the pre-digital levels sketched with the doors closed, but it'd be no hassle at all for me to start doing it the other way in the early stages of making a level's layout.

Funnily enough I'm more focused on the cutscenes/other elements right now since I've been working a lot lately during the daytime. The woodshop's been very therapeutic, which is a happy surprise.

In a perfect world I'd be happy to someday allow it so people could even do custom levels of your own in the game; but unfortunately I am not a programmer and RPGMaker is... well, it's RPGMaker.
Aside from my weird somewhat experimental ripoff, I always felt games akin to POSTAL 1, Redux, and even HATRED would benefit from level editors. I know they *technically* have them with P1's OG editor being a literal
one wherein you can't produce new maps just modify existing ones ; P1's Steam port was at one point in time going to have a newer and more user-friendly one that RWS gave up on before implementing (you can hack into it but it's overly complicated and doesn't work very well even when you break into it) ; HATRED seems to have a decently competent niche modding community and I've seen some (incredibly edgy, "go figure", and rather personally uninteresting) custom maps that show it is possible to add your own content into the game. And POSTAL Redux was announced to be getting a level editor through the Steam forums back around when it was still a fresh release but the original thread seems to have either been deleted or I just can't find it anymore. The game undersold and Running With Scissors had to eat the losses.

These types of games are often a novelty and tend to be seen as shallow, controversy-chasing edgy okay-ish shooters. ... No argument there, it's very likely the reality.
I only see potential in this sort of game. I don't even fully think mine will do much better aside from 'trying to have a plot, ANY plot to it'.
I was motivated to work on this thing after years of putting it off. I may have written about this already, but there's still more I want to say, especially on POSTAL 1.
I know that the game itself doesn't have much substance to it overall. There is enough to spark intrigue among those willing to commit to the game more than most people would.
But ultimately, over time, I had to accept that what I was looking for in the game just wasn't really there, ya know. I had to pretend it was saying and doing more than it actually was.

This combined with my growing anxiety about what the United States is like to live in; it's and even my own strange obsession with violence, how quietly and even loudly angry so many of us living here are,
the conditions of those of us without much wealth or resources, the lack of actual (not performative) care on the behalf of those in charge, and THE SHEER AMOUNT OF MASS SHOOTINGS ALL THE TIME.
I hate to use terms often associated with anti-'games as art' talkers or pearl clutching people who don't understand games all too well, but... I think there is a lot of desensitization by part of this medium.
I think a lot of folks have an immediate repulsion to the idea that games can do more than *just being a powerfantasy or fantasy of anykind. As an artform, there's so much games could be doing and they
just aren't. And while I know I alone certainly aren't going to be pull them in a direction I'd like to see people's attentions placed on, certainly not with this current project; I at least hope that people stop getting
riled up over the idea of games being "political". They are that. They're more than that. They have a built-in interactivity no other medium has ever brought about, and it's starting to really feel like a wasted opportunity to get people to think on some real, and I mean REAL, stuff about ourselves and a plethora of serious topics.

I'm not saying that video games are gonna save the world or anything that grand, but, art DOES help. Even if for a long time I felt it didn't anymore.
That was likely due to my severe mental state(s) these past years. I'd say "past few" years though I think it's been too long to say "few".

At any rate, I'm not sure how anyone on this site might feel about any of this I brought up. If you have another way of looking at these things, I'd be more than willing to hear you out.
I don't expect anyone here to be reductive in their insights like in some online spaces, mainly because y'all clearly care about art since you're all pretty much striving to archive a ton of it.
Music and sound samples mostly, but hey, without that stuff games would have less interesting soundtracks ! ! !

Anyhow, I think that's enough out of me. I don't know why I went on a tangent just now. I'm gonna be staying put from working until monday. That gives me some time to further
decompress and focus on SADISTIKA. Life's sure been a rollercoaster lately. I'm hoping the recent ride itself is finally gonna slow down and let me feel stable again.
It might, it might not. I only have so much control over anything. Things will be as they are.

Y'all take it easy out there, please ( ! ) - 🔥 Heat [nickname o' mine]
 
Your artworks rock man!
I'm glad ya like my visuals, maan!!!!
Personally I don't, but that's because I'm working on them *all the time*, so I get a bit tired of 'em. A lot of artists feel the same way, I'm sure.

That said, I've made much more progress in a shorter amount of time than I had anticipated. What I'm about to show off is still in the placeholder phase, but it's good enough to work within the engine with (!)
[the initial sketch out on paper]:
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[the current digitally fabricated version in the engine]:
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Melvin's room will be a tad separate from the rest of the game functionally; whereas the cutscenes are almost set up in a visual novel-kinda way, and the primary gameplay will be isometric -- I wanted to give the player a means to step away from the violence and drama with a reprieve between the two. Having multiple viewpoints (as in literal camera angles) also makes the game feel more dynamic than it may end up being once it's finalized (a bridge I'll cross when it gets to it all, heh)

The plans are to have it so the player will be interrupted from the isometric segments with breakages that allow them to perform other things away from Melvin's computer desk.
Some ideas are to have it so he can pack up for a move, phone up his grandmother, take out the trash, go take a shower, and other activities to help his mental state.
Or, for players who don't give a shit, you can just sit and keep playing the game until your mom/dad comes in and tells you to go to bed.

*speaking of which, it's almost 2 and I haven't slept in a while, lol*
goodnight, y'all, i whoever reads this is doing alright ! ! ! !
please take it easy
 
I didn't get all too much done on the game today like I had wanted, but... I did get some of the more specific screens set up, though they're still in need of the more intricate details visual and otherwise.

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Hi, it's been a minute since I've updated this page. Namely because I was evicted, twice, in the time since then. Both times for shit (albeit different) reasons.
In that span of time I've had to reevaluate a lot about myself as a person, where it seems I'm heading (my life can sometimes feel like a big looping cycle, that I intend to break somehow)
the sorts of people I'm related to or put up with -- ya know... real PLEASANT THOUGHTS.

Hell, I got more meds I can take now and sometimes those *make me feel worse*.

Life's been rough on me and I'm sure some of you here can relate.
I've come close to calling it quits with trying to make games entirely. But then I started to randomly feel alright-ish again.
image17.PNG
and so I started messing around with small little experiments in RPGMaker again, like having "realtime" shadows!

My gears are shifting for something more in-favor of the traditional RPG structure over a shooter, while still tackling some very intense themes and ideas.
I'm not saying I won't ever try to get a proper isometric twin-stick shooter done. But it's not something that plays into the strengths of the engine (for now.)
RPGMaker MZ does have a few scripts that are more action oriented, though even I have my limits on what is acceptably janky in terms of output.

So, for the time being, I'm going to dip back into the shadows. And I appreciate the few bits of responses these threads have gotten.
Whether it becomes a finalized project I can freely sell (and hopefully finally get out of poverty to some respectable degree) or it dies off alongside me into obscurity...
thank each of you who's checked out my page(s).

I'm actually taking commissions current to help me pay off my phone and get my medications in.
You can see some of my newer digitally-made art on a classic of a site ( ! ) Though do be warned, some of it is NSFW
And I have some YouTube video ideas that may or may not come about anytime soon. I'm hoping to become more focused on gamemaking again, to a strong capacity.

If I'm honest, this past week I've done nothing but sleep day and night. I know it's the meds making me feel worse, but I take them when I start to feel down in relation to some family I've had to cut off.
In fact, if I get a chance to, I'd like to change my username on here as well as to reflect that I won't remain tethered to the old aspects of my life much longer. Shit sucks, but it's for my mental health.

At any rate, hope you are all doing s'well (super well) ! ! ! and goodnight + good luck!
 
Good luck friend.
I was working on an RPG also in RMMV and gave myself RSI in the process lmao
 
im really looking forward to whatever you end up making, even if it isnt what you originally had in mind. keep it up
 
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