Category Archives: magic stones

Past, present and future

The Past

Magicstones02

Don’t worry, the picture above is NOT of any upcoming games! 😉 It’s from one of my early fantasy/RPG games called Magic Stones, which has still a special place in my heart because was the first game I made to become relatively successful. That though represent the past, what I was doing several years ago. I used royalty free poser 3d models because I couldn’t afford decent artists.

The Present

The present is of course represented well by my recent manga games, and Loren in particular. I never invested so much time and resources in a game before, but now that the game is currently in beta stage, I can say it was definitely worth it!

Lorenaffection

In case you missed my Twitter/Facebook announcement, I released version 0.8 which lets you play through the whole chapter 1. The game has also a very long demo, so you can try it before preordering it!

We have added a lot of new features to version 0.8 based on early tester/players’ feedback, and I must say that the game now is much better. I liked a lot in particular the feature to double-click to repeat last action (very useful in battles, making them much more smooth to play!) and the new “Tasks” feature, in which you can play battles to raise your Fame in a specific town, to obtain discounts in the town’s vendor.

Brezacastle

The. plot is also going on very well, with Aleema (the writer) finishing the last chapter. I can assure you that the final battle will be something epic, and also have a surprising end! But for now, I’m concentrating on finishing the chapter2, since adding all the new enemies and battles is quite time consuming, since I have to test them all.

I also reduced the difficulty on the Easy level so much, that I can say that playing Loren at easy level is almost like playing a normal visual novel. So I think that even if you don’t like RPGs, you should try playing it in easy mode just to read the story, which I think is very good!

The Future

As I said, after Loren I plan to take a break from very detailed RPGs. But of course, Planet Stronghold sequel will be still done this year, since in this case the RPG framework is already tested and finished (and also, is more simplified vs Loren).

Below you can admire a new sketch from the artist for a Marada Shaman enemy:

Marada_shaman

Planet Stronghold: Warzone should be out this summer, though is more likely will be this fall. As for my other projects, beside Heileen 3 and Nicole, I didn’t make much progresses, since my last two months were completely absorbed by Loren!

But hopefully once Loren is out, will have more time to devote to those games, which compared to the complexity of making a RPG could even be considered “relaxing”! 😉

I also have more surprises coming out next months: might do my first online/webgame, and if I can find the right partner also a webcomic. Stay tuned!

Magic Stones 1.2.7 BETA

So I found the time to do shit small quest and update the game too. Now the damage calculation during the battles is much more “reliable”. I mean, less use of random numbers, and also you can now see an estimate damage before attacking a enemy, so you can plan your strategy better.

I think this change make the game much more interesting to play, adding more value to the high level monsters and also to the spells and special attacks. To try the new BETA version follow the links below:

Pc version:
http://www.didone.com/games/MagicStonesTrial.exe

Mac version:
http://www.didone.com/games/MagicStonesTrial.zip

Please report any bug you find on the forums or privately using the contact form at my site.

Five Years and still going

Is amazing thinking that I’ve started to be indie dev 5 years ago! Time really fly!

To celebrate it, I’m preparing a small surprise: a mini quest for Magic Stones 🙂 free of course. Don’t expect a full quest like the previous one, but hey, it’s free, so don’t complain!

On other news, I’ve started working on 5 more projects! 8| crazy I know, but since now I have decided not to use Poser art anymore, I depend on artists. And usually they’re slow or disappear… so to prevent long pauses, I have started many project, so hopefully at least one artist manages to finish his job in time 🙂

Stay tuned for the announcement of the new miniquest for Magic Stones in the next few days.

Magic Stones: Lost Temples Island beta

Today managed to finish the last expansion of Magic Stones, Beta release. It should be fairly stable, but as always if you want to try it, make a backup of your druid data just in case something bad happen 🙂

It is a bit sad to announce the last expansion for this game, but 2 years have passed since the initial release date (version 1.0, 4th October 2005) and I feel I need to finish this experience. I’ll still be updating the game from time to time like I do with my other titles, but I won’t be releasing free quests anymore. I’ll try to release an editor or a PDF guide on how to create your own though!

Downloads:
http://www.didone.com/games/MagicStonesTrial.exe
http://www.didone.com/games/MagicStonesTrial.zip

What’s New in 1.2.5

– added the last free quest “Lost Temples Island”, introducing the fifth avatars for life and spirit magic schools: the Angel and the Rhino
– fixed a bug that was displaying wrong attack and defense values when right-clicking on neutral avatars if you had any perk active
– now the artifacts damage amount received per battle is determined by the general game difficulty level
– fixed a minor cosmetic bug that was displaying the skills bar too long, causing a small graphic garbage
– increased effectiveness of charm attack/spell: now the charmed avatars will always to damage to their own allies
– fixed a wrong message window that was appearing when browsing avatars during a battle in character screen
– fixed a bug that was causing avatars to skip their turn if their speed was higher than 9

Magic Stones Postmortem

Last year was contacted by a person from idevgames to write a postmortem about my game Magic Stones. Since over 1 year has passed already and he didn’t post anything in his site, I thought to post the postmortem in my blog, so at least I didn’t waste my time writing it and maybe someone could find it interesting, who knows.

Here it goes – enjoy it!

Overview

I always liked the idea of making a fantasy-card game, so I started to outline the basic idea on a piece of paper. Yes planning was essential in this kind of game, I knew it from the start (and luckily I did it).

I decided to base everything on celtic mythology, so I first started to do some research both in local library and also on the net. Found the celtic runes and thought to assign to each one of them a spell or a summoned avatar in the game. I divided the runes into 4 elements (the classic air, water, fire and earth) even if their original meaning is a bit different (but hey is just a game!).

So after sketching out the general features, statistics, skills, creatures, background story, etc of the game, I put all those numbers together in a spreadsheet page.

Then had to solve a big problem, to make the graphic of such a game, and found in Poser a very good solution. Bought several ready-made 3d models, and after several weeks spent on various renderings, I had the basic 48 avatars ready (20 avatars for the 4 elements plus many neutral/evil ones).

I added a roleplaying element to the game, so that in addition to your “deck of card” you had also an in-game alter-ego, with an inventory of items that could affect your power and a set of basic skills that would influence the game in general.

Tools used

I used xCode and a very simple but really powerful 2d programming API called PTK (website http://www.phelios.com/ptk) that I had already used in all my previous games with great success.

As I already said, for graphics I used mostly Poser 5/6 for the monsters, characters, etc and photoshop to design the interface of the game.

For the music I just bought royalty-free music from one of the many online stores.

What went right

The game had since its launch a good group of loyal followers. This maybe also because I decided, shortly after I released version 1.0, to add “bonus pack” or “expansion packs” with new game features and new avatars/quests, completely free for registered users. This was both a hard move (once I had announced it, I couldn’t change my mind) but also a winning one because it helped greatly to improve customers loyalty and is keeping my game always “on the news” thanks to those frequent updates (about every 2-3 months usually).

What went wrong

Despite I had planned everything, as always happens in this sort of games, you’ll need to TEST TEST and TEST. When you make a simple match3 game, is hard to have bugs after hours of playing (because game mechanic is always the same). With this kind of game instead, I had many bugs in the initial version 1.0 because I didn’t took the time to test it properly since was too eager to release it (a mistake I will never repeat in any future games!).

Conclusion

I can say that it was both a very rewarding experience (got so many enthusiast email feedbacks!) but also very stressing. The day after release was working 10hours a day to fix all the bug and I had also a tight deadline to deliver the first expansion “The Bone Lord” in time for Christmas 2005. Keeping the game updated also is not so simple, since need to add more content like new art/sounds, and new gameplay elements. But overall I like this kind of games so in this case the passion plays an important role.