Official Demo Release!

Finally (after months and months of work) I have completed a playable demo for The Ethereal Plains! I have tested and tuned it to a point where I feel confident releasing a demo.

The Ethereal Plains Demo – v1.03

Or if you have the RPG Maker VX Ace RTP already installed, you can download:

The Ethereal Plains Demo without RTP – v1.03

I welcome any and all feedback for this, so please don’t hesitate to:

Report any bugs you encounter or offer constructive feedback.

In addition, you can find the official thread for the project on the official RPG Maker forums.


Patch Notes (May 28th, 2013), version 1.03:

  • Made several performance optimizations in areas that previously slowed-down.
  • Per some suggestions received, added some guidance for some of the more “cryptic” parts of the game. Notable in the sewers and Ocean View.
  • Reduced the volume of the sound effects in the training scene.

Patch Notes (May 26th, 2013), version 1.02:

  • Resolved an issue with the game crashing due to a missing music file (referenced in a script).
  • Resolved an issue where the player could get stuck in a NPC while moving.
  • Resolved some (mapping) passability issues.
  • Resolved an issue where it would always highlight the first character while selecting a target for spells that can only affect the caster.
  • Resolved an issue with getting stuck on the edge of the screen while riding the logs in Verona Crossing.
  • Resolved a switch conflict resulting in the command codes being automatically entered in the Mines.
  • Added an ability to Alaric.

Big thanks to Rev (Greg Owens) for reporting a handful of bugs and issues.

Progress Update

I’ve continued making some steady progress on the game. Most recently I’ve added a new opening scene (after the world history one) with some initial opening credits as well as re-did some switches/variables to clean some things up. My only concern is the amount of cutscenes in the initial parts of the game. I may try to work some more gameplay in there so it doesn’t feel like the player is just stuck watching the game for the majority of the beginning… I’m finding it tricky though because there are items in the story I can only think to portray through cutscenes; short of letting the player roam around a small area in between story elements and dialogue. At that point though, is it even worth it?

In addition, I’ve continued adding new items, armors, and weapons to the database spreadsheet (I would like to see them all side-by-side before I make the numbers official in the actual database).

All-in-all, progress is steady, and now I am starting to work on some additional mapping while I brainstorm ideas for some more opening gameplay.

Evolution of a Map

With large amounts of work being done on The Ethereal Plains as of late, foremost among them has been mapping. Lots and lots of mapping. So as a bit of a side blog amidst the game development, I decided to show how I go about my environment mapping.

For this example, we will be looking at Alma Pass; a mountain-esque pass the player must go through to reach the town of Alma. As with all level design, both 2D and 3D, I follow the same basic steps:

Continue reading

Survival Tunnel

Among another map I was doing for Left 4 Dead at the time, I chose to get sidetracked in to another, smaller map. In addition, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a survival map that would make survival much easier than standard survival maps.

Thus Survival Tunnel was created. As simple as it comes, there are 2 basic sections to defend from; both featuring near-unlimited weapons, ammo, pills, med kits, pipe bombs, and molotov cocktails. Granted that doesn’t mean you can just relax the entire time as tank battles may be more difficult given the small map size.

This map itself can be downloaded at the bottom of this post. To install it, simply copy the unzipped files to the Steam\steamapps\common\left 4 dead\left4dead\maps folder then run the game form the console using the following command:

changemap l4d_sv_tunnel

I was in the process of creating a .vpk file for it but never could get it to work correctly, so since I have no plans of distributing the map publicly anyway, I thought I would just release the map files as-is.

Download Left 4 Dead – Survival Tunnel