Eternal Grace Post Mortem part 01
Dear fellow Enthreans, today we want to share something related to Eternal Grace project. Although we didn’t seem to make progress lately about this title, this game is still our very first game released by us; Enthrean Guardian. We put so much of our time, patience, love, passion into the project, that we hope everyone that play would feel great.
However, the title currently “stopped” at episode 1 at the moment, and we’ll let you know what’s the reason behind it and what are our thoughts as well in this post mortem. Hopefully you will find this article interesting to read, both to our players or fellow game developers.
We will separate the articles into several parts, and now as the first part, we want to share you a long story about how Eternal Grace started from a mere scratch, from a mere high school boy’s dream. So let’s take a deep breath…
Once, there was a boy named Jasson Prestiliano in his Senior High School who loved to play an RPG (Role Playing Game) but after a while, he found that he disliked the storyline. He wondered if he can make his own game with his own storyline. Then this boy started to realize his passion in game development, by starting to make some pen and paper RPG, he draws all the pen and paper RPG called Soldiers of Heaven.
This boy entered college, started to study programming and still kept his dream to make his own RPG. Soon, with the help of RPG Maker 2003, he started to make real RPG project of Soldiers of Heaven by himself. However, he failed to finish the game himself although the game has become one of the most promising story on RPG Challenge that held by Game Developer Indonesia forum.
Time goes on, he studied about RPG Maker XP, and started new project called Eternal Grace, which is a sequel of the Soldier of Heaven in storyline. He noticed that to make it by himself would spend lot of his lifetime too much, then he started to gather comrades to make his dream come true.
He started to make a thread about his dream RPG in GamedevID.org’s forum.Tried hard to invite people who want to work together with him, he then founded a team consist of 20++ people. We know that to create an all-original-content RPG is really time consuming, even if we just use standard gameplay that RM provide or make a short story to cut the assets need.
Eternal Grace development progressed remotely, which in their country, they still has much problem like bad internet connection, and personal commitment problems. There were some case graphic division waited for program division or vice versa, makes a fatal deadlock.
From that they learned that working in team has its own benefits and its drawbacks, working in team might give faster performance to make game progress, but they also need effort to work the team coordination or… it would turn ugly. And at last, lacking of team management, communication and commitment, the team disbanded and Eternal Grace project was delayed.
In 2010, Jasson acquainted clea leshlick from the same GDI forum. He told clea about his dream, clea, who is a music composer is interested and then invite Lazcht, who is an graphic artist to join. Lazcht and clea then invited kodoktua to join as spriter. They have released first demo, but so much bug found and things still didnt work good.
You can download the first demo here, remember it’s very buggy but you can see our first effort to make an Action RPG in Eternal Grace by playing the game.
At first, Jasson tried to be the main programmer by himself, but then he found programming field is not his forte. He asked two RPG Maker programmer; Wltr3565 and reijubv from RPG Maker Indonesia (RPGMakerID) to join, and they agreed. The last person from the same forum to join is Manz, the one who has talent in graphic field, he then got in charge of making tilesets.
They, until now, have been the solid member of Eternal Grace maker team; Jasson, Lazcht, clea leshlick, kodoktua, reijubv, Wltr3565 and Manz. And even until now, their communication still depended on Internet connection by using messenger and other social networks. They established the team name ; Enthrean Guardian, that taken from the planet where Eternal Grace take place, Enthrea. Later, they called themselves as The Guardians.
And that was the story of how this Eternal Grace project struggled a lot to find its proper and solid team who are capable to finish it into final product.
Changes that happened from time to time.
In this section we want to share things that have changed from alpha, beta to the latest version. We found that this might interest people to see how did the game look on first time, before it turned out as now.
Why bother to made that lot of changes? Our quality standard increases as the time goes by, and that is why evolution needed and occurred, in exchange, we invested lot of time on them and at the same time, we learned many things from the project.
The first artwork of Eternal Grace’s character were made by Jasson. He tried to make the artworks by himself until Jeff Hardy from GDI said that his drawings is not decent to be a game’s artwork. Motivated by that words, he started to find person with unique capability of artwork. And he found Lazcht via clea leshlick as the illustrator.
Here’s the artwork evolution of two Eternal Grace’s main characters in episode one (click the picture to see actual size).
The first sprite of Eternal Grace were made by Craive (our former member), unfortunately he quit and the team has to find someone else to fit this spriter role, then kodoktua joined in. Firstly, Jasson want kodoktua to follow Craive’s style of spriting, but then Jasson gave freedom to let kodoktua use his own pixel style, and we can see the newer one is more characterized and he’s more comfortable that way.
Main Menu Screen
Jasson tried his best to make great layout in main menu in past. In Lazcht’s hand and with some people’s suggestion, the main menu of Eternal Grace found its unique form. Jasson programmed the main menu main menu implementation at first, later the job was taken by reijubv, who succeeded to make Hexagonal-Batik themed main menu.
Battle System and Battle Screen
From the start, Jasson wanted to make an action RPG, he tried to learn hard on XAS Battle system in RPG Maker XP. And then he tried to program it by the helps of some friend, yet they quit. Until he found Wltr3565 from RMID, later on, him with clea leslick modifed the core battle system, and put some original content instead of using original XAS script.
The dialogue and event screen also has its evolutions, at first, each character has only one image (default expression), and still using standard window with skin. Later, Lazcht made new Batik-Hex-themed dialogue scene, adding more expression to match funny, serious or emotional events, that made some scenes smoother and more natural.
If you noticed, we replaced the old avatars for some reasons. In order to add facial expressions, Lazcht redrew Razh and Millia’s avatar so the default pose will not make certain expression (neutral pose), so it fits any expression. Second reason was Lazcht wanted to draw with more characterized style, then Jasson allowed.
Jasson and clea leshlick become mastermind behind all of the musics of Eternal Grace, Lazcht and hipon (from stellar-0) also contributed some of them. Musical progress has its evolution too, lot of re-arrangement, remix, remaster has been done.
For example, you can compare the music composition for Eternal Grace Battle Theme, entitled Will to Struggle. The first one is made by Jasson, and the second one is made by clea but still include some part of Jasson’s composition. The old version of battle theme used in Eternal Grace demo. And for the first episode release, we used the new one.
Eternal Grace – Will to Struggle – old version:
Eternal Grace – Will to Struggle:
That’s all for now, wait for the next article about Journey of Eternal Grace Development, about how Eternal Grace team found sponsor, the effort to monetize this game and the result, our experience when developing episode 1, and near future hopes. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading, Enthreans.