Maria Renard’s lair

Who would dare to stand for justice?

The project must go on

Posted by Gemini on February 7, 2009

It’s been another month, and here goes another update for the lovely Maria and all her fans (which I hope are many :p). Long blah blah ahead, with a few sketches and pictures, so if you are not interested you can just ignore this entry entirely. :D

As usual, let’s proceed in order from the meaningless stuff. The last news speaks about some books I bought to reinforce my knowledge about programming, writing, and whatever is useful for projecting and developing a game. I’ve got bad and good news. Good news, I’ve got all the books in my hands (two of which I’ve gotten for free), bad news is that I don’t have time to read them in detail now. Unfortunately I’m back to university crap, which means that I have to study for a literature exam for the 19th of this month. Italian authors will haunt my dreams until that day, but I’ll try and bear it for the time being. At least I was able to read a few chapters from each of the books, so I know for sure they are pretty good and will help me developing a professional looking game, or that’s what I’m expecting.

Boring part gone, I can move to some of the interesting aspects: new ideas! Sin and I have been thinking about some new locations and monsters for the game, and the best idea so far was to have some sort of heretic church, with a dedicated stage/portion of the map. These heretics will be somehow connected to the vampires in the story, as both are part of an unholy order of sorts: the Zodiac Society.
Speaking of the heretics, I was also thinking about some trap in the boss area which leads you to a sure game over if you don’t act in a particular way, something similar to Ecclesia’s scene where Barlowe asks you to use the Dominus union and you haven’t rescued all the villagers yet. I think many will find this a little annoying, but that’s what makes games really good: add stuff to keep your interest high and make you actually think about a solution to progress. There will be other similar parts, most leading you to finding a boss’ weak spot, boss that would be invincible otherwise. Feels so old style, and yet exciting. :3

Most important part of the entry now: sketches. Yes, Sin did more of those nice looking drawings, and I’m gonna show you a couple as usual. Keep in mind that these are just concepts, so the final versions could be different, partially or entirely.
sketch12sketch11sketch07
In order:

  • Pier and Harle: these monsters are supposed to show up in the circus-themed level. Pier (from Pierrot) is a knife throwing male artist, while Harle (from Harlequin) is a female fire breather. They always fight together, similarly to what the Owl Knights do with Owls, or the Berigan/Slogra & Gaibon boss. There is also other stuff in the sketch, like that chimera, but I can’t really reveal that part yet; :p
  • Euryale: one of the immortal gorgons, sister to Medusa (who isn’t immortal). What does it mean that she’s immortal? Simple, you can’t damage her with regular attacks or magic. :D She is going to be one of the new bosses, and you will need a particular strategy to kill her. This one’s gonna be really interesting;
  • Various sketches, actually the first of this batch Sin made. This one gave me the idea of having a heretic church order (notice the two bishop monsters). Dunno if the other creatures in this page will make any appearance in the actual game.

There will be probably more sketches coming soon, or at least as soon as Sin or I have new ideas on monsters or stages. Probably the next one is going to contain a prototype of the heretic church, but that’s up to Sin to decide. As for myself, I guess I still have to plan the whole set of bosses in this game before asking anything new. :p

Now now, I’ve been writing about new monsters, but what about old ones? I mean, this is going to be a Castlevania game, so it has to have Castlevania monsters, right? Well, it will feature many typical monsters from this series, and most of them will be directly imported from the games where they come from. Thanks to Kingcom and some intensive sessions of reverse engeneering, I’ve been able to do this:
eligor-spectre
This is a little program using OpenGL to render monsters and other objects from the DS Castlevania games. Currently it supports all formats from all three DS CV engines, tho it still lacks a few things I will need for some particular objects. To be very specific, it can’t render most bosses from Ecclesia, and all entries from DoS and PoR appear as grey-scaled, since monsters in those two engines have no palette field, so I had to provide a “standard” one to see at least what I was doing.
The final build of the program is going to have an option to export monsters to Red Moon’s format, althought it will only be able to export graphics, assembly data, and probably animations. Everything else will have to be programmed from scratch, especially the AI. Still, that isn’t a problem as most of the monsters will have completely new scripts, especially “very classic” monsters, like Skeletons.
I’m also thinking about including some monsters from Castlevania X68000 (also known as Castlevania Chronicles for its Playstation port). It would be lovely to have those small clowns and flying dolls from “The Tower of Dolls”. :D Maybe I could just “fix” the sprites to look somewhat more recent, like they did in SOTN for Semler, Toad, and Blood Skeleton. And speaking of SOTN, some monsters will also come from it, but I haven’t decided which ones yet.

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2 Responses to “The project must go on”

  1. slystrife said

    Awesome! I personally love your ideas for the bosses, and the sketches are great. Funny that you should mention Castlevania Chronicles… I actually just bought that game recently, it was one of the only games in the series that I didn’t own. :P

    Best of luck on that graphics program!

  2. Marbel said

    Hi man, I first found out about your project while I was checking the Castlevania Dungeon forums and I think it’s a great idea. I always thought Maria was a pretty cool character. If you’re looking for artist to make pixel and concept art you should try Deviant Art there’s a lor of awesome artist in DA, if you post this in the site’s forums you may get attention of some artist.

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