The Negative: Devlog #16: Monster Spotlight – Jotun

On Facebook and TwitterI asked which of the following monsters you wanted me to reveal today. The choices were between Jotun, The Deceived, or the Alchemist, and you chose Jotun! If you’d like to participate in the next vote (coming in just a few days), remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Jotun is a Chaos monster that makes use of a terrain effect called “magma pools”. Magma pools can appear underneath a monster in battle, causing them to take damage over time. Monsters can move away from these pools, which of course costs them their turn. You’ll need to decide if your monsters’ safety is worth stalling the battle longer.

Active Skills

Eruption: Deals a small amount of damage and creates a magma pool at the target location. If this skill is used on your own monsters, it deals no damage.

Volcano: Deals a moderate amount of damage to all enemies, plus 20% damage for each magma pool on the battlefield.

Molten Reflection: This monster splits into 2 separate monsters. Each one has 35% of the original monster’s HP.

Firestorm: Deals a large amount of damage to all enemies. Each position on the enemy’s side of the battlefield has a 30% chance to erupt into a pool of magma.

 

Passive Skills

Lava Spawn: This monster receives healing over time from magma pools instead of taking damage from them.

Molten Shield: While this monster is standing in a magma pool, it takes 15% less damage.

Incinerate: This monster deals 5% damage for each consecutive time it has attacked or used a skill on the target.

Ashes to Ashes: This monster deals 5% more damage for each magma pool on the battlefield.

 

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Introducing: “Learn Kana The Fun Way!”… And a note about the future.

I am excited to announce our newest game, “Learn Kana The Fun Way!

Ever wanted to learn how to read Japanese? The first step is to learn “Hiragana” and “Katakana”, otherwise known collectively as “Kana”! “Kana” refers to the Japanese alphabet – a collection of symbols that each make a distinct sound. By stringing multiple Kana together, you can form whole words or even entire sentences! Learn Kana The Fun Way! is the best way to learn Kana, and here’s why:

  • You probably already know how to play the game itself! If you’ve played Tetris or Puyo-Puyo, you’ll feel very comfortable with Learn Kana The Fun Way!
  • We’ll ease you into learning each Kana by slowly introducing new ones over the span of 20 campaign levels
  • Test your Kana knowledge in either Play Mode or Free Training mode
  • High score table allows you to track your progress and watch yourself improve over time
  • Earn up to 14 achievements. Earn them all, and you’ll have mastered Kana!
  • Easy-to-learn rules, an addictive soundtrack, and fun visual effects ensure the game will hold your attention much longer than other products!

Learn Kana The Fun Way! will be available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Playstation 4, and maybe even Xbox One. It will cost $1.99 on mobile platforms, and $4.99 everywhere else.

The game is already available for purchase on itch.io. This is for Windows, Mac, and Linux only.

The game will come to Steam toward the end of September. Right now, September 29 seems promising. Release dates for other platforms will be announced soon.

Check out the game’s webpage for more details.


And lastly, I’ll leave you with an explanation of why this game was created and what to expect from us in the future:

Despite the fact that I’ve been hard at work on The Negative for the last 7 months, I’ve recently found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. Although our graphics artists and music/sound composer are working very hard, there are just so many assets that need to be created for the game that I’ve found myself sitting around and waiting, rather than doing anything productive.

Therefore, I’ve decided to hire what you might call a “Team B” – a graphics artist and a music/sound composer – to work with me on other games alongside The Negative. If everything goes well, I plan to keep up with this paradigm for the foreseeable future, wherein I’ll always be working on one major project alongside a few smaller ones. Here’s a look at our team now:

Team A (Major Releases)

Zack – designer and programmer, as I’ve always been for our games.

Tim – music and sound composer, as he’s always been for our games. We’re going to have live pianos, organs, cellos, and string parts in the music for The Negative, and he composed all of it!

Maarten – main graphics artist.

JC – graphics, but to a lesser extent than Maarten. In the case of The Negative, JC is in charge of drawing all the skill effects.

Team B (Smaller Releases)

Zack – designer and programmer.

JC – main graphics artist. JC seems to be pretty much working with us full time at this point, so it makes sense for him to work in both teams as needed.

Josh – music and sound composer. I absolutely cannot wait for you to hear some of the music he’s already produced for us. You can hear a piece of one of the songs from “Learn Kana The Fun Way” in the trailer above.

 

Now, I’m sure a lot of people are thinking that it’s pretty random that we put out an educational puzzle game when we’re so accustomed to making complex RPGs. I pretty much just wanted to try something new. It was a breath of fresh air to work on an entirely new genre with a whole new team, and it also served as a great way to learn the intricacies of GameMaker Studio 2 – the new engine we’re using to build all our future games.

Moving forward… don’t expect any more puzzles, or really anything else outside of RPGs. I’ve already been working on designs for several new games, and I have something like 5 or 6 designs ready for smaller-scale (but still very hardcore and even a little innovative – don’t worry) RPGs and roguelikes. I’m going to start actively working on two of these games after Learn Kana The Fun Way! is launched on all platforms, and I’ll need a lot of community input for one of them in particular. I look forward to sharing more details with everyone in the future!

Oh, and don’t worry – The Negative is coming along at a great pace, and I still expect to have it ready for Early Access in Q2 2018.

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The Negative: Devlog #15: Monster Spotlight – The Crestfallen

On Facebook and Twitter, I asked which of the following monsters you wanted me to reveal today. The choices were between Pyromancer, The Crestfallen, or the Astrologian, and you chose The Crestfallen! If you’d like to participate in the next vote (coming in just a few days), remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Even though The Negative is a very different game than Siralim, and these games take place in very different worlds, I like the idea of tying all my RPGs together with some easter eggs. I don’t want players to feel like they’re missing out on anything major by not playing an older game, but I think the people who have been with us for a while might appreciate the subtle nods to past games every now and then. The Crestfallen is a good example of this.

The Crestfallen belongs to the Life class, and has a set of skills that are very unique compared to those of other monsters. Most notably, The Crestfallen cannot equip any items – instead, it receives a large, passive boost to all its stats. Of course, if you don’t like that play style, you’re welcome to get rid of the skill via monster fusion.

 

Active Skills

Cleave: Target and the enemies surrounding the target take a small amount of damage.

Sword Dance: Deals a small amount of damage to the target, then this monster moves to a random location.

Blade of Judgment: Deals a moderate amount of damage to the target. This skill is used repeatedly until it misses. This skill has a 100% chance to hit the target, and this chance is cut in half each time it is used during this monster’s turn.

Blade of Mercy: Deals a moderate amount of damage to the target. If the amount of damage exceeds 50% of the target’s Maximum HP, the target is killed.

Passive Skills

Abstinence: This monster cannot equip items. In addition, it has 35% more Power, Defense, Speed, and Luck.

Sweeping Blade: When this monster moves, it attacks a random enemy.

Riposte: When this monster is attacked, and the attack deals less than 20% of its Maximum HP, this monster counterattacks the enemy.

Soulstealer: When this monster kills an enemy, it gains a large amount of Power and Luck.

 

Do you know whose soul might be inhabiting this sword?

 

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The Negative: Devlog #14: Monster Spotlight – Glumroth

Glumroth belongs to the Void class. This cute little guy doesn’t do much at the start of battle thanks to its low Speed (made worse by one of its passive skills!), but is capable of gaining a huge damage advantage over his opponents thanks to his many sources of Power gains and his ability to decrease his enemies’ Defense.

Glumroth also has a few very powerful passive skills, including some that deal damage to all monsters on the battlefield (including your own monsters!) and healing himself based on the number of monsters damaged. Perhaps most importantly, Glumroth has the unique ability to disable a piece of an enemy’s equipment – this is especially useful when an enemy is wielding a piece of unique gear that grants it an annoying, powerful skill.

Active Skills

Blood Feast: Target takes a small amount of damage and this monster recovers a moderate amount of HP.

Devour: Target takes a moderate amount of damage. If this skill kills the target, this monster recovers 50% HP.

Stomach Acid: Enemies lose a moderate amount of Defense.

Belch: Disables a piece of the target’s equipment for the rest of the battle, and creates a poison pool at the target’s location.

Passive Skills

Insatiable: When this monster is healed, and the amount of healing exceeds its Maximum HP, 20% of the amount it would have recovered is instead gained as Power.

Gluttony: At the start of battle, 20% of this monster’s Speed is converted to Power.

Noxious: At the start of this monster’s turn, it deals a small amount of damage to all monsters.

Voracity: When this monster deals damage, it recovers 1% HP for each monster damaged.

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The Negative: Devlog #13: Monster Spotlight – Totemancer

The Totemancer belongs to the Chaos class. As its name suggests, this monster’s primary goal is to summon a wide array of versatile totems to aid your monsters in battle. While this monster’s innate skill set is more than capable of holding its own in combat, I expect that creative players will come up with even more interesting combinations with other summon-based skills.

Totems are unique compared to other summons in that the player cannot control them directly. Instead, at the start of their turn, they perform a specific function and then their turn ends immediately. Much like other summoned monsters, totems inherit stats from the monster that summoned them.

Active Skills

Totem of Fire: Summons a Totem of Fire. At the start of its turn, it deals a small amount of damage to a random enemy, then skips its turn. Only one Totem of Fire can be active at a time.

Totem of Earth: Summons a Totem of Earth. At the start of its turn, it heals one of your monsters for a small amount of HP, then skips its turn. Only one Totem of Earth can be active at a time.

Conjuration: Deals a small amount of damage to all enemies, plus 10% more damage for each summoned monster fighting on your side.

Totem of Storms: Summons a Totem of Storms. At the start of its turn, it uses the Conjuration skill, then skips its turn. Only one Totem of Storms can be active at a time.

 

Passive Skills

Salvaged Mind: At the end of battle, this monster regenerates a small amount of MP for each summoned monster that is still alive on your side.

All For One: This monster has 5% more Power for each summoned monster fighting on your side.

Totem of Frost: At the start of battle, summon a Totem of Frost. At the start of its turn, it decreases a random enemy’s Charge by 25%, then skips its turn. Only one Totem of Frost can be active at a time.

Horde: Your summoned monsters gain Charge 5% more quickly for each summoned monster fighting on your side.


Note: I’ll be gone until next Tuesday, which is why I decided to post this monster spotlight ahead of time. Have a good weekend!

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The Negative: Devlog #12: Monster Spotlight – Spirit

The Spirit is a Life monster with a skill set that focuses on manipulating the battlefield in unconventional ways. Most of its skills change their effects based on the stats of other monsters in battle. In addition, it capitalizes on having high Resistances, which work closely with the Defense stat to mitigate a large amount of incoming damage.

Active Skills

Mortal Coil: Deals a small amount of damage. The damage is based on the target’s lowest Resistance.

Ancient Gift: Target gains a large amount of Power, Defense, Speed, or Luck – whichever is highest.

Decrepify: Enemies lose a small amount of Power, Defense, Speed, or Luck – whichever is highest.

Soul Blade: Deals a large amount of damage to the enemy with the lowest HP.

Passive Skills

Pierce Soul: This monster’s attacks and skills deal damage as if its targets have 15% less Resistance.

Magic Shell: This monster’s maximum Resistances are 75%. (The maximum is normally 50%)

Resilience: This monster has 15% additional Resistances. 

Impunity: This monster’s Resistances cannot be lowered.

Attack animations look really weird when they’re looped over and over again.

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The Negative: Devlog #11: Monster Spotlight – Pontiff

The Pontiff is a highly-versatile monster that belongs to the Life class. This monster’s skills all have different effects depending on whether you use them on an ally or an enemy.

The Pontiff is capable of dishing out a high amount of damage while also offering buff support, stat boosts, and most prominently, healing. This monster’s main weakness is that its skills cost a high amount of MP – so while each skill is quite powerful, you’ll need to use them sparingly… or simply stock up on mana potions.

Active Skills

Flagellation: Deals a small amount of damage to an enemy, or recovers a small amount of HP for an ally.

Declaration: Enemies are afflicted with a random debuff, and allies are granted a random buff.

Determination: Enemies lose a small amount of their highest stat, and allies gain a small amount of their lowest stat.

Judgment Day: Enemies take a large amount of damage, and allies recover a large amount of HP.

 

Passive Skills

Divinity: After this monster uses a skill, it gains a Barrier that absorbs damage equal to 15% of its Maximum HP.

Belittle: When this monster damages an enemy, the enemy loses a small amount of Power.

Unstifled: This monster is immune to Silence.

Inspiration: When this monster heals an ally, the ally gains a small amount of Power.

Apparently, looping this monster’s attack animation makes it look like it’s trying to get its groove on.

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The Negative: Devlog #10: Skill Design

The Negative offers a lot of skills for players to experiment with: there are over 120 monsters to collect, and each one has 4 active skills and 4 passive skills. While some monsters might have a few skills that are borrowed from other monsters, the game still has over 400 active and 400 passive skills. And that’s not even counting exclusive skills that are granted to monsters via unique equipment!

It’s important that each active skill is versatile, satisfying, and fun to use:

Versatile: for most skills, it’ll be pretty easy to find at least a few other skills that synergize with it well. But the most powerful skill combinations will need to be obtained by fusing your monsters together. This provides players with a sort of “end-game meta-game” in which careful planning and strategy are rewarded.

Satisfying: each skill has unique art and sound effects. Most skills also utilize particle effects to make them feel more impactful and lively.

Fun: if a skill is cumbersome for players to use, or is particularly frustrating when an enemy uses that skill on the player, the skill should be redesigned.

And from a broader point of view, I also want battles to feel interactive and even-paced. One of the things I dislike about Siralim and Siralim 2 is that a lot of players ended up seeking out combinations that allowed them to mash the confirmation button over and over again without thinking about what they’re doing. In The Negative, each battle will hopefully be more difficult, interactive, and rewarding thanks to more balanced skills and back-end math.


I’ll leave you with a few examples of active skills. Note that the monsters you see in these GIFs aren’t the same monsters that will use the skills I’m showing off – they’re merely there as placeholders for now.

Blood Sword: deals a large amount of damage to the target, and deals a moderate amount of damage to the user.

 

Hellcry: deals a small amount of damage to the target, then deals a small amount of damage to 2 random enemies.

 

Blood Bolt: deals a small amount of damage to the target and heals the user for 50% of the damage dealt.

 

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