For Thylacine Studios, last year was meant to be what is called a “growth year” in the business world. My goal was to devote most of my time to The Negative while I worked on a few smaller projects on the side. One of those projects is called Learn Kana The Fun Way!
… and I probably won’t be making anything like that again. I don’t even play puzzle games. I hate them. RPGs are my niche, both from a gamer’s perspective and a developer’s perspective, so I’ll probably stick to that genre from now on.
Another smaller project I had up my sleeve was tentatively titled “Siralim 2.5” – a sequel to Siralim 2, but not. The idea behind this game was that I would take Siralim 2 and radically change some core game systems that I thought could use some work. The changes would be drastic enough that I wouldn’t be able to simply release it as a content patch for the original Siralim 2 for fear that it would upset a lot of players. For example, I wanted to streamline the chef/cooking system since it turned out to be nothing more than an annoying chore for most players. The entire concept of Power Balance also started to feel like a mistake to me, so I wanted to remove that as well. But Power Balance is a huge part of the game, so that would take some serious restructuring and re-balancing to get things right. I also thought it might be nice to change all the NPC and player sprites, since let’s face it: they’re ugly. These are merely examples of some of the things I wanted to do for this not-quite-a-sequel.
But then, I also decided that Sigils could be more interesting. What if, instead of spawning a single battle, they created an entire realm for the player with a set of random properties? This could serve as the bulk of the end-game content for players. And in order to keep things interesting and allow players to always feel like they’re progressing, I could add a new type of item called Talismans which players can upgrade forever to continue gaining new benefits.
And you know what? The user interface could use some love. The base of the code for the UI was created when I had only been using GameMaker for about a month, so I was very limited with what I could do with it. A good example of this is the sound/music volume options – you’re presented with a list of 11 options numbered from 0% to 100% in intervals of 10% in order to select your volume. That’s ugly and unintuitive. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal back then, but looking at it in 2017/2018 makes me realize just how awful it really is. So hey, Siralim 2.5 should probably feature a revised user interface as well.
Ah, and another thing that I count as a mistake: auto-casting spell gems. Players simply stack as many “Cast On Hit” or similar properties on all their gems, then mindlessly rush into every battle without caring about the party composition of their enemies. Personally, I was so lazy that I stacked 6 Djinn Pyromancers with as many “Cast At the Start of Battle” gems as possible, allowing me to steamroll my way through all of the game’s content. Good luck removing those properties without seriously upsetting 90% of your players, though.
I spent several months continuing to tweak systems like the ones I just mentioned before I realized something: I have almost a whole new game on my hands now. Slowly but surely, I’ve tweaked or overhauled almost every single aspect of the game: artifacts, spell gems, breeding, nether creatures, avatars, realms, gods, and so much more. The only thing that’s missing is a new storyline. And you know what? That could have been better in Siralim 2, so let’s fine-tune it as well in Siralim 2.5. No, no, let’s re-write it entirely, and add all new bosses, and…
And suddenly, I realized that I had accidentally created the plans to develop a full sequel to Siralim 2. That same day, I contacted the necessary people to get a whole new soundtrack, sound effects, graphics, marketing assets, and more… and then I started grinding away at the programming end of things.
Things have snowballed quite a lot since then. For example, early on in development, I decided that I should find a writer to create lore for every single creature in the game. That’s over 700 creatures. And I didn’t want some short, generic Pokedex descriptions like “Springtime Aspects often startle people by throwing coconuts at them”. I wanted some fleshed-out and interesting lore for players to really sink their teeth into – I wanted it to be something players could sit and read for hours. In the end, it was Umaro (an active member of our community) and his friend who stepped up to the plate and wrote over 55,000 words of lore for the creatures in Siralim 3. They completely exceeded my expectations on this front, and I cannot wait for you to read what they’ve come up with.
Siralim 3 is just around the corner for Steam Early Access, and late May seems to be a very likely release date. I can’t wait to share this game with you and improve it with the help of your feedback. Thanks for your patience and continued support!