Earth Romancer Fig Launch – Update #1

We’ve launched on Fig! It’s been a wild ride up to this point but we’re finally kicking off our crowdfund with a new trailer!

https://www.fig.co/campaigns/earth-romancer

I really want to thank everyone who has shown support for Earth Romancer. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience. I have to personally thank all the talent at the Fig team for guiding me through the bumps in the road, as well as all the people who have shared the game through social media and pledged their support!

To recap, with over 30 days left in the campaign we’re at a staggering $20,364 dollars (As of 12/19). I think everyday how I can justify that amount of generosity, and how I can make sure Earth Romancer can live up to its expectations. Seeing the buzz around such a small passion project has been truly heartwarming.

One surprise to me was seeing Earth Romancer making the rounds in the Japanese gaming community! Check out the retweets of this article on a Japanese gaming site:

As far as future plans go, we are still looking to deliver you new content, new tutorials, and expanding the presence of Earth Romancer to other news sites. Currently, we are also working very diligently to deliver alpha builds of the game to interested streamers and content creators. If you believe this is something you’re interested in, send an email to earthromancer@gmail.com with your relevant info!

Now to answer some of the most frequent questions we’ve received since starting the campaign.

What will you do with the money?

To give perspective, the prototype you see of Earth Romancer today was made with a budget of $30,000 dollars. A lot of contractors had to be underpaid and work for lower rates than usual, and thousands of dollars were pulled from my own pocket.

With $100,000 we plan to commission more art to refine the character designs, finish Keagan and Palante, add online play, then add two new characters to take us into an early access build. I know that 4 characters seems like a low amount of characters to go into early access, but keep in mind since they all have 2 forms it is plenty to explore at that stage.

To lay it out, $25,000 will be going towards taxes and living expenses, $15,000 will go towards character designs and new models. $20,000 will go to animations, another $10,000 for new stage assets, $10,000 to add basic online play, $10,000 for continued programming support and $10,000 for marketing. The rest of the expenses such as QA for a Switch port, and expanding the game past Early Access will be funded through my investor/co-founder.

When will Early Access be?

While an Early Access on Steam won’t be ready until late 2018-early 2019, backers who pledge for the game could possibly play builds of the game as early as Q2 of 2018.

Will Earth Romancer come to other consoles?

Currently we’re committing to a Nintendo Switch port. Because the process of porting to console takes a lot of time and money for QA testing, development time, and meeting first-party demands, we can’t currently commit to multiple console ports. However, it is something we’re highly considering going forward.

What kind of characters can we expect from Earth Romancer?

While the first two characters of Earth Romancer are anthropomorphic space animals, I want everybody to enjoy the characters of Earth Romancer and enjoy in sharing it. I’ve taken feedback and I hear people asking for more human characters. Don’t worry, they’re on the way! We will continue refining the character designs and most likely hire more artists and I think people will be very satisfied with the final results.

How can I help Earth Romancer from here?

Keep sharing Earth Romancer! Send anonymous tips to your favorite gaming sites. Spread the trailer to your friends. We appreciate all the support and we’ll see this fight to the end!

 

Clearing The Air: A Post-Trailer Write-up

Whew, it’s been an emotional roller coaster going from my first reveal back in November of last year up to our current status. On one hand it does seem the project has come a long way, and at the same time we keep learning how much we still have to go!

The release of Earth Romancer’s official gameplay teaser and title branding has surely brought in new followers with new curiosities. Today its my pleasure to try and address some of the most frequent! Warning: Some of these explanations might get a bit dry and/or technical.

Readability

Our first gameplay is labeled teaser for a reason. It’s more of a montage than a trailer. However, we did receive some feedback regarding the camera angle during gameplay. Specifically that some felt it was too high, and wasn’t zoomed in enough.

We’ve adjusted the camera angle for next time and hopefully people will find the action reads better:

There are a number of concerns with readability I would like to address beyond this point. The vibrance, sharpness and contrast of the picture was also brought down to make it more palatable to the eyes for example.

The next point that loosely relates to this issue would be character design. Palante’s model was created more than 2 years ago from now, and his design itself is even older than that. Far before I had a grasp on how the design would read in a fighting game, let alone any knowledge of animation to ensure he would pose properly.

What’s going on with his right knee!?

Due to this fact, Palante’s model and skeleton suffers from a number of issues that I didn’t know know would come to bite me later at the time. By the time I had realized these were issues I had already slogged through almost 40 animations without thinking!

Palante, a space-faring knight with lightning powers. He’s also very blue.

 

 

On the technical side, Palante only features IK controls, his shoulder pieces control separately from his arms leading to a very straight “boxy” effect, and there was not a lot of room for exaggeration of his limbs or facial features. On the more artistic side, his color palette blurs together from a distance, his clothing can be subjectively “busy,” and his limbs are incredibly short (His hands match the size of his arms!) leaving little room for exaggeration to get nice silhouettes.

It was only a few months ago that I contracted the excellent animators @JoltJab and @DrFlapjack for help. Both of them have been amazing to work with and have done a great job injecting a TON of personality into the animations. Unfortunately we were only able to implement a fraction of their work in time for our first teaser, but I hope you’ll all look forward to seeing them in action soon!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of character design, some of you have asked if any human designs are on the way. I can assure you they are and I’m anxious to show you some concept art! For now you’ll have to make due with some WIP iterations.

Work in progress designs of Chalcedony, the Ocean Valkyrie!

Gameplay

Earth Romancer features a number of innovations both big and small that will definitely serve to differentiate it from other fighters. However, I can’t blame people in the slightest for not picking these up in our initial footage.


While it has been fun contemplating the design of ER, I can’t help but feel that holding its mechanics back for some element of surprise has sold itself a little short. A few gameplay quips will be going up on twitter here and there, but I think you all deserve more concise details! These will come in the form of video tutorials explaining the mechanics of Earth Romancer in-depth. Some of them might even have voices you recognize!

On top of that I’ll continue writing blog posts about twice a week covering small details of the engine that people might find interesting.

The Team

When I first showed Earth Romancer to my friends and family in 2016, it was largely a solo affair. You can find a lot of old footage buried on my personal youtube channel where I had done all the animations, vfx and even some stage textures myself.

An old screenshot from Earth Romancer in 2015

Since my first reveal on reddit, some competent talent has stepped up to contribute! It was all thanks to the hype and interest you guys built that I was able to essentially secure a loan and contract people who have been an immense help.

One of them being Schmooblidon of @iKneedata.  If you don’t already know of him, hes contributed a lot to the community in the form of in-depth mechanic tutorials, formula calculators, and overall data. Plus he made Melee playable on your browser. How freaking cool is that!?

Together we’ve tightened up the experience of Earth Romancer even further. If you can’t take my word for its playability, there is hardly a more credible source than schmoo!

Lastly, a handful of my talented artist friends and the lovely composer Angelo Cicero round out the project and have been helping to bring my brain babblings to life.

That’s it, that’s the team. While I’ve future proofed my brand as Lunar Hare Studios, the end-result is still just me and a game that is very much still a work of passion from all fronts.

I hope you’ll all stay tuned on this wild ride to find out more about Earth Romancer. Until next time!

First Gameplay Teaser is here!

Hey everyone!

It’s been a long couple of months, and the team has been working tirelessly on Earth Romancer. It’s been shaping up more and more visually and we just thought we should show you some of our progress!

Our first official gameplay teaser is now live! We’ll be releasing new info such as character bios, developer logs and more gameplay trailers soon. So stay tuned!

 

Earth Romancer Soft Reveal

Well most people already know I’ve been developing this game for the past 6 months or so and plans are really coming to fruition lately. However, I’ve kind of lost my security blanket and development has been taking longer than expected. I thought I’d make a quick little teaser and open the game up for early donations, in order to help me past this rough choke point in the process.

If you’ve talked to me you might know I’ve pretty much wanted to make video games my entire life. I’ve been a script kiddie ever since I made my first GML games in grade school. A lot of sweat, tears and pocket money goes into this project. The animations, programming and most everything but some of the 3D models seen here are a product of my studies. From taking classes on digital tutors to outsourcing the music to real composers, this is essentially my first “life’s work.”

I can’t really understate how much value my friends have been throughout this whole ordeal. Even without donating your support means a ton to me and I’m in disbelief at times of the amazing people I’m surrounded by. Anyways I don’t want to take up your time. Give the video a watch, and if you feel like donating just hit the button!