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!

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