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 Light of the Locked World - 0.2.0 - Ambitious fantasy RPG


LOTLW Devblog #9: The new development plan

In this entry, I'll reveal Light of the Locked World's brand new development plan!

Also, sorry for the scarce entries. I'll try to post more often from now on.

Anyway, the plan.

Short term:

These tasks are in order I am planning to do them.
  • Amount input system.
  • Trading part 2: Bartering.
  • Inventory system fixes.
  • Shadow system fixes.
  • Debug tools.
  • Crafting.
  • Key remapping.
  • Map.
  • Quest log rework.
  • Achievements.
  • Statistics.
  • Item storage.
  • Save system.
  • Graphical improvements.
  • Animation improvements.
  • Player appearance customization.
  • Demo update.
  • Final preparations for content development.
  • Content development begins.
  • Combat expansion: Mage and Archer roles, tier 2 equipment.
  • Introduction.
  • Tutorial.
  • Help text.
  • Demo update.
  • Area: Eastern Trilith.
  • First story quest.
  • Transition area: Eir Meadows.
  • Second story quest.
As you can see, right now I'm focusing on developing the features and mechanics for the game.
Once all of those core systems are in, I can start using them to make new content.
It will be much more exciting than it is now: Every month I will add something grand, like a new area or quest!

Long term:

These tasks are unordered.
They also have smaller, currently unknown tasks in between them and it scares me a little.
  • Water graphics.

  • 3rd story quest.

  • Intel quest 1.
  • Intel quest 2.
  • Intel quest 3.
  • Intel quest 4.
  • Intel quest 5.
  • Intel quest 6.
  • Intel quest 7.
  • Intel quest 8.

  • 4th story quest.
  • 5th story quest.
  • 6th story quest.

  • Final boss.

  • 5th role.
  • 6th role.
  • 7th role.
  • 8th role.
  • 9th role.
  • 10th role.

  • Tier 3 warrior equipment.
  • Tier 4 warrior equipment.

  • Tier 3 mage equipment.
  • Tier 4 mage equipment.

  • Tier 3 archer equipment.
  • Tier 4 archer equipment.

  • City: Eiralta.
  • City: Korrev.
  • City: Berelem.
  • City: Thousand Towers.
  • City: New Grawas.

  • Area: Silver Fields.

  • Small area: Kingdom's End.
  • Small area: Western Trilith.

  • Transition area: Lockfall.
  • Transition area: Two Suns Desert.
  • Transition area: Salt Road.

  • Enemy faction: Demons.
  • Enemy faction: Possessed armor.
  • Enemy faction: Spirits.

  • Middle Kayos architecture: Wooden buildings.
  • Western Kayos architecture: Brick buildings.
  • Eastern Kayos architecture: Rock buildings.

  • Traps: Spikes, fire obelisks, etc.
  • Sigils: Arcane contraptions with a variety of effects.
  • Unique items pack: Items to fill gaps between tiers.
When the content development phase will begin, I'll first focus on making story quests and content required for them.
There will be 6 story quests in total. That might seem small, but some of the quests will take hours to complete.


These tasks have been planned, but I have decided that they aren't as important.
They have low priority on the list and might not make it into the final game.
I expect some of them to end up as post-release updates.
  • Legendary weapons pack 1.
  • Legendary weapons pack 2.

  • Mage specialization 2: "Fast caster"
  • Warrior specialization 2: "Destroyer"
  • Archer specialization 2: "Champion"

  • Area: Atan's Enclave.
  • Area: Old Grawas.
  • Area: Spellscarred Plains.
  • Area: Ruins of Azu'urunn.
And now the important bit.


Beyond 2020.

I don't believe I'll finish the game in 2020. There's simply too much to do for that to be possible.
I could say it's going to be done in 2021, but I don't want to speculate about that.

The truth is that Light of the Locked World is a very large game for a solo developer like me.
I've been working on it intensively over eight months now and while I made really good progress, the list of things that need to be done is just growing.

So yeah, let's hope for 2021 and prepare for even longer.

No matter how long it will take, the Light of the Locked World will be finished in all its "Epic fantasy RPG - Small indie developer edition" glory =]

Anyway, I'll keep the plan updated, expect an entry about that every month or so.
Next week I'll release entry with a timeline of the world's history - it'll be the first entry focused on the lore of the game.

Until then!
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Time to fix the shadow system!

EDIT: I have fixed the shadows.

The current old (awful) system:

Draw event:

(scr_draw_shadow() simply draws sprite at object's position - I use it in case I'll want to draw sprites differently in future)

This system creates 8960x8960 large surfaces > then draws shadows to them > then the function draw_surface() is used to draw surfaces at 0,0 of the room.

  • 8960x8960 surfaces crash the game on older computers.
  • While surfaces are being created and filled, the game freezes. This happens every time the game is minimized, it's pain.
  • Attempting to interact with the game during the creating freeze makes the freeze last longer? Sometimes I have to wait for minutes until whatever the surfaces do is resolved.
  • The game room is actually 17920x8960 - in it, I simulate two 8960x8960 rooms for multiplayer purposes. The second "room" is outside surface and shadows are not visible in it. So it needs an even bigger surface to work in this system!
The new system idea:

For static shadows: Creates multiple smaller surfaces and draws them separately. E.g.: 20 1024x1024 surfaces.
For dynamic shadows: Creates two surfaces with the size of two views and draws shadows in the view and surface locations.

I went with one surface for both shadow types - the game only draws shadows inside views.
It's more resource consuming, but overall I think it's an upgrade.
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Never do more work than you need to do. Draw to a screen-sized surface, dropping draw calls for shadows that fall outside the screen. Draw this shadow surface to screen-space coordinates.


Yes, I went with that.
With a little creativity, you can even use one surface (and a shader) to handle both lights and shadows. Assuming you intend to do that sort of thing, mind you. Lights are drawn to the color channels (so you can do colored lights), and shadows get drawn to the alpha channel.



I have implemented tools to help me test the game. Players will be able to use them for other purposes.


LOTLW Devblog #10: History of the Locked World

As promised, this entry is about the game's lore.

Now, the full lore is a dozen pages long, so for this entry, I'll only share the timeline of the Locked World's history.

The world's map is at the end of the post.

So, here it is:

Year 0:

Council of Worlds order to build the World Gate that connects Kayos, now known as the Locked World, to the World Network.

- There are a lot of terms included the timeline, I'll try to briefly explain most of them.
- The Council controls the World Gates, which connects a few dozen worlds to the Network.
- The Council's main functions are to maintain peace between worlds and to expand the Network by building new gates.

Year 3:

Council of Worlds order to sink a collection of confiscated magical weapons in Abyssal Waters.

- Abyssal Waters is a large and very deep body of water.
- Only 20% of the world's surface is covered by water, and Abyssal Waters does most of it.

Year 84:

Abysts are discovered by mages who were sent by the Council to check on the sunken weapons. Abyst Rush begins.
Gate City begins to grow near the World Gate.

- Abysts are unique crystals that form at the bottom of Abyssal Waters.
- These crystals amplify magic, they are extremely useful for hundreds of applications.

Year 95-106:

Demon Moon is being built.

Year 106:

Demon Moon was risen, the demon population shrinks rapidly from this point as they are banished to the Moon.

- Kayos is infested by demons.
- These strange, aggressive, and mindless beings are unkillable, the only way to get rid of them is to banish them where they can't do harm.

Year 130:

The Glow phenomenon is discovered: If a large number of abysts are in one place, they start glowing and it makes all sentient beings in the vicinity lose sanity.
Council of Worlds bans the use of abysts and orders to lock Kayos.
A year is given for evacuation, most of the colonists and abyst miners leave.

Year 130:

Celeraths - a corrupt family of nobles flees to Kayos.
They use their wealth to acquire several abyst mining docks and quickly become influential.

Year 131:

Worldlocks are sent to Kayos. Teleportation spells, demon banishment spell, and the World Gate stop working.
Abyst Rush ends.

- Worldlocks disrupt teleportation spells.

Year 131:

Celeraths form an army of mercenaries.
They take over the Gate City and rename it to Azu'urunn.

- Azu'urunn was the name of the city Celeraths used to control.

Year 132:

The eldest son of the family, Talyann, is crowned as a king of the Kingdom of Azu'urunn.
Soon Celerath army takes over the rest of Rezelot.

- Kayos is also a tidally locked world.
- Rezelot is the side of the World that is under the Golden Sun, inhabited by human races. It's where the game takes place.
- The other side of the world is called Erquaria - it is under the Violet Sun. The game might be expanded to include it.

Year 132-279:

World develops.
The magic dampening effect of talkstone is discovered and talkstone-based teleportation spells were invented during this period.

- Talkstone nullifies all magic, including the teleportation-disrupting aura of worldlocks.
- Talkstone is used in various ways to activate and deactivate magic, creating short moments when the teleportation can be performed.

Year 131-251:

Demon population grows because they are no longer getting banished.

Year 168:

Talyann the First dies.
His son is crowned as the Talyann the Second.

Year 227:

Talyann the Second dies.
His daughter Branna becomes the queen.

Year 251:

Talkstone is sent to Demon Moon and a new banishment spell is created.
Demon War begins.

Year 251-255:

Demon War. Demons are being hunted down and banished.
They gather into massive swarms to defend themselves and often retaliate, attacking human settlements.

Year 255:

The demon population is reduced to a minimum.

Year 273:

Rannah builds first abyst towers.

- Rannah is a mage and alchemist that invented a way to fuse gold and silver into a new metal called amalgam.
- The most powerful craftable equipment will be made from this material.

Year 276:

Queen Branna dies.
Her son is crowned as the Talyaan the Third.
Talyaan the Third proves to be a bad king and pushes the Abyst Cities to rebellion.

Year 279:

Abyst Cities - Eiralta, Grawas, Berelem, and Korrev - start a rebellion against the Kingdom, it turns into a war that spreads to all of Rezelot.
During the first year of the War, the Kingdom achieves many victories against the unprepared rebels.

Year 280:

The Kingdom's forces begin the siege of Grawas city.
Talyaan the Third is taken as a prisoner when Grawas retaliates.
He is executed shortly.
His son is immediately crowned as Talyaan the Fourth.
Talyaan the Fourth - now known as Talyaan the Last - orders to summon demons.
Demons are unleashed upon Grawas and the city is destroyed.
The Kingdom becomes aggressive and reckless.

- After the War, the survivors of Grawas' destruction builds a new city, now known as New Grawas.

Year 281:

The Kingdom attempts to attack the city of Berelem.
The King's Army is ambushed in Edario's Island.
The Great Mage Edario traps the King's Army in the Island and starts a desperate battle of one against thousands.
He's not defeated for hours, his spells slay hundreds of king's soldiers. After he is killed, the army is in such poor shape that it has to retreat.

Year 282:

The Kingdom begins the siege of Iron Stronghold.

Year 283:

The Kingdom builds talkstone triliths.
Triliths allow the King's Army to move quickly around Rezelot and for a short time this advantage grants them a few victories.
The Kingdom takes over the city of Korrev.

Year 284:

Army of Eiralta frees the city of Korrev.
King's Army tries again to take over Berelem.
The Army is ambushed on the border of Bereland and is defeated.
Berelem's army pushes the Kingdom's forces out of Moonrise Desert.
The Kingdom's army dwindles.
To replace the soldiers, the Kingdom's mages invent possessed armor.
It's speculated that if not this invention, the Kingdom would have been defeated in 184.

- Many rogues the players will fight are deserters from the King's army.
- Possessed armor created when a demon is summoned into a suit of armor.

Year 285:

The Kingdom is weakened, the king becomes more desperate.
The power of the rebel cities grow, the Kingdom shrinks rapidly.
The king orders to build a new road around the Iron Stronghold, as the siege of Iron Stronghold is not giving any results.

Year 286:

The War Road is finished, the Kingdom launches the final attack against Eiralta.
The War ends as the Kingdom's army is defeated.
The City of Azu'urunn is surrounded, and lords of the Free Cities send a delegation of mages to bring Talyaan to them.
Mages attack Talyaan trying to defeat him, but he unleashes an unknown spell of vast destructive power.
The magic lashes the Kingdom and kills everyone in it, including every member of the Celerath family and the City Lords.

Year 286:

Lord Atan, a noble of the now-gone Kingdom takes over territory north-west from Eiralta.

- Now it's called Atan's Enclave and is a center of influence for monarchist movement.

Year 286:

City councils are formed, they begin to rule the devastated Rezelot.

Year 287-300:

A massive wall is being built between the Fallen Kingdom and Eir Meadows to protect the civilized lands from the Kingdom's demons and possessed armor.

Year 291:

The Glow occurs in the city of Korrev. The entire city is lost.

Year 286-309, Present:

The world is recovering from the War.
The Fallen Kingdom burns in unnatural, inextinguishable flames, hordes of possessed armor and demons flee from it, Lord Atan grows in power, rogues roam in the uncivilized lands.
The Abyst Cities regaining power and are starting to suppress these actors of chaos.

- Demons, rogues, and monarchists will not be your main concern during the story campaign.

Year 309, Present:

The World Gate malfunctions and brings you to Kayos.

I hope this was interesting, if there will be a demand for it, I'll make more lore-related entries.

Until next time!
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LOTLW Devblog #11: Crafting

I have started working on crafting!

The current plan is to have two crafting roles: Materialist and Alchemist.

Materialists will craft items using machines known as matter kilns, which is a fancy name for a crafting station.

The process is simple: You bring materials to matter kiln, click on desired item crafting recipe and an item is made, granting XP for Materialist role.
Higher Materialist level allows crafting higher level and value items.

I was thinking about incorporating a timing minigame in the crafting process, but...

I want players to be constantly on the move, exploring new locations, completing quests, conquering challenges, and stopping only for a moment to turn collected resources into new equipment. I felt like crafting has to be as fast as possible to not waste exploration time.

So that's why I decided to make it this simple.

But not mundane - I plan to have many matter kilns, each with a unique set of recipes.
Some items will have more than one recipe, which will allow invested players to search the world for interesting kilns and make decisions.
"Kiln with recipe A uses more resources, but kiln with recipe B is in infested ruins and I'm running out of arrows. Hmm..."

Kilns also come with lore attached to them.

What goes inside them was a well-guarded secret of the Azu'urunn Kingdom, only a few dozen people had access to that knowledge, and all of it was gone when the Kingdom was destroyed.
New kilns are no longer made, and old ones are becoming faulty with time - eventually, they will all stop functioning.
You fill find broken kilns and ones that are barely functional, with recipes that turn expensive materials into useless items because a part of the mysterious machine has stopped working properly.
Your destiny as a Materialist is to gather enough understanding to be able to repair, reprogram, and maybe even reverse-engineer kilns, preventing the technology from being lost.

The Alchemist role is a bit different.

Aside from finding the kilns with efficient recipes, there's little discovery in the Materialist role, kiln recipes are not concealed in any way.
Meanwhile, Alchemists will have to discover recipes for items - materials and elixirs - by combining alchemical materials.

For example, in the upcoming version of the game, your character will be able to create disinfection fluid by combining alchemical silver and salt.
Disinfection fluid is a key component for crafting healing kits.

The goal is to have a small number of alchemical components, with every combination producing a useful material.
I imagine it will be very exciting to find new alchemical materials when each of them will be used to produce dozens of items.

Alchemy's signature creations are elixirs.
These are like potions in many other RPGs, except that their effects don't run out.
For example, if your character drinks an elixir that increases damage, the damage boost effect will remain active until your character drinks an elixir with a different effect.
And some very special elixirs will permanently increase your character's stats.

Alchemy lore is tied to Erquaria lore. Many of the alchemical materials you will experiment with are imported from that strange land under the violet sun, land in which the art of alchemy originated.
If you work hard, you may get a chance to learn from the true masters of alchemy - members of the Erquarian Alchemist Guild.

So that's the crafting!

I'm having a really good time turning all of this into reality and I hope it sounds exciting.

Until next time!
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Today I have added a laboratory to the town of Locul: It will be possible to buy alchemical materials from a merchant in it and use a device called alchemy vat to create disinfection fluid which is used to create healing kits!


LOTLW Devblog #12: The Vision

A week ago I've been worried about the game.
While I love it unconditionally and developing it is incredibly fulfilling, I was unsure how to explain to others why is the game worthy of attention.

I would go over the features that LOTLW will have, and would not find any exceptional ones.
But it was a wrong approach. It's the little things that together make a game I am confident in.

I have discovered that when I have started writing down all of the ideas I want to try with LOTLW.
Later that list has turned into a new feature list for the game.

Here it is:

(Keep in mind it's about the finished game and it's just a plan for it, not a promise)
  • Role-based progression system build on and improved upon from the similar systems found in RuneScape, Skyrim, Ultima Online
For those who are unfamiliar with such systems: You are not limited to gaining experience in one class - instead, you have access to all. Your actions will determine which class gains experience, naturally turning you skilled in classes you like.
Light of the Locked World brings this old system to the future: Flaw of it was that eventually, you would become a master of classes and at the end of the game your character would be identical for all players.
The game's roles come with the perk trees which you will not be able to master 100% - meaning you will have to choose carefully and create builds for each for the 10 roles the game has.
  • An uncommon setting
The game is set in a world that is a manifestation of ideas from western and high fantasy genres.
Industrial cities recovering from a recent war that succeeded in ending the monarch tyranny, lawless lands outside city walls, bounty hunters, magic crystal "gold rush", immigrants, magic-powered technology, demons and spirits, ancient runes and portals.
  • Slowly unfolding story
Unlike many games, Light of the Locked World does not have a grand opening that immediately establishes the story.
That is because your character is not special - no prophecies, no unique powers, just a regular person.
Start your journey as an unskilled, weak, poor immigrant and see what the Locked World will turn you into.
  • Authentic non-player characters
The theme of the player character not being extraordinary is also prevalent in the character design.
All human non-player characters - NPCs - are almost identical to player characters.
There are many similarities, but the most important is that NPCs have inventories that they can fully utilize - use healing consumables from them, equip weapons and armor, even pick up items.
Many fascinating situations and decisions emerge from this - dying to enemies might mean that they will get your items, there is an option to allow enemies to level up, merchant inventories are not safe from players who don't play by the rules, and so on.
  • Faction reputation system
All characters belong to a faction.
Attacking faction characters will reduce your reputation, and might turn entire regions of the game's world against you while doing favors for the faction will make you respected unlocking special benefits and items.
  • Persistence
Many of the things in Light of the Locked World are persistent.
Enemy characters don't regain items you took from them, looted chests and mined ore veins don't refill with goods.
  • Asymmetry
Most numbers and designs in the game are given a slight nudge, making the game asymmetric, giving it unpredictability and even more emergent situations.
  • Metroidvania elements
There are areas and shortcuts unlocked by acquiring items and abilities.
  • Large cities
Four detailed cities with hundreds of buildings, many of them can be entered.
  • A bouquet of classic features
Quests with cutscenes and dialogue, character appearance customization, sophisticated equipment system, crafting, trading, traps, treasure, books, spells, secrets, and more.
  • Local multiplayer mode
All of the above works in the game's drop-in/drop-out local splitscreen mode!
The game allows two players not only cooperate but also play competitively - duel, compete for rare resources and items, use a reputation system to divide the world.
E.g.: Player 2 attacks Player 1 which is a member of Luma city faction. City NPCs become hostile to Player 2 and the city becomes a safe zone to Player 1.
Don't have two controllers? Not a problem! Multiplayer can be played just with a keyboard and mouse.


I am very happy to inform that the crafting and key remapping 1.0 has been completed.
Next week I'll be working on an in-game map!

So that's all for now, the next entry is about the numbers LOTLW has generated so far.

Until then!
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Making a map. It still needs: 1) Controller support for moving the map. 2) UI polish. 3) More features? Town/point of interest names, zooming in/out.

Zuurix I always liked your game design style. I recommend adding more background objects in level design, like mountains and stuff.

Like I said too Simon and others, I expect nothing less from this community.


The map is finished - I have started working on the "Logs" UI page. It's a page to access quest log, achievement list, statistics tracker, map, and notes.

The screenshot shows how I construct the graphics for the UI. I do it in Aseprite - white lines and squares help me arrange the elements and make the graphics consistent and symmetrical.

UI design WIP 2020-02-13.png


Quest log 2020-02-16.png

Working on a proper quest log. Supports new features: Players will be able to do multiple quests at the same time, the log instructs how to start the quest and has the text about how the quest was finished, including the rewards for completing it.
This looks wonderful. I personally love the minimalist aesthetic. The audio is nice too. My only suggestion from watching the trailer is that you make the animations a little more advanced. I know that isn't an easy thing to do, but personally I think the walking animation looks a little too static. Either way, very professional and wonderful art style. Your visuals are fantastic.


My only suggestion from watching the trailer is that you make the animations a little more advanced. I know that isn't an easy thing to do, but personally I think the walking animation looks a little too static.
There's a problem with walking animation that makes characters seem limp. I will fix that.
Besides that, I don't have ideas of how to improve the animation, but I guess I can go to and ask more experienced animators for that.

As for other animations...
Soon I am going to work on a new animation system. I'm going to try to automate things like limb movement and then use the code to easily create many new animations.

Your visuals are fantastic.
There's a problem with walking animation that makes characters seem limp. I will fix that.
Besides that, I don't have ideas of how to improve the animation, but I guess I can go to and ask more experienced animators for that.
Take a look at Hyper Light Drifter. I feel like something like the Drifter's walking animations would work well in your game... However it might take some great skill to make something like the walk animations in that game.


I'm done with: Statistics + Quest log + Notes + Achievements!
Three more features - item storage, save system, avatar customization - and I can start polishing/making content!



LOTLW Devblog #13: Progress report

This is a follow-up to "LOTLW Devblog #9: The new development plan".

This is how the plan looks now:


A huge chunk of features has been completed.
  • Amount input system.
  • Bartering.
  • Inventory system fixes.
  • Shadow system fixes.
  • Debug tools.
  • Character and UI improvements.
  • Gatherer role.
  • Materialist role.
  • Alchemist role.
  • Crafting.
  • Key remapping.
  • Map.
  • Quest log 2.0
  • Achievements.
  • Statistics.
  • Notes.
  • Item storage.
Short term:

Only two features left on the list: Save system and avatar appearance customization.
That very soon the only things I'll be working on will be content and polishing.

  • Save system.
  • Graphical improvements.
  • Animation improvements.
  • Player avatar appearance customization.
  • The content and polishing phase begins here.
  • UI improvements.
  • Demo update.
  • Create the game world out of placeholders.
  • Pathfinding rework.
  • Combat improvements.
  • Combat expansion: Mage and Archer roles, tier 2 equipment.
  • Introduction.
  • Tutorial.
  • Help text.
  • Demo update.
Long term:

Long term tasks remain unchanged.


Tasks I am looking forward to.
  • Create the game world out of placeholders.
I'll build all of the planned areas out of placeholder assets!
I might even populate it with placeholder NPCs.
For the first time in the development, I'll know the true scale of the game. It will also allow me to develop the whole world at once - every new piece of content will be applied to all areas.
  • Combat expansion.
New equipment, new roles, new abilities, new ways to fight, and new enemies - this will have a massive impact on the game.
  • Introduction.
I'll make an introduction cutscene which visually explains how your character gets to Kayos and introduces players to the Linked Worlds universe.
This will be fun to make and I can't wait to show it.

So that's all for this entry: Next one is longer, possibly "Geography of the Locked World" =]

Until next time!