Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo]

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E-l337
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Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo]

#1 Post by E-l337 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:33 pm

The energies of magic flow, streaming from a high tower. Young lords and ladies halt their discussion as the sky turns dark in the shadow of a dragon overhead. Two princesses draw blades, ready to duel over a matter of national honor. The bell tolls. And you are late for class!

Just another day at Xabri Academy!

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Xabri Academy has elements of a raising sim structure, but also borrows elements from visual novels, dating sims, and a little bit of RPG elements.

You play a peasant girl who has been given a full scholarship at the most prestigious educational institution in a fantastical world.

You'll take classes, meet people, and try to survive an environment saturated with magical energy, filled with your social betters, and under the watchful eye of fire-breathing flying apex predators!

Meet The Cast:

Speaking of people, what game isn't complete with a cast full of people to interact with? Xabri Academy has a small core cast of NPCs for you to meet. You might befriend them! You might make enemies of them! You might make them see the world in a different light! You might even fall in love with some of them!

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The game is currently in an early alpha form, moving towards a full demo. You can download the current build here:
Try the latest demo here! (Updated 11/5/17)

The team has a few questions for those who have given the build a quick test run:

- What do you think of the concept, the characters, and what's available so far?
- What concerns do you have regarding the project, and why?
- What do you think is missing?
- What other thoughts or questions do you have?
Last edited by E-l337 on Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:06 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG]

#2 Post by E-l337 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:14 pm

It's been a long road since I first posted this, but finally I have an update to share with you all: you can try out the current build of the demo here!

This has been an incredibly important step to take, because getting the foundation set for me to offer you this has been a real trial. But now it's here for you to look at and get a feel for what the game will be like!

Things included in this build:

- The full first week of planned events, complete with dialogue and character placeholders
- Some of the background concept art
- A peek at some of the character artwork for your dragon Patron, Perfecta Magnifica

Things not included:

- Audio: sorry but we just don't have any music or sound effects to go along with this yet
- Title screen: I don't have any artwork for the title screen yet, but I'm sure you can imagine something pretty for all of the five seconds you'll see that black screen
- Most of the 'randomized' events: these don't start to show up until the second week, so you can look forward to random class dialogues once more scenes get completed
- A proper UI: Very little work has been done regarding the User Interface. That's one of my next projects to tackle.
- Transitions: Sadly, transitions have been the least of my concerns so far, but it is one thing I'll be working on... eventually.

Known issues:

- A couple people have complained that there is some noticeable lag when displaying the placeholder images. In my case, it only occurred the first time the placeholder was loaded, but your mileage may vary there. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about this, as it seems related to the way RenPy determines the image to be displayed.

Closing thoughts:

It's been a heck of a ride to be able to show this to you guys, and we're all very eager to see what you think so far! Figuring out how to get the events and location systems to play together has taken a lot of my time, so I have a few new questions for you to consider as you play through:

1. What do you like/dislike? Why?
2. Do you feel the current setup would become too repetitious to cover a period of three months? Six months? A year?
3. Are there any features you really wish had been included?
4. Did you have fun?

The current demo should take anywhere from 30-45 minutes or so to complete, depending on your reading speed and how many events you trigger along the way. I also recommend playing through it a couple of times! It's short, but selecting different classes can completely change how events play out.

Hope you all have a happy holidays!

**edit**

Fixed a couple of bugs that came up. If you downloaded the 122216b build, please try the new one (122316).

- Fixed an issue with speakers not being defined
- Fixed an issue with Cynissa's name appearing when it should not have
- Fixed an issue with Cynissa's dialogue not appearing correctly

Hopefully you shouldn't run into any further bugs, but if you do drop me a note and I'll get to fixing them as soon as I can.
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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#3 Post by E-l337 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:02 pm

Yet another update! This brings me to the end of the road of this particular milestone. Links above have been updated to reflect the new version, which contains the following:

- Artwork for Cynissa, Tzania, and Cormyn
- Updated artwork for Perfecta, which now displays her sprites correctly
- Minor fixes such as calling for skills that didn't exist and a typo here and there.

At this point, all of the artwork we have is now in the game, so now we can start moving ahead to adding more of the game content.

Looking forward to hearing what you guys think.

*EDIT*

More fixes for the 1-11-17 upload:

- fixed an issue where it was possible to trigger the D5 garden meeting without meeting Cynissa
- fixed an issue preventing scenes with Artenia from triggering if you had met her but weren't her friend yet
- fixed a bug preventing the correct dialogue to trigger during the Kismaxi/Cormyn fight
- fixed an issue where the library background showed up while visiting the offices
- fixed an issue preventing dialogue from appearing during the morning planning screen on certain days
- fixed an issue with certain morning events causing the game to return to the main menu
- fixed another issue where the library background showed up while visiting the cemetery (again)
- fixed several typos and clarified some unclear dialogue
- removed extraneous preference options
- removed the useful-as-goggles help buttons (they did nothing!)

Didn't feel like bumping the thread again since we're still on the first page. Let me know if you guys run into issues or have any questions/comments regarding the game!

*Updated 1/17/17!*

Here's the fixes/additions for this time around:

- fixed perception issues
- fixed tzania image issues
- fixed confusing dialogue making you think you were warping to the library when meeting with Tzania (HOPEFULLY FOR LAST TIME)
- fixed an issue where special events wouldn't trigger if you hadn't visited the location first
- adjusted some dialogue to be more clear
- now with 1000000% more quotation marks!
- fixed some minor typos
- fixed an issue where you knew Tzania's name before meeting her due to mind powers
- now with scene transitions!
- also now with character transitions!
- added random dialogues for all locations

With luck, this is the last of the major fixes/additions until the next major update, which should cover all of the events that would occur during Week 2.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or run across any bugs!

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#4 Post by qirien » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:36 pm

Soooo pretty! I love the fantasy/steampunk art. The backgrounds are so detailed, it makes me want to go there! Who are all your team members?

I love your writing style, too -- each character definitely has their own unique voice. I sure don't want to let Perfecta down! :-)

I can tell there's been a lot of world-building here, and I like how we're immediately immersed in it as our POV character prays to her gods, notices flowers, and drops hints about geography and history.

I feel like the game would start to become repetitious if there were more than one or two "stock events" inbetween each special event. Or, looked at another way, it would feel fresh and interesting if there was at least one new event each day.

It was a little confusing at the beginning -- it sounded like you would have a choice of which classes or whether to go to class, but actually there's not. This was made more confusing by the fact that some of the class locations are the same as some of the locations you can choose for your free time. If she has a schedule where she has certain classes on certain days of the week, that would be nice to be able to see somewhere.

Perfecta's a bit wordy in places; I think her dialogue would be a bit more effective if it were shortened and tightened a bit. Or perhaps her "tutorial talk" could be spread out between other characters or placed into a Guide For New Students or something?

I'm excited about this project and look forward to new developments!
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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#5 Post by E-l337 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:18 pm

Thanks for the comments, Qirien! Let me address them for you.
Who are all your team members?
Besides myself, I have a writer who goes by the name of Hisui. She's done probably 90% of the writing for the project so far (and then some...).

For art, we have the wonderful Taylor Payton coming up with the concept pieces.

As of now, this is the full extent of my team, but hopefully I'll be able to introduce a sound artist soon as well.
I feel like the game would start to become repetitious if there were more than one or two "stock events" inbetween each special event. Or, looked at another way, it would feel fresh and interesting if there was at least one new event each day.
I totally understand, and going into this that was one of my major concerns. There are a lot of features I want to implement, such as club activities and a whole lot more - the problem comes in to be time. That said, I'll be sitting down with my writer to brainstorm some possibilities for how we can manage this without making the already chaotic-looking schedule worse. :)
It was a little confusing at the beginning -- it sounded like you would have a choice of which classes or whether to go to class, but actually there's not.
That's probably an oversight on my part. We'll fix it!
Perfecta's a bit wordy in places;
I am very curious to find out in which places you feel this way. I have a sneaking suspicion I know which parts you mean, but it's always nice to know who the offending writer is. (Spoiler alert, it's probably me.)
If she has a schedule where she has certain classes on certain days of the week, that would be nice to be able to see somewhere.
Her classes do adhere to a strict schedule. Each day of the week covers one of the five major focuses of the school. That said, we'll try to address this, since it seems unclear that your class schedule is set in stone.

And finally....
Or perhaps her "tutorial talk" could be spread out between other characters or placed into a Guide For New Students or something?
We've... had some ideas about something similar. One of the books Cranberry comes across is "The Princess and the Dragon". I keep thinking how nice it would be if the player could read something like that, or if there was something similar to the Dangopedia from Clannad - a reference book of sorts. It's just one of those things on the backburner right now, but I hear what you're saying, and will be looking at seeing if I can implement something to that effect.

Hopefully the next major revision will be coming soon! It will have even more additional artwork, the full second week of events (so far), and then some. But first, I have a rather nasty cold to finish banishing.

Thanks so much for everything so far. With luck, the future major updates should take a lot less time now that most of the hard work is out of the way. Let me know if you happen to come across anything else.

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#6 Post by qirien » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:22 pm

OK, cool! As for Perfecta's wordiness -- I'm mainly thinking of the "tour guide" part where she's kind of giving the player an intro - I kind of felt like "Just let me pick my schedule already!". Plus, she seems like she'd be too busy to give a lot of individual attention. And the backgrounds are so pretty, it might make more sense to let the player peek into each room to see what's going on instead of just telling the player with words.

BTW, we have a pet hermit crab named Cranberry, so it's kind of funny to me every time I see that name... but it totally fits! :-D
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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#7 Post by E-l337 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:50 am

Thanks for letting me know about where the wordiness comes in! I'll take another look at that scene and see what improvements can be made to it before I drop the next update in. (I'm hoping it won't be too much longer, but I'm trying to quash one bug in particular.)

Your comments are extremely helpful, and we'll be taking these things into account. :)

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#8 Post by E-l337 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:20 pm

Dropping another post here to let everyone know I've updated the download link, so you can now grab the newest version. Here's the short version of all the changes that have been made:

- added character art for Tzania and Kismaxi
- background art added for the Cemetery, Dojo, and Bedroom
- events for Week 2 added into the game
- extended the game to last until the end of Day 14
- random class dialogues implemented for every class from week 2 on (so long as other events don't
pop up first!)
- fixed a rare issue where garden scenes might play twice in the same period
- resolved an issue causing the game to crash when meeting Tzania in the library
- fixed an issue preventing the background from loading when meeting Kismaxi in the library
- changed day planner dialogue to accurately reflect non-class days

There's currently a known bug preventing the player from advancing past the day planner on Day 14 due to the Evening and Late Evening choices being mirrored. Saving the game and reloading it seems to resolve the issue; I am hoping that I will have this fixed by the next update.

Speaking of the next update, I'll be having more backgrounds ready for it. Depending on how long it takes me to chase down the aforementioned bug above, maybe I'll also have the week 3 content ready? We'll see.

I'd also like to take a moment to give you guys a rundown of what my expected road plan is. My main goal right now is to get all of the events we have written for the demo put into the engine, so that the entire first month of gameplay is set in. Once those core events are in (and any resulting bugs are squashed along the way), I'll be looking at expanding some of the game systems further and refining them based on your feedback. One of those systems I'll be looking at are the events for the locations that aren't based on characters at all, so that there are more things for you to run into while you get your bearings at the school.

I'm slowly coming up on having all of the planned artwork completed and ready to put in, and I imagine that will be put in sometime in the next few weeks. So there's that to look forward to as well!

For now, I'll get back to work. Let me know if anything stands out, I'd love to hear what you guys think!

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo

#9 Post by E-l337 » Sat May 06, 2017 10:57 pm

Time for an update! I've just released a new build (link upstairs in the main post), here's changed:

- resolved a rare instance of the Day 14 planner not allowing the player to continue unless
the gamestate was reloaded
- added backgrounds for Hallway, Classroom, Outside, Laboratory and Workshop
- added Sprites for Sunar and The Sibilant Lightning
- added events up to the end of Day 21
- resolved an instance of being invited for tea by Artenia without having met her first

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Re: Xabri Academy (aka Dragon College) [Fantasy] [RPG] [Demo]

#10 Post by E-l337 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:16 am

Finally, a long overdue update! There's been a tremendous number of changes and additional content since the previous build I linked earlier this year, so here's what you can expect!

This demo contains the first 30 days of your school life.

All of the planned core scenes for all of the characters and their arcs have been implemented, so if you can befriend someone enough by the end of the month, you'll get to have a special final event with them on the last day. This is still not the finished version, but it's a huge step forward, and I'm now turning to you to ask for help!

If there is something you like or dislike, please let me know! Whether through private message, or just dropping a post here in the thread, any and all feedback is incredibly helpful!

Things the demo still lacks: No audio, and no UI design overhaul. There are also a few planned changes that I would like to make in the future, like more places for your Divination to trigger over the first few weeks, or adding more variety to some of the generic scenes. Little things like that!

Please let me know if you encounter any bugs, or if something seems out of place! I have spent the last few months (and especially few weeks!) chasing down as many of them as I could find, but there's always going to be a few that slip past me.

Thanks so much to everyone that has helped us to arrive at this point. We really look forward to adding more life to this, and hope you enjoy what we have to show so far.

One final note: If you had a save file from the previous builds, please start over from the beginning. I am very sorry, but there have been a number of changes and I cannot guarantee that using an old save file won't break your experience.

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