Zenosoft's blog

DE2 Update: August Status

Hello all,

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on DE2's status.

Over the past two weeks I have been making a lot of improvements to Chapter 1, adding new maps, upgrading some maps, creating new chests, created new player character techniques, npcs, side quests, improved balance, improved boss fights, new puzzles and more. Why am I doing this when I should be finishing chapter 2, you ask?

Well, that is a good question. Once I started implementing the sanity system throughout chapter 1, It become apparent that I needed to play test the entire game again to make sure all of the new content "meshed" with the game and didn't seem out of place. Once I started to do this, it became apparent that I had a lot more work to do for the 0.4 release than I anticipated. From the very moment I hit the new game button, I started to see holes. Graphical glitches, event coding errors, isolated cases of poor mapping. Chapter 1 was developed very fast, and once I released v0.2 I kinda just put it aside and didn't go back and make any changes, instead focusing on chapter 2 development.

So the end result, is that for the past two weeks I have been playing through chapter 1, and making changes/improvements/fixes on an ad-hoc basis as I encounter issues. This process will delay the release of v0.4 by about 2-3 weeks, which will push it into September. I apologize for this delay, but rest assured that the extra amount of work I am putting in will make for a much better, immersive experience in the end.

In addition, I am planning on releasing a Chapter 2 trailer in the next week or so, so keep an eye out for that!

DE2 Development: Graphics Overhaul & Sanity Progress

Hello all, just wanted to provide a quick update on the status of development.

Over the last month, I have been primarily working on three things. Sanity System implementation, new splash screen graphics and new icon graphics. Here is a quick breakdown on progress...

-Sanity System Implementation-

Fully integrated sanity system with RGSS3.
Completed environmental effects for sanity system.
Completed Sanity tutorial.
Completed all "Sanity Cause" events planned for v0.4 launch.
Completed all Sanity-dependent chests/rewards planned for v0.4 launch.

-Sanity System remaining work for v0.4 launch-

Sanity-specific interactions with NPCs in Tsunaba
Assorted secret areas limited by sanity level
Secret Boss for chapter 2 only available @ specific sanity levels

Due to the limited exposure to the sanity system in chapter 1 & 2 (Part 3 of Chapter 1, Part 2 of Chapter 2) the following work is not needed until future release (v0.6 and beyond)

"Game Over" events for extreme sanity positions (-175 thru -200 or 175 thru 200)

-New Splash Screen Graphics-

All game-load splash screens have been remade. (Zenosoft splash, pre-title splash, title splash)
Save/Load splash has been remade.
All chapter splash screens have been remade. (Chapter 1 splash, Chapter 2 splash, etc.)
All intro splash screens have been remade. (Zenosoft presents, A game by Danial Noll, Chapter II of II, DEII end-of-intro splash)
Created a set of splash screens for Sanity Tutorial
Created a set of splash screens for use in Sanity Environmental Behavior

-New Icons-

Most inventory items have new icons.
All abilities except Limit Breaks (Techniques, Magik, Essence Strike) have new icons.
All essences have new icons.
All characters have new face icons for the new Save / Load screen


So there you have it. The last 30 days for me have been mostly sanity system implementation, but I have also put in a huge amount of time making new art assets for the game as well. Instead of seeing the same generic icons used over and over, you will now have a unique icon for nearly every unique ability in the game. Splash screens will look much better, and offer more continuity with a slightly more modern appearance. The next month will be just as busy, and I'm looking forward to releasing v0.4 (Chapter 2) by the end of this summer.

Dark Eternal II now running on RGSS3

Hello all,

I'm happy to report that I have successfully upgraded Dark Eternal II's engine from RGSS1 to RGSS3. Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult.. Just some minor scripting tweaks here and there. Given the extreme amount of custom systems in DE2, I would call it a minor miracle to pull this off so easily. It speaks highly of Justin's code, and I'd like to thank him again for all of his hard work on the project!

Here is a brief overview on what this paradigm shift means.

-Dark Eternal II will now run at 60fps, up from 40fps.
-Overall performance increased dramatically ( no more video stutter or slowdown, especially in the larger areas)
-Huge improvement to Font Rendering
-Better Fullscreen support
-Much more stabile (Should no longer see the random crashes ~ALA RGSS Player has Stopped Working)

In addition, RGSS3 leaves open the possibility of upgrading the resolution beyond 640x480. I would like to upgrade to at least 1024x768 at some point, but i'm not going to make any promises yet. I will have to test and see how the new resolution would work with the graphical resources I have available. I would not expect increased resolution for Chapter 2, but it is a possibility.

All of these performance increases do come at a slight cost. The minimum requirements to play the game will be increased slightly from the RGSS1 version of DE2- Chapter 1. The biggest difference will be in required memory. I will be reccomending 1gb at a minimum (up from 512mb) previously, but there will also be a slightly increased CPU requirement.

Given that 8gb is standard for memory at this point, I hope nobody will be raising pitchforks about this. ;)

Back to work, look for Chapter 2 in the coming months!

Development Updates (06/03/13)

Hey all,

I've been working like a mad man, basically spending all of my free time for the last 2 months working on DE2- Chapter 2. There were some miscalculations on my part as far as time tables go, and I apologize for that. Sadly, there was MUCH MORE WORK required to implement the Sanity system fully than I anticipated. In the end, I beleive it will be worth it, as it adds a simple yet deep element to gameplay AND story/character development. I also took a weekend off from DE2 last week to update Dark Eternal- Inception (SC2) for the Heart of the Swarm expansion pack. The game is now once again fully playable, with a huge assortment of bug fixes and improvements. You can currently check out Dark Eternal- Inception (v1.5) on battle.net.

Work will continue on DE2 at a rapid pace throughout the summer until It's done. I will not allow Chapter 2's official release to run past this summer, and I'm dedicated to doing whatever it takes to get it done.

Here is a list of major changes/improvements for DE2 that i've worked on over the past 6 months.

Removed "Battle Box" -
That ugly box at the bottom of the battle screen has been removed, and as a result battle BGs are now quite a bit bigger/higher resolution as a result of the extra real estate.

Brand New Battlebacks -
As a result of removing the "Battle Box", ALL battle backgrounds have been removed and replaced by higher definition versions.

Revamped Animations -
One of the things I dislike about "Dissolution" is the fact that I depended on RTP resources for 80% of the animations in the game. The same held true for DE2- Chapter 1, but no longer. RTP resource usage for animations has been reduced from 80% down to 20%, and nearly every single animation in the game has either been improved or replaced entirely.

Finished Act 2 of Chapter 2 -
Chapter 2 is broken up into three "Acts"

Act 1 - The Bridge of Despair (Nahla's Party) {COMPLETED}
Act 2 - The Hand of Maron: Integral (Zenogias' Party) {COMPLETED}
Act 3 - Rin in Ruin: The Homecoming (Nahla's Party) {IN PROGRESS}

Zenogias has a brand new character set -
Zenogias' character set (The graphic you see representing him in map view / cinematic view.. AKA: Sprite) was always a placeholder. It wasn't a huge deal in "Dissolution", as you only played as Zenogias for a brief amount of time at the end of the game, but with DE2 featuring him as the main character, it was time to make the plunge and give him the character set that a main character deserves. IMHO, it turned out really, really good. It's not perfect, but it now matches the battler (in-battle graphic) MUCH more closely. I may make further improvements in the future, but i'm no spriter so it's going to be low on my priority list for the time being.

Sanity System -
The sanity system, while basic on paper, is ridicilous in scope. It literally effects every level, every map in the game when in control of Zenogias. This has required a huge amount of work going back through chapter 1, and adding loads of sanity-specific content. This system is truly a two-headed beast:

First Head: Sanity Cause
"Sanity Cause" is the term I use to describe any type of event that alters your sanity level. These can come in the form of main storyline events, side quest events, basic conversations and many other types of interactions throughout the game. The primary function is simple, based upon circumstances and user choices, different events will cause your sanity to move in the direction of either anger or depression. This "Sanity Level" will in turn effect future events and enviromental perspective.

Second Head: Sanity Effect
"Sanity Effect" is the term I use to describe any type of event that is altered due to your current "sanity level". These can come in the form of secret dungeons, treasure chests, conversations, events, quest rewards and other types of interactions. The primary function is to make gameplay functionality change ranging from subtle to severe, depending on the sanity choices you have made. This will make each playthrough of DE2 unique, and create diverging paths to power as far as obtained equipment, items, esseences, etc. are concerned.

In summary, my lack of updates has NOT been due to lack of progress, actually quite the opposite. I have worked more on DE2 over the last 6 months than I did for the entire 3 years previous. Don't give up on me! Chapter 2 is right around the corner.

DE2: Work Resumed

With the release of Heart of the Swarm, I was forced to take a small break from active development. That break is now officially over, and I've returned 100% of my focus back to DE2. Look for several updates over the course of the next week.

DE2: Developer Update 03/10/2013

Hey everyone,

Chapter 2 of DE2 is still under heavy development, but I can tell you that the last month has been very very productive. Chapter 2 now sits at about 75% completion, which is huge considering that it sat at about 35% only three months ago. I have one major story arc left to create for this chapter, but i'm not working on that quite yet. As of last weekend, I am now putting all of my time into implementing the Sanity system. This is a huge task that, admittedly, i have been putting off due to the ridiculous amount of work involved. My plan is to implement one major system into DE2 per chapter, with the essence system making it's debut in chapter 1, Sanity will debut in chapter 2. You can find out more detailed information about the sanity system here.

Sanity is making it's debut in chapter 2, but it is not only a part of chapter 2. Sanity will begin to play a factor early in chapter 1, and thus there is a large amount of content needed to drive decisions that will affect the sanity system as you progress through the game. My goals for this system are lofty, so I'm not going to half ass this implementation and risk making the system feel like a gimmick, or tacked on. I expect that sanity system implementation will take roughly three weeks, and then another three weeks to finish the final arc of chapter 2. Based off of these numbers, my new estimated date for internal beta testing will fall around April 30th. I hope for the internal beta testing period to last about one week, or two at tops. My goal is to have Chapter 2 released to the public in the month of May.

Stay tuned for more screenshots and blog updates as DE2: Chapter 2 development winds to an end.

DE2: Chapter 2 Screenshots (Part 1)

Hey all, this is going to be a very brief entry. Just finished a 16 hour weekend of DE2 work. Spent most of that time on new essences, weapons and lots of new animations. Implementing the sanity system is also a tall order, and takes quite a bit of time.

In addition, I did do some testing on the middle act of Chapter 2.. I'll leave you with a few random screenshots.

Development Update


I'm busy working on DE2 and the new website, and I wanted to give everyone a quick update.

I took a pretty decent sized break from development for awhile. DE2 sat relatively dormant for about 2 years, during a time I had to focus on my career. I'm still focused on my career, but I have carved a large amount of free time out of my schedule earmarked specifically for DE2 development. This has been the case for about 4 months now.

Over the last 4 months, I have noticed a few things about DE2 that bug me. These things range from big to small, and most are easily fixed with a few low-key script changes. However, some are art based and were a little tougher to figure out. I have dedicated myself to fixing these quality-of-life type problems, and so far the results are pretty good. Here is a short summary of what I'm talking about.


The Bottom Bar of Death. This is what I call it. That giant, ugly bar that sits below the party actors. Why is it there? what is its purpose? Well, either way I always hated it and recently decided it was time to do away with it. The 'BBOD' existed for two reasons;

Perspective- The bar, in conjunction with the battleback, created a false sense of separation between the party actors and the enemy actors. It kinda tied the battle scene together, albeit in an ugly manor.

Resolution- RMXP runs at 640x480, and thus the battle system also runs at 640x480. However, the battlebacks themselves are a bit smaller. Big enough to fit the entire screen WITH the 'BBOD', but not big enough to fill the entire screen by itself.

So I axed it. I killed the 'BBOD' and gathered all new resources to completely remake ALL of the battlebacks within the game. Resolution was not a problem, as I had hi-res images to start off with and crop down into rmxp-sized portions. Perspective, however, began to jump out at me. I realized that, although the giant 'BBOD' was not necessary, some type of bottom bar would be needed. So I added a simple, opaque black bar to the very bottom edge of the screen. This bar is about 1/4th the size of the 'BBOD', and is much less intrusive. It also answers the perspective issues.

The end result will be battles on a larger scale, that feel less pinched and claustrophobic with more of an artistic, vibrant style.


Previously in the original DE, much like battlebacks, I felt stuck with the base animations that come with the engine. I wanted something better, but at the time I originally started this project, resources were a little limited. Of course, I made my own custom animations BASED off of the default artwork that comes with the engine.. But there was only so much I could do with it to make it stand out, or appear "unique".

That becomes a major problem with the advent of the essence system, a one-of-a-kind behemoth of a custom magic system. I plan on utilizing this system down to the bone, and my projection for the total # of essences in the complete game will be nearly 100. Considering that essences range from 1-6 custom abilities per, that means I need a LOT of abilities/spells, and in turn need A LOT of unique animations.

For the reasons above, I have begun scouring the internet for custom animations that fit with the dark style of DE, and so far my results are more fruitful than I would have ever imagined. Resources are much easier to find nowadays, and within hours I managed to collect at least 30 different custom animations. From these 30 pieces of art, I can realistically create nearly 150 unique spell animations. This puts me well above the +/- 100 I needed as per my own projections.

-The Bottom Line-

To summarize, I have completely overhauled the battle system's graphical base. These high quality, larger battlebacks will create a more vibrant atmosphere that will pull the player into the battle scene that much more. The 150+ new custom animations will add a ridiculous variety to the already varied essence system, and in combination with the battlebacks, will completely change the face of the DE2 battle system.

I hope this post was readable, and that perhaps I've made you slightly more excited about the impending release of chapter 2!


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