26/02: Minor update, options are properly working.
1/03: Some bug fixes and some changes to the platforms, and the VS mode selection screen now can return to the main menu using the ESC key.
Digimon: Heroic Battle Spirit, made by the Australian fan-game/indie developer Candescence, made in Construct 2, is a fan-made ‘expansion’ on the three Digimon: Battle Spirit fighting games for the Wonderswan/GBA made by Dimps, one of which, Battle Spirit 1.5, never left Japan. The idea is to include nearly every existing playable character from the first two games at least, hopefully add more fighters from more recent Digimon series (Digimon Savers/Data Squad and Digimon Xros Wars/Fusion) , enable four-player multiplayer, and include a special Metroidvania-like story mode with innovative narrative mechanics that attempt to do away with the need for cutscenes in most cases.
This demo is an attempt to demonstrate a basic idea of the direction being taken for both single-player and multiplayer. It’s not exactly ‘polished’, nor ‘balanced’, but very much playable (though there might be issues I missed, oh, well, alpha is alpha). If you find the art to be clashing or inconsistent, that’s understandable, I honestly do not have much in the way of art assets to work with, which is why I’m looking for an artist (see below).
In the demo, there are three playable Digimon – Agumon, Gabumon, Renamon and Kazemon, each with unique movesets.
Okay, that was a lie… Sort of. There’s actually five characters, but this one isn’t a Digimon. The fifth is a guest character, as it felt fitting for a demo premiered at the Sonic Amateur Games Expo. Guess what Digimon: Battle Spirit and Sonic Battle have in common? They were both developed by Dimps.
Story Mode Synopsis
The first thing you remember is waking up in a cell in a dungeon.
You manage to escape, but you find yourself in a castle filled with strange machines you’ve never seen before that are hostile to your presence.
And to make it worse, there’s no way out… Without treading a lot of water. And you sincerely doubt you can swim that far.
An exploration of the castle finds you battling an old enemy, but even he is subservient to a greater power. Without your partner, you’re left alone trying to figure out how to escape the castle, where he and your friends have gone, and who imprisoned you in the first place…
- Open-ended environments inspired by the likes of Metroid and its many imitators.
- Multiple characters with different abilities.
- Sub-weapons that augment your character’s fighting abilites.
- A ‘narrative button’ that provides dialogue options ala Mass Effect, but in real-time, with an adjustable slow-down effect.
- A ‘look’ mechanic reminiscent of old-school adventure games.
- An adjustable, zoomable camera system that accommodates any number of screen resolutions.
- A ‘fog of war’ system that hides unexplored areas, and fogs explored but unoccupied areas.
- Beware, not all boss enemies will be content to sit around and let you walk up to their doorstep, and some may start hunting you on their own volition…
- Possible extra for later on: 4-player co-op.
- Fully-featured classic Battle Spirit gameplay, now with 4 players! (In the future, depending on what happens with Steam Controllers and online multiplayer support in Construct 2, up to 16 players might be supported.)
- Dynamic camera system that keeps every combatant on-screen.
Download/Browser Play Links
As a Construct 2 game, this demo is playable in all HTML5/WebGL-capable browsers. But, thanks to the power of Node-Webkit, there are also Windows, Mac and Linux executables if you prefer that.
(For the love of all that is good, please read the readme/manual!)
(Please use Chrome or Firefox for best performance and features!)
(Also, switching to ‘windowed mode’ after switching to fullscreen mode puts the window at the top-left of the browser. You’re better off in full-screen mode anyway, as you can see more on-screen.)
What about the future?
Well, what happens in the future is going to be a bit interesting. Right now, with this demo, I’m pretty much limited entirely to existing game assets (and not just from Digimon games) and open-source assets, which are both neat, but they have their limitations, and they can easily result in clashing/inconsistent art. Long story short, if I want to really complete this game as I envision it, I’ll need help. Aside from presenting a demo, I’m using SAGE as a platform to advertise for artists and other people who are interested in making this whole thing work.
Primarily, I’m looking for an artist(s), an optional plural, because I intend to redo as many assets from scratch as possible, from level art to character animations. The existing assets are great, but I don’t really want to be restricted to what there is right now, if I want to expand the gameplay, for example (the existing sprites were designed for a rather simple fighting game, let’s be honest), not to mention I want a consistent art style across the board, which is important. And I’d like to be able to have higher-quality art assets, which would be neat. Oh, and let’s not forget additional characters – Masaru Daimon/Marcus Damon was supposed to be the single-player main character, not Agumon!
Oh, and there are inconsistencies in gameplay styles between the roster of the original Battle Spirit and Battle Spirit 2/Frontier, such as the lack of items in the latter, an additional Down+Attack move in the latter as well, and the two games have very different ways of handling evolution, which is a big issue in and of itself. So new art to create a more consistent experience is a must.
What I’m mainly looking at for animation work is the program Spriter, by Brashmonkey. It’s tech that is similar to what is used in games like Rayman Origins/Legends, and anything Vannilaware’s done (Odin Sphere, Muramasa, Dragon’s Crown, etc), and when the tool is used properly, the results can look superb. As well, animations can be created and tweaked much more easily than traditional animation, scaled better, enables character customization, heavily reduces RAM usage, includes support for stuff like collision rectangles, and already has native Construct 2 support. I like traditional animation as much as anyone, but I’d like to save my time and my artist’s time when it comes to creating assets, animations, and iterating on them. If nothing else, Spriter is great for easily prototyping animations.
Also, some of you might be wondering what happened to that Digimon World project from a while back, if you remember it (both demos were kinda crappy, to be honest, but still). Well, it’s mostly been scrapped. Changes to my outlook/philosophy on game development and where games need to advance has made the idea of making a turn-based RPG a lot less appealing to me. I like playing some of those, but for the most part, the genre isn’t really compatible with what I want to do with the medium. Now, making an action RPG is a whole different story, but it would be incredibly impractical in 2D with Digimon, so in order to make a 3D game, I’d need to brush up on working in something like Unity, and recruit someone who can actually model and animate stuff, and that’s not an easy task. But the idea of a 3D Digimon action-RPG is certainly exciting to me, and it’s something I’d love to do.
Still, we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them. I hope you enjoy what I have on offer here at SAGE, please provide feedback here and on this game’s topic in the Sonic United forum! Have fun!