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Shining force 1 and 2 remake project for pc - Demo Release v0.0.1

feldc

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Hello sfmods, I've recently begun working on a complete remake of Shining force 1 (and eventually 2). I'm planning to release an alpha build within July recreating the first battle of SF1 with many quality of life improvements and additional user settings. Till then I figured I should open a thread, and start getting some feedback from the various SF forums on what quality of life improvements and features (specifically those not possible with modding) members would like to see, and be able to work with.
 

Steve

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This sounds incredible! I'll certainly be following development progress with bated breath. Are you able to share any more information regarding the development of the project and perhaps some screenshots?

Really appreciate you taking the time to share your news with us.
 

feldc

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I definitely don't mind sharing what I have currently, though there isn't a whole lot just yet.

As for development along with rough plans going forward. I'm currently developing with the Godot game engine (if anyone wants the rational feel free to ask). After the demo release and some feedback, I plan to clean up the code and open source the project. So others can contribute and start messing around with my premade templates for enemies, characters, items, etc....

Now for some gifs, please excuse the jitter and robotic movement that's in the gifs below. It's not an issue within the game itself.

A bit of an explanation and context for the gif below. It's mainly show casing what I currently have implemented of the battle movement system (still a fair bit left to do). The white numbers and text represent the terrain type and land effect. GRD is ground and FLT is float type. Max has the standard move type so he can't cross terrain of type FLT (float). His movement per turn is the green, purple, yellow, red, and blue coloured squares. When you see it shift is when I pressed the stay (action) and he re-turned.

You'll also notice me zooming in and out, this is one of the user options I'm adding. You can either view the game up close like you would on the actual genesis version or zoom out a bit and see more of the field at once. Another feature of note, I didn't record (just remembered now while writing), you can edit the terrain and add or edit the monsters (stats, behaviour, and equipment included) while the game is running!

7EL3LIQVGB.gif

As for the gif below just showing a bit of the UI elements and bitmap fonts. I've only done enough work with the font so I could use the text characters within the game. So please excuse the odd kernings and spacings. I'll be polishing those after I get most of the core system features setup.
uwCDjDiHuu.gif


Hope that satisfied you Steve :), till I have more to show. Also if you got questions or feedback from anything I posted above I'd love to hear it.
 

monkbarron

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That sounds hella neat! Will it be modifiable like Shining Force 1 is? Is this a project similar to Sonic 3 AIR?
 

feldc

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That sounds hella neat! Will it be modifiable like Shining Force 1 is? Is this a project similar to Sonic 3 AIR?
Yes, it will be modifiable and expandable that's the main goal of the project more so than having modern remasters of SF1 and 2! I'll also be open sourcing it and providing documentation on how to add just about anything you can think of without needing to mess with code. The other major goal is to provide freedom to add and develop without being held back by rom modding limitations (ex. limited color palette for sprites, limited control over animations, only x number of resources before the rom breaks, only 36~ ish force characters before issues arise, etc...).

I'm not familiar with the Sonic 3 AIR project. From skimming through their site and feature list seems like they built it on top of the steam version of the sonic 3 and knuckles. Which isn't what I'm doing, I'm rebuilding the games from scratch for PC.
 

Steve

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@feldc - Apologies for your posts being held up in moderation. I've tweaked some of the flags and it shouldn't happen again.

Thank you for the terrific breakdown. I'm really thrilled to see how far along the project has come, and that you're confident of an alpha demo being made available this month. I hope that your work generates a lot of attention.

Are you able to share what sparked your interest in starting this project? It would be great to learn more about your history with the Shining Force series and some of your programming background.

Lastly, is there a site we can keep up with your work?
 

feldc

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@Steve No problem, in regards to the posts being held up.

Project progress update is down below, and I'm super confident in releasing a build this month. Since I've nearly implemented everything needed for Battle 1 and will likely finish implementing all systems this week. The following week(s) will be focused on cleaning up the resources files, polishing the UI, animations, and then naturally a release.

What sparked your interest in this project
I guess last month I was thinking of replaying SF1, and I'm not sure how but I found the graphic upgrade mods from @Erikin84. From there I was curious what other tooling and projects existed within the SF space. After a bit of searching and seeing a lot of projects (remakes, engines, etc... seemingly abandoned with last updates like 2 years ago). I thought I could probably take up this kind of project and deliver in a reasonable amount of time. Not to mention I'm just not the kind of guy who can't have a side project or two to work on.

It would be great to learn more about your history with the Shining Force series
I guess it starts with me first having played SF1 on the Sega smash pack on pc, then years later playing SF2. I replayed the games a few times throughout the years and that's about the extent of my history with the series, prior to this project at least.

and some of your programming background.
I originally started programming around 6-7 years ago with C and CPP being my primary programming languages. I mainly focused on native GUI app development and command line tooling, and of course lots of side projects related to emulators, GUI libraries, and graphics in general. Around 3 years ago I went into a more Fullstack developer role. I've been mostly working with stuff like react, rust lang, golang, javascript, typescript, and AWS professionally and on new major personal projects. Funny enough I never had an interest to do game development. I picked up and started using Godot around 3 weeks ago.

Lastly, is there a site we can keep up with your work?
Currently I'm posting all my updates here. I have a made an account on ShiningForceCentral and planned to have a thread going there as well, but all my posts are still in limbo. So I guess sfmods has the exclusive scope. I probably won't make a site, at this point in time it seems unnecessary. I'll probably track features and bugs on the actual repository when I release it, and for general discussions I'll probably follow them on sfmods. Along with whatever other places end up having discussion around this project (just let me know and I'll make an effort to answer questions where ever this ends up being).

###
### Project Update #2
###


One note while looking at the gifs below I'm using the shining force cd icons, since I wasn't able to find a shining force 1 all icons rip. If anyone has one please let me know. I'd really like to avoid having to pull each icon out one by one with the SF1Editor.

# Current in game progress
The gif below is just showcasing the turn system. I turned off the enemy turns to keep the gif size small enough to upload. It's also showcasing the magic menu and the inventory menus for the different characters.
VbnhHcY9Gb.gif

Showing that the Tao and Lowe do have different magics, and the field enemy and character selection and details view. The portraits are all Max right now since I haven't cut up the portrait sprite sheet into separate files yet. Same thing with the weapons and magics portions displaying nothing. Since I don't have the files cut up I toggled it to show nothing. The logic is there and ready I just haven't gotten around to creating the resources from the massive sprite sheet rips.
C3mUoxFeCw.gif

A bit of the current progress implementing the attack and battle scenes. Also still have to finish drawing the mountain portion of the map.
okJSUp7O4l.gif

# how to extend and create (teaser)

Here's a few pics on how you (the members) will likely be able to create your own items, characters, resources and extend their logic.

The screenshot below is showing how you'd create and add a new weapon. The fields should be largely self explanatory but I'll be providing additional pages and documentation so its very clear what you can and cant do and how.

Item Name - the name of the item duh
Texture - The image you want to use for the weapon

# Note I'm planning on making this an array so you'll be able to add as many attributes as you want
# want a weapon to add hp take away mp and add attack well now its possible
Attribute - what character or enemy state you want to effect
Attribute Bonus - the amount of the attribute you want to add

key item - prevents the player from dropping it or selling it

price to buy - if you can buy it from stores here's the purchase price
price to sell - if you can sell it how much you'll get

item use range and path - What kind of attack range does this weapon give you is it one space in front 2 spaces 3, 3 outside but not 2 inside.

item use target and path - can you select one emeny, or can you select a cross of enemies ex.
# X 1 X
# 1 T 1
# X 1 X

sell to deals - what it says

usable - can you use the item
will add usable effect - what the use does ex cast blaze, increase attack, etc

chance to crack - what it says

equitable by - what classes can equip this equipment
GHZEfIbwpR.png

This is the format for characters and animations as well. Just type in what you want and select what you need and the game will largely handle the rest for you. There's no coding involved just drag and drop what you need and everything should just work.
 

Steve

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Thank you for your detailed response, @feldc

It's pretty quiet around these parts at the moment, but I'd like to drum up a little more exposure for your efforts. I'll post a link on Reddit and the various Shining Force Discord channels.

The screenshots are terrific - it's great to have a glimpse of the editor interface, also.

Are you looking to incorporate any of SF2's quality of life improvements into SF1? Such as the contextual search?

Have there been any particularly difficult design decisions or obstacles to overcome in bringing this to life?
 

feldc

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No problem @Steve

Are you looking to incorporate any of SF2's quality of life improvements into SF1? Such as the contextual search?
Yes for sure! In fact I'm going one step further and you letting you toggle and choose what you'd prefer. An example of what I mean is do you want to stay true to SF1 style displays and info, or would you prefer SF2 styled displays, or would you rather have a more modern approach. For example lets take the character display box in the top right corner from my gifs posted above. You can see its character name followed by their class name then their level. This is a SF2 styled display, you can toggle it to use SF1 display info where its just character name followed by level. You can bring in as much conveniences as you'd like or stay as true to the original genesis version as possible. I'll support and allow for user choice as much as possible, with sane defaults as a starting point.

I'm also planning to bring some of the GBA version quality life improvements as well. Like having the item box and automatic item passing, goodbye manual inventory management and good riddance.

Have there been any particularly difficult design decisions or obstacles to overcome in bringing this to life?
There honestly hasn't been anything too difficult yet. Godot has quite a lot of features that make much of this a breeze to implement. Most of my design decisions and the like revolve around the thought process of how would other people use and extend X without having to mess with code.
 

Ivan_Cal

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Congrats on the initiative! Here is all my reworked SF1 artwork, i hope it helps. I can also provide a complete list of bugs/problems in the original game, if that helps. I'm also planning to finish the retranslation patch that's been roaming in SFC for years, so maybe that can be added in the future. Contact me if you need help with anything, especially artwork, since that's what i'm best at.

https://easyupload.io/v22ui4 (the link should last 30 days, but contact me after the expiration date to get it, sfmods won't allow me to upload it here, for some reason)
 

Lynx

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Hello feldc welcome, I love what you are doing, as someone who is interested in pixelart I really like the idea of having no limits in art themes, the only other engine I know for sf was the one that is developing chaoswizard in game maker 1 And now it is passing it to game maker 2 and I am glad that there are more options in that area, on the subject of icons, the sfeditor is supposed to extract them all, I should leave you some folders like these:
xd2111.png
When exporting from the editor everything is exported, portraits, weapons, characters etc.
I would like to know if your engine can use 32 x 32 tiles and animated things, I think of things like flowers moving, or water with a slight movement of waves
pru1.png

I could also recommend you to join a group of discord, which is where there are most often people interested in shining force and there are also people with moderation charges from shining force central who could help you with the issue of your account on that page (maybe someone thought that you were a bot)

 

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feldc

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@Ivan_Cal Thanks for the artwork, it definitely helps (downloaded my copy already)!

A list of bugs and issues would be nice to have. I'll likely after the demo start setting up a public place to track features, bugs, and status. I'm open to adding whatever the community wants, your SF1 retranslation included when ready.

I'll for sure be reaching out to you and the rest of the community when I have more of everything setup, and others can start contributing more directly.

@Lynx I didn't realize the SF1Editor had an option to export everything out (whoops my bad). I've only been using the SF1Editor to check stats and attributes mainly so far.

I would like to know if your engine can use 32 x 32 tiles and animated things, I think of things like flowers moving, or water with a slight movement of waves
Yes, the background tiles and objects can be whatever size (ex. 1x1, 22x33, 4096x4096, and everything above and between). The only limitation at the moment is characters need to be 24x24, but I do plan to allow more flexibility there as well (haven't done more work on it, since I wanted to keep the demo features list small enough to release quickly). Animated tiles and adding shaders to tiles or the entire screen are also supported. I'm also willing to add whatever features are missing or the community wants just let me know.

I could also recommend you to join a group of discord... there are also people with moderation charges from shining force central
Ya, I'll join the shining force discords this weekend. Also it seems like someone with mod rights approved my newbie intro post on SFC. I'll probably start posting there as well soon.
 

akaizhar

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Do you have a github repo I could download and check out? I might be able to help you with some of this so you don't have to do all of the heavy lifting on your own.
 

Steve

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A quick question shared by reddit user Raphael-Rose:

Raphael-Rose said:
Is it also a graphic remake?
A comment and another question from reddit user theaaronschad:

theaaronschad said:
I love these games! I can't wait for a remake! Anyone know what platform this will be on?
Reddit user TeHNeutral noted the existence of a similar project being in development known as Shining Force Unity - a Shining Force remake built using the Unity engine. I had never heard of it before reading this comment, but would be interested to hear your thoughts @feldc regarding your decision to use the Godot engine over other options such as the Unity engine.
 
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feldc

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@akaizhar

I don't have a public repo yet, but I will have a public repo shortly after I release the demo and clean up some of my project. Also still need to figure out where I'm going to store all the asset files, since I can't imagine a repo would stay up for long if Sega sees all sorts of ripped sprites hanging about.

@Steve
Is it also a graphic remake?
If they mean is it going to be something other than the 2D look of the originals than no, not yet at least. @Ivan_Cal was nice enough to let me use his reworked art so there will be reworked sprites, tiles, and animations off the bat though.

I love these games! I can't wait for a remake! Anyone know what platform this will be on?
I'll be able to provide builds for windows, mac, and linux without a doubt. I might also be able to support platforms like android and iOS, and even web (but these won't be available for the demo, other platforms than those mentioned I'm not sure about at all).

Reddit user TeHNeutral noted the existence of a similar project being in development known as Shining Force Unity .... interested to hear your thoughts @feldc regarding your decision to use the Godot engine over other options such as the Unity engine.
I'm familiar with the Shining Force Unity Homepage project, but I don't have any opinions on it. Since there isn't a whole lot of updates or details on the project, not exactly sure if it's still being worked on either.

As for why I choose Godot over Unity. The short overview of some of the reasons I choose Godot
* has an easier time creating editable resources, and creating templates
* scripting with GDScript is much easier for none devs than C#
* C++ support and usage in Godot is less hassle than Unity (if needed)
* tilemap creation is largely a none issue (users can use their preferred program, and import)
* low resource requirements and easy to get started (again mostly for none devs benefits)
* a game of shining force's level of detail and sprites has virtually no requirements, Unity wouldn't improve the look or performance in any meaningful way
* easier time creating custom tooling and integrating it in the engine itself compared to Unity
Mainly I valued how easy this would be for none developers to use and extend over anything else.

Slightly more detail on some points

I valued having better support for direct editor object editing integration (ie. I think Godot's export variable is better setup (ex. weapon edit in progress update 2) and supported than Unity's Monobehaviour inspector support). There's also more room to customize and clamp down on user input, preventing possible issues, while also making the interface more user friendly.

While Unity has better performance for both 2D and 3D, a 2D game of shining force's level of detail and sprites takes virtually no resources to run (even on mobile devices). Unity by itself wouldn't make the project look or perform (in a perceivable way) better in any meaningful way. Creating tooling and test scenes is also much faster in Godot than it is in Unity and not to mention easier to extend (again my concern is how would artists and modders use this, not how would experienced programmers).

Unity has fairly good tilemap support, and Godot is lacking in this department at the moment (building the battle1 map was pain, since I pushed myself to use the Godot tilemap editor). Godot is having a massive rewrite of their tilemap editor for versions 3.4 and the new 4.0 releases, and offers some features that I don't believe are available in Unity at least not in a way that doesn't require additional work and workarounds. Also as a result of my design decisions, terrain effect and background tiles being separate, users can build out their sprite maps in whatever programs they like (ex. photoshop, gimp, aseprite, etc...) and import them into the game. Since they won't be forced to use the internal engine tilemap tooling (unless they want a shader or an animated tile). This seemed like a largely none issue since you have options, and I think its worth waiting on and seeing the Godot tilemap improvements over Unity's.

I probably missed a few things, if there's more questions feel free to shoot them my way.
 

monkbarron

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He Fe, I can say with 97% certainty that having the repo up will be fine - Sega supports Fan Projects, and if they didn't like sprite rips, then Spriter's Rescource would've been shot dead by now.

And hey, if you need a Test Monkey, I'll help ya out greatly and recommend stuff along the way.

Heck, maybe you should add some of the SF 1 Editor Features into the Remake, and give an Option on the Menu called 'Mod Creation' or something, and the features would be exported to a mods folder so people can mod the remake and share it around.
 

feldc

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@monkbarron guess I'm out of the loop in regards to Sega's stance on fan projects, always thought they had a Nintendo style cease and desist attitude. If it's fine I guess I can clean up the project a bit this weekend and make a public repo for it, demo still won't be ready till much later in the month though.

As for bugs, suggestions, and feature requests those would probably be best tracked as issues on the repo just so It's easy for me to keep track of them all.

In regards to the mod creation menu option, that probably won't be needed. The characters, weapons, and spells are all fairly isolated users if they want to create their own modifications or additions could just copy the resource or instance a scene and edit the values. The original would be left alone and they can have their working copy and if I push code changes assuming they haven't made the resource unique or separate from the original should update as well.
 

feldc

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Small update

I've setup a public Github organization and I've started cleaning up my repo. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough free time today to finish everything, will likely finish tomorrow or at the latest this Tuesday.

Link to organization - https://github.com/ShiningForceRemade

So if anyone has feature requests, suggestions, etc please start filling issues in the SFR-Godot repo. I'll also start writing some wiki pages this week, on how community members can help contribute to the project (ex. cleaning up and setting the original sprite rips images into usable formats).
 
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