Developing a new game

Hey guys! Hope you’re all well.

I’m currently developing a game with a very small group. Thanks to COVID, I had a lot of free time on my hands working from home and used my coding experience in a manner in which I’ve always dreamt of - game design. I was actually originally inspired by the Shining Force series (more specifically the first two) to create an SRPG with a more “modern” touch. However, as those games are quite old (damn, so am I?) and rather niche I’ve come to the next best place - a Fire Emblem community.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Fire Emblem too. I remember downloading the SNES ROM (uhh… legally playing a backup of my copy) well over a decade ago then going all the way through PoR, RD, Awakening, etc. I even bought a Switch solely for Three Houses!

I look at Fire Emblem as the more “hardcore” version of Shining Force! Well, at least the earlier versions of FE. I’m hoping to create a game that sits somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, regarding the actual game. We’ve laid down the groundworks, the basics of the game are up and running. We’re looking to crowdfund this eventually, probably not a popular choice among some people but we really wouldn’t be able to do it justice without additional funding. We’re currently commissioning a few artists to do some animations so we can get a real “feel” for how the game will look/play in the finished state. Here’s a quick rundown -

Superhero theme - The main distinction between this SRPG and most others will be the prominent theme of the game. It’s going to based around Superheroes and it’s going to play out in a modern (but fictional) setting.

2D - It’s going to be 2D. One thing I absolutely adore is the GBA battle animations. They’re clean, crisp and buttery smooth. Can’t beat them! Also, in all honesty, it’s easier for me to develop with minimal experience rather than jumping into 3D.

Voice acting - We currently have no plans to have voice acting in the game. It’d be nice, sure, but it also costs a lot of money when we’d rather put the funding into art assets.

Roaming - The initial plan was to have the standard story/battle/story transitions. However, I felt it to be a little monotonous at times. As mentioned, Shining Force was the original inspiration and they had a roaming phase where you could walk around the villages, buy equipment, talk to people, etc. We’re not going to be quite that detailed, we’re aiming to keep the roaming phase strictly to your home base. (Basically like 3H, roaming around the school.)

Support - Yes, we’re aiming to implement supports. However, we want them to switch them up a bit. We’re thinking something along the lines of “chemistry”. Meaning that the more they increase their chemistry, the better they fight alongside each other.

Permadeath - This is a bit of a tricky situation. I, personally, turn it off when I play… However, upon researching communities I have found that permadeath is a rather beloved (albeit frustrating) feature in the FE communities. The issue is, this game will have a smaller roster and we’re aiming to have each character play a role throughout the whole game. We don’t want you to recruit a random farmer that adds nothing to the story and if he dies you’ve forgotten about him by the end of the game. Our potential solution is to “de-power” the hero. Basically, if they suffer a near-fatal attack, they lose their powers and are unusable in combat there after. They’ll still appear in the story, though.

Unique units - On the subject of a smaller roster, this game will have unique units. Each character will be different. You won’t have four warriors that have different colored hair or armor and that’s the only distinction between them. Shining Force II had some palette swaps, but it also had a bunch of unique units, that’s something that I loved. It also helps us flesh the characters out a little more from a story point of view, with their powers all being different.

Weapon triangle and durability system - Finally, we won’t have weapons. I guess this might be obvious, but the characters will be using their powers. This system is the least “concrete” of them all, and currently the one that’s still heavily in a planning phase. Our idea is for each unit to have multiple attacks. The general attack would be their punch, kick, etc. However, say someone can shoot energy beams, it would be a ranged attack and instead of the standard weapon durability would cost energy. We’re looking at a cooldown system of sorts.

As for the triangle system, well we’re going to have to rework it. We’re debating two different ideas. One being the fighting “style” of the unit. Say strength, speed, mind, technique, etc.

The other idea is a power-based system. Energy, physical, elemental, etc.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post but I just wanted to get some really early, initial feedback from different people. If anyone has ideas, suggestions, feedback, anything at all then feel free to share! If you have a great idea then who knows we might implement it! (If we do we’ll send you a copy of the game and put your name in the credits.)

Thank you and have a great day!


Regarding permadeath, if every unit needs to be kept alive for plot or difficulty reasons, you could also make a stage game-over if any unit dies. This would ensure every unit is alive at the end of a stage, whilst still punishing a unit’s death.

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It’s always cool to hear about a new idea for an SRPG, especially one that takes inspiration from Fire Emblem. After reading your ideas I got a lot of Gaiden/Echoes vibes from the idea of roaming/having a smaller roster of units. I’ve never really been that into superheroes personally, but there’s plenty of people who would love a game like this!

I don’t know that much about Shining Force, but it definitely sounds like you’re getting more inspiration from that series than FE. One of the more distinct aspects that sets them apart is that Shining Force has character based promotions, meaning that every character has their own unique animations rather than being tied to a class like in FE.

Another thing is character growth, which… I honestly don’t understand fully. From what I’ve seen, characters in SF1 can get incredibly varied levels (Like getting anywhere from 0-3 in a any stat aside from HP, which varies even more) instead of having a growth rate system for each stat. You’ll probably want to decide what kind of leveling system you prefer, with either slight improvements or large jumps (Or somewhere in between).

As for the idea of permadeath… I wouldn’t bother including it if it’s just for the sake of having it. Older Fire Emblem games were built around giving you a large cast of characters of the same class or giving you ways to revive fallen characters. Your game concept sounds very different, so maybe having some sort of Group EXP system (Gaiden/Echoes) or BEXP system (FE9/10) and giving less rewards for letting your units fall in battle could be a way to reward good play.

As for durability, I would say just scrap it since that doesn’t really make sense with the idea of having superpowers. A turn-based cooldown system for special moves sounds much more interesting to me. As for a weapon-triangle system… meh, it’s honestly not even that good of a mechanic in Fire Emblem. If you were to implement a similar system, maybe you could give each character their own ‘elemental’ weaknesses that can be exploited by different moves. A fighting style system could work as well, but it sounds like it would end up as more of a rock-paper-scissors thing more than anything else. Games that have a large emphasis on elemental exploitation generally require more in-depth thought about what characters you should use. An example of this might be the Shin Megami Tensei series, though they’re mostly RPGs, so it doesn’t translate 100%.

I have some concern with the roaming system. A major critique of Three Houses is the repetitiveness of going to the same home base over and over again, especially on repeat playthroughs. It’s supposed to be a nice break from the battles, but it ends up being a slog. Fire Emblem games with the ‘Story-Preparations-Battle’ loop generally flow better, but that’s just my opinion.

One question I have is do you plan to include grinding? A lot of people don’t enjoy the system, some people love it, and some people don’t really care as long as it’s not mandatory/obtrusive to the main story. On one hand, you don’t want your players to get stuck for raising up the wrong units. On the other hand, you don’t want your players to get so strong to the point where they sweep the floor with your carefully designed maps. Older FE games got around this by giving you powerful units in the mid-late game to help out, but I’m not entirely sure that would work with a smaller cast. Just something to consider while it’s still early in the development cycle.

Anyways, good luck with the game! As a last piece of advice, I would just ask who your main audience is. Do you want the game to be good for newcomers or veterans to the genre? Is the game fast paced or slow and methodical? Or do you want some kind of mix for everybody, letting all different playstyles be viable? There’s no ‘right’ answer to these questions, just whatever you and your team think is best.

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What you’re looking for is probably the Lex Talionis engine. It has a lot of the features you’re asking for already implemented.


This could work, but it might also take some of the difficulty out of it. I feel as if the game would have to be balanced around the fact all units are inherently able to survive multiple attacks or the player would have to play a “perfect” game every time. I don’t want the game to be extremely hard, but I also want people to plan a bit carefully before they move.

That’s the idea! SF II was the first video game I ever played as a child and it holds a special place in my heart, as corny as that sounds haha! But the game fizzled out (or at least it should have, the new games are just cash grabs IMO) and FE evolved over the years. That’s why I’m using both series as my main inspiration.

That being said, I am a big Fire Emblem fan, too. I’ve played, and finished, every main game starting from Path of Radiance, alongside a few other translated ROMS. (Ironically enough, I actually still had the original PoR GameCube copy from when I was a kid that I just recently sold on eBay for a nice sum to help pay for the art commissions I’ve ordered for this game.)

So far we’re looking at having the standard FE system of character growth. We have discussed having, say, strength go up between 0-3 as you mentioned but it’s proving to be quite a balancing nightmare. An idea we’ve discussed is to have a focus system, where you can lock in a stat your character focuses on (say strength) and it’ll guarantee an increase every level. Just an idea.

Yeah, durability won’t work for us but we still wanted some form of strength/weakness in the game. As you mentioned, something along the lines of an elemental weakness is probably our best bet (with elemental being replaced by their power type.)

Yeah, that’s something we’ve thought of. The difference being that in 3H the free roam phase is tied to your progress, especially in the form of recruitment. We plan to have the roaming phase completely optional, and if you choose to just suit up for the next fight you can do so in the menu, nor will you miss out on anything.

We do plan to have a “battle simulator” of sorts. Plans are still very early, but we don’t want it to be possible to out-level the enemies, nor do we want it to be necessary to use it in order to keep up with them.

An idea we’ve thrown out is to be able to select a move as your characters “signature”. It would have added benefits (extra power, maybe a debuff?) once it’s perfected. Maybe you can train and gain xp towards the signature move in the battle simulator. Not sure yet.

Thank you so much, and a very good question! Due to it being a relatively new theme to the genre, we’re hoping to attract a lot of newcomers and also make it accessible for them to play and enjoy. You mentioned earlier that you’re not a big superhero fan, well truthfully, I’m not a huge one either. I’ve never watched a single Avengers film, though I did love Guardians of the Galaxy. I grew up on X-Men, absolutely loved them, yet the films left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. (Where’s Gambit?) But in the last couple of years I really got into shows like Umbrella Academy and The Boys. They tackle the superhero theme in a new and unique way. Gave me a new appreciation for the theme and made me realize that it doesn’t all have to be bright costumes and corny catchphrases. They can be real people with real problems, outside of saving the world.

That being said, veterans of the genre are definitely on our radar, too. That’s why I’m here. I want this game to do justice to all fans of the genre, new and old. This level of feedback is critical to our planning. We take every suggestion seriously and we pass it on to each other. The passion of Fire Emblem fans is endless. The amount of ROM hacks out there alone proves it. So we want to work as closely with the fans as we can to provide them a game they will enjoy as well.

TLDR - New and old, a mix of both! :joy:

Hello! Not sure what that one is, but we’re currently using GameMaker Studio 2 for production!

Thanks for all the feedback so far, no such thing as a bad suggestion and we appreciate them all!

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Here’s a link to the Serenes Forest page, but I would recommend checking the discord, since it’s more active.

It’s an open source Python engine. As someone who has extensive experience using Gamemaker Studio 2 for TRPG’s I far prefer Lex Talionis. I would at least check it out, because it sounds like a lot of the work you’re looking to do is easily doable in that engine.