[Indie][Steam] Those Who Rule - Messing with the FE Formula (Open Beta!)

Latest Release: 2021-12-03 | Content Rating: 15+ (mild animated blood effects, crude language)
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Hello everyone!

Those Who Rule (originally “Tides of War”) is a tactical RPG following the Fire Emblem formula, but with a lot of new twists to the actual gameplay systems. It’s a passion project of mine that started as a FE hacking concept back in 2015 when I was still in high school. It has now morphed into an indie project that I’ve built completely from scratch using the Unity3D engine in my free time.

Original post on Serenes for those curious.

Who Am I?

My name is Eldin. I started getting into Fire Emblem hacking when I was 15, and was TERRIBLE at it. I had little to no coding experience, but I loved Fire Emblem games and the thought of making my own was so exciting. So I tried my hand at splicing and the Event Assembler, made a huge mess, quit. Saw the Fire Shell project, thought it looked like a huge improvement, made a prologue (and another mess), and quit again. The community was extremely helpful through all of this, and I still had a ton of fun in splicing competitions, and playing every hack I could get my hands.

Around this time I was also getting interested in coding, and was learning Python/Java as I was going into university for Computer Science. Around this time I reached out (“pestered multiple times” would be more accurate) to BwdYeti to ask if I could help with this shiny new project called FEXNA. I was obviously turned down, and for the better because I probably would have made another mess! Feeling extremely discouraged I gave up on my dreams of hacking and game development, focused on my CS studies, and eventually graduated and got a normal 9-5 dev job.

I’ve been doing full time development for 3 years now, and I do enjoy it! However… the story I want to tell, and the game I’ve always dreamed of making has been stuck in the back of my mind ever since I quit all those years ago. So, very slowly, I’ve been learning game development in C# and Unity3D this past year in my free time. This project is the result of that. A weird mix of inexperience, failure, rejection, but also of growth and community.

Why Indie vs Hack?

When I decided to start exploring game development, Unity was extremely attractive to me due to my professional experience with C# (and similar languages like Java). I also had ideas of completely new gameplay patterns from the normal FE (stamina based turns vs squad based, hexes vs squares, making direction facing important) that I thought would add a lot of tactical depth, and would be easier to implement with a clean slate. Also, I didn’t realize how far the tools had come for FE hacking, and just how many projects are now complete (TLP and EB being the main ones I remember).

Why am I sharing this with you all?

Game design is hard. Though I’ve been doing a lot of learning the past year, I’m still likely to make bad choices, and when I do, I need that feedback from people who love tactical rpgs. What community loves them more, and has an unusual aptitude for making them, than the FE hacking community? What I’m really looking for is a place where I can discuss the various design decisions and systems in the game and incorporate your feedback into making the game better.

How will Those Who Rule be distributed?

Right now I have an open Beta on Steam! Free for anyone to try, you just need to hit the “Request Access” button and you’ll automatically be given access to the beta. It contains just the prologue chapter, which is ~20-30 minutes of content. It is only supporting Windows for now.

The end goal is to release a paid version on Steam (probably between $10-20). Now that I’ve finished a lot of the foundational features of the game (initiative queue, dialogue, save, combat systems, etc) I want to start focusing on developing more chapters (aiming for ~18 total). I also still have a couple of systems to implement, like classes/abilities/combat mechanics, that I think would greatly benefit from community feedback.


Screenshots
If there’s one thing I remember from my days hacking, it’s to post screenshots with your project!
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Steam Page
Twitter - for those interested in past updates
Feedback Survey

40 Likes

No comments? Dafuq? This looks great! I’m always down for new TB Strategy games!

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hexagons are bestagons

this looks promising, I really dig the artstyle! Just be careful about waving around the FE inspiration, Nintendo is Nintendo after all.

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Ay, this looks sweet!

Another Unity gamedev, I’m elated.

This looks cool, props on using hex grids instead of normal squares. The visual novel style cutscenes are dope too. The dialog box looks awesome, btw.

Following this – will be interesting to see how it progresses.

2 Likes

Hold up, the first comment is praise from Klok? Wrap up the thread. Appreciate it Klok, thank you!

They’re a pain to work with at times, but I think it adds more tactical depth.

Thanks for the kind words! Took me a while to find the right artist. Definitely hear what you’re saying in regards to Nintendo, but I figure if Dark Deity can exist, I’ve done enough to separate myself. :crossed_fingers:

Thanks copywright! Luckily Unity’s supported programming language intersects quite a bit with my day job.

A lot of the art I have to contract out, but I think he does a great job too! Appreciate it and would love to hear any feedback you have to make it better.

3 Likes

Pretty sweet. My day job is all Ruby and Javascript. My guess is that you most likely work with .NET?

In a similar position with art, all of it contracted out. Also struggled to find the right artists, I’ve lucked out in finding great long-term partners on that side.

I’ll definitely chime in if I have any constructive feedback.

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Right on, honestly Javascript has really grown on me since I’ve started working with React. But maybe that’s just lipstick on a pig. :joy:

Nothing .NET or even C# related. Just a lot of Java, which writes very similarly.

Getting a group together you can trust is essential, glad you found some like minded people!

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Anytime!

Is this engine you’ve made moddable? I’m always down for more options for making custom strategy games.

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This is LIT, amazing, looking forward to see how this develops.

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Looks pretty promising, ill give it a chance someday.

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This looks really cool. Quick question, does it have a separate screen for the attacking part or is that done on the main map?

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Haven’t looked into what it would take to make it moddable. I would love to see what people could make out of it, but I just wouldn’t know where to start.

Cheers! Appreciate the kind words

Thanks! Attacking is all done on the main map. :slight_smile:

Example - Content Warning: Blood

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Cool idea, but the map shown just makes me remember that Dark Deity exists

This doesn’t quite give me Dark Deity vibes, but I must ask. Does terrain and different movement types matter?

I have no idea why DD didn’t have it

Anyway, as long as the grid works (I’m looking at you Dark Deity) I’m onboard.

Tried the playtest, had a good time! I like the kick attack.
A few criticisms:

Cursor sound effects on the map only play out of one speaker.

There were three or four tutorial windows in sequence before I could try any of the things they were describing. It would be nice have these spaced out a bit, like right before each relevant action.

Continuing from that, the system of endurance determining turn order and frequency is cool, but I don’t think it needed to be explained this map. Just saying the turn order is in the bottom left would have been enough and cut down on the amount of explanation all at once.

Was it possible to check the stats or inventories of units? I didn’t figure that out.

I’d like to be able to scroll the map by clicking and dragging it.

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Yeah I tried to keep it pretty basic for the prologue chapter to not overwhelm the player with different terrain as they learn the basics of combat. The row of tiles on the top are actually forest tiles and it’s hinted at to use them in the tutorial. The tiles just disappear a bit currently behind them making it hard to see, but you can actually walk directly into the trees! (Character outline is still visible) The map for chapter 1 will have more varied terrain to use.

Terrain types will be very important! There’s a lot of things affecting movement like zone of control of units, terrain traversal costs, potentially status effects in the future. I’m thinking of making certain classes move over certain terrain more easily, but how I want to implement classes is still a big question mark.

Thank you for such detailed feedback! That cursor issue I’ve never heard of before, I’ll see if I can repo it.

The tutorial comment I completely agree. It felt bad putting so much text in front of the player instead of letting them play. I think I’m going to implement your suggestion of at least cutting down the endurance explanation since it isn’t really relevant to the first fight, there will only be a few turns per unit. Then just explain stats in chapter 1.

You can hover over a unit and press “E” and it will show the stats screen. I purposely didn’t mention it anywhere because the UI for it right now is extremely bad (placeholder). :joy: But it shows you all character stats, weapon levels, and inventory… in a very ugly way.

Click and drag may be a little more complicated to implement, but probably not too bad. I’m going to see if I can find a way to start recording feature requests in a way people can vote on them.

Thank you again, this is all very helpful.

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Am I able to have a large scale battle? I as a leader while guiding my army? (Not one by one but giving them objectives to carry out) if that’s there, I’m interested. I’m not about overwhelming odds against the player. I like large army vs another large army with two a bit overpowered commanders (one for each army of which I would be one of

I’m planning on the battles being smaller than normal FE if anything, but not by much. One of my main goals when I set out was to reduce the “one man army” builds, and a lot of my design decisions are going towards that. The goal is for certain units to be overpowered in certain situations and for the player to recognize and utilize that.

As for ordering your army, it will be one by one. I don’t have any plans currently to implement something like Path of Radiance orders. :confused:

Bummer

:joy: Javascript is not too bad since ES6. I work with a ton of React – it is pretty nice but I do hate it sometimes.

Yeah, Java and C# are like twins lol.

About modding – this article helps. Basically, it means lots of JSON serialization.

Not to mention, tools for building levels and such. Not sure what you’re using to build yours, but I guess supporting Tiled imports would be a cool way to start.

Mod support is a big task, no doubt. As if making the game itself isn’t hard enough lol

But, if you pull it off well – the community around the game will flourish for it. I still want to deliver on mod support but the game itself has to come first.

1 Like