Hometown Hero

• Bill Hunt

I’ve always loved those classic 8-bit and 16-bit RPGs. I grew up on the old Square/Enix games, and I’ve been replaying for 20 years. I revisit all of those key moments over and over and still have the feeling of wonder that such simple games were able to evoke. I never found that joy in the storytelling once everything became polygon-driven 3D rendered blockiness. But those older games for me are filled to the brim with fond memories.

I’m also fascinated by the concept of treating a location as if it was a character. It’s something I was fascinated by in Robert Jordan’s writing, talking about the red-tiled roof of the Winespring Inn, showing the prosperity of that business against the thatched roofs of the rest of the village, and how these roofs. It’s something you feel in Joss Whedon’s Serenity, especially when the disaster in Out of Gas renders the ship – the crew’s source of life and livelihood – dead in space.  This is a feeling that these old games used effectively occasionally: the ruin of Myst, Kefka destroying the world, the destruction of the Mana tree  – these moments are palpable.

I want to create a game where your investment in the game has an impact on the people and towns you encounter, in ways that you can see and feel and that have a real impact on the game. I also want to create a game with an immense sense of scale – I was always baffled how the entire world of Final Fantasy IV had only 12 towns. Jordan does a fine job of showing every road in the kingdom being littered with small towns of small adventures. Larger modern games such as Skyrim are filled settlements as well.

Most importantly, I want to tell stories.  I want to tinker with players’ expectations, and surprise and delight them. I want to challenge them and give them the opportunity to make a world and stories of their own.

In this blog, I’ll be exploring these ideas, and working on the mechanics of my first real game, under the working title of Hometown Hero. (I expect this to change as the story develops.)  I’m using RPG Maker MV as my engine of choice, as it makes it easy to rapidly develop, and exports to Javascript & HTML which I’m extremely familiar with.  Much of the work I’ve done so far is in developing plugins to create the features I want, and I’ll document those efforts here as well.

I’ve also created a repository on GitHub for the plugins I’m creating.