Hymn of Heroes

Hymn of Heroes was an idea crafted in cooperation between Psychosoft and Nvangelists Studios. Work began in 2004 when I was approached by Xanathis with the idea of writing a story for his next Role-Playing Game. I thought it was a wonderful idea and immediately set off to write a new story based on our Nvangelist characters.

I wrote the rough outline during the summer in my spare time as a waterman. For reasons now forgotten, work on the project ceased some time after an early proof-of-concept compile using Enterbrain's RPGMaker 2003. While the project remained on hiatus I continued to play with the story elements in my head, but didn't care to write them to paper at the time.

The project was revived in late July of 2006 using Enterbrain's newer RPGMaker XP. Xanathis created the first town and outlying area over a few days. In an attempt to be more than simply a writer and adviser, I requested a copy of the program so that I could help in coding and fine tuning. I had been weary of programming personally due to my lack of experience and poor math skills, however, I had gained valuable programming experience in Game Maker a year before.

I began adjusting and expanding snippets of the game until the portion Xan originally coded was completely replaced. Because of code now being written by two people, Xanathis decided to leave me to my devices and fill the advisory role that I had formerly taken. The secondary project became "Nvangelists: A Hero Lost".

The majority of my time on the project was focused on subtle animations and scripting. While we had access to a professional artist, I was reluctant to ask him to dedicate time to a project that may never get off the ground, so I concentrated on doing as much of the scripted sequences in sprite form as possible.

I began sprite work on stock character art provided by the game engine and swapping body parts to suit my tastes. From there I began customizing the hair and clothing. As I continued with the game I made custom animations for the scripted sequences to give the characters more feeling. The effect is somewhat impressive since the game has a 16-bit appearance, but without the size constraints of cartridge games of the era.

The enemies were greater challenge for me since I lacked a template to start on. Instead, I use a completely different art style and used pictures of real animals as placeholders.

My primary direction of the game, and even the focus of the story itself, was to go against accepted RPG clichés. While some were unavoidable for the game to be considered a part of the genre, I was eager to do something different because of my overall dislike of RPGs in general. One of the illogical clichés that bothered me was the chance of animals dropping gold or weapons. Instead, I suggested a more realistic approach where only humans would drop gold or items and animals drop skins or other usable parts which could then be either combined or sold for gold.

Another unrealistic trait of the genre was the scattered treasure boxes. I replaced the idea with natural objects that could be used by the characters. A great deal of emphasis was placed on survivalism instead of convenience. Much of this was borrowed ideas taken from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Likewise, the typical RPG status effects of "Stone, Mute, Confuse," ect. was replaced with more realistic conditions such as "Fracture" and "Burn". The solution to most of these problems were available in the environment around the player.

The other unusual aspect of the game was its desensitized view of life. In the beginning life is a very sacred thing to our initial characters, but as they are exposed to their new world they encounter people who have a complete disregard of human life. Survival, again, becomes priority to our "heroes", not against the environment but other humans. It is not until halfway through the story do they decide to focus on a more noble task: The survival of life in general.

As with any society, religion is a central part of everyday life. Religion and morals viewed distinctly separate in the story. While all of the characters have different beliefs, they share roughly the same moral guidelines. Organized religion is viewed as a means of population control, serving as adviser, parent, and military to the people. This subject had much more emphasis in early drafts of the story, but was toned down to streamline the flow.

The story itself deals with a loose-knit group of young people who have been repeatedly rejected by the world they were born in. Adam, the son of the chieftain of a small village, embarks on a trial of manhood with his older friend Greg into a strange, new world when a previously unknown people appear from within a nearby cave. The two travel through the cave and exit from the other side of the mountains. They meet with other people who with a roughly similar tongue, but social discrepancies cause unnecessary conflict.

As they continue into the world, they put together a sad tale of corruption and lack of welfare of this society. They witness all range of emotion, from love to murder, many of which were unthinkable in their utopian village many miles behind them. When they enter a destroyed village and learn of the events from a single, distraught boy burying his people, Adam and Greg learn about the motives of members in the church which governs the majority of the world.

Nvangelists: Hymn of Heroes features seven playable characters with branching classes, complete with an unusual, complex story focusing on social commentary. Nv:HoH is a free game built onto Enterbrain's RPGMaker XP game creation program for Windows. All characters and events are fictitious and any likeness to real people is coincidental. Characters and story are copyright 2006-2008 Nvangelists Studios. All Rights Reserved.

  Copyright 2010 The Worm Hole. All Rights Reserved.