The Pilgrimage

What is The Pilgrimage?

Filcius

It will be a pleasure to explain The Pilgrimage to you!

But first, let me remove content that may not interest you.

Have you played Chrono Trigger?

Have you played The Pilgrimage's demo?

What is The Pilgrimage?

The Pilgrimage is a jRPG that will include a new battle system inspired by ATBActive Time Battle, progress bars for RPGs that feels more engaging. I will focus on delivering a game that has diverse battle design.

Sorry, I know I have insulted some Chrono Trigger's fans by using this game name to get your attention. I always make sure that I only write that I was inspired by its battle's mechanics.

This 1 minute trailer summarize the game's features.

Tell me more about the innovative battle system.

"Innovative battle system"? I just want to know how the battles will work!

I remember playing a game with an ATB systemActive Time Battle, a fancy name for progress bar like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger where most fights could be won by leaving your thumb on the A or X button. That is boring!

In The Pilgrimage, I introduce new mechanics that will break this monotony and, in some fights, bring a puzzle element.

I think the battle system is more engaging and is a good mix between a plan-ahead style and a more dynamic reaction style.

Aim your AOE<sub>Area of effect</sub>
Aim your AOEArea of effect
[1/6] You have to aim accurately. Positionning your AOEArea of effect will be required to optimize your damage.
Avoid friends in line of sight
Avoid friends in line of sight
[2/6] You must move. Wether it is to avoid friends in your line of sight, or stay close to the enemies to trigger you close-ranged attacks: you must keep your attention to the battle in progress.
Close-range AOE: run away from your friend!
Close-range AOE: run away from your friend!
Close-range healing AOE: stay close to your friend and stay away from foes!
Close-range healing AOE: stay close to your friend and stay away from foes!
[3/6] All skills will have friendly-fire on, so positionning will be important to avoid friends and avoiding healing enemies.
Move to dodge
Move to dodge
[4/6] You can see in advance where the enemy will attack, so you can plan your moves.
Pause when you need to think
Pause when you need to think
[5/6] You can pause. This make the battles less dependent on your reflexes, but more on your tactical skills.
[6/6] Put all this together, and you get something like this:
Boss fight in action
Boss fight in action
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I know the battles' basic, what else did you have in mind for me, in the full game?

Here are some ideas I have for future battle design.

Avoid the acid puddle
Avoid the acid puddle

[1/6] Some skills may leave some deadly traces on the terrain.

Bodyguard the VIP
Bodyguard the VIP

[2/6] While a VIP has to move from point A to point B, you have to take the hit to avoid damage to be taken by the VIP.

Some ennemies must not be killed
Some ennemies must not be killed

[3/6] Some enemies must not be hit, or else they will retaliate with a big attacks.

Make ennemies run toward each other
Make ennemies run toward each other

[4/6] Hit the bad guy and he runs at you. Make him run into another bad guy, and they hit each other in a big explosion!

The forest on fire
The forest on fire

[5/6] While fighting enemies, you must constantly run to avoid the wall of fire deadly touch. There may some mandatory enemies to kill along the way, like a switch to open up a gate ahead.

Your idea!
Your idea!

[6/6] There is still place for your idea, your input!

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I have other questions.

Factory boss fight layout
Factory boss fight layout

Take the boss fight in the prototype for example. You have to notice that his shield increase when a sidekick dies. Instead of focusing your attacks on the small machines to save Mary first, you have to keep running between the sidekicks and the boss to damage it as much as possible while his shield is still low.

Cyclone circle AOE centered on a enemy
Cyclone circle AOE centered on a enemy

I was inspired by Chrono Trigger's battle mechanic. This game was cool, because some skills had AOEarea of effect. But I found it frustrating that the target of a skill had to be an enemy. For example, the Cyclone attack in the following picture could attack all three enemies at once.

Yes. It was not included in my prototype, but this was highly requested by the gamers, so I will add it in the game. Some fights will be mandatory, but some may be skipped if you avoid the enemy line of sight. Battles will not happen on a separate screen and there will be no random encounters!

Don't worry, that will change. Making the hit box and the collision box different was a mistake I will fix in the full game. It will be the shadow zone we see under him, so we can better predict how chartacters are hit. It makes more sense too: how you can be hit is represented by the floor surface you cover.

Because I did the prototype in a home-made game engine, it had not all the features you can find in Unity, so I took some shortcut like this one. That is one of the reason why I will use Unity for the full game.

The prototype is the game first dungeon, a tutorial. It is meant to be easy. The second dungeon should include two or three characters and difficulty will be increased.

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Tell me more about non-battle features.

Automatic, skippable cutscenes. Run away if you are not interested.
Automatic, skippable cutscenes. Run away if you are not interested.
[1/4] Some flavor texts or story elements may be triggered when you walk close to a person. It feels like overhearing a conversation without necessarily starting a conversation
Trigger some flavor texts manually
Trigger some flavor texts manually
[2/4] Some less important flavor texts still need you to click on NPCs.
Realistic overlapping, unlike older RPGs!
Realistic overlapping, unlike older RPGs!
[3/4] Characters can be on any pixel, no square movements like in old-school 2D games.
Expressive characters in Chrono Trigger
Expressive characters in Chrono Trigger
Expressive characters
Expressive characters
[4/4] Characters have emotions and are not afraid to show them.
Expressive characters
Expressive characters
[4/4] Characters have emotions and are not afraid to show them.
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Tell me more about the art.

Some characters
Some characters
[1/7 ] Size of the characters is proportional, not squared like in some older RPGs. Eyes are bigger to allow us to express emotions.
Expressive characters in Chrono Trigger
Expressive characters in Chrono Trigger
Expressive characters
Expressive characters
[2/7] Characters have emotions and are not afraid to show them.
Expressive characters
Expressive characters
[2/7] Characters have emotions and are not afraid to show them.
The chimney squeezes a bit
The chimney squeezes a bit
[3/7 ] We added a little bit of cartoonish effect. Look at how the chimney squeeze.
Public place
Public place
[4/7 ] A public place in front of the Church.
Rain effect
Rain effect
[5/7 ] Overlay parallax scroling: simple, but efficient!
A reference to an internet meme
A reference to an internet meme
The original Cats
The original Cats
[6/7 ] Include an internet meme reference :) (the reference is "All Your Base Are Belong To Us")
Go to bed
Go to bed
[7/7 ] Going to bed. A classic in jRPG!
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Tell me more about the game's story.

The story starts in a world where religion is at the heart of everyone's life, but having the religion central to the society's functioning will be challenged!

The story is about religions and their consequences (good or bad). It helped humanity organize itself and helped some people confront sad moments in their life, but it also came with power abuse and war.

The story is not fully written, so you have a say in how the story will unfold. Everything written here is subject to change until I code it! I want the story to include these themes: freedom of religion, tolerance, non-discrimination and peace.

The story and the world will be inspired by a general knowledge of history, but is definitely a work of fiction.

I just want the big lines.

Attack against the Church. I may change this for an attack by Muslims, to introduce the core theme right away.
Attack against the Church. I may change this for an attack by Muslims, to introduce the core theme right away.

Thomas lives in a place where religion governs the world, so he is a strong believer himself. His wife dies, religion wars and some bad things done in the name of religion will progressively brings him, and his acolytes (a nun and muslim at least), to question their faith.

Muslims will be seen as the bad guys first, but while travelling the world, he will realize that Christians are not necessary the good guys too! We are all humans.

I don't believe in any religion, so the story will be tainted by my belief, but I don’t want to make propaganda for one philosophy or another. I want the story to include these themes: freedom of religion, tolerance, non-discrimination and peace.

It is your story, but my plan for now is that a religious revolt will follow in the next episodes and you will be in the heart of it!

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I want more than the big lines.

Mary dies in a terrible accident. Damn you God!
Mary dies in a terrible accident. Damn you God!

Thomas' wife died in a tragic accident. Visited by an angel in his dream, he was asked to retrieve holy artefacts from across the world to resurrect his wife.

Thomas believes in a God, just like everyone in his town, but after his recent loss and other incidents, he will start to doubt his faith.

Meet Anet the nun
Meet Anet the nun

Thomas' first teammate is Anet, a Christian nun. When she was a child, she was adopted by Jeff, the city's priest, for whom she has a great appreciation of. All her life has been centered around religion. Travelling with Thomas, she will also start to doubt her faith, but it will be a major identity crisis that will bring her close to insanity.

The second planned teammate will be Anaya (name in progress), a female gitan, believer of another religion (muslim, hindu, or a mix of both). There will be some kind of rivality between Anaya and Anet because they do not have the same faith. Anaya will be more extrovert than Anet. Anaya is a traveling circus performer, where she works with her family. Her father want to force her into marriage, but being an independent rebel, Anaya does not want to, and will leave the circus on her own. The circus will be burned by a Christian army in a quest to purge the world from other religions. That is where we introduce religion war and discrimination in the game story. Anaya's family is not dead, so they may reappear later in the story, like when we travel back to Anaya's homeland to search the holy artefact of that religion.

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I want to know what you planned next, I don't mind the spoilers!

I must warn you, this is just the planned outline. It will be rewritten with the community before coding the full game.

Ok, here they are:

Thomas will have to infiltrate the muslim's country. He will realize there that they are as kind as the Christians. Each time Thomas delivers a holy artifact to God, we will be more suspicious about God's intention. Mid-game, God will be the mid-game boss.

With God's gone, religion will have less control's over society and chaos will start to take place. We will see that religions helped organizing society. Thomas will have difficulty to accept that God does not exists, becoming insane. The party will collapse.

One year later, the party decides to regroup and to help society organizing itself (fighting the bad guys, educating people, giving hope, etc.) But Thomas is still missing. However, we heard of a pilgrim (he looks exactly like the Pilgrim's statue) that is travelling the world sermoning people: a new religion is born. The party will chase the Pilgrim.

The Pilgrim's goal is to gather enough power to replace God. He thinks that religion is a necessity to bring order to the world. It may not be a shocking revelation by now, but the Pilgrim is in fact Thomas. He will be the final boss of the game.

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I still have concerns.

I wanted to destabilize the gamer right from the start. Focusing the script so much on religion is only the world initial state. I think religious wars and revolt will shape the world differently as the story unfolds.

Reality is not fun too, so I like to sprinkle some funny elements here and there. Here are some examples from the prototype:

Defusing a bomb? All mechanics can do that!
Defusing a bomb? All mechanics can do that!
[1/3 ]
Even Mary's dead is a bit funny
Even Mary's dead is a bit funny
[2/3]
A reference to an internet meme
A reference to an internet meme
The original Cats
The original Cats
[3/3 ] Include an internet meme reference :) (the reference is "All Your Base Are Belong To Us")

I am sorry for that, but I am not a fluent English speaker. For the full game, the story will be reviewed by the community, so all writing issues will be corrected.

Sorry for that, I had so little time to make the prototoype, so I focused more on having a functional battle system. If you support my Kickstarter campaign, I will be able to work full time on the game and focus my time on your priorities. If some community's members want to, I may even include their NPCs in the game to add more richness to the world!

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How can I give my input?

Some collaboration tools we may use
Some collaboration tools we may use

The Pilgrimage is your game. Because you are paying for it, you can do what you want with it.

You will be able to review, comment and give your ideas before I code the game.

Coding a game is time expensive, so I better do it right the first time. It is more efficient to know about your expectations right from the start.

I think that having your opinion at this stage is important to make a game that will meet your expectations. If I wait until beta, the time invested to make the game would be too high and it will be too expensive to start over.

What does a Community backer can do?

A Community backer will receive the following benefits:

  • Review the game mechanics and design
  • Try the game in a development build
  • Read the story script and comment on it (sneak peek what I planned for after the prototype here)
  • Sneak peek at the graphics
  • Influence the music choice
  • Influence the development priorities
  • Answer to polls I will set to get the community’s opinion
  • Join private chatrooms with me and the community
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I have a cool idea I would like to share.

Yes, I will love to hear it. The game is still a draft, there is a lot of place for your opinion.

During the development of the game, I will setup a place to brainstorm ideas. Ideas will be discussed and voted by the Community, so the best ideas will emerge.

We will organize ourselves around different development aspect (story, battle design, graphics) so you can join only the group that interests you.

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I don't have much time for this.

I will announce when each episode is ready, so you can play it right away.

Even if you don't have much time, you are still a part of the community. Important decision will be sent in a quick survey to all community's member like you. Like how the story will unfold after the episode you just played.

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Hey! To give my opinion I have to pay more than the basic game!

You are right, you should not have to pay a lot of money to give your opinion.

That is why I don't ask $250 like Undertale to make your NPC or $150 like Glitched to design an enemy.

Community's privilege, which also include access to episodes as soon as they are completed, is only around $20.

Ok, I don't guarantee to have your ideas in the game: you'll have to convince the Community. That also means that someone else's bad ideas won't be in your game: it's a two-way deal. Only the best ideas will be in your game.

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Who the **** are you?

Filcius

My name is Philippe Ouellet, alias Filcius. I am a video game player, a board game enthusiast (see my collection), an experienced software engineer, and the dad of 2 children.

My dream is to quit my job to work on a personal game idea I have been thinking about for the last 17 years. I am ready to accept the risk and salary drop of being self-employed so I can accomplish this dream.

I am currently a happy technical lead for 8D technologies, where I have worked since 2008. I worked there as a Java backend developer for 5 years. In 2013, I obtained my current job position as a technical leader for the membership frontend website in PHP. Even though I had no experience with this technology, I proved that I can easily learn and master new technologies.

About Christa

Christa

Christa is the lead artist for this game.

Christa is a graduate of Woodbury University in Burbank, California, with a degree in Game Art & Design. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Christa came to LA to pursue her love of drawing and video games. During her time at school, she has consistently been on the Dean's List and won the Woodbury University Award of Excellence, which is given to the top two Game Art & Design student of each class. Christa enjoys drawing things that are cute, dark, humorous, or a mix of the three. Also corgis, or probably just dogs in general.

Her website.

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No, your project sucks!
Filcius

I really want to make a game for you, what did you not like?

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Filcius

Last question! What did you like in this project?

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Filcius

Thank you for your answers, they have been submitted and will help make a better game.

Now, if you would like to receive news in the future about the next version of the game. It may take a while, so an email is a good way to keep you informed.

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Filcius

Thank you for you input, I will try to make a better game next time.