Monday, August 3, 2015

Introducing "Alkahest"!

Hi all!

I've been working on this game for quite some time now, so far the only eyes on it have been friends and family, so I'd like to introduce to you all officially, "Alkahest".

My game is slated for release on PC and Mac over the next few months. I can't promise any particular release date since I am at work on Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter pages. Stay tuned for links to those later on.

But I suppose if you've made it this far, you want to see what I'm typing about! Let's start with the titles:

"Alkahest" is a casual role-playing game, drawing influences from many genres, from rogue-likes and tactical RPGs to adventure and puzzle games.

I have spent several months creating the engine in Game Maker: Studio, mastering the scripting language I've been using for fun since I was about 13 years old, when I would use version 6 or 7 to make rudimentary Mario and Zelda clones for my own edification.

So let's talk about gameplay!

I'll focus on exploration and story in a later blogpost, for now, let's look at the basic principles of Alkahest.

Collect ingredients for potions  -> Learn Recipes for potions -> Consume ingredients to use said potions.

Fairly simple, right?

Check out this screenshot of an Alchemist who's already learned every recipe.

See also the experimentation bar in the top left, where you can test new ingredients in different combinations to see if you can learn anything new:

So fine. Some simple crafting. Learning potion recipes. Nothing groundbreaking there.

The most fun aspect of Alkahest, in my opinion, is environmental manipulation.

Manipulating your environment is key.

Take this bush, for example.

Let's say the Alchemist throws a Fire Bomb at said bush. (Note required ingredients written under the potion's name when a potion is equipped on the hotbar)

Hooray! It turned to ashes. Now what sorts of fun things can we do with ashes...?

Let's pick up some ingredients... There's some Mandrake over there...

I know I can use Mandrake on it's own to learn the recipe for an Ether Potion. The stuff of life!

Viola! By bringing the burning ashes of the bush to life with Ether, we've created a dancing flame! These tongues of flame seem to be only partially alive. Let's bring them all the way to life with another Ether Potion!

Now we have created a Fire Golem! Should our alchemist ever need to defend himself, a Fire Golem would surely come in handy.

The alchemist can also do neat things with Stone...

And of course, water...

So far there are thirty usable potions. When several potions are used in conjunction on environmental objects, you can create complex effects.

 Manipulating your environment with alchemy is the method by which the alchemist is able to solve puzzles, take on large groups of dangerous enemies all by his lonesome, and help out characters he meets along his journey.

I'm going for something simple here. I call it an RPG, but this is no Skyrim. Alkahest is a fairly simple game, the foundation of which is casual exploration and experimentation. Light on the act of crafting, and heavier on the effects of what you've crafted.

So how far along is this project?

So far the engine is in place, but the world size is still fairly small. I'd like to be able to create more and more content, but until my planned Kickstarter campaign, I can't afford to work on "Alkahest" full-time.

I am a one-man team, and a game like "Alkahest" is no small task.

My passion for game design comes from RPG's and Adventure games. And any designer will tell you, those are some of the toughest for a first-time game developer to see through.

More about the one man-team:

In addition to programming the game, I have created a solid base of hand-drawn graphical assets, with original character concept art by Breno Girafa (find his awesome work at

Since Breno finished his original character designs, the concepts behind the gameplay and art-style of "Alkahest" have evolved.  I have since re-traced, re-animated, and altered Breno's characters to fit the slightly simpler style of my environmental art.

For one example of how I used his work, the main character, the Alchemist, as seen in the screenshot above, was originally a pedestrian NPC:

( Breno's original work )

       ( in-game sprite )

As you can see, I've opted for heavier black lines and higher-contrast color schemes, as well as a general simplification of certain aspects of the character design to fit my simple tile-based world.

I have also created the music and sound effects for "Alkahest". Dependent on the success of the aforementioned future Kickstarter, I hope that I will be able to hire out the music production. For that, I have been using a combination of Garageband, a cheap microphone, and my guitar. More on that in the future as well.

OKAY! This is too long.

Expect regular updates to this blog, "Alkahest" followers. Thanks for reading!

- Stephen

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