Month: August 2012

FREEDOM PLANET on IndieGameMag.com!

FREEDOM PLANET on IndieGameMag.com!

Freedom Planet is no longer a fangame, but an indie title that makes no attempt at hiding its roots.

I feel grateful and honored that Freedom Planet has gained so much exposure in the indie gaming community since the demo release! We’ve been mentioned by the likes of IndieGames.com, Destructoid, EuroGamer, and The Indie Game Magazine. I was also asked to do an interview with Alpha and Omega Radio a couple weeks back, which is now available on their website for your listening pleasure. And that’s not counting the dozens upon dozens of gameplay videos that have been uploaded to YouTube by our new fans. Some of them have even helped me track down bugs and make tweaks to the gameplay to make it more balanced and accessible, which I am definitely thankful for.

So, what now? I may take a break from actual programming for a bit so that I can put some serious work into the first draft of the script for Story Mode. I have an awesome team of voice actors who are itching to do some work, so I definitely want to get the script ready for them as soon as possible so they have something to do.

I’m also thinking that the story is where Lilac’s originality will shine through the most. It makes sense that she’s almost universally been associated with Sonic so far, because there’s literally nothing else to go by except her appearance and gameplay style. Which, of course, brings me to the main purpose of this article: Freedom Planet’s similarities to Sonic the Hedgehog, especially with regards to our main character.

Sonic zoomed into our lives in the 90’s and kicked off an entire era of mascot-based platformers. The legacy of the Blue Blur is firmly ingrained into the history of gaming, much like other gaming icons such as Mario and Pac-Man. Of course, many companies wanted to capitalize on the success of Sonic, and so an entire line of “Sonic clones” came into existence: Bubsy, Aero the Acrobat, Socket: Time Dominator, Jazz Jackrabbit, and more sought to capture the edgy nature of Sega’s mascot – some to pay homage, others for quick cash. So, what’s the deal with Lilac?

Freedom Planet originally began as a direct homage to Sonic. If you’ve ever seen our beta video of Dragon Valley, you will have noticed that there were rings in there at one point and Robotnik was still slated to be the main villain. As work on the game continued, I felt more and more like it was becoming a waste of time because I was ultimately creaing something in the shadow of an established franchise and that it would never truly be my own work. So, I set out to try and design a main character that would pay homage to my main source of inspiration while still being unique enough to stand out on her own.

My personal attempts at designing a protagonist failed. After dozens of failed attempts, I realized I needed help, and after a long time of searching, I discovered a Chinese artist named Ziyo Ling on DeviantART who created just the kind of heroine I was looking for: Sash Lilac. The design of this character captivated me from the beginning, as well as the designs of her two companions, Carol and Milla. I felt that the three of them combined would present me with a lot of opportunities for interesting character dynamics. So, I asked Ziyo for permission to use them in the project. She was very excited at the idea of her characters appearing in a game, so she agreed to let me use them. She continues to support our efforts in spite of her recent absence from the Internet, and I have assured her that I will continue to credit her as a lead character designer.

So with not one, but three character designs that I was happy with, I felt like I was going in the right direction, and my watchers continued to encourage me to separate the game even further from Sonic. Rings were replaced with a health system involving crystal flower petals. The mad scientist Robotnik fell to the wayside in favor of an alien warlord, Dr. Brevon. Abilities were changed and tweaks were made to the gameplay to give the game its current personality and style.

Freedom Planet is no longer a fangame, but an indie title that makes no attempt at hiding its roots.

Demo Success, and Why Haters Aren’t Always Bad

Since the release of Freedom Planet’s demo, I’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback. There have been a few nitpicks here or there, but generally the praise that’s been given has been almost surreal. I’m working on some gameplay tweaks and bug fixes as we speak, and I’m hoping to have a new version up within a few days.

That being said, I awoke this morning to find that there are now people who adamantly dislike the game… and for the strangest reason, that feels good. It’s like… when a game is just starting out or remains obscure, it’s easy for all of its players to love it at once (or hate it). But when it becomes popular and gains a larger number of followers, there’s more room for differing opinions, and eventually you end up with a balance between people who love everything about it, people who hate it with a passion, and folks who are somewhere in between. Nobody really likes trolls or haters, but their presence can be a good indication of a growing audience.

In any case, my thanks goes out to everyone who spread the word about the demo and played it. You guys rock!

Freedom Planet Demo Released!

Howdy folks! The first public demo of our game, Freedom Planet, is now available on our official website:

http://http://www.freedomplanetgame.com/

The demo lets you play through the first stage, Dragon Valley, as Lilac. There are also a couple of unlockable bonus features that you may know about already.

The journey has just begun for us, so what you see in this demo is by no means what it will look or play like in the final version of the game. Do we have something special on our hands? You decide!

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