Briley Witch 2 RPG Diary – 08/11/2021

So I finally completed and released Briley Witch Chronicles, the game! You can get it here.
The game has been well received so far, exceeding my expectations and hopes, so it only feels right to go ahead with my plans and make the sequel.

Since the 1st game followed the plot of my first four Briley Witch novels, it won’t come as a surprise when I state that the next game will also follow my novels, this time covering books 5-7. The books are: The Fallen Witch, Grey Waters, and Grimoire Citadel. This works out really well as those 3 books comprise a story arch. That still leaves 3 more novels, so I’m planning a Briley 3.

A sequel shouldn’t take as long to create as the 1st game; that one took roughly 2 and a half years, but that time did include build all the tools I needed, including coding a build system with a built-in 6502 macro assembler, character/map editor, sprite editor, bitmap editor, and a music/SFX editor. At the start I had planned the game to work from disk, but upon discovering large 512K cartridges existed and could work on practically any C64, it made sense to drop disk and opt for cart only.

So how to start coding the sequel? Well, by taking the first game and stripping out most of the data, specifically all the quests, and quite a few locations as well. I’m keeping the village of Maepole as that’s the central location in all the novels, the place Briley calls home.

Now, I could just reuse a lot of graphics as is, but my plan is to go over everything and see what can be improved. For one thing, the village itself will get a bit of a graphics makeover, as I can use extra character sets for different parts of the village, giving each area its own look. The first game was designed to fit on a 512K cartridge, but upon discovering the EasyFlash format, I switched over to that as that allows cartridges of up to 1Mb in size! For Briley, I reserved 256K for the save game area (I have my reasons, trust me), giving me an extra 256K over any other cartridge format (including gmod2). The larger EasyFlash cartridge also meant I didn’t need to compromise the game, which I had done for the 512K cartridge, so I created more sprites, and my friend Paolo added even more glorious portraits.

Briley 2 is being designed with a 768K EasyFlash cartridge image in mind, so I can start by boosting the village graphics. Here’s a quick example, old vs WIP new:

The idea is the village will still use the same layout, so players of the first game will feel right at home with the sequel.

Other changes to the game include a larger world map. As the sequel covers more area, there will be 3 world maps, the original, one covering the north, and one for the south. I won’t say what might lie there because… Spoilers!

I’m also listening to people’s comments from the first game, so expect some tweaks here and there to the menus etc, as well as more sub-games. Anything else, you can add to the comments below; I’ll consider all ideas, but can’t promise I’ll implement them all!

But this should be fun and exciting to work on! I’ve worked out the rough story flow for the whole game, and like the first one it will be story-driven, with lots of twists and turns, and with Briley landing in dire trouble… There will also be party switching at key moments, as there will be several story threads all running at the same time.

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