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Month: May 2021

Final Starters – Shame and Calm!

Hello world! It’s ya girl, Sera, back at it again in the devblog! …anyways.

Today’s post is about the final 2 starters that I haven’t talked about yet: shame and calm! Now! I didn’t leave these ones till the end for any reason in particular, so don’t get your hopes up too high πŸ˜… But I do think these designs came out pretty rad, and I hope everyone else does too!

Shame Starter 😷

Now this one was, surprisingly, a big favorite among people who playtested our Phantom starter quiz a while back! I didn’t expect Shame to be such a hit (my favorite is still Anger!), but a lot of people really like them for some reason!

Their design process was rather short, with the final design being pretty much the same as one in the first round of rough sketches!

The idea of designing something around the concept of shame is a weird one, and a lot of my ideas revolved around the actual creature hiding either in or behind something. The one we ended up going with is probably the least extreme use of that idea, just sorta chilling underneath a lilypad. The Shame starter is extremely loosely based on a Japanese yokai, the kappa! Very loosely. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is a tendency to hide underwater and some kind of plant-y camouflage on their heads! I’ll probably make another Phantom more based on kappas so I can talk about them some other time πŸ™‚

The Shame starter ended up much more shrew-like than anything, and I think people ended up liking them because they’re just a bit sassier than a lot of the other starters!

Calm Starter 😌

The Calm starter! They had to go through a lot of adjustment to get some proportions exactly how we wanted, but ended but fairly close to one of the first designs (that seems to be a trend πŸ€”).

The first idea I went to when thinking about “Calm” as a principle emotion for a character to have was to make them sleepy! But other than that… I didn’t have a lot of ideas for shapes, or much inspiration for somewhere to start! One of the Phantoms in the first round (number 2) is based on Sandman, and I still really like the design! But it felt a little too on the nose looking like a ghost for a starter.

So! The idea we ended up going with is based on fae in general, but a bit more on the ones in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, solely based on the idea of royalty and a fae court. A lot of people seemed to think this Phantom was kinda froggish, but my intention was to make them more bug-like… πŸ˜“ I see where the confusion comes from, though.

So! Flowers, royalty, bugginess, butterflies, that’s a lot of ideas to pack into one design! I think we did a decent job, but they do end up being the most complicated-looking Phantom! I think that’s ok πŸ™‚ One of the notes we got from playtesters was that this Phantom gave them a smug vibe, which was unintentional, but I like it 😈 I’m always extremely down to make Phantoms that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows!

You may have also noticed that some of the my reference sheets include a sketch labeled either “peeled” or “naked”… That’s not just me being weird! It’s so Claire has a better reference when she starts modeling the Phantom πŸ˜…


Soo, yeah! That wraps up all of the starter Phantoms! I still have plenty more to talk about, though! I’ve done more NPCs, environments, and Phantoms so I still have loads to rant about! Thanks for sticking with me and reading my blog posts! I really do appreciate it, and I enjoy writing these! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to either comment or join our Discord!

Oh! And you probably already know this if you’ve been reading Claire and CJ’s own posts, but we’ve been working on some business stuff, and I did a few cleaned up little drawings of our starters for that, so I’ll leave off with those! πŸ‘‹


Hello again! It’s CJ. This week I wanted to talk a bit more about ANOTHER part of our battle system, Relics! I know my last few posts have been about battle stuff, but honestly that’s the majority of what I’ve been working on recently (and probably will be for a good bit longer). Hopefully this just means that our battle system is gonna have lots of fun parts at play to keep it interesting!

So, what are Relics? Well, in a story sense, we’re not exactly sure yet – the idea is that they were items left behind by the living that somehow made it into Akeron. All we know is that they can be pretty useful, and pretty powerful!

But in a gameplay sense, they’re one of the major ways that players will be able to customize both their Keeper and their Phantoms! Each Relic has a different effect, and that effect can be applied by equipping it to either yourself or your Phantoms. If you’re familiar with the held items in PokΓ©mon or badges in Paper Mario, it’s a similar idea – each Relic gives a unique benefit.

So how do they work?

Each Relic will have both an effect when equipped, and an equip cost. These equip costs will range from very expensive for powerful Relics, to cheap or free for ones with minor effects. Both the Player and their Phantoms also have a set amount of ‘Relic Points’ which can increase as they level up. The amount of Relic Points that the Player or Phantoms have is the limit of Relic equip points they can take. Basically, if the Player has 5 Relic Points, they can either equip 1 Relic with an equip cost of 5, or 2 Relics with an equip cost of 2 and 3, or even 5 Relics each with an equip cost of 1!

Also, equipping Relics doesn’t use them up – you are free to unequip them at any time, and rearrange them as needed! (Except during battles.) Sorry if the explanation was a bit complicated, but for anyone familiar with the Badge system in Paper Mario, it’s almost exactly like that, with the addition equipping them to your phantoms.

In terms of what the Relics actually do when equipped, there’s going to be lots of options! We still need to play around with the different effects, but to list a few different types of relics we have planned:

  • Stat buffs! (Increase things like max HP, attack, defense, etc.)
  • New moves! (Unlock new abilities that can be used in battles)
  • Status Effects, both good for you and bad for your enemies! (Things like a slow HP heal every turn, or starting with your opponents being de-buffed!)
  • And more! A good bunch of Relics we have planned don’t fit in a particular category, as they do very unique things – like improve your chance to catch a phantom, or increase the rewards from fighting.
A look back at the first Paper Mario’s Badge menu. Look at all those pixels!

So yeah! By adding Relics into the mix, this opens up a lot of possibilities for customization and optimization when playing the game, with the freedom to change up your playstyle whenever a new idea hits you. We’re going to be spending a lot of time making different Relics and balancing them around, just to make sure that each Relic has a use. Next time I blog I promise I’ll try to come up with something different to talk about than more battle stuff (but no promises).

Me working hard on battle stuff


Hello everyone! Sorry for the missed update last week… and also sort of this week. We attended TWO Super Fancy Online Business Conferences for Game Business People the last few days, which was just as fun as it sounded! So, unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of *~artistic~* progress to show, since most of it was done in spreadsheets and documents. But I swear it will be worth it! We’re on the hunt for awesome folks who can help make The Phantom Keeper a reality, so hopefully we’ll have something cool to show for it in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a rough artistic interpretation of my life currently.

Oh, what’s that? You want to see some content??? Some real beautiful imagery?? Well, perhaps I can let just a little bit slide…

Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

The rest of the team has been making some cooler stuff (like…. actual gameplay??) that we’ll totally get back to talking about next week. In the meantime, I just need to write more emails and probably take a nap. Hope to see you then! πŸ‘‹