Behind the Scenes of "Ashes of Kanaka" / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here.

So last time I said I would talk about what features Ashes of Kanaka had that we felt made it different from other JRPGs.

When creating Ashes, we knew we wanted to make it unique for its engine. We were cautious about RPGMaker but after learning what the dos and don’ts are, we knew where to focus our efforts. One of the biggest challenges was creating a uniqueness of every companion you find in the game. Obviously they all have their own personalities and chime in at different parts of the game, but there needed to be a real motivation to use and experiment with different companions. While many of you who have played Ashes might have already noticed, but every single companion has special hidden abilities that are not displayed in game, the only way to know what they do is experiment and see how your battles change. Some companions reward greater credit drops, some increase item drop chance, some have special resistances that are based on the backstory of the character. This means that if you’ve listened and learned about the character, you can most likely put together who does what.

Another big feature that I think was probably the worst part of the development process was that there is at least one item hidden on every single map. I don’t mean this in that you click on a square and an item is added, every single map has at least one square that when you click on it will give a little story explaining WHY an item is there. There are approximately 1,200 of these objects hidden throughout the game. I did this because I wanted to reward players for fully exploring everything, even in the limited scope of a 2D world, we wanted to give you a reason to indulge in every area.

I won’t try to claim that all our plugins made our game unique because well they were free plugins that anyone could use, but we went to great lengths to create combinations of plugins, many I don’t think were intended, to make the game function as we wanted. One of the big ones was from Yanfly which allowed you to set parameters for when enemies would use certain attacks. This obviously is to stop healers from healing themselves when they are at full health, you can set them to prioritize bosses, or really whatever parameters you want that will dictate how skills are used. We used it for that purpose, but it also did some hidden effects. CODE for instance, their basic attack scans the attacking party member to learn what those aforementioned hidden abilities are. It then checks if that party member has any resistances and changes their attacks accordingly. Obviously, there isn’t much that low level enemies can do, but as you get further in the game and they have more and more abilities, they adapt if you aren’t able to kill them quickly.

Those are the big unique features in Ashes that initially come to mind! Next time since I’ve mentioned it so much, I will talk about building and writing strong characters. The character made in ZBrush can look stunning, but it won’t mean much if they flat in terms of personality.

As always, please reach out to me at smartino@dogoowdgaming.com with any comments or questions. I always love hearing from you guys!