A Necrobump to let folks who don't check the Youtube thread know this game isn't dead.
After a long and thoughtful process, with dozens of titles considered, we've decided to change the name of the game to Pyronaut, as that's what Pyron had always been short for. Here is the updated title screen to reflect that change:
Pay no attention to the "Demo" on the screen, as there is no demo floating around. If I understand correctly, it was to be displayed at this year's Portland Retro Gaming Convention, but those plans fell through for some reason or another.
For those new to the thread or previously unfamiliar with the project:Pyronaut is an elaborate ROM hack of Simon's Quest, featuring an entirely original intellectual property, gameplay, music, graphics, story, etc. For all intents and purposes, it is a completely new NES title that just happens to have built upon the barest of bones from the CV2 engine.
From my understanding, Optomon began work on it sometime in 2011, and I joined the project at the beginning of 2013. Initially, just for graphics, but since then, we've been working together to really flesh out the story, atmosphere, and gameplay, with the hopes of the final project being on par with a high-quality 3rd party titled released late in the NES's lifespan.
In the game, you play as Romeo Ratuno, a recent liberal arts graduate who has taken a job on a ship of pyronauts, a type of intergalactic construction crew, in an attempt to pay off his student loans. During a routine job on a small asteroid, your crew receives and responds to a distress signal from a nearby planet.
The following video shows off the demo screens and introduction, which explains this and more:
The resulting gameplay is an open-world action platformer full of solitude, incineration, and despair. Burning your way through six unique biomes and countless alien life forms, you must travel deep into the planet to unravel the mystery behind the transmission. As you do so, you will collect items and equipment to level up five player stats, receive seven types of pyrotechnics
, (upgrades to your jetpack and side arm), and defeat at least six guardians, each allowing access deeper into the planet.
The game also features an entirely new password system and in-game map screen which also displays player stats.
Although it has occasionally taken the backburner to some other projects, It's been on full burn lately. To mention a release date now, would be as meaningless as any we've mentioned before, but it is safe to say that the scale of the project has grown, and that we're on track to bringing it to fruition, most probably within 2015.
Also, earlier this year, I redesigned the main player sprite once again. Venturing further from the previous design, I wanted something more specific and memorable than what I had made prior, and quite honestly, through working on this and some other projects, I was getting better at making pixel art.
Below, you'll see the evolution of the main player's sprite:
From left to right: Optomon's original sprite, my original sprite (late 2012), the updated sprite (early 2014).
In terms of graphics, I'm hoping for something very unique and identifiable: more modern than Monster Party, not as cartoon-like as the Nekketsu series, but not as serious as, say, Contra. Optomon's been very welcome and on board with the evolution of the art style, and the state it's currently at. As always, feedback is not only welcome, but encouraged.
Also, as may be mentioned in this thread previously, we decided to make the flames and explosions the stars of the game, and have devoted a very large amount of graphics and sprite data toward them, as there are numerous types of flames, bursts, shots, explosions, sparks, etc.
There's a ton of work in progress I'd love to show, but I think it'd be best to wait and reveal further work in large chunks, as Optomon's been doing through his Youtube channel.
In the meantime, below is a look at the new player sprite, with jet pack enabled, utilizing the flame thrower upgrade: