Thyria Devlog 04: Story and Characters / by Raymond Schlitter

Hi again. The year is no longer new and the devlog is overdue. As promised I will be covering details about the story of Thyrian Defenders in this update. So without further delay let's launch away.

 Taz braces himself for a stupendous ride through hyperspace.

Taz braces himself for a stupendous ride through hyperspace.

The Setting

 Just a few of the locations you will visit at the beginning of your journey across the Thyrian Galaxy. 

Just a few of the locations you will visit at the beginning of your journey across the Thyrian Galaxy. 

Thyria, an immense spiral galaxy full of countless planets and life forms. Somewhere in this web of worlds our story begins in a small system called Nova 9. The presence of two advanced species in the same system has inevitably lead to war. On one side you have the human world of Gradus, and on the other you have the lizard people of Virdune. After generations of prosperous cultural exchange, the discovery of an awesome new energy source quickly leads to conflict between the species.

It turns out plasma energy harvested from Space Kraken is the hot commodity everyone is after. Space Kraken have illuminated the night sky with their energy rich bodies for longer than anyone can remember. What was once seen as a natural marvel is now a prized hunt. Ironic how the outbreak of violence stems from such a peaceful and beloved creature.

 Precious plasma energy is harvested directly from space kraken bodies, or plasma crystals that are produced by the creatures.  

Precious plasma energy is harvested directly from space kraken bodies, or plasma crystals that are produced by the creatures.  

It's a chaotic time full of contradiction. Both sides are shocked by the horrors of war, yet they are unwilling to give up the pursuit of greater power. The atmosphere is tense and it feels like something could give at any moment. Many believed a new weapon or some kind of technological breakthrough would be the turning point. The war would take a drastic turn, but not for a reason anyone predicted. It's at this pivotal moment our game begins. 

You play as Taz, A young fighter pilot for the Royal Space Force of Gradus. After recently completing training (tutorial level), Taz is assigned to an attack squadron of Titan ships. His first assignment is a recon mission to investigate reports of unknown craft operating in the Cryptum Asteroid field, a highly contested sector for its Kraken population and rich deposits of plasma crystals.  

As soon as the squad arrives at the recon point a small squadron of Virdunese fighters also appear on the scene. Apparently both sides are there to investigate unknown craft. Confused and pointing fingers at one another, a full on dog fight is about to go down before both squadrons are ambushed by the real culprit, alien invaders!

Seemingly out of nowhere an alien force surrounds both squadrons. Their sharp angular hulls fashioned with all manner of weaponry suggest hostile intentions. Indeed, the aliens are not there to make friends as they begin attacking both squadrons without bias. Both friend and foe are dying in a blaze of chaos surrounding Taz. Somehow he survives the first onslaught of these mysterious attackers, but it seems he's now all alone with no choice but to fight. Mission one start! 

At this point in the story the first level of the game begins. Cutscenes, and in game conversations will continue the story through the game. You will quickly learn these alien attackers called the Exodon are invading on a galactic scale and all of Thyria is in peril. The petty conflict between Gradus and Virdune ends and a new war against the Exodon begins. Taz bravely joins the fight to save the galaxy, but he won't be able to do it alone. As you travel to new frontiers and liberate worlds from the Exodon, new friends join you in the fight. In time this brave alliance of alien warriors become known as 'Thyrian Defenders.'  

The Characters

TAZ
A young hotshot pilot in the Royal Space Force of Gradus. While his naivety sometimes leads to rash behavior, deep down his actions are always good-willed. Overly reliant on his talents, Taz will have to learn to depend on new friends to stand a chance against the Exodon. 

Taz pilots the Titan, the Royal Space Force's most advanced light attack craft. For in depth details about the Titan and its weapons, check out devlog 03. 

While Taz is the character you play as, you will recruit a few characters throughout the game who will actually come fight at your side during gameplay. We call this the sidekick feature. It is initiated by item pickups found in special chests. Please fly nice, you control their destiny.

There are three characters that become sidekicks and you unlock each of them at different points as you progress in the story. Don't worry, it's a simple matter of progression and they can't be missed. Let's meet your squad.

TAROC REX
Even as a seasoned squadron leader for the Virdunese Space Force, T-Rex can scarcely contain that famous temper his people are known for. He is highly competitive, and after so many years at war with Gradus, he naturally becomes Taz's rival. After the Exodon decimate his squadron he’s lucky to find new friends to bark at.

Piloting the Lancer, T-Rex fires piercing hydro spears from four angles. This is great for attacking enemies on your periphery both in front and behind you. 

REDWING
Hailing from Draconia, Redwing is a powerful dragon cloaked in brilliant red scales. Beyond a stoic facade she carries a deep well of emotion. After her world is thrown into crisis by the Exodon invasion she taps into ancient fighting instincts and learns to release her feelings through fiery combat.

Redwing doesn't need a ship. She flies herself! Her attack is a short-ranged but powerful fireball that shoots straight out and pierces enemies. Major damage!

THEXTER
This ever-inquisitive hunk of bolts is a member of the peaceful robot world known as Krillis. Thexter must learn how to compute war after his mechanical world is laid to ruin by the Exodon. The concept of war sends him into an existential crisis, and his new friends must teach him what it means to be alive. 

Thexter is strongly against violence so he attacks with a stun wave. This temporarily freezes enemies so you can go ahead and take care of the violent shooting part yourself. 

 The mysterious Exodon cast their shroud of darkness over the entire galaxy. 

The mysterious Exodon cast their shroud of darkness over the entire galaxy. 

EXODON
You get it by now, these guys are bad business. Exodon seem to be bred for battle, but are they more than just a mindless war race? Little is know about who, or what the Exodon are.   

 Captain McCluster with that usual stern look of dissapproval. 

Captain McCluster with that usual stern look of dissapproval. 

NPCs
There will also be many colorful NPCs throughout the story, both friend and foe. For example, the hard-ass Captain Mcluster will brief you on your missions. The quirky boss characters will all have something to say as well.

What's in a STORY?

Gameplay still rules the day, as it should with just about all video games, However, the power of narrative can make a great gameplay experience even more immersive. With Thyrian Defenders you can see we are weaving a story about friendship and unity. The bonds with these characters will not only be formed through story sequences, but also through gameplay with the sidekick feature.

A narrative is also being told through the game's visuals. For example, bomb craters and destroyed structures in the background tell of the destructive power of the Exodon. Bones of an ancient beast on the desert floor tell a story of a different era on that planet. Everything is thought out well beyond what is necessary for the content of the game. This thoughtful design is intended to trigger the imagination of the player and make the world feel alive. 

Recent Updates 

We're always working on balancing but we made a significant change recently by increasing the vertical scroll speed by about 30 percent. This changes the pace of the entire game and required everything to be rebalanced, but the results are well worth it. The action is much tighter and there's never a dull moment. Also the levels go by faster making it a more palpable experience for mobile. All around fun factor is up!

I've mostly been busy grinding out background graphics, but I've also developed some new enemies, including a cool segmented worm boss. Markus has nearly completed the first Hyperspace level and is polishing up the encounter with the worm boss I just mentioned. Alan has been very productive recently and the OST is nearly finished. So as usual, I'll leave you with another new tune to fuel your shooter dreams. This is the hard rocking track for Pyrex, our lava themed level. Enjoy!

BYE BYE

I hope you enjoyed this update. Some time down the line I would like to do another feature on story elements once we have actual story scenes implemented into the game. But that will come at the very end of development. Gameplay always comes first! Perhaps next time I will go in more depth about the worlds and the rich background graphics I've been creating. As Japanese game devs like to say, 'please be excited.' 

 

-Words by Raymond Schlitter