ASIA PACIFIC COLLEGE – This is a continuation of the previous post about April 2’s MAPROD: Game Design and Development defense. Last time we featured Albanya, the second group that presented. This time, we’re featuring Roots, a Western role-playing game set in a steampunk world. This was created by S-21 Labs, the first group that presented during the defense.

Like SKript Interactive (team behind Albanya), the group responsible for Roots were also my DGMEDIA85 thesis proposal advisees. And like SKript Interactive, the girls of S-21 Labs are just as steeped in research, concept and methodology.

Roots Main Menu

Roots Main Menu (from the official website)

In that DGMEDIA class, I required ALL of my students to come up with 5 proposals each. We whittles the proposals to 3 around mid terms, and then we finally decided on the best propsal during finals. I distinctly remember this proposal coming from Regina Supapo (a.k.a. “Xiao”). She specifically wanted to work on a Western RPG (WRPG), which is distinctly different from the more popular Japanese RPGs (JRPG) like Final Fantasy, Arc The Lad and Suikoden. While JRPGs concentrate more on linear narratives and many of which have turn-based battle systems, WRPGs have open-ended narratives and characters that are highly customizable.

Roots: Character Customization Screen

Roots: Character Customization Screen (from the official website)

S-21 Labs

The people responsible for Roots are:

  • MAPROD: Game Dev
    • Regina “Xiao” Supapo
    • Jamie Pua
  • MAPROD: 3D
    • Wilson Sy
    • Mark Mendoza
    • Tim Oquindo
    • Aaron Bueno
Jamie Pua and Regina Supapo

Regina Supapo and Jamie Pua

The game, at the time of the presentation, was still a bit buggy. But considering that there were only two girls working on this project in three months, I’d say that that’s a lot of work. I had minor issues about the UI, as well as the customization — most of them were really just color-picking — which still reminds me of JRPGs. Overall, though, I think they did a great job. The first level is already playable.

Roots Screenshot

Roots Screenshot (from the official website)

Game Overview

(Retrieved from the Game Design Document)

Game Logline

Roots is a single-player, party-based Western Role-Playing game having a story taking place in a steampunk-designed world, where the player will take control of the protagonist named Valour, in the world called Gol’in.

Roots Screenshot

Roots Screenshot (taken from the Game Design Document)


In Roots, before the player embarks on their journey, the player can choose from either Casual or Normal difficulty and go through Character Creation to customize the look of the main character and for the player to really get engaged as he uses his personalized character in the game.

After having customized the character, the player immerses himself into events in the world of the game, being able to manipulate the outcomes by the decisions he makes, whether in a dialogue with an NPC or a crucial choice that is key in the story. In comparison to the usual role-playing taking place in other games, this game is open-ended.

As for the combat system, it is real-time, letting the player apply tactics fast while focusing on his main character as well as integrating the 2 other party member’s actions. The Battle Plans feature of the game is where the player will be able to adjust tactics.

In addition, the player is able to switch active characters that are in the field during combat, thus changing the party leader. In the game, the player will mostly be fighting off against robots and androids.

There are two main settings within the game; these are the completely fiend-friendly areas, where no battles will be taking place for you will either be free from harm or be presented with a different demon, and the fiend-infested areas where there are high chances of combat with enemies.

In exploring the world of the game, if the player has picked up party members along the way, the player has the ability to change between characters similar to real-time combat systems. In addition to the combat system, it is possible for the player to change equipment during battle to fit the needs of success of the battle. In other words, tactics will also be needed from the player, in short, full cooperation.

As stated in the section 2.1, the game is set in a steampunk-designed world, to elaborate; imagine a Victorian fantasy world where present day technology is integrated with their design and a science-fiction realm combined to form this hybrid world. Visually, it is mainly influenced by steampunk in design, with bits and pieces from other styles such as medieval and futuristic combined. Common scenes in the game are cityscapes, facilities, there are also forests and waterfalls, depending on the continent the player will be in.

Given the setting and the design of the game, which is steampunk, it has a color scheme with dominant browns, oranges, and reds with slight desaturations of blues, greens, and purples for the interiors and exteriors where one can feel the distinct features of the game’s style. Regarding the outdoor scene, it will depend on the area the player is in, but will generally have a sunny, cloudy or shady feature.

You can learn more about the game in the Roots’ official website.

Image Gallery