Shining Lore Project: from “Hentai” to MMORPG

Shining Lore Project: from “Hentai” to MMORPG

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[Article written by Saga Darvulia]

Shining Lore Offline

Shining Lore is to the very majority of people a cancelled MMORPG originally to be released early 2003, before it fell into development limbo. However, what most people are unaware of is that Shining Lore Online, as it was to be called, was originally a dating RPG called, simply, Shining Lore (Supposed to be released in 1999 or 2000). This was, obviously, a -very- different game from Shining Lore Online, which shared some elements, but in many ways it was very different (A dark plot instead of a lighthearted one, for example). Many of the characters you were to meet in Shining Lore Online were based on designs of the girls you could date in Shining Lore, although obviously, some of them had seen slight redesigns, or in some cases even sex changes.


Incidentally, a beta version of this game existed, but sadly I never got hold of it. The only “proof” I have of its’ existence is a small capture of the setup program:


There are a series of alternative designs for the main characters, displaying a more mature look than that used in the “final” version of Shining Lore online, even though those designs are largely the same as the finished ones. (Although by a different artist.) I have no idea, however, if these designs are from the early development of Shining Lore Online and thus being closer in style to Shining Lore Offline, or if they are merely designs by a completely different artist. Never the less, it’s an interesting addition.

designfinal2.jpg alternativedesign01.jpg

designfinal.jpg alternativedesign02.jpg

It was originally supposed to be a very social kind of MMORPG. Apart from the usual dungeon-crawling and quests found in normal online games, each player had his or her own room, which could be decorated as the player saw fit. (Similar to Sims or Animal Crossing) Guilds had access to a much higher degree of customisation for their houses. What really set it apart, however, was an arcade-style… I think it was called “Shining Road”. I can’t remember. It was included in early trailers for the game. It was highly similar to games such as Mario Party, right down to the dice. Minigames were played in much the same fashion. In the near-finished Shining Lore online, these elements were heavily downplayed. The beta included none of the party games. However, I did manage to spot an “out of order” arcade, hinting that they would have been included in the final version.


And, yes, (to some degree translated) beta client and server files -do- exist. However, few people want to run the server due to the massive bandwidth requirements. Even with few people logged on, there is plenty of lag. That coupled with the fact that the game in beta form is highly unbalanced (battles become incredibly drawn-out due to low damage from both the player and the enemies) and several functions are left out makes it somewhat painful to play.


It’s most unfortunate that so few people know about the near-finished game that was cancelled and later became Shining Lore Online. I would personally have downloaded it if it weren’t for the fact that I at the time was on a 56k modem, and the demo was available for download, if I remember correctly, maybe a week or less. A friend of mine managed to download it and play it, and sent me several screenshots. Ironically, however, he has since moved on to buy a Mac, and the fact that my hdd crashed certainly didn’t help much.

I have contacted the developers, and they go as far as admitting that Shining Lore -had- gone through a change like that, but apart from that, they refuse to give out any information. This situation may have changed now, seeing as how Shining Lore is most definitely cancelled, and I will try to get in contact with them again soon.

An interesting note: a music video for the song Darling by the K-Pop band ShinVi, consists mainly of clips from the intro of Shining Lore, along with the group dancing and looking sickeningly cute while holding dolls of some of the enemies found in the game.

This is like the official theme song of unreleased games. Incidentally, I have the complete (as far as I know) soundtrack to the game. It’s composed by Noriyuki Iwadare of Lunar and Grandia fame, so it’s really quite good. You can download it from here!

[Article written by Saga Darvulia]


For more beta screenshots & Artworks: Shining Lore Online Archive

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Editor in Chief, UX & SE Optimization at Unseen64
I'm an Italian gamer with not enough free time to play as much as i'd like to and sadly not enough time to write about cancelled and beta games. Founder of Unseen64 in 2001, i'd like to sleep more than 5 hours a day, but i have to pay the bills. I'm currently working for various italian & international websites for a better User Experience & Search Engine Optimization, you can add me on Twitter, Last FM or contact me by email.

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2 thoughts on “Shining Lore Project: from “Hentai” to MMORPG

  1. Corican

    I used to play SL online a lot lot time in China. It was really the best game in my childhood but it was ruined by numerous game bugs. Later on so many hackers were using these bugs to gain profit in game, for instance, item duplication. Moreover, the original game code leaked out and some players started to modify the game data to gain profit in game. The developer seemed to have no method to fix these bugs at that time since many game data were stored locally in client side not server side (thus hackers can easily manipulate them). Why such many data were stored locally? I believe it was because the game was originally designed as a single player game not MMO RPG. The devastating situation aggravated quite quickly, along with other issues like extreme server lag. The server was finally shut down and terminated in 2002. Many players were very sad of it.

    There was also a rumor that the Korean developer once published “Shining Lore Online 2” around year 2002-2003 when the SL Online was almost dead. However, I had never seen any news afterwards in China. Maybe it was only opened to public in Korea, and died rather quick. Today there is still several private SL Online servers are running in China, providing precious memories to the fans.

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