[WIP GxB] Machina Jewel | first post updated 7/20/2011+poll!

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Camille
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[WIP GxB] Machina Jewel | first post updated 7/20/2011+poll!

#1 Post by Camille » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:42 am

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Finally got enough of this done that I thought I could post about it, haha. Machina Jewel is a visual novel being produced by a friend and I. (two-person team ftw--she's doing all the sprite/CG/BG art, I'm doing ... anything that isn't that) It follows the example of Japanese otome games (Girl x Boy), but we’ve tried to break the mold as much as possible. (more on that later)

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The story of Machina Jewel centers on a girl named Charlene Lancaster (her first name can be changed by the player), who is the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Her semi-charmed life is shattered when, on her 17th birthday, Charlene learns that her family has been cursed for the last 200+ years. All children with an odd birth order die on their 18th birthday-–no exceptions. She is the first and only child in her immediate family, so seeing as how 1 is an odd number, Charlene is doomed to die in a year.

But not if she can help it.

Set in a made-up world based on a Victorian Steampunk setting, Machina Jewel follows Charlene as she attempts to break the curse on her family, help out her friends, and–-of course–-fall in love with one of four guys: Lucien, Tetsuyoshi, Azhar, or Alonzo. It’s going to be one crazy year!


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LUCIEN . AZHAR . TETSUYOSHI . ALONZO . CHARLENE* . ESPERANSA . SABINE

Lucien: The son and heir of the Duke of Edinburgh. Lucien is polite and reserved, generally, but to those he knows well, he can be very prickly, sarcastic, and blunt. He is very serious about wanting to become the Prime Minister of Windsor and works hard to achieve this goal. Lucien is also Charlene’s tutor on some Tuesdays.

Azhar: A mysterious Arabian pianist who works at the inn. Azhar seems nice enough on the surface and is always smiling, but tends to keep others at a distance. Some say that he was once a prince, others say that he’s a bandit on the run... Stories vary, but it’s clear that he’s very talented and intelligent—and it’s best to stay on his good side.

Tetsuyoshi: A foreign student from Hapon. Tetsuyoshi is rather stuffy and strict about his morals and beliefs, but is also easily embarrassed and seems to have a fear of steam technology. He does not handle girls well and is somewhat isolated because of his peers’ xenophobia, but Tetsuyoshi has a kind heart and is very gallant.

Alonzo: The captain of the Neptune’s Jewel. Alonzo is a friendly, cheerful sailor who curiously believes that having women on ships is bad luck. He owns a parrot named Lucille who only knows how to insult him; attempts to train her to say nicer phrases have failed miserably. It’s unknown what his real occupation is—could he be a pirate...?

Charlene*: The one and only daughter of the Duke of Northumberland and the heroine of this tale. (* her first name can be changed) Though sheltered and naive, Charlene* also has a strong will and tries to approach situations/people with kindness and understanding. This makes it easy for her to make new friends and acquaintances.

Esperansa: The daughter of an Ispanian perfumer and merchant. Esperansa is a bubbly, easygoing girl who loves art. She can always be found with paintbrush in hand, ready to capture the world on her canvas. Esper is the baby of her family and a supportive friend to Charlene*. Unlike Tetsu, she adores learning about new technology.

Sabine: The daughter of an affluent trader. Sabine often travels and knows much about the world. She rarely talks about herself, but is always willing to help out one of her friends. Despite being rich, charming, having a plethora of suitors—and approaching 20 years of age—Sabine remains unattached: a fact which mystifies her friends.

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- No obvious "default love interest" here. All four guys are developed equally and we've tried to be as un-biased as possible. Also, all four of them are awesome. :Db
- Female friends that play a big role in the story. (usually I feel like the heroine of otome games is kind of alone in a den of guys)
- An elaborate story (in fact it probably errs on the side of TOO elaborate/long) with lots and lots of choices and variations in the story based on those choices, even as early as chapter one. At the same time, the gameplay shouldn't be frustrating. It shouldn't be impossible to get a good ending if you pay attention and choose wisely, but there are a number of special endings that will be harder to get.
- A--we think--likable and relatable heroine whose personality can be tweaked by the player via choices you make. (but our game isn't exactly a stat-raising game--no studying every day for +2 int)
- A setting that doesn't involve going to high school in Japan. In fact, our heroine is home-schooled. And she's British. Well, sort of.

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- Art: Concept images done, sprites/BGs in progress (all sprites/BGs in the screenshots are temporary)
- Interface/GUI: Done, but constantly being tweaked (the art used in the main menu is temporary concept sketch art -- will be replaced later)
- Story/Coding: Chapter Three in progress (there will be 8 chapters total + endings, epilogues, and bonus scenes)
- Voice Acting: Chapter Two in progress
Ren'Py 6.12.1.1520 lint report, generated at: Wed Jul 20 11:25:15 2011
Statistics: The game contains 3,054 screens of dialogue.
These screens contain a total of 55,517 words,
for an average of 18.2 words per screen.
The game contains 81 menus.
+ another 4,633 words that have been written, but not yet coded into the game. I'm finally getting the hang of writing without programming at the same time. 8D

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This is our first visual novel, so hopefully we can get everyone's help and support as the project progresses. XD Thanks for reading~!

I'm keeping a blog about the progress and whatnot here. We also have a LiveJournal community and website. Also this is probably boring stuff for non-beta testers, but I also have a changelog that is more detailed about progress/changes in the game. Phew! (the game itself will have a website later once we're farther along)

There's a favorite male lead poll going on here!
Last edited by Camille on Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:35 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#2 Post by Celestie » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:04 am

The art is so pretty, the settings are very interesting, the plot synopsis suggest a strong heroine (which I like much mre than those generic weak ones) and that she has a female friend (I also think a girl in a harem needs one female friend at least, she doesn't need to be paired up or something but she is sufficient in support and, well, girls' stuff xD). And not-stat-raising is nice, I tend to get frustrated easily with those xDDD

So, I think I am very interested.

The menu looks so pretty, those pastel-brush-watercolor-ish strokes and colors give off a very old, mysterious and gentle flair. I am just wondering about the second teaser-image, is that girl (I presume teh heroine?) taller than the guy? Or just closer to the viewer, but she stil looks taller, even if she is supposed to be closer to the viewer. Maybe it#s just me right now because I can't figure out the proportion and stuff in that image *epic fail*

Give the artist a big clap on the shoulder her art is so beautiful~ Especially the coloring~ Oh, and you do the BGs yourself?
*pending signature, as in, I don't have any if this signature doesn't allow any 100px high images TAT*

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#3 Post by Aozora210 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:52 am

Nice XD

I've been longing to see the existence of "friends" inside a certain otome game. Also, nice style of art used there XD.

I think from your post, this game gives me quite what I need from certain games, but let's see more about it :3
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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#4 Post by Camille » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:10 am

Celestie wrote:The art is so pretty, the settings are very interesting, the plot synopsis suggest a strong heroine (which I like much mre than those generic weak ones)
We have a very strong heroine. XD Although you *can* choose options that make her more shy/meek, I think generally she's in the direction of a stronger-willed heroine, but also kind and understanding. At the same time, since she comes from nobility, she's also very dignified and graceful. She's not one of those hot-tempered kinds of heroines ... unless you want her to be. (; My friend and I have often been frustrated by heroines in manga and otome games, so we've tried very hard to have an interesting and multi-faceted main character since, well, players are going to be stuck with this character the most out of all the others!
Celestie wrote:The menu looks so pretty, those pastel-brush-watercolor-ish strokes and colors give off a very old, mysterious and gentle flair. I am just wondering about the second teaser-image, is that girl (I presume teh heroine?) taller than the guy? Or just closer to the viewer, but she stil looks taller, even if she is supposed to be closer to the viewer. Maybe it#s just me right now because I can't figure out the proportion and stuff in that image *epic fail*
Thank you! I'm the one who did the menus and stuff, so I appreciate it. XD Our game is set in a fantasy-ish version of Victorian London, so I wanted all of the menus and GUIs to reflect that in an eye-catching way. In the second teaser-image, she looks taller because he's crouched down. You can't see it in the cap, but he's crouched down and shaking. (Alonzo, who is a pirate, has a mild case of gynophobia since he's not around women very much) Also, both of those images are just concept images, so they weren't really made to be proportional to each other. I shrunk down Charlene's image a bit to get her to match Alonzo, but it's still not quite right. These concept images are just placeholders for the real sprites later. :D (that is roughly what the characters look like, though)
Celestie wrote:Give the artist a big clap on the shoulder her art is so beautiful~ Especially the coloring~ Oh, and you do the BGs yourself?
I will pass on your message! :D She'll be really happy to hear that, especially since these are just concept drawings. (she's frequently said "What if people don't like my art? T_T Make sure they know that these aren't me at 100%!") Right now for testing purposes we've just *ahem* stolen the backgrounds from the Starry Sky franchise, but we'll be doing all our own BGs for the actual game. We're planning on using free photos or using our own taken photos and tracing over them or something so that they match her art style.
Celestie wrote:and that she has a female friend (I also think a girl in a harem needs one female friend at least, she doesn't need to be paired up or something but she is sufficient in support and, well, girls' stuff xD). And not-stat-raising is nice, I tend to get frustrated easily with those xDDD

So, I think I am very interested.
Aozora210 wrote:Nice XD

I've been longing to see the existence of "friends" inside a certain otome game.
Our heroine has two best friends in this story, Esperansa (who is from Ispana, our version of Spain) and Sabine (who is half-British/half-French). Both of them are from merchant families and are nouveau riche, so they're not quite in the same social circle as Charlene, but the three of them are very close friends. You won't be competing with them over guys or anything like that and we hope that the issues that do come up between them are issues real people would have with their friends in real life (well, if they lived in 19th century Europe, that is). I think it's really important that she has friends. Like Celestie said, it shows she doesn't *need* to be paired up. Our Charlene doesn't *need* any of the guys, really, it's just a matter of whether she likes them and wants to go for them or not. XD

And yes, no stat-raising! At least, not in the traditional sense. The heroine does have some hidden stats (that you raise through choosing certain options in dialogues/choices) that affect gameplay, but they're all personality-based. For example, if she lies a couple of times, she builds up her "Liar" points and then maybe in later situations, that unlocks an option for her to Lie about something. If you answer some questions intelligently, she builds up "Intelligence" points, which unlocks other options. The stats don't directly affect endings or the story, but they do add more options for later situations, if that makes sense. :3

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#5 Post by Riviera » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:15 pm

For some reason the teaser images are broken?

And I concur, it'll be awesome to have some great female friends in an otome game as opposed to the "friends till you hit on this guy they happen to like even though they never told you they like that guy, then bitter rivals unless you either ditch the guy or suck up to them" stuff that goes on. Tokimemo!!! :(

I like stat-raising, but it can sometimes feel arbitrary if not implemented well. "Guy #2 requires me to be perfect at everything while he goes on to bitch me out all the time and also not get amazing grades or have good fashion sense himself... what?"
Will edit/proofread for cookies.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#6 Post by Camille » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:21 pm

Riviera wrote:For some reason the teaser images are broken?
Yeah, DreamHost, which is where our domain is hosted, has been on and off today but I reuploaded the images to my Cloud:

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Riviera wrote:And I concur, it'll be awesome to have some great female friends in an otome game as opposed to the "friends till you hit on this guy they happen to like even though they never told you they like that guy, then bitter rivals unless you either ditch the guy or suck up to them" stuff that goes on. Tokimemo!!! :(

I like stat-raising, but it can sometimes feel arbitrary if not implemented well. "Guy #2 requires me to be perfect at everything while he goes on to bitch me out all the time and also not get amazing grades or have good fashion sense himself... what?"
/shakes fist at Tokimemo!! Playing the first Girl's Side game a couple years back was one of the most annoying experiences of my life. My mentality is "if I have to work this hard to get a fake boyfriend, I may as well just get out of the house and get a real one!" so I want to avoid that kind of frustration with our game. Our real friends do more than study with us in the library or play tennis, give us vague love advice, or get pissed when we happen to like the same guy. ):

Yep, I agree. That's why I've tried to implement a more subtle kind of stat-raising where the stats really matter beyond "just getting x amount of points to impress x guy" and doesn't seem like hours of mindless clicking. Also, to be honest, I feel like a great majority of otome game guys are subtly chauvinistic in that they expect the girl to want to be saved all the time and just run around spouting romantic nonsense. I wanted to make an otome game where the guys don't treat you like you're below them and and the heroine gets to save herself. :D

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#7 Post by machinist » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:32 pm

looks great! looking forward to it!

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#8 Post by Aetheria » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:55 pm

Well, I went "oh, hell yeah!" several times when reading your post, so you've definitely gained a thread-stalker. Down with tedious stat-raising! Hooray for plausible friendships! Doesn't hurt that the screenshots look very pretty, too.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#9 Post by Camille » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:27 pm

Aetheria wrote:Well, I went "oh, hell yeah!" several times when reading your post, so you've definitely gained a thread-stalker. Down with tedious stat-raising! Hooray for plausible friendships! Doesn't hurt that the screenshots look very pretty, too.
Haha well thanks for that! :D I was hoping people would have a reaction like that. I've played so many otome games that I have a very clear picture of what I like and don't like. I was just hoping my likes/dislikes would line up with other people's too.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#10 Post by Snowflower » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:28 am

Wow, I really like how the art looks on in the game. For your first game, it looks really professional.
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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#11 Post by Camille » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:32 am

Snowflower wrote:Wow, I really like how the art looks on in the game. For your first game, it looks really professional.
Thank you! :oops: Hehe all that art is temporary, though. I promise it'll look even better when we have the actual sprites in there. (we just colored some sketches and threw them in the game to use as placeholders for testing purposes)

Both of us have backgrounds in design and both of us are pretty huge perfectionists, so I guess it just turned out that way. XD You should have seen the game in its earlier stages, though. The GUI design, for example, was a long process for me. I've spent countless hours poring over the Ren'py wiki and these forums in order to learn how to do things, haha.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#12 Post by Snowflower » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:36 am

So... what were you saying about not being an artist?
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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#13 Post by Camille » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:40 am

I'm not an artist, my friend is. :o At least not in the traditional sense. I just do all the writing/coding/GUI design. I can't actually draw worth crap. XD Seriously, even my stick figures look bad.

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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#14 Post by Snowflower » Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:42 am

haha ayayayay~
my stick figures are golden.... hahahahaha
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Re: [WIP] Machina Jewel

#15 Post by Celestie » Wed May 04, 2011 5:33 am

Yay, thank you for answering my questions so nicely~

I forgot to ask this, although I thought I did *fails*: Will the game be commerical or for free?

Oh, Starry Sky background? ...well, okay, I haven't played past Spring to recognize them xDDD I'm sure your backgroudn will be just as nice :3
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