Reset

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Kura
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Reset

#1 Post by Kura » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:55 pm

Alright! This has been a long time coming, but I finally feel confident enough in my progress with this game to make a thread for it. Now I'm counting on you all to make sure I don't give up, haha.


RESET
a visual novel about love & existentialism & videogames

Sometimes you screw up. And times like those, it feels like life would be a whole lot easier if it had a reset button.
Image
Zack's your average 18 year old gamer geek. He worries about graduating high school, saving up for the next big Xbox game, and what kind of traps his DM will throw at him next D&D session. But his boyfriend Jason is different; he thinks too much, reads too much. Jason worries about life and human nature and the difference between fiction and reality. Now Jason's kind of in the middle of an existential crisis, and he needs Zack to lean on. Is Zack strong enough to support Jason without losing himself?

RESET is a drama about taking care of those you love and holding yourself up too, about the lines between love and dependence and obedience, about whether it's worthwhile and those times when it all falls apart. Heavy on psychology and emotion, with a sprinkling of romance and philosophy and video games and kink.


Characters
Isaac (Zack) Nicholas Levy
Protagonist and narrator.
18 years old, 12th grade, majoring in computer science next fall. Responsible, open-minded, easygoing, practical. Enjoys video games, cooking, and sewing. He takes after his dad quite a bit.

Jason Christakos
Zack's boyfriend.
18 years old, 12th grade, intending to major in neuroscience and psychology. An artist and a dreamer and a thinker, there's always something running through his head--usually some great heavy philsophical query, or a quote from that one book/song/movie/anime, or both.

Joseph Levy
Zack's dad.
English teacher working to become a guidance counselor, single father. Patient, insightful, innocently sarcastic. His chicken parmesan is legendary among all who know him.

Melissa (Mel) Agapé Christakos
Jason's sister.
21 years old. Photographer by aspiration, holder of several part-time jobs by necessity.
I expect her only direct role in RESET to be one scene that has her voice, so she probably won't have a sprite, but nonetheless she gets mentioned plenty.

Details
There are several choices along the way that allow you to shape who you are, and four endings based on what you've proven yourself to be. One of them is good.

Estimated about 15,000 words, 15-20 minutes per path. 16+ rating: kinky (but not explicit) sexuality, foul language (high school boys will be high school boys), and some seriously heavy and emotionally charged situations. Note that a slim possibility exists of the rating changing to 18+.

Yes, the main characters are a gay couple. I'm not calling it BxB because that's not the point. Also because you've already obtained the only obtainable, so to speak.

Be warned: This is a rather dismal game. The bad ends are very bad, and the one good end is more hopeful than happy.


More?
RESET has a website here, with image previews and a list of what still needs to be completed. It also houses some older art and short stories about Zack, Jason, and Joseph, in case anyone wants to familiarize themself with the characters.


Progress
Script: 85%
1,203 screens :: 16,845 words :: 8 choices :: 11/12 scenes
Art: 18%
title screen :: 1/3 sprites (2/? expressions) :: 3/6 backgrounds :: 0/2-7 CGs
(as of 1/1/12)

Help Wanted
I am musically challenged. Anyone who wants to help with music, I'd greatly appreciate it. And I don't necessarily mean making music especially for Reset--if someone could help me just with selecting music from the places it's freely available and matching music to scenes that'd be great, because I'm no good at determining what music is appropriate for what mood.


Feedback Wanted
All critique and comments would be great, and questions are welcome. I'd particularly like to get some opinions on these things:

My decision so far is that the art will all be loose, scribbly black-lines-on-white. The title card is in this style, and you can see some in-game examples on the website. How do you feel about a VN having all its art in black and white? About the sketchy style in general?

Does the sketchy art conflict too strongly with the retro game styled GUI?

The art style is meant to be a reflection of Jason's perception of the world; in fact, the game is drawn in a style very similar to the style in which Jason himself draws. But Jason's not narrating, Zack is. Is that a problem, having the art represent a point of view that doesn't belong to the narrator?

I'm also curious to see how much interest there is generally in a VN that has elements of romance without being a "try to get the guy" sort of deal.
Last edited by Kura on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:05 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Reset

#2 Post by Camille » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:53 pm

My first thought upon reading everything about the story and characters is that it's very ordinary. Like, this is something I could see happening to my next door neighbor. I continued thinking along this vein and decided that it's ordinary in a wonderful way. Not every game or story has to be about saving the world or a bunch of people falling in love with the protagonist. I really like this focused kind of story where it's just between two characters already in an established relationship. I think it's great that you're not letting their sexuality define who they are or what this story is about.

Re: the art. I think it's fine to have the art style be different/black and white/scribbly. Not sure if it's meaningful, exactly (considering you admitted that the art and writing will be from different POVs), but it's interesting and I think the story matters more than the art in the first place. I mean, the two are a pair, so it's probably fine even if the art and writing are from different POVs, technically. (not sure what I'm even trying to say here, but basically I think the art style is fine.) One thing I would suggest is being careful that the GUI matches the art. If your art is going to be all in black and white, it'd probably be best to make sure the GUI follows suit otherwise it'll sort of clash, I think. Putting together a UI that fits with this style is probably going to be a little tricky, though. D:
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Re: Reset

#3 Post by Mink » Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:16 pm

Yes, the main characters are a gay couple. I'm not calling it BxB because that's not the point.
Wait, wait. A game with a gay couple NOT labeled BxB? NOW I HAVE TO PLAY IT.
No offense to anyone, but I'm at the point where when I see 'yaoi', 'BL', or 'BxB' in a description, I automatically expect it to be all, "LOL GAY GUYS ARE SO HAWT." 8|
Be warned: This is a rather dismal game. The bad ends are very bad, and the one good end is more hopeful than happy.
Long as it's not just arbitrarily miserable. And four words: Darkness Induced Audience Apathy.
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Re: Reset

#4 Post by Kura » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:53 pm

Thanks much for the feedback, both of you! And I'm really glad there's a positive reaction so far to how I'm handing that whole 'gay' thing.

Camille--That's an interesting way to look at it, 'ordinary'. I've never really thought about stories (or especially VNs) that way before, probably because the vast majority of my writing is just slice-of-life, exploring how people tick more than the things they do. A lot of 'traditional' VNs are quite "that could happen to my next door neighbor", aren't they? School romances, the boy-meets-girl kind of stories, things like that. It's (somewhat) life as usual, but we get something out of them because they distill all of that ordinary life down to some particular meaning. Wow, thanks for making me think about that!

As for the GUI, hmmm, I didn't even consider that--to be honest I had little intention of altering beyond putting in the Atari font. That's definitely something worth putting some thought into, though. Good old Ren'py roundrect does look a bit awkward with all those thin jaggedy lines.

Mink--
Mink wrote:
No offense to anyone, but I'm at the point where when I see 'yaoi', 'BL', or 'BxB' in a description, I automatically expect it to be all, "LOL GAY GUYS ARE SO HAWT." 8|
I am so very glad to have outgrown that mindset. D:

And yes, Darkness Induced Audience Apathy is definitely on my list of things I'm trying really hard to avoid. It unfortunately seems that it might be headed in that direction--the main piece of feedback I got from one friend who read the partial script was "why is this boy so depressed?!" My approach so far is to make sure that structure and unifying meaning are strong enough to make all of the details not seem like just a big muck of misery, to give sufficient background on why things are messed up, to balance heavy moments with light ones. Hoping also that creating a sense of why Zack loves Jason will give the reader reasons to care about him too. Anyway, when the script is done and I'm on the hunt for proofreaders/betas, this will certainly be high on the list I ask folks to watch for.

Huh. Responding to that concern actually really helped me formulate my plan of how to manage it. Man, development threads are awesome!
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Re: Reset

#5 Post by Camille » Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:18 am

Honestly, I feel like a lot of the school romance stories are far from ordinary... The premises are often so contrived that while I enjoy playing, I never think for a second that something like that could ever happen to a real person. As interesting as love triangles and harems are, how often does that really happen? XD I hope you don't take offense to my use of the word "ordinary". I think "slice-of-life" is a better way of saying it, but a lot of stories that call themselves that often...aren't. So I think it's awesome that your story really IS slice-of-life and feels like it's something that really could happen somewhere. Not all of us live fantastic, exciting lives, so finding meaning in seemingly ordinary places and situations is great, too.

Ren'Py has some other themes now that you might try experimenting with. :O I think there's monochromatic color schemes, too, so I'm sure you can figure something out that'll fit without too much teeth-gnashing on your part. XD
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Re: Reset

#6 Post by Kura » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:41 pm

Hmm, I think I did misunderstand you a little bit there.
I will say that the plot of RESET isn't exactly everyday (it deals with a specific issue that I didn't quite want to give away from the start), but yeah, it's definitely the sort of thing that happens.

I'm pretty confident that I can change GUI colors without too much strain, but I probably will see if one of the new shape sets works better with the art. I can't decide, though, whether having SOME bits of color somewhere in the GUI looks too out of place, or if it helps give the game a bit more visual appeal or give better distinction to names/menus/etc than if everything were totally black and white.


Furthermore, it just occurred to me to stick this here! The awesome that is Omnificent drew a sweet delinquent-style Jason:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 45#p163554

Edit~ Finished one more scene, though it's a very short one. I think this line sums up Zack and Jason's relationship (or at least Jason's take on it) very effectively.
Jason "I don't care if you belong with me or belong to me. Either way you're mine."
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Re: Reset

#7 Post by Veniae » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:03 am

This sounds really promising! I think you got my attention at video games, lol. ;D

Just kidding, but I'm really looking forward to playing this when it's ready. Make sure this happens soon. xD

Good luck!

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Re: Reset

#8 Post by Kura » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:02 pm

Awesome, glad to hear you're interested! I do work slower than a lot of other folks around here, but I'll try my best to get it out soonish.
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Re: Reset

#9 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:01 am

I'm pretty much torn apart here. On the one hand, it's a game with a homosexual relationship at its core, even though it's not the focus of the story, and I'm not really into that. Also, utsuge aren't really my cup of tea as I get to read at least one frigging Harry Potter darkfic fanfiction every week in the fanfic archive I moderate, and I'm pretty much fed up with being forced to read about people suffering in every possible way.

On the other hand, the sheer idea of a slice-of-life story with a homosexual pairing at its center yet without the quest for a relationship as the main focus is immensely intriguing. I promise to play this once it's out. I won't promise to like it, however. Be warned.
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Re: Reset

#10 Post by Kura » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:58 pm

Utsuge, that's not a word I've heard before. Interesting.
Taleweaver wrote: Also, utsuge aren't really my cup of tea as I get to read at least one frigging Harry Potter darkfic fanfiction every week in the fanfic archive I moderate, and I'm pretty much fed up with being forced to read about people suffering in every possible way.
I am so, so sorry. ._.;

I really appreciate that you're interested in playing the game even though you're not sure you'll like it! Your curiosity and open-mindedness are seriously admirable. It's more exciting to me to have someone go outside of their usual preferences and end up not liking it than for someone to expect to like it and then like it, anyhow.

The way you worded it, though, it sounds like specifically the fact that it involves a gay pre-established relationship rather than a straight pre-established relationship is intriguing to you? Can I ask why that is? (unless I'm misunderstanding you)
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Re: Reset

#11 Post by Mink » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Kura wrote:
Jason "I don't care if you belong with me or belong to me. Either way you're mine."
What's the context of that scene? Because just by itself it's...vaguely creepy...*

Like, I would dump that person creepy. And then get a restraining order on them. And then get a trained rottweiler, to have more of my bases covered.

*Unless this is like Twilight, where bad relationships = true love. /shot
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Re: Reset

#12 Post by Taleweaver » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:20 pm

Kura wrote:I am so, so sorry. ._.;
It's not you. The level of quality I'm subjected to every week is really atrocious. Last month, I had to suffer a darkfic about Hermione Granger trying to commit fast suicide by letting the Whomping Willow tear her apart, only to have the stupid tree only rip out one of her legs and throw her into the Forbidden Forest where she dies painfully slow over the course of the next few hours. With the reader watching. Oh, and by the way, her reason for committing suicide was not being able to satisfy Severus Snape by giving head. No, I'm not joking. And I'm certain I can expect something better from you.
The way you worded it, though, it sounds like specifically the fact that it involves a gay pre-established relationship rather than a straight pre-established relationship is intriguing to you? Can I ask why that is? (unless I'm misunderstanding you)
The intriguing part is that you use a homosexual relationship in another way that most other VN writers I know would. I'd expect either a fluffy cuddly Bishounen romance, a seme/uke "we love so much it hurts us" stereotype or two flamboyant gays that annoy the hell out of everybody else. An outright normal relationship between two people of the same gender is a bit of a rarity in VN, and it's something even kinougames would probably approve of.

Essentially, you have all you need to make this an easy job, just by following one of the many stereotypes. Apparently, you choose to try out something else. That's what tickles my interest. I'm always curious to see writers who break the usual mold.
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Re: Reset

#13 Post by Kura » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:07 pm

Taleweaver--Sorry that you have to read those positively charming fanfics, I meant. :P

Ah, I see what you mean. I know people often say that gay relationships are stereotyped more than straight ones in VNs, though I'm not sure I've really experienced that to be true.

Mink--Yes, it is vaguely creepy. Can't say their relationship is 100% healthy.
The context, as it happens, was a conversation the two of them have about how the word "belonging" refers to love/comfort as well as to ownership.


Did a bit more script writing, though it's still kind of slow going. I also finally wrote out a nice thorough outline of Jason's psychology and what's on his mind, which should help keep things consistent. I also added a little bio for Mel to the first post; even though she doesn't exactly appear she's still a pretty important presence in the story.

My goal right now is get a few backgrounds done in the next week or so.

Another question about art for everyone: please look at the background in this screen. This is shown while Zack is in class--that is, it's meant to be a first-person view of the classroom. Does it read that way, or does it read as, say, the teacher's view of the room? Would you find it disruptive or confusing to see this when the narrator is sitting in class? I just realized that I was drawing from my mental image of a classroom where the desks on either side face in to the middle, so Zack is sitting in the front of his row facing all the kids on the other side of the room--but then, looking at the image alone, it also resembles a view from the front of a small classroom.

Edit: Finally finished the details in the background for Jason's bedroom. He's now the proud owner of a muscley elf pinup. I don't even know.
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Re: Reset

#14 Post by Elster » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:33 am

I'm not usually that found of super-sketchy art (sometimes it just looks like lazy artist syndrome, and that's terrible), but I like yours. It's charming, and suits the story you're trying to tell.

Also: Gay relationship in a VN that in turn isn't about the gayness of it all? I'm onboard.
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Re: Reset

#15 Post by Cidz » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:48 am

i like this concept, it seems intersting. i like that the characters are more realistic and thier situations and realtionship seems to be more realistic too. plus i love drama! well i really look forward to this ill keep an eye on it from time to time <3

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