Wedding Vows (Calling for artists again!)

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Wedding Vows (Calling for artists again!)

#1 Post by dizzcity » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:23 pm

EDIT: If you're reading this for the first time, please skip to this post.


All right! Finally, after nearly a quarter of a year and at the end of exams, I have gotten the first of my three scripts - Wedding Vows - completed. This is a... distributed slice-of-life story is the best term I can think of. It tracks a couple all throughout their lives, from their births to their deaths, in 14 short snippets.

Right now, all I've got is the text-only script encoded into the basic game, so there's nothing much. I estimate it to be about 20-30 minutes worth of playtime. At the moment, what I need is feedback on the script, and to see if any artists are willing to illustrate this piece. I will need an estimated 30 sprites altogether, I think. Backgrounds are another issue. I'm not sure whether I should go with photos or try for CG backgrounds. I'm also eventually planning to add voice acting for the two main characters, at least. I'm not sure if the script brings out the emotion correctly, so I may need voice acting and good music to portray the right feel.

Is there anyone willing to proofread for me and/or do artwork? I'll send the script via PM.

-Dizzy-
Last edited by dizzcity on Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:37 am, edited 3 times in total.
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#2 Post by DrakeNavarone » Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:29 pm

Wow. A great idea masterfully executed. The story alone was enjoyable enough, but build-your-own-story aspect of it is great, too. At first, I likened it to a puzzle, but playing it a second time, I find it's more like Lego pieces. After all, puzzle pieces only fit together a certain way, and even though you can build it several different ways, it still makes the same thing in the end. With Lego pieces you can make anything you want, only limited by your imagination and the number of pieces available, yet they still snap tightly together, just like with the puzzle pieces. (Okay, weird analogy, but I read an article on Legos the other day, so it was still fresh in my mind)

Both my playthroughs had different feels to them, despite having the same content. And it wasn't only the end result that differed, but the process, too. It wasn't just some haphazzard collection of scenes. It really felt like each piece can and does fit together well with every other piece. My first run through, I went down the vows alternating characters (Lawrence's first line, Becky's first line, Lawrence's second line, Becky's second line, etc., etc.,) and my second, I played through Lawrence's vows first before moving on to Becky's. It really felt like the story could've been written linearly either way, and still have a consistent narrative thread to it. I know that the "same story, different feelings" effect was intentional, so I just wanna let you know, you did a hell of a good job doing it.

The story itself was enjoyable. I liked all the characters, and they all had believable personalities. The parts you wrote highlight both the cause and effects of their behaviors, which really reinforces that believability. A touching little slice of life story.

There's two minor things that bothered me a little, though. The first is that it doesn't really end. I'm not expecting an epilogue or anything, but maybe a fade to "THE END" or the credits once all the choices are picked? I peeked at the script and saw you do use flags to keep track of picked choices and you do have an 'ending' label, so the groundwork's all layed out and I get the feeling you're intending to do this, it's just not done yet...

Another thing is that there's no way to distinguish what choices you've already picked. This isn't that big of an issue, but I think it'd be a nice thing to have. You could easily just use the flags you already set up. IIRC, MagBou changes the color of the text for the choices already picked, so maybe ask monele for the details?

In the end, an interesting (and successful) experiment in visual novel presentation, and a good story in its own right. I'm really looking forward to playing the final version. I'm sure it'll be yet another completely new experience, and not just because of the added visuals.

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#3 Post by DaFool » Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:20 pm

I'm very interested in this piece since the way its described its finally an execution of some of the concepts we've been brainstorming.

I still owe someone somethings though :? , so I hope to be not spreading myself too thin, but if you can count me in -- for any arts -- I'd be happy. I'm still designing the means to output large numbers of artwork, not sure if you'd mind usage of paperdoll-like system or not.

I don't intend to hog the slot by any means, someone with a bit more time on their hands should definitely get first dippings. Just that I like this idea very much, and the possibility of working with it is very appealing.

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#4 Post by Mihel » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:16 am

If you're not too strict about getting good music, I would love to participate as well :P If all goes well, my work on Foxtaile should be done soon, so I shouldn't be too occupied in the near future. Unless you have a preferred composer, of course.

In any case, I'd love to proofread/comment on/drool over the script, if you wouldn't mind :)

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#5 Post by musical74 » Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:00 am

If you don't mind more than one person checking out the script, I'd love a shot at reading it. I do a pretty good job at proofreading and giving advice...if you are interested I'll take a look at it too :)
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#6 Post by dizzcity » Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:56 am

Thanks so much for the comments, Drake! I'm glad you liked it. And DaFool, Mihel, musical74, your help is greatly appreciated! :D

Script
Okay, here's the Alpha 1.2 version. I've proofread the script through once, and while I'm still not very happy with some of the section lengths (some are waay shorter than the others), at least I didn't catch any obvious errors in the script this time. After going through the script in the two ways that Drake did, I can see the flow clearer. Yeah, you're right... I need to find a way to make it end. I'm thinking of perhaps an imagemap button, once I've got the background for the vows settled.

For proofreading purposes:
I was also wanting to find out whether the story feels just as good if you went through it "age"-wise... that is to say:


Rebecca's "til death do us part"
Rebecca's "I take you to be my husband"
Rebecca's "in sickness and in health"
Lawrence's "for better or for worse"
Lawrence's "for richer or for poorer"
Rebecca's "for better or for worse"
Lawrence's "I take you to be my wife"
Lawrence's "to love and to cherish"
Rebecca's "to have and to hold"
Rebecca's "for richer and for poorer"
Lawrence's "to have and to hold"
Rebecca's "to love and to cherish"
Lawrence's "in sickness and in health"
Lawrence's "til death do us part"

When I read through it, it didn't seem to be as striking as the first two (alternating-viewpoints and one-character-after-another). But maybe it because I've just read it too many times.

Also, what do you think of the two characters? Does Lawrence have too many faults and not enough strengths? Does Rebecca seem too much of a doormat? Or are they okay? Are the dialogue and circumstances believable, given their ages at that point in time? (I'm especially worried about the "Fever" one.) Does the drama build up successfully in each segment?

Art
I've started compiling and inserting the list of image requirements - you can see them halfway done in the script. It's insane. I think we'll need to go back to the drawing board and think of a better way to implement images to reduce the art requirements. What I'm thinking of at the moment is to implement a mixture of face portraits (like Gakuen Redux) to reduce the sprites requirements, and mix it in with some CG backgrounds (like O3 or Controlled Chaos). So no full-body sprites at all... either they're part of the background, or just a talking head. That should speed things up a bit. Even then, the art requirements are barely this short of insane.

Music
I have no direction for music as yet. Any suggestions? Do you think it's better to have individual music pieces for each scene, considering how separate some of the moods are, or just a few tracks? Music composition and use is my weakest area.

Theoretical Basis/Justification
To be honest, this is my best style of writing - short snippets throughout the entire lives of two characters. So all I did was adapt it to fit the interactive fiction scene. This is actually nothing more than the first level of interactivity - being able to change the discourse order - that is, the way the events in the story are told to you. The story itself doesn't change, so it's not like you really affect anything. You just view it slightly differently, depending on what you learn first.

I had actually planned on a more complicated form, with a second layer of events unlocked after parts of the first layer (ie. these 14 events) were read through. That's what the flags were for... I meant it to be scalable. But I don't think I have enough interesting things to write for the second layer, unfortunately. And looking at the requirements for art and music, that's probably a good thing.


Next stop: Figuring out a way to implement the ending, opening and seen_menu_choices.

-Dizzy-
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#7 Post by PyTom » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:26 am

To mark off seen menu choices:

Code: Select all

init:
    $ style.menu_choice_chosen.color = "#aabbcc"
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#8 Post by dizzcity » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:39 am

That's great! Thanks, Py'Tom. That'll go into the next version.

-Dizzy-
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#9 Post by DaFool » Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:34 am

Actually, I still recommend using character sprites. They may not be full body sprites, but instead use bust sprites or face sprites, but they should be sprites, meaning, reusable, rather than CG / part of the background. I don't know about for others, but for me BGs are the most expensive, while facial variations are the cheapest. So take advantage of that.

Code: Select all

    # This is INSANE! THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY OF DOING THIS!
Unfortunately you'll have to list down all the images necessary for this piece (I'll try to do the same once I sit down to it). First step, just list them all down...characters, expressions, locations, etc. I think you may have the locations hammered down already, so just concentrate on expressions and age. Then afterwards, try to see which can be reuseable and narrow the list down. From the narrowed list you can derive the sprites.

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#10 Post by Watercolorheart » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:57 pm

*stuttering* Th-th-thirty sprites!? No way!

Wow, that's a lot of sprites.
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#11 Post by dizzcity » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:04 pm

The main trouble is that they are all different. Some scenes don't require sprites at all, but some require as many as four different ones, because of the drastic changes of expression. And it doesn't help that the characters grow older, because that means we can't reuse the same body and just change the expression.

In any case, I've finished compiling the list of sprites and backgrounds. Altogether, there are 18 backgrounds and 31 sprites needed. And that's after cutting down here and there. The list is below.
# Background Images used.

image black = Solid((0, 0, 0, 255))
# image bg chapel # for vows background
# image bg restaurant # for Proposal background
# image bg woods # for Walk in the Woods
# image bg rebecca_bedroom # for Argument and Playhouse backgrounds
# image bg park # for Argument background
# image bg living_room_light # for
# image bg lawrence_bedroom_light # for Bankruptcy background
# image bg hospital_corridor # for Cancer background
# image bg hotel_bedroom # for Wedding Night background
# image bg hospital_bedside # for Last Days and Birth of a Son backgrounds
# image bg college_corridor # for Confession background
# image bg college_garden # for Confession background
# image bg living_room_dark # for Making Money background
# image bg kitchen # for Fever background
# image bg lawrence_bedroom_dark # for Fever background
# image bg birthday_table # for Birthday background
# image bg hospital_nursery # for Destiny background
# image bg door # for Wedding Night, Argument & Fever backgrounds

# Character Sprites used

# image rebecca wedding smile # for vows and Wedding Night
# image rebecca wedding surprise # for Wedding Night
# image rebecca wedding embarrassed # for Wedding Night
# image rebecca adult concerned # for Proposal
# image rebecca adult glimmery # for Proposal & Wedding Night
# image rebecca old smile # for Walk in Woods
# image rebecca old laugh # for Walk in Woods
# image rebecca old peaceful # for Walk in Woods
# image rebecca young crying # for Argument
# image rebecca young downcast # for Argument & Bankruptcy
# image rebecca young unsure # for Argument & Bankruptcy
# image rebecca old worried # for Cancer
# image rebecca old lying-down # for Last Days

# image lawrence wedding smile # for vows
# image lawrence child stubborn # for Playhouse
# image lawrence child scowl # for Playhouse
# image lawrence child laugh # for Playhouse
# image lawrence child concerned # for Playhouse
# image lawrence child sick # for Fever
# image lawrence adult smile # for Birth of a Son & Making Money
# image lawrence adult tired # for Making Money
# image lawrence adult concerned # for Making Money
# image lawrence old smile # for Birthday

# image john young hurried # carrying books, for Confession
# image john young serious # carrying books, for Confession
# image john young awkward # not carrying books, for Confession
# image john young pleading # not carrying books, for Confession
# image john old worried # wearing doctor's coat, for Cancer
# image david adult sympathetic # for Cancer
# image Mrs Blythe concerned # for Fever
# image Mrs Summers concerned # for Fever
It's times like this I wish I was an artist. Right now, I'm looking for ways to reduce the art requirements... maybe finding photos so that the backgrounds don't need to be drawn. I think I've got leads for about half a dozen good photos so far... but it's the sprites I'm worried about.

-Dizzy-
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#12 Post by DaFool » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:23 pm

dizzcity you write with a very western flavor. I was looking for hints of oriental family behavior but found absolutely none.

In any case, with Mom cooking and taking care of the baby, and Dad being a workaholic salaryman, it feels so Fifties...it's not a bad thing. But I think having a baby boomer / cold war motif will really add to the authentic flavor.

About the sprites, I am working on a universal Superdoll system, basically a paperdoll which isn't just limited to clothes, expressions, and hairstyles, but also different proportions, genders, and ages. Primarily for my two other projects which have image requirements even more insane than what Wedding Vows has. The possibility of it being finished by the end of this year is reduced by the fact that most of my family will be coming over this month.

In any case, any artists at all out there who would love to contribute here, please do so, by all means!

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#13 Post by dizzcity » Sat Dec 02, 2006 10:50 pm

Yeah, actually, I set this particular story in the U.S.A., in the late 19th or early 20th Century. This was definitely Western. Can't be helped, I guess. I was writing under the influence of my three great muses - Louisa May Alcott (of "Little Women" fame), Lucy Maud Montgomery (of "Anne of Green Gables"), and Gene Stratton Porter (of "Freckles"). And they all lived and wrote around that time. Plus, I sort of remembered one conversation somewhere in these forums that said Japanese players of OELVNs were actually looking for 'Westernised' VNs, instead of just English-language works of Japanese cultural ideas about romance. So I wrote this to fill that segment.

I do have a couple of other ideas which are more "Oriental" and ren'ai-ish in nature, though, including a management sim of a high school dating/matchmaking club. (Basically, something along the lines of "What would happen if Suzumiya Haruhi decided to set up her own matchmaking agency for the students of her school"). But that's far into the future. (Project #4 or #5, I think...)

Please, please... any other artists willing to help? :) Some of the minor characters, like John, or the two mothers, could be done as standalone sprites, and only Rebecca and Lawrence needed to have a consistent style.

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#14 Post by Choark » Sun Dec 03, 2006 3:59 am

Hello! Spare time artist who talks far too much, at ya service.

What you have here is a really nice idea and story and it would defiantly be a shame for it to not be finished because you didn't have any art for it. I am willing to put my name forward for sprites, but I also want to do the horrible sin of laying everything on the table first.

*I took longer to reply then I first intended because I was afraid of taking on, and somehow screwing up, someone else’s project. I haven't actually worked on any kind of project like this before and I though it might be best to try something of my own first, so I could learn how to do it without worrying about messing up someone else’s work. As a side note I'm pretty much a terrible writer and have little patience for it.

*I am likely going to disappear completely from the internet either on the 16th-17th or the 23rd-24th of December due to heading home for Christmas time. I'll defiantly be back for the 2nd of January. It didn't seem right signing up for something then having to say "actually I've got to basically disappear now." I'll also unlikely get to do any drawings during this time, though that’s not definite. But if is, or if its not a problem then at least now you know.

*On a more positive note: I am completely work free from the 8th onwards to 2nd January. So I could likely get a fair amount done before I head back home.

*You only have my word for it but I promise not to ditch and run.

*Sprites I am totally willing to do, and honestly from that list I don't think it'll be much of a problem but as far as backgrounds go I'm completely green and can't really help in that department.

I can't think of much more to say. I guess what’s next is actually looking at what I've done and see it you think it'll actually suit you're story. I've posted it elsewhere but to look at some general artwork done by me there's Here but I also have a surprise below:

When I looked on the list this morning and saw you lacked an artist I decided to do two quick sketches of the same person in different ages just to see how they could come out.

Image
# image rebecca young crying

Image
# image rebecca old smile
Amusinly much older then she's meant to be. Or those 45 years were really harsh


These were of course done without any real idea of how you wanted her to look so they're most likely to be completely different to how you imagined her. These are just two pencil sketches with one "true line" layer darkened to black. The old womans hand is so obviously bad in that sketch it hurts. I will do better in any finished art. So if these work and me dissapearing for a while, and this being my first go at something like this or working with someone else, all is okay, then let me know.

---
A western feeling Visual Novel is nothing bad in my book, heck some of my favorite writers have been westerners. Though my art is so obviously more japanese inspired. Its almost a shame no artist more "American" styled can do some art for this story.

... I think I've done yaking on for now.

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#15 Post by dizzcity » Sun Dec 03, 2006 5:00 am

That's great, Choark! Would love to have you onboard. :D I like your artwork, and your drawing of Rebecca young actually suited my image of her (Rebecca old was just too.. old, yeah. But you already knew that. :P) Don't worry about deadlines too much.. I'm pretty free and relaxed when it comes to those. (If anything, while I'm waiting for artwork on one project, I'll be busy writing for another one, so... no rush) But of course, the sooner you can get them done, the faster a complete version can be released.

So great, come and join in. :) I really had very little concept of what Rebecca or Lawrence would look like, as I hardly deal with visuals at all, so just draw what you think a "Rebecca" or "Lawrence" would look like, based on the writing, and then we can discuss it further.

-Dizzy-
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