Well, I had a dream of a creature that I called Birk. And let's just say, that creature got friends, subordinates, rivals and suddenly I had a whole cast. And I had thought a lot about what I want to do with them. I considered a comic, but felt, it would not do them justice. I thought about a Twine game, but that was too limited.
So I guess, I have successfully returned to Ren'Py
Weird Is Normal is a world that is my personal baby, mostly because it is very inclusiv (imagine big text of ranting about how most games are more or less featuring the same people). But that may be wishful thinking, more than anything, I just want to make something that me and my friends enjoy. And - hopefully - others as well ;9
Of course, I would still enjoy some thoughts, inputs, hints and tips.
But now for the cold, hard facts of what I am planning.
WIN - Weird Is Normal
The hidden creature society has been in shock as a mysterious killer seems to be roaming the country. A young girls corpse had been found, another girl has gone missing and the authorities are more desperate than ever to find the culprit and punish them accordingly.
In the middle of all this are Marv and Rita. Marv gets involved as he is ordered to follow leads for a disappeared girl leading him straight into the case of the killer. Rita gets involved when she picks up rumors about it and her curiosity gets the better of her.
The two protagonists show different views on the killer and their case. Depending on who the protagonist dates (if any), the informations collected can differ and so does the success. For full understanding of the murder case, all paths have to be played, though every single path will give insight in the basic case.
Through five chapters, the case will turn more and more bleak and violent with the only question standing: who is the killer and will they be found and brought to justice?
And will the protagonists - who have to fight with various degrees of confidence issues - be able to grow from the experience, make some friends, find love or end up even more alone than before?
Marvin is a Vampire and thus a rare case of a human turned into a creature. He gets teased and sometimes outright bullied for that, but he has learned to ignore it. Being quite small (1,64m), he is usually more self-concious about his height than his race. He is a private investigator belonging to a big legal firm, with his jobs ranging from sniffing out cheating spouses to finding clues for big goverment scandals. As common for non-born vampires, he is somewhat weak, has a UV light allergy and sometimes behaves inappropiate by creature standards.
A young Troll. He's calm, big and quite friendly, though more an introvert and currently a bit erratic with everything that's going on. He seems to live in the park and enjoy reading books.
Kasey & Linda
Two Fairies that work for a certain nightclub owner. They are usually very flirty and provocative, but they suffer heavily from pollution since they live in the city, so they have their weak moments where they show their gratitude for kindness.
They are a Polycephaly and owner of the legal firm that Marv works at. While she is friendly and playful, he tends to be a bit more snarky and teasing, though they usually enjoy getting a good laugh. While they are quite professional at work, they show their childish bickering when in private.
A Daemon and professional hacker. While he is excellent at his job and thus well-paid, he regulary annoys his boss and co-workers by spending his worktime with playing MMORPGs. Being someone that rarely ever leaves the house, he seems quite asocial, though he does appreciate attention and friendship.
Rita is a Marish, a rare creature that is born whenever a human has experienced trauma to the point of breaking. Being a big blob of blackish goo that causes nightmares, guilt and self-hate upon touch, she is extremely unpopular and gets regulary avoided or abused. Being very shy, she usually simply tries to avoid people, though her job as a freelance journalist regulary forces her out into the open. While being one of the few creatures that has almost no physical weakness, she suffers heavily from the hatred she inspires.
He's a Pars and Editor of Daily Weird. He has a quiet and grounded personality and is a trustworthy and reliable person, though he has a tendency to negative thoughts and blaming himself for things that go wrong around himself. He seems particulary interested in Rita, though his intentions aren't exactly clear.
A Banshee that is an investigative officer in the police force and proud of that. She enjoys her job and encourages everyone to do their best, though lazy collegues, sexism and in regular inappropiate behaviour regulary brings out her choleric side.
A Unicorn who's a journalist and one of the permanent employees at Daily Weird. They seems playful, friendly and overall someone that can be fun to be around, but since they are one of the five rare "pure" creatures, their comments can sometimes border on abuse whenever they are honest.
A Ghoul and Zarah's partner. While being as able as she is, he lacks in confidence heavily based on his appeareance as well as certain bias towards his race (though he can become very angry when being mistaken for a Zombie). Being a quiet and friendly fellow that can throw a punch if he has to, he manages to keep his job, though he would certainly enjoy some emotional back-up.
- I want to make CGs and I want to make plenty of them (since I always enjoy collecting them in VNs and want to give others that pleasure as well). But I currently have no real "feel" for how many. It could be 18 (only the endings) up to whatevs. I guess, I will see how quickly I get done with the art once the script is out of the way and decide spontanously.
- The potential partners are supposed to represent a wide variety of people. Among my characters are people without gender, people with mixed gender, transexual, male and female. And their sexualities are also all over the spectrum, with some being apparently open for anything, others stating a specific gender that they're interested in. There are also characters that are ace and one case of menage-a-trois.
Plus, I tried (and still try) to add various body types. Chubby, thin, feminine, masculine, fragile or muscles, big and small.
Hopefully, there will be something of interest for whatever one may go for.
- I am currently considering about having a "point" system. The player will have a certain amount of actions that they can spend per day which will increase either Research or Investigation. Reaching a certain number unlocks hints (unless one has entered the path of a partner that offers that clue as default), so it is all about the player trying to increase both stats evenly while learning about the story and possibly date/befriend a character (because like in real life, you sometimes have to decide what to do, you don't have infinite time to just roll around).
I am currently not 100% sure how to exactly structure what raises the stats. If I will have places that raise it, if it is characters, both. I don't want to make it feel like brainlessly grinding, so I am currently thinking of how to combine it with the story, possibly by branching so that a play that is only on Research ends with an entirely different experience than playing only on Investigation or keeping it equal.
- I will work on this game in Chapters and Protagonists.
The current story has five chapters with the structure of classic epic theater [Exposition, Increasing tension, Highlight, Falling tension, "catastrophe"] for each protagonist and I would work on each chapter for each Protagonist seperately, making the game slowly more and more avaible until it is finished. Marvin's (BLACK) story would revolve around the murders and victims while Rita's (WHITE) story is about the murderer, their intentions and course of action.
My inspiration for how the game should feel would be in the veins of "Life Is Strange" (title similarity is coincidental, I had this idea before having played LiS) and Ace Attorney. The story should slowly grow in intensity, regulary refer it's earlier happenings and decisions and be with emphasis on the characters (plus Ace Attorney is of course also a bit of inspiration in how to use investigating in a narrative game).
So I would have ten small game parts (5 acts for Rita, five for Marv) that would ideally form the entire game once I am finished. This will also allow me to consider making the project commercial as the first chapter could serve as a demo and would give me an impression of whether or not there is interest that I could profit from.
- I would LOVE to have each chapter end with a literal cutscene as in: a short movie that shows how the chapter ends. Since 2D animation is somewhat of an specialisation of mine, it wouldn't be impossible and way to big (I am faster in making a short animation than a decend landscape image :'D), but it is of course quite a load of work, especially if I work alone and want the quality to be as high as what I am desiring for the general aesthetics.
Alternatively, maybe I just animate the intro and the actual endings (or even just the True Endings). In the worst case, no animations and instead still images that convey what want
- For the moment I am working alone (and I am not necessarily opposed to keeping it that way since I am used to solitary work). But I have quite a weakness in background art and I feel very strongly about music in games, so I may or may not ask for help with those at some point, if I can't do it myself/find good stuff. Of course, if I do, I will hopefully have done a big load of work already to convey how the game will look, feel and play so that a potentially interested artist can decide on whether or not it's worth their time and that the game has a high chance of getting finished, so their talent will not get wasted in an forever unfinished project