WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Crime, LGBT Dating-Sim)

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MoonByte
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Completed: Shine (RPG Maker), Heroes (RPG Maker), Lantern Bearer (RPG Maker), Loop the Loop (Unity), Magic Potion (Unity), Other Stars (Unreal), Sky Eye (RPG Maker), WIN Delivery & Fateful (Ren'Py)
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WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Crime, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#1 Post by MoonByte » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:15 pm

Weird Genres, huh? xD
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 :mrgreen:

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.

Title:
WIN - Weird Is Normal

Story:
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?

Characters:

BLACK
Image

Protagonist:
Marv
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.

Potential Partners:
Chris
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.
Birk
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.
Johnson
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.


WHITE
Image

Protagonist:

Rita
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.

Edward
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.
Zarah
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.
Whitney
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.
Trevor
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.

Other:
  • 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 :P
  • 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 ;)
So yeah, any opinions, hints, input (except for - of course - bigotry and hate speech xDD) is welcome. I got the rough story (especially everything about the serial killer) already nailed down, but creating games is a flexible thing with lots and lots of iterations. So if you find anything weird, TOO unclear or something, feel free to jump in and point it out.
Last edited by MoonByte on Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:58 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Drama, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:47 pm

MoonByte wrote: I had worked on Ren'Py games before that all ended up unfinished because I planned x hours of gameplay and just went for it without structure or plan.
Your story includes quite a few characters, their relationships, a murder mystery plot, and (perhaps?) statistics management gameplay. That said, my first question is "Have you completed any type of fiction before?" In other words, have you already made and finished at least one story? If you have not yet finished work on a novel, a comic, an indie game, or another creative work, then be careful. Here are several reasons why:

* There are a lot of unfinished freeware visual novels. If you look through the Works in Progress and Ideas sections of Lemma Soft, you'll find many projects that never got past the planning phases. Read this thread in order to learn more about this problem.
* Do you plan to release your story for free, or do you want to sell it as an independent game / VN? It can be difficult to recruit people to help work on free projects. That said, it is not necessarily easy to recruit and pay people to help work on indie projects.
* I can understand that you want to create a large scale project. Please keep in mind that it's easier to start with a small scale project. Consider creating a short story with just a few characters and settings. Limit yourself to writing just two or three endings.

A couple of off-topic asides...
MoonByte wrote: I DO enjoy Dating Sims, but it is always either heterosexual love or gay love, nothing else...
For what it's worth, the Visual Novel Database has some potentially relevant tags such as Both Male and Female Love Interests and LGBTQ. These do not guarantee that the stories will focus on characters' relationships. Also, they don't guarantee that the stories will include simulation gameplay.
MoonByte wrote: I have played plenty of games, but I could make a chart of characters and chances would be that I could put every single character ever made into one of six templates (INCLUDING skin color, sexuality, gender and age). Which is HORRIBLY boring in my opinion. You sit in the subway and will be confronted with 100 very different people...
That is also true here in Chicago. But when I look at the shelves of local video game retailers, most of what I notice can be categorized under just a few genres and styles.

Please keep the Theorem of Narrow Interests in mind. If you're looking for a story with a lot of different fictional characters, you will have an easier time finding it in formats such as prose fiction, comics, motion pictures, and TV series. It can sometimes be difficult to find visual novels in English which can not be described as love polygon stories aimed at one demographic.

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MoonByte
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Completed: Shine (RPG Maker), Heroes (RPG Maker), Lantern Bearer (RPG Maker), Loop the Loop (Unity), Magic Potion (Unity), Other Stars (Unreal), Sky Eye (RPG Maker), WIN Delivery & Fateful (Ren'Py)
Projects: Weird Is Normal (Ren'Py), Gnowee (prob. Game Maker)
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Re: WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Drama, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#3 Post by MoonByte » Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:18 am

gekiganwing wrote:
MoonByte wrote: I had worked on Ren'Py games before that all ended up unfinished because I planned x hours of gameplay and just went for it without structure or plan.
"Have you completed any type of fiction before?" In other words, have you already made and finished at least one story?
I currently have:
40 comics (39 german, 1 english plus 1 ongoing english), 5 novels (german), 8 short 2D animation movies, 2 3D animation movies and 9 indie games (1 german, the rest english; 1 unreal, 5 unity, 2 RPG Maker, 1 Twine) to my name.
I DO have experience in the whole thing, especially some of my comics are over 5 volumes long and one of my RPG Maker XP games (as well as the one I am working on currently) give easily 10+ hours of playtime.
Ren'Py is one of the only engines that I have worked with where I haven't finished anything. Cards of Destiny was close and only failed because my art style changed so extremely when about 10-20% of the art was left missing that I would have to redo all assets. And Sky Eye was stopped as a Ren'Py project, but instead made as a RPG Maker game (90% finished, I am working on the final touches).
Also, just to make it clear: I made it sound like I had plenty of Ren'Py games in the making. Not true, I had worked on two and I had loads of ideas that I had dumped in the idea dump, maybe even made a idea thread for it, but that never even started since I was aware of the work and not dedicated to actually do it. I've been making games since I am 12, I have a sense of when a game will probably be left unfinished by now.
Since mostly Ren'Py seems to be the problem (maybe because it is text based instead of with visualisation like in Twine or 3D engines), I will go through this game in chapters. Each chapter for each protagonist is a short story (which connect but can also work seperately). I hope to drive around my previous issues with this and - even if it fails again - I at least have SOMETHING finished (the crime may stay unsolved, but it would be a playable demo at least).

Also, even though it is not reflected in my first post, but: Marv has only four of the possible partners and Rita has the other four. One of each has less text since they are a "fake" romance, so to speak, meaning three full romance routes per protagonist as well as one small additional one. I will not have one character romance eight people, it is small (I would go insane otherwise anyway).
I clarified this in the introduction post to reflect this. It seems like a lot of characters, but since I start with Rita's story, there are only six important characters: Rita, the three love options, the friend option and the killer. Plus a few side characters which can have stand-in graphics for the moment until I have worked them out fine, figured out the pacing of the story, etc.
For what it's worth, the Visual Novel Database has some potentially relevant tags such as Both Male and Female Love Interests and LGBTQ. These do not guarantee that the stories will focus on characters' relationships.
I regulary browse through the database and from what I have seen so far, the only non-male or non-female characters are usually crossdressers (or super bishonen guys). I mean, it is somewhat reflected in the mangas and comics as well. I know THREE that have a transexual character as protagonist without using it for comedy or (even worse in my opinion) making them look like the Evil Stepsister from Shrek 2. It is sad, because I know transexual men (and one woman) and they are so nice people desperate to NOT be compared with those. And transvestites on the other hand are always seen as weirdos because they get badly reflected as well.
If I make a game with such a character inside it, then I want those people to feel comfortable, maybe even properly represented. And hey, I have plenty of friends from all over the spectrums, so I can even ask around if any of my things are insensitive (I will not sacrifice all, but if I fear that something may really insult or hurt them, then the least I can do is ask for opinion).
Please keep the Theorem of Narrow Interests in mind. If you're looking for a story with a lot of different fictional characters, you will have an easier time finding it in formats such as prose fiction, comics, motion pictures, and TV series. It can sometimes be difficult to find visual novels in English which can not be described as love polygon stories aimed at one demographic.
True, but somebody has to take the first step. There always has to be a first. It may be easier to find in prose, but only because prose has been longer around and thus had the time to develop and challenge status quo. Games are still fairly young, they can change immensily. One just has to start with it :3
Also, I am by far not narcistic enough to claim I make a GOOD game that will be praised on all websites for how amazingly inclusive and whatever it is. My professor rubs off on me (he comes from the movies and has repeatedly told me and my fellow students that it is an oportunity to have the chance to actually still have the chance to claim to be among those that can still make something NEW, since that will not be possible anymore in a few years, so I am gonna take brutal advantage of it xD)

_________________________________________________________

Actually, since I am right now busy preparing the character settings, I may make a small prequel game to get into Ren'Py again and as a "test" of the story.
Definitely about Johnson (since I already had a comic about it and thus know how it goes), maybe a second one about James and Whitney or about Clarke, Zarah and their collegue Jennifer.


But as I have said in the first post:
I would love some hints and critique. I can see that it is very easy to make critique on my stance to want to be "that first person to make a super-inclusive game", but that isn't actually my aim, it is simply a byproduct that friends had pointed out and thus I decided to simply roll with it advertise the concept with mentioning that. I really would like some input specifically on the research thing, because I am not sure of whether or not it may distract too much or something.
Same with some of the characters. I of course gave SUPER short descriptions of them, but if anything sounds way too over the top, boring or contradictional, then I would like to know that so I can figure out how to fix it or to figure out why it is like that.
Last edited by MoonByte on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MoonByte
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Re: WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Drama, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#4 Post by MoonByte » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:42 pm

I have started to fill up my Game Design Document about this (including scouting out if there are scripts for the few extra things that I want, so far I've been lucky) and I prepared most of the scripts already, thus being more or less ready to start the writing once I have structured the story and defined all characters.

And since I have finished "Weird Is Normal ~Delivery~" (which is a prologue, in case anyone's curious), I noticed that i am not 100% sure which art style I may want to go with.
I could continue the mostly realistic proportioned style from the prologue:
ImageImage

Sketching out various kinds of creatures that may or may not make a appereance, I also began considering a more exaggerated, cartoon-like style (as seen with the fairies and the troll at the top left):
Image
Image
Not sure what to go with right now, maybe I know when making more sketches.

Either way, I have changed plans and will NOT start with Rita's story, instead I go with Marv since while Marv spoils more about the murders, Rita spoils more about the murderer. And I think, WHO and WHY killed is more interesting than HOW, so I am gonna keep the tension up by doing him first. I will probably start writing on the first chapter of his story tomorrow (not sure if I am already gonna include romantic options at that point or if I will simply introduce everyone at first).

So yeah, a lot of things are "not sure" yet, I assume that once my document is filled and I have finished writing down story structure, I WILL be sure (except on the art style, I really need to figure that out). In the best case, I can get a big bunk of at least Chapter 1 and possibly 2 done by end of April since the university project will start then, robbing me of any freetime until term break.

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Re: WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Drama, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#5 Post by T4R4F13D » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:34 am

This is such an interesting idea! I prefer the cartoon style to the previous one, just a bit more welcoming I think. I would definitely play a game like this.

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MoonByte
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Completed: Shine (RPG Maker), Heroes (RPG Maker), Lantern Bearer (RPG Maker), Loop the Loop (Unity), Magic Potion (Unity), Other Stars (Unreal), Sky Eye (RPG Maker), WIN Delivery & Fateful (Ren'Py)
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Re: WIN - Weird Is Normal (Fantasy, Drama, LGBT Dating-Sim)

#6 Post by MoonByte » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:19 pm

A bit of code has already been done, but I'm still busy planning out the storyline for the different paths and some basic gameplay features.
I am also currently concepting on the design of the main cast, clothes, hairstyle and minor features may change later, but I got at least the basic look for each of em down.

Cast Black (Marvin):
Image

Cast White (Rita):
Image

Still have no idea on the look of the interface though. Maybe I go with something along the line of android mobile phones? No idea.

P.S.
I am aware of faults like the right fairies knee and the small feet of the unicorn and so on.
But it is 1.30 AM and I am in hospital with a tube in my chest, so honestly, I don't care right now xD
It's a frigging concept, I can live with small errors in physique, it's not like the final thing with have blatant errors like that.

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