Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

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Hazel
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Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#1 Post by Hazel » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:41 am

Basics

Wreath of Roses is an intrigue game set in a non-magic secondary world fantasy setting. It follows a princess on her path to an arranged marriage. The game is narrative-driven and low on mechanical gameplay. The story is moved forward by the player's choices. Currently the game is in text form and written in Twine. The first version is close to complete. After I'm satisfied with the text version I may want to recruit an artist and try to convert it from Twine to Ren'Py, expanding the game in the process. The game is currently (as of today, actually) a little over 20K words.

To be clear, the game is currently being written and is unfinished.

The alpha version of Wreath of Roses can now be played through the Finally Finish Something Jam on itch.io. After the rating period is closed it will likely be locked for a short time to allow editing and improvements.

Play Wreath of Roses alpha

Characters

Names may be subject to change.

Thalia is the protagonist of the game. She's a young woman from an old and powerful kingdom, distantly related to royalty. Through the machinations of her mother, and because of her exceptional nature, she was chosen to help seal a marriage alliance with a neighboring kingdom.
Theros is the king in question. Widowed, with two grown children.
Hemera is the king's eldest daughter and heir. She's bright and calculating, and very invested in the success of the alliance.
Evander is the king's younger son. He's smart, but more withdrawn than his sister and less politically active.
Anabelle is both the ambassador's daughter and his assistant. Like Hemera she's invested a great deal of time and energy in making this alliance happen.

Several more minor characters include the ambassador himself, a palace seamstress, Thalia's mother Daphne, and a few others.

Plot

Princess Thalia arrives at a castle in the mountain kingdom of Eurinium shortly before the anticipated date of her wedding to the Eurinian King. Though they've corresponded and she's known for some time that the marriage was in the works, this is their first meeting. Eurinium is very different from her homeland of Melandea, and she's arrived at the castle more or less alone. She has only a few days to acquaint herself with the castle and its occupants, including her presumed future husband, before she has to make a final decision of whether to go through with the marriage or not.

Setting

The game is set almost entirely in the summer court of Eurinium. Eurinium is a mountain kingdom that has traditionally been considered a backwater by the larger, more prosperous nations surrounding it. More recently in its history, it has expanded its territory into the lowlands and absorbed several trade centers in the form of wealthy city-states. Now Eurinium is considered a culture on the rise, flourishing and increasingly influential in world affairs. Melandea, the homeland of our protagonist, is an older and wealthier kingdom, and had been a nexus of trade and culture for centuries. In order to keep up with a rapidly changing world, the King of Melandea has decided to forge a closer connection between the two kingdoms.

Endings

Depending on your choices during the game, there are three possible endings: good, neutral and bad. There is also a special secret ending that can be discovered after you've achieved the good end.

Questions

Here are my questions to you, to determine whether it's worth my while to keep pushing this project.
  1. Would you play this game in its current, text-based form?
  2. Would you play the game as described, if it was a visual novel with sprites and backgrounds and so on?
  3. Would you play a more romantic version of this game in VN form, and if so, who would you want to see as love interests?
  4. Which, if any, of the above would you be willing to pay for as a commercial game?
  5. Do you play text games in general?
  6. Do you play non-romance games in general?
  7. As described, which of the characters seem the most: likable/interesting/relatable?
  8. Are you interested to hear more about the setting, or less?
  9. Any notes on the names, of the characters and locations, and of the game in general? My naming scheme has been more hasty than usual.
  10. Any other notes? Literally anything, don't self-censor, I have a strong stomach for criticism.
Last edited by Hazel on Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:11 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#2 Post by Mammon » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:38 am

Hazel wrote:
  1. Would you play this game in its current, text-based form?
  2. Would you play the game as described, if it was a visual novel with sprites and backgrounds and so on?
  3. Would you play a more romantic version of this game in VN form, and if so, who would you want to see as love interests?
  4. Which, if any, of the above would you be willing to pay for as a commercial game?
  5. Do you play text games in general?
  6. Do you play non-romance games in general?
  7. As described, which of the characters seem the most: likable/interesting/relatable?
  8. Are you interested to hear more about the setting, or less?
  9. Any notes on the names, of the characters and locations, and of the game in general? My naming scheme has been more hasty than usual.
  10. Any other notes? Literally anything, don't self-censor, I have a strong stomach for criticism.
1. I'd tell you if I could, but I don't know where to find it. And google is more interested in Elisabeth Taylor's similarly named book. I did find a twitter feed with a link to your patreon, but no link to the game itself to judge (that I saw). So a little marketing tip is to update your accounts and pages to have a link to your Twine game and later to your Ren'py game as well (if made). I have enjoyed playing non-visual interactive stories before so I see no reason to assume I won't like it though.

2. I do however think I'll play the ren'py version rather than the Twine version if I get the choice. The VN would have Visuals to faster and better portray personality, emotion and certain acts, and have background music to it that changes along with the mood of the scene. And the first impression that I have as a potential reader wondering whether I want to read it is more easily swayed by images than just text.

3. That does seem like a good move. The issue of the man you're supposed to get married to being old enough to be your father is probably a plot point in your text-based game already but would become more present in a visual novel. So Evander and Hemeda will both probably be preferred choices over accepting your duty and marrying the king to the readers of the VN.

4. Can't really say much about that without seeing the promo's for either game, but I think most people won't readily pull out their wallet for a 20K words story unless the hype and art are good enough. So Twine no, Ren'py depending.

6. Yes. I care about the story rather than the genre, a good writer can make any story work and a bad writer can make the best of plots fail.

7. Not much to go on, but Hemera and Anabella probably.

8. Your description seems to contain most things that one would expect from an Ideas thread. Only the amount of endings was something I missed. In a Ren'py game, some of the game's images would be useful to add, but for a text-based game it's a good synopsis.

9. You're better than naming characters than I am, and I don't see any characters I might confuse with one another. Sufficient difference and uniqueness to the names. At most 'Eurinium' sounds like an element rather than a country, and when reading it the first time it reminded me of 'Ureum' which is a main component of urine.

10. I'd say the above cover it pretty well.
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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#3 Post by Zelan » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:38 pm

Would you play this game in its current, text-based form?
I would, it seems interesting enough.

Would you play the game as described, if it was a visual novel with sprites and backgrounds and so on?
I would as long as the art wasn't a turn-off for me. When I play VNs, I generally try to give the art more of a pass than the writing, but if it's just that bad it'll distract me from the story.

Would you play a more romantic version of this game in VN form, and if so, who would you want to see as love interests?
I guess? If adding romantic paths would significantly change the plot of your VN, I can easily imagine the game becoming real forced, real quick. However, if you do end up going that route, I think Mammon had a good idea with Evander and Hemera. The story could still have the chance to end in an alliance with a marriage to either one of them, for one thing, and the opposite stances of those two on politics would make for interesting routes. And there's no reason that the king can't still be a love interest. Personally, I'm not usually a fan of the "protagonist-with-much-older-love-interest" trope, but it can be done right (for instance, not making the king a huge perv).

Which, if any, of the above would you be willing to pay for as a commercial game?
Either, if I felt that the price matched the quality. Probably more for a VN version than for a Twine version, since the VN would have more overall content; word count might remain the same, but VNs have the added bonus of art.

Do you play text games in general?
Yup. I used to play a lot of Choice of Games titles a few years ago. I ran out of space on my phone, and discovered VNs soon after, so I haven't played them in a while. Still, it's basically a choose-your-own-adventure book where you don't have to flip through a billion pages. What's not to love?

Do you play non-romance games in general?
I do. It's hard to find them on here, since most VNs at least include it (if they aren't centered around it), but if romance isn't a part of your story, then it isn't a part of your story, and I'd love to play more VNs like that.

As described, which of the characters seem the most: likable/interesting/relatable?
Evander. He seems to be the only major character not particularly interested in politics, which makes me wonder how he views Thalia and how his family views him.

Are you interested to hear more about the setting, or less?
It's not a necessity, but I've always been a sucker for worldbuilding. I wouldn't mind hearing more about the setting.

Any notes on the names, of the characters and locations, and of the game in general? My naming scheme has been more hasty than usual.
Everything seems in order to me. Your names are unique and interesting, and have avoided the trap of taking a common name and replacing a few of the letters so that it sounds exotic. (Always tempting, but also painfully obvious.)

Any other notes? Literally anything, don't self-censor, I have a strong stomach for criticism.
As I was typing this I realized how much I like the name Thalia. I have to say I'm looking forward to having her as the player character. c:

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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#4 Post by Hazel » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:10 am

Ah, I see what happened here. I seem to have not been clear enough in my original post, so I went and edited it. WOR is currently in late writing stages. It's close to being finished, but it's not done and no part of it is publicly posted anywhere.
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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#5 Post by gekiganwing » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:51 pm

Hazel wrote:Wreath of Roses is an intrigue game set in a non-magic secondary world fantasy setting.
In other words, is the setting a fictional world that is not based on any real places?
Hazel wrote: [*]Would you play this game in its current, text-based form?
[*]Would you play the game as described, if it was a visual novel with sprites and backgrounds and so on?
Either way is fine. If you believe that the story would work better if the reader imagines what the characters look like, that's okay. If you believe that it would work better if the characters are shown on-screen, that's also okay.
Hazel wrote: [*]Would you play a more romantic version of this game in VN form, and if so, who would you want to see as love interests?
If you think the story should put some emphasis on romantic relationships, then go ahead.

It sounds like your premise might be "Thalia is hesitant to go through an arranged marriage to an older man who she hardly knows." Do you think that Thalia and Theros would grow to care about each other?

Is the premise of your story "The protagonist is more attracted to Evander, and is willing to risk the political alliance failing because of her interest in him"? If you want, you can write Thalia falling in love with Hemera or Anabelle, and this causing problems in her political marriage.
Hazel wrote: [*]Do you play text games in general?
[*]Do you play non-romance games in general?


I missed out on most commercial text / graphic adventure games when they were current. The computers which my family owned were usually several years out of date. Because of this, I've experienced only a small amount of interactive fiction and computer adventure games.

On the other hand, I was an active console game fan for almost a decade before I learned that romance video games existed. In other words, I stumbled into romance games thanks to the Playstation 1 titles Thousand Arms and Harvest Moon: Back to Nature.

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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#6 Post by Hazel » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:13 pm

gekiganwing wrote:
Hazel wrote:Wreath of Roses is an intrigue game set in a non-magic secondary world fantasy setting.
In other words, is the setting a fictional world that is not based on any real places?
Yes, exactly. A made-up kingdom, but filled with humans and no magic.
gekiganwing wrote:If you think the story should put some emphasis on romantic relationships, then go ahead.

It sounds like your premise might be "Thalia is hesitant to go through an arranged marriage to an older man who she hardly knows." Do you think that Thalia and Theros would grow to care about each other?

Is the premise of your story "The protagonist is more attracted to Evander, and is willing to risk the political alliance failing because of her interest in him"? If you want, you can write Thalia falling in love with Hemera or Anabelle, and this causing problems in her political marriage.
Well, it's a branching story, so the theme is supposed to be choice. More specifically, the choice between power and freedom. The game tracks Thalia's progress with three variables. The first is positive reactions, for when she goes out of her way to meet people, or get to know her environment. The second, negative interactions, for when she expresses clear opposition to the marriage. Lastly there is a variable that tracks "security" which decreases when she expresses uncertainty or ambivalence.

I feel that adding a romance element might enhance the choices the player makes. Deciding to be hostile to an arranged marriage on principle, or because you vaguely intend to be in love with someone else someday, is less compelling than opposition on grounds that you're already in love with someone else. It would also allow me to make the King's path more explicitly platonic, in opposition to (probably two) other more romantic paths.

And, well. People like romance. I'm not immune to wanting more people to look at my game, and shipping is a powerful incentive. Even for my friends who are already familiar with my writing style.
Zelan wrote:Would you play a more romantic version of this game in VN form, and if so, who would you want to see as love interests?
I guess? If adding romantic paths would significantly change the plot of your VN, I can easily imagine the game becoming real forced, real quick. However, if you do end up going that route, I think Mammon had a good idea with Evander and Hemera. The story could still have the chance to end in an alliance with a marriage to either one of them, for one thing, and the opposite stances of those two on politics would make for interesting routes. And there's no reason that the king can't still be a love interest. Personally, I'm not usually a fan of the "protagonist-with-much-older-love-interest" trope, but it can be done right (for instance, not making the king a huge perv).
I looked again at my character introductions and realized that I hardly wrote anything about Anabelle, and that's probably why you noticed the Prince and Princess more. If I were to create a route-based version of the game, the additional love interests would probably be Evander and Anabelle, not Hemera. Optionally, I might add one or two other characters. Following through with the marriage as arranged would be more of a friendship route, as I said above. As the game is now, it emphasizes friendship but there's a small amount of romance content that can be opened up.

I can see what you mean about the game being forced. There is something about the basic premise that doesn't really gel. I think I could do a credible job of it, but equally, I could just leave it as-is and develop some other idea for a romance/intrigue game.
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Re: Wreath of Roses [Fantasy, Intrigue]

#7 Post by Hazel » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:12 am

Adding as a new post in addition to editing, to make sure it doesn't get lost:

The alpha version of Wreath of Roses can now be played through the Finally Finish Something Jam on itch.io. After the rating period is closed it will likely be locked for a short time to allow editing and improvements.

Play Wreath of Roses alpha
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