*note: sorry for the awkward length of this post and all the images...*
Hi everyone! I'm new here, but I've actually been lurking around these forums for quite some time now, and I thought I would make my presence finally known. (I apologize for my English in advance.) I've actually recently begun working on a (solo) project, and I decided to make a thread here to get myself more motivated to work on it. Unfortunately, I won't have much time to continue for the next few weeks due to school work, so I thought I would at least put it "out there" and see if anyone was interested in this kind of game. I'll work on it whenever I do have time, though, and hopefully complete the game by midsummer. My goal is to keep the file size rather small, i.e. under 25.0 MB, but still have a complete game.
The time and place of the game reflects Edwardian (early 20th century) England. I changed the names of people and places in the game to avoid historical inaccuracies (so it's not *actually* England), and there may be some anachronistic clothing and dialogue...but I tried to limit it as much as possible, and, where it exists, to have it serve the purposes of the game. But yes, there will be corsets, balls/dances, early airplanes, old-fashioned cars, and all that jazz. Or at least that's the plan.
In the game, you are a maid that has just begun working for the Tarletons, an aristocratic family in financial decline. Your past is somewhat mysterious (mostly because I don't have it entirely worked out yet!), but you were raised in poverty and have developed a somewhat cynical attitude towards the wealthy classes and the ideals of social mobility, equality, etc. You are in the range of 27-29 years old, and, by all standards of the time, an old maid. (I know this is well beyond the typical age for GxB heroines, but...) At any rate, you are resigned to spinsterhood and working as a maid for the rest of your life...The plot will mostly be a "daily life" kind of thing, with the main storyline revolving around the financial crisis your employers (the Tarletons) are facing, while also dealing with the rigid social standards towards non-wealthy, unmarried women.
Just a quick note about the art: I'll be the first to admit that it's not very good. I guess I don't really have an excuse except that I'm not an artist, and I've never been good at art, but I couldn't use already available character designs from the Internet due to the need for specific period-based clothing. I hope it doesn't detract too much from the game itself. All I can say is that after this experience, I have GREAT respect for all you artists out there. (Drawing with a mouse is hard!) Anyway, to make a long story short, I'm going to use photographs for the backgrounds, and mouse-drawn images (using Inkscape) for the characters. I'm not really sure if I can make CGs for important events in the game because I really am lacking in the necessary technical skill...I'll have to see how it all shakes out. I don't have the funds to hire an artist, and I don't want to ask an artist here to work for free when I'm clearly a new member with no experience, and no real time table on how long this project is going to take. Once the game is finished though, it would be great if someone could help me clean up (i.e. totally overhaul) the art a little.
This worked out conveniently for the setting, because I have no composition skills either...most of the music will be classical music already in the public domain.
If nothing else does, the gameplay will make it evident that I'm a total n00b. I've never programmed anything in my life, so I intend to make this game relatively simple, with branching paths and probably with 5 or 6 different endings. Nothing too complicated. I have a ton of ideas for things I would like to do for this game, but no idea how to implement them, and I don't want to get in too far over my head. If anything important comes up though, I will not hesitate to ask for help in the Renpy technical support forum.
I will experiment with customizing a little, though, and hopefully come out with a "demo" at some point, to show my progress. (That doesn't imply that it will be a commercial game; this will definitely be a free game.)
What drives the game, of course. I haven't worked out all of the plot or characters yet, but I plan to keep a balance between male and female characters. (I'm a very organic as opposed to a planned kind of writer, at least in the linear novels I've written.) Most of the characters will have two outfits; unfortunately, I probably won't be able to change their poses, but I'll have side images to show their emotions. Here a few main ones:
File comment: This is you in your maid's uniform.
girl1.png [ 17.98 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
This is you. I haven't chosen her name yet, so it is temporarily Molly. She is a plain-looking girl, plain as a mouse really.
As I mentioned before, she is somewhere in the 27-29 age range (which I know is old for a GxB game, deal with it). She's pretty much beyond marriageable age in most circles, so she's developed a kind of old maid/spinster complex. She wants to believe in people, but she has trouble trusting them. She's generally somewhat reserved, due to the nature of her job and gender role, but can get riled up easily and has very strong political opinions. She is also well-educated for someone raised on the streets.
File comment: This is you all dolled up for the ball.
girl2.png [ 13.13 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
This is you made-over for an aristocratic party. Why are you attending a ball, Cinderella? You will find out later...
File comment: This is your loyal best friend, Sarah.
maid.png [ 37.55 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
Like you, Sarah is maid, but she has been working for the Tarletons for many years. She is supposed to be the prettiest of the maids, although that may not come across in the drawing. She's the typical, talkative, cheerful best friend, she loves gossip, and she tries to look out for you when your in one of your grumpy moods. She's a few years younger than you (22-24) and, as a minor subplot, has a secret admirer that is later revealed. (Yes, I really do try to look out for all of my characters' happiness!)
File comment: Everyday dress.
lady.png [ 56.28 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
Emma is the young daughter of the Tarleton family, 18-20 years old, and a rather demanding mistress. She has something of a "hot 'n' cold" personality, and her mood swings very easily between love and hate for you and everyone else around her. Sometimes she can be cold and rude, and other times she is warm and friendly. As a spoiled young woman, she really does treat you as her maid and servant initially. However, she proves to be a valuable friend, and while she may pretend to dislike you, she really comes to value your friendship as well. She is also terrified about her family's financial situation, and wishes her brother would just hurry up and marry that rich girl so she keep her high-maintenance lifestyle.
File comment: This is Emma all corseted up for a party.
lady2.png [ 73.13 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
File comment: These are his everyday clothes. I'm serious.
fred2.png [ 41.65 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
Frederick is Emma's older brother...and the the first "romanceable" character, about 26 years old (i.e younger than you). However, there is a bit of a roadblock: he's party to an arranged marriage with a girl he doesn't love (his family expects him to marry her for her wealth). Fred really isn't interested in wealth though; he likes tinkering with mechanics, and is most of all fascinated by planes. (He's an aviator, hence the cliche outfit.) He believes deeply in love, and although he is flirtatious, he's also cute in an awkward way. If you pursue a relationship with him, your biggest obstacle will be dealing with social expectations about marriage, and the class difference. Yeah, he kind of looks like a girl-man. Unfortunately, all of my men end up looking like that. I have issues.
File comment: This is what he wears to parties and business meetings.
man.png [ 36.95 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
File comment: EDIT: New butler image, now with weird little beard.
butler2.png [ 34.98 KiB | Viewed 4710 times ]
This is the as-of-yet unnamed butler, the second romanceable character. I developed him as a more manly and mature alternative to Frederick, but somehow he ended up looking just as girly. Go figure. Anyway, he's a quiet, withdrawn, contemplative kind of guy, but also very prideful. He's somewhat disdainful of the protagonist at first but warms up to her when he sees how practical and genuine she is compared to the other women in his life. I tried to make his personality somewhat Mr. Darcy-esque, but I don't know how well I succeeded with that. He's a little older than you also, 30-32. He's well-educated and enjoys reading philosophy texts in his free time. All the service women are in love with him, because he's really supposed to be more handsome than this image might suggest. Like the protagonist, he is cynical about love, amongst other things, and has never quite found the right woman...
These are the main characters; obviously there will be a few more side characters including Sarah's beau, the Tarleton parents, and more of the service staff. I'm considering having a third romanceable character, probably a bookstore owner, but I'm not sure yet.
Just for kicks, here are a couple of the backgrounds I'm using. (I'll credit the actual photographers in the game.)
File comment: Emma's bedroom, where you help her dress most mornings.
bedroom.jpg [ 70.55 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
File comment: The train station.
station.jpg [ 215.18 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
File comment: The Tarleton mansion. (Actually the Breakers. Shh.)
house.jpg [ 192.32 KiB | Viewed 5007 times ]
If you've made it this far, thanks for your interest in the game, and I'll keep you updated!