Lalia Academy: Shards of stolen paradise [VN][Slice of life]

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Projects: Lalia Academy
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Lalia Academy: Shards of stolen paradise [VN][Slice of life]

#1 Post by Cindigo » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:41 pm

The setting

The game is set in a world where imagination is enough to make something exist. Only limits are set by a deity overseeing the world. Every few days, a different deity takes this role, changing the rules and moral values. World’s inhabitants need to follow the rules, even if those rules are against their moral standards, or they will be punished. If an inhabitant follows the rules, he is blessed and protected by the deity.

The game’s world is dangerous and unstable. A sudden “purge” can disconnect a location for days, erase memories or create a connection to a completely new location. Objects can appear or disappear when there are fluctuations in acceptance. It can start snowing during a hot sunny day if someone is having a bad day. The whole world is merely someone's imagination turning memories into shapes, colors, and sounds.

The game’s world is inhabited by beings called Lalia. They arrive to it to learn how to become better versions of selves. They are there to learn to coexist with each other and solve problems by socializing and using each others strong sides in order to live in a world filled with love.

Lalia live in an information society. They effortlessly communicate to each other mind-to-mind. They can instantly exchange information with others or with whole world. Lalia even can contact higher spiritual beings that can help Lalia do the right thing and show them the right path.

Lalia are spiritual beings. They are genderless, they do not need to eat or drink, and they never get physically ill, age, or die. They are clueless about what they are and from where they came. All of their knowledge about the world and themselves comes from what they find out by exploration or asking to higher spiritual beings.

You, the player, assume the role of such higher spiritual being. In the past, it did unacceptable things. As a result now needs to help Lalia to find their true loving selves. This spiritual being, called Spirit Guide, needs to lead Lalia through every sequence of events that is thrown at them. Every choice made by Lalia becomes the reality and has an effect on all events before and after.

Spirit Guide is limited by the same rules set by the deity. In addition, it is limited by influence of another mighty entity - Story Master. Story Master is a spiritual entity that controls the flow of events. It does as it pleases to advance the story to a conclusion it sees fit.

Spirit Guide needs to live in this harsh reality where once a story ends, somewhere, sometime, with someone at his disposal, a new story begins. What happens is just a fragmented memory of Story Master, who is just a fragmented memory of Spirit Guide. There is not a hidden truth behind it all, only one important story of how Spirit Guide fell in this limbo of illusions.

Game mechanics

Main points of the game mechanics:
  • A multitude of short mini-stories creating a longer main story
  • Heavy branching and multiple endings for every mini-story
  • Different Lalia can take same roles in one mini-story
  • Setting is decided and altered as the game is being played
  • The game can play itself without the player’s input (spectator mode)
  • Hidden choices – the player can enter what Spirit Guide would say directly
  • The game tries to progress with the biggest possible emotional impact on the player
  • Lalia choose their actions based on the situation and personality
  • Lalia can become acquaintances, friends and good friends. No romance.
  • RPG style conversation-battle system and character classes with skill progression
  • Extendable community based design – anyone can add new mini-stories and alternate artistic resources, which are immediately obtainable from within the game
Progress gauge

Game engine’s basic functionality: ~76% (AI 90%, renderer 67%, simulation 48%)
Game engine’s extended functionality: ~ 32% (AI 53%, renderer 23%, simulation 17%)
Scripting language: ~15% (basic 74%, extended 3%, rendercontrol 5%, simcontrol 9%)
Script editor: ~10%
Code specific to the game: 62%

Mini tech demo (hands on C2 2018, eyes on C1 2018)

Script outline: 14% (20 situations ready to be expanded upon)
Script: 4% (9.5K words active , 0.6K finalized)
World rendering resources: 3%
Character rendering resources: 1% (4% with programmer art included)

Dev-kit spots open: 0/5
Latgol script hands on spots open: 0/5

Participation spots available

We have unlimited space for writers. Ability to learn the setting, to follow existing plot and to create nonlinear and random stories in a multiwriter environment is a must. Willingness to learn basics of Latgol script’s syntax will be considered as a bonus.

Both background and character artists are welcome. Be aware that we use layered backgrounds and sprites with post processing (shader effects) and 3D particle effects. Join only if you are ok with that. We are going for simplistic K-ON like anime style. If you can do the whole project, we will accept any anime-ish style. However,be realistic in your abilities, as even demo will have 30+ characters and 20+ locations. Possibly more.

Any musicians interested are welcome. As a musician, you need to be able to create loopable background music pieces varied in different moods.

C# programmers are welcome. We will find something for you. Shader programmers are welcome too. We stick to shader model 9.0c and use only pixel shaders.

The project will be self-published donationware. Content for the game will be distributed using ingame online functionality and a web based content portal. All submitted 3rd party content is registered in our Content-ID system and stays the property of the corresponding registered rights holders.

We will not make piece-based upfront payments, even when we will receive the funding.

Join only if you plan to stick with the project and are passionate about the idea.

Minimum time you need to stick with the project to be added to the Content-ID payout system is 1 month, and the minimal contribution rate is 40 hours monthly. Payouts are done only using PayPal.

I highly appreciate any suggestions, critique (especially negative), or questions.

Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Cindigo on Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:01 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:05 am
Projects: Lalia Academy
Organization: LatgolAI
Skype: jonchiks
itch: latgolai
Location: Latvia

Re: Lalia Academy: Shards of stolen paradise [VN][Slice of life]

#2 Post by Cindigo » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:51 am

Hello! Experiment with the crazy idealist has ended, my point has been proven, analysis of the situation completed. :) Information about the game was updated. This time, I would like to introduce myself as the lead programmer and captain of team “LatgolAI”.

Team LatgolAI was formed one and a half years ago and officially consists of two people. I say "officially" because we are participants of a statewide “youth business idea contest” which is being held in Latvia for years 2017/2018. We successfully got through the semifinals where more than ⅔ of 60 commands fell short of tangible results, and we are going strong for this year's final in October. Besides the 2 official participants, we have a few dear friends who help us to get what they want from the game.

We are working on a project which will be named “Lalia Academy” for the English speaking world. Most of the tech-related tasks are done, and we have started working on a tech preview demo. We need to complete it to finally get our hands on the grant from the contest and to run 3 crowdfunding campaigns - one in Latvia, one in Japan and, finally, one global.

We are making more than just a game. We are making an AI based VN engine with its own scripting language and editor. Our goal is to create a VN engine that allows for unprecedented nonlinearity and depth of characters. Our tools will be fine tuned for speed and ease of use. In addition, we will launch an online platform in C3 2018. Using this platform, it will be possible to share and sell 3rd party content for our game. This content will be accessible and downloadable from within the game.

We will soon have a few open slots for access to Latgol script’s user manual and parser. Later, we will grant access to the editor. It is a good opportunity to get a head start for your content and exclusive support from us, even to get your content showcased in our engine preview videos or in the demo.

Dev-kit and Latgol script application requirements:

All participants need to be able to create a story that has very heavy branching. You will need to incorporate most of the engine’s features at least scarcely. Only content suitable for all ages will be accepted. Content extending the demo needs to be at least 10K words long.To participate, please send a PM which includes description of your idea and your skills.

What we did during the month of December

As we were finally ready to use our engine for making an actual game, we started working on the demo. Before, all work went into planning out the world of the game, rule-sets and characters.

We planned out +13% of the script's outline for the demo, which includes creating 17 base situations and created about +9K words of content which is about +4% of the final script. Final demo is planned ~250K words (excluding high frequency words), and will contain close to 100 situations.

We started working on a scripting language for our game engine (+15% done), creating our own script editor (+10% done) and writing a comprehensive manual (5% done, ~10 pages).

I had to start remaking the character renderer. Current implementation uses too much memory and is outdated for our growing needs. We don’t have a plain, motionless sprite. Instead, we render our sprites from tens of animated images. That gives us a lot of variation.

We implemented the first drafts of character classes, skill trees, skill progression and skill tree navigation. We have classes like “Thinker”, “Analyst”, “Mediator”, “Supporter”, “Ruffian”, “Networker”, “Dreamer”, “Idol” and many more. As you can see, classes describe each characters role in the world of Lalia Academy. The same functionality is going to be reused by “Spirit Guide” classes.

Some work went into making the VN’s flow more consistent and fluid. Previously we were missing some major features. One of these features was switching between different advancement modes: not awaiting player input unless requested by script (auto), awaiting for input only on full text clears and awaiting after each text append and on newlines. We added options to disable access to direct input and forcing direct input field shown.

Other small changes were made to the particle effect renderer, on-screen and background animators and some productivity tools used by our writers, to make workflow more fluid and consistent.

This time I need to say big big thanks to Twig for his quick, valuable and enormous support in making this and previous posts more human readable. Check out his thread if you need a good editor/proofreader: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=47101

Team LatgolAI hopes that this year will be full of examples of successful partnerships with you all and artificial intelligence VNs, AIVNs are going to be the next big new old.

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