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Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:20 pm
by spookyruthy
Hi guys! This is my very first attempt at a VN - I've been into them for a while and didn't think for a second that I could make one from scratch, until I realised there were engines out there! I feel like an idiot... ^^;


Ethan, a school failure and general useless person has finally landed a job with some integrity - a Verger at Burdock Cathedral. Burdock Cathedral has a colourful past (not that Ethan spent any time researching it), shrouded in mystery. All of the staff seem friendly, but there is an underlying eerieness to the place, something solidified by a schoolgirl who is obsessed with taking photographs there. It is only until Ethan is shown a picture that will change his perception of the Cathedral does strange things start to occur around him...

Main Character (You) - Ethan
Father Pentleton - A strict, icy, priest. He is very intolerant of things he considers immoral, and it is very difficult to get on his good side. He generally has a disdain for non-ordained people.

Obtainable characters:
Philippa (Flick) - Schoolgirl/Amateur Photographer: Obsessed with taking photos in and around the Cathedral. Has a cheeky, but sweet sense of humour.
Eugene - Verger: Eugene is your fellow Verger, who shows you the ropes of the job. He has an unusual mocking sense of humour which causes him to rub many people up the wrong way. It seems the only person who seems to actually like him is you.
Jean - Head Verger: Jean is a sassy, clever woman, who is both approachable, yet out-of-reach at the same time. She seems to know more than what she lets on.
Sky - Shop Assistant: Sky works at the Cathedral Shop. She is cute and bubbly, but likes to poke fun at people. She doesn't care much for the past of the Cathedral and hopes to one day be promoted to Manager.

Artwork: Me



And this is what I prepared earlier!


There are some things code-wise I need to sort out, and need to implement some of the mini-game bits I want to... I'd like to give an estimate of my progress but it would be low. If I had to guess I would say I was 5% done or something like that.

I'd love some feedback/script tips!!

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:23 pm
by Elemental-Butterfly
I love mystery. The plot looks good. The character art is pretty too, and the pictures. i am looking forward to it. Good Luck!

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:29 pm
by okonomiyaki
Really adorable! I can't wait to play this!

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:50 pm
by Elemental-Butterfly
okonomiyaki wrote:Really adorable! I can't wait to play this!
ikr, look at her art, so pretty *O*

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:40 am
by spookyruthy
Thanks guys :)

I have a lot of experience with coding, but never really touched Python before - funnily enough the syntax is a hell of a lot easier than in Java, it gets rid of a lot of the needless heirarchy and buzzwords, but I've never seen a code so picky over indentation XD

I'm gonna get myself the Python API book and try and develop some of my own mini-games. I'm pretty influenced by the Professor Layton games, so I'm gonna try and make my own versions of the puzzle games they use (maybe even make my own if I'm brave enough).

Has anyone here ever implemented full animation cut scenes? I want to, but I feel like it would be a little too ambitious for my first time ^^;

And also, got a quick ren'py-specific question - can I change the volume of music and sound FX in the code or do I need to edit them in a sound editing package? I don't mind doing that, I just think it would be soooo much easier if I can do it in the code ^^;

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:02 pm
by Aetheria
This looks quite promising - I like that the setting is very specific, instead of "generic creepy house", and the art looks nice. From the art style and your descriptions, I get the impression that this won't be a really scary serious horror game, but more like a mystery. Which would fit in nicely with the puzzles and being inspired by the Professor Layton games.

Is Sky's sprite from somewhere else? It looks like a different style from all the rest, maybe even a bit too cutesy. (Although that might just be my general hatred of moe speaking.) Also, will Ethan get his own sprite? It's always nice to be able to see the protagonist as well.

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:31 pm
by spookyruthy
I wanted Sky to be more Moe-moe-kyun than the others, almost like the token cute character ^^; I've yet to finish the art student girl sprite (still yet to be named ^^;).

Looked over the pygame code quickly and I can see it's going to be pretty easy to implement the sort of games I'm thinking of. Now I've got a rough idea, I think it's going to be finished a lot quicker than I anticipate.

I still want it to have its creepy moments, so it gives the player a sense of unease. I don't go in for full-out gore - not my style :P

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:06 pm
Look great! I love the menu BG art. Do you make it yourself? And I agree that Sky sprite looks different from others (but it doesn't bug me since it's not that different, unlike Sega's Shining Tears). Oh, and Phillipa looks cute ^_^ I personally prefer Phillipa over Sky (yes, she is a get-able character >_< )

The BG looks good too. It's filtered photos, right? Where's the location? They looks... exotic...

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:53 am
by Fawn
Wow looks super fun! :DD I really love your art style too. Horrors are always fun as well, though yours seems a lot more light hearted (in the beginning atleast ;P) Can't wait for a demo!
I wish I could give you some tips but, I fail at writing in general orz

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:10 am
by spookyruthy
Yeah, I make all the artwork myself :)

I've used some filtered photos (out of laziness) but I intend to eventually paint them myself when I get more time. The photos are of Canterbury Cathedral - I used to work there in the Transept Shop and so a lot of my personal experiences are in the game :) I never saw a ghost but a lot of tourists thought there was one - specifically the ghost of Thomas Becket.. There was an ominous looking stain in the crypt area which everyone said looked like a person, but when they investigated it it turned out to be residue from a leaking pipe higher up in the Cathedral ^_^

I'm going to make a little image in the bottom right hand part of the dialogue of Ethan :3

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:17 am
by Nayru
I've got to say this a pretty fine work for a first attempt, congratulations. The artwork is lovely, it has a nice design overall and the filtered photos do a goob job for the moment. I really look forward to playing this since horror is my cup of tea. I like mistery and optional minigames. I love how you included both male and female characters to be obtained, extra points for that. The plot is interesting so far.

However there are few things that could be improved in my opinion. The default glow theme for the renpy menu looks a bit flashy, I guess you were looking for a glowing spooky effect. I'd rather use a blue/purple color combination like you used in the in-game windows. It goes along with the upper part of the clouds, but the contrast is quite high with the lower part of the clouds, not sure if you were looking for that. I guess it would fit more if it resembled the lower part of the clouds. I also look forward to a sample of the CGs in the description, that would definitely help.

About script tips? If it's going to be long keep your labels organized. You can use comments as note reminders, putting the # symbol before the sentence but don't abuse them.

I hope my feedback was useful, good luck with the project! ^_^

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:35 pm
by spookyruthy
Thanks everyone!

With the menu, I'm still working out exactly how to customise it properly. I actually want it to look like this with some nice floating leaves animation over the background - still messing around with particle effects in After Effects. Also the cross is a mouse hover effect:


Philippa is the first character I think I've done the whole spritesheet for, except knowing me I'll end up adding some more expressions. I just noticed looking at it again I haven't made her a 'fearful' expression, might need to put that on the the To-Do List.

Also, still need to sketch up the last character and Father Pentleton:


A sky, elusive art student, that often loses her composure into blushes and stuttering. She spends most of her time outside of the Cathedral sketching and painting the building. She sometimes ventures inside, but only for practical reasons, like rain or too much wind. Always carries her sketchbook with her for those moments of inspiration.

Also, found a few puzzles that I can include that I think I can implement straight away without any serious pygame coding :)


Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:08 pm
by spookyruthy
Finished doing pose no.1 of Annie, need to get her in sketching pose and another pose I haven't decided on yet ^^;


Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:44 pm
by yu_eriyama
Wow, I really like it!
Definitely will try it when your game finished^^
Your art is very friendly and the coloring is cute. (I'm jealous..)
(Uuuh... I need to learn more drawing girls..)

Re: Bells & Spires - New VN Horror/Suspense Game WIP

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:33 pm
by pondrthis
Hot damn, those are good-looking sprites/character designs. The only one I'm "eh" on is Phillipa... something about the hairdo+round face+long neck put together freaks me out. Of course, I just assume that's intentional.

Ren'py, bleh. It's alright for mini-games (making python plugins is better than most alternatives), but for a straight ADV, give me KiriKiri any day. It's not too hard, either, as long as you "borrow" snippets here and there from other games.

I also stumbled on Novelty ( today too... haven't tried it yet though.

Yes, this is my first post... maybe in the near future I will volunteer as a programmer and/or music composer for a new project here.

EDIT TO ADD: And, uh... shouldn't the caption on the home page be ベルスとスパイアス... if you absolutely refuse to use 鐘と尖塔 (かねとせんとう=kane to sentou)? スパイルス is just an awful transliteration of spires.