Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

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Kuiper
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Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#1 Post by Kuiper » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:35 pm

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(Watch the video trailer. Seriously.)
Necrobarista is a visual novel made in Unity3D. Coming October 2017.
The premise:

You've reached the end of the line. Welcome to the terminal, a hidden pocket of Melbourne full of decommissioned railway cars and dead souls. Here, the deceased are offered one last night to mingle with the living, one last drink to soothe the soul, and one last sign-off before leaving the world behind.

Features:
  • 3D animations in Unity
  • A series of vignettes about different souls passing through on their way to the afterlife
  • An overarching mystery narrative about necromancers and the strange terminal they inhabit
  • Watch magically adept baristas brew supernaturally good coffee
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Project history:

Two years ago, "Project Ven" won the award for Best Narrative at Freeplay 2015. Since then, our team has re-branded as Route 59 and become sponsored by multiple funding bodies (Film Victoria and RMIT's New Enterprise Investment Fund) to make a longer-length visual novel with an original narrative built on the same engine that stated Project Ven.

At VNconf 2017, we announced Necrobarista, our first commercial title. The original Project Ven was a short vignette, mostly a technical demonstration with an average play time of 10-15 minutes. Necrobarista is planned to have a playtime of around 8 hours.

Screenshots:

(The embedded images below have been sized to fit the forum's width requirements. For a collection of higher-resolution images, see this imgur gallery. Note that these are all still frames from the video trailer.)

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Follow our project:
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Unsolicited feedback is the best kind, but here are some questions that we have for our potential audience:
  • Visuals question: what do you think of the 3D graphics and animations presented in the trailer?
  • Story question: are you more interested in the deceased patrons that come to visit the terminal, or the magicians that summon them there?
  • General question: What part of what you've seen so far makes you curious to find out more? Is it the visuals, the story hook, or something else?
  • Personal question: caffeine or alcohol?
Thanks for taking the time to check out our project, I'd love to hear what you think!

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LateWhiteRabbit
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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#2 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:31 am

Kuiper wrote: [*]Visuals question: what do you think of the 3D graphics and animations presented in the trailer?
I'm not usually a fan of 3D cellshaders that don't use outlines - but it's working for me in the trailer. It works best (in the trailer) when the camera focus is on the face or the body - it still feels a little weird visually when I see a strong expression on one of the characters with their body in the frame too. Probably because of the flatter 2D nature of the face versus the definite 3D nature of the body. I will say that the more realistic textures on the environment versus the simple colors on the characters is rather jarring.
Kuiper wrote: [*]Story question: are you more interested in the deceased patrons that come to visit the terminal, or the magicians that summon them there?
Hard to say without knowing more about either one. I feel the magicians' story could be cliche if it's the standard guide / advisor / acceptance motivation, but then again, so could the deceased patrons' stories if they are the standard "died before my time / so many regrets" angle.
Kuiper wrote: [*]General question: What part of what you've seen so far makes you curious to find out more? Is it the visuals, the story hook, or something else?
The story hook sounds pretty interesting, but as a fellow creator I've got the admit that the execution of everything is the biggest draw for me at the moment. I'm quite intrigued by the style in the trailer and the fact it is using Unity and 3D.
Kuiper wrote: [*]Personal question: caffeine or alcohol?
Surely both will be represented in the story, right? It seems a thematic story element that is very telling about the deceased person as caffeine is consumed to 'focus and wake up' and alcohol is consumed to 'forget and pass out'.

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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#3 Post by rito » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:34 am

I'm digging this art style. Since anime, manga and VNs often have characters that are way more cartoony than their surroundings, I don't mind the difference in style between characters and environment. The animation is working well too and for a couple parts I'd believe if you told me the still frames are paintings.
Definitely most intrigued by the visuals, but the setting piques my interest too. I'm not really a believer of "write what you know", but it seems like the team is doing it right. I look forward to see your portrayal of alternate Melbourne.

As for the story, it's hard to tell if it'll go past the generic. I'm a bit traumatized after Death Parade, a series with a similar premise whose gorgeousness was offset by bad writing... but maybe for the same reason, I'd love to see it executed well.

I get drunk with caffeine (seriously, last time I had a cappuccino I started crying in class then panicked thinking I'd die) so one vote for booze.
ri·to (ɺʲito) n. 1.designer and video editor 2.loves capybaras
Pstt, do you need a video?

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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#4 Post by sicklesium » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:18 am

This looks absolutely GORGEOUS. I honestly cannot wait.

I'm not really a fan of things set in coffee shops, but I can tell that this is going to be different - and right up my alley!

Good luck on this. The video looks amazing as well.
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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#5 Post by illuminate001 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:27 am

God, your overall vision for this is so enticing Kuiper. I for one am also really looking forward to this. I was about to ask if the character art was 2D or 3D cause I just couldn't tell...that was until I saw the trailer.

Theeeennn...that's when I was completely sold.

Unity is an interesting and different choice. Just out of curiosity why Unity and not Renpy?
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Kuiper
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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#6 Post by Kuiper » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:40 pm

We've been really thrilled with the response that the game has gotten so far, and we're working hard to do our best to meet everyone's expectations, so thanks to everyone who's posted encouraging feedback.

We did a bit of a "press tour" at GDC last month; here are some press write-ups for people who are interested in reading more about the project. I also appeared on an episode of the Play Dead podcast where I talk a bit about the project and some of my own personal reasons for working on this game, with some more information about the tone and type of gameplay we're aiming for.
illuminate001 wrote:Unity is an interesting and different choice. Just out of curiosity why Unity and not Renpy?
Ren'py is pretty narrow in its focus, and while that makes it a useful tool for "traditional" VNs, it doesn't match the needs for our project. Because we're working in 3D, Unity fits our needs much better; everything that you see in the trailer is rendered in-engine.

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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#7 Post by illuminate001 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:42 pm

Yeah Unity seems more powerful with it's ability to integrate Live2D for instance on top of the way you guys are using it. Like flying through 3D space and then seeing a text bubble or decision menu appear. It's alot more complex to use I'm sure but the power and freedom that comes with it seems worthwhile.
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Re: Necrobarista [urban fantasy, suspense]

#8 Post by jozerphine » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:59 am

I think I met you all at GDC! The game looks so cool -- I didn't stop talking about it for days!!

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