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HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][RPG]

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:13 am
by Tsundere Lightning
HeadSpace
Episode One: The Mask of Joy
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Isaac and Naru's speaking sprites.
HeadSpace: The Mask of Joy is an RPG/VN I'm making with the Ren'Py engine, based on an original story and concept but heavily inspired by such diverse sources as The World Ends With You, EarthBound (Mother), HomeStuck, Scott Pilgrim Versus The World, the Trilby games, Unknown Armies and Changeling: The Lost.

In HeadSpace, you are Isaac Greene: just an ordinary college student living with your girlfriend of a full academic year, Virginia 'Naru' Stouffer. Your first day of summer vacation together is interruped by a cryptic and disturbing message from one of Naru's ex-lovers - and soon, with a series of grisly, supernatural murders and letters from other people that got psychically tangled up with Naru.

Isaac and Naru must join forces and unleash their latent psychic powers to defeat the monsters called Psychic Static, confront Naru's former lovers, and decipher the mysteries of the Head Spaces - those alternate dimensions formed from the subconscious thoughts of an intelligent being. There are four HeadSpaces with no owner in the San Francisco Bay Area, and they're spawning Static at an alarming rate. Only Isaac, with Naru at his side, can navigate them and end the horrible threat once and for all.
Cast
Isaac Greene
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The player character, a geeky college student who finds himself caught up in the supernatural horrors striking at his girl Naru. While he's not the best choice of action hero and knight in shining armor - hell, he doesn't even have his old football gear - he's not going to idly stand by while Naru is in danger. Fortunately, a jaunt through one of the Heartbroken's HeadSpace awakens his latent psychic abilities, allowing him to fight back against the Static and the Heartbroken.

In combat, Isaac's job is to defend - to draw the ire of the local Static onto himself, push them every which way but towards the fragile Naru with psychokinesis, and keep Naru and himself healed and shielded with support Psychs. He begins the game with great HP and defense and amazing crowd-control Psychs, but a poor ability to inflict harm. It's just not in him.

His weapons are a Force Sword and a Force Shield - not actual physical weapons, but projections of telekinetic force.

Naru Stouffer
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Isaac's lover, who's awakened talents give her an affinity for storms and fire. While terrified of the Heartbroken and the Static, she insists on fighting her own battles - although she will accept Isaac's assistance. Naturally, maintaining a good relationship with her will make her that much more reliable in combat. But why does she seem to know more than she's letting on?

Naru's duty in combat is to deal overwhelming amounts of damage, both in melee and with her devastating multitarget and aura Psychs. She can call lightning, start fires, and make vicious counterstrikes against anyone who hurts her. Her psychic Focus and Attack power is phenomenal, but it's at the cost of her HP and defense.

Naru has a Force Hammer.

The Heartbroken
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The Heartbroken are seven people who used to be prominent in Naru's life, who claim that she cast her aside when they were trying to help her, when all they offered her was love. They are a constant threat throughout the game, and Isaac and Naru will have to fight them when they bar the way. But how much of what they're saying is true, and how much is distorted through thier own personal Static?

Scott Romeo
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Scott Romeo was a college professor who made improper advances to Naru - which she, being no fool, rejected. Since then, he became obsessed with her, and willingly made a pact with an intelligent Static for the power to win her back. The first boss of the game, Scott is an insane, crazed stalker, now, with no connection to his original Signal. Do not allow yourself to fall to the same fate...

Joshua Preston
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Joshua was once a physics major and a devout Christian, educated in a private Jesuit school. He briefly dated Naru; neither of them will go into the details of what broke them up. Now, he's one of the Heartbroken, and he will not back down from his attempts to 'save' Naru from some unspecified fate. How much of that is the Static talking and how much is a warning? And yes, his name is a reference to another Joshua Preston from a game of mine.

Features
  • Classic RPG gameplay with intense, tactical combat
  • An urban fantasy world inspired by Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco
  • Episode One includes the first two dungeons of the game
  • Active Time Battle combat balanced around single encounters.
  • Regain Focus for Psych moves using your basic attacks - chain attacks for combos - then unleash Double Psychs with your combined powers!
  • Gameplay mechanics inspired by Persona 3/4, the World Ends With You, EarthBound, and Yume Nikki
  • TWEWY inspired system for equipment - different brands of clothing have different strengths and weaknesses. Shop around, develop your own combat style!
  • Visual Novel style cutscenes
  • Pixel Art by Tony Huisman
  • Dialog Portraits by KidBlue
  • Battle Programming via the Battle Engine by Jake
  • Music from various sources, including Gibder and Takeshi And The Kid
  • First episode of the game is free!
FAQ
What is HeadSpace, anyway? Why HeadSpace?
HeadSpace is a Japanese-style roleplaying game set in an urban fantasy inspired by my hometown of San Francisco. The HeadSpaces of the titles are other worlds, gateways into the subconscious mind of a particular individual.

Tsundere Lightning why aren't you finishing Transformation Sequence and Bliss Stage: Love Is Your Weapon?
Actually, I'm doing this because the public demo for Love Is Your Weapon is almost done, and I'm doing Transformation Sequence's full release for NaNoRen'O (posting that thread once I get the art I need for it). This is going to be one of my two Major Projects when those are done, so why the hell not?

Why "Episode One?"
I'm planning to do this one in episodic releases, to make it more likely that I'll finish and so I can hold the other episodes for ransom.

Ransom?
Once the demo is out, I'm going to put up a Kickstarter for Episode Two and beyond. I'm hoping to EVENTUALLY make money on this game, like with all of my games.
fleet wrote:Is each episode going to be a complete story, or will episode 1 be continued in episode 2 (and so forth)?
Each episode will continue where the last left off in an ongoing story, while also having a stand alone plot.

How much is done?
It's going into production right now, basically. I'm working on coding the first dungeon. Sceenshots by Friday of next week.

Feel free to ask questions, comment on the art I have so far, and to ask about the script. I am especially interested in your comments and suggestions regarding combat and the equipment system. The story has some mystery elements, and going into too much depth about it might spoil the story. Stuff on the cosmology of the setting and psychic powers, not as much, for what it's worth.

I am currently looking for a combat programmer for this game: I have a thread in Recruitment saying as much. Of course, I'd love to just ask the guy with the Battle System Framework, specifically. :V

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:47 am
by Tsundere Lightning
Clothes Make The Man

Surprise! There's a clothing/brand system in place for this game, inspired heavily by the one from TWEWY (down to the theme of each brand, but we're getting ahead of ourselves). These are your equippable 'weapons' and armor, basically. Each has distinct benefits and advantages in combat. Each also has disadvantages.

Here they are, in order. Icons for them going up this week.
  • Ramshead Designs - Jewelery and Upscale. Early game, they sell class rings and academic wear: Isaac begins the game in these. Excellent defense and crowd control effects with the attack rings, but fairly expensive for the price.
  • Toreador Del Toledo - Latin Imports. Flamboyant and expensive, but they add significantly to Accuracy and Evasion.
  • Golden Twins - Clubbing/Glamourous. For stuff so gay that Bowie wouldn't be caught dead in it; requires more Guts than a Space Marine can rip and tear, but generally gives a good spread of bonuses.
  • CarcinoGeneration - Emo and Punk. Lowered defense for higher offense, in general, and inexpensive to boot.
  • White Lion! - Fandom Merchandise. Tend to increase Focus and psychic power. Naru is wearing a White Lion hoodie in her portrait.
  • Maidenthread Textiles - Custom textiles and tailoring. Getting clothing from them is a miniquest in itself, but gives some of the best psychic buffing clothes in the game.
  • Balanced Sales - Fair Trade Casual. They get in much more powerful equipment the more you invest in them, and cheap as hell early game.
  • Sting Threads - Hard Rock inspired. Good for melee attackers, they boost Attack and Defense.
  • Archer - Work Clothing. Sturdy, with Defense and HP boosts out the wazoo for a reasonable price.
  • Black Goat - Gothic and Fetish. Risky - they decrease Defense and HP - but the single best attack powers in the game if you're willing to go Glass Cannon.
  • WaveMakers - Sportswear, especially Swimwear. Generally grant passive bonuses and are good defensive equips.
  • Glitter Coral - Casual and Retro. Cheap, if you know what's on sale, and they tend to give Elemental Resistances, but have poor stats otherwise.
  • Snake-Eyes - Urban and Hip-Hop. Their stuff is rare and highly sought after: you'll need to go on honest-to-god quests for them. OTOH, they have an excellent, balanced spread of abilities if you can get them.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:40 am
by fleet
Is each episode going to be a complete story, or will episode 1 be continued in episode 2 (and so forth)?

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:38 pm
by Kumori
Wow, this looks as if it'll be great when it's done. I'm really liking the idea of this.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:57 pm
by Tsundere Lightning
fleet wrote:Is each episode going to be a complete story, or will episode 1 be continued in episode 2 (and so forth)?
Yes.

To be less flippant, each of the planned five chapters both continue an overall story and have self-contained stories.

The other chapters, by the way, are called the Blasted Warzone, the Howling Bazaar, the Drowned Mansion, and Another Castle. I should really change the title of the first chapter to the Secret Garden to reflect this pattern... those are the HeadSpaces you navigate in each chapter, for the record.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:29 pm
by justjoe
You might wish to reconsider your proposed new name for the first chapter. The Secret Garden is a famous children's novel by Frances Burnett.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:53 pm
by Tsundere Lightning
justjoe wrote:You might wish to reconsider your proposed new name for the first chapter. The Secret Garden is a famous children's novel by Frances Burnett.
I know, and that's part of the reason WHY that HeadSpace is named The Secret Garden.

You can't copyright names, anyway.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:20 pm
by justjoe
Re-reading the entire topic I noticed you asked for comments including the art. The "speaking sprites' for Isaac and Naru look like pre-teens, not college-age adults (heads out of proportion). If you intentionally made the characters out of proportion for stylistic purposes, please ignore this post.

If it was not intentional, in another topic, Latewhiterabbit posted a chart that might help.
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Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:51 am
by Tsundere Lightning
justjoe wrote:Re-reading the entire topic I noticed you asked for comments including the art. The "speaking sprites' for Isaac and Naru look like pre-teens, not college-age adults (heads out of proportion). If you intentionally made the characters out of proportion for stylistic purposes, please ignore this post.

If it was not intentional, in another topic, Latewhiterabbit posted a chart that might help.
Image
Helpful! I'll forward this information to the artist. It is meant to be stylized a little, but I'll send this over and see what he thinks.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:52 am
by Starshine
I think its amazing, that your creating a game that is RPG related, the sprites remind me of Sailor Moon Another Story & Chrono Trigger for the Super ninendo. RPG's are role playing games and visual novels all in one and i just love them, they are very populer in japan for many game consoles. Joshua Preston sounds like a very interesting character.

Re: HeadSpace, Episode 1: The Mask of Joy [Fantasy][Urban][R

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:12 pm
by Tsundere Lightning
Starshine wrote:I think its amazing, that your creating a game that is RPG related, the sprites remind me of Sailor Moon Another Story & Chrono Trigger for the Super ninendo. RPG's are role playing games and visual novels all in one and i just love them, they are very populer in japan for many game consoles. Joshua Preston sounds like a very interesting character.
HS!Joshua really is one of my favorite characters - the Heartbroken in general are fun characters. I've put a lot of thought into them; they aren't one-note villians.