AXIOM.01: A detective can never settle for stories if they seek the truth.
Demons never faze the detectives in your favorite novels - with logic and determination, they can solve any so-called supernatural mysteries. When creepy things start happening on your graduation trip, you’re forced to put down your books and take your own investigative skills to task. Can you uncover the truth behind:
A cursed necklace vanishing on a cruise ship?
Ghostly attackers on a mysterious island?
An impossible locked room murder?
Who should you suspect, and who can you possibly trust? Your decisions may win you allies, friends, love...or perhaps a knife in the back.
Genre: mystery otome hybrid
Gameplay: visual novel with interactive investigations and deductions
Length: 3 arcs, each with a different case to solve
Endings: 3.5 paths x 2-3 endings each, plus various others (secret "perfect" ending included)
MC (default name Christie) – "I will only settle for the truth!"
You play a smart, analytically-minded girl who’s more interested in finishing her books than finding a date for prom. Though she believes all supernatural things can be explained with logic, and that the truth must be found at any cost, her convictions may be challenged by the events to come. I hope for the MC to be seen as a “strong” female character, even without having the action girl or spitfire traits usually associated with “strong” girls. Her strength comes from her smarts, independence, and perseverance in finding the truth. All qualities of a good detective, of course.
Sylvia Hayes – "As your best friend, I can’t let you stray down that path!"
Your strong-willed, competitive best friend. She likes to drags you along with her crazy schemes and set you up with guys, much to your annoyance. Despite being the most courageous person you know, she has a secret fear of ghosts and is very superstitious. Sylvia likes to tease you a lot and the two of you have pretty different views, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re best friends. Though even then, perhaps she doesn’t tell you everything…
Cody Armstrong – "I’m only as serious as you want me to be~."
The friendly Student Council President whose playful attitude belies his leadership skills. He’s also your old childhood friend, though something in the past caused you two to drift apart. While Cody acts lighthearted about most things, you sometimes suspect he hides his true feelings and knows more than he lets on. It’s up to the player to decide whether to reconnect with Cody, as well as to figure out what drove him and the MC apart in the first place.
Remy Tran – "That's a sensible theory. Or is it?"
An odd, prickly boy who transferred to your school for unknown reasons. Though he’s brilliant at his studies, he’s surrounded by creepy rumors and doesn’t trust anyone. He spends his time reading alone and doesn't open up to others unless he has something to geek out about with them (a "tsundork," if you will). Why is he so determined to isolate himself? Perhaps he's hiding something. Remy may become a friendly or antagonistic detective rival for the MC depending on the player's choices.
Viktor Sagan – "...Forget it."
An aloof, mysterious guy with a cool reputation. Although he's now somewhat of a school idol, you suspect he may be a former delinquent. Sagan rarely talks or gives any insight into his true agenda, making him the biggest wildcard in the events that follow. Has a penchant for holing up in strange places, such as the tops of buildings, and feeding seabirds. Though Sylvia has a huge crush on him, you’re not so sure he can be trusted.
To keep the post length down, I'll be linking to the more detailed character bios here.
There are three mysteries to solve over the course of the game. The first part of each mystery is the Investigation Phase where you travel to different locations and interview suspects. Some people may require you to show them certain clues or complete a task before they'll answer your questions. Affection levels also come into play here - if a person likes you enough, they might be more inclined to help you out.
In this phase, you also search for important clues via hidden object games. Note, however, that not all of the clues are essential for solving the case. Some items may give (or take away) your HP, while others are just plain red herrings. Once you run out of HP (which is drained by moving to new locations and doing certain other things), you must proceed to the next part of the case.
In the following Deduction Phase, you must construct a series of "Truths" out of the clues you've collected. Each Truth is a statement with missing sections, which you fill in using the appropriate suspects, evidence, or facts from your inventory. If you select the wrong clues, you lose some HP and have to try again. Failing a case isn't the end of the world - you'll still move on with the story, but will miss some scenes and take affection penalties. Failing the last case, however, is an automatic Bad End.
Although this is an otome game, you can solve the main mysteries without getting close to any of the guys (that’s the default path, in fact) or just staying friends. Different paths will give different scenes and info on character backgrounds, motivations, and certain events, so there is (hopefully!) replay value even after you solve the mysteries the first time.
Linking to more detailed info and additional screenshots here to conserve space.
Some preview videos (full list here):
For the demo (Arc 1):
- Story - 100%
- Script - 100%
- Art - 80% (need to finish 2 CG backgrounds + 6 clue images)
- GUI - 100%
- Music- 100% (using placeholders for now)
Ren'Py 184.108.40.2068 lint report, generated at: Sat Jul 28 02:56:12 2012
The game contains 2,384 screens of dialogue.
These screens contain a total of 32,098 words,
for an average of 13.5 words per screen.
The game contains 34 menus.
- Story - 80%?
- Script - 30%?
- Art - ugh
- GUI - 100%
- Music- ??? (depends if we decide to do all original songs)
I'm obviously terrible at estimating percentages, but you can keep track of our progress at the Variable X development blog, which is updated every week or two.
I'll be using this section to keep track of things we'd especially like feedback on. Feel free to answer as many/few of these questions as you want, as well as to share other suggestions, comments, and thoughts!
1. General impressions.
- What do you think of the game concept - do you think both otome and mystery players would be willing to play it?
- Which character(s) do you think are the most interesting so far?
- Do the gameplay mechanics sound reasonable?
2. Replayability. We're worried that players will stop once they know the solutions to the main mysteries, even if they'll miss major scenes or parts of the story in other paths. Some options we've come up with so far:
- Make cases skippable later. This is only an option for the first case, since the later cases span multiple days and events.
- Offer incentives for finishing cases faster/more efficiently (e.g. finding more clues in fewer clicks, making as few moves as possible, losing as little HP as possible, etc.). Maybe unlocking new choices, paths, or bonus material would work?
- Have different scenarios for a case (e.g. the victim changes on your previous choices). Or have multiple solutions with different results, depending on which clues you present. I think this would be the most interesting option, but also way more work for us haha. We'd only do this for the last case, else there would be too much branching in the middle.
If you have any opinions on these options, or others ideas to enhance replayability, we're all ears!
3. Beta testing. We're hoping to put out a demo of AXIOM.01 that goes up to the end of the first case, hopefully before the end of the summer (end of August, September-ish). Would anybody be interested in testing the game before we release it to the public? We'll confirm with testers once we're closer to completion, so there's no need to make a commitment right now - we're just hoping to gauge interest. Also, does anyone have any tips for conducting a beta test, such what types of questions or specs (operating system, etc.) to ask about? We're total newbies at this, so any advice would be great!
Questions on 8/3/12 - Looking for suggestions on art, main menu, and interrogation sections!
Questions on 8/19/12 - Sylvia as love interest, GUI feedback
Questions on 9/24/12 - guest art, hidden object games, detective ranking titles
Thank you so much for reading! Let us know if you have any questions as well.