The Human Reignition Project [SoL/SciFi][BxG]

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AWSalmon
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The Human Reignition Project [SoL/SciFi][BxG]

#1 Post by AWSalmon » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:07 pm

The Human Reignition Project

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” -- Dalai Lama
What is it that makes us human? Is it the collection of carbon rings that make up our bodies? Is it the psychological webbing that runs through our minds? Or is it the relationships we forge with others?

Humans are social creatures. We are, at our core, pack animals. Since the stone ages, we’ve massed together in huts, in villages, in cities. We have healthy dependence on one another, rooted not only in surviving - but thriving.

But what if we didn’t?

What if we became lone wolves? A sad collective of animals whose only relationship to one another is appearance? Solo hunters prowling the world, carving our own way, without so little as a glance into the lives of our fellow man.

One needn’t look far to imagine it. It’s happening all around us. People are becoming so absorbed in their work, their hobbies, and their own lives, that they are losing what makes mankind plural. They are losing their social lives. They are losing a uniquely human experience. They are losing their humanity.

There are speed-daters, social-networkers, and Wal-Mart Welcomers. But it’s a façade. A sham. A hollow ruse that covers up a much more uncomfortable truth.

Humanity is dying. A slow, painful, and wholly self-imposed death.

Of course, there will be fighters. There always are. Fighters clinging desperately to what they feel - what they know - is right.

Enter the Human Re-Ignition Project - an enclave of “fighters” in a world teetering on the brink of dystopia. A group of reluctantly like-minded individuals devoted to the refounding of humanity on the principles of socialization and human connections.

Ken is a largely unremarkable young man who doesn’t have much going for him apart from his opportunity to attend college and his steady job working a convenience store graveyard shift. Like everyone else in this future, he is emotionally distant from others. It’s been four weeks since his last phone call. Which was from his landlady. And yet, despite his desolate and lonely existence, Ken could hardly be happier.

Like many young men, Ken plans on skirting his way to a college degree, and beyond. Take the easiest classes with the least homework and the least required effort. Get a diploma. Push pencils from a home office for sixty years. Retire. Catch up on sixty years of sitcoms and pop culture. Die. An existence comfortable in its predictability. And there are few things in the world that Ken values more than predictability.

And all goes according to plan. At least, it does for some time, until Ken unknowingly becomes a part of the Human Re-Ignition Project.
The Human Re-Ignition Project is inspired by dystopian classic literature. And true to its roots, the Human Re-Ignition Project will not shy away from social commentary. Although romance is a key aspect of the Human Re-Ignition Project, it is more than a simple harem VN. It aims not only to feature engaging visuals, music, and characters, but also to deliver a message that transcends age and culture.
So, welcome.
Welcome to the Human Re-Ignition Project.
Characters
Note: We're still in the process of developing descriptions for some of the characters. This information is liable to change at any time!
Image
Senri Kanzaki, 20
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 128lbs
Hair: Dirty Blonde
Description: Senri is a ‘no-bullshit’ type of girl. Out of all the Project members, aside from Ken, Senri is the most against it. She and Ken are on the same page when it comes to the Project’s goal. She thinks it is very stupid, a waste of time and that it will never work. She has a somewhat harsh and blunt personality, not afraid to express her dissatisfaction. She is also a very hard worker. The only reason she is still in this class is to keep her grade average near perfection to achieve her goals. Even though she is openly against the Project, she gives it her all.


Image
Hitomi Kanahito, 18
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 112lbs
Hair: Strawberry Blonde
Description: See here


Image
Yukino Kajihara, 18
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 108lbs
Hair: Brown
Description: Yukino is a tragic character in this world. Her desire for human relationships stands at odds with what she knows of the world and how it works. This causes her a lot of heartache because unlike most members of society, she feels alone and she knows how different that makes her from everyone else. Her reason for wanting to go to college was to hopefully be in a setting of - for others - forced socialization. She thought that college would be one of the few places left that was real, that was still 'there' and not on some server. She had multiple scholarships to choose from, and she choose the one that stood out the least, hoping that this one would be too poor to afford the tech to have digital classes. But it was the same as all the others: assignments handed out via email. Virtual consultation. The same detached teachers with glazed eyes and empty expressions staring at her from the other side of a monitor. The only sort of people that seem to exist now.
She joined The Human Reignition Project by chance, one of the less than a dozen classes that still offer 'offline lectures'. What she got was exactly what she had been wanting since she was a child: a chance at friendship. A chance to be human.

Image
Setsuna Nasunaga, 19
Height: 6'1"
Weight: ~140lbs
Hair: Brunette
Description: Eager to try almost anything at least once, having lived an extremely sheltered life. Because of her preparation by her family, she can hold a conversation extremely well... when someone else reciprocates. She'll be extremely put off by the unsociability of most of the others but she'll still try her hardest, because the alternative is going back to her family or becoming another depressed, lost soul. Setsuna is part of a very traditional family. The Nasuanagas have lived apart from society for many generations, and the changes in the world have only furthered that divide. Her tutor, her closest friend and only real relationship, taught her about the outside world and helped her escape/run away from her family.

Image
Hiyori Sasayaki, 22
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 120lbs
Hair: Red
Description: In development
We're still looking for background and CG artists(this images were drawn by our lone sprite artist, whom we are working to death!), so if you're interested, send a private message or an email to eridger[at]gmail[dot]com. If you have any questions, feel free to ask or look at our blog or subreddit!
Last edited by AWSalmon on Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:01 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:43 pm

Thanks for joining the forum, AWSalmon. I looked at your post, and glanced through your devblog to make sure I understood your current plans. Let me start by asking you a few important questions...

1. Do you plan to create multiple endings? If so, is this a straightforward visual novel with occasional decisions, or do you plan to include other forms of gameplay?

2a. I assume you will have more than one or two characters who have major roles. What sort of people are in your cast? How do you plan to have the characters meet? Who's in charge of the Human Reignition Project? Will there be an antagonist?

2b. It seems your theme is isolation versus connection. What other major themes and concepts do you plan to address? For instance, can your VN be classified as science fiction or horror? Are romance or friendship going to be key elements?

3. Let us know more about your setting. Don't worry, I'm not asking for an infodump or an in-game glossary. Just help us understand how your world became this bleak place with almost no socialization. (If you ask me, it sounds a bit like what would have happened if the fog-madness problem near the end of Persona 4 had not been resolved...)

4. If you had to give your VN a rating for content (like nearly all movies and video games), what would its rating be?

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#3 Post by TonyTwoFingers » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:21 am

Hello gekiganwing,

I'm one of the producers working on the project, and one of the writers to boot. Figured I'd take the time to address some of your questions, in the same format in which they were posed. Please understand, I try to answer questions as simply and completely as possible, so forgive me if some of the answers are a little curt. Please feel free to respond to my answers as you will, especially if I misinterpret any of your questions.

1. Yes, multiple routes with multiple endings are planned. It is also planned to be straightforward, with no real minigames or such in sight.

2a. There are a multitude of "central characters". What sort of people are in our cast? Hopefully vibrant, interesting characters that feel more like people than rehashes of old tropes. I'm hesitant to be more specific right now, please understand. How they meet will become more apparent as we reveal more information. Who's in charge of the Human Re-Ignition Project? We know, but we're not telling yet (winkyface). No planned antagonist, unless you want to get REALLY interperative and call society the antagonist. But nobody here is an English teacher, so you're safe.

2.b. Isolation versus connection is the main theme. Like anything else, though, there are many ways people cope with isolation. Some of them healthy, some of them not. I'm hesitant to confine the work to a genre, but it's probably closest to "slice of life". But again, it doesn't take place in an Amusement Club, or Light Music Club, or anything like that. So, take that classification with a grain of salt. Romance and friendship are the bomb, don't you think?

3. Nothing quite so byzantine as a fog-madness. Like social decay actually occurs, this isolation becomes more and more prominent as technology progresses, and effort becomes less and less necessary. "Take classes at home in your pajamas" becomes "work at home in your pajamas" which becomes "get groceries at home in your pajamas", and so on.

4. Oh dear god. One of the better things about the indie-VN community being (comparatively) so small, it's that ESRB and other guys don't really care about us. Somewhere between M and AO, R and NC-17. Uh, how to put this in a way that would transcend nationality... yes, we are planning on including "adult content" ("why are mommy and daddy wrestling?").

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#4 Post by AWSalmon » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:20 am

Ah, and to add to Tony's comments, we have every intention to make our VN free. We want to release a free, high-quality VN that should be multi-platform if things work out the way we hope they will. So far there are eleven members of our group, and we all feel the same way about this: we're doing this all for fun, but we're as determined to have fun as we are to release a quality product.

As of writing, we have two programmers, three musicians, five writers, and one artist (we need more of these). Like I said we're aiming for a quality product, and with our current band I think that's definitely something we can achieve.

Our story will have five heroines, who's bios are all in the process of either finilization or expansion. Character sketches on all heroines but one have been finalized (that might be posted in the OP once the fifth character is done), and we're heavily developing our general common route arc and events, which will likely take a huge amount of time. Aside from these five heroines and main characters, we plan to have a plot involving potentially many side characters; one thing that bugs me in a lot of visual novels is that side characters are rarely explored or have no influence on anything at all. Take Katawa Shoujo, for example. There's a scene in that game where you enter the class for the first time and you get a panning image of all the members of the class. This was a great scene, and all the characters you saw were absolutely unique. Unfortunately hardly any of them were ever utilized at all. The setting for our VN is an absolutely perfect excuse to utilize many side characters in the common and heroine routes, and is something that we're all leaning towards.

To expand on point 3, I personally see this sort of society as a possible future for our present. Think about it: the level of technology we have is absolutely astounding. We've had the ability to talk to people on the other side of the world for years, yes, and we've had that sort of technology commonly available for years as well. But now we can do that with a device we keep in our pocket. At any time we want, we can draw ourselves into our technology and enter our own little world. The game's society takes that idea to a further extreme: what if the smartphone-absorbed people of this generation never grow up? What if they instill this idea of easy and convenient online communication anywhere, all the time, into their children? How would their children grow up?
Have you ever, say, been in a waiting room at a hospital or something, waiting for your checkup, and come to the sudden realization that in this room filled with twenty or thirty people, only four of them aren't staring at a cellphone screen? It gives you a feeling of complete and utter separation. These people are totally secluded in their own worlds and disconnected from any person around them. That feeling you get when you see this, that vague uneasiness and clenching of your stomach, is what will be the norm in this world. The writer who proposed this setting called it something like a society on the razor's edge of sliding into a dystopian society.

Of course, this isn't a science fiction novel: our aim won't be to focus on the technology at all, but instead on the social aspect of this world.
Last edited by AWSalmon on Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#5 Post by AxemRed » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:38 am

AWSalmon wrote:Of course, this isn't a science fiction novel: our aim won't be to focus on the technology at all, but instead on the social aspect of this world.
Exploring the (social) effects of technology is a core aspect of sci-fi.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#6 Post by AWSalmon » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:42 am

AxemRed wrote:
AWSalmon wrote:Of course, this isn't a science fiction novel: our aim won't be to focus on the technology at all, but instead on the social aspect of this world.
Exploring the (social) effects of technology is a core aspect of sci-fi.
What I meant is that we won't be going into the technical details of technology as much as the social effects of it. The tech itself will likely be only a background character in this story.
"We have cars that drive for us, services that shop for us, devices that speak for us, machines that clean and cook and work for us. You can't say that removing these things from our daily lives has no effect on the way we interact. As I speak, how many of you are working, or communicating with someone else? Could we do that twenty years ago? Ten? Society has changed very slowly throughout the course of human history, but in the span of only two generations, there have been more technology-driven societal advances than we can count."

"People everywhere are able to talk to others clear on the other side of the world, and we do this at the expense of interacting with others around us. We have our heads buried so deeply in our technology that we ignore our surroundings. Society is stretched far beyond what should be possible, thanks to technology. We have friends in other countries while we have strangers in our own homes."


The Human Reignition Project
AlienWorks.Recruiting@gmail.com

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#7 Post by AxemRed » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:56 am

I know, I'm just saying that's still called sci-fi.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#8 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:35 am

Noticed today that characters are being introduced through psychological briefs. So far, this is looking like a story with BxG pairings... but I could be wrong.

Also, I don't think I asked earlier... where is the VN taking place? Is the setting (based on) any specific part of the present day world?
TonyTwoFingers wrote:Romance and friendship are the bomb, don't you think?
I agree. But I'm also familiar with the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, which tends to have a negative view on friendship.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#9 Post by AWSalmon » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:53 pm

gekiganwing wrote:Noticed today that characters are being introduced through psychological briefs.
Less specific than that. Our idea is to introduce girls from another person's perspective. It makes it a little interesting than doing a simple third-person perspective, and the writers can add their own little twist to it depending on what character is talking about the girl. Hitomi's Psychologist wrote up some notes about her. Another girl's estranged dad might talk about his daughter from his perspective. I plan on introducing my girl via a podcast-style interview with her socialite-outcast friend she met in an 'offline' highschool. Stuff like that.
gekiganwing wrote: So far, this is looking like a story with BxG pairings... but I could be wrong.
No, you're right. I wasn't quite sure that the BxG and stuff meant. Assumed it was something relating to the art style for some reason... I'll update the title right away, assuming I can.
gekiganwing wrote: Also, I don't think I asked earlier... where is the VN taking place? Is the setting (based on) any specific part of the present day world?
It's taking place in Japan, but we haven't hammered out the specifics just yet. Probably going to be some fictional city though, since that's the easiest route to go. The world in The Re-Ignition Project takes place some time in the mid 21st century - we'd probably be in our seventies or eighties - in a country that's already somewhat socially insular, though that's not because of technology. Our world is just a continuation of the present. What it would be like if the electronics-obsessed generation of today never bother to teach their children what it means to interact with others in the real world. How would their children be affected? But of course in reality our setting is just something we thought was pretty neat and fairly realistic. It doesn't have a heavy basis in reality.

Even though it takes place in Japan, this is an OELVN. If we attempted to 'japanify' our game by adding honorifics and other Japanese-specific things in the story, we don't have any confidence that we wouldn't totally butcher it and make our game sound like some kind of awkward story written by people who clearly have no idea what they're writing. Some people can pull it off in their stories, but we don't want to take the risk of spoiling our game.

Oh, by the way, I'll be updating the OP when we get a few more character promos revealed. Shouldn't take too long, and it'll look nicer with more detail from questions people asked since I posted.
"We have cars that drive for us, services that shop for us, devices that speak for us, machines that clean and cook and work for us. You can't say that removing these things from our daily lives has no effect on the way we interact. As I speak, how many of you are working, or communicating with someone else? Could we do that twenty years ago? Ten? Society has changed very slowly throughout the course of human history, but in the span of only two generations, there have been more technology-driven societal advances than we can count."

"People everywhere are able to talk to others clear on the other side of the world, and we do this at the expense of interacting with others around us. We have our heads buried so deeply in our technology that we ignore our surroundings. Society is stretched far beyond what should be possible, thanks to technology. We have friends in other countries while we have strangers in our own homes."


The Human Reignition Project
AlienWorks.Recruiting@gmail.com

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL]

#10 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:50 am

After looking for things to do in Chicago today, I found a comedy show that reminded me of your VN's premise.
AWSalmon wrote:I wasn't quite sure that the BxG and stuff meant.
"BxG" is shorthand on this forum for "Boy pursues girl(s)." I should have stated this clearly. If it helps, there's a three page discussion on forum slang...
AWSalmon wrote:Even though it takes place in Japan, this is an OELVN. If we attempted to 'japanify' our game by adding honorifics and other Japanese-specific things in the story, we don't have any confidence that we wouldn't totally butcher it and make our game sound like some kind of awkward story written by people who clearly have no idea what they're writing. Some people can pull it off in their stories, but we don't want to take the risk of spoiling our game.
No matter what setting you portray, it should be consistent and reasonably easy to understand. Doing some research definitely helps. Unless your story is meant to be absurd comedy, you want to make sure the setting is plausible, and that important details are up to date. (For instance, there are few people here in this city who talk or act like the Superfans.) Also, make sure your research does not take over the story, and it ends up sounding like a research paper.

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Re: The Human Reignition Project [SoL/SciFi][BxG]

#11 Post by AWSalmon » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:58 am

Updated the OP with new information and a reworked reveal.
"We have cars that drive for us, services that shop for us, devices that speak for us, machines that clean and cook and work for us. You can't say that removing these things from our daily lives has no effect on the way we interact. As I speak, how many of you are working, or communicating with someone else? Could we do that twenty years ago? Ten? Society has changed very slowly throughout the course of human history, but in the span of only two generations, there have been more technology-driven societal advances than we can count."

"People everywhere are able to talk to others clear on the other side of the world, and we do this at the expense of interacting with others around us. We have our heads buried so deeply in our technology that we ignore our surroundings. Society is stretched far beyond what should be possible, thanks to technology. We have friends in other countries while we have strangers in our own homes."


The Human Reignition Project
AlienWorks.Recruiting@gmail.com

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