Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

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Tomoyo Ichijouji
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Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

#1 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:49 am

From the first time I learned about Ren'py way back in 2010, I wanted to use it to tell stories with a strong synced visual element. But I wanted to actually learn how to use it first, so the best way to do that is to do a small pilot project just to get used to writing in this format.
Image
Enter "Groups of Two". The premise is very simple: it's the first day of class for a sixth grade classroom, and the teacher assigns the students to have a conversation with their assigned partner (hence "groups of two") with the purpose of introducing themselves to the class. There's a total of six students as the main characters, along with the teacher who is the story's general POV outside of the conversations.

***Update 7/7/2013
Update, y'all! While the jury is still out on the script itself, I've managed to get a complete working template of the menu system and text formatting of the visual novel. (So, you can think of it as a no-spoilers beta test, though there are some places where I put in some passages for the rough draft because they're small and don't really give away anything major). There is currently only one image for each character; I have different expressions prepared, but they're edits of the base image and I'm not entirely sure of the ones I'll end up using yet (as the script isn't finalized).
Download here as well as in 1st post:
https://www.box.com/s/mkxpmhhweysoezfiuzad
I would really appreciate it if people play around with it to be sure that there aren't any errors or whoopsies that I missed! Other questions for y'all include:
* What do you think of the artwork and graphics?
* How about the interface, particularly with the pair-picking menu and the NVL-style epilogue? (Also, do you think I should voice the NVL portion, or leave it text-only and only do dialogue text?)
I would be grateful for any suggestions you might have!


The characters' personalities are as follows (the art is also drawn by me):
Sydney Blacker
Image
A quiet, sophisticated young man recently moved from Australia, it is not an uncommon occurrence that he is mistaken for the opposite gender, much to his resigned exasperation (though one wonders then why he wears a pink bow on his collar to class). It seems that the move revolved around something troubling regarding his older brother, who is now deceased...

Alex Greggory
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Easily classified as a 'geek' by his classmates, he is fairly fanatical about Pokemon, sometimes evidenced by making analogies involving it even in his daily verbal usage. He is an earnest and passionate learner though, curious about many other things besides that, and in fact seems to hide a somewhat more inspiring persona beneath.

Lucy Jaskiewicz
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A cheerful, kindhearted girl with an unfortunately impossible-to-pronounce last name. It signifies her ties to the country of Poland, where the rest of her family apparently resides. She might seem bubbly and carefree, but she's also an intelligent and thoughtful young woman who just needs people to take her a little more seriously.

Michael Lee
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Michael is a sporty young man, and his athletic talents are outmatched only by his competitive spirit. When he goes for something, he goes for the win. Strangely though, outside of the basketball court, he is a fairly sardonic personality, usually intimidating all but the most strong-willed of kids around him. One wonders, considering this, what his relationship with his very shy younger sister is like.

Trixie Oswald
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One might have thought that her parents must have known what kind of personality their daughter would develop in her childhood, because Trixie is certainly a tricky little girl. She has even personally claimed that she takes almost nothing seriously, and is usually the class clown of any given classroom. Take everything she says with a good pinch of salt: her favorite way of interacting with people is screwing with their heads.

Ella Quintieri
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This young woman is soft-spoken and reserved, not one to get too hyped up or upset over much. She is from a very well-off family and thus even rides a limousine to and from school, which of course catches much of the classroom's attention. Though it may seem like she has everything a girl could want, apparently her parents are always busy with work, and she's an only child, so she's usually the only one at home besides any hired hands to take care of the house. Seems like a pretty lonely life, if you ask me...

Ms. Julia Anderson
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The teacher of this sixth grade classroom. She is calm, warm, and easygoing, but she takes her job seriously and can be quite stern when the time calls for it.
And here's a group picture to get a better idea of what the sprites look like with the background:
Image
I have finished the script for all paths, a total of around 10,600 words, but since you only get three mutually exclusive interactions each time, multiple playthroughs would be needed to see each interaction, thus making a basic use of the choices function. While there are no 'bad ends', some interactions are more involved than others, and there are some 'dark secrets' that a few of them have that are only revealed in one of the numerous possible groupings.

I'm kind of sitting in the twilight between having written the script and beginning to program it (which, since I'm only used to basic coding like for forums and blogs, probably will take me some time to figure out), so right now is the time to have my script looked over to have any changes made (as it would be much more of a pain to change the script once it's programmed, I'm guessing?) I have had one person finish looking over it so far, but as they didn't have much to suggest changes for it, I wanted to try having other people reading it as well. I have one other person looking it through at this time, but they're having problems with their computer right now so it might be a while before I hear back from them =|a

Therefore, while I'm waiting, maybe one of you guys would be interested in giving my script a look through and any comments or suggestions for it? Since this is a finished draft but before any coding, if you have suggestions format-wise as to how I should arrange dialogues and passages, this would be right time for me to hear them. Or, if you would download the menu template and let me know what you think of it (works well, seems messy, etc. etc.), that would really help too!

As aforementioned, this is my first time doing anything in this forum or writing for visual novels, so if I'm 'doin' it raong' in some way, please feel free to politely let me know! I'll try to fix whatever I can. XD;;
Last edited by Tomoyo Ichijouji on Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Short pilot VN: "Groups of Two", draft done

#2 Post by Taleweaver » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:22 am

Tomoyo Ichijouji wrote:(Total n00b to the forums, so if this is in the wrong place, do help me put it where it should be!)
And so I did. Since this is a work in progress, why not put it in that forum?
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Re: Short pilot VN: "Groups of Two", draft done

#3 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:54 am

Taleweaver wrote:And so I did. Since this is a work in progress, why not put it in that forum?
I thought that it had to be at least partially programmed or with some demo available for it to belong to the form, since right now it exists purely as a script in a word document, rather than as a playable game or even an in-progress one. But if it still counts, then yay!

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Re: Short pilot VN: "Groups of Two" [School Life][Children]

#4 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:31 pm

Update, y'all! While the jury is still out on the script itself, I've managed to get a complete working template of the menu system and text formatting of the visual novel. (So, you can think of it as a no-spoilers beta test, though there are some places where I put in some passages for the rough draft because they're small and don't really give away anything major). There is currently only one image for each character; I have different expressions prepared, but they're edits of the base image and I'm not entirely sure of the ones I'll end up using yet (as the script isn't finalized).

Download here as well as in 1st post:
https://www.box.com/s/mkxpmhhweysoezfiuzad

I would really appreciate it if people play around with it to be sure that there aren't any errors or whoopsies that I missed! Other questions for y'all include:

* What do you think of the artwork and graphics?
* How about the interface, particularly with the pair-picking menu and the NVL-style epilogue? (Also, do you think I should voice the NVL portion, or leave it text-only and only do dialogue text?)

I would be grateful for any suggestions you might have!

EDIT 11:44pm EST, 7/7/2013: I noticed there was a slight typo in the epilogue that labeled the wrong characters as having been introduced. Made a quick change and uploaded the fixed version to the same link.
EDIT 12:58am EST, 7/8/2013: Aaaaaaaaand I just noticed that I quite unintentionally had the rough draft script in the distro file. x_x Updated it so no-spoilers actually means no-spoilers, and also a couple of other menu snafus that I found. (But I wouldn't be surprised if there's actually more than that... dang complicated menu system 6_6 )

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School Life][Kids] 1ST BETA U

#5 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:20 am

Just updating that the entire script has been revised and finalized, as well as programmed into Ren'py with visuals. Now I'm working on getting the VAs and composer working on their stuff (though I'll need to find replacements for one or more of the girls right now). I've got the VAs for the boys all confirmed and starting to work on the script; I'm waiting on a couple of the girls to confirm. Trixie is the one that I know I need to find another replacement VA, and I'm considering holding auditions if I can't think of another VA (who's still active?) that could play her.
Here are some screenshots from the programmed game, which is basically how it will look when it's finished because the only things missing from it now are sound-related (voices, music, SFX).
Image

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Image

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Last edited by Tomoyo Ichijouji on Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School Life][Kids] 1ST BETA U

#6 Post by gekiganwing » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:18 am

Thank you for updating the thread. I remember seeing it months ago, but I couldn't think of anything to say at the time.
Tomoyo Ichijouji wrote:Just updating that the entire script has been revised and finalized, as well as programmed into Ren'py with visuals. Now I'm working on getting the VAs and composer working on their stuff...
This began as a small pilot project and now has voice actors... Just make sure to keep its scope under control. Don't let feature creep happen -- only include the scenes and aspects that are necessary for telling the story.

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School Life][Kids] 1ST BETA U

#7 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:04 pm

gekiganwing wrote:Thank you for updating the thread. I remember seeing it months ago, but I couldn't think of anything to say at the time.

This began as a small pilot project and now has voice actors... Just make sure to keep its scope under control. Don't let feature creep happen -- only include the scenes and aspects that are necessary for telling the story.
Thank you for expressing your interest! I felt kinda bummed when I didn't get any responses about the project when I first posted it, so I appreciate you posting your thoughts and concerns after my recent update. I was worried that it was just too small in scope for people to be interested in ^^;;

Speaking of scope, no worries about what you said; it hasn't expanded or diminished its scope anywhere than from what I had intended from the beginning. It was meant to be a short story about a sixth grade class introducing one another -- or primarily, the conversations that result from that premise.

The entire story literally consists of 1) the roll call to introduce the characters individually, 2) the conversations between the characters (and since you can pick any unique combination of the six protagonists, that makes for 15 different conversations, three of which you choose to see at any one playthrough), and 3) the epilogue where the teacher reflects on the introductions that the students made, replacing the actual introductions themselves, which are described second-hand through her narrative. That was what I had planned for the story to contain from the start, and is what it contains now in the finalized script. So I doubt that feature creep will be an issue for this project (I had to look up what 'feature creep' meant though lol XD;; )

The voice-acting part was also something I had intended from the beginning. I am an active veteran member (and also a moderator) of the forum VoiceActingAlliance, so I would naturally want to get voices even for a pilot project, even if just to get familiar with how I would manage it for a larger project in the future, but also just 'cause it's more fun that way XD Technically, I could release what I have right now as a 'finished' game, but without SFX, music or voices, it feels incomplete and significantly less effective as a multimedia-told story, so I'm waiting until I have those, or at the very least having made every effort to obtain them, to officially call it 'done'.
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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School Life][Kids] 1ST BETA U

#8 Post by ProjectTrinity » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:22 pm

gekiganwing wrote:Thank you for updating the thread. I remember seeing it months ago, but I couldn't think of anything to say at the time.
Tomoyo Ichijouji wrote:Just updating that the entire script has been revised and finalized, as well as programmed into Ren'py with visuals. Now I'm working on getting the VAs and composer working on their stuff...
This began as a small pilot project and now has voice actors... Just make sure to keep its scope under control. Don't let feature creep happen -- only include the scenes and aspects that are necessary for telling the story.
Just echoing the above in the event you would feel more at ease with extra reassurance: Tomoyomoyomoyo has worked with large groups of VAs before. And a composer CoughsHelloThereCoughs. Gathering talented and reliable voice actors will definitely not be as big of a scope jump (or one at all) as it would be for some others. =D

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] Screenshots up!

#9 Post by Googaboga » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:45 am

Oh wow this sounds great C:. The premise sounds like it'll be a lot of fun. I look forward to seeing how each of the pairs interact with each other.

Haha I enjoyed Sydney's bio particularly because I totally would have spent forever believing he was a girl if I had just gone off his sprite X3.
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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] Screenshots up!

#10 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:17 pm

A long time since I've updated, but I in fact have been working on this in the meanwhile! Since it's getting close to completion, I've decided to upload the base sprites and expression charts for the characters that you can see here in this deviantArt folder:
http://tomoyoichijouji.deviantart.com/g ... -of-Two-VN

If you want more detailed info on my progress, you can visit my production blog here:
http://voiceactingalliance.com/board/en ... ual-novel)
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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] Screenshots up!

#11 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:22 pm

The game has been finished and released! Link to download is up on the Completed Works forum here:

http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 11&t=37752
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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

#12 Post by VocaloidsRCool » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:50 am

This is a lovely little game. I really enjoyed watching the children interact, and seeing the various outcomes of those interactions. My favorite character was Sydney, and I think his backstory was heart-breaking yet sweet, and I think that he is a very strong boy.

I know this was just meant to be a short game, but if you ever make a continuation of this, for whatever reason, I would love to play it as well. Keep up the great work~

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

#13 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:54 am

Thank you! I'm happy that you enjoyed it! Sydney's a favorite of mine too, though I love them all for their own reasons.

I haven't planned a continuation to this yet, but I have considered it! I'm not entirely sure which conversations I'd make canon though, haha. I'll let you know if something ends up happening!
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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

#14 Post by VocaloidsRCool » Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:12 pm

Hey, if you do continue this game, maybe you could consider making a playable character. I like romance, and since the kids seems kind of young, it would only be the player having a crush on one of them. This is just an idea, and since this is your game, you make the final decision for any events in potential sequels.

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Re: Short VN: "Groups of Two" [School][Kids] GAME RELEASED!

#15 Post by Tomoyo Ichijouji » Thu Apr 21, 2016 3:30 pm

I'm seriously considering it! The continuation I was thinking of was more along the lines of a plot-based story that does some exciting things with some of the characters' backgrounds, but it could be possible to integrate a playable character in it. Alternatively, I could even make a short game like Groups of Two that is specifically for the purpose of pairing the MC up with a character -- though I don't think I'm very good at writing romance if it's the main point of the story :oops:

Unless, maybe the premise would be like, you pick one of the characters to do a paired project with? That would end up having any one playthrough focus on one character only; is that okay? =|a
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