Black Closet [Detective Work][GxG][Now in Testing]

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papillon
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Black Closet [Detective Work][GxG][Now in Testing]

#1 Post by papillon » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:17 pm

Now in beta testing! Visit the Black Closet forum for links and information.





9 AM Monday morning. A report lands on your desk: Jeanette's monogrammed silver locket has gone missing. The last time she definitely remembers having it, she was walking in the Field with her friend Susan. Shifty hallmate Ashley had also been admiring the locket recently.

Do you:
Drag Ashley in for interrogation?
Comb the Field for clues?
Try to stimulate Jeanette's memory?
Put Susan under surveillance?


Find the locket quickly, and everyone will applaud your leadership. Be too heavy-handed in your approach, and public opinion will turn against you. Let a thief slip through your fingers to strike again, and the whole school's reputation will suffer.


---

So, I've been working on this for quite a while and mentioned it a few places but I'd never made an announcement thread here. Partly because waiting for art so I can get better screenshots, but also because I am kind of inventing genres here. This is not your standard visual novel.
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For starters, most of the game is gameplay. There are dialog sections with choices to make, but they're a small fraction of the game. Most of what you're doing is trying to solve mysteries, which you do by assigning your minions to tasks. Then, in RPG fashion, your minion's skills and item bonuses are compared against the target's skills, plus a little bit of dice-rolling for luck.

Next, when you actually are in the talking sections, the dialog is RPG-style... in that you get to choose every single line your character says. So there's a LOT of variation in how a conversation can go, even without knowing that:

Randomised Plot. The cases you encounter are different every time. The solutions to the cases are different every time. Which of your minions, if any, is betraying you is selected at random. The truth behind the Big Bad Conspiracy is selected at random. You have to rely on your skills to solve the mysteries because nothing will be the same!
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Your minions are also your friendship/romance options. Befriending them is critical to the game (you need their loyalty in order to make the best use of their skills) but it's optional to take it past that. This is an all-girls' school, male options are NOT on the cards, but you can keep your focus on your schoolwork and career. Or perhaps you're hoping to eventually be inducted into the Ancient Conspiracy...

You can see a little bit more about this project over at IndieDB where I've had to file it under Strategy for the moment because there just really is no genre that covers a game like this.
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Last edited by papillon on Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:27 am

Black Council takes place at an elite girls school. But how realistic or fantastic is this world? In other words, does the ancient conspiracy mentioned on Indie DB actually exist, or is it just a joke?

The main character is the student council president, and it seems they have a lot of power. What is considered normal discipline for them and the school, and what is considered an abuse of power?

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#3 Post by papillon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:44 am

In other words, does the ancient conspiracy mentioned on Indie DB actually exist, or is it just a joke?
The truth may change from game to game...

But as far as the setting goes, there's no overt magic known to exist. That doesn't stop there from being ancient conspiracies: there are plenty of secret societies in our world and exaggerated rumors of many more. The Illuminati may or may not be watching you.

How the school judges your actions depends somewhat on the results you get. If you put someone in detention, apply the Perp Sweat, and actually get a confession out of them, everyone is likely to be pleased with you. If you put someone through the wringer and she still protests her innocence by the end, everyone will think you're being horribly unfair and abusive. Even if she is guilty.

You need some kind of evidence before you can order a suspect's room searched, put her in detention, suspend her, or (gulp!) expel her. Ordering an expulsion will always lower public approval, but sometimes it's the only way to deal with a troublemaker who refuses to reform.

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#4 Post by Morgan_R » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:31 pm

This looks fantastic. Can't wait to play! :D

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#5 Post by papillon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:34 pm

Character profiles! Starting with Althea, your fellow Senior.
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#6 Post by xavimat » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:57 pm

I like that style, papillon!
I'm thinking in that type of mystery-randomiced games for ages.
I think there must be a lot of different possibilities to create the random case every time (otherwise it could be boring). How are you thinking that?
Once I thought dividing the case in parts, and having several possibilities for any part:
1.Choose involved characters (e.g. always 5 from a list of 20)
2.Create randomiced caracters (work, personality, relations)
3.First level clues, that lead to...
4. Second level clues that lead to
5. Third level clues (the last one)
6. Places where that clues are found
7. Plot diversions (not related with the main plot, but always (?) present in that kind of stories)
and so on...

(I'm not sure if all this makes sense... :( )

Anyway. Go on with your project. I'll play it!
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#7 Post by papillon » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:18 pm

The way it works is that it's not just a single case, you're solving little mysteries all the time. There's a whole host of mystery types ("Item goes missing" is a type) and subtypes - for a missing item, it might be things like "She lost it, someone stole it, she planted it on someone else to frame them..." - and of course you don't know what subtype you're in, so you have to find clues to tell them apart. And then within the cases themselves the characters, locations, and skills are randomly assigned.

Most of them have no effect on the main story, they're just things you have to deal with to keep your job going and earn XP to boost your skills for the more important challenges.

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#8 Post by jack_norton » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:02 am

So can you reveal now (or later?) the original game that inspired you to do this one? I'm curious because maybe is something I played years ago but I forgot about it (I remember one called Bureau 13 but I think is not that one).
Also finally you're doing a GxG only game! :D
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#9 Post by papillon » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:54 pm

Bureau 13 is the one where you're all weird supernatural entities, like a vampire and a girl in a giant mecha, right? I saw part of an LP of that. Cute idea, seemed badly implemented, and no, NOT the game I'm talking about. Very similar name though, since it's this:

Floor 13

Except replacing 'torture' with 'detention' and 'assassination' with 'expulsion'.

Also, as mentioned, I haven't actually played Floor 13... I'm not making a remake of it. I just read the description and got ideas from that.

The 'black' in the title refers to "black ops", since most of your work is being done in secret and is kinda morally questionable. Less strongly, the 'black' is meant to give hints of occult connections, since there may or may not be mystical conspiracies at work.

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#10 Post by Ryue » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:25 pm

Sounds very interesting and also if you have randomly generated quests (with a high enough set of parameters) it will have QUITE a replay value!
GL there! (and cool!)

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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#11 Post by jack_norton » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:56 pm

Lol actually I meant Floor 13 indeed! I messed up the names. I remember playing that game on the Amiga, or better TRYING since at those times my English knowledge wasn't really good... :)
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#12 Post by unknown5 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:26 pm

- as someone commented on your site, it reminds me of a fusion of VN + board game,
but with much greater complexity since you are not limited to shuffled cards and dice rolls.
- heheh, i was planning to do something along the lines of Arkham Horror, but with
a first person horror perspective, rather than solo play controlling/assigning tasks
to multiple investigators.
- pretty cool idea!
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#13 Post by papillon » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:46 pm

Next up is Thaïs (and yes, every time I type that I have to remember how to get the dots up there. It's pronounced tah-EES), a freshman and Althea's little sister. Has the highest starting Intimidation score of any of your investigators...
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#14 Post by papillon » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:58 pm

And then there's Vonne, the perfect lieutenant, the Smithers to your Burns. Every president would be grateful to have such a minion!
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Re: Black Closet [Interactive Mystery, GxG]

#15 Post by papillon » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:27 pm

Rounding out the Student Council with Mallory, the Ingenue, and Rowan, the ... uh... who was she again?
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