Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Paranormal][Commercial]

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Jackkel Dragon
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#16 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:44 pm

Nearing another milestone: the alone ending route is nearly complete, with only a few more scenes to go. After that is finished I'll probably take a break to review the overall story to make sure it all fits before writing the relationship routes.
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#17 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:27 pm

Had to take some time off to take care of other things, but the alone route and ending are now drafted. Playing through the game with the choices that lead to that ending, the game takes ~150 minutes to complete at my reading speed. Unfortunately, there still isn't much to show yet. There isn't really enough art complete to share screenshots or a demo.
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#18 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:54 am

The first draft of the Cho route and both of its endings has been completed. I'm also considering creating a short bad ending route that isn't tied to any character, though I'll have to see if it fits with the rest of the game.

The next route to be worked on will probably be the Kagami route, but we'll see what ends up working out.

I also have a question for those with some spare time: Does a horror game require a lot of "bad endings" or death endings to be considered a horror game? I ask because (potential spoilers)
none of the eight planned and outlined endings have any of the main characters getting killed or irreparably harmed. The current "bad endings" are breakup endings, not death endings. The extra route I'm considering adding would be the death ending.
I want to make sure that I'm not inadvertently misleading people about the type of game Eldritch Academy is. While I consider the horror elements it does have to be enough to make it a horror game, I want to be sure I'm categorizing the game properly.
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#19 Post by wayward » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:13 pm

I did a double-take when I saw the "Eldritch" in your game name. Great theme, and "Sudden appearance of monsters" is always an awesome thing to have happen. Some of my favorite games are horror games.
Jackkel Dragon wrote: I also have a question for those with some spare time: Does a horror game require a lot of "bad endings" or death endings to be considered a horror game?
This question caught my eye, and forgive me if this is long winded, this is a very interesting topic to me. For me, I don't think that having a lot of bad endings or death endings has anything to do with anything being horror--not saying that you should omit these at all, that's a great idea and can be very very shocking/fun. I think i read some definitions of the word horror.. actually ill just look them up.

1. Horror: "an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear.

2. Horror: "an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.

If you ask a bunch of random people they would equate horror to blood and gore, but (if I may talk about movies--I think that you can give and take things from all forms of media) there's blood and gore in Saving Private Ryan, a movie the same people might refer to as historical fiction. Feel free to argue this, 'cuz I've found there's really never one good answer for questions like these, but I think good horror has more to do with a lack of understanding of what's going on. If you see someone cut their hand with a knife while cooking, and bleed, while some people can call that horrifying, most will just think "whoops" or "ouch" in their heads. Now, if someone cut their hand and blood starts gushing out and doesn't stop, if the hand just starts bleeding and bleeding, and then the blood turns black for some reason, and then the sky turns dark outside and all the lights go out I think someone would equate that more to horror. Anyway, sorry, this question got me fired up :)

More importantly though it's your story. If you want many bad endings and death scenes, go for it. No one can see what's in your head, and you might have some awesome ideas people would enjoy.

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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#20 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:55 pm

Nearly finished with Kagami's route draft, with just the end of one scene and the ending events to go. That'll be 3/5 routes complete when I get those last thousand words or so down. Next one to be worked on will probably be Akomi's route, leaving the hidden route for last.
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#21 Post by papillon » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:28 pm

Belatedly - I would probably be disappointed in a horror game that had no/few bad ends, if it had multiple endings at all.

However, I like bad ends in general more than some players do.

A straight story with no choices doesn't have to end badly to have horror components, but in a game where you're making choices, the possibility of failure and horrible death adds to the tension. And the existence of bad ends may be necessary in order to make it clear that the monsters ARE dangerous.

In branching fiction, there's often a good route that allows everyone to come out unharmed, or maybe everyone except one unfortunate sacrificial lamb. But if that's ALL there is, then the story can feel hollow, like it lied to you about being scary and dangerous, because all you see is the one rare circumstances where everything went right. Having SEEN the alternate outcomes where you fail and everybody dies, it makes the good route more of a 'miraculous escape' and less of a 'the monsters weren't actually dangerous anyway'.
If your characters are mostly concerned with their love lives and not in any real threat of death most of the time, it might not be a horror game to me. A single death ending where you mess up everyone's romance paths wouldn't necessarily change that.

On the other hand, if the secret they discover is horrific enough and people died in the PAST then still labeling it horror makes perfect sense even if they're fairly safe now. So I guess it depends on just how creepy stuff in the game is!

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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#22 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:14 pm

It's starting to look tricky to add bad endings to the current script without restructuring the story, which I noticed when I tried to look through the script for ways to include more bad endings. I'm also no longer certain if the "horror" elements in the story make up for the lack of bad endings when it comes to saying this is a horror game. The thing is, I can't really explain why I'd consider this a horror story without spoiling significant parts of the game.

My response to the spoilered text is a bit of a spoiler for the first segment of the game, just in case anyone wants to be forewarned before reading it.
While the main focus of the game (particularly for the choices the player gets) is the romance aspect, the romance arc is almost like a major subplot to the "horror" overall plot arc. It's currently the only aspect of the story that player choices control, while the "horror" arc is mostly outside of the player's control. Since a major theme of the "horror" plot is the main character feeling like she's being led along or used by someone/something greater, I thought this could work.

For the second point, I'm not sure if the game is "creepy" enough to be considered horror, but there is a plot point about how the threat caused deaths in the past. Early on, the main characters find evidence that students had died because of the threat, and a bit later they discover that this was covered up by the school so that people wouldn't look into the deaths. Combined with the fact that even the teachers/staff that the main characters interact with don't fully understand the situation, this makes the main characters feel isolated and expendable.
Edit update: Kagami's route is fully drafted now. That's 3/5 routes and 5/8 endings finished, with two routes to go.
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#23 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:28 pm

Quick status update: After a bit of a hiatus from writing, I'm back to working on Eldritch Academy. Akomi's route is about 30-40% drafted now.

I'm at a bit of a loss on what I should do to raise/maintain interest in the project. Since the artist is still busy with other things, I don't really have any art to show as teasers when I post updates. I'd talk about things in the story, but the way I've written the story I can't talk about much without spoiling things I want to be revealed in the game itself. That leaves me with very little to work with when trying to talk about the game...

I'm also still a bit worried about whether players would consider the horror elements to be enough to consider this a "horror game". I feel like there's enough there to justify the description, but I'm a biased source (as the writer) and what I consider to be the "scary" parts of the story would spoil the story if I went into too much detail, so it'll be hard to get outside opinions. It doesn't help that I'm not usually particularly afraid when playing horror games (jumpscares aside); the ability to remind myself that I'm not the one in the situation is enough to keep me from being too scared. So I tend to rely on more subtle, creepy things (the things that do get to me when playing horror games) that I've been told aren't that scary. (For instance, in one of my previous games there's a segment that requires the player to enter an incinerator right after having been followed by a ghost. The character is afraid that the incinerator might be turned on when they're inside, but it doesn't happen. The lack of anything happening actually makes the character more tense when the actual bad things happen, but I watched a playthrough where the player got annoyed that nothing bad happened in the incinerator. Since there's a good 5-15 minutes of this sort of stuff in that part of the game, the player was mostly bored.) Maybe "psychological thriller" would be a better term for what I write, but I want to believe that the horror elements are enough to use that term instead. (Also, stories can be both: I'd consider Alan Wake a horror game, but it was marketed as a "Psychological Action Thriller".)
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#24 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:17 am

Small update: Akomi's route is now 100% drafted, and I caved and added a new bad ending to the alone route. That makes 4/5 routes and 8/9 endings playable.

Now all that remains before script revision is the hidden route... Hopefully it's not as difficult to write as I feel like it might be.
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Includes information about and links to many of my current and past projects.

Projects:
[Nightshade] Eldritch Academy, Eldritch University, Blooming Nightshade, Flowering Nightshade, Shireishi, h+
[Kigenishi] RHM
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#25 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:04 am

The script is now 100% drafted, with all routes and endings complete and playable. I still have to do at least one revision pass to make sure everything flows nicely and nothing was overlooked, but this is a milestone for me. The word count for the first full draft of the game is ~120k words. (For reference, my largest released project, Corpse Party D2: Zero Hope, has a 40k word count.)
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Includes information about and links to many of my current and past projects.

Projects:
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[Kigenishi] RHM
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#26 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:05 pm

I've been trying to make some progress despite some setbacks in development, though things have been slow. Things that have changed since the last post:
  • Two full revision passes on the script. It should be nearly finalized at this point.
  • Most of the necessary backgrounds have been obtained or purchased from royalty-free sources. (Still need a few stragglers...)
  • Scene replay, CG gallery, BGM gallery, and ending list have been implemented. (Though I might have to change them a bit to fit the new Ren'Py GUI.)
As I try to figure out how to get the rest of the game finished, I have a number of questions:

Q1: Are there any good sources for RPG-like spell animations (such as those used in RPG Maker)? Most of the animation spritesheets I've found are only licensed for use with RPG Maker, and I don't know anyone who could create the animations themselves. (I saw a few things on DLSite, but nothing that I needed.)

Q2: What are good sites for finding royalty-free sound effects made specifically for games? I've found a few such sites, but like with the animations I can't seem to find what I need.

Q3: In the downtime while waiting for art and trying to get the rest of the game together, I've been writing mini-stories that I planned to include in a sort of fandisc or standalone DLC. Should I consider trying to integrate this into the main game? I wonder if potential players would be turned off by a short (15k-20k words) standalone expansion. (Though if included in the main game, I'd have to raise the price of the game to account for the extra content.)

Q4: Should I consider cutting out a chunk of the early game and make a demo, despite the lack of character art in the current build? I worry that the longer I wait before I release something, the less seriously people will take the project (since I apparently announced it far too early). But I also worry that a poor reception to a clunky demo with placeholder assets might ruin any chances for the final version to do well, and I'm not sure there's a good natural breaking point for a demo that would maintain interest without seeming contrived.

Q5: Going off what little is publicly announced so far, what price would you expect the game to be? (Keeping in mind the uncertain nature of the final art assets, the royalty-free music, and the ~120k word 5-route story.) I have a few numbers in mind already, but I want to know what expectations are so that I can skew things in one direction or another.

Q6: [Edited in] Should I change or update the introduction/"elevator pitch" and character bios on the opening post? It's been long enough that I wonder if what I wrote is clear enough to convey the story concept and the characters. Without more promo art to work with, I have to make the description be as clear as possible.

Hopefully that doesn't seem like too many questions at once... I appreciate any help in getting this game to work out well. Trying to make a commercial game is a new experience to me, as I primarily started with game mods and fangames, where I could get feedback along the way without feeling like the final product's sales would be threatened if I made a mistake (since there was no selling to worry about for those kinds of projects).
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Projects:
[Nightshade] Eldritch Academy, Eldritch University, Blooming Nightshade, Flowering Nightshade, Shireishi, h+
[Kigenishi] RHM
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#27 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Sat May 13, 2017 5:04 pm

As I noted on my Tumblr, I've pretty much decided to combine what would have been the standalone fandisc's stories with the main game. I'm still trying to figure out how I'll implement them (particularly since they could spoil the main game if played first), but I feel like it's probably the best choice for everyone. Since the script's full first draft is done and the main game is a while off from completion, it'd be awkward to try to force it to be a standalone game.

In other update news, some of the art is starting to get done. It's still a ways to go before the game is ready to be shown off in any way (screenshots or demo), but it's progress and that makes me hopeful.
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[Kigenishi] RHM
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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#28 Post by juunishi master » Sat May 13, 2017 11:24 pm

I didn't realize this post was started in 2015 before I read that the development has taken 1 year. :O

Uh, well, I think many questions from the previous posts have been answered, so I'm gonna say that I'll be waiting for this game (because YURI!).

Hang in there and good luck! :D

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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#29 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:01 pm

A quick update on progress: Background art for the game is pretty much finalized, and Character/UI art is starting to trickle in. The bonus scenes that were going to be separate from the main game have been fully drafted and implemented in the game, and should just need a few revisions to be ready to go.

Since the remaining art may take some time (months at the current rate), I've set up a private beta to try to judge interest and response to the game. I'll still need to make some tweaks to the build before it's ready for the beta, but it will basically be the full game minus character and CG art, and potentially with WIP/placeholder UI assets. (And may continue to include a bug regarding the placement of the Skip Mode indicator until I know how to fix that.)

The beta test thread is here: link
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Includes information about and links to many of my current and past projects.

Projects:
[Nightshade] Eldritch Academy, Eldritch University, Blooming Nightshade, Flowering Nightshade, Shireishi, h+
[Kigenishi] RHM
[Team Despair] Corpse Party D2 series

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Re: Eldritch Academy [GxG Romance/Horror][Commercial]

#30 Post by Jackkel Dragon » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:26 am

The game art is starting to come along, so maybe I'll be able to add some screenshots soon. I'll also consider looking into revising/updating the opening information for the game, due to my next point.

So, during the private beta so far, it sounds like what I considered to be horror elements aren't particularly scary, at least to the player. I'm still thinking it over, but I might need to reclassify the game from "Horror" to "Paranormal" to avoid false advertising. I suppose other games that are closer to thrillers in genre that are labeled as "horror" and have the hallmarks of that kind of story have messed with my definition of a horror story. While I still consider the game to be horror-inspired, perhaps it isn't necessarily a scary game itself.

Another thing that has come up rather recently that worries me is seeing some people get really upset about side content in some major Girls Love releases that depict heterosexual relationships. Maybe there's actually good reason for why these people were upset, but it concerns me since there are heterosexual and bisexual characters in this game. Will having these characters (and showing their relationships, if only in bonus scenes) limit my audience or turn off potential players? (Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I actually got a little concerned after looking up some of the conversations that prompted this.)

Examples of what I mean behind a spoiler tag, for those who don't want to spoil the story before release:
One of the love interests is bisexual, which is hinted at but never fully explored. One of the side characters is straight, and a bonus scene shows how she broke up with her first boyfriend. There is also a heterosexual couple that is brought up in a bonus scene, but they don't appear on-screen after they get together.

At any rate, things are moving along at a good pace for the moment. I might slow down a bit as I mess around with my attempt for the Yuri Game Jam this year, but progress will hopefully continue at this rate or better.
Main Website
Includes information about and links to many of my current and past projects.

Projects:
[Nightshade] Eldritch Academy, Eldritch University, Blooming Nightshade, Flowering Nightshade, Shireishi, h+
[Kigenishi] RHM
[Team Despair] Corpse Party D2 series

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