Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

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Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#1 Post by Smudgeed » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:13 am

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Previous Update:Added screenshots.
Next Update: Fixing Character art to reflect in-game sprites.
Game Warnings:
swearing, gore, death, drugs, child abuse (one character route), suggestive themes, suicide

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Stolen Life is a murder mystery romance drama VN set in a supernatural town. It follows the story of Maria Verma and the people around her as she tries to unravel the case. This game is done completely by me and is planned to be released this year! This is my first real visual novel project, I will try my best! :)

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​Darton has always been an odd town, being a supernatural safe haven for hundreds of years tends to do that. Despite its oddities, Darton has always been a safe town. That is, until people started showing up around town inexplicably dead. With the life sucked straight out of them, the only clue is a strange marking on their bodies. Maria Verma is sent to aid in the investigation, being that it is her hometown and all. Unfortunately, even with the Federal Supernatural Bureau backing her, she knows something is amiss.​

With a mystery gripping her, does romance have a place here? And what's this about the spiders?

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  • Planned 20 unique endings (3 for each character and two other endings), at the very least there will be 18 endings
  • 6 romance options (4 female, 2 male; listed below)
  • The ever-evolving casebook (see bottom). A sort of codex. For anyone that wants to read it, it will provide additional information on topics. The character pages will change depending on how much they like you. Entries are unlocked as you come across them in the story.
  • Endings that bring different insight to the case
  • Linear clue gathering system through choices which then affects your ending
  • A map system
  • The ability to customize little things about Maria's personality (including her sexuality)
  • IT'S FREE (yay)
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Click on a character's name to be taken to that character's concept art image.
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{Player Character} Witch (23), FSB agent
Born to a French exorcist and a British-Indian warlock, Maria takes after her father, as she is a witch herself. She does harbor some psychic ability, though very limited. She is a warm person who always strives to do the right thing, but tends to be impulsive and has a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. Maria's sexuality is definable in game, with a total of four options (homosexual, bisexual, pansexual and "hey, why do I need to label it"). Note that choosing to make Maria lesbian locks off the Cullen and Alex routes.
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Werewolf (23), Police Officer
Cullen was born to two proud werewolves, who are currently traveling the world. He knew Maria when they were little, but lost contact with her when she left the town just before high school. Cullen has always had a somewhat obvious crush on Maria when there were younger. Maria refused to acknowledge his feelings for a plethora of reasons that she will never disclose. He's a gentle person who tends to be a bit of a coward when push comes to shove.
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Human (24), Scientist
River strives to be as honest as she can, no matter how it may make her look. She isn't afraid to speak her mind but her tendency to say whatever she thinks can lead to some odd sentences leaving her mouth. Working as the assistant medical examiner after the last one ended up, well, dead, River is on her way to become a pathologist.
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Witch (25), Runs bakery café (Roasted)
Talia, like Cullen, knew Maria from their childhood days. Unlike Cullen, she kept in contact with her. Talia's mother ran away to Darton when Talia was barely a year old. Due to this, she was raised mostly by her grandmother who passed away recently. Talia has always been mature, forced to grow up young she is a practical thinker. Currently acts as a sort of surrogate mother to her younger cousin, Trevor, whose parents were killed by witch hunters. Talia is always verbal about her thoughts, she is especially verbal about her dislike of Valerie.
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Siren (24), FSB agent
Sent to the town to accompany the Maria, Valerie makes things a bit awkward since she is the ex-lover of Maria. Valerie is attractive and tends to be popular with men, despite being exclusively interested in women. Valerie is a much better detective than Maria and so was mostly sent to make sure Maria doesn't get herself killed, or so she says. Has no problem being openly angry almost all of the time.
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Banshee (22), Comic store employee
Sam claims she is here to get a better handle on her abilities, but due to her squeamish nature, it's pretty much certain that she doesn't really fit in. Sam is rebel at heart and a geek all around. Don't ask her about comics, she probably won't stop talking. Each death sends Sam into a cold sweat, so she particularly wants to see the case solved. She's loud and friendly, but don't expect her to follow your rules.
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Warlock (26), Supernatural merchant
Alex is a suspicious man who came to town only a few days before Maria and Valerie. No one really knows him, yet he seems to know a lot about everyone else. If he wasn't odd enough, he is usually seen hanging around the alleys. Alex is charming and always follows his morals, but he can be reserved, callous and irresponsible.

Progress
Updated 07/26/2015
Planning -- 100%
Outlines -- 65%
Art -- 55%
Music -- 100%
Writing -- 40%
Coding -- 100%
----Screenshots----

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Hey? What's that "X" in the corner you ask. Well, it's the casebook!
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I would love to hear your feedback! You don't have to answer any of these questions or even all of them. I would simply love to hear some thoughts :)

What do you think about the story?
What do you like? What do you think could be done a bit better?
What are you looking forward to?
From the characters listed, who do you like the best?
Would you play this game?
Question / Comments / Concerns ?
And anything else :)


Thank you for reading!
Last edited by Smudgeed on Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:20 pm, edited 91 times in total.

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG/B][Mystery,Supernatural]

#2 Post by bellice » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:49 am

Ooooh, yes, this sounds interesting!

What do you think about the story?

The whole 'coming back to your hometown' bit may be seen as cliché by many people, but I've always liked it. Plus, the supernatural twist to it sounds exciting.

What do you like? What do you think could be done a bit better?

As of now, there's not really enough information for me to be able to tell what needs improvement. I like everything so far.

What are you looking forward to?

Getting to know the characters! Especially Valerie. I can already smell the awkward romantic tension.

What style of sprite art do you think would fit well with the background?

I'd say stick to a 'western' style. Hell, anything that isn't completely anime-like. I really like the doodles already. (Granted, I don't much care whether they fit the background or not, I just want less anime figures in my games. :mrgreen: )

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG/B][Mystery,Supernatural]

#3 Post by Smudgeed » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:59 pm

Hey, bellice. Thanks for your reply! There definitely will not be an anime style (mostly because I can't draw like that) but also because it's everywhere! And yes, the "coming back to hometown" is a cliché, but I can assure everyone that this is a unique twist on it!

Currently I'm working on adding more information to this thread and also getting some character designs down. Here is Valerie in the style I'd like to keep for the game (but I honestly don't know if I'm capable of it). I will do the final character art last, so I can work on improving my art skills in the mean time.

EDIT: Added in Cullen and Sam ones too! What do you guys think about this style? I'm actually kinda liking it.
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samandcullen.png
Untitled-3.png
Last edited by Smudgeed on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG/B][Mystery,Supernatural,Drama]

#4 Post by Smudgeed » Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:21 am

Sorry to double update like this but I am just on a role with these character concept sketches. Here is River and Alex and one I'm dont Talia I will tack her on to this post as well. Why does River look kinda like Olivia Wilde you might be asking...well....honestly...I have no clue...

Please let me know what you think!
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talia.png
riverandalex.jpg

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG/B][Mystery,Supernatural,Drama]

#5 Post by bellice » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:25 am

I really like the art. It's so different from what we usually see here. Also, I might fall in love with every single one of them.

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG/B][Mystery,Supernatural,Drama]

#6 Post by Smudgeed » Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:11 pm

bellice wrote:I really like the art. It's so different from what we usually see here. Also, I might fall in love with every single one of them.
Two things I love to see! Thank you so much for saying this; you're officially my favorite person.

And as to not leave this post with just that. I've been practicing my drawing abilities and also working on adding concept images to each of the characters. The rest of today will be a writing day. Kisses are such an odd thing to draw.
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riverkiss.jpg

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#7 Post by Smudgeed » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:58 pm

Super excited to make this update actually. This is something I personally think is a pretty neat feature of this game. So, I've decided that regardless of what art style I use for the sprites, I can atleast work on the art inside the casebook. And man, this is cool. Also using this as a reminder for people to let me know what they think about art styles, and to let me know what they'd like to see in the game/what fits.

The art changes depending on how much a character likes you and so these are the starting points for the characters. They actually are representative of each character's personality and personal story as based on tarot cards! Like a persona game, essentially. For example Cullen's picture is "the hermit" and you can guess what that means for his character and his route. After Cullen likes you more, the picture will change into different things that are more representative of his character and his story. So this is just a base. I was really proud of myself for this feature so I wanted to share!

Bonus points if you can figure out what major arcana tarot card everyone represents :)
Attachments
sampage.JPG
alexpage.JPG
valpage.JPG
riverpage.JPG
cullenpage.JPG
taliapage.JPG

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#8 Post by MadlyHazel » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:49 pm

This game looks interesting! I always do love the occult, so when a game includes those ideas, I get all tingly. Or maybe that's just bad circulation. Who knows. Either way, I've bookmarked this thread.

Also, for the tarot cards, Sam looks like the Hierophant, Cullen looks like the Hermit, and Talia either looks like the Stars or Temperance (deceiving little water pitcher). I did these from memory so I'm probably terribly wrong tbh.

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#9 Post by yoshibb » Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:27 pm

What do you think about the story?
It's cool. I love the idea of a murder mystery romance. It's not something I see too often. Add in the supernatural and you definitely have a lot of things you could explore.

What do you like? What do you think could be done a bit better?
I like what I see of the characters so far. I definitely want to learn more about them. I don't see anything that needs improvement at this point.

What are you looking forward to?
I want to see how the mystery aspect of the game works. I think being able to find clues and try to figure out the mystery adds another level to this game.

What style of sprite art would you like to see?
It's up to you! The art you have currently is different, it reminds me of almost a comic book style, but it works, especially with the setting you have going on.

Would you play this game?
Definitely!

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#10 Post by Smudgeed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:12 pm

MadlyHazel wrote:This game looks interesting! I always do love the occult, so when a game includes those ideas, I get all tingly. Or maybe that's just bad circulation. Who knows. Either way, I've bookmarked this thread.
Haha that made my day! Thank you :)
MadlyHazel wrote:Also, for the tarot cards, Sam looks like the Hierophant, Cullen looks like the Hermit, and Talia either looks like the Stars or Temperance (deceiving little water pitcher). I did these from memory so I'm probably terribly wrong tbh.
Actually the fault for wrongly guessed tarot cards might be mind instead. I understand that some might not be the best representations of their tarot cards. You're right though, Cullen is hermit and Talia is temperance (I thought the wings would add clarity since the water pitcher is so deceiving. Sam is not hierophant, she's actually empress (which might be my fault because she really only has the crown)
yoshibb wrote:What do you think about the story?
It's cool. I love the idea of a murder mystery romance. It's not something I see too often. Add in the supernatural and you definitely have a lot of things you could explore.

What do you like? What do you think could be done a bit better?
I like what I see of the characters so far. I definitely want to learn more about them. I don't see anything that needs improvement at this point.

What are you looking forward to?
I want to see how the mystery aspect of the game works. I think being able to find clues and try to figure out the mystery adds another level to this game.

What style of sprite art would you like to see?
It's up to you! The art you have currently is different, it reminds me of almost a comic book style, but it works, especially with the setting you have going on.

Would you play this game?
Definitely!
Thank you for your feedback, it means a lot to me! And I'm glad you think the art works. I hope I will not disappoint when you play the game :)

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#11 Post by Corvo » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:06 pm

What do you think about the story?
The story seems interesting. You have a nice premise. And I like some good old murder in fiction. XD Ahem...
What style of sprite art would you like to see?
Hum... yours? Like yoshibb said, there's a nice comic book feel that I appreciate. I can't say if they fit with the backgrounds, that's my only concern.
The tarot cards are beautiful. *_*
Would you play this game?
Yes!

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#12 Post by Smudgeed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:40 pm

Corvo wrote:What do you think about the story?
The story seems interesting. You have a nice premise. And I like some good old murder in fiction. XD Ahem...
What style of sprite art would you like to see?
Hum... yours? Like yoshibb said, there's a nice comic book feel that I appreciate. I can't say if they fit with the backgrounds, that's my only concern.
The tarot cards are beautiful. *_*
Would you play this game?
Yes!
Oh hey Corvo! Thank you for your feedback! I'm glad you like the tarot cards :)

I agree with what you are saying about the background. I am not such a great artist, but I will keep that in mind as I work on the character sprites.

Do you all think that a more painted look would work well with the backgrounds? Should I attempt to draw more realistically? This kind of a style is easier for me but I will practice a more realistic one if it fits better! I've attached a test version of it, let me know what you think guys! Ah, so I'm debating on a style (something like the other attached photo), which will be a slight challenge but that's how you grow. Let me know what you guys think about that too.
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style.JPG
test.JPG

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#13 Post by bellice » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:52 pm

Honestly, I say stick with what you got.

I personally have found that experimenting with different styles is fun but ultimately means you'll end up with tons of unfinished sprites and no motivation to get them done, so doing what comes easiest might be the best option.
You can always update the sprites after everything else is done if you're still unsatisfied.

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#14 Post by Seigetsu » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:08 pm

What do you think about the story?
I'm hyped up for this! I don't mind the "going back to hometown" cliche, or any cliche for that matter, as long as it's done well at the end of the day. And can I say I just love supernatural stories...and with mystery-solving elements too? Great! I just can't wait to start playing! And I love finally seeing a competent female MC, with powers of her own and not just relying on somebody else. I'm really looking forward to this.

What do you like? What do you think could be done a bit better?
I like everything so far. If I must pick something that can be improved on, perhaps the backgrounds? I think photo backgrounds don't really fit with the cartoony sprites you have - perhaps using drawn backgrounds from creative commons sources might be better? Then again, this is just a minor comment. I don't actually mind the photo backgrounds that much, myself.

What are you looking forward to?
The mystery, the supernatural fights (there would be action, right?), and the GxG. Yup, there are too few GxG games out there, so as a fan, it's a main attraction for me, personally.

What style of sprite art would you like to see?
I think what you have is good. As with the person posting before me, I think it's better to just keep what you have instead of doing too much experimenting, as you might lose motivation in the game when you spend too much time just working on sprites.

Would you play this game?
Yes! Of course!

Question / Comments / Concerns ?
Do you have a rough estimate of what has been done so far, what still needs to be done? Like script-wise, are you done 50%? 80%? Perhaps showing a progress update on your first post would be good, just to keep yourself on track and keep potential players posted? I'm just trying to suggest a way to motivate yourself, but that may be totally different with each person, so if this is not helpful, just ignore my comment, haha. Anyway, looking forward to playing this game in the future. Best of luck :)

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Re: Stolen Life [GxG] [GxB] [Mystery,Supernatural]

#15 Post by Smudgeed » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:32 pm

bellice wrote:Honestly, I say stick with what you got.

I personally have found that experimenting with different styles is fun but ultimately means you'll end up with tons of unfinished sprites and no motivation to get them done, so doing what comes easiest might be the best option.
You can always update the sprites after everything else is done if you're still unsatisfied.
Yes. I've looked over everything and I feel your advice is very fitting. For now, that makes the most sense. So thank you!
Seigetsu wrote:What do you think about the story?
I'm hyped up for this! I don't mind the "going back to hometown" cliche, or any cliche for that matter, as long as it's done well at the end of the day. And can I say I just love supernatural stories...and with mystery-solving elements too? Great! I just can't wait to start playing! And I love finally seeing a competent female MC...
Firstly, thank you! I am very glad you like this and will play it :) I would like to say that, unfortunately, this game will be limited by my coding ability :( So don't expect any thing too fancy for action or the mystery solving.

As for the backgrounds..well..this is something I have noticed myself but unfortunately I am unable to draw them. Using community made ones was my original plan but there are certain backgrounds that I need that are not drawn anywhere. So we'll all just have to live with it...until I learn how to draw a bit better...hopefully....

And yes! I am currently working on sprites so I can have those done and worry about CGs last.

And for your rough estimate comment...I DO have a progress attached to the first post (it is sorta covered by stuff). All that needs to been done is art and writing. I'm not sure how long this game will be exactly but I can say that the intro portion to the game is ALMOST done (it was done, but then I decided to extend it a bit.). I am working on this game everyday, so hopefully I will have better statistics for this soon.

Thank you! And yes, the GxG department is lacking! That is a big reason as to why this game features 4:2 female to male romance ratio.

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