Blackout [WIP][Mystery][Suspense][GxB]

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Kate
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Blackout [WIP][Mystery][Suspense][GxB]

#1 Post by Kate » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:12 am

Resuming after rough summer.
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Image

Main menu background:
Image


Plot:
Your character, the MC (with customizable name) suffers from periodic blackouts after a car crash in the first year of college.
It's time for break- and due to the change in personality and the past semester's slipping grades, parents are forcing the MC to go on a vacation with her cousin to socialize and get out of the house. (While they are off enjoying themselves on a cruise)

You know no one other than Kara. The vacation house is nice- a little too nice. Everyone is a little distracted during the car ride. It will be a fun vacation to a fancy vacation house, right? Right?
Little things begin to catch your attention. The way that they look at each other. The noises outside the window at night. Cars with some strange engine problems. Oh, and then there's Derek, the guy that doesn't seem to fit in with the group.

Something isn't right, and it's up to you to figure out what is going on before someone else gets hurt- or you end up at the bottom of the lake.
But hey- at least you can call for help if you need to, right? What- no cell phone service?!?!?!

Romance is completely optional, though it *might* save your life.
*Hint: This is for when I release the demo: Sitting by yourself at the campfire instead of by a guy lets you bypass all the romancey stuff.
This might appease some who don't want to play as a girl romancing a guy. However, you'll need a different strategy to get through the game due to missing some of the advantages of an "alliance" with another character, especially when you begin putting the puzzle pieces of the mystery together.


*My Goal is for this Game to be commercial with the first route free in the demo but the other 6 in a paid full version*
Estimated price set to be $10; I'm aiming to make it more accessible and my goal is to do a kickstarter for the background art, which is how I'll recoup my costs so far for art. So far they're reasonably low.


Artwork:

Character Sprites: Credit ChozoGal (Thanks a bunch! Totally in love with the artwork :)
Main Menu Bacground & Logo: Wachu (Deserves better tech support in his area and lots of cookies! Thanks a bunch!) ;(


Characters:


MC: (Renamable; default is Anthea- it means flower :)
Image
The MC suffers from blackouts due to a car accident. She is roughly a junior in college; but due to her feelings and struggles with her new limitations, her grades have slipped a little and she is struggling to cope with social experiences, unlike the way she once did.
She is quiet now, and reads and spends more time alone. However, due to close quarters, she's forced to get used to running into people and being social again. She misses playing soccer, as she was an excellent athlete before the accident.

Her limitations: no alcohol (brings on blackouts), no extreme exercise, minimize stress, sleep and eat well- not easy when it appears that someone is planning something dangerous!
Discover your companions' secrets before it is too late!


Curtis: Will potentially be voiced by SimonTemplar - welcome to the forums :) (my longtime friend with immense talent)
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He's a rich, intelligent, well-dressed for a college student on vacation (no sweat pants!), and polite, yet has a hint of wolf in his eyes.
What is it about him that makes him look past all of his guests? Or walk the hallways at night?
And why did he invite Derek? Moreover, why did he let Kara bully him into hosting this group at his vacation house?


Eric:
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He's quiet and strong. He's not rich like most of the others; he is on scholarship on the swim team.
He's known Josh and Ashley for years. He likes the outdoors and he's a fairly calm guy.
He also knows enough to take advantage of the large size of the vacation home's woods if he had an opportunity...


Josh:
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He's on the basketball team at the private university. His stepfather is immensely wealthy, allowing Josh and his sister Ashley to live in the lap of luxury. He's the most popular guy on campus and Kara would kill to spend some time with him.
He's protective of his sister and his friends. If you mean something to him, he'll take care of you.
The guy that everyone wants to be friends with has his secrets. Don't mess with his sister.


Derek:
Image
He's a bit rough around the edges- kind of handsome and dangerous. He's not from the University like the others. But Robyn seems to be afraid of him. He's just hired help, right?
He seems to like his space and his privacy. Something about the others puts him on edge, makes him seem angry. Especially Curtis.
What is he hiding?


Ashley:
Image
She's the sassy younger sister of Josh- guaranteed access to any social group due to her brother's popularity.
She seems friendly enough. She's funny and honest, and seems to enjoy the treatment she receives because of her brother.
What you don't know can't hurt you...right?


Kara:
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She's your cousin, but you haven't really seen each other besides at the annual family Christmas parties.
You have to be ruthless to get what you want. The perfect life, perfect grades, maybe a perfect boyfriend.
How well do you really know your cousin?


Robyn:
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She's the typical cheerleader. Or is she?
Kara's best friend is "almost" as beautiful and popular. Almost. But way more determined.
Only nice girls finish last.
Does she have a nice side?


Lily:
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She's the wild card of the group. She's smart, lovely, and quiet.
Almost a little timid, she's also attending the university on scholarship.
Is she involved more than everyone thinks?
If so, she might just be in a dangerous position.



Features of the game:
*Replayable: Goal is 7 routes.
*Random selection of routes: This means, unlike Nancy Drew games or other mystery games, the culprit and plot is a little different each time.
(Just different enough to keep you on your toes and require a full investigation of the clues. After playing all 7 routes, a screen to select which route the player chooses can be unlocked)
*Spying, snooping, and exploring: You might just survive if you can check everyone's underwear drawer and find obvious bad guy stuff. Or... you can see who stole your midnight snack. (In all seriousness, this will be cool, but you have to maintain your energy and not stay up every night to spy- you have to have a strategy!)
*Energy bar- to show how your character is feeling and determine chance of random blackout.
*Voices! I'm planning to add voices in as long as I can find some decently priced or free help for this game. I'll let you know when I'm ready to start accepting auditions for characters and pay people.
*A generally challenging but enjoyable mystery with loads of possibilities. A different strategy = a different experience each time.
*Unique characters with secrets and personality to discover.



Status:

7/24/16:
Picking up where I left off. Replayed a few other games lately to pick up on good and bad styles of writing, sound, and interaction (click vs tap...etc).

10/24:
*All characters have all their artwork done.
*Halfway through introduction scene now; motives for romance and murder have been fleshed out.
*Decided on what romance-route strategy for players experience (B- proceed through 40-60% of game, when you reach a points threshold, you have a choice in the mc's thoughts to decide if you want to pursue X guy, or X or Y if two guys are very close in affection points. Option to ignore and focus on mystery with no romance.) Which will greatly ease the workload for me, I think, since it will only require a call on a few days' codes that checks the points, a couple flags, and then prompts the scene where she thinks about it to the player.

10/19/15:
*8/9 characters sprites with all expressions and all outfits are done (Lily is the last one remaining!)
*Working on Josh's "Get to Know me First" scene. I've had feedback with opinions that he's a real cutie, I totally agree! ChozoGal's art is making me flipflop between character faves all the way!
*Consulting my 'genius' programmer brother for framework help to make sure I can tackle this game or revise certain features.
*I've coded some of the dialogue so far into the game. That's the heftiest part remaining, as well as sizing the sprites and coding in their expressions.

10/4/15:
*Sketches are in for all characters.
*MC is done; so is Josh and Eric. Curtis and Derek are close.
*Curtis opening bonus scene 90% done now; he had the most information and selection about other characters needed with specific details so it took extra long to establish a logical list of what he could possibly know and what he does not know. (I'm sure some of you fellow writers would appreciate the diagrams I had to draw showing what each character knows about the others... that's the biggest key to a mystery, in my mind, if you follow the logic of Agatha Christie-style mystery writing.)
*Coding progress; entered in most of the dialogue in the introduction and some of the "get to know the characters" bonus dialogue into the game.

9/22/15:
*Main menu bg done; logo done
*Character art in progress
*Almost (finally) done with the major first dialogue scene where the MC can choose one character to help with their bags and get the scoop on 2-3 characters of their choice (from the other person's perspective). This sets the game with the starting information you, the player, will have to work with about your fellow vacationers!


Story Outline:
60% for Route 1;
90% for background/opening monologue/plot; about 55% programmed in already
10% for Routes 2-7
50% for Character background stories and alternate history for alternate routes

Dialogue:
15% for Route 1/repeatable character questions;
0% for scene-specific interactions
0% confrontations/end scenes


Events:
0% CGs (though some are planned out already; I will add in others where they fit well)
0% activity selection (still organizing event access to coordinate with time of day variables)
10% end scenes written; not coded yet

*Cough*Romances!*Cough* "Alliances":
Curtis- 10%
Eric- 2%
Derek- 6%
Josh- 0%

"Radiant" Clues:
0% programmed- but fully planned out for Route 1.
5% investigation scenes

Bonus "get to know me first" dialogues:
80% complete


Character Design: In progress
Backgrounds: *Worrying about those after Christmas* I'm planning to save these completely for last with CG's and make a kickstarter after I have several demos released. To match the quality of sprite art, this is going to cost me probably $700-1000. Not even kidding. But it's worth it! I do have some background concepts at the moment, nothing finalized.
Sprites: GOT AN ARTIST :D
GUI: Fell through. Still looking, though that can wait for a little while. I'll take any pm's about it if you are interested.
Title/Logo: Done!
Voices: This is a distinct possibility but I'll decide after my first demo is released based on feedback.


Coding:
***A little murky only because I've been taking more classes to help streamline my coding. I've been using some really roundabout code to make certain things happen in my game but it should be easier and 'smoother sailing' now that I actually have been taught the basics.
Framework (Points, variables, flags- how the game progresses):
95% mapped out; still unsure how I will implement image mapping or avoid it altogether for location selection. I'm really handy with points and flags so perhaps I'll stick to what I know for that!
**I would love some help implementing a little fanciness such as coding for clickable objects onscreen (Who's played putt putt games? From the nineties? Yeah, clickable and slight animation for clues?)

Feedback Request:
What do you think of the characters? Do the personalities seem too flat from what is listed? Do you want more information, or feel that the given personality info hints just enough that it "hooks" you?
Comments on menu art?
Any questions about what features the game has? What you like in mystery games?
Comments/questions about the commercial features of the game or any recommendations?
Any plot notes that intrigue you?

Here's the website I'm still working on; it's manageable now, but it's definitely still a work in progress:
http://flutegirl1994.wix.com/moonlightotome
Last edited by Kate on Sun Jul 24, 2016 9:59 pm, edited 57 times in total.
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB] [Interactive Mystery] [Suspense]-Comme

#2 Post by TyberAlyx » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:43 am

It looks promising, I assume this is point and click? I read the gameplay a bit and I imagine a bit of exploration too here and there to discover some clues. I assume you will make this in renpy?

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB] [Interactive Mystery] [Suspense]-Comme

#3 Post by Kate » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:23 pm

TyberAlyx wrote:It looks promising, I assume this is point and click? I read the gameplay a bit and I imagine a bit of exploration too here and there to discover some clues. I assume you will make this in renpy?
Ren'Py is what I will be using, yes. It's not all point and click, though. While I hope to use image mapping to make it more user-friendly, I will be using menus to allow the mc to investigate certain areas, spend time searching rooms, asking other characters questions, exploring the grounds, and managing energy and food needs due to the MC's health limitations. So some of the code will run in a set manner, like dialogue; but other parts will involve pointing and clicking. I don't think I will have any true "cut scenes" but certain ending scenes may feel a little more scripted.

Thank you for the feedback!
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#4 Post by Agashi » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:09 pm

It sounds very interesting! I like the idea of an interactive mystery mixed with romance. That being said, I don't know how much I would pay to replay something if I already know the ending and the twists after playing through one whole route in the demo. Just something to consider, maybe?

Anyway, good luck! I wish you speedy progress. :D
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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#5 Post by Kate » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:27 pm

Aha, let me clarify- There's different mystery routes. Plus unique romance routes on each. You can do the math- some hefty "repeat" writing, but it means better playing experience and that's what sets a game apart!
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Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#6 Post by TyberAlyx » Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:10 pm

If you need some help regarding certain areas like music or just someone to offer opinions and feedback I maybe able to help ^__^ I am new in the forums so i dont have much commitment yet, but i would like to be involved in some projects i find interesting.

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#7 Post by Kate » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:31 pm

TyberAlyx wrote:If you need some help regarding certain areas like music or just someone to offer opinions and feedback I maybe able to help ^__^ I am new in the forums so i dont have much commitment yet, but i would like to be involved in some projects i find interesting.
Ah, thanks. I'll keep that in mind, I'm sure I'll need some music loops and feedback about that sort of thing eventually. For now, I'm focused on the most important stuff- the writing and the art assets, in my case. (And coding this bad boy.)

As a side note, backgrounds will be the absolute last thing I do simply because I'll know what I need (CG's too) only after I have everything written and coded.
Last edited by Kate on Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#8 Post by MadameAzure » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:55 pm

The story seems very interesting, I look forward to playing it once its completed.

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#9 Post by Laera-chan » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:01 pm

Oooh, looking forward to this! If it must be commercial, having the one route be free, and the others bundled together would be nice. I tend to get frustrated with the whole 'partial route demo- buy the entire route to get just that route! Then buy the next route, and the next!' thing.

So... how much are you thinking of charging for the game? Based on what I've read, I know what I'd be willing to pay, but that might be less than what others might be (part-time min wage job does not give enough money for expenses PLUS all the gaming I'd like to do- if it did, I'd be throwing money at you to pay for the art and everything so it could be done faster! :lol: As it is, my spending money for just things I want is nearly nonexistent *sigh*).

Also, can't wait for the final sprites to be decided! I really want to see all of them. :D

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#10 Post by Kate » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:50 pm

Thank you :) I'm really putting a lot of effort into squeezing some quality writing time in so it is the most enjoyable and engaging experience it can be! I'm also really putting a lot of energy and money into the art- I didn't mention this much, but I've worked with several wonderful artists so far, commissioning wonderful art assets. I'm close to securing a sprite artist and that will be the biggest portion of my budget before Christmas. (After Christmas, I'm budgeting for a large number of backgrounds; and hopefully I'll know which locations I'm keeping and which will change to CG's and such when I am further into writing the particular routes.

A lot of this work, which I'm thinking many game creators go through, is mostly to ensure that every penny is well spent and that the art all matches and that the themes are seamless; not haphazard or rushed. I'm trying to make the game immersive.

My first demo will include a good sample of what the different investigation paths a player can choose are like. For example, no two playthroughs will be exactly alike, since actions, conversations, and investigation choices all factor in to whether your character stops the violence or falls victim to it herself. Stay tuned- this may help clarify any questions many might have about how the game mechanics work, and resolve questions about the replay ability of the game particularly.
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#11 Post by Kate » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:09 pm

Update 9/22/15:
-I've got a wonderful artist helping me with sprites. (Commissioned) (BTW I'm in love with the art style! I can't wait to post the characters up for you all to enjoy :)
-I've made progress past the opening scene, nearly done with the starting information the MC can pick to hear from each character. This sets you up for the rest of the game, as whatever you ask the one person you help about themselves and/or other characters will be your starting knowledge of the game that helps you or may throw you completely off track! Remember, sometimes people lie....

*Making a goal for myself to have a demo of this scene in particular up by Halloween ;)
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#12 Post by Laera-chan » Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:39 am

Ooooh yay! Can't wait for the sprites, and even more for the Demo!

Halloween, you say? *dances around eagerly* Even more yay!

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#13 Post by Kate » Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:07 am

Artwork for the MC (YAY!):
BlackoutMCFinal1.png
BlackoutMCFinal2.png
BlackoutMCFinal3.PNG
Eric's up next :)
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#14 Post by Kate » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:38 pm

So - and this is pure coincidence- I began brainstorming and writing this game concept nearly two years ago; long before I even posted about it on the forums, and I thought, Oh, how nice it will be to have a game where your choices matter with the plot!

I was browsing Youtube yesterday and began watching Markiplier play "Until Dawn" while doing laundry. Two of the same names for characters (Josh and Ashley, in different social roles though), at a secluded vacation cabin on a mountain (mine are in the woods, but still..) and a strange character and supernatural events wreak havoc. (Mine's just the characters taking turns being crazy or vindictive and using the seclusion to stage murder or breakups, etc).

If you're curious, here's the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHmW4VBoSis

Honestly, the game seems fabulous. I'm pretty sure my game is completely different, I was only amused that I had a similar idea but with a different medium (visual-novel style) and similar character names for some characters.

What do you think?
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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Re: Blackout WIP[GxB][Interactive Mystery][Suspense]-Commerc

#15 Post by Kate » Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:28 am

Eric is done! YAYYY! *(Squealing with joy!)*
Here's a peak at this lovely man:
Image

Next up will be Josh. I'm so excited for how the characters are turning out. At this rate, I'll be able to upload a demo by Halloween. It will be limited, but I promise it will give an interesting look at how the characters talk about one another and the bonuses available in gameplay, such as getting to know a certain character first and the opportunity to ask about other characters (what they know, specifically, about those other characters.) Depending on who you ask, you'll learn different things.

Also- I'm working on a wix website for the game (and the other stuff I'll be uploading.) Including the skeleton of a blog about the game development. I'll add the link at a later date when I'm a little more confident in my webpage; it will have some nice sneak-peeks at other art assets and some play through hints, tips, and tricks when I'm closer to completing the first free route.

Please let me know what you think so far :)
Last edited by Kate on Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current Project:
Blackout [VN][Romance][GxB][Mystery][Suspense] http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 43&t=34118
"It is the duty of authors to make the fantastic seem ordinary and the ordinary seem fantastic." - K. Auer

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