Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, BxB]

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Harle
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Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, BxB]

#1 Post by Harle » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:52 pm

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Coterie™ is a Visual Novel-RPG hybrid done in a true "Choose Your Own Adventure" style, inspired by the book series and classic 2D character portrait JRPG series such as "Tales of" and "Atelier".

Genre: RPG-VN, Fantasy, Adventure . . . with a splash of Otome/Galge
Status: In early production
Demo: Planned, will be available Feb 2017ish
Estimated Release: Winter 2017
Platform: PC via Steam
Will be: Commercial
Price: TBD
Rating: Pending. Currently planned for "Teen - May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language."

UPDATES:
01: Weather! [Pg2]
02: Dialogue and Choices [Pg2]
03: Field Maps [Pg2]

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You are Zhen, a Cardsmith sent to join The Heroes on the frontlines as they take on the latest Dark Lord - The Dreaded Demon of the North! Or so you had hoped... Instead, you are suckered into helping a random stranger convinced to help your newest best friend form the Coterie - a growing guild of misfit adventurers. Their mission: support The Heroes! ... From the backlines. The far, far backlines. It may not be glamorous work, but you have to start somewhere. Will you be stuck doing their scrub work for the rest of your career? It's up to you to change your fates... and maybe even become the Heroes yourselves.

Adventure! Friendship! Romance?! Journey across the Eastern Continent of S'en Lucere as you complete quests, gain guild renown, and make friends (or not). And who knows, you may even meet a god or two along the way.

                  • Male/Female Protagonist
                    1. Play as either gender of Zhen (re-nameable), each with their own unique character interactions, events, and endings.


                    Choices matter
                    • Unique story paths will unfold and change based on your decisions (I dare you to be a jerk to everyone).


                    Affinity System
                    • A point based relationship system that allows characters to form bonds with each other, adding additional benefits & content such as character events, battle bonuses, and new skills.


                    Skits
                    • Party members chat with each other, providing additional dialogue and party interactions outside of the main story


                    Romance Options
                    • For everyone. [GxB] [GxG] [BxG] [BxB] [or none at all for the lone wolves out there.]


                    No Invisible Speakers
                    • Every NPC has a unique character portrait and name - yes, even Male Guards 1 & 2 have been promoted.


                    Additional features
                    • ...such as Explorable Maps, Turn-based Combat, Monster Hunts, & more.

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Sprites: Concept Art complete, character variations tested and working
Script: Events and Paths Outlined
Backgrounds: All locations/maps planned, with concepts
CG: Not started
GUI: Prototyped and working, needs final art
Music: Not started
Programming: 30%

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Ethyrfox ™ is an independent game developer dedicated to creating Visual Novel-RPG hybrid video games. Coterie™ is the first major project, whose concept has been refined over the past 2 years.

Creator/Designer, Writer, Programmer, Artist
Harle
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There is no "I" in Team, but there certainly is a "me"! (Sorry I can't help myself.)
Resume for the skeptical: I have a Bachelors degree in Arts in Multimedia, with personal experience working on preproduction teams for both indie films and game development as an artist (concept and lead). I've also pursued creative writing, and heck I even aced all my programming classes. Anything I know I cannot handle will be delegated as I get there. I also have a crack team of minions that make a wonderful sounding board. ^_^ /

Composer
TBD
Sound Designer
TBD
Quality Assurance / Testers
TBD

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It's ok, be honest! I am open to constructive criticism. Part of the reason for me sharing in early production is for the feedback!
I thrive on it.


Premise/Story
  1. I suppose there should be more than just pretty faces to entice you to play it...

    ► ► Does the story seem interesting? Or cliché, boring, not explained well so you really have no idea, etc?


Protagonist
  • The goal is to incorporate dialogue choices that will trend toward different play styles (if you're being a jerk, your character should probably sound like a jerk). So out of curiosity:

    ► ► What are your favorite personalities to play as? (Personally I enjoy playing the snarky jerk who is sometimes nice and heroic.)
    ► ► Would you be more inclined to play as male or female? Or would replay for both?


Characters
  1. They've always been the most important aspect to me, and I'd love for you to love them too.

    ► ► Any characters that pique your interest or simply don't like?


Romance
  • I do understand I won't be able to make everyone happy in this department, but I would love to reach a happy medium! (Romance options are indicated in the upper right corner of the characters cards, blue hearts for male Zhen, pink hearts for female Zhen. Don't worry, you don't have to woo anyone you don't want to, in fact you can all just be friends/frenemies - Friend Events and Romance Events are separate, and based purely on Affinity.)

    ► ► For those that would pursue a love interest: would you be happy with the options provided?


Art
  1. I want to keep true to my own style, but I also want it to look both professional AND appealing. Currently all the character images are concept art- additional art will be provided in future updates. With that said,

    ► ► Do you find the art style appealing (so far)?


and of course...
Open to questions / comments / suggestions
  • Ask me anything! There will be plenty more updates and content shared in the coming months, but if you're curious about something now, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer (or answer around it if it's super secret or spoilerish!)


If interested, please share or follow! Updates will be posted concurrently here and on the following for convenience:


Thank you for your time and interest, please stay tuned,
<3 Harle
Last edited by Harle on Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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MilanaWalters
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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#2 Post by MilanaWalters » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:53 pm

only one same sex option for each gender? I'll pass

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#3 Post by Harle » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:57 pm

Hey Milana,
Thanks for the input, may I please get a little more information? I have actually considered making Kota and of the females- possibly Ceres or Yulie- both Bi to offer another option for each gender- that would not be a problem to work in. I understand if as a whole that wouldn't work for you personally, and I realize I won't be able to make everyone 100% happy. But I would love to reach a happy medium!

► Do you think having 1 more (so, 2) options would be adequate?
► Of the characters presented, are there any that you wish WOULD be romanceable for either gender?

I went ahead and added these questions to the main post as well for others!
Thanks for your time,
Harle

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#4 Post by MilanaWalters » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:45 am

Thanks for replying. I was bit bitter with my first comment, but i couldnt help it, one option just always feels like "here you got one bone, be happy".
I prefer equal number of romances, meaning if i intend to play as a lesbian girl or a gay guy id have 2 or more romance choices. Having one bi guy and a bi girl would be a welcome change. Kota is a great choice, i like his description, and having a "sweet&naive" one to be a bisexual is good to break a stereotype of "promiscuous" bisexuality that we usually see in media.Ceres or Yulie are both great too, in fact all female characters look great, so i dont really care here:)

► ► Would you be more inclined to play as male or female? Or would replay for both?
i usually play as a male, but sometimes if i really like the romance i may play as a female too.
► ► Any characters that pique your interest?
Kota! Baylee and all female characters lol
► ► Do you find the art style appealing (so far)?
I like it:)

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#5 Post by Pomeranian » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:47 am

I agree with Milana that having an equal number of romances makes sense - And as a gay dude, Kota is more of my type compared to Baylee, so making him bisexual would be nice. (Kota and Ren are the most attractive guys imho.)
► ► Does the story seem interesting?
Yes! Playing as what is essentially a 'supporting character' to the hero isn't something that's done often. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
► ► What personalities would you like to be able to play as? What are your favorites? (Personally I enjoy playing the snarky jerk who is sometimes nice and heroic.)
The antihero, the mute protagonist self insert and the naive one that wants to 'do their best' (tm) are all good choices for a protag imho
► ► Is the protagonist someone you would enjoy playing as?
Yes
► ► Would you be more inclined to play as male or female? Or would replay for both?
I always play as male if it's an option.
► ► Any characters that pique your interest?
Kota and Ren
► ► Any characters that you simply don't like?
Nope! They all seem to fit good niches so they can appeal to a wide audience without being overbearing.
► ► Would you follow the romance routes? Or avoid them like a plague?
Yes, if the m/m options were added to
► ► For those that would pursue a love interest: would you be happy with the options provided?
No, I'd like more choice
► ► Of the characters presented, are there any that you wish WOULD be romanceable for either gender that aren't currently?
Kota or Ren
► ► Do you find the art style appealing (so far)?
Yes, the style is appealing and the character designs are attractive. Obviously you've mentioned that these are concept designs and not the final pieces, so I expect the rendering + lineart to be smoother in the final product
► ► Any game play elements or features that seem unnecessary?
No, it all seems like it will be good.
► ► Any that haven't been mentioned but you feel should be?
Inventory, shops/buying and selling, and equipment?

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#6 Post by Googaboga » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:25 pm

I think this sounds swell. It seems like it'll be fun and vibrant and I'm looking forward to how it progresses :D.

One suggestion is maybe narrow how many questions you'd like answers to. Or at least encourage people to answer some if they can't answer all. I don't think there are many people around who can sit down and give replies on twelve different things ':>. The usual around here is four to six questions.
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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#7 Post by Zelan » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:32 pm

Googaboga wrote:I think this sounds swell. It seems like it'll be fun and vibrant and I'm looking forward to how it progresses :D.

One suggestion is maybe narrow how many questions you'd like answers to. Or at least encourage people to answer some if they can't answer all. I don't think there are many people around who can sit down and give replies on twelve different things ':>. The usual around here is four to six questions.
Agreed. I want to answer some but I don't have time to answer all 12 - that would take me a good hour to think up and type up - and even looking to try to narrow them down feels like it would be too time-consuming.

General impression, though: Is very cool. I usually play as a female when given the option, but I'm actually not a huge fan of FemZhen's design, so I'd probably actually pick DudeZhen first. (I'd play every route eventually, though, so I would get around to playing as female.)

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#8 Post by Harle » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:05 am

@ Everyone: Oh goodness! I didn't mean to overload people with questions or intend for them to all be answered. I apologize, and thanks for mentioning it, I'll go through and edit it down. As a HUGE THANKS, I drew y'all a picture. Yes, I am officially adding Kota as a love interest for male Zhen. And decided to go with Ceres for female.

@ Milana: Thanks for coming back and giving me another chance! I definitely know what you mean.
@Pomeranian: Thank you taking the time and adding your feedback, as Googaboga and Zelan below you mention, it was a lot. Final art will definitely be cleaner. I'll be including one as an example in a later update. And "Inventory, shops/buying and selling, and equipment?" yep!
@Googaboga: Thanks! Definitely aiming to make it pretty vibrant all around.
@Zelan: Good to know. So far seems like Male Zhen is preferred, I may take another pass at the female design.
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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#9 Post by Konoi » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:07 am

Now that's an interesting project! I'm very curious about this game (and also happy about a hybrid between VN and RPG - those are cool!)

I'll answer the questions from your survey at the best of my abilities! I hope it'll help you!

► Premise/Story
I suppose there should be more than just pretty faces to entice you to play it...
► ► Does the story seem interesting? Or cliché, boring, not explained well so you really have no idea, etc?

I believe this isn't the very first time I've seen that kind of story (not being the hero but a mere support), but it's pretty uncommon anyway, and always welcome as long as it isn't meant to be too comical - it's a waste of a good idea. So yeah, seems pretty interesting so far, but I sure hope it won't be too much on the comedy side.

► Protagonist
The goal is to incorporate dialogue choices that will trend toward different play styles (if you're being a jerk, your character should probably sound like a jerk). So out of curiosity:
► ► What are your favorite personalities to play as? (Personally I enjoy playing the snarky jerk who is sometimes nice and heroic.)

It basically revolves about two types of personalities:
- Serious, clever and very devoted to their task - deeply good at core, but that may seem aloof because of that devotion. Selfless to no reason, they'd do anything in order to help people, and wouldn't hesitate a second if they had to sacrifice themselves in order to achieve their mission or save people.
- Friendly and nice, always helpful, though sometimes naive and over-trusting - a real sweetheart.
So yeah, always really nice characters, but not the same kind of niceness!
► ► Would you be more inclined to play as male or female? Or would replay for both?
Male! I don't mind female Zhen per se, but when I have the choice I always play as males, and this is even more true when I have male romance options, since I like BL games more than otome ones.

► Characters
They've always been the most important aspect to me, and I'd love for you to love them too.
► ► Any characters that pique your interest or simply don't like?

I'm not very fond of Yulie, and I love Ren and Acheron! I also love Ren physically.


► Romance
I do understand I won't be able to make everyone happy in this department, but I would love to reach a happy medium! (Romance options are indicated in the upper right corner of the characters cards, blue hearts for male Zhen, pink hearts for female Zhen. Don't worry, you don't have to woo anyone you don't want to, in fact you can all just be friends/frenemies - Friend Events and Romance Events are separate, and based purely on Affinity.)
► ► For those that would pursue a love interest: would you be happy with the options provided?

Well, yes and no... Assuming I'll play as male and romance male characters, that leaves me with Baylee and Kota, right? While I like them, they are the male characters I like the less from the four, so I'm a bit sad about that. I may force myself to replay as a female so I could at least do Ren's route, but I don't know, I guess I'll see if I'll be content with his friendship events while playing as male Zhen. It's not as I didn't like playing as females, but when I have the choice, it's hard haha!
Anyway, back to the good points, it's nice to have the choice at least - more often than not, games with all romance options give you only one same gender romance opportunity for each gender, so having two is already more than the usual!

► Art
I want to keep true to my own style, but I also want it to look both professional AND appealing. Currently all the character images are concept art- additional art will be provided in future updates. With that said,
► ► Do you find the art style appealing (so far)?

Yeah, it's colorful and... I dunno... "smooth". Not overly complicated, but very lively and it conveys the personality of the characters very well.

and of course...
► Open to questions / comments / suggestions
Ask me anything! There will be plenty more updates and content shared in the coming months, but if you're curious about something now, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer (or answer around it if it's super secret or spoilerish!)

Make Ren an option for male Zhen!.... Okay sorry, I'll stop haha!
I'm actually curious about the affinity system - since you said friends and romance events are separate, how is it done? What makes it raise one stat or another when the character is a romance option for your Zhen? I assume it won't go by default to the romance level...
Other than that, I'd also like to ask about about Zhen's personality... you said your choices make them act in a certain way or another... Is the personality system complex enough to make them act in an entirely different way in further dialogues (no direct impact from the choice)? Do they have a couple of "preset" personality types, and your answers make them "fit" into these? Is it something else?

Yeah, my questions are mostly technical I guess - I hope you don't mind!
I'll be sure to follow the project anyway!

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#10 Post by Kikaharu » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:33 am

Dang how did I miss this gem. It seems interesting and I like the characters. I can't wait for a demo if you are going to do that or not. But yeah. :3

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#11 Post by Harle » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:54 am

@Konoi: Thank you for taking the time to go through the questions, any feedback is helpful!
"I sure hope it won't be too much on the comedy side" ... No worries there! Some things will be on the lighter side, but it is by no means a comedy. I do love a good balance (and a little dark and twisty never hurts either)
"Make Ren an option for male Zhen!" Sorry! Ren's actually been my favorite since the beginning too, so I understand how you feel *patpat*
Affinity... Short answer: Basically it's done with several point meters, point allotment being based on different scenarios. Long answer: For the sake of simplicity let's say there's a main affinity bar and a romance bar. Raising/lowering main affinity is affected by most everything you do, like gradually building trust and making friends. Romance bar would take a little more direct work... like flirting every opportunity you get because why not. I hate when you're forced to be nice to only one person (or pick things you really don't want to but kind of have to) if you want to romance someone, and I also hate when a character automatically falls in love with you just because you're the main character. So my goal is to make this as smooth and feel as natural as possible. Hope that made sense!
Personality... more points and meters (and lots of writing)! Some of it will be kind of like mad libs, some will be things phrased differently, some options could be different... example! let's say you choose to "Save the puppy!" If you're nice you'd say "Oh noes the puppy, we must save it!", or if you're not so nice you'd probably be like "Ugh, puppies. I suppose we should if we don't want a mess." Main reason I was asking about favorite personality types.

@Kikaharu: Thanks, glad to hear it :3 and yes, a demo is planned! It'll be a few more months though, looking at around February

On that note: a Pre-Update
First, a sincere apology that it's been 2 months since my last post. The day after it my mom got her diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, the bad kind. And of course when it rains, it pours... or in my case, it floods. So a lot of things happened all at once. Now that things have finally resumed a normal pace, I'll have more stuff to share. I know when family things happen, projects tend to be set on the back burner. I just wanted to assure everyone that will never happen- as I am now more motivated than ever to complete this. The next actual progress update will happen by the end of this week.

Thank you,
Harle
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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#12 Post by Konoi » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:14 am

I'm very sorry to hear about the issues you have in your family! I'm glad you'll continue with the project, but take the time for life issues too if it's needed!
On a brighter note, thank you for your answers - it makes sense. I'm really curious about the whole extent of the personality thing - even if you explained well, I still can't wait to see that in game.
And yeah, I figured you wouldn't make Ren an option for male Zhen - it was a cry from the heart. As I said, I may replay as a female for him - I'll see.
I'm glad to hear you'll make a demo - I'll play it as soon as it'll be done!

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#13 Post by Zelan » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:14 am

Oh, man, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. :c I hope you're all doing relatively okay after the diagnosis.

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#14 Post by Pomeranian » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:38 pm

@Harle: I'm so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. My mother-in-law was recently in surgery to remove cancer and there were complications as well. If you ever need anyone to talk to about this kind of thing, I'm here for you, okay? And take as much time as you need in making the update, don't overexert yourself.

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Re: Coterie ™ [VN-RPG, Fantasy, Adventure][GxB, GxG, BxG, Bx

#15 Post by Generic Timeline » Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:27 pm

Your dedication is inspiring. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, I hope things'll look up soon.

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