The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

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Selidor
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The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#1 Post by Selidor » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:38 pm

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I've decided to start a thread here for my visual novel, The Stone Sun, to get feedback from visual novel players and developers. It's the first time I've worked on a visual novel, and the first game I've worked on by myself. Critique is welcome.

I started making this for YaoiJam over the summer, but computer troubles and other commitments made that impossible, so I’ve decided to take my time and fleshed out the story and characters considerably. I’ll be doing everything except the audio myself, which I'll be looking to commission once the game starts to take shape.

This will be a commercial game, with the price yet to be decided. I plan to release a free demo version prior to releasing the full game. I hope to release it on Windows/Mac/Linux, and on iOS. I probably won’t release it for Android because I’m far less familiar with the platform than with iOS, both as an end user and a developer.

There will be two love interests and five endings, one of which is locked until you meet certain criteria.

Plot Summary
Gabriel inherited a large cache of priceless cultural artefacts and works of art acquired under dubious circumstances by his ancestor, famed explorer Cristián Castillo Vargas. After graduating from university, he began to trace the history of each piece, and return it to its rightful owners, or donate it to a museum in its country of origin. Finally, he’s down to the last piece—a priceless amulet—but after a run-in with a thief, he accidentally unleashes the spirit trapped inside it.

Characters

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Gabriel
The protagonist. On a mission to return his ancestor's ill-gotten gains to their rightful owners.

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Eddie
Mischievous thief with a fondness for art and archaeological treasures.

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Amat
The ghost of a long-dead warrior, whose spirit was trapped inside a powerful, ancient artefact.

Other art samples

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Discussion
Does the game sound interesting to you?
What do you think of the art?
Based on the information in this thread, which character is your favourite?
Any other thoughts or questions?
Last edited by Selidor on Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#2 Post by Valhalla » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:40 am

Does the game sound interesting to you?
Yup! From what I can read here I think it sounds like a fun adventure style game. And I like BxB... So that's great too =)

What do you think of the art?
Yes! I remember seeing your art on your artist for hire thread, and I really like your backgrounds in particular, they are so pretty!

Based on the information in this thread, which character is your favourite?
I think probably Eddie. Although I would like to know more about Amat.

Any other thoughts or questions?
You've given Amat and Eddie the same description, although I'm assuming he is the spirit from the amulet.
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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#3 Post by Selidor » Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:32 am

Valhalla wrote:You've given Amat and Eddie the same description, although I'm assuming he is the spirit from the amulet.
Thanks for the heads up! I've fixed that now.

Thank you for the feedback as well. I'll look at what other information I can add on the characters without spoiling anything.

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#4 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:02 pm

Selidor wrote:The eventual price point will likely be between $5 and $10.
In my (non-professional) opinion, I think you'll benefit by making sure that your price and the amount of content in your story are both appropriate. Don't undersell your story, or send the impression that you're giving it away.
Selidor wrote:After graduating from university, he began to trace the history of each piece, and return it to its rightful owners, or donate it to a museum in its country of origin. Finally, he’s down to the last piece—a priceless amulet—but after a run-in with a thief, he accidentally unleashes the spirit trapped inside it... There will be two love interests and five endings, one of which is locked until you meet certain criteria.
1. What sort of conflicts exist in the story?
2. How much emphasis is placed on the characters' relationships?
3. How would you rate your story for content? If it helps, consider the ESRB or MPAA ratings.
Selidor wrote:What do you think of the art?
I like it. I'm not sure how to describe the art style, so I'll just call it "distinct" and move on.

How will you present dialogue and narration? Through a separate text box / ADV mode, through text over images - NVL mode, or some other way?

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#5 Post by aeri » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:40 pm

Selidor wrote:Does the game sound interesting to you?
It definitely sounds like an adventure. My preferences are more down to earth games (less supernatural the better) though I have enjoyed many games with supernatural elements because they were executed well in my eyes. I apologize if my inference to the plot summary is inaccurate though!
Selidor wrote:What do you think of the art?
To be honest, I'm very, very partial toward Japanese anime art styles, so the art is not appealing for me. This is a personal preference, so please take my comment with a grain of salt :)
Selidor wrote:Based on the information in this thread, which character is your favourite?
There is very little information to based favorites off of, but in terms of how interesting the character is, my vote will go for Amat because...dead warrior spirit!
Selidor wrote:Any other thoughts or questions?
Please continue to provide information overtime as you're developing the story especially in the character descriptions! It will help people feel more connected to the character :)) Good luck with the game production~

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#6 Post by Selidor » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:56 pm

gekiganwing wrote:In my (non-professional) opinion, I think you'll benefit by making sure that your price and the amount of content in your story are both appropriate. Don't undersell your story, or send the impression that you're giving it away.
Yeah, the price point is a difficult one for me, and I'll definitely wait until I have all the game text and number of CGs finalised before deciding on a price. My limited and only experience with the business side of games is with F2P mobile titles, which is a very different playing field.
gekiganwing wrote:How will you present dialogue and narration? Through a separate text box / ADV mode, through text over images - NVL mode, or some other way?
The dialogue will be through a separate text box. The UI is still very much at the draft stage, but once I have something I can show, I'll make sure to post a screenshot here.
aeri wrote:It definitely sounds like an adventure. My preferences are more down to earth games (less supernatural the better) though I have enjoyed many games with supernatural elements because they were executed well in my eyes. I apologize if my inference to the plot summary is inaccurate though!
The fantasy element of the game is fairly low key, so it's a lot more down to earth than, say, a high fantasy story, but it's definitely part of the plot.
aeri wrote:To be honest, I'm very, very partial toward Japanese anime art styles, so the art is not appealing for me. This is a personal preference, so please take my comment with a grain of salt :)
This was definitely something I considered when designing the characters, and I know the way I've drawn them is a somewhat atypical style for visual novels. Art-wise I've consumed a lot of anime and manga, but I'm a webcomic artist, and I read a lot of webcomics by western creators, so that's a big influence on me as well. I did consider going more anime, but I like having the flexibility to give characters distinct facial features, and an anime style doesn't really allow for that.

Thank you both for the comments regarding the story! I'll work on expanding the summary I've given here to include some more information.

The romance/character relationship side of things is a key part of the story, and most of the player choices relate to developing the protagonist's relationship with the other two characters. Rating-wise, I aim to keep the content consistent with PEGI 12/ESRB Teen. There definitely won't be any adult/ecchi content, but it will have occasional suggestive dialogue.

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#7 Post by illuminate001 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:48 am

Hi Selidor,

I think the most appealing part of this VN (other than the BxB...woot~!) IS the whole legendary/magical artifacts factor. You realize that the possibilities are really endless storywise and I myself am intrigued because this means The Stone Sun can go so many different ways. Heck, Uncharted has been making blockbuster after blockbuster with a different story focusing on a new artifact every game!

So I realize there's the main story arc involving the artifact that contains Amat. However, I hope there are a few side stories related to artifacts before the main arc to kinda get our feet wet. I'd really like that. :D
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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#8 Post by Selidor » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:48 pm

Returning to this thread after far too long. My project got derailed somewhat by my full-time job, but I've been working on it where I can.

I made some changes to the art style, and amended the character faces and hair, along with a complete redraw of the first background. Risky, as I know how easy it is to get stuck in a cycle of endlessly redrawing things instead of progressing, but after careful thought, I realised it was necessary. I've added the updated character portraits and the new redrawn background to the top post, but here is a quick comparison between the old and new sprites:

OLD:
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NEW:
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I aimed for something less cartoon-y and more appealing, particularly with the character's eyes.

I'm working on the next background, featuring a temple complex from the outside. I started with a hand-drawn sketch, but currently I'm also making a basic 3D model of it to use as reference for the perspective and lighting (the model itself won't be integrated into the illustration, so the final piece will still be completely hand drawn).

I've also been doing a lot of work to flesh out the plot, particularly with regards to character backgrounds and personalities, and also world building. There's a limit to how much I can include and still keep the scope manageable for a one-person team, but I want to make sure I've done my best to tell an engaging story with interesting characters. I've been switching between different routes a lot, but my plan now is to get a complete first draft of the common route finished in the next month or two. I have the overall outline, and the questions planned out, so it's just a lot of actual writing left now.

I spent some time playing other visual novels, and especially Japanese BL games, to look at the dialogue-to-narration ratio, and see what shortcuts different developers had used to cut down on the number of art assets needed, without reducing the quality of the game. I think I picked up a lot of useful tips and inspiration.

I've also done some work on the UI, with a first pass on the dialogue and portrait boxes:

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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#9 Post by Ertal77 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:56 am

I love the art of this game! That background is so colorful and different!

The sprites are also cute, especially the MC :D

As for the story, it's intriguing, with that kind of Indiana Jones appeal, so I'm looking forward to knowing more. A pity you couldn't release at least a demo for Yaoi Jam, but if you are making everything yourself we all know it's a huge work.

Best of luck with this project!
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Re: The Stone Sun [BxB] [Fantasy] [Commercial]

#10 Post by Selidor » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:31 am

Ertal77 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:56 am
I love the art of this game! That background is so colorful and different!

The sprites are also cute, especially the MC :D

As for the story, it's intriguing, with that kind of Indiana Jones appeal, so I'm looking forward to knowing more. A pity you couldn't release at least a demo for Yaoi Jam, but if you are making everything yourself we all know it's a huge work.

Best of luck with this project!
Thanks! It's definitely been slow progress doing everything on my own, but I'm learning lots of things in the process.

I've done some more work on the UI, with some refinements to the dialogue and a first pass on a menu screen:
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