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Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art]

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:36 pm
by Aureus
(Updated on 25th day of September, 2018.)

Welcome to the updated description of Tales From Windy Meadow, a Visual Novel currently developed for Windows. You can also read about it's world and protagonists on the of website Moral Anxiety Studio.

Tales From Windy Meadow is a single-player collection of interactive stories focused on a community of small village set in bittersweet fantasy world. This Visual Novel explores topics like finding your place in life, loneliness, pursuing your goals and dealing with your past and disadvantages.


Our pixel art graphics are inspired by games such as VA-11 Hall-A and Kingdom: Classic, we want to create distinctive visuals and combine them with immersive, relatable writing and both guitar and piano music.
To make the dialogues more dynamic, the text-based narration is mostly replaced by animations, limiting the on-screen text almost exclusively to conversations. Even though we're using Ren'Py, we added some custom features to support our storytteling as much as possible. For example, you can bring up the game's map whenever you want to visualize where the various locations are set or use your mouse to hover character names to read their descriptions.

The game is in it's final stage. We’ve made more than half of animations, all of the backgrounds, UI, pretty much all of the coding not related to graphics. We still try to make the improve dialogues, music and sound effects, nevertheless we plan to release the game in Q4 of 2018. We have a lot of delay, though it's mostly because with time the game became much more ambitious than we originally assumed.

To stay in touch with us, follow us on Twitter (@MoralAnxiety) and Facebook (@MoralAnxiety) to make sure you won’t miss any updates!

Much love,
Maciej Aureus Gajzlerowicz
Moral Anxiety Studio

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:05 pm
by gekiganwing
Aureus wrote:The text-based narration is going to be replaced by various animations, limiting the on-screen text almost exclusively to dialogues.
Sounds like an interesting idea. I'm sure you can think of many quality films, comics, and games which convey information through visuals. Challenge yourself to see how much story, background, personality, and so on that you can present through graphics. If events in your story seem too ambiguous, or if playtesters have trouble understanding what's going on, then use enough text to help clarify things.
Aureus wrote:I also want to know - do you think there is a place for experimental, weird games in the VN community? Especially ones that don't include romance, porn and manga characters (especially waifus/moe)?
In a word, yes. The next three paragraphs are in spoilers because they're somewhat off-topic and personal:
I sometimes seek out and enjoy offbeat things. For instance, after stumbling into the indie comics scene during the mid-90s, I started looking for other comics written in English that also defied my expectations of "only G-rated superheroes and slice of life newspaper series." Also, around the early 2000s, I started to associate video games written in English with "only angry, dour military games," so in order to find more alternatives, I began exploring the fan translation scene.

During 2005, I began looking for visual novels which didn't adhere to my expectations of "only school-based love polygon stories, mostly porn-without-plot." Thankfully, I found a few freeware VNs translated by The Poor Little Bird wasn't a fun read, but it was a good change of pace. Instant Death! Panda Samurai was kind of forgettable, but it was an entertaining change of pace. Having said that... I want visual novel fandom to continue to grow and change. I have my quirky likes and dislikes, but I want to be challenged as a fan.

Manga is just one category of comics -- a word which I use to describe words-and-pictures stories across the world. It was established as a storytelling form about seventy years ago, so it's much younger than live theater or literature, which have existed for centuries. At the same time, it has at least five demographics. The thirtieth best-selling series of 2016 sold 1.6 million copies just in Japan (citation: For what it's worth, some of the best-selling series of all time are almost unknown in other nations. (Kochikame lasted forty years and two hundred books, but I only know about it because I decided to do research. Oishinbo has lasted over thirty years and more than a hundred books, but its official English localization was limited to seven books of short stories.)

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:59 am
by Aureus
Thank you for sharing your story and for your supportive words. I actually was thinking about making a voice-only version of our game with single voice actor as a narrator to make it accessible for blind people as well, but it will happen only if the game is going to be a success. However, as you said, if the tests are going to prove my general concept is poorly executed, I'm going to change some things and let more narration in. (Currently I'm leaving it to one dream sequence.)

Same as you did, I'm going to hide the rest of my post.
Some of my favorite games are not even marketed as VNs since they include walking and interacting with your surroundings, but I can't find a good reason to not consider them as such (and I think in Japan people wouldn't mind such an approach). To The Moon (people call it an "adventure RPG"), Kentucky Route Zero (an "adventure game" with no puzzles, completely focused on mood, world-building and dialogues), The Beginners Guide (walking sim)...

I love some VNs and concepts behind them, but I sometimes feel out of place in VN community since I don't like porn games nor romance games (when I translated an otome from English to Polish, I was metaphorically suffering). I don't have anything against them or people who love them, but it feels weird to to create/market something that doesn't belong to the mainstream. I hope I won't disappoint those who are going to give Tales From Windy Meadow a chance.

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:58 pm
by Neeka
I'm excited to see some more pixel art! Will definitely play your game once it is completed.

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 12:16 pm
by Aureus
Neeka wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:58 pm
I'm excited to see some more pixel art!
And here it is! I decided to wait for nearest #screenshotsaturday, and I think I have something quite nice. : )

Tales From Windy Meadow is set in our unique low-fantasy world inspired by early medieval Europe. We want to turn our characters (both protagonists and NPCs) into relatable, believable and interesting people. It's a community with goals, memories, regrets and fears.

Here are our newest concept arts related to minor NPCs. We play around with both pixel art sprites and more realistic (not-manga-ish) character faces.
Arata-V.png (13.45 KiB) Viewed 7175 times

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:27 pm
by Aureus
Another ScreenShotSaturday, another example of playing around with various color sets from concept art stage:

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:25 pm
by Zelan
I like the fact that you're making games that you like - aka, not a porn game and not a romance game. Here on Lemmasoft, I think you'll find quite a lot of people who agree that they don't read VNs for the prom, myself included. c: Sexual content is not something that I'm always comfortable with, and when it is present in a VN I prefer to have it censored if possible.

Romance is a bit trickier. I like it, personally, and so do a lot of other people, but I think that you'll also find that there are people who are open-minded and willing to give non-romance games a shot.

I also think it's cool that you're trying an approach of "more art, less writing."

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:00 am
by LeonDaydreamer
Ooh, lovely pixel art! :)
This project looks great!

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:17 am
by MarkusLappalainen
Absolutely yes! I wish there was more of the non-romance, no-porn, not-anime VNs. Personally I find them either uninteresting or repulsive most of the time. I want stories with more depth and substance. While I understand why anime/manga is attractive (protagonists are young = more relatable) I feel that the VN scene would benefit of more productions that go against the status quo, like this one.

The visuals are beautiful! I grew up playing games like Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island so this takes me directly to that era. Thank you for the rush of nostalgia ;) If I had time I'd want to play those games again now...

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:52 am
by TellerFarsight
The art looks amazing! It looks like you're making quite the step up from The Tavern in terms of visuals; I'll be honest, I tend to avoid games that look like their made in RPGMaker, just because I don't like the general aesthetic of them, but Tales From Windy Meadow looks much more like a Sierra game. If it's a KRZ style game, that would be wonderful.
Although the general perception of VNs are of otomes and general teen romance anime themes, there are a lot of people both on this forum and elsewhere ( that heartily accepts the kind of narrative you're going for. I'm trying to do a pixel art game as well, one that is closer to classic western pixel games than to the usual VNs poster cases.
I look forward to future updates.

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:26 am
by Aureus
Thank you so much for your encouragement, fellows!
I love the pixel art of our graphic artists as well, and I think it's a perfect match for our story - since we don't try to present cute schoolgirls and we don't have to make the characters sexually attractive, we can experiment with many designs and approaches. Such as this one!
evolobig.png (2.39 KiB) Viewed 6971 times
And since Visual Novels benefit from player's imagination, pixel art is much more attractive for me than show-all realistic art.

I can't say that we're following Kentucky Route Zero - I love this game, but there are good reasons why it took so many years to publish the 4 chapters, and the game is officially not even finished yet! We don't have the budget to make something with such an amazing range of creativity, but maybe in the future? : )

In a couple of days (maybe this week's ScreenShotSaturday?) I'm going to highlight the story we want to tell, to let you know if you think we're exploring the topics you find interesting. : )

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:19 pm
by Aureus
#screenshotsaturday! : )
After a terrible week (on personal level) I feel the next one is going to be awesome. ^^ "Tales From Windy Meadow" goes forward, big updates ahead!
Follow us on FB and on Twitter (@MoralAnxiety) to stay in touch! : )
screenshotsaturday.png (5.36 KiB) Viewed 6907 times

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:34 am
by Aureus
It would be an honor to know what you think about our new #screenshotsaturday. : )


Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:12 pm
by Zelan
I love the idea of having 3 different protagonists/storylines to follow! I think Vena is my favorite so far, but they all seem like they'll have cool stories.

Re: Tales From Windy Meadow [Fantasy/Slice of life/Pixel Art/Drama]

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:38 pm
by Aureus
I'm glad you like it! Just to make it clear - these stories are separate, but they occur in the same time in the same community, so the characters know each other pretty well. : )