[Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

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Rastagong
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[Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#1 Post by Rastagong » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:35 pm


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Sylvan Dissappearance
An epistolary fairy-tale mystery in 19 letters.

>>> Download Page on itch.io <<<

>>> Release Thread <<<
(The current thread does not contain up-to-date information or screenshots.)

Progress
Writing & Editing 100%
Character Art 100%
Scripting 100%
UI & Systems 100%
Testing & Editing 100%


Synopsis
Mirabelle and Célia have always loved inventing stories, and acting on stage too.
They used to entertain their friends by running story nights for them, in the woods near their village. Not anymore, though.

Three months have past since the incident which shattered their friendship,
and Mirabelle has begun a new life far away, in a bustling city by the sea.

One day, Mirabelle receives a letter from Martin, another friend of hers:
This is none of my concern, surely, but I fear I must ask... Has Célia written to you yet?
If I may hazard a guess —she has not at all, has she?
I do not believe that she has spent a very pleasant summer, but I would like to believe that very soon,
life will turn out all the better for her.
If you ever find the time, do not hesitate to write to her.


Could this mark the beginning of a renewed friendship? Perhaps.
But not all secrets can be told truthfully, even to one's closest friend.

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About the story
Sylvan Disappearance is a mystery visual novel with an epistolary component. In the course of the story, you follow Mirabelle's life in a seaside city, and read the correspondence she receives from her friends Martin and Célia.
Besides the mystery, the story features some amount of psychological horror, light yuri romance, and a pseudo-historical setting. Among other influences, it was inspired by Emily Carroll's horror comics, Picnic at Hanging Rock, the seaside cities in Ghibli movies and the Dream Pop music genre.

The story is about 40 000 words long.
Depending on your speed, it should require 3 to 4 hours of reading (this estimation subjected to change).
There are no choices, though you may read some of the letters that Mirabelle receives in the order you wish.


Links
Character Art by Hyanide
Writing, Programming & Design by myself
Other free-to-use resources will be credited on the download page.
Feel free to have a seat in my tearoom, frequent new servings about the development will be offered!

This thread will mostly serve as a devlog with quick updates! I'm no good at giving frequent news, but I will try…
Last edited by Rastagong on Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:32 pm, edited 10 times in total.
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Rastagong
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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#2 Post by Rastagong » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:14 am

Hello everyone!

As you can see, I already broke my promise of giving frequent updates, ahaha…

Anyway, the first serving is up on the tearoom!
In this serving, I spend some time talking about photographic backgrounds. How they can be so aesthetically pleasing and why we should value them, the process of searching for them & editing, and a few words about the real-life locations used in Sylvan Disappearance.
Here's a sneak peek of the backgrounds mentioned:
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Progress-wise, nothing tremendous, though I should be about halfway through scripting now!

It's also time introduce you all to Coline, the new friend that Mirabelle made in the seaside city mentioned in the synopsis:
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Last edited by Rastagong on Wed May 23, 2018 2:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Rastagong
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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#3 Post by Rastagong » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:34 pm

Here is a very short end-of-the-year update on the tearoom! Progress is slow, and I have many doubts often, but it is still progress.

It's also time to introduce you to Célia, who's Mirabelle's friend of many years:
Image
Last edited by Rastagong on Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#4 Post by Rastagong » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:08 pm

I've been meaning to give news for a while, but I haven't had the time!

Over the past few weeks, I've been doing scripting (as always), but mostly, I've finished working on the UI and on the epistolary screen, which is at the core of the story!

If you'd like to find out more about this epistolary component, as always, head for the tearoom, The third serving is up.
For once, there's much to talk about, between the design of an epistolary VN, and the technical aspect of building a screen for this purpose.

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Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#5 Post by Zelan » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:45 pm

I love the idea of a VN using the epistolary style. It's one of my favorites writing styles for books as well. Also, the art is absolutely lovely, both the sprites and the backgrounds.

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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#6 Post by Rastagong » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:34 am

Zelan wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:45 pm
I love the idea of a VN using the epistolary style. It's one of my favorites writing styles for books as well. Also, the art is absolutely lovely, both the sprites and the backgrounds.
Thanks a lot, Zelan, this means much! Yeah, I'm convinced the epistolary style is very well-suited for interactive fiction and VNs too! I hope the end result will prove to be interesting.

Sorry for the utter lack of updates, everyone! I have been working on this VN, albeit slowly. If you're interested in the why & how, and how much remains to be done, head for the tearoom, a new serving's awaiting you.

To briefly summarise:
  • The scripting process is 100% done, I have coded everything up until the ending!
  • I still have to go through a last, large editing pass. Not only to correct the language and style, but also to ensure the narrative is coherent as a whole.
  • I would also like to get the VN fully playtested by a few friends.
  • I have to correctly attribute every asset I've used inside a credits menu. There are a lot of backgrounds, plus other assets, so it will take some time!
  • Overall, there isn't ~ a lot ~ of work left to be done, but I will still be busy during this month. I do intend to release by April 26 at the latest, though!
  • I am not sure that I will have many more updates to give at all? But there will be very short promotional posts on the blog, all organised a certain theme that I won't reveal just yet. It should hopefully be interesting enough, hehehe.
And that's it for now! I'm very excited to run this last stretch before the release. I-It's actually gonna be tough, but I'll do my best!
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#7 Post by Rastagong » Sun May 20, 2018 7:06 am

It's been one full month again… How is this even possible!?

Anyway, here's another update:
  • As you can see, I failed to release by April 26. Lesson learnt, I'll refrain from imposing myself impossible-to-meet deadlines.
  • The release is closer than ever though! The editing process is now over, I've entered the playtesting phase, with the generous help of a few people. Still not providing a hard release date, but… it's close.
  • I've been starting a new series of posts on the tearoom, in which I talk about the inspirations behind the story! So far, there have been three posts, respectively on Emily Carroll's horror webcomics, the aesthetics of seaside cities in Ghibli movies, and lastly, on the epistolary framing in literature and interactive fiction. Two posts still remain, both about things I'm excited to talk about.
And that's it for today. This will probably be the final update before the release announcement? Until then, take care, and have a good weekend!
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#8 Post by Rastagong » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:41 pm

Sylvan Disappearance has finally been released! You can download it on itch.io, or have a look at the release thread here.
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#9 Post by Zelan » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:08 pm

Congratulations!! I'm super excited to play it! ^_^

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Re: [Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#10 Post by Rastagong » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:01 am

Thanks Zelan, I hope you enjoy it! :)
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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Re: [Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#11 Post by philip » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:46 pm

@Rastagong-

WOW! . . . what a marvelous story . . . in all respects. Among all the VN's that I have experienced, this is certainly in the top 5! I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent going through it. I especially appreciated the True Epilogue and End Notes.

Thank you for a truly worthwhile experience.

philip
"One who has never made a mistake has never attempted anything!"
-
and
-
"Finish what you start"

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Re: [Completed][Epistolary][Mystery] Sylvan Disappearance

#12 Post by Rastagong » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:42 am

philip wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:46 pm
@Rastagong-

WOW! . . . what a marvelous story . . . in all respects. Among all the VN's that I have experienced, this is certainly in the top 5! I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent going through it. I especially appreciated the True Epilogue and End Notes.

Thank you for a truly worthwhile experience.

philip
Aah, thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it as much! ;;

A lot of credits go to the various stories (and music, I guess) mentioned as inspirations in the ending notes and on the devblog! Don't hesitate to try out some of them if you're interested in similar stories or atmosphere. :)
Craving for a slightly historical mystery VN with an unusual presentation? Some amount of psychological or folk horror? A bit of weirdness? I got you covered.


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