I'm nature1996 and I'm creating a Ren'Py VN game which I call "The Helper" for now, since I haven't figured out a better title yet. A demo is ready, containing the introduction and the first chapter. It also contains generic background, probably just placeholders, but doesn't have characters art.
First things first, this game contains at least reference to suicide, murder and religion, and also contains mature language (mostly swearing in French...). For those reason, it is not suitable for all audience.
The game is an Ace Attorney like crime mystery, using game mechanics similar to the series. The story itself set in a modern city setting (I actually have one in particular in mind, but I want to let it be an extra mystery), in an alternate reality where a Cold War spying agency "l'Agence Internationale D'ESpionage" or AIDES (it is pronounced a bit like "hay day", and not exactly like it is written in French) for short, which literally mean the international spying agency in French, is still in activity, and now serve as an independent international problem solver.
You play as yourself, looking for a job following unforeseen circumstance, and found an ad searching for someone to help agent 717, the current director of the AIDES. Having nothing to lose, you decide to try to get the job, hoping it isn't just a prank. This is how you found yourself in a commercial local waiting for your turn.
The story will follow you as you suddenly find yourself thrown in agent 717 world, or it might be more precise to say, his week off. The game play itself revolve around testimony, where you must confront someone's account of an event, hoping to find the truth.
List of major characters:
- Agent 717, a young spy, in his early twenty at most, which found himself at the head of the AIDES. His true name is unknown, many referring to him as Seb, but he insists his name isn't Sebastien. There is something off about him, yet his reputation speaks for itself: the world would have been destroyed ten times over if it wasn't for him.
Somewhat cool quote: "Everyone has a dark side, mine might just be more real..."
- Man, deputy and interim director of the AIDES, serves basically as tech support most of the time. He's the one who coordinates all the operations, and he stays in his office most of the time. He will help from time to time, especially when cover IDs are needed.
Somewhat cool quote: "You remember my parents don't know about this, right?"
- Clara St-claire, a ME, which I plan will help in a few of the game cases. For now, she only appears in the first chapter, but she might have a least a cameo in chapter 2.
Somewhat cool quote: "I’ve been informed that you wanted more information on one of my case, and I’ve also been advised to help you in every way possible."
And last but not least:
- You! You play as yourself, trying to find the truth, and possibly save the world doing so. Also, you are catching criminals now and might be a bit out of your depth.
Somewhat cool quote: Just say something!
Chapter 2 will introduce two new characters, agent 706 aka N, and agent 708 aka Bel, brother and sister parts of agent 717 team.
The game play part takes the form of testimonies, which are a list of statements. There are three possible ways to interact with a given statement:
- Ask for explanations: this will lead the characters to give more detail about their statement, by adding to what’s already there or by reformulating the idea.
- Ask to back it up: Ask to the characters to prove what they are saying. Can sometimes lead to learning new things, or opens a way to attack a statement.
- Give facts: By using one of the facts you have learned, you can challenge a statement, or reinforce it. Be careful though, if you are wrong, you will lose credibility, and possibly reach a game over.
There is a fourth way to attack a testimony, and it is by re-examining everything. Doing so will reveal contradiction, or let you progress when the testimony is precise enough. It is kind of the wild card.
There is a life system in the form of credibility point to add a challenge.
As said before, the demo includes the introduction, which is basically the tutorial with two testimonies explaining the game mechanics, and the first chapter, a what/how mystery following your adventure after a strange gossip articles leads agent 717 to believe something afoot. These also include a lot of hints toward what the bigger picture is."
I have already planned the base story for chapter 2, 3 and 4, and started writing chapter 2.
Chapter 2 takes place in an isolated mansion where Mrs. Blackwell, minister of culture, is found dead. There is 3 suspects, and no one has an alibi.
In chapter 3, following an unforeseen turn of events, you find yourself working for two new characters, strangely named Red and Blue, trying to solve a locked-room mystery.
The last chapter revolves around trying to prevent the event foreshadowed throughout the story.
What am I looking for:
First, I would like some comment on the game itself. How does it feels, how does it plays, etc.
Second, while I would like to complete that project soon, I still have to go to school and everything, so I don't have as much time as I would like.
In the meantime, I would like to have some character art, but I'm terrible at drawing anything. I would like something realistic, but I’m flexible on that.
I would also like to find better background, and I like the idea of using pictures, but what I have right now is the best I found…
I would like some kind of soundtrack, and while I have some ideas already, especially some kind of motive associated with some characters, I’m not a music composer. I would need someone to arrange that into fully fleshed piece.
To finish, I'm not a native English speaker, and this is my first project on Ren'Py, or my first big project for that matter, so I need help with play testing the game and correcting mistake. I believe I have corrected most unusual of the behaviour of the game, but I haven't tested all possibilities. I should say that I might end up voluntarily leaving some mistake in the dialogue, as it might represent who the characters are.
If you want to help, pm me or contact me through this post.
How can you help for now?
For now, I would really like feedback on the game mechanics. Is it easy, or hard enough? Could you find all the answers without guessing? Was there a moment where you felt it was too repetitive? I do believe the first chapter is too forgiving at the time, but I wanted it to still let you learn before the game became too unforgiving. Also, it does make sense story-wise.
Also, I’m not sure I was able to transmit the right feeling about agent 717. I would like some feedback on what you think about him, so I can see if it was an hit or miss.
In conclusion, all constructive criticisms are welcomed.