The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

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Matalla
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The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#1 Post by Matalla » Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:17 pm

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The Lost Smile (original title "La sonrisa extraviada") will be my first finished VN. Not the first I work on, since I am doing this while taking a break from another big project I'm working on for more than half a year (and that still has a lot to be done). This one should be finished, hopefully, in a couple of months, since it's an adaptation of a previous work of mine in another format and it's easy for me to get and adapt most of the assets. The biggest work left is finishing some new branches and translating it to english, since the original language is spanish.

Progress report

- Finished! viewtopic.php?f=11&t=55663



Some Features

Fullscreen 3D illustrations
Heavily processed 3D art to give it a raw visual style that suits the genre/theme. It has no sprites or backgrounds, every illustration is unique. Think in a panel from a comic or a frame from a movie.

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Comic style dialogue
This goes in line with the previous one. Comic balloon style textboxes for showing the narration and the dialogue with no names shown since the balloon points to the character making easy to follow the narration (the names are indeed present for the history screen and the self-voicing system, they're just not on screen).

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A clues/deductions interactive system
Through the game, you'll find clues about the case. You'll have to combine them to get deductions in order to solve the case. The deductions can be irrelevant or misleading, though. You'll need to find the right ones in order to get the "true" ending. (Thanks to philat for the code for this feature).

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4-6 endings depending on the deductions you make
The exact number is not exactly determined yet, but there will be 1 "true" ending and 3-5 alternative endings. Better not think about them in terms of "good" or "bad" endings, though.

A cool vinyl jukebox
Music room with all available tracks. Much to my shame, since my contribution to this is minor, this is probably the best feature of the game. Seriously, even if you don't like the genre/style, you should download this when it's finished just to listen to the outstanding music. Mostly piano only music composed (or improvised!) and performed by a very talented guy. There are also some other songs I had from some time ago that I think suit the theme well and give the soundtrack a nice variation (sung in spanish, though). You can chose any song from the soundtrack to be the music for the main menu.

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Writing
It combines 2 distinct styles. The narrator (the detective himself, close to solve the case, telling the story through flashbacks) use a lyrical, almost poetic language, reflecting on the facts he discovered and the path he took. The dialogues, though, are most in line with the classic style of dialogue of classic noir literature or movies: sharp, quick, witty and spicy. I think this combination gives the game a unique perspective and style. Also I could be wrong and be disconcerting and annoying. You tell me if/when you read it.

It will not be very long, probably around 15000 words. Good for a single playthrough of about 1 hour or an hour and a half. More if you want to explore all the options, of course.

The plot

A woman dissapears. The police find no clues. A private eye is hired to find her. All this is classic noir stuff. But the detective is no ordinary one. His methods are more based on art, philosophy and geometry than in the science of criminology. He'll have to uncover some dark secrets that may have tragic consequences. He'll have to face a strange question which holds the key to solving the case: Can oblivion be remembered? Not the forgotten thing, but oblivion itself.

Characters

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The thing I am more interested to know from you is if you think that the unusual style for a VN will be too big of a hurdle for people to get interested in this kind of thing. I like classic VN stuff as a reader/player, but as a creator I'm more influenced by literature, comic or cinema, and this is the kind of work I am capable and willing to do. So, in a sense, this is a test to find if it makes sense to keep doing stuff like this or if I better stick to other creative mediums.

Edit: I should have mention something about age restriction, but I'm not sure on how/what to specify, and I would like some input from you. For instance, I have a 16 yo daughter and I'd have no problems with her reading something like this. Now, if she were 12 or 13, I'd object (probably accompanied by adults if it were a movie...? I'm not sure). These kind of limits are not that hard or relevant from where I come, but I'm aware that in other countries (specially USA) they are. The stoy has some nuddity and sex, although it's not shown in an explicit or obscene way (ie. not even a tit shown, and in the only 2 scenes with this kind of content, one is implied, not shown), there's also some violence and strong language and people occasionally drink or go to places where minors are not allowed. Any input on what kind of age restriction should I indicate?
Last edited by Matalla on Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mistery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#2 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:15 am

Matalla wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:17 pm
It has no sprites or backgrounds, every illustration is unique. Think in a panel from a comic or a frame from a movie.
I like this idea. I can only think of a few VNs in which each illustration is distinct. Just be careful with the scope of your story. Make sure you can manage its length and scope.

Your art so far is somewhat unsettling. I think it could be a good fit for a downbeat story, especially if the main characters are scared or suspicious.
Matalla wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:17 pm
The thing I am more interested to know from you is if you think that the unusual style for a VN will be too big of a hurdle for people to get interested in this kind of thing.
There's a chart created by people on r/visualnovels during 2015. It shows suggested titles by category. Most of the examples on the chart aren't just another love triangle / polygon story. A lot of them include an external conflict, and thus the characters don't have time to sit around and talk about personal concerns.

If you're curious, I have enjoyed several offbeat stories told through a visual novel format. A distinct art style or a distinct story topic will get my attention.
Matalla wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:17 pm
... as a creator I'm more influenced by literature, comic or cinema, and this is the kind of work I am capable and willing to do. So, in a sense, this is a test to find if it makes sense to keep doing stuff like this or if I better stick to other creative mediums.
Creativity is good. Challenging media format expectations is good. In the words of a TVTropes article, do it for the art.

In my opinion, it can be frustrating when creative medium seems limited to telling only a few types of stories. A cartoon shouldn't have to be an advertisement for toys and merchandise. A comic should be able to tell any genre of fiction or non-fiction.

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Re: The Lost Smile [Mistery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#3 Post by Matalla » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:51 pm

gekiganwing wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:15 am
...
Thank you for your response, you make some interesting points and I like your take on creativity and mediums used to convey it. Actually, I agree completely with you, although I still have some reservations about the actual viability of some of that (in terms of finding an eventual public interested, not in a creative sense, although that's probably another kind of discussion not for this place).

About the scope and the uniqueness of the illustrations, perhaps my statement was a little misleading. I was trying to say that they're not a combination of background + characters, not that everyone of them appears only once (Not that you imply exactly this, but I thought I should clarify, as I feel I was not precise enough at first).

Scenes are composed using cinematographic techniques like shot/reverse shot, close shots, etc. So a single scene could have... say 6 or 10 illustrations, some of them repeated several times as characters speak. The lenghth and scope are perfectly manegeable and all art is already done (it's an adaptation of something I did some years ago, I only have to extract and process it).

I don't know the exact meaning of "downbeat story" (english is not my first language) but certainly it has a somehow unsettling atmosphere and tone, progressively accentuated as the story progresses.

Also, by the style, I was thinking more about the visual style and the dialogue system, more that the theme/topic. I'm aware that there are visual novels with all kinds of themes, but most of them (at least, the ones I have read/played) stick to similar mechanics in their visual narrative styles. Theme/writting narrative style could be a little different for the usual VN, and perhaps readers/players receptive to said style could be a minority among the whole VN public but I think (I hope, at least) there are some. It worries me more the first.

Also, I should have mentioned something about warnings about the content (age restriction or something). I'll update the initial post with it, but I'll need some help to clarify it, as I'm not sure how to put it.
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mistery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#4 Post by AntiquedFae » Sun May 05, 2019 9:59 pm

Hi again! Just pointing this out because I cannot help myself: mystery is spelled with a 'y' while you used an 'i' twice in your main post. You especially might want to correct that in the thread title; it would make it much more professional in appearance.

Hope all goes well for you! ^_^
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#5 Post by Matalla » Mon May 06, 2019 12:07 am

AntiquedFae wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:59 pm
Hi again! Just pointing this out because I cannot help myself: mystery is spelled with a 'y' while you used an 'i' twice in your main post. You especially might want to correct that in the thread title; it would make it much more professional in appearance.

Hope all goes well for you! ^_^
D'oh! And it had to be in the title of the post itself, no less...

Thank you, Fae. I have corrected it, assuming the risk of being considered a professional (which I am not, nor do I intend to be). But I like to do things the right way and I'll take that risk.

I'll just take advantage of being here to make a small update about the progress.

- Clues/Deductions system finished.
- Writing at 90%. I just need to finish the alternative endings.

I'd say 1 more week and the spanish part will be finished. Then I'll need to polish it a little bit and I'll be able to begin the translation.
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#6 Post by Matalla » Wed May 22, 2019 4:13 am

Updated first post with an update report:

- Finished original version in spanish.
- Finally the story has 15,837 words (in spanish) and there are 425 fullscreen illustrations (plus some more structured as panels for a specific scene)
- The story has 1 "true" ending and 5 alternative ones (including a generic one where the player fails to make any meaningful deduction)
- Currently being beta-tested (*).
- Translation of GUI in progress. Will finish in a couple of days.
- Translation of the contents will start after the game is tested (probably in a week or so).

(*) I'll appreciate if some spanish speaker from here could volunteer too. PM me if you want to.
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#7 Post by Decadenttia » Thu May 23, 2019 8:25 am

You did a great job.
All is in place: graphics, music, story.
Your scene /photography vision is really professional.
Really hope you succeed on the english translation so others can try your game soon. Good luck on the work ahead!

I am still trying to get all the finals. I wont ask for clues yet because I am a stubborn one :D

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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#8 Post by Matalla » Thu May 23, 2019 10:03 am

Ladies and gentlemen: my most feared betatester.

Don't be fooled by the kindness and flattery, she's ruthless.
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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#9 Post by Matalla » Mon May 27, 2019 7:40 pm

Translation is underway:

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Re: The Lost Smile [Mystery/Noir][Spanish/English][3D][Comic][Free]

#10 Post by Matalla » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:46 pm

Last update report:

- Translation to english is finished
- The Curse of The Lost Smile (™) keeps getting stronger: the first person who was going to check my translation fell ill, the second had to suddenly move to NY and is unavailable now. Still looking for someone (God have mercy on his/her soul).
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