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Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:11 pm
by Author X
Monstrous Allegations
Or, Habeas Corpses
Or, Invisible Attorney
Hello! I'm planning to dedicate my time to creating a Phoenix Wright-style game this month, in the spirit of NaNoRenO. This is to practice my writing and programming, but more importantly to force myself to stick to a dedicated schedule and actually finish something.

It doesn't quite qualify as a visual novel since the current plan is lacking, well, visuals, but I'm posting here to track my progress, and because I find it easier to keep on track when I'm talking about it with others and making promises. That said, if this is inappropriate for this forum, let me know and I'll find somewhere else to keep track of it. If it helps, in an ideal world I'd like to eventually expand it to a visual novel, maybe even a full game, so you can consider this a prototype or demo for a VN.

Legal games can get complicated, as you have to follow convoluted logic, catch people lying through their teeth, and reach for ever-moving goalposts of physical and circumstantial evidence. Fortunately, there are certain constants you can rely on - when it comes down to it, everyone is human, and has human limitations.

Well, not in this case. In a world of monsters and magical creatures, you have to keep in mind not only the laws of the courtroom, but the laws of nature, and the laws of the fantastic. Is your werewolf client accused of tearing someone apart on the new moon? Is the prosecution presenting a headless horseman as an eyewitness? You'll have to keep your wits about you, and possibly a string of garlic or a holy symbol... just to be on the safe side.

In this case, you are defending a silent golem accused of murdering a talent agent. Two witnesses incriminate her, claiming a meeting about representation went sour. You specialize in pro bono cases for artificial and experimented-upon beings, and you are determined to exonerate her.

Main Character
An invisible person, Leslie Nutting was originally experimented on by a mad scientist and escaped. They fought for their own legal recognition, and dedicated their life to helping other experiments/creations, who even in freedom are often poor, homeless, and downtrodden.
Undecided whether Leslie will be explicitly non-binary or intentionally ambiguous in game. Leaning toward ambiguous player stand-in for this demo/prequel, explicitly NB if I ever expand into a full game.

A golem named Rina Clay. Unable to speak because of the scroll in her mouth that animates her, she can still sing wordlessly, though it exposes her scroll. It is unusual for golems to do anything besides hard labour, but as a free golem she was trying to get representation from the victim to be a professional singer. According to the prosecution, an disagreement ensued and she strangled the victim then fled the scene. It's hard to imagine such a shy, sweet girl commiting such a violent crime, but golems are known for not knowing their own strength. Communicates using sign language or chalkboard.


I've broken it down into the following tasks, which may be further broken down as I work on each one. (* indicates something optional that will not be worked on unless I feel like I'll have extra time)


90% : Basic Twine
70% : Modify Twine Layout
30% : Press/Present/Object
00%*: Sound/Music
00% : Publishing

Characters (conceptual, no art)

95% : Defense Attorney
90% : Defendant

80% : Prosecutor
50% : Witness 1
90% : Witness 2

60% : Victim
80% : Judge


60% : Broad outline
40% : Gameplay plan
00% : Detailed outline
00% : Writing


50% : Visual layout
10%*: Effects/emphasis
00%*: Sound/Music


This is currently a solo project by me, Author X. I'm not soliciting because I haven't done a project like this in a long time (aka since school, and I wasn't great about deadlines then either), so I can't guarantee I'll be able to stay on task or even that I won't get bored/frustrated and walk away. With that understood, if someone wants to collaborate with me on art or music, I will be happy to do so.

As a straight, cis, able guy I would also welcome input on the character aspects I might represent badly, though I'll be doing research and minimizing how much they come up in this short trial. Specifically, having a NB main character and a mute secondary character.

Work Log

The plan is to work exclusively on this for 2 hours each weekday, and 4 hours each weekend-day. I will be counting direct research, including playing PW games (taking notes), in addition to creation of production artifacts. The main rule is, I must be putting my undivided attention on the project - no unrelated video games, no TV or podcasts on the side, only music. No tumblr, twitter, plurk (unless I'm reading something I already wrote - like previous brainstorming - or a post that qualifies as research, like "monster" info).

1h : Writing and organizing NaNoRenO post
1h : Reviewing past notes/brainstorming, created Google Doc for notes, Researched names for golem
1h : Replaying & Notetaking PW first cases
goal not met

1.5h: Submitted intent to enter to Spring Thing, brushed up on Twine and researched Twine 1.x vs 2.x
goal not met

1h : Twine research, decided on name for golem
goal not met

2.5h: Twine research
goal exceeded

2h : Twine + css
goal met

1.5h: research (writing + muteness)
.5 h: css styling
goal met

0h :c

2h : character research/brainstorming
3h : twine
goal exceeded

2h : twine + javascript
goal met

1h : characters/plot

1h : characters/plot

2h : twine + javascript

2h : got inventory displayed

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 11:04 pm
by Rated Z
Best of luck to you, sounds like an interesting idea.

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:10 am
by Author X
Rated Z wrote:Best of luck to you, sounds like an interesting idea.

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:34 am
by Googaboga
I love the idea of the MC being invisible. Plus being a lawyer in a world of fantasy is great. Good luck :].

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:43 am
by Auro-Cyanide
Hahaha, loving the monster VNs this year! And this is totally the right place to track your progress :) Because of the short timeframe we all tend to be a little spammy. Do what ever makes you feel more motivated when it comes to updates! Good luck on work on your game!

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:14 pm
by YossarianIII
That's a great title!

This looks like it could turn into a pretty ambitious project, so that work log is a good idea to help keep things on track.

Also, I totally want to go back and revisit Phoenix Wright after reading this... Maybe some other month.

This looks like it'll be a lot of fun to write, so best of luck to you!

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:06 pm
by Author X
I stopped working on this game halfway through NaNo, but I'm going to start working on it again and would like to keep this topic to keep track of my work (and possibly ask for input or help testing eventually).

Can somebody move this from the NaNoRenO subforum to the regular Works in Progress forum? Is there a particular mod or admin I should PM for this request?


Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:42 pm
by Adventure Cow
Awesome project and way of tracking it; hope you pick it up again!

Question: How was your luck with Twine? I'm working on a text-based game with a small team and am curious what Twine does and doesn't do well for this type of project.

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:24 pm
by Author X
Twine is great for structuring a story and linking between passages. It gets a little more complicated if you want to have a lot of complicated things behind the scenes, or a persistent sidebar (like stats or inventory) but still very doable.

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:27 pm
by Adventure Cow
How far did you get on the complicated side?

Re: Monstrous Allegations [Courtroom][Twine][NaNo15]

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:46 am
by Nekobako
Are you still working on this? I didn't see this last NaNo (was too busy working on my own) but this is completely my cup of tea. I hope you finish it eventually!