IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno2016]

NaNoRenO is an event where creators make a game from scratch during the month of March.
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IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno2016]

#1 Post by KiloTango » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:22 am

Warning: The Ident system is intended for use in chronoconditional emergencies only.

Excessive connection time may result in partial or terminal identity corruption.

To minimise self contamination, please refrain from attempting to access present-day memories outside of insulated initial transfer packets.

Stay safe, and good luck.

We are counting on you.




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STORY
The Ident system is a timeline editing device that injects 'causally neutral' individuals into a timeline, artificial identities who will have no inpact on the future except for a specific task they are instructed to perform. Insulated from paradoxes and timeline changes, these 'Idents' are controlled like puppets in order to fix chronological issues, patch up paradoxes, observe past events... or change the cause of history. Well played Idents live out unremarkable lives until they are 'activated', and slip away alone into obscurity when their task is done. But accessing a secondary identity is dangerous, and operators can only bring some of their memories along without risking corrupting them.

Your reality is destabilising, and you are the operator chosen to fix the paradox before your timeline crumbles entirely. Taking control of an Ident called Acacia Rose (or Cassie for short), you've made progress in getting to the bottom of the fault, and narrowed the window of influence down to one 24 hour stretch of time.

Someone is dying who shouldn't be.
Someone is living who shouldn't be.
And you are not the only one with a stake in this game.


CHARACTERS
Acacia Rose (aka Cassie)
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The player. The Ident Acasia Rose is a quiet student who enjoys alternative music, and has just woken up with the knowledge that she must protect her classmate Robbie Groves at all costs. She's aware she's linked to someone with a family and friends who's survival depends on her keeping Robbie alive, and that she shouldn't be letting herself get too close to anyone. But that might be easier said than done...

Robbie Groves
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A english student who wants to be a teacher. Robbie is a warm and loyal individual who cares deeply about those around him. He is friendly and easy going but tries to hide his troubles from others. He maybe has a bit of a crush on one of the girls who frequents the same rock night as he does.
His survival is essential to Cassie's operator's timeline.

Nola Jackson
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A med student. Sweet and on the shy side, a bit of a goth and maybe has a bit of a thing for Robbie. Nola is eternally surprised when people take an interest in her and goes from 0 to awkward on a dime. Despite that she enjoys teasing Robbie, who seems to be the only person easier to wind up than she is.
Her survival is not part of Cassie's operator's timeline.

Leann Collingwood
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Nola's best friend. A firecracker trying to be an ice queen. Leann tries to be cool and above it all but has a real short fuse and it takes very little for her to decide you're an asshole or a precious cinnamon roll that needs protecting (most people are filed under the former). A bit of an oddball even in the crowd she hangs out with, and a little on the scary side. Real protective of her friends, straight-laced and serious.

Marissa Patton
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Robbie's Ex, and with good reason. Marissa is beautiful and bubbly on the surface but controlling and almost vicious when she feels like it.... and she's never quite gotten over Robbie dumping her. She hides her issues behind sweet words and cute smiles but even though she has a new boyfriend she's not moved on as much as she claims she has.

Elliot MacNamara
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A friend of Robbie and Nola, and Marissa's current boyfriend. There's something sad about Elliot that's hard to pin down, and Marissa has no trouble pushing him around. Anxious but friendly, Elliot worries for those around him and is very close to Robbie despite the awkwardness his relationship with Marissa causes. He's self depreciating but has a spark of wit and charm despite that. He really needs to be going out with someone else.

FORMAT
A modern-day scifi murder mystery mess with light romance/friendship elements. It follows Uni students between terms in a miscellaneous western town.
Ident is a bit of an experiment structure wise, taking place over a time loop but with certain actions letting you break it to progress the story. There's never time to do absolutely everything each loop so a bigger picture is built as you run through the loops trying to change the outcome in a way that'll stick. I've planned it to be kind of modular so there's a very simple version where the ending pretty just depends on a single choice at the end of the final loop but if I have time there'll be more scenes and conditions, letting you learn more about the characters as Cassie redoes the day to get the outcome she's after.
Because I'm solo-ing it, and accidentally have ended up away for half this month, the NaNo version of the story will probably be a demo or a light version with more limited music and fewer CGs, that I'll expand in April to the full thing. I'm planning on keeping the UI as simple as possible and using a mono-colour colouring style on the sprites. Cassie probably won't get a sprite unless I have time at the end.
Ending wise, there's one that's more positive for everyone than others, but when you're dealing in the continued existence of alternate timelines, someone is always going to have to lose big...

QUESTIONS
General impressions?
Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?
Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
Last edited by KiloTango on Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IDENT# [scifi mystery mess][GxG/B][NaNoReno2016]

#2 Post by KiloTango » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:35 am

Some pre-NaNo concept doodles of Elliot, Marissa and Leann (wherein I still haven't decided how I want to spell any of their names):
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#3 Post by Katy133 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:01 pm

I love the concept of this world! I can't wait to see what you do with it. :)

Would you like Cassie to be nameable instead of pre-named?

I'm fine either way.

Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?

I'm not sure. This seems like the story's set "ten minutes into the future," where an inner-city urban place makes sense; but picturesque seaside town sounds beautiful, and you may want to take the less conventional path an set it there.
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#4 Post by KiloTango » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:06 pm

Yay, thanks for commenting, I'm glad it sounds interesting! :D
I'm not sure. This seems like the story's set "ten minutes into the future," where an inner-city urban place makes sense; but picturesque seaside town sounds beautiful, and you may want to take the less conventional path an set it there.
It's a 50/50 mix time period wise. Cassie's time is close to ours, her operator's is probably somewhere either very late in the 21st or early in the 22nd century.

I'm mostly considering seaside because I'm going for a real painty style and a good portion of the story is people flailing around at night and painting lights on water are fun XD
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#5 Post by VocaloidsRCool » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:39 pm

I like naming the character that I'm playing, so there is more immersion.

A picturesque seaside town sounds lovely.

I really like Elliot. Is there any way that the player can romance him?

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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#6 Post by KiloTango » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:57 pm

VocaloidsRCool wrote:I like naming the character that I'm playing, so there is more immersion.

A picturesque seaside town sounds lovely.

I really like Elliot. Is there any way that the player can romance him?
Yep, Elliot is one of the romance-able characters. Boy needs a hug, badly.

Did some work on the UI tonight. Keeping things pretty stark and simple though I'll probably add to the Main Menu later.
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#7 Post by Shadow Wolfwind » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:11 pm

- General impressions?
This has a lot of potential. I like the idea that you've presented of taking certain actions which would letting some people (perhaps even characters the player goes to like) die in order to make sure Robbie lives. Also I like your art style.

- Would you like Cassie to be nameable instead of pre-named?
If she has a personality she should have a name. I'm not much of a fan of changing characters names.

- Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
I suppose whichever works better for your story. A seaside town might be easier for drawing and provides a simpler peaceful environment where as a city does the opposite.

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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#8 Post by Seigetsu » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:59 pm

General impressions?
I think it's an interesting concept. Which characters are romanceable? Is there a "true route" or would each route be given equal treatment? Sometimes I get disappointed when the romanceable character in the "true route" is the one I don't like, haha. Then again, you did mention in the title that the romance is optional.

Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?
I don't really care. If she has a distinct personality, I'd prefer a fixed name. If she doesn't and her personality is dependent on the player's choices (so the player plays the role of the "operator" while the protagonist is just the in-game identity), then I think nameable would be the better option.

Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
I'm actually sitting here in a "picturesque seaside campus" as I type this message, and honestly, it doesn't feel any different from any other part of town, so ultimately, I don't care about this one.

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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#9 Post by KiloTango » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:30 pm

@Shadow Wolfwind: Thanks! Glad you like the style. I've tried to keep things intentionally rough around the edges so hopefully it can be stylish as well as fast :)

@Seigetsu: The romance is kinda second string to the main plot of this, the game isn't split on romance routes but how you've interacted with the characters along the way will effect how they react to some things towards the end, as well as Cassie's attitude towards things. Who gets a proper romance slightly depends on how much time I end up having but Robbie, Leann and Elliot are first ones on the list. The most positive ending does rely on having some empathy for one of the characters but it doesn't have to be a romantic thing, you'll be able to play as just general kindness. I see that one kinda as the true route but the last choice in the story is a tricky one so if people prefer the harsher endings I'm not word-of-godding it :)

Looks like seaside town it is, and probably non-nameable protagonist. (I'm considering doing some pronoun shenanigans with Cassie vs the Operator, with the Operator getting second person narration while Cassie gets first person... which I guess means the Operator is actually a nameable protagonist, we just don't do it in the narration because we'll probably never see their name.)

Spent the rest of the evening trying to get to grips with screen language enough that the prefs and load/save don't look awful. They're not perfect but at least they're a bit nicer than they were and I figure there are much more important things to spend my time on.

Tomorrow will either be about starting some sprites, or bashing down the outline into code so I can go in and fill stuff out as I go.
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#10 Post by KiloTango » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Today I knocked up some roughs for the sprites. Colour coded for their accent colours.

Cassie currently doesn't have one, she might get a sidesprite if I get time (and people think it would make things better.)

Wondering if Robbie needs something on his hoodie or if keeping it simple will be better...
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#11 Post by MimirollCookie » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:26 pm

General impressions?
- I love the characters, love the concept and everything in here!
Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?
- Maybe pre-named. I want to name her he he :)
Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
-Seaside one. :)

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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#12 Post by KiloTango » Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:32 am

MimirollCookie wrote:General impressions?
- I love the characters, love the concept and everything in here!
Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?
- Maybe pre-named. I want to name her he he :)
Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
-Seaside one. :)
Thanks! :) I'm glad it seems to be going down alright, I was worried it would be too fiddly.

Seaside town it is, and I'll keep everyone's names in variables anyway so if I can think of a non clunky-as-hell was to do the naming I can throw it in at the last minute without it causing a problem I think...

Started the inks today. I want to try and get all the basic sprites down this weekend if I can. I'm using modular expressions, combining features live-composite for the sake of speed as while it limits how far you can push the face, I can add extra expression bits as I need them while I script.

Another question for people:

How important is it for the POV character to have a sprite/sidesprite? Or are you ok with games where you don't see them except in CGs?
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#13 Post by Weenily » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:04 am

General impressions?
Really interesting story! I love the idea of breaking a time loop to get further in the game and I'm glad the romance parts are just optional! That line about someone losing in the endings has me real worried though gosh.

Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?
Either is fine! If she does end up nameable I think it's nice when if you can't pick a name the game automatically uses the default name.

Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?
Picturesque seaside town!

How important is it for the POV character to have a sprite/sidesprite? Or are you ok with games where you don't see them except in CGs?
Usually I prefer for POV characters who have their own personality to have their own sprites and for self-insert POV characters to not have sprites. But overall the POV character sprite doesn't matter too much to me. Just seeing them in CGs is good enough.

Also the characters all have very nice, different fashion styles! I love Marissa and Nola's designs the most. I think Robbie's hoodie is fine as it is but if you do add a logo or something it could add more to his personality by showing what kind of stuff he likes? Like is he into cheap tourist gift shop hoodies? Haha. The UI looks really good so far too! Good luck!!
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#14 Post by Ghost of Crux » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:05 am

General impressions?

Holy shit........................... THAT WAS AWESOME. Yes, please, thank you, I want it right now.

Would you like Cassie to be namable instead of pre-named?

I don't have any real preference. Any is fine!

Would you prefer the campus the game is set in to be an inner-city urban one one, or in a more picturesque seaside town?

Mm, I'm tempted to say the latter. I mean, sci-fi is already so often in urban areas, why not change things up a bit? :'d
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Re: IDENT# [scifi/mystery/drama][optional GxG/B][NaNoReno201

#15 Post by MimirollCookie » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:45 am

I LOVE Leanne's twin tails by the way. :)

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