— Gandalf The Grey"Who knows? Have patience. Go where you must go, and hope!"
Hello Everybody! My name is Daniel, but you can call me Topaz.
I am a 20 year old business student who tends to bounce around the world a lot. I just got back from Belgium in March, where I studied international business and management and worked for the European Union, and I might (we’ll see!) be planning a trip to South Korea this November to do some volunteer work if my classes are still online! Long story short, my passions have always been easy to fulfill by myself, and sadly due to the nature of my studies it’s been hard to form a large network of friends as I end up bouncing somewhere new just months later.
Today, I would like that to end.
You see the problem with moving around a lot, and surrounding yourself primarily with business students is that when you mention to your friends one day that you’d like to start a game studio in the future, they laugh and point out the (correct) facts that:
You do not know how to code
You do not have the capital required to pay anybody
Game studios often fail, and are considered extremely risky
But if we listened to our friends all the time, where would we be?
So, following the one concrete passion that has helped anchor myself to this dream, which is writing . And also to fulfill a promise to a good friend, these factors have led me to pursue the development of a game studio, with the first project being a visual novel.
“Why a visual novel?”
I decided through some research that a visual novel would be a great first project because in reality, in the idea of game development, a VN requires not that many resources. A small dedicated team and an interested playerbase could make a visual novel a reality without having to spend millions of dollars on development. Instead a visual novel is equal parts writing, art, SFX/Audio and engine. (Note: Again I could be entirely wrong, there obviously exist many challenges to development, but no risk no reward right?)
“Okay let’s do it! What did you have in mind?”
Haha well...about that. Okay hear me out. Remember that promise I made to a friend? It was when I was going through a really dark time. He was one of the only people that was there for me, and I told him all of my dreams, my wants, my wishes. And he made me promise him that If I ever made a visual novel it would be..ᴬ ᵍᵃʸ, ᶠᵘʳʳʸ, ᴺˢᶠᵂ ᵈᵃᵗᶦⁿᵍ ˢᶦᵐ ᵛᶦˢᵘᵃˡ ⁿᵒᵛᵉˡ.
Now that’s a lot to take in, I know. And if you’re reading this far and got to that last sentence and you’re thinking:
“Yeesh, couldn’t be me. Game development sounds cool, but I don’t really vibe with that whole concept. I’m more of a slash-em-up, shoot-em-up, classic, media hating video game type person.”
I implore you to still reach out to me anyways, because my goal is still to assemble a team that I could work with for a long time, share dreams, share profits with one day and just make a great environment!
Now, let's get furry.
I would love to sit down with whoever is interested in this Idea and discuss the story but so far this is what i'm thinking. I present to you the Visual Novel…
In a world where humans are considered second class citizens, you play as a 19 year old human medical student named Felix Miller. When a knock on the door changes Felix’s life forever as he finds himself suddenly drafted to serve in the armed forces of the Bestia Empire, something that, due to their lack of protective skin, claws and fortitude, is new to not just Felix, but the entire society in which he lives. Deciding to take up the call to arms due to a promise he made after the death of his father 10 years prior, follow Felix as he finds himself suddenly in charge of the medical care of 7 other young men destined to become footmen within the Empire’s army.
Will this new responsibility lead to failure and embarrassment to the promise Felix made to his deceased father? Or will this opportunity lead to something else entirely unexpected, such as death, betrayal or even love.
Find out when
Is this a good idea for a VN? Do you absolutely hate the topic? Do you think it’d be better if X or Y was changed? I’d love to hear that! That’s the point, and this is just a very brief explanation of the VN without going too much into detail, reach out to me at the end of this post and we can talk more!
“Okay! I’m in! So what do you need?”
A better question would be, what don’t I need? Not only am I hoping to create a small team for this visual novel, but also a community of people I could work with in the future to make larger, more complex studios. All of these people gathered together under a discord server where we could discuss video games, development and other related things would be such a valuable asset to not only me, but to a variety of other people as well! In regards to what I need for the Visual Novel. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that Ren’Py would probably be the best engine to make something like this in. I’ve watched a lot of tutorials on how to use it, so I’m fairly certain I could make it work, but someone who is more familiar with it and has some more coding experience and some experience making visual novels would be supremely helpful. As I mentioned, I’m able to picture the story in my head. Moving the novel from my head onto paper and then into a physical experience that is playable will require work. So at this point I’m not going to put anyone or anything specific that I need. Obviously some artists will be needed to make sprites and backgrounds for the novel, along with someone with some knowledge in audio, to successfully implement sound effects and background music. All of this is needed, but as mentioned above, if you just wanna hang out all together to discuss video games and the Idea of a studio formation, I would also really enjoy that.
“It sounds nice, but...will I be paid?”
Ah money, it makes the world go ‘round (depending on who you ask) and it’s also been the primary focus of my studies for the last three years.
The current answer is, No. For right now. Because of the fact that I’m only doing this in my freetime while I do online classes and volunteer work (Thanks Corona) I’m unable to provide the capital needed to pay anyone as this project will be free for download.
It made me very uncomfortable possibly asking people to give their effort, their blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids to projects with no form of financial compensation and to this day it STILL makes me uncomfortable. Regarding payment, the only thing I can say is, if you want to be a member of the community, then please do so. I won’t require anything of you to be present and witness the discussions and voice chats we have. But if you’re interested in actively contributing your efforts into the “Duty Calls” project. Then when there is an opportunity to make financial gain from it, whether that be patreon from loyal supporters to “Pay-What-You-Can” pricing. I will make sure credit and financial reward is given where it is due.
“So what will you be doing?”
Great question! I’m not a person to sit back and say what I want done. I am partially familiar with most aspects of the development needed for this VN. From already having a large portion of writing done, to playing in ableton for some background tracks. I want to put my heart and soul into this VN and also into this studio so we can be successful in our goals, and future projects. So what will I do? A little of everything I guess. I’ll be leading writing, with input from all members of the team and the player-base. I’ll be helping out with art where I can, audio where I can, and of course actual game design via Ren’py.
"What If I have no experience in any of this?"
Hey! That's okay! I barely have any experience either. Still reach out to me. Still talk to me! A community is not all 100% game masters who can wave their hands and make MMORPG's erupt from their finger tips. Everyone is welcome!
“K I’M SOLD HOW DO I GET IN ON THIS?”
I’m so glad! For now, there’s a lot to do! A lot to talk about! And a lot of great things to accomplish, just like that Gandalf quote on the very top of the post, let’s go where we must go, and hope! Here are three modes of contact that you can use.
My discord is Topaz#5537. Shoot me a message, a friend request, a photo of your dog, whatever you like! When I see how many people are interested in the idea I’ll be able to make a discord server for all of us, with seperate channels and contact mediums for the Visual Novel.
You email me at TopazGameStudio@gmail.com.
You can email me about just being a member of the community. About working on the VN. About my travels. Or really anything you’d like!
No I’m not crazy, I won’t be releasing my phone number on the world wide web, HOWEVER. When a VN team is formed, I have no problem sharing this information as I believe communication is key, and I am an open book.
Some final stuff:
If you read through this entire post, thank you so much! I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut this last month. With the pandemic going on and the fact that I can’t really do my usual habit of just disappearing somewhere new, It’s made me extremely depressed and it’s been some tough times.
I want to follow my dreams, and I’d love to do it with awesome people. So reach out to me, even if you just want to talk!
Thanks so much! - Topaz