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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:35 am 
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Location: UK
Projects: Idol-eyes.
Organization: S-Rank Visual.
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26.10.2012: Added new character art.
25.08.2013: Added new screenshots.
20.07.2013: Added new blog post.
23.06.2013: Added background artwork.
08.06.2013: Added new artwork and character descriptions.
19.05.2013: Updated description, added characters.
11.05.2013: Added GUI mock-ups, added new Xander design.

Me and a couple of my colleagues have started developing our first complete/full length Visual Novel. It's called Idol-eyes, and will feature a full range of unique artwork and plenty of gameplay options, as well as an inventory system and unlockable CG Gallery.

'Amidst the chaotic war between the planet Everdeen and Duslo, a competition sprouts on both sides to give citizens hope. Alicia Dew is one such contestant in the fight for fame and fortune. The winner of the Everdeen Promise Project will become the beauteous symbol of the military and the greatest celebrity in the land, all whilst boosting morale for the troops and the citizens. Yet the lines between allies and enemies begin to blur when Alicia is kidnapped. Now she has seen both sides of the story, who will she choose?'

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Alicia Dew- A headstrong student and the heroine of Idol Eyes, Alicia focuses hard on her studies and sticks by her morals at all times. After entering an idol competition with a scholarship prize, will brains alone be able to hold up against the hard-core competition or will her quick temper get her into trouble?

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Luna Lexilei- The heroine’s best friend and fashionista, this army brat has her ear on all the latest gossip. Can reputation alone help her through the competition or will her selfish ways trip her up on the last hurdle?

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Justine Jackson-Chen- A new ally of the heroine’s, the rebellious young Justine is full of surprises and laughter. Why is such a girl in a prestigious government competition though, when she seems to hate the war so much?

Sergeant Xander Frost- Both a young model and military star, why is this brooding youth suddenly a judge for an idol competition? His harsh manner and mysterious past are bound to cause trouble.

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Malakai Vesper- The main man on the hunt for juicy scandal at the competition, Malakai is a world renowned blogger with his eyes on the heroine and Xander. What will he discover as he snoops about and will he go too far?

Captain Damon Fitzgerald- A mysterious man mentioned in many of the enemy military reports. Why does Alicia feel like she has seen him before?

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If you would like to see the games progress, this is my blog: http://slblake.blogspot.co.uk/

It also features other games that I am working on, as I don't solely work with Ren'py.

Thanks for taking the time to look, any comments or feedback are more than welcome.

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Progress:

Sprites: 70%
Backgrounds: 100%
Code: 80%
Story: 70%
GUI: 90%
Music: 100%
SFX: 10%

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Last edited by Vialixia on Wed May 07, 2014 8:05 am, edited 29 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:20 am 
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On your blog, you stated that Idol-eyes would be your first commercial product. If you haven't yet sold any products online, and if you definitely plan to sell it, then make sure to do your research. Talk with indie game creators, including the ones who are active on this forum.

Please provide some information about your VN's structure. In other words, say if it's a reasonably straightforward story with a few choices and a few endings, a complex story with many choices and endings, or somewhere in between. Also, you briefly mentioned that you plan "...to add some interesting features to this game that may not be usual for visual novel games..." Let us know what you have in mind. Do you want to add some complex gameplay? Art style changes? Unusual writing, characters, or themes?

Looking at your premise, it sounds like Alicia's conflict will be whether to side with her home nation, or to go against them. Since you stated that romance is one of your themes, that leads me to assume that she will have at least one possible love interest in both nations. If I misunderstood your intentions, let me know.

One last thing... as of this writing, there's only two products in the Visual Novel Database that have a protagonist who is an idol. One is NSFW, and the other is very NSFW. But if you ask me, this is a concept that could work well in a worksafe story.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:40 am 
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Hey Gekiganwing, thank you very much for the useful advice. Yes, this will be my first commercial project, in video games. I was previously a freelance graphic designer and so I feel that has helped with my knowledge of running a business and dealing with customers. While the game has the intention of being commercial, I'll only sell the game for money if I feel it's good enough for that upon it's completion; otherwise, I'll release it for free. It really depends. Usually, freeware is the way to go when starting up, but I would very much like to have the funds to make more high quality games. I don't mind sinking my own money into the project to begin with. I sent an email to Hanako Games and got some very useful advice, and also some links for distribution. I understand that because this is a fairly niche market, advertising each others projects and sharing the games we love is the key to being successful.

I would say that the current plan for this visual novel is to have a very in-depth story, that brushes on the morality and the concept or war, with more light-hearted tones towards romance. As such, there will be a lot of choices to make and as such there will be multiple endings; the scale of the project I'd consider to be about a medium range. Mostly, it will follow the traditional format of a Vis Novel, the story mode, the unlockable gallery, the multiple endings, an inventory and money system. I'm also toying with some more complex ideas such as minigames and rotational puzzles. I have experience in animation and I feel that not using my skills in 3D might be somewhat of a waste. But ultimately, I want the game to be polished and not full of half-finished concepts, so how that goes is really just down to trial and error.

You are right about the romance part. There will be multiple datable characters from either Duslo or Everdeen, although romance is a focus, it isn't the sole focus. Throughout the game there are questions about morality; the concept of war, and your own personal feelings. Each of these choices will be attributed to similar morals of both nations, behind the scenes, but it won't be obvious in the choices which side you are actually picking. All of this will determine which love interest takes an interest in you.

I don't have any interest in making a NSFW game, while the game may touch on the violence of war it won't really need to contain anything that would make it NSFW. The game is primarily aimed at teenage/20+ girls, but I wanted it to be less girly/fluffy than usual. We aim to have a combination of multiple themes that will appeal to a young female audience. Hope that answers your questions!

The next steps now are implementing the next chapters, and continuing working on the art. I'm working with two other artists from my work, and they are working at a good pace at the moment. I'm also working on the GUI, which is all just placeholder and unfinished at the moment. Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:56 am 
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Hoping to get a free demo out in the coming months. It'll be the full version of the first chapter. Stay tuned!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:41 pm 
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Thanks for replying. Sounds like development is going along well.

It's good to have an audience in mind. It sounds like you're planning to sell Idol-eyes to girls and women who like narrative-driven games with somewhat complex gameplay, some complex themes, and content that might get a PG/PG13 movie rating. Sounds reasonably similar to a few other indie games/VNs, namely Zeiva Inc's game X-Note, Moacube's VN Cinders, or Cafe 0 ~The Drowned Mermaid~. Two small concerns...

1. Make sure your audience has some money to spare. (This has been a problem in anime-manga fandom since the early 2000s. When a large number of fans can't afford to buy more than a few products, then it's difficult for publishers to release anything unusual or challenging.

2. Make sure you don't look down on your audience. Treat them with respect. I know, this probably goes without saying. But if you present your players with thought-provoking themes, problems that don't have easy solutions, and challenging gameplay, then they will probably respect you. Cuteness and fun are certainly not bad. (Though I have to admit that I currently lean to upbeat, easy games and stories. I used to be more willing to try difficult things...)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:02 pm 
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Sure, your concerns are very valid. Obviously, I am a young female myself and so I know what appeals to me, but I've also done a lot of research including a study that was published on a large gaming website regarding research into what appeals to a young female audience; which is why I've chosen this one in particular. Like I say, I don't want the game to be partronising and/or frilly. If I recall the kind of books I read in my early teens a lot of them dealt with complex themes all of which I was capable of understanding, and I'd want to also keep those themes in mind when creating this game. There will of course be cuteness and 'fluffy' scenes but to balance that there will be deeper choices about morality here.

As for the money issue, really time will tell. It's hard to judge it.

Thanks for your response! I've played Cinders but I'll definitely check out some of the other games also.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:39 am 
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Completed: Brilliant Shadows, Perceptions of the Dead, The Phantom Icecream Truck
Projects: Embers of Magic, Pale Spectrum, Perceptions of the Dead
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Deviantart: sitaart
Hello!
Good luck on your visual novel.
I created this image based on the prompt here: remix thread
I hope that you enjoy it.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:03 am 
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Ah Geckos, that's lovely! Really love his facial expression, and the palette you've used here. I'll be sure to share this with the other game developers, thanks so much for your contribution!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:22 pm 
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Project is still moving along nicely! We now have 3 chapters in place and most of the functionality is there. Please stay tuned!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:05 am 
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Chapter 5 is now complete and we have a schedule for completion in place. Stay tuned!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Thanks for updating with your progress. I'm still looking forward to how this VN turns out.

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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Chapter 6 is finished, which concludes part 1. How exciting! Art is in progress and we'll be announcing some new things soon :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:09 am 
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We have now past the 10,000 word mark! A lot of plans were finalised yesterday so the project is in full swing. Currently looking at portfolios for artists while some of our other art is currently in production, we realised we needed an extra helping hand to get the project finished on time. I'm really excited about this :) Just looking at creating some basic mini-games to give the story a bit of life, it's been fun so far!

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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 12:14 pm 
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Hey everyone! We have some newer art,

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Xander sketches, poses, and some composition.

And also, some WIP GUI for the save and load screens, see the first post!

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 4:21 pm 
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I updated a bunch of stuff; I'm going to put all the new character descriptions and a whole lot of other stuff in the coming weeks. Also, Xander art is now included with a small description of him.

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