Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [DEMO RELEASED] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

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meowworkstm
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Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [DEMO RELEASED] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#1 Post by meowworkstm » Sun Jun 14, 2020 5:29 am

Image
*name is subject to change
Synopsis
Once upon a time a woman named Catriona Neylan built a cottage in the strange and mysterious forest known as Rossenward. There, she continued her study of botany and work as an apothecary, earning the trust of the creatures residing in the forest...

During her time in Rossenward she had only one apprentice, caretaker and adopted kin.

Play the day-to-day life of the apothecary who lives in Rossenward forest completely removed from modern society. Rossenward forest is home to a number of mystical creatures including fairies, goblins, giants and satyrs, many of whom you consider neighbors and clients. The day is like any other as you tend to the cottage left behind by your godmother, until you're visited by a curious stranger with an urgent request...

Features
  • You can choose your pronoun, name and appearance.
  • 3 love interests
  • 6 endings, platonic and romantic
  • 10,000+ words in demo, full game TBA
  • non-commercial
Romance System
Depending on who you like, flirt options will be toggled on. Throughout the game you will be given opportunities to flirt. But be careful! There’s a time and place for everything and sometimes flirting might not be appreciated. Try to read into your surroundings to figure out the best time to flirt!

Friendship System
Several choices appeal to Klafka/Rufus/Nim in some way, and the game tallies up choices that align with their tendencies, beliefs, likes and dislikes. The “friendship end” is determined by which character you’re most like. It’s meant to be passive, but nothing’s stopping you from befriending certain characters over others!

Characters

Image

Image

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Screenshot 2020-07-22 20.09.07.png
Screenshot 2020-07-22 20.08.18.png
Author's Note
I didn't think I'd be posting about this project so soon but having no job, school, and obligations for the summer leaves a lot of free time. As for the story; I got really stressed out during finals and COVID-19 crisis etc. and just kept thinking about how much I would've loved to escape into a cottagecore fantasy so now I'm making that dream a reality! The first act is finished at 10,000 words and ready to be made into a demo--I just need to throw in some visuals. I'm a one-man team so it's hard to say when the demo will be complete but I'll be updating this thread with any substantial progress I've made and I'm open to suggestions to story, visuals and features since this is 100% for fun.

Questions *Totally optional, just curious lol
  • Given that a MC is well-written and likable as a character, does customization detract from the VN experience or enhance it? Specifically being able to play as the desired gender or pronouns?
  • Any characters pique your interest?
  • Many choices in this story will have no effect on the endings, but rather are a form of exploring the setting or just for fun. Does it matter if choices carry weight or not?
Last edited by meowworkstm on Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:34 pm, edited 21 times in total.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#2 Post by parttimestorier » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:35 am

This sounds really cute! I love the character designs so far. Good luck!
Given that a MC is well-written and likable as a character, does customization detract from the VN experience or enhance it? Specifically being able to play as the desired gender or pronouns?
If by "well-written and likable" you mean that you already have a specific personality planned out for them, then personally I tend to prefer not to customize the character in that scenario. I feel like if the customization encourages me to self-insert, then I should also have lots of dialogue options and as many ways as possible to make the MC act like me. It can feel kind of jarring if I give a character my name and think "okay what should I do" and then they turn around and say something that I never would. I do like protagonists that have distinct personalities instead of being blank slates, but in that case, I prefer them to also have canon names and appearances and genders instead of being customizable.
Many choices in this story will have no effect on the endings, but rather are a form of exploring the setting or just for fun. Does it matter if choices carry weight or not?
So, kind of related to that, I would encourage you to give lots of "just for fun" options to customizable MC! I think that works well. For my personal preference, I like it if it's easy for me to figure out which choices are really important and which are just fun, but there's nothing wrong with having some of each.
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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#3 Post by meowworkstm » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:40 pm

@parttimestorier
Thanks for the feedback! I do plan on the MC having a set personality and a "default" name/appearance at the start if the players don't have a preference. That makes a lot of sense though, I can see how it can be jarring at times and I'll keep that in mind when writing. At the moment I'm trying to strike a good balance between the MC having a personality but also having player choice in important or mundane interactions, so hopefully that'll be more clear when the demo comes out! I'll also probably denote important choices with a different choice box so that it's not a slog to go back and figure out the right choices.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#4 Post by Aracade » Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:48 am

  • Given that a MC is well-written and likable as a character, does customization detract from the VN experience or enhance it? Specifically being able to play as the desired gender or pronouns?
    Any characters pique your interest?
    Many choices in this story will have no effect on the endings, but rather are a form of exploring the setting or just for fun. Does it matter if choices carry weight or not?
First of all this project looks really cute! I appreciate a fantasy setting that has no "grand epic story" but is instead rather down to earth :)

For the first and third question consider this: do you want the player experience to be one similar to a self-insert or to be more akin to reading a set story?
If you would appreciate self-insert elements then I'd recommend a focus on customization and making choices carry weight (so the player feels as if they have agency over this world and story).

Personally, whether you want the MC to have a default personality or not, I see no downside to including customization! It allows for the [ALL x ALL] (and thus the story can resonate more with a wider audience) and I think it's fun for players to decide what the MC looks like (whether or not it is a self insert). Of course it means more art assets but as long as you don't include them in the CGs it won't be too time consuming.

I can't really gauge much from the characters, however all 3 of them as a collective seem to provide a nice balance in terms of their personalities and possible fun dynamics between each one.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#5 Post by meowworkstm » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:56 am

@Aracade
Hey, thanks for checking out the thread, and I'm glad you like the idea so far! For the player character, I'm trying to catch something in the middle, where some parts are set in stone but minor preferences and ways of dealing with problems can bring the player closer to the other characters. The customization is a bit limited with a default design and a masculine/feminine variant which might reflect that balance better. I appreciate your feedback! I'm taking into the consideration of having more choices since currently my story reads more like a kinetic novel and I'm finding I do want player's to have a greater choice.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#6 Post by meowworkstm » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:55 am

I decided to update the main post with some more information on the story. I didn't want to give away too much but it looks like more context was needed so hopefully the story and the character's roles are more clear. On a side note, I've finished 2/5 of the backgrounds and created a full body comparison of the character sketches!

cottage interior.png
character lineup small.png

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#7 Post by Zelan » Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:46 pm

Given that a MC is well-written and likable as a character, does customization detract from the VN experience or enhance it? Specifically being able to play as the desired gender or pronouns?: I definitely don't think that gender customization detracts from this! I can see where parttimestorier is coming from, but I've never personally had that problem since I don't like self-inserting so even when the MC is customizable they never get named after me lmao. I do like having the option to play as a nonbinary MC though because it's so rare.

Any characters pique your interest?: Nimruil!! I want to kiss them! I love their hair, it's so cute. Also, Rufus's dialogue is really funny lmao, I'm sure I'll like him.

Many choices in this story will have no effect on the endings, but rather are a form of exploring the setting or just for fun. Does it matter if choices carry weight or not?: I like having small choices like that! I only have issues when it's not clear how a choice might affect the outcome (for example, if choosing coffee instead of tea to drink in the morning gets me a bad end with a character, but the character never comments on coffee or tea ever, I'm going to be confused and a little irritated if I get stuck trying to find a good ending for a long time).

Good luck with this! I'm looking forward to seeing more updates. ^_^

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#8 Post by meowworkstm » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:40 pm

@Zelan
Hey Zelan, thanks for the feedback! I'm in the same camp of not self-inserting haha, and I'm glad the characters interest you! Your perspective on the choices make sense too, I'm definitely keeping that in mind as I get further in writing since the current first act doesn't have choices that change the endings.

A little art update, 4/5 backgrounds are complete and I've started to move onto sketching the GUI and rest of the character sprites. It took me several tries to get the fourth background the way I wanted with the first being the final draft and the second as an earlier attempt. It took me 13 hours but at the very least I like the final product. :') Also my deadline for the demo is July 9th!

tumblr_37eaa633a3279c26dea04d52f5eac55d_dcd13fbc_2048.jpg
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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#9 Post by Zelan » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:18 pm

I love your background art, it's so pretty and soothing! If I could live in it I totally would.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#10 Post by meowworkstm » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:38 pm

Zelan wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:18 pm
I love your background art, it's so pretty and soothing! If I could live in it I totally would.
Thank you, Zelan!! Perfect, that's exactly what I was going for and hopefully you'll be able to live in it as a game soon :wink:

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#11 Post by meowworkstm » Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:19 pm

Gonna extend my deadline for the demo another week to July 16th because I have way more sprites than I thought I would. Like...10-12 sprites (the 3 main love interests have 2-3 alt sprites each) and other quality of life stuff like sound design and GUI. On the bright side all backgrounds are complete and I've got a nice textbox going!

cottage time.png

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#12 Post by meowworkstm » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:20 pm

Okay so the demo is like, actually pretty much done now aside from sound design and gui, and tbh I'm thinking of just making the full gui when the whole game is out because that's gonna take way too long to learn...

A couple of my buddies are gonna beta test the game this friday so I plan on releasing the demo on monday, July 27th!
That's an official date this time and not an estimate. :lol:

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [DEMO RELEASED] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#13 Post by meowworkstm » Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:54 pm

Demo out woooooo I'm gonna go pass out now

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [DEMO RELEASED] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#14 Post by Aracade » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:16 am

meowworkstm wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 5:54 pm
Demo out woooooo I'm gonna go pass out now
Congratulations! I just played the DEMO and it was excellent :)
I thought that the "quaint" fantasy environment or the "cottagecore aesthetic" (which I didn't realise was a thing) was well executed. It really felt like this was a small village where everyone is familiar with each other and it's a welcoming world to the reader.

More specific notes below:
I also liked how the opening of the game didn't centre on the player character but focused on an "outsider's" perspective, it was a nice subversion! Didn't expect the flirting though, it was out of place but that's what made it funny. Also the player character being a changeling is an interesting conflict! This character "problem" (along with their apothecary work) makes them feel fully realised outside of the pursuit of their romantic interests. :)

One thing I would mention is that (hopefully) there could be more choices (and meaningful ones) in the final game. I read somewhere that you mentioned it read a bit like a "kinetic novel" at the start. I suspect that this is because it's ultimately just a demo! The main "call-to-action" or story arc hasn't really started yet, so I'll have to wait and see ^^

Well done! I'm keeping my eye on this project and I look forward to see where it goes.

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Re: Cottagecore Story [ALLxALL] [DEMO RELEASED] [Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Romance]

#15 Post by meowworkstm » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:36 pm

Aracade wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:16 am

Congratulations! I just played the DEMO and it was excellent :)
I thought that the "quaint" fantasy environment or the "cottagecore aesthetic" (which I didn't realise was a thing) was well executed. It really felt like this was a small village where everyone is familiar with each other and it's a welcoming world to the reader.

More specific notes below:
I also liked how the opening of the game didn't centre on the player character but focused on an "outsider's" perspective, it was a nice subversion! Didn't expect the flirting though, it was out of place but that's what made it funny. Also the player character being a changeling is an interesting conflict! This character "problem" (along with their apothecary work) makes them feel fully realised outside of the pursuit of their romantic interests. :)

One thing I would mention is that (hopefully) there could be more choices (and meaningful ones) in the final game. I read somewhere that you mentioned it read a bit like a "kinetic novel" at the start. I suspect that this is because it's ultimately just a demo! The main "call-to-action" or story arc hasn't really started yet, so I'll have to wait and see ^^

Well done! I'm keeping my eye on this project and I look forward to see where it goes.
Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the game. :^)
I'm really glad you liked those aspects! I always found it odd in visual novels when protagonists are just sort of there? And the characters like them for no discernible reason haha

Yes! Most definitely, I wish I could give the player more options in the demo but I hadn't decided how the different endings would be reached at that point. Now I do, which is a canon main game but the endings are determined by your choices in free-time events (like choosing to spend the day with Klafka over Nim etc.) and important scenarios as opposed to separate routes.

The first act will be adjusted to reflect this in the full game but it is indeed like a kinetic novel (for now :lol: ).

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