Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016) (FINISHED)

NaNoRenO is an event where creators make a game from scratch during the month of March.
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Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016) (FINISHED)

#1 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:21 pm

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Story Concept:
Mysterious Fosters follows the story of a little boy or girl when they are adopted under strange circumstances where all the paperwork has all cleared properly yet somehow no one has seen your new parents in person, anxiously the nun running the orphanage decides to let you go under your insistence.

When you arrive in your new home no one is there... The door you came in through jammed behind you and you keep receive bizarrely well timed text messages as if someone were watching you on a strange smartphone with no buttons that was left out for you.

You begin to explore this seemingly abandoned house... Can you unravel the mystery of your new parents before Sister Mirabelle's nerves get the better of her and she comes to take you back to the orphanage?

About:
Mysterious Fosters will operate with you moving between the different rooms of the house investigating objects and documents to find the truth, you will also use certain items to find solutions to some simple puzzles. It's meant to be relatively short

You pick the gender of your character and choose between being smart, quick, or brave (which have different ways of affecting your two main stats)

Anxiety: The house is a little spooky and some things can make you more anxious, if your anxiety gets too high you will instantly switch to the "running away" ending
Time: Sister Mirabelle was reluctant to let you go and will come to check on you, if she finds you alone in the house when she comes she will take you back to the orphanage, leading to another non-victorious ending

Quick: Use up less time moving from room to room
Smart: Use up less time reading or solving puzzles, perhaps you also get hints
Brave: Anxiety has to get higher than average to be scared away

Mysterious Foster is planned to have 2 "failure" endings, 5 "win" endings, and one "true" ending depending on how much you uncover in the time available

Characters:
"You": A small primary school aged orphan child
(This character is never actually displayed in the game)

Sister Mirabelle: The kindly nun running the orphanage, she worries often about the children under her care
Image

"Dad": A person sending you text messages as if they were watching you without ever showing themselves
(No image to prevent spoilers)

"Mother": A mysterious person who seems to leave you messages by arranging objects in the house
(No image to prevent spoilers)

Behind the work:
It was mostly just me working on this, in the beginning I had a friend of mine on board for the art but their life got busy and they ended up just providing me concept sketches to help out. Also the

Progress:
I actually made a tiny amount of this before once but then stopped when I thought this would be good for a NaNoRen0 entry and waited until now. I started the project all over again from scratch so I hope that's still okay.

The end result of this visual novel varies slightly from the original outline in the WiP thread, for one thing there is no longer a "you" character image

Known Issues:
Any issues made known to me will be added into this section and crossed off as they are fixed
-Inconsistency between the game referring to you as "you" and referring to you as "I"
Last edited by Plotline_Progenitor on Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:17 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Lesleigh63
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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#2 Post by Lesleigh63 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:45 pm

Feedback:
1:If anyone here has adopted a child, been adopted, or been involved in an adoption...

Sorry, I don't have any info or experience.

2:I'm open to suggestions on "spooky" or "creepy" things to put into the abandoned house, I'm sort of aiming at making this story family friendly so nothing too extreme, something like a ton of bugs pouring out of a sink when you take the plug out, finding one of those snarling taxidermy bears, or discovering a cat skeleton is the level we're going for here. Note also that paranormal suggestions will also be taken into consideration

Marionottes or dolls can be creepy. Ghostly children can be creepy.

3: It's not a NaNoRenO entry but I've already made one visual novel before joining this forum, I would appreciate any tips or instructions on how to make it available to you all, I haven't found anything on how to actually do that part

There's a completed games section, post a topic for your game there with a link to the download site.

4: Anything you'd like to impart to a newcomer to this forum
Welcome. Have fun.

5: Anything you'd like to say about "Mysterious Fosters"
Sounds cute.
Good luck with your Nano entry.
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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#3 Post by Lodratio » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:03 pm

You writing in second person? I was considering doing that as well, but I wasn't sure if it would work. For a horror/spookstory it definitely makes sense!
2. anything that changes while the characters aren't looking, or anything that seems to have some impact on the story eventhough it isn't 'alive'. If you're looking for inspiration on this kind of writing ib is a fairly short game that might give you some cool ideas.
By the way, could you post some of the art? I'd be interested in that.

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#4 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:08 pm

@ Lesleigh63: Thanks for responding, I'm looking into one of those download sites now

@ Lodartio: I only got the artist on board a few days ago so at best we have some concept art at this point, they have sent me a picture of the main character in both genders and they'd probably be okay with it but I wanted to get their permission before putting it on here and I haven't been able to reach him the last 2 days. As more art assets become available I will edit them into the original post, thank you for your interest.

Also I'm not sure it's a horror game exactly, but maybe it pretends to be one for a while? I'd say our main theme is a heartwarming mystery and that there's some "little kids horror" stuff around for a bit of cute silliness and to add an element of challenge

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#5 Post by YossarianIII » Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:24 pm

Welcome to the forums! I'll answer the questions in order.

1:If anyone here has adopted a child, been adopted, or been involved in an adoption then it may help the realism of the early segments if you would briefly share some details of the experience with me. I also wanted to ask because I know this can be a very significant event in people's lives and wanted to handle it with the proper respect, please let me know if it seems at any point as if I'm treating things too lightly

I have no experience here. I did find the first 10 minutes of Creed very moving, though (deals with this topic)? I think you're right to treat it as a major event, but perhaps also free to take some creative liberties, since it will be an event that resonates differently with different people. But again, this is just my intuitive sense and not based on personal experience.

2:I'm open to suggestions on "spooky" or "creepy" things to put into the abandoned house, I'm sort of aiming at making this story family friendly so nothing too extreme, something like a ton of bugs pouring out of a sink when you take the plug out, finding one of those snarling taxidermy bears, or discovering a cat skeleton is the level we're going for here. Note also that paranormal suggestions will also be taken into consideration

IDK, but I think that Studio Ghibli are some of the current masters at "family friendly spooky." I also remember that when I was younger, the monster at this link gave me nightmares forever (but is kind of funny in hindsight). Or you could try old toys, particularly dolls, which are a never-ending supply of creepiness.

3: It's not a NaNoRenO entry but I've already made one visual novel before joining this forum, I would appreciate any tips or instructions on how to make it available to you all, I haven't found anything on how to actually do that part

I have no affiliation with them, but I would definitely recommend the website itch.io as a place to distribute games. (It is free for free titles and transparent about cost for commercial titles.) Mediafire is commonly used for distributing freeware games, although it can be slow if you catch it at the wrong time of day.

4: Anything you'd like to impart to a newcomer to this forum

This post looks fine to me! As you progress with the VN, you'll probably want to add images, since they help give people an idea of what the final game will look like. (Particularly if anyone is skimming :) .)

5: Anything you'd like to say about "Mysterious Fosters"

I like the concept. It sounds like you've got an interesting mystery as the central premise. I don't know if you've ever played Gone Home, but it also deals with the idea of a protagonist coming home to an empty house, if you're looking for similarly-minded titles. (It's not from a child's perspective, though, which I think is an interesting twist.) Best of luck!


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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#6 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:03 pm

Production Update:
-2000 words of story have been written
-A movement system has been programmed for getting around the house
-Anxiety and time conditions for defeat have been programmed into the game (Thanks to Py'Tom for answering a code question thread)
-3 concept sketches have been created: "You" (Girl), "You" (Boy), and Sister Mirabelle (I am having difficulty making them appear as images so at the moment they are just links to view the images elsewhere)
-2 references to my previous visual novel "A Weird Dream" have been worked into the story

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#7 Post by Miyuu » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:40 pm

Oh, this sounds like a very interesting story, I'd like to play this once it comes out. Anyway, I'll answer your questions.Those sketches are cute too. It will be a lot more interesting if this is a dark VN with cute characters.

1. My younger sister was adopted when she was little. Or rather, 'forcefully' adopted. My father used to send my sister over to my cousin's house because she was always crying and he couldn't stand her cries. (Don't get me wrong, I love my father, but he does have his own vices.) I was a kid too at that time, so I always walked over to take her back home.

Even when they were caring for her, my grandpa would say to my father, "just take your child back home. I saw the way she treats your kid; she often screams at her for wailing. That is no way to treat a baby." But my father doesn't take heed of this. This happened over and over again, until one day, my cousins disappeared and lived in the wife's parents' house. So we barely see each other again. This is what I call 'forced adoption'.

2. Clowns, bloody knives, axes, etc.

4. Welcome and have fun! :)

5. I'll be waiting for the release. From what I've read, I'm instantly intrigued. Also, if you're curious about the story, I can continue it some other time. :)

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#8 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:26 am

Production Update:
-Mysterious Fosters currently totals 7,750 words in story text
-The programming of image maps for all locations in the game has been completed (But not the actual art assets)
-About 99% of the coding essential to the game has been done (keys to rooms, other prerequisites for endings etc)
-A somewhat significant bug in the movement system was fixed
-The story for the endings have been completed (except a few variant sub-endings)
-The "Time" stat of the game now seems to be set to the appropriate amount to the content of the game

What will probably be worked on in the next few days:
-Filling the rooms out a bit more with some things to examine which could be interesting but aren't exactly important or functional
-Working on the anxiety based encounters
-Fleshing out the "continuous text messages" thing for atmospheric effect
-Miscellaneous writing throughout the game
-(Far off) Consider adding sound effects (references to royalty free, public domain, or free to use if listed with credits, kind of websites would be helpful for future reference)

Issue:
The artist I had on board is talented and a good friend of mine, but seems to have a lot going on in their life right now, while they could potentially do fine work for mysterious foster in most other situations, for the time restraints of NaNoRenO I may need to go another direction. At present time we haven't made as much progress as you'd like by this point with the art assets

Given the good progress of writing/programming I may be able to switch over to contributing my own art assets, however due to time constraints I am also now open to volunteering offers from artists who may want to contribute

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#9 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:11 pm

Production Update:
-Total of 9,350 words in length
-All endings have been completed, though some are more detailed than others
-Added a certain route of investigation that wastes your time
-Included some of the pictures that have been completed thus far into the actual game
-Fleshed out the "Continual text messages thing"
-Anxiety and various anxiety relief things now seem balanced
-Smart, Brave, and Quick seem to be somewhat balanced

The game is starting to feel pretty finished in terms of programming and writing, I will probably be officially switching over to the creation of art assets, my art style is different to the other artist though so it might not sync up so well

I will then work on the credits and maybe a tiny amount of end game bonus content

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Re: Mysterious Fosters (NaNoRenO 2016)

#10 Post by Plotline_Progenitor » Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:16 am

Mysterious Fosters has been completed!

Check this thread to see the completed game:
http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 11&t=37890

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