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[Dev Log] Acetone

A topic by Drazillion created Dec 21, 2017 Views: 892 Replies: 12
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Practically everyone who goes through Mage Academy wants to become an Arch Mage, the strongest of Mages.

But for Zoya, that option was removed from her the instant she realised she was Asexual Aromantic.

You see, magic is the connections you have with others. Care for someone, and you can heal what ails them. Despise someone, and all you can do is lay curses upon them.

Furthermore, strong mutual bonds are essential for the most powerful of magic. The bonds between those in a committed relationship are seen as being the strongest of all. Which is why Arch Mages are required to be in a relationship with another Mage.

She tried once, she’ll never try again.

So when Kyo, her ex, shows up at her door, with an invitation to his Arch Mage ceremony, painful memories flood back.

And when disaster strikes at the ceremony, Zoya decides to try and help a world that never tried to help her.

Acetone is a Kinetic Visual Novel that will be made in Ren’py. It is estimated to be around 5k to 10k words in length.

This will be the first time I’m using the engine in a capacity that’s more then just drawing assets. It’s going to be an interesting learning exercise for me!

Given the flexible nature of the start of Ace Jam, I have decided to only start writing and drawing proper once January begins. However, I have allowed myself to draw concepts and write outlines before then.

I am planning on doing an Art Book for this game. However, the majority of my character concepts will be available for free as I am doing a Character Design Challenge with this game.

My twitter thread for said Character Design Challenge can be found here.


That sounds lovely.


Thank you! :D


I dig it!! Can't wait to see what comes out

by chance have you listened to The Adventure Zone? one part gives an interesting take on powerful D&D liches acting as binary stars so to speak to keep each other sane and grounded



Sadly I do not listen to TAZ (I'm behind on enough D&D podcasts as is), but that sounds like a neat idea!


This sounds amazing, can't wait to see it released!! :DDD


Thank youu. Me too :P


Ace Jam's started, meaning that I have began writing! I was able to write the first four scenes. Considering that there are eleven planned scenes in total, this is a pretty good achievement! Ignoring the fact that the more climatic scenes will be much longer.

Writing a Visual Novel is so far very interesting for me. I always mentally compare VNs to Twine games, since they're both interactive fiction. However, as VNs are generally more dialogue driven, with no need to write things like "said",  and therefore can convey the same scene in fewer words, I overestimated how long some scenes are. Two of the four scenes I've written out currently are roughly 90 words long! I'd love to come back to them later and make them longer, but for now my aim is to get through all of the scenes as fast as I can.

My word count is currently 766. It will be interesting to see if I'll even reach my estimated 5000 word minimum! 


This sounds lovely! I can't wait to see how it turns out! :D


Thanks! c:


Since the last dev log, I've made quite a bit of progress on the writing front. 

While I initially had problems getting to the word counts I had set out for myself, I have now mostly managed to reach those counts. I owe this to the fact that I take the advice "show don't tell" to heart a bit too much. I trust in the reader's ability to read between the lines and understand a bit too much. The reader isn't in my head, and I need to keep that in mind.

Of course general refinement has also increased the word count.

I have officially finished writing all of the "Exposition" of Acetone! This means I am now at the early part of the "Rising Action" part of the story. This should go much smoother, because the tone is generally more urgent, and well, establishing characters isn't that fun for me. 

My word count is currently 2306!


I have made a massive amount of progress since the last dev log.

I have now completed the "Rising Action" and "Climax" part of the story. It doesn't really have a "Falling Action" section as the next and final part will be an epilogue. This means that I am mostly done with the writing!

My word count is currently 5,020 words, meaning I have officially reached the low end of my word count estimate. Given my start, I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but now it seems the final word count will be around 6k. Exciting!

On the graphics front, I have completed all of the placeholder sprites. I am preparing to draw the final sprites once I finish writing. I also decided to draw the backgrounds, and I have completed three so far. I have yet to draw the title image. While CGs are low priority, I have a good idea of where I'd put them if I do draw them.


I haven't been doing dev logs for the last while because I thought I might as well put my head down and hammer things out. Now, it's a few days since I submitted Acetone. I was thinking about adding music before the end of the month, but I am burned out from doing Global Game Jam.

So here's a Post Mortem!

When I started planning this game, I set out to test my limits, and to learn Ren'py. While I have worked on a visual novel before, and while I have written interactive fiction before, I didn't know a lot about the ins and outs of Ren'py itself. My past experience did not require me to look at the scripts themselves.

Considering that I managed to write around 6.5k words, make four sprites with varied expressions, six backgrounds and four CGs with variants, I definitely think I achieved what I set out to do. I initially didn't think I'd have the time to draw backgrounds or CGs, so I actually achieved more than what I thought I would. However, a factor that I am keeping in mind is that I had a lot of free time on my hands. The last few times I made games for jams before this, I was in the tail end of my university degree, a degree for which I also had to make games for.

As I mentioned in my previous dev logs a couple of times, it was interesting getting into the mentality of writing for visual novels. I was more used to Twine, where you had to indicate dialogue in a more traditional manner, with "said" and the like. My style of writing is also very to the point, which means I had to go back and elaborate on what I wrote to pace it out better. It doesn't help that for Acetone, Zoya is both a very to the point person, and also not a newcomer. She doesn't serve as an audience surrogate. She knows all this already, so it wouldn't make much sense to dwell on things like description or exposition.

I made this a kinetic visual novel because I knew from one of my previous jam games ("Who Knows (Where They're Going)" for Yuri Jam) that a lot of my writers block came from making sure that all choices are equally as rewarding, and have a similar amount of words written for them.

What I did not expect from making a kinetic visual novel is how appealing they are to me. Not only in a sense of "I don't have to worry about choices" but also because they made me think about what I'd do if I added choices. The ending of Acetone is its best case scenario, meaning that by adding choices I'd be adding less good endings or bad endings. And what's the point of that? I definitely want to make visual novels with nuanced choices, but this was definitely food for thought.

I'm really happy with how Acetone turned out! I learned a lot about Ren'py, the changes I have to make with my writing for it, how much I can do for a Ren'py game in a month, and my opinions on kinetic visual novels. And of course, I came away with one more game with an Asexual Aromantic protagonist in the world!