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[Devlog] H1-MA Escape Plan

A topic by nuttatulipa created 58 days ago Views: 321 Replies: 12
Viewing posts 1 to 12
Submitted (2 edits) (+1)

"...Due to the recent explosion of frozen star Tomo-E, we can expect severe cold chills in the Galan region, with the highest concentration passing through station H1-MA.”

"So get your socks and thermal coats out."

"Excuse me dear viewers, I was made aware that the frost blasts will cause such a low temperature that few organisms may live. Thus evacuation is advised from the station within the next 30 days..."

❄🚀🪐

Hello there, I hope you enjoy the intro snippet written by our writer @captaincamaron

"H1-MA Escape Plan (Placeholder name)" is our project for MFGJ9 about a young engineer named Phi who tries to escape from a killing frost approaching the space colony she lives in. She either can amass credits (money) to buy an escape ticket (whose price has skyrocketed since the news) or craft her own rocket with the help of some friends.

Gameplay
The game mainly focuses on time/resource management. Each day the player chooses what Phi should do: go to work, spend time building the rocket, or befriend NPCs.

🛰✨🤖

[Devlog: Day 1-3]
Our team is a bit late for the party. But for the first few days, we have come up with the game mechanics, story, and how we want it to look.


A small moodboard was made as a visual guide


A concept art for game screen and UI


Character design sketch by our main artist @dotoriii

Hope to tell you more soon!

On my side of the boat...

The last two days I've done the introduction in which the tutorial can also be merged into. I also started writing part of a certain NPC's questline .

(+2)

Hello again lovely audience.

Since the last time we posted we have worked on many aspects:

First up the art!

We are reaching the stage where we are nearly done with art concepts. Our artist has been pumping really lovely designs that we would like to share with you.



These are some of the NPCs you might meet and the place you will be spending a lot of time. And as I was saying our designs and concepts are becoming more clear and focused. For example here  are the art of another NPC and probably the favourite of our team(don't tell the other NPCS)....the Raccoon!


The first image was the original concept by dotor but they probably  focused to much on the space when we were saying space raccoon. Eventually after checking my script for it,  and  s few requests( like keeping the star marking) we have reached this design. What are your opinions on it?

A finalised is not the only thing our fellow raccoon got. Indeed! I have completed most of  its events and I promise you guys you will have a cute but sad but lovely but can be also heart aching storyline with him. I've also spent some time readjusting the dialogue of Felix (the NPC with the huge backpack) to make it fit better the art.

On that topic, I feel like we are working even better as a team now as our visions are starting to narrow where we are all thinking of nearly the same thing. We are learning to reference from others work and adapting it to others. Might apply mostly to me and dotor but nutta is also doing a great job trying to find the proper tools and plugins for our story.

Also we now have a trello to help organise our work. It's been a good help so far to not get lost.

Introducing ... Phi 

I believe it is now time for us to introduce you guys to the protagonist of the story... Phi! Here are some concept art of her


She's a young engineer who had left her job some time back due to being annoyed by the work.. At the beginning of the story, she is watching tv when the report of the frost blast wand decided to get away from the place. The time she spent working rendered her rather numb and insular towards most people , making people see her as snarky and rude but she  is still be emphatic and kind.  She  hates greedy people or intrusive ones who are all touchy touchy and who touch her stuff without her permission. Also I would like to share a line that I absolutely love.

K-273: "You may have been suitable for an engineer in the past but your current aptitude resulted in being enough only for the named two jobs."
Phi: "I blame capitalism and unreasonable working hours and conditions for my decrease in performance."

Anyway. This is all for today. Stay hooked for the weekend as we will have final arts and gameplay shots to share :D 

Cheers

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

Beep boop! 

Greeting, fellow humans. Our team is back again to report you about our how our 5th day went . 

First, the story... 

Our writer has finished writing the introduction and tutorial scene, and now working on scripts for Befriending Events of Major NPCs (Felix, Squish the raccoon, and K-273). We don’t want to give out spoilers, but let me tell you that CaptainCamaron has made sure every choices player can choose will have consequences.
H1-MA Escape Plan is a game about surviving after all... 

Second, the art! 

dotoriii has worked with color palettes and finalised the main characters design. Talking Sprites along with additional expressions are also produced today! They plan to work with other minor characters and background next. 


 And finally, the programming

I have more times on weekend to finish the minimum prototype on rpgmaker mv. The prototype consists of Day-Time system, Job system, and Map selection from Overworld. 


A flow chart shows how Day cycle in the game works

The game already has balloon text message and few simple UI like, Day-Time hud and Credit (money) hud, which I wish to show you more once they are more polished! 


 Thank you for reading the log. We hope to update you more soon!

(+3)

wow the characters look amazing and the story seems interesting too. Looking forward to play the game when its ready!

Submitted

Thank you! Our team are working hard to finish it. :D

(2 edits) (+1)

Unfortunately my writing was hampered yesterday due to some private reasons but i'm gonna catch up today. 

So today, I'll be talking about our other theme for the game...Survival.

Survival is also one of the main themes of our game. Not just Phi is trying to survive. So are the NPCs, whether it is your coworker, your landlord or even the animals. Everyone is doing their best to find ways they believe will save them, whether it is raising rent to earn more money, collecting  food or others. Then there are also others who do not understand the need to survive as the blizzard won't be able to kill them. There are also (forgive my language) asshats, who are using people's desperation to survive to profit off them by raising the tickets out of the station by a huge amount. Also...depending on your decisions...some people may not survive...whether it is yourself or others.

---

On another note, I absolutely did not expect the writing to be as much. But then again it is not surprising as I used to have very simple concepts for fanfiction yet wrote a lot about them. (nutta knows it very well)

Submitted (1 edit) (+2)

Heya, survivors! ❄️🚀

We’re approaching the second half of the jam, and here are some small updates from the first days of this week:

dot has designed minor characters who will make their appearances throughout the game, like Reporter, Landlord, and Security Bot.


They also created the sketches of background pictures for each in-game location. Can you spot the Easter eggs in them?



CaptainCamaron has finished the scripts for Felix’s and Squish’s Befriending events. He plans to continue quickly to the next part, so there will be time for the scripts to be polished before the jam ends.

As for the programming aspect, I have implemented the Rocket Building and Crafting into the game, as well as a simple Inventory System.


I am currently working on balancing the time-resource challenge (with calculation on google excel). Once I have with it, I’ll start putting scripts and asset arts into game.

Talk to you later in the next devlog!

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

Small(?) Animated Update this time! 🥳



Could this be... the beginning of a greedy landlord? 

Just kidding. These are just placeholder dialogues and UI, but aren’t the art assets looking amazing in game?

Please tell us what you think about it! Constructive criticisms are very appreciated!  
Submitted (5 edits)

Our game is complete and the game files are now uploaded to the game page!



After the explosion of frozen star Tomo-E, our protagonist, the young engineer Phi, is put in the situation. With the frost blast meant to reach the station H1-MA, find a way to survive in any means.

  • Manage your time and resources to achieve your goal
  • 2 unique endings
  • 3 npcs with quests whose fate you can determine
  • 45 mins ~ 1 hr playtime
  • Beautiful sprites and backgrounds from @dotoriii
  • A chilling dark yet soothing script by @CaptainCamaron
  • A game design and concept by @nuttatulipa


Submitted(+2)

nutta’s Post-mortem

(Guess I’ll be the first person from my team who writes this, so here we go!)

First of all, I have to say that Escape From H1-MA Station is such an ambitious project for a 14-day jam! We planned so many things at first and had to cut the numbers down to make a minimal playable game. (Unfortunately, the game was still submitted late. But on a bright side,  our team started quite late as well.)

I was very confident with the engine (RPG Maker MV) at first because I’ve some basic knowledge. But making a visual novel with time-resource managing element was totally a new territory to me. It was challenging, yet entertaining to implement the time-calendar system and build the jobs and crafting system around it.



Since my knowledge about plugins was rather limited, I created most of the game mechanics with RMMV eventing. (The game used many tricks I’ve learned from old gba-era games, like combining some UI with the backgrounds)

The over-world map below was made solely with eventing. ;)


It surprised me that the visual novel part was actually the most time-consuming section of the development. One reason was because the engine was not mainly made for it; I had to put the character sprites and the script into the game sentence by sentence. (All of that worths the taken time though, because many players were impressed by it!) At least now I know how to do it quicker for the next games.

All in all, it was a fun experiment making this game. It also taught me a good lesson about communicating  with my teammates, especially when our team was from different timezones across the globe! Using Trello was a good way to keep the team updated and sharing the files on google drive made everything more organized and easy to find, which become crucial when I needed to put everything together.

I hope this post-mortem not only lets me reflect on things happening over the past few weeks, but also interest you to try our jam entry out!

(2 edits) (+2)

dotoriii's post-mortem~!

Hello! I was the resident artist for Escape From H1-MA Station which meant I was responsible for drawing all the BGs, CGs, and character sprites. Nutta actually approached me on discord with this game idea about a young engineer living on an old & cold space station while trying to escape to a warmer place. I've always loved designing all sorts of characters, so a project set on a space station where aliens, animals, and humans alike lived together absolutely grabbed my attention. 

This time around I was actually the artist for 2 games (check out In Good Company by Cynthia and me)! It was definitely a lot of work and I learned a lot of useful things from both projects that I hope to carry with me for future projects. Let's move onto the actual post-mortem now!

---

When we officially started I knew we were working with less time than most folks due to our late start, so it was really great that Chetav and Nutta had already gotten the setting, gameplay, and even characters down. As we were planning out the game Nutta made a very helpful style moodboard (which you can find in the first post) to help with art direction. Chetav had already written up character descriptions as well which gave me a foundation to work from for designs, so I spent some time sketching up roughs for each character.


*Fun Fact: an early idea I had for Squish the Raccoon was for him to be a spectral being with a fiery tail. But we decided it would be funnier if he was just a regular raccoon in a space station terrorizing Phi. 

K-273's design was  something I was a little stuck on because designing robots is unfamiliar territory for me. So I did what I usually do when I'm stuck designing something and look outwards for inspiration. I talked with Chetav and Nutta about different robots from different media and how they're shaped + express themselves. We wanted to strike a balance between human-shaped, box-shaped, and expressive. Even though K's end result is simple, this moment stuck out to me because I truly love when we can work together with influences/inspiration to create something new.


*Fun fact: K's hat was totally Chetav's idea and I loved it so much I kept it in the final design. We were gonna have different K units wearing different hats to reflect their roles, but we ended up scrapping it for time reasons.

Admittedly I struggle with color theory more than anything else and was a little stumped with how to go about assigning colors in the beginning. In a moment of pure luck and genius on Cynthia's (teammate for In Good Company) part, I found my answer! I was receiving feedback on my concepts for In Good Company and Cynthia provided a set of character color palettes with overall color unity in mind (something I never thought about too hard I'm embarrassed to say ahaha). I shared Cynthia's color palette to my teammates and Nutta provided a color palette for our own characters to work off of.


 We went through a back-and-forth process of me presenting concepts to my teammates and receiving feedback from them. Even though we had very different characters, I wanted to keep some sort of unifying element for them (cool colors, futuristic look, cute design).  I kept them all fairly simple in case they needed to be translated into pixel sprite form, and also keeping them cute and simple meant I had more time for everything else (like BGs/CGs).

I actually had clear ideas for how our backgrounds would pretty much look like from the start. Colors would all be cool blues/purples/pinks applied using Clip Studio Paint's gradient map function (it's easy coloring + I like how chaotic the colors look). Again, I looked for design inspiration in different places to give myself some foundation to work off of (BGs are also something I tend to struggle with haha...). For Phi's room I was inspired by the layout of the MC's room from 2064: Read Only Memories. Chetav and Nutta had the great idea of basing K-273's office on Michael's office from The Good Place. And for Phi's workplace I looked at photos of abandoned, old factories.


As for CGs, I worked closely with Nutta for those since they had a clear vision for how the title screen + end screen would look. I worked off of their lovely sketches they provided for me.


---

Overall, I couldn't have asked for better teammates for this game! Chetav and Nutta were both extremely helpful and kind and fun and amazing and awesome and had strong visions that ultimately guided how the artwork would look like in the end. Without their feedback and guidance I would not have been able to churn out as much cool artwork as I did. It was definitely a struggle to balance work between 2 games for this game jam and I learned some valuable lessons on time management and focus. I think it's amazing that we were able to work so well even with all of us living in wildly different timezones. I feel like I've come out of this jam a different, more focused person after going this hard for 2 weeks straight haha. Anyways, if you've read this far you get a prize! Here's a lil pic from me to commemorate our game's release.


TL;DR - Chetav and Nutta are amazing people. I learned how to be a more focused & efficient artist. Our game is super cool and it would mean the world to us if you played it

Thanks for reading! :^)

(+1)

I think it is finally time for my postmortem. the reason I've been waiting for so long to write mine is because I was waiting for a maximum of comments on the game.

Why make this game?

I've always wanted to be part of game development sector and I also have my own projects but they are very massive and ambitious. Being unable to show people I cared about what I was working on was taking its toll on me and my confidence and so I think around a time nutta (we were already close friends due to meeting from a fandom) had retweeted about the Jam and I was like maybe I could do something for it, a small thing, but it quickly went over my head.

Then a few days later, (2 days before the announcement of the game here iirc), nutta tweeted that she needed help on twitter that she didnt know what to do for the jam. I volunteered to help her brainstorm and organize the ideas in the hopes of also finding mine in the process but eventually I also grew attached to her project too and was going to ask whether she wanted to collab or not when she asked me. She already knew how my writing was since I wrote quite a bit of fanfiction before (mostly comedy ones that feel more like sunday live shwos/sitcoms stuff). Obviously I accepted and so our adventure began after she also recruited dotoriii.

How was development?

The early stages of the development of the game and the script went very well.

I first had to establish the setting and main character. We already knew our main character would be an engineer. But when I asked nutta how they should be ... the first thing she said was... "tired". This word came as base and from it I decided to make the MC kinda sarcastic, inert and a bit cold while still having empathy. While writing I also needed the pronouns and she decided the MC should be a girl.

And that got me thinking...

Whoa It is like if I'm writing Phi from Zero escape.

The bundle of joy or malnourished harpy, Phi from Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Go play it if you havent. It's a masterpiece. I would recommend completing 999 first though

Obviously my writing is not on par with Uchikoshi (he is one of the names I respect the most in the gaming industry or anywhere), but I was like cool. I can take someone a bit as a reference when I was lost. I would be like what Phi would do. How would she respond?

The funny thing is that while writing...we needed a name for the MC and nutta asked me an odd question. What would I call my daughter if I had one? I was very confused and just said Phi because I was writing the MC based on Phi right now. And the name just stuck with the team and Phi became the main character.

However development did not remain that smooth. After a sunday where I fell sick from something and all my teachers bombarded me with assignments I barely had time to write because of them. Hell I'm still stuck in their web. Throughout the process I was really afraid and scared I might not have everything ready since dotor and nutta were just working so hard and quickly. But I eventually got it done, the strict time was a reason why I unfortunately couldn't find much time to proofread it. My biggest apologies for it.

But in the end I'm glad that I didn't write even more because we were getting delays due to nutta implementing my script and sprites as she said her dev log. There were a lot more of script planned out generally for stuff like the environment to help make the world feel even more alive, but it would have taken an even more toll on nutta.

Now the main NPCs...

Felix was definitely the most straight forward one and the one I started writing the first. While brainstorming potential NPCs I said something like maybe a thief (because one of my projects has a thief and he his my baby I will protect even though I hurt him the most while writing.) and we agreed on it. I eventually decided to take a spin on it and make it more of a fraud but Felix ended up as a blend.

Like I had said, I started working on him very early, even before we got concept arts. He had a normal chill/dummy guy vibes at first but when I had seen dotor's  concept I fell in love and had to adjust his speech and mannerism to make him feel more like he is right now. A little baby alien goblin that you want to protect.

Squish was perhaps the first npc we settled on. I initially thought of a dog that if you rescue on the streets will start following you and help you since you helped it etc. Nutta was suprised with it then we decided to change the animal and I proposed a raccoon. Since they are technically salvaged.

Originally the game didnt really have choices affecting the fate of npcs. They all had their best outcomes in mind but then I was like...this game is about coldness and survival. So it should also be reflected on the characters. And so, I've written so as Squish can die and that you can get Felix arrested.

At some point I believe you may have felt Squish's event felt disjointed. But you see the problem here is that the way Intended it to play was too complex for nutta and had to be simplified to be more like Kelvin'a event structure.

Squish's events was more like this (his is purple)

My proposed event structure in graphical way to show the events

Essentially as of the 3rd event you would get the options of whether you will provide hospitality or not to him. Each time you do it each of their counters will be incremented. and so if you already did feed 1 event, feed 2 event will play next time you choose to feed him.

So you could feed then not feed and then feed and you would still get the second event instead of the third and your squish would live or die depending on whether you reached his third abandonment or hospitality event.

But it was sadly too difficult for nutta to implement and had to be simplified.

K-217/Kelvin

What I had imagined Kelving would be wearing at the end of any ending.

Our homeboy was the only one I initially had no idea how I wanted him to be as. I know I wanted him to be very sterile and inert to others. Helpful and accommodating but still very cold.

A few weeks before I had been bindgewatching The Good Place cuz i had recommended it to my friend and they completed it while i was still stuck in the 1st season due to busy schedule but anyway i got a message from my friend while i was writing to write him and i was like Yes! I'm gonna make him like a blend of Michael and Janet from the serial.

I got the personality on point but then I was like... what would be his struggle? His arch? I absolutely could not figure out but then we had a communication skill class where the teacher had asked us to describe ourselves. I fell into a mini existential crisis. But I felt enlightened afterwards, enlightened enough that I thought about maybe have Kelvin also have an existential crisis.

He believes he is doing the right thing but it is not enough. Should he do more to better the state of the people at the risk of going against the administrator? It was then I thought that he too should have a branching path like the other npcs. It's only fair.

I was very nasty and cruel with him in the decision making I believe....because with squish you know which option is to help him or not. But with his event decisions...you are just as oblivious as Kelvin, not knowing that trying to help those persons can put Kelvin in an even worse situation. Also I had planned a game over in case you get the bad Kelvin ending but I felt that was too penalizing.

Cut Contents?

We actually had a lot of content we had to cut out due to time constraints. The ones that concerned me are:

- Random events thought out the day (like maybe someone wants to trade some parts for credits)

- We originally also had a grocer npc who would give you a discount on items if you finish their quest. They were discarded due to the inventory system also being discarded.

- One common complaint we had is the world lacks a bit of world building and stuff happening in the background. I very much agree. I had originally proposed blimps (similar to those in the over world map in Shin Megami Tensei III : Nocturne) where if you  would put your mouse over them on the location select screen (which if you remember the concept was a city map) would display tiny texts. Using them I would write little dialogues that may help the world feel more alive. Some of them could have a mini story arch in them. Others could be like reacting to stuff happening in main events. Like the guy with the two kids being very happy or someone saying that they do not see Felix anymore. To even random stuff like someone yelling Cabbage.

What I meant by character blimps

In The End

This is my first game and I'm proud of it. We might have had some issues day 1 and had a lot of cut content,but what we accomplished in such little time is really nice.

Nutta and Dotor were some of the best teammates one would hope for (if you are looking for people to team up with for projects, contact em). We had a fun atmosphere and yet worked. I often sort of felt like a bad guy since I was always critical (that's my nature sadly) but I'm glad that they understood my intention is not to bash anyone but to get an even better result.

Doing a game as a team was exactly what I needed to be honest. If I did something alone I would be so judgemental to myself with my already low confidence that I would have sank. But having such amazing teammates with me got me like I dont want to make them sink with me. And so I worked my ass off and got a cute little game out. It meant a lot to me since I'm actually creating something.

What now?

I will be continuing development on my two games and will strive to get them to my audience the soonest possible now that I've got a little confidence. 

The one I can talk about is a twine game.  I started it around 3 years ago and it is a massively ambitious fable (without combat) meets persona social link sandbox rpg. You have to build your stats up and strive towards your goal...survive the events that will be happening in a 100 days with a maximum of people with you.

What makes the difference is that it is a sandbox, visual novel. No two playthrough will be the same. Most of your decisions you will make will have an effect on other aspects of the game and story. This one is very dark be warned though.

If nutta wants to continue support for the game or even start a sequel for it. I'll be here to help ( I already have new NPCs, endings and stories for the sequel too!).

But other than that, if you guys need a writer for any small projects, you may contact me since I'll be trying to get more involved with the game development community now. For bigger projects it is less likely that I accept but I may accept it depending on my current state and interest in the project.

TL:DR

- @dotoriii and @nuttatulipa are some of the best teammates ever.

- Go play the Zero Escape series they amazing.

- Play our game!

- We had a lot of cut content, that we might add to the game if nutta wants to keep updating it.

- I'll be working hard on my own project so keep an eye out for it. I'm also open to future collaborations with others.

- If you are still reading this long post, you are a ah-mazing and deserve the world. And I hope your next meal will taste so good you feel like in heaven.

Thank you everyone for being part of this ride.