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[devlog] Cloud Mage

A topic by NN Chan created Jan 02, 2016 Views: 2,159 Replies: 68
Viewing posts 1 to 41
(Edited 2 times) (+4)

Working in Ren'Py

Play it here!

Overview

Cloud Mage is a visual novel about a young mage and her familiar. She does weather spells for a living and you play as her as she creates spells for her clients in the form of weather sprites.

When you get a client, your goal is to select the correct ingredients to create the correct spell. The game keeps going if you fail. After all, your life's not at risk here and you can learn something, even from a failure. The overall mood of the game will be pretty casual and easy-going.

Assets

I'm planning on drawing all the art myself. As for music, I've been looking through CC-licensed music and I've bookmarked stuff I'm interested in using, mostly stuff that I think will fit the mood of certain sections.

Characters

The game's fairly light on plot, but here's a list of characters I plan on having.

Cloud Mage || Familiar || Gryphon Gunner || Cat Thief || Plant Tamer || Merserker

I pulled most of these characters out of a small WIP illustration project I'm working on involving RPG classes. I haven't come up with designs for that project yet, so I figured I could hammer some of those out while doing this game.

Gameplay

Most of the game is just reading the story. When it comes time for you to do your spell, you're taken to a series of menus where you select one ingredient from each category to combine them into a cloud sprite. Depending on whether the spell is successful or not, you get different dialogue from the parties involved. I took this code for an encyclopaedia/bestiary and edited it to make a journal that gives a short description of available ingredients and characters that you've met.

I'm pretty proud of myself for getting it to work the exact way I wanted it to. (I used the tried and true method of fiddling with every line of code until I got to the one I wanted :P) After it's unlocked, the journal can be accessed at any time and it gives you short descriptions that include hints about which ingredients are correct for which spell. It's like a puzzle element.

Branching is minimal as any number of different successes/failures will ultimately lead you to the same ending. (OR!! maybe it will lead you to the super secret ending??)


I'm juggling some other work and projects during the jam, but I love visual novels and I love text-based puzzle games (some of my faves are stuff like the Ace Attorney series and Zero Escape series), so I'm here to get my lil' game done, and get it done right!

(I'm also here to check out everyone else's games <3)

(Edited 11 times)

TO-DO:

Character Art:

Concepts (6/6)
Roughs (6/6)
Finals (2/6)

Encyclopaedia Art:

Concepts (14/14)
Roughs (14/14)
Finals (5/14)

Background Art:

Roughs (5/5)
Finals (0/5)

Script and Dialogue:

Outline (100%)
Draft (100%)
Revisions (50%)
**BONUS Day 5 (0%)
**BONUS Super secret ending (0%)

Coding:

Encyclopaedia (100%, to be tested after the game's finished)
Show and scene statements
Styling Dialogue
Character expressions
Revamped ingredient menus

this looks really fun omg, cant wait to see more

Thanks, I'm excited to get get started :D

Jam Host

oh, wow! i love the edited encyclopedia!! honestly, that sounds like a fun mechanic to mess with... i'd love to try it out sometime...

(+1)

It was, after I figured it out :P The encyclopaedia already has code for sorting by subject (which is what I have in my screenshot), the trickiest part was just figuring out how to get it to default to that sorting mode, since I didn't want the other sorting modes for my game. I'm sure there's a lot of creative stuff that can be done with it!

Host

whoa this is a pretty cool mechanic i'm really about it! it actually reminds me a bit of a bartending vn i played before, where selecting certain ingredients gets different reactions out of your customers. it's a very cool way to interact in a vn i think! i can't wait to see how this develops :0c

Thanks so much! I've played the valhalla demo, I preordered the full game ;D It was so long ago, I forgot about it until you brought it up, actually! Must be some subconscious inspiration haha

haha ive been looking for that game for a long time, i played it once and forgot the name. im looking forward to your game op! really fun and comfy sounding mechanic

Thanks so much! I want to make this game light-hearted, so I'm glad it's giving off a comfy impression :>

(+4)

Quick, rough concept for the cloud mage. She's wearing a big ol' knit poncho that's open at the sides for her arms, but when her arms are at her sides they don't show.

Testing character images and seeing what size works well for a 800x600 window. Background is a placeholder. This is the draft for the cloud mage, will finish it up later. Sure is fun talking to yourself :P

Aaaaand testing out inserting images into the encyclopaedia!

Going to try and get more roughs done, and then work some more on the script and dialogue. From what I can tell right now, the writing parts will be more of a challenge for me.

she is beautiful

i had a pussy willow tree at my childhood home...i love your whimsical version so much!

Thank you! My aunt used to have some in her home. When I was younger I loved to touch it because it was so soft, but because I was eight and destructive I had the tendency to tear it up :P

Jam Host

i love this character design!!! also i'm crying, pussy willow... it's so cute...

(+1)

Cries with you.... I love silly visual puns

(+1)

Aaa such a cute design, I really like the idea of this game!

This is so cute and I love games in general that are just about being a mage and doing your job and learning and growing! I know that so far the system is going to include success and failures, but is there any chance of an accident :P Like you try to make one thing and end up with another. A different kind of learning from a failure!

This game has a lot of personality so far! I just want to hug the cloud mage, she looks cute and fluffy like a cloud! The flavor text is really cute iand it just makes the whole thing really endearing!

Hmm no, I don't think I'll put in accidents, I wanna keep it straightforward. It'd be cool in a bigger game, though!

And thank you! Knit clothes always look so comfy, I knew I wanted 'em on my cloud mage from the start ;D

Oh my gosh! Your art style is so so cute and I kinda want to snuggle your cloud mage bc she looks so soft. I love the art and entry for pussy willow but I don't know how I'd feel about using cats in a spell! Still though, it adds a lot to the mood and makes me want to read more entries. I'm looking forward to seeing your updates!

(+1)

Thanks! Pray for these tiny cats.... They do get used up in spells unfortunately umu

this concept is so charming and i love your artwork!! your lines are so bold and expressive omg, i love how effortlessly you conveyed the texture of the knit. also oh man that encyclopedia mechanic is wonderful * u* thank you for linking to the post -- fy renpy is a good place to find some really great codes, and i love stumbling on new and interesting things to mess around with!

Pfffft, I really admire people who can do expressive linework, so being told my lineart is expressive is really flattering, thank you ;w; I'm enjoying digging around in all the resources people have made available, for sure!

(+1)

this looks great! :> the art is amazing

(+2)

Today was a writing/programming day, and lemme tell you, I haven't written so much since my fanfiction days. I forgot how much work it was haha...

Anyway! I finished the outline for day 1 (out of 5 or 6 days) and finished a draft script most of it. I got most of it to work. One feature I'm playing around with is the idea of asking your familiar for help, like a hint system.

Your familiar remembers which ingredients, if any, you've already used, and lets you know what keywords are relevant to your next ingredient.

After you've gotten your hint, the option disappears from the menu. I'm not sure if that's necessary, but I like playing around with the idea of menu choices that disappear after you've used them.

I'll have to go back in later and do the code for showing character art and aaaaall the missing art assets, but I'll worry about that later when I'm not up to my neck in writing nonsense.

Speaking of nonsense, I played around with using a list and pulling an entry off it at random to use. It's really only something I'll be using for flavour text, but I wanted to try it anyway.

And of course, I can plug it into my WIP script.

I was using Renpy's 'var = renpy.random.choice()' but the function doesn't seem quite right for what I want. I wanted to be able to make a list of ridiculous shop names where a different name is used every time I call the variable, but it seems to lock onto a single name. I tried to go around that by using, 'var1 = renpy.random.choice()', 'var2 = renpy.random.choice()', etc, but then there's overlap in the list if var1 and var2 happen to choose the same name, which I also don't want. I guess I want to make it so that it 1) uses a different entry in the random string every time and 2) doesn't ever use the same entry twice. I don't know enough about python to use its random functions either X__X

It's pretty silly and nonessential though, so I won't be too sore if I can't get it to work, but it'd be nice.

I didn't work on any art assets today, but I put some more of my rough drawings into the game as placeholders. I'm hoping I might be able to make a small demo of Day 1 in the next several days, and see if I can get people to give me feedback on it!

(+1)

whoooaa! I adore the designs for the cloud mage! She's so poofy just like a cloud!

(+1)

this looks SO fun and whimsical aahhh
what a fun idea. i love the silly entries so much

Host(+1)

AAAA i love your art and designs omg it's so fitting for this game!! also im yellin @ the pussy willow omggg

(+1)

omg i was cracking up at pussy willow.

but i really really love this game idea and the art youve made for it so far is so cute!! cute witch designs + interesting witch concepts + silly encyclopedia entries in games is what i live for

(Edited 1 time) (+3)

I love how many devlogs there are now, I'm drowning in them, absolutely drowning in their abundance, and I love it.

Didn't get a lot done today, but I did come up with a design for the gryphon gunner, which is basically an unholy marriage of an aviator jumpsuit with cowboy riding chaps. Might tweak it some more?? I just now had the idea of her wearing an falconry glove on one arm and I'm mad I didn't think of that earlier!!!! Anyway.

RIP my Binding of Isaac screenshot placeholder.

And here's another encyclopaedia entry!

I'm pretty tired, but I might try and do more of the script outline. I really want to get the outline done so I can get to the juicy stuff.

(Edited 1 time) (+2)

Today was a typing day, phew. I'm just now realizing that doing a text-based game requires lots of that, apparently?? Anyway, today was roughing out some outlines, I spent my drawing time today on doing the colours for a postcard instead of art assets for this game. I'm going to try and get as much of the draft script/prelim coding done tomorrow as I can. Hopefully like..... all of it. But we'll see.

I am definitely noticing that two weeks isn't as long as I thought it was ;__; but!! The most important part will be to get all the writing and coding done. Art assets I can leave alone, at least for a while. If I have to leave placeholders in, I'm ok with that.

Aaaaaaand another encyclopaedia entry!

Host

OH GOSH theres so much art since i last checked this thread!! it's such a treat to go through it all ;;o;; your art is so lovely and animated ;;o;; !!

also hehe yeah 2 weeks isn't that much actually, especially if you have other commitments, but w/ the amt of work you've got so far this looks p solid!!

(+1)

Thanks! I planned this a week in advance and I thought it'd be easily achievable within the timeframe especially since I had a solid idea of what I wanted to do, but it's actually not, and I regret not making it an even smaller game, so here I am sitting in a google doc filled with my own regrets OTL

On the other hand, I still feel pretty committed to this!! Gotta buckle up >:(

(+1)

Yo, I love your art!

Aww man, RIP Bind of Isaac placeholder. I was cracking up over the juxtaposition of your game versus the bloody background.

I'm loving the character and item designs! Just looking at them builds an image of what the aesthetic of your world might be! Especially the Cloud Mage.

I was going to suggest an idea for a solution for the random shop name problem, but I'm not familiar with python. You might try keeping a list of the random shop names you've used already and check against the new random shop name you're getting. But I think there might be a more elegant solution such as removing used random shop names from the function that's giving them, or something like that. That's more complicated I think though.

Keep great work flowing!

RIP that time I popped an Ehwaz rune in front of the angel room LIKE AN IDIOT!! And thank you!

I was thinking I might just split up the list into smaller chunks, and then use different, smaller lists for each instance of a random shop name. I was looking into how to do random strings in python, but I can't really wrap my head around it @__@ like I said, it's nonessential so I'm willing to give up on it for now.

(+1)

TAKKA TAKKA INTENSIFIES

Anyway, another good ol' writing day. Finished the script/code for day two and got started on day three. I could try to finish it before I go to bed tonight, but I've been having an awful headache today ever since I got back from work so it might be best to call it a night @_@ I really, really want to get all the writing done, though.

I'm getting the hang of menus and if/else statements. It's enough for the stuff I have planned, but in the future it might be fun to experiment with more complicated stuff like some of that tricky python coding (i think the encyclopaedia uses a lot of python code, but I just copied and pasted it so I don't think that really counts for me learning it :P)

I think yesterday or the day before, I tried experimenting with trying something new for the final art style of what everything would look like. I started with the cloud mage since she's the main character, so why not let her set the tone?

(I gave up on the 2nd one halfway through lol) Confession: I don't really like either of them, though the first one is a little closer to what I want to go for. I think I'll try and fall back on a style I'm more familiar with, something like this or this/this. (linked art is all by me)

Hey, another encyclopaedia entry!

And I'll leave this here:

;^)

AAA I LOVE THAT ART SO MUCH especially the first one, the textured feel it has is sooo nice. and the colors omg. her design really perfectly screams 'cloud mage' aesthetic. im so so excited to see you put this all together toward the end *v*

Thanks! I'm fond of the textured look, and I think it works well on the cloud mage, especially, because of the knit patterns :> Thank you!! I'm still hoping I can have a nice, finished game by the end of this ;v;

aa that first sprite looks so cool! and magic rainwater is my favourite item so far (so cool)

Thank you! Magic rainwater thinks you're cool too ;0

Host

ohh gosh your art is soooo so beautiful and even if you don't go with either of them i really like the textures of the first sprite!! this thread is always such a treat to check :3c

Awww you'll make me blush u///u <3

(+1)

Oh my god this looks so cute. I love your art style, I'm really looking forward to seeing finished shots!

(Edited 1 time) (+4)

*TAKKA TAKKA INTENSIFIES AND VIBRATES INTO ORBIT*

I finished writing to the end of day 4 of my game! There's a day 5 planned, but I'm going to leave that on the backburner for now, I may not even finish day 5 in time for the jam tbh. I feel a bit of coding/writing burnout at this point... so! I'm going to work on art assets now!

I dropped my script.rpy file into a wordcount tool to see how many words I'd written, and....


WOW, I had not realized I'd written so dang much.... Almost 1k of those words were part of the encyclopaedia code I copied and pasted, but the rest is pretty much all writing/coding by me. This is officially longer than the fanfiction oneshots I used to write, lol.

So far I've learned a lot about coding in renpy. Most useful of all are probably the True/False/None and if/else statements. I've gotten a pretty good handle on them as well as menu wrangling.


This might look confusing, but basically I've worked out a system to have the player choose an ingredient, get a snippet of the characters talking, and then be taken to a screen where you're asked if you're sure you want to choose that ingredient. You can say no, go back to the first menu, choose another ingredient, see the convo attached to the new ingredient, and then be asked again to confirm. If you change your mind again and go back to the first ingredient, you don't have to sit through the convo again.

I haven't actually implemented this yet, this is just a quick test I did to see if my system of true/false statements and menus would work, and it did! So I'll implement that at a later time.

I get a little nervous bc, being a text-based game, people's enjoyment of it will depend on whether or not they like my writing since that's what the game basically is... BUUUUUT it'll probably be okay... *noncommittal hand gestures*

And, as per tradition, here's another encyclopaedia entry to end the post ;3


(+3)

Dumping some drawings I did today!


Redid the gryphon rider. I've learned my lesson: DON'T MIX COWBOY ACCESSORIES WITH JUMPSUITS.........


convo with a friend:

me: i'm going to draw a catboy for my game. what if he wore a really tiny shirt
friend: do it
me: okay, but, what if it's like, really tiny, like underboob tiny
friend: do it
friend: wait what if he wears alice's shirt, from VLR


me: WE TOOK IT TOO FAR

Catboy is pretty ridiculous, please forgive me (also i forgot his tail but I'll remember it for the roughs/final pic)

There's three more characters and some other misc stuff to conceptualize, I'll post them later when I finish them \o/

(+3)


Plant tamer concepts. He carries a sentient (?maybe) plant friend in his work apron so it can go places with him.

Is... Is the plant friend saying "Work hard for the money"? I hope it is. This is fantastic.

pfffft it's meant to be the plant tamer saying that, but your idea is better!

I can't get over how great your art style and character design are

(Edited 1 time)

Awwww you'll make me blush u///u

Thank you! I'll be working hard on getting these dang art assets finished!

Host

omg i love these characters??? your style is so charming aa

Thank you!!

Jam Host

your designs, yeesssss.... i love them @___@ also holy crap, congrats on that word count!! man, i gotta get to work and catch up!!

(+1)

Thank you! We've still got a week left, we can do it (เน‘ูˆโ€ขฬ€ใ…‚โ€ขฬ)ูˆโœง

im rly liking your artwork and designs for everything!! the gryphon gunner is great, im crushing on her already :') your writings rly charming and fun to read also, and from what i can see of the setting through the item descriptions it sounds super cool and imaginative. i dont even usually play games like this but this looks rly enjoyable!

Thanks! Most of the game is just reading so I'm glad the item descriptions sound good, at least :P VNs are my guilty pleasure...

Ah, I can't believe it took me so long to check out your devlog. You're game looks seriously SOOOO cute! I love your art and I love the concept. This is totally the kind of game that I love. I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Hey, welcome to my thread ;D Thank you so much for the kind words!

Also, hi on twitter ;)

HI!! It's been a couple of days. I have some stuff to show, I guess.


Drew this concept for the merserker warrior (yes i shamelessly mashed the mer- prefix with berserker). I didn't really like it though, so I ditched the robes/cloak and beige colours bc it didn't feel right.



She's pretty buff. I'm much happier with these! I think they could still use work but tbh, time's a ticking. Idk how much of the art I'll be able to finish, but let's give it a shot. Hope the last few jam days are treating everyone well!

(+1)

Aaaaah, I love the merserker!!! Both in concept and execution.

(+1)

This is what it looks like when I forget to resize my character portraits, like the fool that I am.


SHE BIG


Much better.

One down, a lot more to go @___@

(+1)

your sprites are gorgeous!!

(Edited 1 time) (+1)

this looks fantastic!

(+1)

this is SO COOL!!! i love the diff kinds of plants!! the pussywillows are esp so cute!!!! the chunky sweater is also SO GOOD!!!

HI!!! Thank you for the comments, I appreciate all the kind words ;w; I'm in a bit of a rush rn but I just wanted to show the roughs I've drawn up for all the character portraits.


Will probably touch up on some stuff. Let's see how much I can finish tonight..... !!

I want to smooch all of these darlings ((or at least befriend them))

The merserker and catboy are my favorites they are!! So cute!!! And I want to know more about them

(+1)

The roughs look great!

(+1)

your art and these designs are sooo charming! (the merserker is... gosh... wow...)

(+1)

I did it!! It's not quite as finished as I planned, but it's here, and it's playable \o/

Post-Jam checklist:

Art to finish
- Gryphon Gunner
- Cat Thief
- Merserker
- Plant Tamer
- Plants
- Catalysts
- Sweets

Background Art to finish
- brush up start screen
- home bg
- night bg
- spell stages
- cottage bg

Writing/Coding to finish
- code clean-up
- script revisions
- 5th day/secret bonus ending

See everyone around, the jam was a real blast \o/