❝ who do you think you are? ❞
who do you think you are? (working title) is a surreal exploration game
to be created in rpgmaker vm ace. it is a short, experimental third-person
game with a focus on observation and item collection.
on a dark and stormy night — of course — the power flickers and dies, and a strange noise begins kindling in the distant reaches of a secluded home. incensed and disturbed, the owner of the house assumes the worst; could this be an invasion, a burglary in progress? who does that miscreant think they are?
whatever it is, the homeowner isn't afraid. rather, they're determined to catch the interloper in the act. yet the house seems different tonight — warped and strange, everything out of place. as they follow the signs of the trespasser, they examine everything they come across, trying to recapture some sense of order.
it's lonely work. you play as the homeowner, who happens to be the only resident of the house. you'll be seeing a lot of them as you negotiate the night, familiarizing yourself —
and re-familiarizing them — with a mansion in disarray. every curious detail is relevant, and it will serve you best to pay close attention.
an educated individual, well-spoken and of rather lofty comportment. methodical and rigorous, they are determined to have what they are owed —
whether that's their home, their privacy, or their right to some peace and quiet. they can be impatient and a little ornery, but also sardonic and light in the right (and sometimes the wrong) situations.
physically, my concept of them thus far is very sparse; they're essentially a blank slate, kind of like a mannequin, and i'm thinking i prefer them this way. their face is always in shadow and their appearance in general is drab and indeterminate. all there is to know about them with certainty so far is that they are tall and slender, and their eyes, you'll eventually learn, are green.
here are my first impressions of our intrepid homeowner, including a bust sketch, a full body sketch (with some alt color options), and a few details:
if they had a visible face (they don't!), it miiiight look something like the bottom left sketch, but that's just kind of a bonus that i threw in and don't intend to make much of. i will say that they're not necessarily bald, though; i just chose not to render hair thus far because i don't intend for it to ever be visible. i'm thinking that i'd like them to dress in monochromatic tones, but still deciding on the base color; fwiw, the muted reds were my first idea and still stands out to me the most.
stick with the post until the end for a peek at how i really intend the protagonist to look!
i'm not a particularly competent pixeler when it comes to tilesets, so i'll be trying to track down custom ones while possibly making a few individual b & c layer tiles here and there if i need to. i'd like to try my hand at making a few simple faceset/portraits to see if i can translate the protag's obfuscated appearance into a limited space.
as for spriting, vx ace's default sprite size drives me UP A WALL, so i'm using mack sized sprites. thus far i've just made myself a blank template character in a generator, and i plan to edit the charset heavily later in hopes of actually achieving the look and movement i want for the protagonist. i'm excited to figure out how to render the shadows that obscure their face and head -- i want to try to recreate the sense of hatching and spreading that makes the them blend into dark environments.
all of the art i've begun today remains in the early/wip stages, but i'm happy with how things are turning out. next i'll be looking into music and sfx -- i don't know exactly what kind of sound i want for the bgm, but i'm thinking i can't go wrong with ambient tracks. time for cc licensed music hunting!
i'm not trying to do anything too innovative here; you walk around, you press enter to learn things and do things and make new things happen. but! that enter key is going to get a lot of traffic, because:
i love flavortext. it's something i'm always curious about in games because i've always found it kind of fun to examine everything. if the flavortext isn't just there as fluff, there's actually a significant dollop of worldbuilding in every little description -- especially within a small environment where every piece of set dressing counts. that's one of the main things i hope to achieve with this game: a strong sense of setting, despite the place itself being dark and surreal and strange.
anyway, the basics of the gameplay (other than wasd):
- there's a huge emphasis on examining things and on simple message events -- prompting text to tell you what's up with that clock, or what that's a painting of, or whose empty glass that is sitting on the nightstand. these details are all part of a whole; each thing you can interact with is a tiny vignette, an impression of something bigger.
- i'm also hoping to have a decent inventory system, which is something i've never really felt the need for before because i tend to make text-based games and vns where an inventory is negotiable. stay tuned for more about that as i approach it more concretely :o
- it's also possible that i'll implement multiple endings! and if i don't get to that during the jam, i'm definitely interested in revisiting this game in the future.
so that's wdytya thus far! it's only day one and i still have a lot to do, but i'm happy with how things are fitting together! my next objectives are to hash out the story, start the brunt of the writing, and decide things like how many maps and how many usable items i want to implement. i'll update this thread whenever i can with wips, sketches, screenshots, and whatever else comes up!
and, as promised, here's our protagonist in all their stylized, shadowy glory:
thanks for checking out my game, and good luck with your own!