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[devlog] Blooming Nightshade

A topic by Jackkel Dragon created Sep 08, 2017 Views: 409 Replies: 11
Viewing posts 1 to 8
Submitted

I thought I'd try to make something for this year's Yuri Game Jam, since I ended up losing motivation to do so last year. I worry a bit about the quality (since I need to focus on my major projects, like Eldritch Academy), but I wanted to try to get something done during a set timeframe like the kind used for game jams.

My project for the game jam is tentatively titled "Blooming Nightshade", and is part of the same continuity as Eldritch Academy and some of my other recent stories. It's planned to be a short, simple game that can be easily played on an Android phone (as there are so few GL/Yuri games on Google Play). The story is fairly basic: after hearing about several other student couples forming at Solana Academy, Himeka Uchida decides to try to find a girlfriend of her own. The game is split into weekly events that introduce the characters and their relationships to each other and weekend events where the player can choose who Himeka spends time with. To put the features into list form:

  • Free
  • 6 love interests
  • Romantic or friendship paths for each girl
  • (may not be implemented) Pair up some of the other girls with each other

For progress, I'd say the script is roughly 25% drafted at something like 3k words. I've also been messing with the new Ren'Py GUI for the first time to try to get something that looks good on a phone (in portrait mode) without needing a graphic designer to make custom GUI. I've also put up a recruitment thread on Lemmasoft to look for a character artist for the portraits.

While the game is mostly fully coded when it comes to progression (with most of the actual events being placeholder text for now), I do have a few issues I may need to address:

  • It's currently possible to start a romantic relationship with multiple girls with no acknowledgement or consequence. I might need to add breakup events or have the player choose which ending to get during the final event (which would also need breakup events for dumped girls).
  • It's currently possible to keep spending time with a girl that has no events left, but there is no generic "spend time with" text. I'll need to either lock off girls with no more events or make a generic event for each girl once their story is finished.
  • If I include the feature to pair up the other girls with each other, I'll need to decide how that works in game mechanics. Should this prevent the player from starting a relationship? Should it be allowed if the player is in a relationship with one of the girls?
  • If the player doesn't have a love interest at the end of the game, what should the ending look like? I might have a generic friendship ending, but should it include everyone or just the people the player actually spent time with?

At any rate, I hope I can pull this off during the game jam time period. Eldritch Academy takes priority, but I want to be able to participate in something like this every once in a while.

Submitted

I've uploaded a WIP/Beta version to get some feedback on the idea, if possible. It's here: https://jackkel-dragon.itch.io/blooming-nightshade

What's available so far:
  • 4/17 weekly events
  • 6/6 Izumi events
  • 3/6 Kiku events
  • 1/6 Shiori events
  • 0/6 Kiyomi, Nanami, Atsuko events
  • 0/7 endings
Submitted

I went and drafted all of Shiori's remaining events (6/6). I wrote most of them on my computer, as opposed to my phone (like the original set of events), so they're a bit longer. I might have to extend some of Izumi's events to compensate...

Also, I'm starting to get an idea on how to potentially include the "side couples" feature. I always planned on having them triggered from weekly events, but wasn't really sure how without having everyone take Himeka's advice on dating. For at least one of them, I'm thinking of having 2-3 events where someone comes to Himeka asking for help Himeka can't provide, and if Himeka sends them to someone they're compatible with they might end up together.

Example: Nanami needs help with preparing a recipe she's trying for her club. Himeka doesn't know about cooking, so she can suggest a few people she thinks are good at it. (For this example, Atsuko/Kiyomi/Shiori.) Atsuko is still annoyed at Nanami for what happened in their intro event, so this choice can't get them together (and may hurt their chances if there is an event to get them together). But if Nanami is sent to one of the others, they might get closer and end up going out.

Another idea for a "nice to have" feature is having randomized weekly events. Aside from the intro events (Weeks 1-4) and the finale event (Week 17), maybe weekly events could be randomly picked from a list. This could add some replay value as well as allow for additional content to be added after the game jam.

That's all I have for now. I'll probably finish up Kiku's events next, since hers are already started. I'll also want to release another demo after enough new stuff has been added, but I might need to start on the weekly events before I do that...

Submitted

Okay, so I decided to release another demo (v2) despite not having many new full events being drafted yet. However, this demo includes my attempt at the randomized weekly events system and the first two endings, as well as being fully playable from start to finish. It also includes little snippets of the outline for each event.

The progress numbers now:
  • 4/19 weekly events
  • 6/6 Izumi, Shiori events
  • 4/6 Kiku events
  • 0/6 Kiyomi, Nanami, Atsuko events
  • 2/7 endings
A list of things added since the last build:
  • Izumi and Shiori ending drafts
  • 2nd through 6th Shiori event drafts
  • 4th Kiku event draft
  • Randomized weekly events, with outlines for unfinished events
  • Placeholder text for 7th+ mini-events for each girl

That's all I have at the moment. Let me know if there are any comments or questions about the game. I'm a bit curious what people think of the idea so far...

Submitted (2 edits)

Not quite ready for a new demo build just yet, but Kiku and Nanami's routes and endings have been fully drafted now. Because of this, I went and updated the game page to include their information.

Progress numbers:

  • 13/19 weekly events
  • 6/6 Izumi, Nanami, Kiku, Shiori events
  • 0/6 Kiyomi, Atsuko events
  • 4/7 endings

Edit: As a side note, the game script is currently at a little over 10k words long, with a projected final word count of at least 15k. I probably won't quite finish the game before the end of the jam. I'm not sure if this is scope creep, or just unrealistic expectations... At any rate, I'll do my best to finish the game anyway. The characters had already been around for another project before they got cut from that project, so I'm glad to see them get a story to be in thanks to the jam.

Edit 2: Instead of posting again so soon, I went and updated the weekly events number (4 to 13). It's now possible to reach Week 12 (out of 17) without seeing placeholder text.

Submitted (1 edit)

If everything worked well, Demo v3 should now be available. The game is probably about 70%+ drafted now.

Progress numbers:

  • 16.5/19 weekly events
  • 6/6 Izumi, Nanami, Kiku, Shiori events
  • 0/6 Kiyomi, Atsuko events
  • 4/7 ending

A list of things added since Demo v2:

  • Nanami and Kiku events and endings
  • Most outlined weekly events now drafted
  • Minor fixes to some lines

I hope people like the new demo! Just a little bit more to go, and the first draft of the script will be complete.

Submitted

Finished most of Atsuko's events, so the script is nearly complete now. Still won't make it in time for the official jam deadline, though...

This is the first time I've played a VN without any character art whatsoever. At first I thought "ugh, this is just too cheap", but in essence, even with background art and music being there, it works more like reading a book. As in, your mind will simply create the characters or their looks for you in your head while reading. I'm surprised that the lack of portraits didn't bother me too much in the end. It still just kinda works.

Also, I do like the girls, they're pretty interesting.

Haven't played all routes yet, but I think it's safe to say: Not so bad after all. :)

Ah, and this is also the first VN ever which I found to be available as an .apk file for Android. Also tested it briefly on my Blackberry KeyOne using Android 8.1, and yep, it works fine! :)

Submitted

Glad to hear you liked the game so far! I'm particularly glad that the lack of character art wasn't too upsetting, since I've been too busy with my other project to try to get the character art made for this game. (Hopefully I'll be able to get everything finished for this game eventually, but I'd like to get my main project done first.)

It's also nice to hear that the Android version is getting some play. Part of the original design goal was to make a GL romance game for Android, since there was next to nothing of the sort on Google Play in 2017 (aside from a few PC ports of other Ren'Py games).

At any rate, I hope you like the rest of the game.

(2 edits) (+1)

I see, that would be Eldritch Academy, right? Hmm, looks interesting enough, I think I'm going to buy it! :)

About Android: To be honest, I only played it on my phone for a short while. You see, my main workstations' monitor is a 30" screen, and that's just so much better for playreading visual novels... And on top of that, I got a kinda jury-rigged 80" home cinema as well, which is even more suited for this kind of thing...

I still like the idea though, because I think that games and/or visual novels or just any kind of software should support as many platforms as possible. :) By the way, where's the Linux support? If you can build for Mac and Android, Linux should be doable as well, right? Just asking, because aside from FreeBSD UNIX, I'm only using Android, Windows and Linux... So Linux support would be welcome!

Edit: Ah, wait? Are the Linux versions included in the "PC" releases? Uh, if so, I've overlooked that, my apologies!

Submitted

Thanks for taking a look at Eldritch Academy, I hope you like it!

For this game, the "PC" build should work with Linux, from what I'm told. (The Ren'Py distribution builder says that it should work on both Windows and Linux. When it packages for just one or the other, it uses "Windows" or "Linux" as the build name.) That said, I have no Linux devices to test on, so it could be helpful to hear if this is true.

(2 edits)

Yes, it does work. The presence of a shell script launcher ("Eldritch Academy.sh") and the 32 & 64 bit linux library folders in lib/ already indicate that. I tried it on Debian 8 x64 Linux just now, and the game does work, as long as the user knows how to make it launch. ;)

Since you're distributing the game in a non-POSIX compliant way (.zip archives), POSIX permissions aren't preserved. So, to make the game work, you have to enter the game directory and make the game binary and its launcher script executable first (here, I'm doing that for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions):

$ chmod +x ./Eldritch\ Academy.sh
$ chmod +x ./lib/linux-x86_64/Eldritch\ Academy
$ chmod +x ./lib/linux-i686/Eldritch\ Academy

After that, it can be launched like this from within the main game directory:

$ ./Eldritch\ Academy.sh

I just didn't pay enough attention at first, which is how I missed the fact that your game already supports Linux, my apologies for that!

I have no experience with the Ren'Py builder myself, but to make the game work on Linux out of the box, the builder would need to package the files in a POSIX-compliant .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.xz or similar archive and set the executable permissions for you.

But it's no big deal, as most Linux users are likely to figure such things out by themselves anyway.

So, I'm off to playread Eldritch Academy! :)