Here We Go!

So in this first log I'd like to write about what this project is about, how it was born and how it's evolving so far!

About a year ago, I started playing visual novels. I didn't know much about the genre, but I just started reading and playing and... got hooked! As a game maker, I began thinking about writing some kind of short novel, just to develop new skills and have some fun. I had never written fiction, so I thought it would be a nice idea to give it a try and see what happens.

I started a long term project that I'd like to finish before the end of this year, but in the meantime, I felt like doing a smaller project to learn how  to develop this kind of game. For a long time, I was thinking about using Unity3D with a very nice plug-in I bought in the store, but in the end, I thought that Renpy was the best choice, as it's the standard for this genre.

The Renpy tutorial is, perhaps, the best game dev tutorial I've ever dealt with. In a couple of minutes you can learn the basics: loading backgrounds and sprites, showing dialogues, playing sounds, showing options to the player, etc. It's awesome and very rewarding!

While I was writing I started thinking about one of the key elements in any visual novel... art! I can do some simple drawings, but I thought that a focused and experienced artist would do way better work than me. I asked my buddy Dani Cisneros to join me in this little project and he agreed! That was superb good news, as he's an insanely talented illustrator and a very easy-to-deal guy. We've worked together before in other games such as Ramboat, Starland and Ninja Dash. You can visit his artstation page to check his work! Hire him, he's really good :)

He asked me what kind of art I was thinking of and I didn't have a really strong idea in my head, so I told him "I don't know, whatever you feel like doing. This project is for fun". He answered: "What do you think if I try the Ghibli style?"... W000000T!!! How cool could that be? I'm a big Ghibli fan (I even had the chance visit Ghibli Museum in 2016) so this was definitely the way to go.

A few hours later I had the first character sprites... I was completely amazed. Dani is a fast worker and he delivered all the assets really quickly, so in a couple of days, it was about the script, Renpy, and me.

About the script... Well, it's a mix of a lot of things. I'm trying to make a self-exploratory game, which really focuses on personal experiences and ideas. There's a "Dragon's Lair" element on it, but it's the only mechanic you will find. I'm not a spiritual guy, in fact I am an atheist, but I'm OK with everyone's beliefs. The game is about dealing with faith (and lack of), sharing your visions about god with others, life expectations, etc. I thought that using some classic RPG clichés would be fun, so there are some jokes about game masters, players, characters and all that. I'd like the game to have like 30ish minutes of gameplay... We'll see :)

I read on twitter that RayuelaJam, a Spanish game jam focused on narrative games, was taking place at the moment, so I thought it would be a nice idea to try to join. I invested some spare time in writing as fast as I could, but soon my holidays were over and I had to get back to work... so finally, it has been impossible. I need at least one extra week to complete the game (plus proof reading time)...

This is a list of what's left:

  • Four - five piano pieces (there's just one at the moment)
  • Thinking and developing a way of showing all the different endings (it shouldn't be hard to do)
  • Script review
  • UI redesign
  • Proof reading
  • Finishing translation into Spanish
  • Overall testing

That's all by the moment! I'll try to keep this devlog up to date!

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