Ugh, it’s been almost a month and I feel like I haven’t done anything. That’s not true (I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which has been great), but I haven’t done any writing or work on Memories. So that ended up one of my big plans for this long weekend – make some sort of progress on Memories. (I was tempted to sit down and write a short story or something, but decided in the end that I really need to finish this game first).
So I made a paper prototype of most of the game so far, and started trying to think things through a bit.
This has been great. I made little tokens out of paper with the characters, whether or not they have a heart, and what their job title is. I also made paper tokens of the keys you’ll need, and the memory triggers. This way I can move everything around super easily, which has allowed me to change my mind as to who will be in what room (and who will have the keys you need). Thanks to this, I’ve actually managed to properly think through some of the problems I’ve been having for the last few weeks regarding the second and third memories, which means I can get back to building the game! 🙂
I wasn’t prototyping the narrative, but sitting down and making this prototype reminded me of a GDC talk I attended about paper prototyping for your narrative design project. I know my friends and I were disappointed with the talk itself (he spent too much time on terms we were all familiar with; it was just starting to get into the good stuff when he ran out of time and had to hurry through the stuff we were more interested in), but if you’re interested in it, I found the talk on Youtube.
Oh yeah, I’m also renaming the wizard. For some reason, I didn’t realize his name started with an “E” when I named him. One of the families has an “E” as the first letter of their names, and I didn’t want it to be confusing. So he’s now going to be Godric. I think that’s appropriate – it means “power of god” plus “”power, rule.” Definitely appropriate for this wizard! 😉
I have created and named the NPCs you will encounter in Memories. Here they are:
I don’t know for sure at this time that these will be all of the characters in the game (plus Briana). But these are the ones I think I’ll be needing. I decided on the design of most of them over the last week, but I didn’t name everyone until last night (with the exception of Bella and Briana); it was rapidly becoming very tough to write dialogue without names.
I always try to give my characters unique names so there’s no confusion as to who is who. I tried to choose names with an Irish or English origin, in the hopes that the names will sound similar (and tie the characters together geographically). But in this case I also decided to give people from the same families names that start with the same letter. I think the names are, for the most part, different enough; I just hope that this won’t confuse anyone who plays the game!
Ten of these characters were created with RPG Maker VX Ace’s built in Character Generator. The other five were chosen from the characters that come with the software. You may actually recognize Wulfric from Tears of the King; I chose the same model for the Tears woodcutter (seen in the video in my Jan 2 2016 post).
I was working on another cut scene and I had the weirdest thing happen: one of my events got stuck trying to move through a second event. I ended up making a video explaining the whole thing:
If you don’t feel like watching the video and would rather read about what was happening, basically the guy on the left was getting stuck on the guy on the right.
The event/guy on the right happens first and then is over. That event becomes invisible, and I made sure it’s marked as being under the player. I assumed that a second event would be able to walk over it, too. But that’s not the case. Luckily it’s super easy to fix this problem. When I made the event/guy on the left’s move route, I had to make sure “through” was turned to “on.”
Make sure you turn “through” on and not “transparent” on. I made that mistake once while messing with the settings to make the video and he (obviously) disappeared!
Like I said, it’s super easy. Kind of like getting the screen to go back to normal after a tint…(hint – use tint screen, not tint picture!)
Oh, one important note: you have to turn “through” on for every move route on a different page of an event. I turned it on for this guy when he walks from the left to the right, but didn’t turn it on for when he walks right to left; the first time worked fine, but then he got stuck on the event the second time! Also, make sure you turn through on at the beginning of the move route; it won’t really help you if it’s at the end of the list of commands.
You probably noticed that this video is a lot more involved than the previous ones I’ve made regarding RPG Maker VX Ace (it has voice over, multiple video clips, and some pictures!) Because I knew I wanted to show several videos together (specifically the guy getting stuck on the event, and then the guy being able to walk through it), I ended up buying myself Movavi Video Editor. I was playing around with the trial version, and decided that it was well worth buying, especially since I keep making blog posts with videos about RPG Maker VX Ace tips. I also just turned my last post where I talked about screen tinting into a video because I wanted to play with Movavi’s highlighting effects. You can check it out here:
I’ve been struggling with some of the design elements of how this game should work. I knew that I wanted the main character to be able to interact with the environment and somehow regain her memories. But how was that going to work? Was it going to be through some sort of battle? I mean, I am building this game with RPG Maker, and battles tend to be part of RPGs, right?
Then last weekend I played through One Shot. (If you haven’t heard of One Shot, don’t look anything up about it, just go and play it! It’s super good!) At a very basic level, One Shot is a puzzle/adventure game made with RPG Maker. You get to wander around, finding and using items, in a very non-violent way. Which was exactly the sort of thing I was wanting with my game, but didn’t know if I could pull it off. But after playing through One Shot, I knew that I could. And more importantly, that I should because Memories is not supposed to be a violent game at all.
So here’s what I ended up coming up with: interacting with certain things will trigger a memory. The memory will take you back to your house, and the screen will tint a colour as the memory unfolds. I made a quick video so you can check it out in action:
I’ll admit, I had a heck of a time getting the screen to go back to normal. The problem was a really stupid one: you have the option to tint the screen OR to tint a picture.
I didn’t notice this, so I kept trying to untint a picture, not the screen. Once I realized what was happening, it was a super easy fix.
In case you’re wondering, here’s the two parts to the tint event:
They’re running as a parallel process to other events. The first part gets triggered as the player is transported to the house. The second part (which restores the screen to normal) is triggered at the end of the event that has all of the dialogue between the girls.
When I last posted, I talked about how I have only a rough idea of the plot and characters for Memories. Over the last week and a half, I have done a bit of work on some of the main characters, who I had determined were a set of twins. At that time I didn’t have a clue what they even looked like. But I played around with the Character Generator in RPG Maker VX Ace, and came up with some designs I was happy with.
So first, here is Briana:
Briana is the real main character twin; she’s the one that the player will get to control. As a character she is very hard working and focussed. Briana’s name means “strong” in Irish. She’s in many ways the opposite of her twin sister, Bella:
Bella is going to be a very important NPC character for the game. At this point I don’t think she’ll be player controlled at all, but that may change as I build the game more. Bella is much more vain and more of a dreamer than Briana. Bella is often associated with the French word bell, which means beautiful (think Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). According to sheknows.com, in other languages, it has other meanings, but often has “beautiful” as part of the meaning (ie Spanish “beautiful; devoted to God;” Latin “beautiful, loving, lovable, graceful;”). As an American name it means “intelligent,” and the Hebrew name means “devoted to god.”
As twins, it was important to me that they look very similar, but they had to be a bit different as well. An easy way to differentiate them is with their hair – they both have different hair styles. Their mouths have the same shape, but Bella has a small beauty mark on her chin that Briana is missing. Bella also has thinner eyebrows than Briana.
These are the only two characters I’ve made so far. But they’ve been a great start because I’ve already been able to start putting together some events for the game!
I spent a bit more time working on Memories tonight. As I said in my last post, I need to work on the characters and plot and pretty much everything else in the game other than the maps. I have a very rough idea of a plot for this game already, but it needs to be fleshed out. And for that I need a better idea of the characters.
I don’t have names or even more than a rough idea of what the characters might look like. What I do have right now is the fact that the main (or at least most important) characters right now are a set of twin sisters and a wizard. One of the sisters is the protagonist/player character. She/you will be saving the other sister from the wizard. Oh I also know that I want to give this game a sort of fairy tale feel. I’m not sure how exactly I’ll be pulling that off yet, but I’m pretty sure the game is going to involve heart magic. Think Once Upon a Time, like this scene from the first season:
Tonight didn’t involve a whole lot of writing (and neither did last night, when I discovered that heart story I linked to in my last post). But there was a fair bit of brainstorming and researching random things online, like heart symbolism, fairy tale witches, and the like. In the middle of all of this, I managed to come up with a bit of the backstory that leads to the beginning of the game, so that’s good. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more fleshed out soon!