Tag Archives: characters

Paper Prototyping Memories

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.

my paper prototype of Memories

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!  😉

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Meet the Memories NPCs

I have created and named the NPCs you will encounter in Memories. Here they are:

Picture of Memories NPCs

 

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).

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First Characters for Memories

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 portrait

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 portrait

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!

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#WriteSunday – April 9th

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!

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#WriteFriday – September 18th

Since last week, I began working on the Fairy Forest map for Tears of the King.  I decided to make it a bunch of smaller maps like Secret of Mana’s Haunted Forest.  I’ve built the main parts of the map, with a path that connects them all from the entrance (which connects to the Mountain Forest) right to the Fairy Grove.  Beyond that though, I still have a lot of work to do on it.  The map is going to have a whole bunch of teleports, and I need to figure out where the other paths will take you.  I’m currently thinking most of them will just bring you back to the starting part of each mini-map, but some will take you to secret areas.  Since none of that is in place right now I will not be sharing a screenshot with you; you’ll have to wait until it’s all done to see it.

So today I started thinking about some of the characters in the game, particularly in the starting village.  I have an idea of what the two main characters of the game are like, but wanted to flesh out the minor ones a bit.  I also ended up playing with Game Character Hub, a program a friend bought me on Steam for Christmas.  I used it to build the main character for Tears.  Here she is:

Anna Face

After using Game Character Hub, I did end up just using the character generator that comes built into RPG Maker VX Ace for most of the other characters I created today.  I realized that, at least for the portraits, Game Character Hub basically just had the exact same graphics as the character generator, so it made more sense to just make everything within RPG Maker.

Here’s the other main character, who I ended up calling Eric because that’s the default first character that RPG Maker starts you off with (and it started to stick).  Of course he looks nothing like the starting Eric character.

Eric Face

Over the course of the evening, I ended up making five other characters (and I used two pre-made characters as well).  They’re all in the starting village.  Because I was adding the characters, I wanted to make sure you could interact with them.  So I added the starting functionality to everything, too.  The dialogue will need some fixing up, but all the basics are now in place for the very beginning of the game!

I just realized I’ve never taken a screenshot of the starting village.  Here it is, scaled at 1:2 because it’s a bit too big for 1:1.

Starting Village

I also added in functionality for one of my key items (one of the ingredients you need to collect), the mushroom.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually mentioned it before, but the main story of Tears involves collecting a series of ingredients to create a potion.  The ingredients are scattered around the island that Tears takes place on.  Adding functionality to the mushroom was actually what started me on building characters and adding events to the game tonight.  In the case of the mushroom, you can pick it up both before and after you talk to the witch.  At this point the witch doesn’t say anything important though – she’s still got the same place-holder dialogue I gave her from two years ago.

Thinking of dialogue, I was planning on writing everything on Scrivener then transferring it over.  But that’s seeming a bit unwieldy at the moment, especially since I’m already playing with switches and whatnot.  So I’ll probably try to write everything in RPG Maker for now, and see how well that works.  I’ll probably have to use Scrivener for Untitled StoryNexus Project, whenever I get back to it because that’s going to be much, much bigger, dialogue-wise, than Tears and I’ll want to make sure everything is perfect on it.

So I think the very next thing I need to do is fix the witch’s dialogue up so it actually works with the story to this point.  Once that’s done, I’ll either get back to the Fairy Forest, or start work on another map.  I’m rather excited – I’m almost at a point that I can get friends to start play testing a bit!

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#WriteFriday – August 28th

Yeah, this is a bit late…

I ended up writing outside in my notebook on Friday.  I had determined that I needed to either firm up the plot of Tears of the King or else work on characters.  I sort of ended up doing a bit of both, depending on where my thinking took me.

I can’t remember if I noted it here or not, but my characters for Tears of the King don’t currently have any character (by that I mean I have vague ideas for what they’re like, but they need a lot of work).  So with that in mind, I started looking at the king because in some ways, the game sort of revolves around him.  He still needs a lot of work (for one thing, I still haven’t named him), but I now have an idea of where to go from here with him.

Beyond that, I did do some work on the plot, which in this case is very much tied to game development.  I wanted to figure out what was going to be where in relation to the witch house hub.  Like I said, I was kind of going back and forth between characters and plot, but once again I have a bit of an idea of where to go from here.

Oh yeah, earlier last week I also worked on map building for the game.  I now have my first new maps since 2013!

Here’s the interior of the cottage I made on my “Mountain Forest” map (that’s the one I showed you last time).

Fishing Interior

And here’s a cave map I made (which you also get to on the Mountain Forest).  I’ve scaled it at 1:2.

Mountain Cave

This last map is the one I’m proud of.  It’s the one I’m considering the first new map since 2013 because it took a lot more work to make it than the cottage interior, which basically involved me looking at the village houses I made back then.  I made a slight switch to the Mountain Forest: there’s now a river running out of the lake that goes into this cave (hence the small waterfall in this map).  This map is going to serve a couple of purposes – there’s an item you’ll need to get on one of these islands, plus there’s a way up onto the mountain from here (which is going to be needed later in the story).

From here, I basically just have to keep going on both the map making and on hashing out the details for the game.  I’m not sure if I’ll be doing much this Friday because I’ve got some plans; if I don’t write anything then, I’ll make a point of doing some more work on this game over the weekend!

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#WriteFriday – May 29th

It’s #WriteFriday!  It’s also the end of the month, and that means I need to post a story inspired by this month’s quote to Apocalypse Madness.  Luckily I started a story earlier this week.  That story became “A Bit of a Waste,” which deals with two of the three main NPC’s from the StoryNexus game I’m working on,Caden and Tzalmon.  My original plan was that Caden would be a normal human, rather than the ghostly revenant.  But when I had the idea for this story, it made sense that Caden would be a revenant instead.  It’ll (I hope) add a lot more to the story branches that will center on her.

“A Bit of a Waste” is also the first time I’ve shown off one of the coolest (in my opinion anyway) things about City of the Dead: where zombies come from!  The actual idea (which is from something like 6-12 months ago), is that a zombie and ghost, together are one.  So when you pull the spirit out of someone, their body remains animated but mindless.  Zombies eat brains in an effort to regain what was lost, even though they don’t consciously know what they’re missing.  I renamed the ghosts to “revenants” because City of the Dead is a place where there are lots of spirits kicking around, and I wanted to differentiate these ones from the more natural ghosts that are people who naturally die (their spirits remain until they eventually fade away into nothing).

My plan was to made “A Bit of a Waste” another microfiction.  But it ended up a bit too long for the definition I used last month.  That was mainly because I had a hard time ending this story.  Plus it has some details I really wanted to leave in.  But it comes in at 274 words, which I thought was acceptable.

I’m still not sure what I think of the ending though.  It’s a bit abrupt.  But I didn’t want to spend too much time on it because this story, much like “When Sorry Isn’t Good Enough,” is more of an exploratory piece.  It’s quite possible that details will change as I continue to work on both the setting and my StoryNexus game, so I didn’t want to get stuck agonizing over it.

So once that I posted my May Apocalypse Madness story, I turned my attention to my StoryNexus game.  I’m now at a point where I need to be reading, rather than writing; to that end I read through the StoryNexus Quickstart and Creator Guidelines, before going to play some more with the tools.  I’ll give the Reference Guide a read hopefully later this week

Oh, I also want to note that I made a mistake in terminology – the Always cards are the pinned cards, so they’re going to be the story cards in this game; the Sometimes cards are the ones that appear in the deck, and so they are going to be where the worldbuilding (and grinding, if necessary) will be.

Unfortunately, my internet connection doesn’t appear to be great and certain things in the tool set refused to load (like adding success results to storylets).  So after playing for a bit, I decided to start really planning out some of the stories within my game (on paper, of course – that’s my preferred method for working on early drafts of things).  To that effect, I got the Destiny soundtrack from iTunes, which is going to be my writing music for the rest of the night.

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Filed under #WriteFriday, City of the Dead, Game Development, StoryNexus, Tools, Untitled StoryNexus Project, Writing