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Bricabrac
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« on: May 03, 2016, 03:20:47 pm »



WEBSITE - TWITTER - GAMEJOLT



Genre: RPG with no fights and too many words | Platforms: PC

TRY THE DEMO!​



In narrative RPG Selling Sunlight, you're a masked merchant traveling in a fantasy world that doesn't move anymore.
One side of the planet boils, costantly facing the sun; the other is a frozen desert. The only habitable zone is a thin line of perpetual dawn, an orangish place full of fire spirits, wailing sun-priests, withering plant people, spiders and bees.
If you want to make a profit, you'll have to wander. Discover new wonders and cultures, make friends, bargain goods and swap tall tales with other travelers.
In this world that stands still, where will you run from your past?


. DEVLOGS
#1 - Numbers everywhere - About the bartering system
#2 - Apples and oranges - More bartering
#3 - The masked one - About the main character
#4 - Sexy bard and the mystery of the flying sofas - How we're handling collision maps
#5 - Learning to Fail Better
#6 - Moving forward. Standing still. - About having a theme
#7 - New Friends! - About new people working with us


. FEATURES

Recall
Who are you? A sinner, that's for sure. But what about the person behind the mask?
Where you once a librarian with golden hair as shiny as the Sun you adored? A black-skinned matriarch, believing only in the power of Science? Or did you came from stranger lands, and prayed to even stranger gods?
Tell me everything about your reckless life choices. Will you continue to defy the Sun now, or will you try to regain Its favour?

Wander
Explore the Line of Dawn, home of seven cities and countless wonders.
Dance under the giant mirrors of the Red Temple, eat fishes that are also books in the Cyan port; or visit the Violet Army, living in giant carcasses of frozen war-beasts.
Plan your journey carefully, balance the load of your cart, and beware: sudden encounters and discoveries can always interrupt your journey.

Befriend
During your journey you'll meet nomads, musicians, botanists, scholars, missionaries and many others - each one with their own agenda.
Barter goods and news with fellow travelers, and journey together to fight loneliness. Keep in touch with letters, and celebrate every new encounter with a drink.
Not having a face is not an excuse for being antisocial.

Barter
You know what's the good part about having a mask? Lying comes off a lot more easily.
Scrutinize other merchants and change your attitude accordingly. Offer goods, precious information, or brazenly seduce your opponent to obtain a nice discount. Import and export goods from far regions to maximize your profits.


. ART
The game will be completely hand-drawn and painted with watercolors.
Click on the screens to make them bigger!













. TEAM
Cosebelle (Italian for Nice Things) is an all-female team of ex-students from the International School of Comics. It's composed by:
- A character artist
- A background artist
- A writer/programmer
 
Plus various freelancers/helpers.
Our main inspirations include Spice and Wolf, the Rune Factory series, Sunless Sea and Ursula Le Guin's works.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 02:43:16 am by Bricabrac » Logged

Selling Sunlight - Wandering Merchant RPG
sidbarnhoorn
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 03:48:48 pm »

Wow, looks beautiful! Good luck with this game. I'm keeping my eyes on it! Smiley
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Siddhartha Barnhoorn
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Composed music for the games Antichamber, Out There, The Stanley Parable, Semispheres.

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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 03:50:41 pm »

An RPG with watercolor art and no combat!! I'm so into this. Your visuals so far are looking lovely. I can't wait to see more screenshots!
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M4uesviecr
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 04:24:20 pm »

Stunnniiinnng. Looking forward to seeing more.
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 05:37:27 pm »

Posting to see the watercolors later.
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Bricabrac
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 02:08:15 am »

Devlog #1 - Numbers everywhere

Hi everyone! I decided to start writing bi-monthly devlogs to help us stay motivated. Pardon in advance for my wonky grammar  Gentleman


The cities of the rainbow
Last months were mainly spent working on worldbuilding, lists of items and prices. We decided to have seven main cities, each one with a local product:

The blind priests of the sun-god live in the red city in the desert. They sell mirrors, telescopes, and other intricate examples of glasswork.

The orange city is a giant tank from the Old War, now home of countless rascals and swindlers. Its inhabitants use the still-working engines' power to cut and carve wood.

The yellow city is your tipical medieval fantasy town, but with bees. Bee products like honey and wax are the main source of income.
It's also the starting point of the adventure - we liked the idea of greeting the player with a familiar setting, so s/he can learn the game mechanics before starting to worry about the lore.

The city of green is the home of the plant people, and of wizard-botanists capable of changing vegetables in strange and endearing ways. They grow plants for food and much more.

In the city with cyan-colored walls, people make cloth from seaweeds and dye them with crushed crustaceans.
They also catch fishes that also are books.

Indigo city lies between the mountains, and is full of miners extracting stone and minerals from the bellows of the Earth.
Geothermal energy was abolished when the world became Still. Nobody knows exactly how the mining process is fueled.

Violet is not a city. It's a lost army.
The cold killed their mounts and their engines and their hometown. They now live in the frozen carcasses of their war-beasts. They pray strange gods and mingle with the spider people.
They sell informations you don't really want to know.


Items and categories
We,'re trying to give strong pros and cons to each item category, so the gameplay won't be reduced to a simple "buy low, sell high".
For example, stone is really heavy and will slower your cart, but is highly profitable. Food, on the other hand, is simple to store and easy to sell everywhere, but can spoil during your journey (so carrying stone and food together is actually a very bad idea!)


Setting the price
I finally started programming the core of our game: the bartering system.
For now, whenever you ask for an item's price, the game looks at:
- Where you are. each city has its local product, other easily available items, and rare/difficult to obtain products. The game check the item's category and multiply its base price according to the place.
- The vendor. Some are greedier than others.

EXAMPLE
Let's say you want to buy candles in the red city.
The item base price is 50 gold. The red city is near to the yellow one, so candles are a common good. The base price is raised only to 120%, so 60 is the medium price of candles in the red city.
A common vendor in the market street might raise this price by another 5%, because he's greedy like that. A wholesaler could instead lower the price, but will only accept orders in bulk.

If you decide to buy something, you'll have to make an offer. Bartering will then begin, but we'll talk abut this in two weeks!  Blink

Fancy watercolor of the week: meet the young heiress of the Hivemind Corporation.
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2016, 02:30:06 am »

This project sounds promising and looks beautiful. Devblog posts really are a good way to keep you motivated and of course a nice way for the fans to follow the progress. I would also like to see more of those watercolour graphics!

Does the team have previous experience in game development? It's often hard to keep the scale of the project in control when you're making an awesome game that you're passionate about. At least for me it is. :D

Good luck and keep posting! I'll be following.  Blink
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2016, 02:37:52 am »

What a lovely art style! Looking forward to them weekly watercolours, looking nice!! The idea of an RPG with watercolours, yeah I agree, sounds amazing. Also there's a couple of pages on the forums about tips for Kickstarter campaigns, I can't name them all from the top of my head (maybe someone else can link to better posts), but I recall the thread for Moonlighter having some pointers and types of things to do to prep for those sorts of campaigns. Anyways, good luck with the game~
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Bricabrac
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2016, 03:24:20 am »

Many thanks to everyone! We're very glad to know you like the artstyle.

Does the team have previous experience in game development?
I myself, the main programmer/writer, had tons of experience with rpgmaker when I was younger. I know it isn't "real" programming, and I never produced anything of note, but I perfectly know how the program works and its limits.
(I also make Twine games! Look, they are in my signature!)
The other team members are comic book artists. They have no real experience with games, but we already worked together, have a good workflow and can respect deadlines.
For a game of this scope, with many dialogues and no real gameplay aside from bartering, this shoud be enough.


It's often hard to keep the scale of the project in control when you're making an awesome game that you're passionate about. At least for me it is. :D
I know, I know! When I was an ambitious noob with rpgmaker I alwas wanted to make huge jrpgs with 80+ hours of gameplay, tangled plots and loads of dungeons. Of course, I never finished anything. However, Selling Sunlight features an open-ended world with no linear plotline, so keeping the scale in control should be easier.
As soon as the core mechanics are in place, the game is playable. Adding more locations and npcs means adding layers and layers of content to a system that already works.

The rough roadmap is:
- Set the gameplay mechanics in place (bartering, item management, stats etc)
- Make two cities with basic locations, characters, and the tutorial
- Launch demo
- Everything works? One by one, make the other five cities with major npcs/plotlines
- Still has time and money to spare? Add more npcs and minor cities

This means any time after the demo, we can call it quits and still have a game. Short and not much interesting, but it's a game! And we think that's very important; because even if we fail to finish it, for whatever reason, we'll still have something playable to show around.
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2016, 03:47:15 am »

This is an absolutely beautiful concept not to mention the illustrations you have showed so far! This: "They sell informations you don't really want to know." line really got me. I love the mixture between trading and dialogue you seem to be going for and cannot wait to hear more! Any chance you will make the bi-monthly updates an email newsletter? I would definitely subscribe.

I had a question about gameplay, do you plan to add the ability to rent a store area in a city so that you can possibly sell goods while out and about? Or perhaps the ability to hire scavengers to find resources in the wild?
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2016, 04:03:33 am »

Looks fantastic! The aesthetic reminds me of the Lanfeust comic series in a way, mainly the more stylised Lanfeust of the Stars, amazing work Smiley The premise sounds intriguing too, I'm a big fan of dialog heavy RPGs. Looking forward to seeing more!
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Bricabrac
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2016, 07:05:01 am »

Any chance you will make the bi-monthly updates an email newsletter? I would definitely subscribe.
A newsletter? Nice idea! But first, I'd like to find a native English speaker willing to help me polish my grammar. Anyone interested can apply here! We have a native proofreader for the game itself, but she's working full-time and I'd prefer not to bother her with this kind of stuff.
(I'm really frustrated by my ability to scatter little grammar errors everywhere. I swear to you, I'm a great writer... In another language.)

I had a question about gameplay, do you plan to add the ability to rent a store area in a city so that you can possibly sell goods while out and about? Or perhaps the ability to hire scavengers to find resources in the wild?
I long thought about this, and ultimately decided against adding such features. Crafting and shops, while entirely reasonable in context, would loosen the game's focus.
You are a traveling merchant. Your purpose is to go around, visit strange places and talk to new people. With a fixed selling point, I know some players would find a convenient trade route and always follow the same routine, preferring easy money to the thrills of exploration.
And I do not like that.

I won't exclude minigames about selling goods, though! Selling food and drinks during a festival or a sport event could be a nice diversion, and better fit with the whole "traveling merchant" theme.
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2016, 07:22:19 am »

I think the decision about focusing on being a travelling merchant makes sense! Really excited to start seeing the minigame concepts too!
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2016, 01:07:08 pm »

Devlog #2 - Apples and oranges

Hi everyone! Time for another update. This is what we've done over the last few weeks:


GAMEPLAY
The bartering system taking shape so we decided to share it with the world. After all, it's the core of our gameplay!
Here's a screenshot with BAD PLACEHOLDER ART EVERYWHERE:



Whenever you are buying or selling something, you can choose to barter with the other merchant. The aim of bartering is to find a price you both agree on before someone's patience runs low.
While bartering, you can:

    > Change your offer. Raise or lower the amount of cash you're offering.

    > Give an item. Low on cash? Try offering some of your goods.

    > Give a favour. Offer benefits like useful information or a free ride in your cart.

    > Use a skill from the skill wheel.


Skills have very simple effects like raising your opponent's patience or willingness to lower the price. You choose a skill from a wheel divided into four slices.
Each slice of the wheel contains the same 12 skills; what you change is the delivery of them.
You can choose between four different dispositions:

    > Charming. Wink, smile, be fascinating.

    > Friendly. Be a nice and honest fellow.

    > Stern. Rigid, precise, professional.

    > Threatening. Raise your voice and demand things.

For example, if you ask the other merchant to stay calm you can give him: a friendly pat on the shoulder or threateningly grab their shoulder. Both the same gesture but with different attitudes.

Each merchant likes some dispositions better than others. Approach them correctly and you'll have better chances of sealing the deal before their patience runs dry.
For example, take Pacha, the cloth trader of the Green city:



He's a cool, calm and very honest person so enjoys friendly and austere colleagues. He will react badly to Charming or Threatening actions because he is already a husband and father.


PLOT AND QUESTS
The bartering system already works – it's wonky and full of numbers to balance, but it works. The ambitious part will be making the merchants remember the way you treat them. We don't want a simple “friendship bar” for the NPCs but instead for them to remember your attitude and act accordingly.
For example, if you make business in a friendly or stern manner with Pacha, he will offer to buy and sell goods. You won't receive business proposals from him if you're Charming, but he'll shyly ask for tips to improve his marriage.
Very simple mechanics to program but a living hell to write.
We believe it'll be worth it.


GRAPHICS
We're a little bummed out after our animator left due to their internship and finding a replacement is proving very difficult. We've thought about two different solutions but would like to hear your opinion:

> Draw characters by hand and animate them with Toonboom. We've not used the program before but it should be a good alternative to traditional hand-drawn animations.

> 3D models; we can create and easily animate them but fear the watercolour backgrounds + 3D characters would not blend well. We want to avoid the goofy look of old Final Fantasy games, but are unsure how.

 Any ideas or advice would be incredibly useful at this point. Thanks in advance!
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« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2016, 01:13:09 pm »

Looking really great! I love the idea of having to determine how to approach the various merchants by listening carefully to their small talk. I also think some basic handrawn animations maybe only a few frames would be needed similar to those in visual novels?
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2016, 10:29:57 am »

Quote
I also think some basic handrawn animations maybe only a few frames would be needed similar to those in visual novels?
Yeah, surely! In my ideal scenario, there's no "patience" bar for the merchants while bartering: they change expression according to their feelings.
For now we have to keep the frames at minimum, but we'll add more as soon as we have more time and money.
(My character artist will kill me sooner or later.)
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2016, 09:43:50 am »

Putting the pieces together...

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« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2016, 11:08:35 am »

Devlog #3 - The masked one

When we started working on Selling Sunlight, we didn't plan on having a visible main character. However, the project quickly evolved from a text-based game to a more graphical experience; suddently we had maps, so we needed someone to walk on them! Our character artist made sketches for a male and a female hero, but they felt somewhat... Restrictive.
Our game is a role-playing experience: we didn't want to force on the players a gender/race/face they didn't like. We wanted them to feel perfectly at ease with their in-game identity, but making a proper character editor would have been too draining.
If you can't see your character's face, your mind becomes the editor. So, instead of a face, we designed a mask.


(Concept art.)

The default name is Blanc. Their gender is neutral, race will be changeable, and their sexual orientation is up to you. A blank slate of a character, with tons of possible identities hidden behind the disguise.

As soon as we nailed the design, another problem quickly arised: why is this fellow masked?
As a merchant, our protagonist has to daily interact with other people. If the mask was a quirk of their own, it could severely impair their ability to socialize!
The mask needed to stay. At the same time, it needed to be mundane in its weirdness. Something socially accepted, with a clear meaning.
We made it a simbol of penance.
You broke a religious taboo. You have been deemed not worthy to bask your face in the radiance of the sun.


What exactly did your character do? That's up for you to decide, too.
During the first minutes of our game, an NPC will ask you about the mask. The answers you can give are all very vague - ranging from "someone backstabbed me" to "my lover didn't tell me s/he was technically married to the Sun". It's a simple choice, but helps build up the narrative in many neat ways:

- It gently forces the player to roleplay. Blanc is not just your an avatar, but a character who had a life before the start of the game.
You get curious. You want to know more, so you start to speculate. Without even realizing it, you just made a background for your character.

- Estabilish coolness. It's not easy to make a character as mundane as a merchant exciting. But your character broke a taboo; they did something mysterious and wrong and intriguing.
You just started playing and you already know this person is a badass.

- It makes social interactions more natural. It's always jarring when in RPGs, characters you just met give you personal quests or important informations.
But you're an outcast. People will get curious and ask questions. They'll have a good reason to approach you first.


Blanc is our hero, but also our biggest risk: we perfectly know such a strange character can risk alienating the audience.
It's a bold choice, but we think it will only make our game more compelling. Tell us what you think.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2016, 03:04:32 pm by Bric-à-brac » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2016, 04:56:16 pm »

As someone who picked up painting via watercolor (I know, odd choice) I approve of this. There aren't a lot of games with a watercolor artstyle, but most of them look superb, such as Child of Light.
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« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2016, 12:17:47 am »

Cool world  Smiley
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