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September 19, 2018, 07:42:17 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Red Market - A Narrative Monster Hunting Game
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Author Topic: The Red Market - A Narrative Monster Hunting Game  (Read 614 times)
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« on: July 05, 2018, 02:09:02 AM »

The Red Market is a narrative, text-based monster hunting, trading, breeding, and eating simulator:

  • Choose one of five characters with unique benefits (e.g. influence with high society as a result of your loveless cage of a marriage to a local captain of industry) and drawbacks (e.g. an empty, ravenous void where your humanity once was).
  • Send out expeditions to capture dangerous and disquieting monsters.
  • Cook them into disquieting dishes.
  • Cross-breed them into arguably yet more disquieting offspring.
  • Sell them for profit, or else be crushed, gored, dissolved, enveloped, consumed, or hollowed out and inhabited by them in turn; your limbs moving at their command; their eyes looking out through your own.

You can download the prototype from here (please extract the files and play the game in your browser): https://nkeirle.itch.io/the-red-market

Made in Inkle's amazing narrative scripting language 'Ink'. I've just finished the prototype of the game, which consists of an extended tutorial (with a fair deal of player freedom and hidden secrets) and one extra monster encounter. The next step is to get it running in an actual game engine (Unity, specifically), and then gradually add further monsters, locations, and secrets. In the longer term, I have plans for an end-game, a restart mechanic, and multiple character-specific hidden end goals.

Future builds will add dozens more varied monsters, such as:
  • The Tree of Hands
  • The Threadbare Visitor
  • Jenny Hundredweight
  • And, of course, the elusive Double Lion

It's always going to be a primarily text-based game, like its influences, but I am looking to make it a slightly more visual experience (think Cultist Simulator or King of Dragon Pass) in further updates. I'll also be looking into commissioning art for the game at a later date.

I'd really appreciate any feedback or criticism on the prototype! Feel free to post any below, or send me criticism/advice/death threats/doxx me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/nicholaskeirle?lang=en)

(Inspired by Fallen London, A House of Many Doors, Chandler Groover’s 'The Queen’s Menagerie' and Eat Me’, King of Dragon Pass, the Sorcery! series, as well as books like Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’, Amy Sackville’s ‘Painter to the King’.)

« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 08:33:08 PM by Keirley » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 08:37:36 PM »

(2018-07-19) Quick update. Minor bug fixes, and a general tidying up. Now available for download on its own itch.io page:


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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2018, 03:04:04 AM »

Ahh I'd love to see some pictures!
And a web export! I got so used to playing twines and inkles instantly, that it makes me very sad when I have to download anything. ( i know itchio supports that, I make these games  Who, Me? )

Maybe add Crypt Shyfter to the inspiration list? It's a cool series, lots to learn from it!
For example, it'd be great to see a crude picture sometimes, maybe just as a tone setter, but even choose-your-own-adventure books had fun art covers!

About the content, it's best to keep paragraphs bite-sized. If you'd like to reveal a big chunk of text it's best to move to a new page. The gameplay tempo in IF is an art of its own haha. When I click and I have to wait 2-3 seconds before I can start reading again, that's kinda off-putting, it's a cool trick to use in an usual situation, but for normal reading, we should try to create as little friction as possible. Like, turning pages is quick, every couple of pages you might have a popup illustration of a crazy castle, but you gotta space them out. 

Create more please! :D
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 03:10:05 AM by Rarykos » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2018, 01:14:37 AM »

Thanks for your feedback!

I've never heard of Crypt Shifter before - I'll have to give it a look!

And yeah, part of the reason I'm working on bringing this to Unity rather than just the in-built Inky web-export is that it does that slow text scroll every time you make a choice, instead of instantly displaying the next piece of text. Still working out the length of text that feels good, but I've noticed that anything more than a sentence or two starts to feels really slow, which is less than ideal.

Next stage of development is going to involve balancing content updates to this version with developing a version in Unity (I'm still very new to Unity, so getting things up and running is a bit of a slog at the moment!). I think once I have it working in Unity I'll have a lot more options to make the text display/reading setup feel a lot better.

Also - pictures! I have mediocre art skills, so any proper art for the game would take the form of collaborations/commissions. Definitely planning on that for the future, but want to get the fundamentals down first!

Thanks again for playing, and for your helpful feedback!
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2018, 06:01:34 AM »

Another relatively small update:

  • Introduced 'Challenges' into the game. The size and condition of your expedition party, as well as any relevant equipment or relics, will affect the likelihood of success or failure at difficult tasks.
  • Added a little public domain art from medieval bestiares for the Luminant Heron and the Harbinger Beast. I'd love to add more art, but turns out there aren't any medieval bestiary entries about walking rat golems or fungal monsters.
  • The game now runs in a browser, and should run on mobile.
  • Included debug mode in the general build, so anyone can play around and break the game (note: some ways of breaking the game are more literal than others). Debug mode can be switched on at the main hub, after the tutorial has been completed.
  • Various minor bug fixes, and some editing to improve the flow of text.

The new version can be found here: https://nkeirle.itch.io/the-red-market

I'm currently on holiday so any new updates are probably two or three weeks away.

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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 12:46:19 AM »

No new content today, but wanted to post letting everyone know that a full version of The Red Market is currently mid-way through pre-production. Here are some details:

It'll be a 10-month production (including 1-month pre-production). I'm going to continue using Inkle's Ink narrative scripting language, and I'm continuing to teach myself Unity so I can eventually integrate the two. 10-months is not enough time for this to become a graphical game in the vein of Sorcery! or Cultist Simultaor, so it'll stay text-based for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, here's the list of planned features:
  • 15 new monsters, and their accompanying storylines. Including: The Tree of Hands, Jenny Hundredweight, The Bishop-fish, and, of course, the elusive Double Lion
  • ~10 breeding matches between these monsters, giving birth to such unwanted things as Shivers-in-Brine, The Rakehell, and The Glabrous Child.
  • ~7 new areas in which to hunt monsters/meet your demise.
  • ~ 5 new NPC monster-purchasers. Find your beasts comfortable new homes at, for example: The Cabinet of Curiosities, Bruisewater Offcuts & Rendering, or an entirely normal circus.
  • ~5 new powerful Relics, as well as extra treasures to find and sell
  • Visions of your own death, and 8 ways to die!
  • A handful of endings that don't end in your own death.
  • Scars and Boons - semi-permanent preternatural effects that might help or hinder your efforts.
  • New interactions, options, re-balancing and editing of current content. Lots of extra secret, large and small.
  • A radical new mechanic: turning back time. Upon death or game completion, reset back to the beginning with all your secrets, memories, relics, etc. Make different choices, fast-forward through parts of storylines you've already played, and devise time-looping strategies to achieve your goals.
  • (if possible) full integration into Unity: in a groundbreaking innovation still new to gaming, The Red Market will be a downloadable file with full save and load features.
  • A better UI, or at least my best attempts at a better UI.
  • Approximately 200% more having-your-cake-and-eating-it. Experience a barely-veiled critique of capitalism and environmental exploitation while having fun engaging in ruthless capitalist exploitation of nature.

I'm also going to be very strict with myself on deadlines here: this project is as much an attempt to improve skills like scheduling, time management, and other incredibly unsexy things as it is an attempt to improve my writing and designing skills.

Anyway, that's all for today. I'll be posting fortnightly throughout development.


Remember that you can play the prototype here: https://nkeirle.itch.io/the-red-market

If you like the game, or have suggestions feel free to comment here, or come say hello on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nicholaskeirle
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 06:17:00 AM »

Lovely concept and lots of scope for interesting gameplay. I just had a quick glance and it drew me in enough that I'll be returning for a longer play later.

Ink is nice flexible tool for this sort of thing. Did you do anything for their recent jam? I meant to but didn't quite find the time.

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