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August 09, 2022, 08:34:46 PM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsMOONBRIAR - AAA Visual Novel | Gameplay Video
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Author Topic: MOONBRIAR - AAA Visual Novel | Gameplay Video  (Read 12156 times)
oldblood
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« Reply #60 on: February 23, 2022, 10:09:26 AM »

I am not too familiar with visual novels and was positively surprised that there will be an inventory and resources. I think this is great, it hints at depth and replayability.

Thank you! I'm hoping your reaction is what I'll get from other people as well who aren't keen on VN or more narrative-heavy games. Hoping the combination of visuals and a few other small features will help sell the concept to a slightly broader audience.
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« Reply #61 on: February 23, 2022, 10:50:51 PM »

For resource and inventory management in visual novels, I'd say Inkle's 80 Days should be considered an "industry standard" of sorts. Of course their other titles are amazing as well, but Sorcery! and Heaven's Vault are super long and requires some investment in time.
I think you probably need to decide on how "gamey" the game could get. Inkle's more recent Overboard! has a similar inventory system, but that game is designed as a very tightly-fit puzzle piece, so there's no randomness at all. 80 Days has some roguelike elements, and you buy/sell items that's randomly generated and each has specific uses or events attached to them.
Above all, though, to have a meaningful inventory and resource system in VNs, you need to give the player a variety of options to obtain them. Early minor route splits, or starting inventory selection are great ways to diversify the playing experience.
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« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2022, 04:19:59 AM »

Heading into adventure game territory? Works in those games, and I like that way of approaching narratives Smiley Haven't really played "pure" VN games, so I don't know how out of the ordinary something like this is but it seems like a fitting way of adding interactivity besides dialogue choices to me.
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« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2022, 10:31:15 AM »

The inventory system is fantastic, it adds that nice layer of gameplay depth that a polished game must have in order to stand out from the others of its genre.

Do you plan to add more non-conventional mechanics?
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oldblood
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« Reply #64 on: March 09, 2022, 05:45:28 AM »

For resource and inventory management in visual novels, I'd say Inkle's 80 Days should be considered an "industry standard" of sorts. Of course their other titles are amazing as well, but Sorcery! and Heaven's Vault are super long and requires some investment in time.
I think you probably need to decide on how "gamey" the game could get. Inkle's more recent Overboard! has a similar inventory system, but that game is designed as a very tightly-fit puzzle piece, so there's no randomness at all. 80 Days has some roguelike elements, and you buy/sell items that's randomly generated and each has specific uses or events attached to them.
Above all, though, to have a meaningful inventory and resource system in VNs, you need to give the player a variety of options to obtain them. Early minor route splits, or starting inventory selection are great ways to diversify the playing experience.

This is great feedback, and essentially what I am hoping for. "Meaningful" is the keyword. I dont imagine there will be a lot of inventory in this game, but I do want the inventory you can collect and use to be meaningful in the ways it can be used and not necessarily linear (i.e. you might get different inventory and use it in different ways on a 2nd playthrough etc.)

Heading into adventure game territory? Works in those games, and I like that way of approaching narratives Smiley Haven't really played "pure" VN games, so I don't know how out of the ordinary something like this is but it seems like a fitting way of adding interactivity besides dialogue choices to me.

The inventory system is fantastic, it adds that nice layer of gameplay depth that a polished game must have in order to stand out from the others of its genre.

Do you plan to add more non-conventional mechanics?

Thank you both! Its definitely not an adventure game but I am trying to nudge it a little bit more to having stuff besides narrative decisions. I don't envision there being puzzles or anything like that, so I'm not sure how much more advanced these features will get or how many other elements will get added in. Its more about just trying to create a more immersive narrative experience. I'm also not a great programmer so I'm naturally limited in how far I can push these things haha.

Appreciate all the feedback and encouragement! I'll try and get a new devlog up this week.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #65 on: March 09, 2022, 06:08:27 AM »

Looking forward to the update Smiley I think the route splits with regards to items sound cool too!
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oldblood
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« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2022, 07:49:18 AM »

DEVLOG XIII - Environments Come to Life

Man, I blink my eyes a couple of times and it's been 3-4 weeks since I posted my last devlog update! This year is flying by. Actually very quickly approaching the 6-month mark for this project, which is simultaneously heartening and disheartening, haha. Really at this stage, there is no actual game to play--which is very odd. But really all of my efforts and resources are going into creating enough story, art, and animation for a vertical slice. In conjunction with that, I'm still slowly refining the prototype to make it as scalable as possible so that once the story is feeling polished enough to begin implementing, I will have a good process and system in place.

One of the key areas of improvement the last few weeks has been surrounding new environments getting created, animated, and implemented into Unity. It was particularly cool to see the very first scene animated. Animation by Arman Harutyunyan.

Warren Entrance - Animated

Detail of Birds Flying

Overall, I'm really happy with how the animation for the first location came together. Since we're using Spine and skeletal animations, I wasn't sure how much we'd really be able to do animation-wise, but Arman was able to push the art about as far I think we could. We're also making progress on other environments. We start with some rough thumbnails, choose some potential color schemes, then begin to mock it up in 3D (see below) before its finally painted over.

WIP 3D Render - Underground Rabbit Market - To be Painted

I'm hoping between the characters and environments that the end result will feel very hand-crafted and painterly. It's a process but hopefully the end results will be worth the effort. Let me know your thoughts on how you feel the environments are coming together!

Rolling Hills & Mountains
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« Reply #67 on: March 14, 2022, 07:41:38 AM »

The animations are beautiful and the birds add such a great sense of scale to the scene. You have already accomplished a lot for the 6-month mark, keep the spirits up!
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #68 on: March 29, 2022, 09:09:33 AM »

Oh, wow, the render is already looking really good, love those houses, can't wait to see the final painted up version! Those animations do so much too.
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« Reply #69 on: March 29, 2022, 10:52:56 AM »

Looks outstanding. Great animation work!
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oldblood
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« Reply #70 on: April 02, 2022, 08:05:46 AM »

Looks outstanding. Great animation work!

Oh, wow, the render is already looking really good, love those houses, can't wait to see the final painted up version! Those animations do so much too.

The animations are beautiful and the birds add such a great sense of scale to the scene. You have already accomplished a lot for the 6-month mark, keep the spirits up!

Thank you Corazondrone, Prinsessa, and Alain! I appreciate all the encouragement and kind words. Glad everyone is liking the direction of the art and animation.

DEVLOG XIV - New Characters & Environments

Welcome to April! Today's devlog is more of a general status update. In a bit of an exciting window of time where progress is being made everywhere. Gamedev is all about ebb's and flow's, and we're definitely in a bit of a flow right now. Things are continuing to move along multiple fronts, so I'll try and provide some short updates around each of the areas we're progressing in:

-UNITY UPGRADE-
The game is built in Unity and I had originally set up the prototype in a stable (2019) build that I've used for other projects. With 2019 being supported with monthly fixes until May, 2022, I decided it might be time (while the game is still relatively young) to upgrade to the newest version in 2021. The biggest challenge thus far has been that Unity officially moved away from 'Bolt' visual scripting as a package after 2020 and just integrated it directly Unity 2021 as 'Visual Scripting'. It's essentially still the same thing, just with a face-lift and now integrated by default. The challenge is that as a visual scripting developer, this effectively broke everything I had done in Bolt. It's something I should have looked into BEFORE I made the update, but you live and learn. Luckily, a lot of the features were relatively easy to rebuild.

As part of the update, I'm also implementing Cinemachine for the camera system. I'd been using a bit more of a homebrewed solution in the past and was not happy with it. So while I've been rebuilding things, I went ahead and made that change and thus far I'm very happy with the results. 

-CHARACTER ART & ANIMATION-
Our character artist, who had been away moving across the globe, is finally back. And it's exciting to see more characters start to make an appearance. This is one area where we have been slower, so it's a big relief to finally start making progress on these fronts. Below are two of the newest character that have been completed: Hedgenettle, a brave young buck, who is looking to establish himself in the warren as a leader (and getting the respect the comes with it). While filled with good intentions, his own goals tend to get in the way of what is best. Oxalis is one of the oldest and largest rabbits in warren. He was once a famed warrior who now just wishes to be left in peace and quiet.

Hedgenettle & Oxalis

We're also getting more characters rigged and animated, so I'll probably dedicate the next devlog to taking a look at some of the new character animations. More to come on that front soon.

-ENVIRONMENT ART-
We're continuing to plow through environments at a relatively quick pace, knocking out around 2 per month, which means we should be able to complete all the environments this year if we continue at our current pace. These are pretty time-intensive pieces, so we're trying not to rush these while also doing our best to keep them coming on a consistent basis. We're also actively animating the environments as they're completed, so we're well on track to start implementing the environments into their own scenes once we start 'actual' development. Side note: The Warren Market is perhaps the most complex environment in the game, so the artist was quite relieved to finally knock that one out.

The Finished 'Warren Market'

Farmland Rough Concepts

-UI/UX UPDATE-
We're also doing a bit of an overhaul to the UI/UX of the prototype and have been concepting out some ideas for the UI over the last few weeks. Think we're getting close to actually starting to finish those ideas up and start implementing it as I finish up the 2021 Unity rebuild. Transparently speaking, I'm not sure if the overhaul we're currently doing is going to be the final UI. More than likely, it will not be. But, it will be a lot cleaner than what I have been using as a placeholder and is definitely a step in the right direction. I will try to feature the updated UI in a future devlog, so more to come on all that.
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« Reply #71 on: April 05, 2022, 12:09:45 AM »

I feel you, engine upgrades are a really scary thing, but it is good to hear you were able to handle it and rebuild.

I did not even know Unity had visual scripting, that is interesting! In 2016ish I fell in love with Unreal's Blueprint system and drifted away from Unity as a result. It's cool there are so many things happening with Unity!
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oldblood
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« Reply #72 on: April 06, 2022, 05:30:18 PM »

I did not even know Unity had visual scripting, that is interesting! In 2016ish I fell in love with Unreal's Blueprint system and drifted away from Unity as a result. It's cool there are so many things happening with Unity!

That's the thing.  They didn't. I've used State Machines from 3rd pary applications in the past, like PlayMaker which you could purchase via the Unity Asset Store. Eventually, an outside company made a tool called 'Bolt' that is essentially just straight C# Visual Scripting for Unity as a paid plugin. Once I found that, I started using it. It was such a great plugin, Unity ended up buying it instead of trying to develop their own version of visual scripting to compete with Blueprint. That's a pretty common move for them anytime someone creates a really popular plugin. It's actually a really effective way to outsource developing cool features for the engine to the community. Now they've been slowly dissolving 'Bolt' as a plugin and working it into the engine as a feature beginning in 2021.
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Alain
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« Reply #73 on: April 08, 2022, 03:26:29 AM »

I did not even know Unity had visual scripting, that is interesting! In 2016ish I fell in love with Unreal's Blueprint system and drifted away from Unity as a result. It's cool there are so many things happening with Unity!

That's the thing.  They didn't. I've used State Machines from 3rd pary applications in the past, like PlayMaker which you could purchase via the Unity Asset Store. Eventually, an outside company made a tool called 'Bolt' that is essentially just straight C# Visual Scripting for Unity as a paid plugin. Once I found that, I started using it. It was such a great plugin, Unity ended up buying it instead of trying to develop their own version of visual scripting to compete with Blueprint. That's a pretty common move for them anytime someone creates a really popular plugin. It's actually a really effective way to outsource developing cool features for the engine to the community. Now they've been slowly dissolving 'Bolt' as a plugin and working it into the engine as a feature beginning in 2021.

Thanks for explaining! Unity seems to be making some smart moves here, I hope the it payed out for the original makers of Bolt Wink
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« Reply #74 on: April 08, 2022, 10:35:07 AM »


Glad to hear your artist is back
My opinion remains the same regarding the visuals: top-notch AAA

Have you made your dev blog available anywhere else or just on Tigsource? I am also curious if you are using your dev blog link when/if pitching your game to possible publishers

And also, thank you oldblood !  Gentleman
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oldblood
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« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2022, 11:50:37 AM »

My opinion remains the same regarding the visuals: top-notch AAA

Have you made your dev blog available anywhere else or just on Tigsource? I am also curious if you are using your dev blog link when/if pitching your game to possible publishers

Thanks for the kind words! In hindsight, I don't know if I'll ever want to do another 'AAA' type project where I'm aiming for really high detailed environments, characters, animations, etc. Not that I thought it would be easy, but its even harder and more draining on the whole team than I expected. i.e. Just trying and maintain that level of fidelity in the art. It also makes it really clear when something is cutting corners or quality because it stands out compared to the stronger elements.

As far as the devlog goes, no I just post on here. Honestly, TIG has died a lot since I did my devlog for Masochisia but I'm an old-timer so I keep trying to document things here. It's nice to come back years later and revisit where I was in development at various points on projects. I tweet content on Twitter pretty regularly but otherwise, there isn't a lot of marketing happening. Which is a bit of a cardinal sin in indiegame development. I made a reddit post a month or two ago and it got pretty good traction (400+ upvotes) and it made me realize I have nothing to point anyone towards right now like a Steampage to Wishlist, etc. so I'm sort of holding off really attempting to market anything until I have something to point interested people towards. I do want to eventually have some introductory conversations with publishers--which I will document here--but I'm not holding out any expectation of actually partnering with anyone on this and am planning to just finance it all myself unless a partner can really elevate the project without attempting to take control (financial or intellectual property). Which seems unlikely.
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« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2022, 03:00:59 AM »



I feel the same about TIG  Cool
And congrats on the Reddit post!

As for directing traffic you can set up a Discord room and start working on the community from there if it's too soon for Steam, do not ignore slow-burn marketing.
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Prinsessa
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« Reply #77 on: April 15, 2022, 04:58:28 AM »

The market ended up so pretty! And great to see more characters and learn more about the world with almost every post. Things seem to be coming along really well, really fast. Coffee
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« Reply #78 on: April 17, 2022, 12:50:09 PM »

I just want to say that I love the visual style you're going for and I'm hoping to see this thrive!
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oldblood
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« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2022, 12:13:28 PM »

I need to make a new Devlog. Every time I blink its been a couple weeks. But in the interim, I'll respond here.

As for directing traffic you can set up a Discord room and start working on the community from there if it's too soon for Steam, do not ignore slow-burn marketing.

Yes, that is a very valid point. I've been prepping a Discord, and I've got a webpage going but... one key thing I haven't nailed down that I really need to: A NAME. Which makes it quite tricky to roll out anything without a name. Usually these things come to me pretty quickly but havent had such success with this project yet. But hopefully that will change sooner than later, though I'd be lying if I said that wasn't aggravating me.

Don't think 'Untitled AAA Visual Novel' is going to stick.

The market ended up so pretty! And great to see more characters and learn more about the world with almost every post. Things seem to be coming along really well, really fast. Coffee

Thanks Prinsessa! I was really happy with the market and we're currently wrapping up getting a batch of the environments animated, including the market. I will share more on that soon(ish). It's exciting to see the world come to life. I feel very humbled to be working on this project with so many talented folks. I appreciate the kind words and encouragement you have had for this project! Helps keep me motivated. We're a long ways from this being done, but we're definitely making progress. I'm tempted to make more lore and world-building specific posts, but not sure that is the Devlog content people come to TIG for haha. They want to be impressed with pretty GIFs or really cool tech.

I just want to say that I love the visual style you're going for and I'm hoping to see this thrive!

Hey, mz-one, thanks for commenting. I appreciate the kind words. It's always great to hear that the visuals are connecting with folks.
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