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New Project: Lost Son, or Nep Still Makes Games?
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The walkabout is left over from when this was isometric. The red line helped me check tile alignment. Haven't gotten around to making new ones. Terrain tiles are next on my list including but not limited to: grass variations/dirt/patches of snow, a parking lot with cars, and set dressing like lamposts, bushes, dumpsters, etc. I also plan to add animated christmas lights to the diner.

I actually ran into a problem taking the screen shot. Under normal circumstances, you can't see the sign while walking along the sidewalk. I'll need to write scripts to wrangle the camera for setpiece locations like this. Step-ons on the sidewalk should do the trick.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cold medicine + maptile drawing = fail. So, I'll talk a bit about another of this game's features: The mood meter.

As I mentioned before, Radha suffers from mental instabilities. This is reflected in-game by the mood meter. The meter will show where Radha lies between Anxious (+100) and Depressed (-100). Dead center (0) is considered Stable. Things she encounters throughout the game, from scripted sequences to combat, even spending time in certain locations, will effect the meter. The meter in turn effects dialogue, stats, and enemy formations.

Radha can self-medicate with drugs, but the changes to the meter will start gradually and compound with additional drugs taken. For example, if you need an immediate change you will have to take several doses at once, but this will result in shooting way past the halfway point after only a few minutes. I plan to use timers to keep track of the drugs in her system with dire consequences for overdosing.

Consequence is actually a huge theme of the game. Too often in games the hero(s) get away with theft and violence in the name of "good." I want to present a story that could actually happen in the real world with real world consequences for player actions. Radha and the player will have to constantly test the boundaries between what is necessary and what is acceptable.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So something else I'm finding troubling is a sense of scale. Originally I wanted everything to be realistically proportioned and based all my buildings off of the walkabout height (assuming Radha is about 5'5"). I quickly discovered this was not going to be practical and scaled down the exteriors. The diner is now significantly smaller outside than it is inside, but I think (read: hope) that most video game players have made peace with this convention by now. I'm just wondering if this will be enough. Something that has bugged me in other RPGs *cough*Fallout 1*cough* is how long it can take to cross cities. It can make sidequests unnecessarily tedious. I don't want to fall into that trap, but I also don't want it to look like Radha is stomping around Barbie's dreamhouse.

It probably doesn't help that I'm using oversized walkabouts. Maybe I should just use the standard 20x20. I really enjoy the freedom of using taller ones though.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to confess, I'm having trouble accomplishing anything tangible for this game. However, it is constantly on my mind, and I have been making progress with the plot and characterization.

I'm sure at some point we have all encountered a situation in a game that made us think, "well, THAT was convenient!" Lost Son was quickly descending into that pit of convenience. Specifically, much of the backstory is told through documents and journals scattered around the town. But since the forces that brought Radha to the town would not want her to find them, it was hard to justify putting them along the player's path. My solution was to add an anti-villian, an intangible force that leads Radha to the tools she needs to overcome the antagonists. This changed the dynamic of the game somewhat, and I think makes her situation even more helpless. Now instead of a feeling of power from overcoming obstacles on her own, she just feels like a pawn in some bigger scheme. Ultimately, Radha alone can resolve the conflict, and hopefully there will be a greater sense of satisfaction for the player when that moment comes.

Thoughts?
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking about ways to dress up the dialogue, and I think I've finally hit on a winner! It's something I don't think I've seen in any other games, so it should be fresh and unique: posture.

The idea is that for any textbox the player can select between three postures: active (or aggressive), neutral, and passive. Radha's dialogue will remain the same, but other characters will respond differently based on her posture. Some characters might give extra information if she sits forward and pays attention, or be more inclined to bargain if she folds her arms and acts completely indifferent. Conversely, some characters might shut down if they feel threatened or brush her off if she doesn't seem to care. It will also give the player a reason to question a character multiple times.

Should be a simple matter of tag manipulation. I just have to come up with good way to demonstrate the posture. Most likely a graphical representation with slices.
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




Joined: 05 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear you worry about the problem of unreasonable convenience when everyone else ignores it. I guess I don't have any good ideas, other than that it is commonly diminished (but not solved) by putting things behind puzzles/problem solving, and by requiring a lot of exploration. Regarding finding documents, it doesn't seem like a convenient coincidence to me to find documents in suitably non obvious places.

Quote:
I've been thinking about ways to dress up the dialogue, and I think I've finally hit on a winner! It's something I don't think I've seen in any other games, so it should be fresh and unique: posture.


That sounds like a great idea! I'd like to see it in a complete game.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good to hear that someone (besides me) is still interested in this project.

I'm still working on the story and setting as well as ironing out gameplay decisions. What's really holding up production at this point is that I can't make up my bloody mind about the visuals. My original vision was a series of "set piece" locations made of lots of unique tiles tied together with more generic tiling elements. Then I thought of doing away with the unique structures in favor of tradional RPG graphics. Now that we have unlimited (?) Layers I kind of want to do painted backdrops a la classic adventure games. I just need to make a decision and stick with it instead of constantly scrapping my work and starting over.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soldier
soldier2
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought it was about time to update about the lack of updates, and I actually have a good reason this time. All my free time during the month of April was spent working on a side project. It was meant to be a RGC entry, and I didn't want to jinx myself by hyping it up too much. But now that the contest is over and I obviously didn't finish in time, I'm ready to talk about it.

Without further ado, I give you:
PvB title

The idea was simple: What would happen if actor Doug Bradley inadvertently summoned Pinhead?

Cutscene

Of course the ridiculousness of this premise requires the player to have at least a passing knowledge of Hellraiser lore, not to mention its actors. After some discussion with several friends I came to realize that Doug Bradley is not the cultural icon I believed him to be, and that this game was probably a poor fit for the RGC. I'm still enamored with the concept though, and will continue this project on the side.

Screenshot

Gameplay consists of scouring a movie set for everyday objects that could be used to drive off the cenobites. The player could only carry two items at a time, but could drop carried items on the map to retrieve later. Before each battle a list of available items would be generated based on the items in the immediate vicinity of the player. These items could then be used in battle to drive back the cenobites (physical attacks had no effect whatsoever). This encouraged the player to hoard items in specific places and to carefully choose where to fight battles.

Anyway, I forgot how satisfying it can be to actually get into the engine and get my hands dirty. I've been doing so much planning/story stuff on Lost Son and so little actual production that I'd lost sight of what makes game design fun. Now I can come at Lost Son with a renewed vigor, and I have something to tinker with when LS starts to feel too much like work.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worked on reorganizing my Lost Son design doc today. Trying to get all my thoughts and notes in one place, rather than sprawled across several documents on multiple computers.

The mythology of the game is really coming together well. I think that's important. Even though only a small part of this mythology directly affects the story, it indirectly affects every character interaction in the whole game. Having this nailed down makes it way easier to write various characters because I know everyone's motivations (even if the characters themselves don't fully understand them).
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lost my physical journal that I was using to draw sets for PvB. It must have fallen from my pocket in the parking lot at work and no one has turned it in. I must accept it as gone forever. This is a setback, but on the other hand, it makes me want to switch gears back to Lost Son. I really need to buckle down and plow through some of that stuff like I did with PvB during the contest. I've also been toying with the idea of rebooting Pariah Trade, but I really don't want to start that until I finish either LS or (more likely) PvB.

I also realize that nobody cares about this stuff. I just felt like writing.
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TMC
On the Verge of Insanity




Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 3226
Location: Matakana

PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I also realize that nobody cares about this stuff.


Not true. I just forgot to respond - though I realise one person interested in what you're working on isn't really any justification (but multiply by number of lurkers). Though I know nothing of Hellraiser, I think what you've posted for PvB looks great. It's sad to hear that you lost your journal. Looking forward to either of the games.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the encouragement. It's been slow going lately, what with work, wedding planning, Blur, and life in general always competing for my time. Still trying to fill in some holes in LS's plot. I always find the middle to be the hardest part to write. This holds true for games, short stories and graphic novels. I usually know the ending first, and it's not too hard to pick a launching point for the work (big fan of in media res.). It's just figuring out how to get from A to B that gives me trouble. In LS I'm worried that the story isn't long enough to support the content I want to include. I don't the player to be pushed through the plot without a chance to use all his new toys, but I don't want to force grinding or other tedious gameplay sequences either. Now I'm left trying to pad certain areas with it seeming filler-y.
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Nepenthe




Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do people feeel about schools in survival/horror games? A middle school location keeps trying to force itself into Lost Son, but something in my gut is telling me to write around it. The elementary school in Silent Hill is iconic, and I know Bloodlust used a school early in the game too. I'm afraid gamers will find the setting hackneyed, especially considering it very well might be the first area the player explores. (One of the "hooks" I want to use for the location dictates that the school lies on the way to the first objective. Although the player can choose to ignore the school at this point and proceed straight to the lecture.)

Tl;dr
Schools: survival/horror staple or overused?
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Newbie_Power




Joined: 04 Sep 2006
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silent Hill 2 does not have a school, and that is a legendary game.

I think the answer is obvious.
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