brezzen

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  • Introduction:


Hello, and thank you for visiting the 5:Day:Summer (5DS) project thread, where I do my best to keep all of the information for this game and its development up to date.

 

5DS is a game developed over 33 days between the afternoon of May 29th, and the late afternoon of July 2nd, which was originally intended to be submitted to RPG Maker's 2014 Indie Game Design contest. My sister and I worked with a lot of dedication to make the best game we could, so 5DS is not only our debut, but our first real attempt at game design in general.

 

After a really unfortunate uploading experience (a sob story for the ages, really) only twenty minutes before the deadline, we became unable to submit to the contest, the next obvious step was to clear out all the major bugs, and make a functional release independent of the contest.

 

5DS is the result of several influences:

1.) I'm Brezzen, or Jampak, or Jade, or Jak, whatever you like most. I've been writing recreationally for 8~10 years now, and I've been writing more seriously for the last three years. I started taking college level creative writing courses when I was in middle school, and I've been playing video games a lot, since I was a wee child. I picked up the trial for RPG Maker about two and a half months ago, and toyed with it for a while. After the 30 day trial period was up, I was considering making another email address to get another 30 days out of it when the humble bundle deal popped up, and I knew the time was right. I got the whole package then and there, and since purchasing RPG Maker VX Ace on May 29th, steam says that I have logged 354 hours on that software. This is more or less correct. Since all of the writing, programming, mapping, etc. Were done by me, and I've been doing 10-12 hour days on the game for the last month or so (the first week was a disaster and most of the writing had to be scrapped).

 

2.) The primary artist is Petziez, or Bryn, or Brianna, whatever you prefer. She served not only as an excellent choice for the artist on this game (I most certainly would have hassled her to make more pieces for the game had we the time), but she guaranteed that the game came out as soon as it did by doing almost all of the text formatting and bugtesting, after teaching herself the basics of eventing over the course of three or four days. She is incredibly talented, and has proven so time and time again throughout development. This game would not exist without her. She first took up art as a hobby as a very small child: we were attending art classes together when she was in pre-school, and she has never stopped for long. She has some ten-ish years of practice under her belt, ranging across several 2D mediums. I brought this project idea to her, knowing that she was already capable of producing pixel art, and character art in an extremely charming style.

 

3.) Between the two of us Bryn and I wanted to make a game that we would want to play. To that end, we made a game that attempts to be queer friendly, and fair to a wide range of human experience. It features a protagonist that is somewhat atypical for the genre, and it attempts to toy with expectations and stereotypes. By making this game, we wanted to represent ourselves, and I think that we succeeded. I hope that you'll agree.



  • Story:
The plot was designed between Bryn and I over a three hour meeting on May 29th, and the script was written by me. I had effective control over the story progression, and fashioned myself as the project lead throughout the game's production. The story itself is very quick, and the game can be beaten in under 50 minutes quite easily. However, the game is most rewarding to the player who interacts most heavily with their environment. Countless jokes, factoids, and little encounters are included throughout the world. Almost every interactable object has a piece of accompanying dialogue designed to flesh out the world. 

 

Main Cast:

  1. Maria: Our protagonist. Maria's looking forward to her summer vacation, spent with her girlfriend Chels, and her best friend, Toby. She loves art, games, and history, and she has a very active imagination. She often finds herself falling into vivid daydreams, and escapism is how she often processes the feelings she doesn't totally understand.
     
  2. Chels: Maria's girlfriend, and our lead supporting actress. Chels is a class ahead of Maria and Toby, and she has the aloof confidence of an upperclassmen looking away at the future. Chels is Maria's rock, but as one prepares for the end of high school, and the other for the beginning of college, their relationship may not be as stable as they thought.
     
  3. Toby: Maria's long time best friend, Toby's the math wiz, the science camp attendee, the one most likely to leave high school for bigger and brighter things. He's a little more shy and withdrawn than his two colorful friends, but he feels completely at ease with them. Or at least, almost completely. Does Toby have a secret?


The story is likely (hopefully) the most important and unique aspect of 5DS, and since I don't have much skill with code, music, or graphic design, I'm hoping that the story is what separates 5DS from other games.

Story Concept:

Maria, Chels, and Toby are best friends. The three of them play video games together while fending their way through the school day haze. 5DS begins with the trio playing a game together, on the night before the last day of school when there's a power outage. The group is forced to disband for the evening, but not before a worker for the Power Company shows up with suspicious speed to set the problem straight. Maria & Toby have a school project to complete before summer is over, but when they meet the Power Company Guy in town while doing research over local graffiti artists for their summer research paper. Things get suspicious.

 

Maria faces a lot of challenges over the course of her quiet summer, and we see the whole span of time through the lens of five selected days, leaving a lot to the player's imagination, and more to Maria's imagination as she sorts through her feelings by falling into daydreams and fantasies that verge on the hallucinatory.

  • Art:
Bryn's hand at art is present at all levels of the game. She and I talked out some vague conceptual ideas, and then she designed the character concept art. She made all the original sprites using CharacterHub, and drew the original portraits herself. She performed various tileset edits throughout production, found in (I believe) Lunarea's lovely Modern Day tileset, which we leaned upon heavily, as well as Enterbrain ModernTiles from the Tsukuru blog. Other than that, we're pretty basic. A lot of the RTP was taken advantage of for this project.

 

Samples:

None of the following art, or the art produced by Bryn for 5DS is currently available for use outside of 5DS. Please respect the artist, and the work she put in to concept design, portraiture, and spriting.






  • Gameplay:


Since this was the first game I've ever made, it was decided that the most realistic format for gameplay would be an interactive story. The vast majority of games released and played in our generation do not provide much freedom. Instead, many games aim to tell the player their story, and let the player walk through that experience alongside the writers and designers. This provides a satisfying story-telling experience for the player, while reducing the burden on the designer, and being an amateur game designer, making a very linear story that the player could experience was the most feasible game design that we could undertake.

 

As a result, we had to be pretty creative in finding ways to make the world more fun and interactive. The core story can be beaten in a little less than an hour, but there are currently between three and four hours of interactive objects and NPC conversations. A lot of 5DS's strongest writing exists off of the beaten trail, in chatting with the other inhabitants of the world. Most players of the demo found a lot of enjoyment in the fake pop culture and jokes of the world, that provide a little more flesh to the skin'n'bones structure of the narrative.

 

The narrative, while being pretty bare and small, is strong. It takes some chances that I haven't seen taken in many other games, and it was a lot of fun to put together.

 

Anyway, as a result, this RPG plays out more similarly to a point & click adventure game, made within the RMVXA engine, than what you'd expect out of a typical RPG.

Samples:


 













  • Download:
Currently downloads for the game are unavailable as I'm doing a pretty major overhaul.
 
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brezzen

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Foof. It's already been two weeks. This month is really zooming by. I read something about a 72 hour wait limit on bumping threads, and I'd intended to keep this thread up to date pretty regularly, but there's been a lot going on.

Anyway, I thought I could bump this and talk a little bit about the project and where it stands now as far as submitting to the RPG Maker/Humble Bundle contest. If I'm breaking forum etiquette by this, please help me to do better. I know that there's a strict no-double-posting policy from my lurking, and I wasn't sure what the definitive policy on bumping was.

This being me and my sister's first game making project we've definitely had some obstacles getting started, and I'd say we have lost four or five days as a result. I can't speak much for her (she's just been really busy with other things as far as I can tell), but I was stuck polishing the first four or five minutes of the game, and doing literally nothing else. Luckily, I ended up speaking to two good friends about it, and they finally got me wrangled into the right mindset for moving forward with this game, and in the last three or four days, I've gone from having 4 playable minutes and 5 maps, to having 4 playable minutes and 37-ish maps. It's been grueling, but I'm glad to have (most of) the mapping behind me. They're not all pretty, and a lot of the objects in the RTP just don't seem to fit the space they exist in. BUT, it's done, and that's what counts.

So now I'm viewing this whole project as more of a rough draft, instead of trying to get a finished polished game put out in a month, and I think that with that mindset, we'll be a lot more equipped to get something made, finished, and submitted. I'm so psyched about the idea. Actually having a finished game under my belt, and how crazy would it be to get the grand prize? But I'm way off track at this point.

With the thread above, I've done some reorganizing. It was starting to get really messy and hard to look at, so I resized, reorganized, and recolored some headings. Hopefully that looks better. I added a Game Status heading, with some information, and I updated the To-Do list.

I haven't picked out any writing samples yet, but I'd love some comments when I do, and I'll let folks know.

I did put up some of the sprite sheets we've made, to see if anyone has any comments on how those look. I think they're pretty great, but admittedly I don't have the best eye for pixel art. 

And last but not least, I think we're pretty close to having a playable demo ready to upload, and once that's done, I'll be ready to take some screenshots, and ask to have this thread moved. It's a little behind schedule, but no less exciting.

This is Brezzen, signing off until next time.
 

brezzen

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Hello, hello. It's me again, here with another bump and another update, a touch quicker than last time. I'm still not confident about forum etiquette, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know. =X

This thread is entering the gray area where I'm not sure whether it really belongs in this forum or not anymore (then again, did it ever? I looked through some of the other threads before posting, and knew that this wasn't exactly going to fit the mould). I don't have the screenshots I want or a complete enough product to feel justified in asking to be moved to early project feedback, but then I do have a demo uploaded.

Oh yes. That's the big news. I uploaded a demo! After realizing that my sister and I had lost so much time, we've been buckling down and plowing through. A lot of what I had written previously just didn't fit the tone of the game that I ultimately wanted to create, and that had to be redone. I saved what little I had there, and in the final game, I plan on releasing some of that as "deleted scenes" more or less. 

All the sprites are done, the title card is looking crazy good so far (and I'll have that uploaded here in a day or two to ask for feedback), and I've got a lot of confidence that 5DS will be "finished" (enough to submit SOMETHING that meets the contest criteria), by the end of the month. There are a few plans I had that I may not be able to squeeze in, but I'm going to do my best to make the strongest, most expansive rough draft that I can make.

I still find myself imagining what it would be like to get that grand prize. There are only 24 other RPG-category entries so far, with less than two weeks left in the competition. Add that to the 11 non-RPG entries, and that means there's not going to be all that much to compete against anyway. I'm just glad that this contest is spurring me to get a game finished, and (even if I'm just talking to myself in my own thread) get involved in the community.

Anyway! I'm always wandering off track.

If anyone wants to take a look at the feedback requests, they've been updated.

I'll include the updates below:

  • In the writing, I'm most concerned about the end, before Maria rolls over to go to sleep. Does that sequence reflect a sort of excitement about the events that will follow in the game? Does it conclude the introductory sequence well?
  • Additionally for writing, I'm not totally sure how to credit things! I want to do well, but can someone please watch the credits roll, and tell me if that will be sufficient? Will I need more documentation inside the game files themselves?
  • For the art! The sprite sheets we uploaded have only gotten one comment on facebook (though it was very positive, it was from a very enthusiastic and close friend). I'd like to hear from people who've played around with RPG Maker for a while. Do the sprites look good? Do they move well? We used Character Hub, but a lot of the stuff was moderately-to-heavily modified to meet our needs.
  • How do the maps look? They're supposed to feel cramped, but still navigable. Do they accomplish that? Are they ever too spacious?
Brezzen, signing off.
 
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brezzen

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I don't know how to describe the way I feel other than heartbroken.

I feel like... I feel cheated a little. I feel stupid. I feel really frustrated. I've slept so little over the past four or five days, just working on this game, polishing it up, and trying to get it ready to submit. I guess I don't really know what to do now. We were really excited, Bryn and me. We stayed up all night, and most of the day, working in shifts to make sure the game was as complete and shiny as it could be within the time limit. An hour and a half ago, I finished the game, rar'd it, and started putting the rar's up on mediafire. Half an hour ago, the upload paused, then dropped back to 0% and restarted itself. The timer went from five minutes, just under the cutoff time for the contest, and zoomed back up to forty minutes. I don't know what happened. I was ecstatic, talking with Bryn, telling her how excited I was, and... Well. Now this. I feel cheated, and I feel stupid, and I feel sad.

I don't really know what to do. Other than to update this thread, for anyone who was looking forward to more progress about the game. It's in a "finished" state, but it's not what I wanted. In twenty minutes, it'll be hosted, unless Mediafire resets the upload again, and if that's the case, I'm just gonna pull the plug on it for today. Maybe come back tomorrow, and try again. I'll have the necessary screenshots to have this thread moved to early project feedback, but it just feels hollow. Maybe I shouldn't be trying to keep the thread updated when I'm in a state like this, but... I don't know. I feel like, the five or ten people who glance back at this every now and then should be allowed to know what's going on, and I want to try and get some of this heartbreak out of me. I'm sorry. This is pretty off-topic.

I'll edit this post to have all the necessary update stuff tomorrow, but right now, I just can't do it.

Brezzen, signing off.
 

nio kasgami

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I admit you sister is pretty skilled it is funny to see this little chibi style a little blur but I love it ;w;!

My mangaka spirit totally aprove the art styile!

and I feel sorry for you and your sister you was so much excited about this myself I had to abandoned my project du internet issue but hopefully it was two week ago so I was not so much hurt like you but dont worry continue the game it seem interesting!
 

brezzen

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Thanks Nio! Bryn has told me that she really appreciated your compliment.

I needed a few days to gather myself after missing the entry to the contest. I'm afraid my earlier post may have looked like I was blaming the contest somehow, and that was definitely not the case. If anyone was at fault, it would have been me, but I don't think anyone is really at fault. It hurt to miss the contest deadline by such a slim margin as thirty minutes, but it gave me time to bugtest, and polish the game a little more. I really am happy just to have finished my first game, and I'm really proud of how it has come out. The art, the mapping, the writing: none of it is terribly sophisticated, but I think all of it is successful in a simple way.

Which marks a new stage for the game, and for me as an RM tinkerer. I've gone through and updated the original post in full, and made the whole thing ready to move over to Early Project Feedback. The game, which should be as smoothed out as it can be, should be is now available for full download, and I hope everyone gets a kick out of it.

Brezzen, signing off.
 

Ultim

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Bryn's art is great ! I'll play this !
 

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