RMMV [DEMO] Selling Sunlight - Wandering Merchant RPG

Discussion in 'Games In Development' started by Bricabrac, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    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?

    _____________________________

    . 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.

    Bargain
    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 watercolours.
    Have some screens and concept art:
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    _____________________________
    .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 for this project include Spice and Wolf, the Rune Factory series, Sunless Sea and Ursula Le Guin's works.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
    #1
    Jayje, Kwerty, Tw0Face and 42 others like this.
  2. Marquise*

    Marquise* Veteran Veteran

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    Aaaah aquarelles.  I feel you folks good hand made art! :D
     
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  3. GoodSelf

    GoodSelf Zhu Li! Do the thing! Veteran

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    This is freaking awesome! Can't wait to see future developments. I'm really digging the style of this game!
     
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  4. Abdulla Al-Farsi

    Abdulla Al-Farsi Gamer Veteran

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    This is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! The arts are really stunning!!! 


    Well done!! Can't wait to play it!!
     
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  5. Cunechan

    Cunechan Veteran Veteran

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    This looks incredibly interesting! These art skills omg. It kinda looks like a point and click game yet but I bet it's way different from that, it has (as far as I understood) open world and visual novel elements and that's what makes it interesting. Wish I could help you in a way but I'm not good at programming. It's cool to see what people can do with rpg maker and good luck for it and the kickstarter :D  Just take your time to think of all the elements and to draw the graphics. It looks really cool!


    I'm totally looking forward to seeing this project done!
     
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  6. eadgear

    eadgear Veteran Veteran

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    That's extremely awesome art you have there! It is already interesting to play.


    But something bothers me, there are lots of markets and each market have their own characteristics but I wonder if there's BLACK MARKET? you know, something like you can't sell anywhere because you just see it on the road which happens to be a very vital item. And also does it have "appraising system" for your merchant. Like he can appraise a level 5 quality cloth. Once appraised, the item cost more than that one that didn't. Appraising is an important skill a merchant must have. He must know the quality of the each item he want to sell and wanted to buy. An index of all item you see (like pokedex) is an interesting feature that this game must have. Appraised item will give a detailed information about the item.
     
    #6
  7. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    Thanks everyone for the support!



    Of course we're gonna have a black market!


    You won't be able to sell things like guns and drugs, but certain items will be available only in certain places, and it would be very dangerous to try to sell them "in public".


    For example, the Orange City is the only place where *gasp* they illegally raise honeybees, ignoring the monopoly of the Hivemind Corp! So, instead of drugs, you'll be able to smuggle ILLEGAL HONEY!


    (The reason you can't become a full-fledged criminal is that your character is part of a merchant guild. This means having various benefits, but also regulations. Becoming a criminal would mean getting kicked out of the Guild, thus having to conduct affairs in a whole different manner. It would be a different game!


    It could be a nice idea for a DLC, perhaps. For now, getting caught too many times in illicit activities will simply lead your career to a premature ending.)

    This is actually a really nice suggestion!


    We're still deciding how to organise the items - also because we're still searching for a good scripter. For now we know there are different item categories, and each category will have bonus and malus. For example, glass items are precious, but will easily shatter during a journey; food is easy to sell everywhere, but can decay; informations can cause trouble if you give them to the wrong person, but they weight nothing; and so on.


    It won't  simply be a matter of "buy low, sell high".

    We'll surely have a "pokedex" for items and for the various NPCs you'll encounter! Every merchant sells and buys different products, so it's always useful to keep track of things.
     
    #7
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  8. taistelusopuli

    taistelusopuli Your Friendly Neighborhood Composer Veteran

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    A beautful creation you have going on here! The art is beautiful and the concept sounds like a bunch of fun! Looking at this production actually makes me kind of bummed that there is only a limited number of hours and my attention can spread only so wide... I would love to write an additional track or two of music for you. Oh well. If you need any just send me a message or email or something and I'll see if I have an opening in my scheadule :D  The work you and your team has done already is very inspiring :)  Demo coming out soon?
     
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  9. eadgear

    eadgear Veteran Veteran

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    That's nice can't wait to see this game finish. It is very interesting. Keep it up
     
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  10. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    Thanks for the nice offer!

    Hopefully this autumn! ^^
     
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  11. taistelusopuli

    taistelusopuli Your Friendly Neighborhood Composer Veteran

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    You are welcome and I'm looking forward to the demo then :)
     
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  12. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    Devlog - 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.


    [​IMG]


    (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 edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2016
    #12
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  13. Alonaria

    Alonaria Villager Member

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    You have no idea how much I love this concept! The character art has so much... character. :.D


    It's always refreshing to see non-combat games, especially ones where the mc has an interesting backstory from the very beginning. So often you see the stereotypical "mc grew up in a peaceful village but was actually the son/daughter of a super demon overlord/god and has supery dupery magic powers after a grave incident." Those kinds of games are fun too, but quirky stuff like this suits my tastes perfectly. <3


    I really look forward to seeing where this goes, and you can expect a contribution from me once you start your Kickstarter. 
     
    #13
  14. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    Devlog #4 - Getting serious
     


    We have a shiny new website! People have asked for it (it was totally Alexis Kennedy's fault), so we made one - complete with a mailing list - and we've also now got a Twitter account. Follow us for solar blessings, lore tidbits and irregular doses of pretty watercolors.





    We've also been featured on Siliconera! It's so exciting.


    So, what have we been up lately?



    GAMEPLAY
    We don't have many new screenshots to show, because we've mostly been coding the foundation of our gameplay: boring stuff like "merchants NPCs (non-player characters) now refresh their stock every month" and "every NPC will only buy certain types of goods from you".


    We also spent two weeks coding a custom script to keep all our in-game text separated from the engine. This means we can now read, write and edit the dialogues without even opening RPG maker. We had to re-format our script for the new system, which was painful and time-consuming, but we needed this to avoid severe headaches while proofreading.



    GRAPHICS
    We finally have an animator!
    Bev Campbell works digitally, but with such grace her work almost looks traditionally colored. She's still trying to find the right art style, but we think her little sprites will blend well with our backgrounds:


    [​IMG]




    We've also been working on the UI. Watercolors aren't the best medium when it comes to creating repeatable patterns, so we're still experimenting. Have a look at the city UI:


    [​IMG]




    Whenever you enter a city from the overworld map, you'll be presented with a screen like this. From here you can select a location to visit, read the area descriptions or check the status of the market in the area. Each city excels at producing a category of goods, like bee products or glasswork, while others are always in demand.



    CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT: THE BARD
    You've probably seen this smug cutie before: His Blondiness is the poster boy of our game. But who is he, exactly?[​IMG]


    Here are four random facts about him:


    - He's a magician, and also a bard. The two jobs are roughly the same thing anyway.
    - He has an unhealthy obsession with kings, and only tells tales about royalty.
    - He loathes mirrors. How does he manage to maintain his look, you ask? Well, he has many lovers. He's probably seeing a hair stylist or two.
    - Yes, of course you can flirt with him.


    Bonus picture: the bard was our lab rat when we were still experimenting with the art style.


    [​IMG]




    May the Sun shine on your path even in this chilly season!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2016
    #14
  15. BinaryCodex

    BinaryCodex Reader, Writer, Executor Member

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    I love the concept! The art is great! I'd very much like to play the demo when it comes out. It sounds like some interesting folks live in those cities. I'd like to meet them. I also like the idea of using a tidally locked planet. Reminds me of Gliese 581 c that I saw on the Science channel the other day.
     
    #15
  16. Julien Brightside

    Julien Brightside Veteran Veteran

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    Seems like the happier version of Sunless Sea.


    I like the concept so far!
     
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  17. Bricabrac

    Bricabrac The Storyteller Veteran

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    Thanks to everyone!

    Our "X meets Y" elevator pitch is indeed "Sunless Sea meets the Rune Factory series" ^^


    Like SS,our game is about narration and exploration, but storylines will focus more on chatting/meeting/hanging around with various NPCs.
     
    #17
  18. Plueschkatze

    Plueschkatze Veteran Veteran

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    Wow, seems like a real nice project! Love the artstyle! It's so pretty!
    I'll keep an eye on this project.
     
    #18
  19. HeroLite

    HeroLite stinky weirdo Veteran

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    oh jeez, wow!! i'm gonna hop in on the train that's gushing about how gorgeous the art here is! i took one itsy bitsy little peek and got the socks knocked right off me by those fantastic draws. keep it up!! i hope i can be as good as you someday.


    merchant based rpgs are totally wicked rad too. i remember i enjoyed the heck out of recettear, so i'm lookin' forward to seeing how this project rolls along :}
     
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  20. Abdulla Al-Farsi

    Abdulla Al-Farsi Gamer Veteran

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    Please, upload a demo version. I love to play it now!!!
     
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