RMMV [DEMO] Selling Sunlight - Wandering Merchant RPG

Edgeklinge

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Omfg, how did u even do that with mv!!? O.O just wow
 

Biestmann

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f52FyfA.jpg



Very late to the party, but is this fellow by chance inspired by Dark Sun Gwyndolin of the Dark Souls series? I can't help but see similiarities in both design and backstory.
 
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This is gorgeous! How long does all this take you to draw?
 

Bricabrac

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Thanks to everyone for the nice comments! ^^

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

We got a pre-alpha demo working and some trusted, cruel fellows had the chance to play it - we're now gathering feedback and polishing everything for a public release, since we're still missing some vaguely important stuff like animations and collisions. And music.


Tentative demo release date: Q1 2017

Omfg, how did u even do that with mv!!? O.O just wow

It's actually pretty easy to obtain this result with MV! We scan the backgrounds, use them as parallaxes and cut all the elements like chairs/tables that need to stay on another level. Then we use Quasi's movement script to handle collisions/pixel movement, and another script for locking the backgrounds in place.


Tell me if you wish to know more technical details.

Very late to the party, but is this fellow by chance inspired by Dark Sun Gwyndolin of the Dark Souls series? I can't help but see similiarities in both design and backstory.

I haven't played Dark Souls, so I don't know much about Gwyndolin's backstory, but the design was admittedly influenced by her - she kept popping up in our Pinterest feeds!


We're also grumbling because "Praise the Sun" has already ben taken and it's difficult to find new prayers/catchphrases for the Sun Priests :<

This is gorgeous! How long does all this take you to draw?

It depends - backgrounds take a lot because we chose perspective over a simple isometric view, and this means working a lot with rulers and grids.


For characters, here is a breakdown of the process:


pUqp8jU.jpg
 

Kes

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We're also grumbling because "Praise the Sun" has already ben taken and it's difficult to find new prayers/catchphrases for the Sun Priests



Glory to the Light


Blessed be the Sun


Praised be the Shining Rays


All honor to thee, O Sun


May your Light shine more gloriously


Just what popped spontaneously into my mind when I saw your comment.
 

Bricabrac

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Devlog #5 - Learning to Fail Better

Happy New Year, everyone! How's your 2017 going? We've been REALLY HAPPY and REALLY SCARED at the same time, so let's start by talking about the big terrifying news:

We've been in touch with the folks of Failbetter Games, creators of award-winning narrative games like Fallen London and Sunless Sea. They have a neat incubation program for beginner indie developers, and managed to find a spot for our writer/programmer (that's me!).
 

ss_ae2b617e2ca6d55caeb38e833f1f15000d57e5d7.600x338.jpg

You may have heard about Sunless Sea, a game about roaming the seas, losing your mind and eating your crew.
The Kickstarter for the sequel, Sunless Skies, will launch in February.


This means I will be able to work in their London offices for a few months, receive a bit of tutoring and learn how a real studio works. What an incredibly scary and exciting experience! That's why we spent the last months screaming - uh, and also working, I swear.
For example, we made a demo.


It's a shaky pre-alpha full of bugs and temporary assets, but it's nice to see everything coalesce into a playable build. It's not ready for public testing yet, but we've been receiving feedback from colleagues and friends.
One of the most common critiques was the exaggerated saturation of some backgrounds.
Traditional watercolors are, alas, a complicated medium: the brightness of the colours is dependant on natural sunlight, so putting the drawings in a scanner is a recipe for disaster. Despite a massive dose of post-production, we're still not satisfied with the results.


devlog5c.jpg

Look at the loss of detail on the wall and the carpet: the scanner ate all our blue tones.

Cold light scanners could be a solution, but since they are very very costly, we're going to experiment with cameras!
By using a high-resolution camera, we should be able to digitalize our watercolors without losing detail. It will also be interesting to shoot photos with different light condition - to use the sun itself as a post-production filter. It sounds appropriate for our game, doesn't it?
On the other hand, our animator Bev works digitally, and has been facing a different problem: create character sprites that will blend well with traditional art.
 

devlog5b.jpg

Looks like "No borders and clean lines" is the way to go, but now characters don't stand out very much.
We'll try to enhance their presence by using shadows.


Our composer also delivered a test track for the title screen - you can listen to it on Soundcloud.
 

devlog5a.jpg

More sprites: the Beauty and the Bard.

That's everything for now!


May the Sun shine on your path.
 

Seerfree

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Wow, this game looks awesome! The idea of a tidally-locked fantasy world is really cool, and it's also nice to see a fantasy game focused around things other than combat. And the art looks gorgeous, even if your scanner is giving you trouble :/ I love the style of the character art too, it's very appealing! 
 

Bricabrac

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An interview with Failbetter Games

Hello!
Sorry for the lack of regular updates - I'm still alive, but have been horribly busy.
I was sent to the far North to learn to speak like a True Englishwoman and make better games. The Failbetter Games folks - makers of Fallen London and Sunless Sea - decided to pick me up as part of their incubation program.
This interview to the whole team was originally posted on the Failbetter Games Blog:

How did Selling Sunlight come about?
Giada (writer): I was working in a marketing agency, where I was spending most of my time playing Fallen London during office hours and farming games at home, to heal my soul.

I was lifeless. I was bored.

Sometimes you work on an idea carefully, and sometimes influences just brew subconsciously in your head and then explode. At some point I just knew I had to make exactly THIS GAME – then I had a job no more, and so I started making it, because why not. Friends got curious, someone started asking “can I draw the little cute icons for the items?” and a team was formed. Accidentally.​

Where does the name Selling Sunlight come from?
Giada: We made a big list of word related to our game’s main themes, which are:

  • Traveling vs. standing still
  • Buying and selling
  • The sunset
  • Bees
Then we just meshed the words together until something nice-sounding came out. Not very fascinating, I know.

Chiara (background artist): I remember we were torn between this title and Sunlight Seller, but Selling Sunlight just rings better.​

SELLING_SUNLIGHT_04.png

Tell me a bit about the player character in Selling Sunlight.
Giada: Your character did something BAD, and as a result has been forced to lose their identity and wear a mask.

We want players to truly immerse themselves in this world, but this would have required countless customization options. By having a faceless character, everyone can decide what’s behind the mask! This also makes you no ordinary merchant, but a MYSTERIOUS RASCAL. Non-player characters will also have a reason to be curious about you, making interactions more natural.​

The world in Selling Sunlight is stuck – the planet itself used to turn, but no longer does. What kind of design and story opportunities does this offer you?

Giada: The planet stopped turning only 300 years ago, so people are still getting accustomed to the changes. Different communities now share a very tight habitable space, and they sort of tolerate each other, but old grudges are still very much alive. There’s also a religious crisis ongoing, because the Sun was once considered a God.
Someone believes that the Earth fell in love with the Sun, and now can’t stop looking at him. Others just think that the Sun is trying to burn everyone.

Chiara: Besides the storytelling options, a still world has an undeniably charming atmosphere: everything is suspended between darkness and light, nothing is clearly defined and everything is mysterious. Exactly like our stories and our characters.​

SELLING_SUNLIGHT_09.png

What inspired the watercolour art style?

Anita (character designer): We decided to do what we’re best at: traditional drawing. The whole project is based on the feeling we could make an awesome product without fancy materials or shiny graphics. Of all the choices we had, watercolours happened to perfectly fit the mood we wanted for the game, as well as being our first choice in traditional colouring.

Chiara: I admit watercolors aren’t my favourite medium, but as Anita said they perfectly fit our game’s atmosphere. Background after background, I’m starting to appreciate their versatility. Trying to get the lighting just right in every picture is proving to be especially difficult and exciting.​

You’ve chosen a combatless experience in this game – what inspired that choice?
Anita: The game we wanted to make had to be relaxing, yet challenging. Also, it seems like fighting is almost your only choice when it comes to RPGs: we’re so used to get out of every uncomfortable situation by drawing a sword! How about something different, once in a while?​


Don't forget to follow us on Twitter (@sellingsunlight) for more regular updates!
 
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Marquise*

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Awwww... Neat! @Chiara is working with you too! (Nice to get some of her news somehow. She is a great honest artist and makes nice visual treasures!)
 

The Stranger

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This looks beautiful! Is that woman stroking a giant, fluffy, bee? :D
 

Marquise*

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@Bricabrac HiHi... Poor her just answered on Steam a WHAT are you typing about? I haven't logged since last year kinda... All right, I sent my Chiara the interview link of your Chiara. (I was so sure they were both the same person, some elements of your game seems so much what she likes too do as working on characterization in a different palette. :3)
 

Bricabrac

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Devlog #6: Moving forward. Standing still.
"...the end."
"That's it? That story had no moral, what was the point?"
"Stories don't need a moral to have meaning."
"Ah, there it is."

@ASmallFiction
- - -

Works of fiction need to have a meaning. This is especially true for a game like Selling Sunlight, which doesn't have a strong overarching plot but lots of small intersecting storylines. Having a central theme helps with keeping the tone consistent, making the narrative more coherent and compelling.
Finding your game's theme means answering the most difficult question:
what is the game exactly about?

“BEES EVERYWHERE” is usually a good answer when in doubt, but this proved not to be the case.
Regrettably.


When Selling Sunlight was still "unnamed merchant simulator RPG" I tought our main theme was "the value of things".
How much is a man's life worth? How much are you willing to sacrifice for business?

Devlog6a.jpg

It was a pretty dark theme, now that I think of it.
(© Recettear: an Item Shop's Tale)

Working on the main storylines, I realized the game we were making wasn't really about money: we were using bartering as a way to connect with people - as an excuse for befriending other merchants and getting dragged into their personal storylines.
The main character is an outcast, forced to a life of never-ending wanderings. But by traveling, they can touch the lives of those who usually stand still, bringing a new point of view to people in need of a change.
Because in a word that stands still, you will have to move forward.
This is our new main theme.

devlog6bb.jpg

Speaking of our main character, their race is one of the main things you can personalize. Here we're experimenting with skin tones.
Do you feel they're diverse/representative enough? We'd like to hear your opinion!
(And yes, you can be a plant! Of course you can be a plant.)

Until next time, may the Sun shine on your path.
Hope you won't get burned.
 

Marquise*

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The sick one (green) seems pretty diverse! *joke* ;)
 

Bricabrac

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Devlog #7: New friends!

Hello!
During the last two months of development we have consolidated our team, saying goodbye to some occasional helpers and welcoming two paid freelancers that will be capable of giving more time and energy to the project. They are both incredible artists and have been working wonders! Let me introduce them to you.

ART
Lucy Kyriakidou (http://www.lucydoesart.co.uk/) is the artist now in charge of our character sprites. She somehow managed to translate our ramblings about elegance and Art Nouveau into this:

devlog7a.jpg

First sketches for the sprites.


She can also make people move. Pure wizardry, I tell you.

devlog7b.gif

Strut like a merchant.

Since her sprites are more wiry than our temporary assets, we decided to slightly enlarge all our backgrounds to avoid shrinking her art.
Combining everything together, we got this - and we’re all damn happy with the result.

devlog7cc.jpg

We hope you’ll like it as well.
Let us know!

MUSIC
We knew we needed a composer well-accustomed to strangeness for this game, and a name immediately sprang to mind: Devin Dilbert, composer of award-winning indie game Glitchhikers. We believe he’s very good, but judge by yourself: you can listen to his tracks - and buy them - on his Bandcamp page.

Glitchhikers-6.png

Glitchhikers is a game about driving during the night whilst trying to stay awake.
It’s good, it’s free and you can play it on Itch.


You’ll be able to hear one of Devin’s new tracks in the trailer we’re putting together! We’ll show it to you soon. Until then, may the Sun shine on your Path.
 

Bricabrac

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Sorry for the double post, just passing to spam a trailer:

We also have a date for our first demo: expect it this september!
 

Sonic123amy1

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This game looks extremely promising. You have my support good sir/ma'dam.
 

Bricabrac

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Devlog #8: oh, the places you'll go!

Chiara, our background artist, has finished painting the world map.
It's almost taller than her.

devlog8a.jpg

We're not joking.

In Selling Sunlight you're not an adventurer, but a merchant: exploration is not focused on discovering new places, but on deepening your knowledge of the routes you spend your life traversing.

devlog8c.jpg

Final result. Look at the cute cart Lucy made for us!

Some of the random events that happens while you travel are about discovering new locations, like a lake, a cave full of crystals or a small village. By putting a mark on the map, you will be able to revisit that place, slowly filling your usual travel routes with interesting spots only you know about.
Scanning the word map was also a good occasion to finish a dreadful task we’ve been putting off for too long: post-processing all the other backgrounds.
All our backgrounds are drawn on individual pieces of paper, so transforming them into actual maps you can walk on requires a fair bit of Photoshop wizardry.
First we make the collision maps, which are pictures that tell our engine where the characters can walk. To make one, we simply need to paint all the impassable areas red.

devlog8b.gif

You shall not pass on the red stuff.

Then we cut all the elements you can walk behind, like columns, tables etc. and save them in a separate level.
By mixing those three layers together (base layer, collision map, overlay level) we get a playable map you can explore.

Last but not least, a small news: we'll be showing our game during the Milan Games Week this September! If you're around, come say hi!
We're also in process to applying for other conventions like EGX and AdventureX. Fingers crossed!​
 

NPC

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My gods! How did I not see this before now?

This is visual ecstasy. I look forward to the release!
 

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