RMMV Disorder - A story about invisible illness

Discussion in 'Games In Development' started by Noddah, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    [​IMG]
    "You came here on your own free will, Noddah.
    And by my will, you are bound to stay a while longer."​
    -Disorder​




    What is the Project Disorder about and why
    Essentially, it is an explorative puzzled-based RPG Maker horror game, inspired by the thematic of mental and invisible illness.
    Although it pokes on quite a delicate subject, the importance of discussing it in a positive approach gets more evident by the day. Underlooked as it is, 20% of youth ages 13-18 today live with a mental condition according to NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), being aware of it or not. Although there are plenty of statistics showing how many lives are impaired or taken away with every passing day by invisible illness, it still passes by a vast amount of people just as the label implies: invisible.
    I, myself, as the idealizer of the project, have lived in close contact with these kinds of issues. At first, dealing with very close friends and family who suffered from it, but it was only after I felt it on my own skin that I was able to perceive the gravity of it.
    Apart from my personal experiences, I currently live in São Paulo, which is statistically the city with the higher suicide-rate in latin-America and yet showing a rising ratio of more than 30% within the last three years.
    Of course, I believe that this number shouldn't be as high if our culture didn't teach us to overlook early symptoms and treat them as "drama", as I heard enough times for me to decide to stand up against it.
    The Project Disorder plans to approach through its characters and narrative, a rather light way of metaphorically describing mental illness and how to overcome it. The goal is to reach people who suffer from it and tell them "hey, you are not alone and you can do this", as much as I want to reach those who can't understand it and tell them how real it is.

    Plot overview
    "Please, just let me sleep already." ~ Noddah
    Without memories of the last week, the protagonist, Noddah, wakes up trapped in a familiar room, in an unfamiliar and enormous house, which she is not allowed to leave. With plenty of questions to be asked and no answers to be given, the only thing she can be assured of is that she is not alone.
    In a house inhabited by ghosts and people taken as its hostages, where the line between life and death is a very thin one, it's difficult to tell how much of a hostile environment that is. But in order to find out what that place is, what brought everyone there and what they have in common, first, it has to be decided who and what to be trusted.

    Would they be able to perceive that what lies beyond the afterlife carries a much worse fate?
    Would they be able to perceive that in order to survive, first, one has to carry the desire to live?

    OBS: Every character, except for one, suffers from a different kind of mental illness. Although it will be quite evident in-game that they struggle to deal with their inner beings, I don't plan to explicitly point out what disorder each character have in order to avoid stereotyping. In real life, invisible illness can sometimes be very subtle and sometimes not, which can make difficult for people to realize it's there. Sometimes it blends just as seamlessly as any normal person.

    Screenshots and miscelaneous art
    SCREENSHOT - Noddah waking up
    [​IMG]
    SCREENSHOT - Inside the diary
    [​IMG]
    SCREENSHOT - OwO What's this?
    [​IMG]
    SCREENSHOT - Puzzling Poems
    [​IMG]
    SCREENSHOT - Outside the house
    [​IMG]
    SCREENSHOT - Conversation example
    [​IMG]
    ILLUSTRATION - Character creation process: Kay
    [​IMG]
    ILLUSTRATION - Character creation process: Autumn
    [​IMG]

    Game inspirations and references
    Some of the games that most inspired me to get into the RPG-Maker horror genre are Witch's House, Ib and Blank Dream. Witch's House's lore is greatly described in the book The Diary of Ellen, while Blank Dream can be fully enjoyed through the game itself and also brings up the subject of suicide and love towards life. Although the Zero Escape series is not a RPG, it plays a big role in my inspiration as well as it brings up the 'escape the room' mechanics, plays with timelines and is very thought-provoking.

    Checklist and Current Progress
    In order to keep the project organized and keep track of how much effort it will take to reach the end, I've set a basic checklist that lists the MINIMUM requirements for the game to be called done and be released into the public:
    -Storyflow script
    [√] Prologue: The Awakening
    [ ]Chapter 1: Sleepless
    [ ]Chapter 2: Burning Spirits
    [ ]Chapter 3: Flowering Night
    [ ]Chapter 4: Dancing on Thin Ice
    [ ]Chapter 5: A Soul Divided
    [ ]Ending: The Outside

    -Characters Illustrations
    Each character has a set of 8 expression poses to be used during conversations.

    Although every character listed below already has its concept art designed, the list marks the in-game sprites.
    [√]Noddah (Will be redrawn, but not redesigned)
    [√]Autumn
    [√]Kay
    [ ]Armin (May be redesigned)
    [ ]Samantha
    [ ]Angie
    [√]Disorder
    This list may be extended in later dates to fit the game's requirements as it progresses.

    -Pixel Art
    The pixel art carries a minimalist style and uses a lot of RTP paint-overs.
    Since I want the game to look original and there's a lot of different rooms which will all contain its different assets, here's a general overview of what rooms need to be decorated along with the characters. So far I've been doing the animations according to immediate needs as I wrote the script, but later on I'll improve this topic's checklist organization.
    [√]Noddah
    [√]Disorder
    [√]Autumn
    [ ]Kay
    [ ]Armin
    [ ]Samantha
    [ ]Angie
    [√]Noddah's Room
    [√]Corridor (GF)
    [ ]Corridor (1F)
    [√]Corridor (2F)
    [√]Elevator
    [√]Stairs
    [√]Reception
    [ ]Admnistrative area
    [ ]Main attendance
    [ ]Doctor's office
    [ ]X-ray room
    [ ]Small toilet
    [ ]Kitchen
    [ ]Refectory
    [ ]Medicine storage
    [ ]Laundry
    [ ]Room 1
    [ ]Room 2
    [ ]Room 3
    [ ]Room 4
    [ ]Room 5
    [ ]Surgery room
    [ ]Public bathroom
    [ ]Waiting room
    [ ]Games room
    [ ]Library
    [ ]Music room
    [ ]Terrace
    [ ]Garden
    [ ]Main basement
    [ ]Electricity room
    [ ]Officine
    [ ]Storage
    This list may be extended in later dates to fit the game's requirements as it progresses.

    -Music
    -PROLOGUE- The Awakening
    [ ]1-Bipolar (Intro theme and trailer) - Composed but not recorded
    [ ]2-Stay asleep (Noddah's room theme)
    [ ]3-Hostile environment (Exploring the house)
    [ ]4-Twisted intent (Disorder's theme) - Composed but not recorded
    -CHAPTER 1: Sleepless
    [ ]5-Insomnia (Autumn's theme)
    This list will be extended in later dates to fit the game's requirements as it progresses.

    -Current placeholders to be fixed
    -Remake Noddah's conversation sprites and fix anatomy
    -Fix ambient lighting and atmosphere
    -Fix Item icons
    -Compose music tracks 1 - 4
    -Title screen illustration
    -Design game logo
    -Replace the following sound effects: Open Curtain; New Item;
    -Fix menu interface
    This list regards placeholders in chapters listed as completed.

    Last updates:
    08/31/2018 - Creating this thread

    I want to test!
    Here's the download link:
    https://1drv.ms/f/s!Al45ux049lwckCxjsKRgwVllM6ju
    So far it includes just the prologue with a lot of placeholders.

    I could do better!
    See something you don't like or simply found ways in which the project could grow better? I am 100% open to constructive criticism! Whether it is on art, gameplay mechanics or even meaningful experiences that you have on the mental illness subject and would like to share to improve the storytelling!
    Feel free to comment or just message me wherever you see room for improvement!

    So, that's it for now. Please mind that I'll be constantly editing this post with new content in the tabs as the game progresses. If you are interested in seeing what's happening, I'll be keeping track of it inside the "Checklist and Current Progress" spoiler tab. Check there for "last updates" for that will help to keep things organized.

    Thank you so much for the attention and I hope to be able to give you the best I can once this is all over. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
    #1
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  2. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    Just updated the link for downloading the test-project.
    Also, I just reviewed the recruitment policies, so if you think you'd be able to help with any aspect of the game that could be improven, feel free to message me so we can talk about it!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  3. Kwerty

    Kwerty Veteran Veteran

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    In your screenshot (outside the house)

    There isn’t a lot going on here, perhaps you could add some plants or trees or something to fill up the scene.

    You have some nice characters which if used I could be interested in learning more about their story.

    I really like the concept (senuas sacrifice got a lot of PR from exploring such things).

    I feel you just need a bit more love to your ingame graphics and your project thread (everything is hidden in spoilers) to get more attention to this game.

    Best of luck with your project.
     
    #3
  4. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    I can't help but think the "you wake up with no memory" trope is kind of a lazy approach.
    while you might have a good story *behind* it, that beginning alone could be kind of a deterrent in and of itself.

    if you really want to portray mental disorders and how they evolve, watch the movies "Requiem For A Dream" and "Beautiful Mind", they do a great job at showing mental breakdown (from the beginning stage of not-broken-down mind! which is where you should start from!)
    and, for a look into how *characters with different disorders* interact, I believe "Silent Hill 2" does a great job at it, your character is in his own broken-down mind universe, surrounded by other characters *in their own broken-down reality*, which you can't see, only get to imagine through their dialogue.

    BUG: back to bed, wake up, check below the bed -> stuck in a parallel loop.
    check the bed event.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  5. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    @Kwerty Thanks so much for the feedback!
    I can agree that the in-game graphics are still rather raw. So far I've been producing alone and worried more about learning to program than to polish the graphics, but once it grow a bit more, I plan to put some atmospherical lightning and polish all of the decoration!
    I'll do my best so the characters personalities get well explored :)
     
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  6. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    @gstv87 I understand. I don't know if I'll be able to change this beginning without messing too much with what happens later on, but I'll definitely keep that in mind and try to watch those movies as soon as I can!

    Also, thanks for bringing that bug to my attention! Gonna fix that up right now! :)
     
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  7. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    (by Silent Hill 2 I mean the game, not the movie..... do play the game.... stay away from the movie..... no, really, stay away from it.)
     
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  8. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    @gstv87 I'm having trouble locating how you can get stuck in a paralel loop within the bed. I tested it again and it seemed to work as intended.
    Could you give me more details?
    (Mind that she takes 15 seconds sleeping before the game's first text comes in)
     
    #8
  9. hiddenone

    hiddenone Lurker Extraordinaire Moderator

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    I gave your demo a try. I want to see more of this game and how it grows, so I've got some feedback to hopefully improve things.
    I'll be skipping over commenting on the story, since what was shown in the demo mostly works. I do want to suggest finding an editor to help with the writing though, as there were spelling mistakes ('pacient' in the newspaper) and odd phrases (like "I can't remember nothing special", which was quite different from how Noddah talks the rest of the time) that I assume are from English not being your native tongue. Also, you mention the demo being the Epilogue, but I think you mean Prologue (unless I really misunderstood what was going on). I don't think it's something to really stress over but since dialogue seems like it'll be important then getting things polished early will be helpful.

    For some reason everything is a bit blurry when I was playing, which is a shame since you're going for a pixel style. I have no idea why this is the case (I've never seen this in any other games I've tried so I don't think it's my computer), but you may want to look into if you're using any plugins that could be affecting it.
    comparison.png

    I got stuck early on when I was trying to reach under the bed. I had the hanger, but nothing happened when I was trying to interact with the bed from the bottom. Eventually I realized that I had to interact from the side, but it would make more sense if it worked for both the bottom or side.

    Using a second actor to let you do word passwords is clever, but having it in the party can lead to some oddities (such as 'Dude the Hero' in my playthrough). You can still change the actor's name even if it's not in the party, so feel free to remove it. :)
    renamed character.png
    I agree with Kwerty that the outside is pretty empty, some plants would be nice. But I think that you could do more with the screen to show how Noddah's mood is getting worse as she walks down the path. You could slowly tint the screen so it's less colorful, and you could even limit the visibility around the player (either with pictures or a plugin) until it's focused on only Noddah, until the ghost snaps her out of it. Shouldn't be as rough as my quick example, but I hope it helps show what I mean. Affecting the whole screen as well as slowing down her movement could really add to the scene.
    gloom-ex.gif

    Some minor quality of life things for your players:
    • Keep things consistent. Interacting with the Diary the first time relies on hitting spacebar to turn the page, but from the menu the player has to use the arrow keys which could lead to some confusion for players who don't realize it changed (or at least for me :rswt)
    • Change the items Scope to 'None', so that the player doesn't have to select someone to use it on. Common events will just play automatically
    • Get rid of the 'Weapons' and 'Armor' groups in your item menu, as I bet you're not gonna be using them. There should be plugins that let you do that (or you could just edit the rpg_windows file, but that's really not the best option)
    I liked the flower puzzle shown, though I do hope the puzzles get a bit more complicated and interesting later on in the game (and not just rely on finding an item and then using it) and I'm curious to see more. I'll be keeping an eye on this, but there's still a lot you can do to improve and polish the game, so good luck!
     
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  10. Noddah

    Noddah An Emotional Skycrapper Member

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    @hiddenone , thank you so much for your feedback!
    You brought to attention some points that are indeed very important!
    Some of them such as the extra things in the menu or the "ghost password character" are just details that I don't know how to deal with YET since I'm still learning about RPGMV, but will definitely look into it as soon as I can. We are also searching for someone who can review the grammar in future stages.
    For the visuals, I'll do my best to make it as good looking as I can! I'll try to figure out the blurry pixels issue, and will definitely implement your idea about the atmospheric lightning! I'm already searching for plugins that can do the job such as terrax lightning for this one.
    Feel free to point out whatever you feel like can be changed, constructive feedback is always welcome! :)
    Thanks and, hopefully, we will do our best to make the best game we can! ;)
     
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