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Discussion in 'Ideas and Prototypes' started by AnairisQ, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. AnairisQ

    AnairisQ Love like you. Member

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    g h o s t .
    I'm currently working on a 2D RPG game titled Ghost. The tale is about Ghost, a young Guider born in a world of limbo whose purpose is to guide human souls to the End of The World. The game is entirely story-driven experience with puzzle solving elements.

    g a m e p l a y.
    Gameplay hasn’t been considered much, as the story-driven world of Ghost has made the game more of a VN in an RPG engine. The priority at this point is art and writing, as both are important parts of telling the story. But this game is still early in production even with the demo being worked on, so there’s plenty of time to brainstorm and figure out interesting mechanics. My vision is having this be a beautiful world with a story that can has themes that aren’t often touched on.

    dialogue trees, memory exploration, puzzle

    Without a doubt, there’ll be plenty of character interaction. As the player controls Ghost, a Guider whose purpose is to help people move on, the gameplay relies on dialogue trees. Ghost may expand dialogue trees as they explore an area, or speak to other characters. The added information can lead to different conversations, and may spark a revelation in the character.

    guidances

    As Ghost has not been shown how to do Guidances, he will not perform any throughout the course of the story. As he’s still a Guider, though, he’ll end up getting quite close without actually performing one. In one of the original drafts, Ghost would touch a lost soul and feel their death. That has changed so that if Ghost is learning more information about a soul, he’ll suddenly get glimpses of their past life. When first meeting a soul, he may get a glimpse of their life (demonstrated in a CG.) Ultimately, it leads up to Ghost learning the person’s circumstances up until they die. At that point, there’ll be a puzzle similar to Danganronpa where you piece everything together; though not so much in comic book format as a more aesthetically pleasing format. Most likely, the CGs will have a point and click element to it, and no other interaction other than that.

    I’m quite fond of the amount of interaction that Undertale portrays, and how dialogue changes based on the amount of times you interact with it. As Ghost is portrayed to the player as a mute character, I feel like it’s the best way to display his character when he’s not interacting with other characters.

    I’ve considered having each successful interaction with characters to be rewarded. There certainly needs to be a level of progression recognized, though at this moment I haven’t figured it. I'm hesitant to add battle or any RPG elements, mainly because I don't know how to implement it in a way that suits the story. Though I figured with every Guidance done, Ghost could have an easier time conversing with characters or perhaps be able to further resolve things. Ultimately, I don’t want gameplay to overrun the story too much, so I don’t wish to make things complicated. (which is complicated in RPGMaker, lol)

    t h e w o r l d
    o f l i m b o.
    Limbo is the world that the characters exist in. It’s a world between life and the afterlife, where souls that refuse to accept death dwell. Guiders help these souls move on through Guidances.

    Limbo is a small world. It only contains a forest, fields with flowers, a city, and an endless bottomless sea. It’s affected by weather and the seasons change periodically. Time seems to go by slowly. Above the land is the Kingdom of Skies, where the Sky King and angels dwell. Though no one’s ever seen them venture through the lands of Limbo. The angels are similar to Guiders where they are genderless, as they do not reproduce; though most like to claim pronouns. They’re similar to humans in that way.

    The End of the World is where souls move on, and where Guiders are delivered once born. The Forest is where Ghost was raised, in a small cozy house with Sil. The Fields, considered the city’s outskirts, is where a family of lost souls reside in solitude. The City is where most souls reside and lounge while they struggle with their regrets (or reject their deaths.) Some lost souls get especially cozy, like Avery and Raine, who spend every day in Avery’s Bar, serving drinks and singing. These souls are people who have never moved on. They’re content to stay in Limbo until the disappear, as souls can only reside for Limbo for so long.

    All the souls in Limbo can’t move on without a Guider. After Sil passes, Ghost is left with the responsibility to help the lost souls--though without knowing how to take on their role (and having a fear of embracing it), the souls cannot move on and remain within their routines. The souls are always people who have died or sometimes people who are on the brink of death.

    Guiders are delivered to the End of the World by a mysterious, beautiful bird that comes from the night sky. Each Guider is a descendant of Death, the first and only Reaper. Guiders are quite sensitive to the emotions of lost souls. If they touch a person, they can feel the lost soul’s death. It’s an experience that mostly occurs to new Guiders, and can be controlled once the Guider learns to control their abilities. When a new Guider is delivered, the previous Guider takes on the role of a mentor, teaching them all they can until it is time for the new Guider to replace the previous. The overlap depends on how experienced the new Guider becomes. Typically, the new and previous Guider will be on the same level by the time it is time for the old Guider to pass away. That said, Guiders can age.

    Guidances allow lost souls to move on. A Guider can perform a Guidance at any time. However, if the soul does not accept moving on and is forced to, then the abundance of negative energy from their regrets will flow into the Guider, and taint them until they are no longer a Guider. These Guiders are powerful and are driven to darkness, and are considered demons--Guiders who have followed Death’s path.

    The cloth Guiders are wrapped in when born stays with them forever. It can transform into whatever outfit reflects the Guider. It’s a magical cloth that reflects the soul, much like how people choose their own fashion. There’s no need to wash such the cloth, however. Similarly, Guiders have no gender. They can appear feminine or masculine. But as they don’t reproduce, they are genderless.

    The Kingdom of Skies resembles what one can call heaven. Yet no god reigns over Limbo. When souls began appearing in Limbo, the Sky King and the angels took residence in the skies, wishing solitude away from the society of lost souls that was beginning to grow. The Sky God and his angels are not human and have always been in Limbo, as well as the Guiders. They cannot die, unlike Guiders. They hold many records on the souls in Limbo and the history of the world. The oldest and most wisest of all the citizens in the Kingdom is the Sky King, who drove Death away from the world of Limbo after she began to devour Limbo and the King’s people. It is said that the Sky King’s defeat of Death led to her moving from the world of lost souls to the world of silence.


    c h a r a c t e r s.
    G H O S T
    The titular character and only playable character. Raised by Sil, Ghost grew up afraid of the outside world and new environments. They’re quite shy at times and are particularly attached to their caretaker, Sil, who they view as a parental figure. As a guider, their role in Limbo is to provide the lost souls of the world guidance to the End of the World through Guidances. But it’s a role he shies away from as his grows more and more vast, and his fears of it begin to increase.
    Ghost is presented to the player as a mute character, yet is perfectly understood by most characters in the game. They are expressive once they get past their coyness, and very observant, enjoying to speak to people after they become used to their presence. They can be very sassy, showing signs of sardonicism and gives vibes of judgment. Yet they’re very loyal to those that mean a lot to them. Though they can get attached to people very quickly; they’re quite empathetic that way.
    They are young and takes a form a child prince with medieval clothing. Their appearance stems from hearing Sil tell many medieval romance stories to them since they was born. Despite their disdain for romance (and particularly medieval romance), they still know that as home and as Sil.
    Ghost’s greatest fears are change and being alone. They likes things to be just as they were, like how they were growing up.

    J A I M E
    The companion and the best and first friend to Ghost. Jaime is a lost soul who recently arrived in Limbo. She has no recollection of her past life, unlike all of the other souls in Limbo, and seems to have no regrets to resolve. After meeting Ghost in a graveyard after they run away from Umbra and their home, she takes an interest in him and keeps him company.
    She’s an incredibly friendly child and is curious about everyone and everything. She’s quite loud and stubborn, and seems to constantly have a happy demeanor. She can occasionally get pouty, especially when treated like a child. And she can be quite expressive, too. She’s a silly and innocent character, with a sense of bravery that inspires Ghost. She can be quite sensitive to the emotions of others, noticing people feeling basic emotions (sadness, happiness; she normally groups negative feelings including anger within sadness.)
    Jaime can be a bit of prankster. Within the story, there’s a scene where Jaime draws a cat mouth on Ghost’s face. She laughs about it as Ghost wipes at it, though the marker gets on his arm and they freak out about it.
    She has a gap between her teeth, though she’s pretty alright with it. She also has messy hair, and dresses tomboyish (almost to the point that she could pass as both a girl and boy. She doesn’t have issues being called either, though.)
    Memories come to her over the course of the story. She’ll casually remembers things from her previous life. She has a little brother that she’s very protective with, and has a big sister complex. Some of that protectiveness in projected onto Ghost. She tries to be a good sibling, friend, and daughter to the point that she can burn herself out and get overwhelmed.
    She hides whenever she feels sad, though can express herself when she’s at a breaking point or when asked. She apologizes when she comes off as negative.

    M I K H A I L
    An angel-in-training from the Kingdom of the Skies. He’s the youngest angel in his kingdom, and is often treated as a child by the Knights. He has a lifelong dream to become a Knight and serve the Sky King directly, though the kingdom makes it hard for him to succeed quickly. He’s stuck in handling records. While he hates the position, he enjoys the work. He’s quite knowledgeable about the history of Limbo, spending more time reading through records and less time organizing them.
    He’s an angel without wings, meaning he depends on sky magic to get around. He never leaves the kingdom until he hears of Sil’s death and the Sky King’s concerns about missing knights and having no active Guider. Mikhail leaves the Kingdom of Skies to find Ghost, believing that delivering Ghost to the Sky King will help him get in the Sky King’s favor. But as he tracks down Ghost, he comes across the damage caused by Umbra. The world of Limbo is changing, begin to wilt as its tainted with darkness. Time is frozen, and everything is cold. He comes across the missing knights and quickly ventures back to tell the Sky King. He arrives in the City and rests for a bit, only to begin to sense the presence of a Guider. He finds Ghost and Jaime in Avery’s Bar, and escorts them to the Kingdom of Skies. At that point, he’s officially a part of the party.
    Mikhail can be quite hotheaded. As he tries to prove he’s worthy of being a Knight, he exaggerates his maturity and demands respect. He can be haughty and comes off as quite irritable. Though his haughtiness stems from a fear of failing. He’s been an angel-in-training for so long, and he’s the only one the kingdom has. He’s afraid he won’t make it.
    His name is pronounced Michael, though he’s quick to correct that it’s spelled ‘Mikhael.’
    He’s very full of determination and despite his bratty characteristics, he’s really just an angel wanting a friend.
    S I L
    The current Guider of Limbo and the parental figure to Ghost. Sil is an interesting individual who lived a peaceful life tending to their garden and handling Guidances until Ghost came along. They’ve expressed nothing but patience towards lost souls, giving them the opportunity to come to terms with their death on their own. In fact, they’ve never done a Guidance any other way.
    Their previous mentor, Grim, is one that they do not talk about. They are very attached to Ghost and look after them well, wanting nothing but the best for them. They have an awkward sense of humor and tend to find amusement in their own jokes, although they’re often only good to them. They’re quite terrible at coming up with names.
    They love medieval romances, and can be quite deadpan sometimes (something that they’ve unfortunately handed over to Ghost.) Nevertheless, they are kind and gentle. They come off as quite maternal.
    But their time with Ghost only lasts so long.


    U M B R A

    An evil presence who murders Sil. Seemingly made of darkness, it’s a twisted, disjointed figure that does not look like anything else in the world of Limbo. It doesn’t speak, and can spend quite some time taking in the world around it. Though once it begins moving, it moves horrifyingly quickly.
    After Umbra’s first appearance in Ghost’s household, it begins to go through the land. As it ventures forward, it devours the land so that its beauty is stolen by death and decay. Umbra's powers makes it seem like a reaper of death. Though its powers seem to have a timeless effect (frozen.) Time, age, space--almost like you're looking into a dark snowglobe with no animate parts, but still pretty to look at. You know it's not right, or humane. But you can't help but admire it.
    There’s not much else that’s known about Umbra. Why has it appeared so suddenly? And why is it devouring everything?

    A V E R Y
    The owner of the only bar in the City. She runs the bar all day and night, sitting behind the counter. When she’s not taking orders, she’s cleaning the glasses thoroughly. She’s often doing it, as she hates messes and can be quite particular about how clean her bar should be. Whenever someone causes a ruckus and begins destroying things, she gets intimidatingly angry and personally throws out the patron. She’s quite a strong lady that nobody should get in a fight with, as she stands her ground.
    She wears a plaid jacket over her tank tops; usually purple plaid over black. She has blond hair and is very womanly with a mature demeanor. She’s mellow, and teases often. But she takes no one’s sheep. Otherwise, she can be quite sarcastic. To most patrons, particularly those that annoy her, she can come off as deadpan and sardonic.
    She likes Raine, but she feels she doesn’t want her. And she feels like it’s too late. But perhaps things are more complicated than that.
    Avery has a soft spot for kids, and gets along with them really well. She knows how to get them engaged, and treats them like adults for the most part. Jaime views her highly, and Avery always gets her juice on the house. She thinks she’s cute.


    R A I N E (H A L S I E)

    The singer at Avery’s jazz-themed bar. Raine sings a few songs under the stage name Halsie, and performs every night. She lounges in the bar past midnight, sitting by herself in a booth while drinking and sitting in silence. She doesn’t drink alcohol, just a lot of water that she puts in wine glasses. All her original songs, she puts pure emotion into her singing. Sometimes, it seems as though she’s experiencing a great sadness.
    She’s quiet, never loud as she wants to preserve her voice. She isn’t very expressive, and has a very graceful feel to her. She’s calm and sweet, and spends a lot of time by herself. She has a melancholic sort of presence, yet it a type of melancholy that’s beautiful to look at.
    She is very perceptive. She notices how close Ghost is with Jaime, and notes how much they like her. Though she recognizes it as a platonic sort of love.
    Her fashion is very 1920s, yet the colors she wears is dark; and she’s from a later age than that. When performing, the stage lighting is blue and purple. She’s a romantic and always enjoys hearing about love. She really likes Avery, and used to be close with her. But things changed.
    Raine always wanted to be an actress. Only Avery is aware, as Raine never talks to anyone about her past. It seems to cause her a lot of pain.
    Her theme is a vocal variation of the song George plays.

    S K Y K I N G
    The king of the Kingdom of the Skies. No one knows anything about him; the only thing the angels know are tales from history, and how he drove Death away from Limbo. But the Knights seem to function on his orders.
    From what the tales say, he is kind and just. The most important thing to him is the safety and happiness of his people.

    T H A M S F A M I L Y
    A big family that lives in the outskirts of the City. They’ve been there the longest out of all the souls under the generosity of Sil. They died in a house fire, and brought the house with them to Limbo. They can’t bring themselves to separate the family, considering everyone’s closeness. Sil lets them live there in the world for as long as they’re happy; but their time is beginning to run out.

    GEORGE THAMS
    10 years old. He plays the piano. He’s very thoughtful and loves music. He has philosophical views and is mature for his age. He doesn’t smile often, though seems to be happiest when playing the piano. He wears glasses.
    He improvises all his music. Such as this song composed by Jeremiah George.

    t h e m e s.
    DEATH
    One of Ghost’s fears is endings. They don’t enjoy when things end, which connects to a fear of death. But as they travel through the world of Limbo, Ghost comes across other lost souls that dwell there. They learn their stories, their hopes and dreams, and their despairs. He learns how they died, and how much they lost from it. They begin to learn that death is inevitable and cruel. But no matter how long your time living is, it’s still precious and amazing. Death doesn’t change that.
    FEAR
    One of Ghost’s inner conflicts is his fear. He’s afraid to be alone. He’s afraid of the rest of the world. He’s afraid of change. He’s afraid of endings. He likes things to just as they were, like how they were growing up. And the shift being having a parent to losing them frightens him more than they can imagine. As Ghost discovers more fears and anxieties regarding himself, the worst the condition of his world gets. He eventually has to learn to love his fear; embrace it so he can finally be at peace. You can only let yourself live in fear so long. How can you grow if you’re afraid?

    CHANGE
    Everything changes. Even things you thought would last forever. It’s scary, and it’ll make you cry and wish for the power to make everything stop and reverse. But you have to let yourself understand the temporariness of life, and embrace that change. If you don’t, your fear will devour you until there’s nothing left. Change is essential fo everyone’s growth--which is why you have to grow to love change.
    There’s such heavy themes covered here despite the story’s initial impression (especially in the prologue.) Suicide, depression, trauma, sexuality conflicts, death, existentialism. I guess I find it interesting to explore those sort of topics. Though this is definitely a piece that explores and tries to come to terms with it all. Not so much in a straightforward “here’s a solution” way--just a way that suits the characters. And I hope that maybe the players who play this can come to their own terms on the topics, too.

    i m a g e s.
    Danieru was artist for a little while, but decided to leave the project. I'd like to look into other artists, but at the moment I'm focusing on establishing some kind of prototype with placeholder work.

    [​IMG]
    (Danieru)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (Ghost Art by Danieru)
    [​IMG]
    George Piano Playing Animation
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And yeah! I've been working on a prototype using a scene involving George, but I feel like it's not a true prototype since the scene doesn't utilize the mechanics I'm considering. I'm super new to gamedev so any advice on gameplay and how to handle a prototype for something like this would be great!

    Thanks for your time!
     
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  2. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @AnairisQ , thank you for your game's details with me. Your storylines/themes and the game mechanics sound good. I think your game going to be successful.
     
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  3. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    You seem to know what you're doing with this, and each character seems to have a good reason for existing in the story elements of the game.

    So you plan not to have any combat battles in this game, but you want heavy focus on exploring around different maps and puzzles? That does sound fun with the story you've presented here. I agree, if your good with custom art that is, then combining art with the story is an exellent idea.

    If you want any ideas on how to add combat, (not saying you should nor shouldn't) you could perhaps create an element where ghost can recruit something. Like souls or memorises or creatures or cards or another object and they either become "party members" or a single member, meaning Ghost's, skills and equipment. Just a possible idea on how it could be done.

    I can see this working with and without a combat system, as long as the exploring aspect is done well with the story and art.
     
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  4. Jayje

    Jayje The First Maker Veteran

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    Definitely a cool idea. I'll be waiting to see how you progress with it.
     
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  5. AnairisQ

    AnairisQ Love like you. Member

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    Oh jeez, thank you so much, Kupo! I'm working hard to make it work in my eyes, so I'm glad it's working so far for you.

    Thank you! I'm working on improving my pixel art abilities, but right now I feel like custom art is getting outsourced. Since my last artist left, I'm focusing on finishing a prototype and then looking into finding artists again.

    Hmm, a sort of Owlboy mechanic? I've been playing that game recently, and it's been making me think about the storytelling and gameplay mechanics of Ghost. The MC in it is similarly mute and technically has no abilities but his party members do. Considering the permanent party members I have in mind for Ghost, I think that same idea could work.

    But having souls/memories become essentially summons might prove to be a strong incentive for developing relationships with characters in the first place. Maybe if there are encounters with creatures of Umbra, they can be 'guided' and also used as an ability. Or maybe the creatures are already souls of humans, so they can be added characters with backstory? I'll think more on that and how I'll use it. Thank you for the idea, Atoms!

    Thank you, Jayje!
     
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