RMMV New hand drawn Kawaii Game - The Isle of Bobbin

Ihavenoskin

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The Isle of Bobbin


ABOUT
Survive and chill in this cute, organic, fabric adventure game.

Madeline's husband went to the 'Isle of Bobbin' on an adventure but never returned; leaving her life behind her, and she sets off to find him.

Features:

  • Cute fabric style artwork
  • Explore the beautiful Isle of Bobbin
  • Survive by collecting and crafting hundreds of recipes and items
  • Decorate your home in many styles, and with the furniture, you build in the workshop
  • Grow fresh organic food in your garden or forage for wild food in the woods
  • Meet the fantastic cast of eccentric islanders, help them with their quirky daily lives
  • Go out on the town and see a show at the theatre, work a shift in the cafe or teach a lesson in the school, who knows what will happen!
  • Celebrate the seasons as they change from Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

This game contains no meat products, no money, no violence, no religious iconography! Just fun.

This adventure specifically started over 1 year ago, but have to say that it really started since childhood, and what we believe makes our game so unique.

Ok, so let's start with the basic premise of the game. You play as Madeline, a bunny who is married to a famous journalist and adventurer. One day she sets off on an assignment to a mysterious island called the 'Isle of Bobbin' to report back on its inhabitants and history.

Madeline waits for 4 seasons, but he never returns; not being the type of bunny to wait until it's too late; Madeline leaves their home behind and sets off to the Isle herself in search of her husband.

So, pretty simple stuff really. But what makes this game different from most other survival, stuck on an island game... for me it's about the meaning behind the game and the way the game feels.

What we're trying to do with this game is create a need to explore but also relax at the same time, survival and relaxation are seldom in the same sentence, and it's getting this balance right that we feel makes the difference. More about that to follow, but we wanted to quickly go over the art style.

As you can see from the screenshots, it's like fabric sewn together with a colourful bonanza. We only began to take drawing at all seriously in the last year, and we tried many different styles to get to this point.

So what can you do in this game?

First of all, we wanted the player to be able to forage for food and then cook it. So we began to plan out many ideas for recipes for things like Apple Pies, Vegetable Salads or Mushroom Soup. Then we could reverse engineer these to know what types of vegetables or fruit the player would find. We took all these recipes and programmed a way of having a cooker which would use a plugin to create a crafting/cooking system. It's easy stuff but hard work to research all these recipes and create the hundreds of in-game items.

Now we had a way of replenishing health how would the player lose it?

This was going to be a big part of the game. We wanted the player while exploring, would gradually lose health when either interacting with the environment or moving across maps.

So again... how do you do this and not make the game a time-pressured panic attack? We still want the player to relax... and we wanted to promote a sense of freedom and choice within the game. One way we've got around this is to not use an in-game timer which is counting the seconds the player is playing and decrease the health but to have the player loose health only when moving from one map to the other - this way we could easily balance the amount you lose vs the amount of time the player moves from one map to the next. Also, this gives the player control over deciding to move from one map to the next... for instance we wanted the player to be able to think "should I move on, or is it time to sleep or eat another meal?"

In terms of game design, this gives a player choice and promotes freedom but within the boundaries that the developer can set.

This tied in nicely with the time system - this system also is linked to map movements, move to a map it's plus one to the in-game clock... stay on a map, time standstill. We know this might sound awkward at first, but we didn't want to have the player feel like time is slipping away. This is bad enough in real life, let alone when you're trying to play a game! (And let more time slip away).

So that covers off a few of the mechanics of the Isle of Bobbin; there are many more things we could cover here however please keep reading/watching for more on the development of this game.

Take a look at the screenshots and our trailer below. I'd love to know what you think!

Feel free to follow the progress on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter etc.

IMAGES/SCREENSHOTS/TRAILER


Here is the main character Madeline


Here is a small number of the cast of The Isle of Bobbin



Its Autumn!


And here is Summer/Spring


A cold Winter night on the farm


And even colder days!




Find out the word on the street from the eccentric characters of the Isle of Bobbin

Good luck on the Journey when the time comes...
 

Ihavenoskin

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I love the craftbook art style, really charming.
(After watching Happy Tree Friends I get suspicious of cute and innocent looking media haha :p )
Thanks so much. It was tempting to go down that route but I’m keeping this one a happy game :)
 

ex0rc1sm

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Thanks so much. It was tempting to go down that route but I’m keeping this one a happy game :)
Yeah, I think the happy & sentimental tone really compliments the art :)
(although the contrast between cute and disturbing can be really entertaining haha)
 

Ihavenoskin

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Yeah, I think the happy & sentimental tone really compliments the art :)
(although the contrast between cute and disturbing can be really entertaining haha)
I’m glad that’s coming across :)
 

BlueMage

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It look pretty cute
 

Treynor

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This is lovely. It looks like a children's book.
 

Wavelength

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Looks so adorable! And it sounds like there are some interesting mechanics at play, too.

I notice there are bars for hunger, thirst, and energy; you also draw a parallel to other survival games in the description. However, you also mention you don't want the game to feel overly stressful, and the interaction with other friendly islanders (as well as the emphasis on cooking) make me feel like maybe this is less of a survival game and more of a Harvest Moon-esque RPG with more of a goal and narrative.

In that line of thought - Do you have a very clear idea about what kind of game are you trying to make? Where is the bulk of the game's challenge going to come from? What are some of the biggest "high moments" your player will feel, and do each of your mechanics contribute to creating those high moments? What happens to the player if their Hunger/Thirst fall to zero? Is it possible you are trying too hard to shoehorn in foraging mechanics to a game that doesn't really need them, and the walking around and managing these basic survival needs will just become boring (because they are pretty easily managed but don't really "move the game forward")?

I recommend you ask yourself these questions and similar ones, and think long and hard about their answers. Between the artwork and the general concept of the game, I believe you have a potentially brilliant game in the works here, but you have to nail the game design as well if it's going to become brilliant. For example, looking at the screenshot of the town, it really doesn't look like the kind of atmosphere I'd expect characters to starve or die of thirst. So if avoiding death (or other 'failure states') is the purpose of foraging and cooking, it's worth thinking through maybe reworking some of the mechanics. For example, maybe cooking certain foods is how you gain the trust/friendship of some of these eccentric residents, and their help is somehow needed in completing your journey and finding Madeline's missing husband. Then it feels like each ingredient you find is helping move the game forward, instead of walking on a treadmill to preserve your basic needs.

Feel free to PM me (or @ me in this topic) if you'd like any more advice, or if you'd like me to playtest an Alpha version for you.
 

Ihavenoskin

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Looks so adorable! And it sounds like there are some interesting mechanics at play, too.

I notice there are bars for hunger, thirst, and energy; you also draw a parallel to other survival games in the description. However, you also mention you don't want the game to feel overly stressful, and the interaction with other friendly islanders (as well as the emphasis on cooking) make me feel like maybe this is less of a survival game and more of a Harvest Moon-esque RPG with more of a goal and narrative.

In that line of thought - Do you have a very clear idea about what kind of game are you trying to make? Where is the bulk of the game's challenge going to come from? What are some of the biggest "high moments" your player will feel, and do each of your mechanics contribute to creating those high moments? What happens to the player if their Hunger/Thirst fall to zero? Is it possible you are trying too hard to shoehorn in foraging mechanics to a game that doesn't really need them, and the walking around and managing these basic survival needs will just become boring (because they are pretty easily managed but don't really "move the game forward")?
Thanks so much for taking you time to write this, Also you’re 100% spot on about the clash of 2 game styles/mechanics. It’s a juxtaposition that actually led to the game being created as I believe I can crack this and actually make it possible to Survive and Chill.

Answers to your questions below:

In that line of thought - Do you have a very clear idea about what kind of game are you trying to make? Yes, I promise I do. It’s the conundrum which is moving this project forward and the blend of two opposing game mechanics which will hopefully make the game unique

Where is the bulk of the game's challenge going to come from?
The challenge is up to the player maybe one day you want to garden, work in the cafe, go exploring, foraging or whatever you like. The overall challenge will be to find your missing husband - or forget about him and enjoy your day lol

What are some of the biggest "high moments" your player will feel, and do each of your mechanics contribute to creating those high moments?
Finding that costume you wanted, seeing families brought back together, helping an insecure squirrel overcome their fears, finally climbing that huge mountain in the background of the game, finding your husband and many many more things. Hopefully the player will get small highs through achieving daily tasks they choose and then bigger ones as they progress.

What happens to the player if their Hunger/Thirst fall to zero?
You’re clever; this question is key to balancing the two styles. The answer is you go home, you don’t die.

Is it possible you are trying too hard to shoehorn in foraging mechanics to a game that doesn't really need them, and the walking around and managing these basic survival needs will just become boring (because they are pretty easily managed but don't really "move the game forward")?
No, well at least I hope not. This is massively important to me as you know if this game becomes about checking your health every 5 mins then why bother! But also I want people to get that great feeling when they can finally make the apple pie that gives them the most return on hunger vs, time foraging, or be able to plan their day ahead of time. One thing for sure, the survival elements are in the background but remind the player to move on and make the most of their day. If it’s too many mechanics I’ll pull them out; but this game has been carefully planned to be this way - but I’m not afraid to change it if we need too.

Edit - sorry, one thing that’s very key to your questions is that health, hunger, thirst doesn’t link to the timer but only to each action you take. So this puts the pressure of depleting bars on player choice and not how quickly you can do things before the timers run out - this is very important as it diffuses the panic at the start of each day.


Thanks so much for your kind words and support. You’re obviously a game designer with your ability to see the issuing I’m facing - but hopefully you’ll understand this is what drives me forward.
 
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Wavelength

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First of all, thanks for the kind, heartfelt compliments. I really appreciate them. Second of all, after reading your responses, I feel a lot more confident that you've already asked yourself a lot of the right questions (and will continue to do so). You seem to have a pretty sharp focus on what kind of experience you want to offer your player, and as long as you line up the mechanics (and tone) with that experience, I agree with you that you'll be able to bring together these apparently clashing genres into a great game. :)

It sounds like your hunger/thirst/energy are essentially a triad of "stamina systems" that limit how much you can do (or better yet, how far you can go physically/geographically, if traveling requires "actions") in a day, rather than slowly inching you closer to a failure scenario. I'm glad that's the case! It was the dynamic I was most worried about, and thankfully the fear was mostly unfounded.

I think your biggest design challenge, then, will be finding ways to make all of the different things you can find/forage/make/befriend useful, or at least "cool" enough to have that the player doesn't mind that it isn't that useful. And I trust you'll be able to do that.

Wishing you all the best with your game dev, and once again PM me or whatever if you ever feel like talking design!
 

Ihavenoskin

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Wishing you all the best with your game dev, and once again PM me or whatever if you ever feel like talking design!
So glad to have met you and thanks so much. I completely agree with you; if it’s not working out then I definitely need to refocus and I’m happy to make changes. I’ll defiantly be coming your way for help in the near future as we are clearly aligned on how this game should work. Have a great day :)
 

Ihavenoskin

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This game looks freakin' adorable. Any time frame on a release or a demo?
Thanks! It’s so appreciated!

Demo - Not yet, there will be something but I’m not quiet sure when.

Release is the end of 2020.
 

Ihavenoskin

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Hey, just wanted to show off the stand at GamesCon Middle East - complete with hand made versions of the trees and sky from the game :)

We got some good feedback so far from the people trying out the game which is great!
 

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