RMMV Wonder Language : an educational RPG

Do you consider RPG gaming helped you learning English?


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jobar

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Hi everybody! I am here to present a project on which I have been working on my spare time for the last few months. It is an educational game. I am working on a demo and hope to gather a little bit a money to complete the game.


  • Synopsis - Wonder Language: The language learning RPG

Wonder Language is an educational game that aims to help the player to learn a new language. The first version will be made for English speakers who intend to learn French. In the future, I hope to adapt the game to teach other languages.

The player is immerged in a world where most of the NPCs speak only French. He will need to progress through the story by making friends with the locals and fighting using his language skills.


  • Genesis

English is not my mother tongue, French is. I consider the video games, and especially JRPGs, have greatly contributed to my practice of English during my teenage years. I believe it must be the same for most of the non-native English speakers on this forum.

I believe that RPG storytelling elements can be a great motivation to make progress in understanding a language. The use of multiple items and equipment can also help to build a good vocabulary base.

Therefore, I had the idea to develop a RPG in which all the other gameplay elements also aims teach the player in a fun way.

  • Lore and story

The life of Tina took a dark turn when her parents decided to move to France. She doesn’t speak the language and the first 2 weeks spent in her new high school have been a nightmare. Her younger brother, on the other hand, have chosen to embrace his new country and its language. However, after having spent the last few days studying in his room, he seems to have disappeared. While Tina is looking for clues in his bedroom, she gets magically absorbed in one of the little boy’s textbook!

Here is Tina:

She ends up is a quirky and magical world where all the inhabitants speak French! Tina will try to track her brother and find her way home. To achieve this, she quickly understands that she will need to learn the language and make friends with the locals.

Lore: The lore is mainly inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz and other children books from the public domain. In fact, many characters from classic children books and fairy tales (all in the public domain) will make appearances as NPCs. I figured that it will be easier for the player to guess what the NPCs are saying if he already knows the characters.

Themes: The game story will turn around tolerance and acceptance of other cultures, making new friends and family relationships.



  • Gameplay

Main influences: Animal Crossing, the Mother series (and Undertale) and language learning apps such as Duolinguo and Memrise.

The player will have to explore a succession of areas. Each area is composed of a village and the wilderness surrounding it. In the village the player will need to discuss with the villagers in order to learn new vocabulary words and grammar rules. Each dialogue will act as a small test in which the player is required to select the rights words to continue the discussion. In order to progress to the next area, the player will need to win the friendship of the villages by talking to them and achieving small quest for them. The quests will push the player to explore the wilderness where random encounters will require to fight. The fighting system will, for example, use vocabulary flashcards to test the player for him to deal damages.

Other quest will have the player trying to read and understand simple texts or conversation.

The gameplay will also include focus on the collection and crafting of a lot of different items. The goal being to get the player to learn vocabulary as each item can only be used if the player is able to type the French word for it.

When the player has made enough friends in an area, he will be able to access a dungeon where his new language skills will be tested. After the completing dungeon, the player will be able to access a new area in which the inhabitants are speaking in a slightly more difficult language level.

Here is the painter cat house: Animal people don't talk much and they use very simple vocabulary. It will be easier for the player to make friends with them.

  • Graphics

I am using RPG maker MV. The whole game is done using the parallax method. I am employing freelance artists to help me with the character design, sprites and environments. I also use a lot of stock illustrations to reduce my costs.

I am also using graphics from RPG maker (and DLCs) and some resources from the community. I have been careful to use resources available for commercial use only and I intend to give proper credit.

Here are a few screenshots and artworks:





  • Demo

I am currently working on a first demo of the game that will help to gather feedback on the gameplay and its teaching capabilities. The demo will feature the first area of the game (the final version will include 4 or 5 areas). It is designed for beginners of the language.

I also intend to use the demo to help gather funds via crowdfunding platforms to complete the game.


  • Recruitment

I am looking for help to finish my demo. I am looking to hire the help of a javascript programmer to make and modify a few plugins and I can pay for the services.

I am also open to any partnership in case somebody is interested by the project.

  • Community Credits
Graphics: Pandamaru, ninja connor, Avery
Engine: Yanfly, Himeworks, Orange, Quasi
(I will update the list as I am progressing in the development)



That’s it for the moment. Please feel free to comment and share any thoughts and critics! I am also here to reply any questions about the game and how I am making it.
 
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Soulnet

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Pretty artwork! Love that colours pop out and grab you.
 

jobar

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Thanks a lot! I have been trying to give a watercolor look to the characters artworks, similar to the artworks of the recent Zelda games (SS and BoW).
 

Soulnet

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The buildings remind me of Warcraft III to be honest :)
 

jobar

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I see what you mean. We are using 3D assets bought for the Unity engine and using them as 2D elements. But we don't use an isometric perspective for them, because I think it looks more quirky and cute like this.
 

Trihan

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Wow, I love this idea! I'm pretty busy with commission work right now but if I can get my stuff done quickly enough I'd love to do some Javascript coding for you on this, it's right up my alley.
 
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Excellent, what tileset did you use? How did you gave this 3D effect to the game?

Thanks
 

jobar

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Wow, I love this idea! I'm pretty busy with commission work right now but if I can get my stuff done quickly enough I'd love to do some Javascript coding for you on this, it's right up my alley.
Thanks, that is a very interesting proposal. Let's keep in touch!

Excellent, what tileset did you use? How did you gave this 3D effect to the game?

Thanks
I am not using any real tileset, everything is made by parallax mapping (ie with photoshop). The 3D effect mostly come from the shadows added, but the interiors are done using a #D software: Unity - https://unity3d.com/

Here are the steps we use for interiors:
  1. We build the interior in Unity, using paid or free assets.
  2. We add light effect in Unity, that helps rending the depth
  3. We take a print screen picture of the Unity map with a 45 degrees isometric perspective
  4. We open this picture in photoshop and add some 2D elements.
  5. We add better shadows to the image to give it a better 3D effect.
  6. We modify the file, to be able to use it as parallax mapping (separate overlay layer etc...).
Unity is very easy to use. In this case, there is no programming involved only placing your objects and lights and taking a print screen.
I designed this method because it gives good results and it is not very time consuming. An interior map takes 3 to 4 hours to be completed. Which is not bad for the result, I think.

Here is one more example. You can see how the 2D elements (from RPG maker MV tileset or the community resources, are added to the 3D original 3D map.
 

feckyeslife

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The artwork looks stunning! I enjoy the subtle use of the RTP design elements. They help to fill in the rooms you've created from Blender without feeling like an RTP-based game.
Particularly, the artwork for the characters - both in portraits in and in sprites - is phenomenal.

As someone who "learned" French in high school, I would love to see this kind of game to regain and expand on the skills I learned years ago. Looking forward to see how this develops :kaopride:
 
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@jobar, excellent again. Can we have link to some free tileset? So i supposed the tileset for unity3d gives you this 3d effect...

Thanks
 

jobar

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The artwork looks stunning! I enjoy the subtle use of the RTP design elements. They help to fill in the rooms you've created from Blender without feeling like an RTP-based game.
Particularly, the artwork for the characters - both in portraits in and in sprites - is phenomenal.

As someone who "learned" French in high school, I would love to see this kind of game to regain and expand on the skills I learned years ago. Looking forward to see how this develops :kaopride:

Thanks a lot, this is very encouraging! I will try to post updates regularly. I would like to publish a demo a start a kickstarter campaign in April.

@jobar, excellent again. Can we have link to some free tileset? So i supposed the tileset for unity3d gives you this 3d effect...

Thanks
Again, there is no "tileset", only 3D assets put together. You can find a lot of free and paid assets on the Unity store:
https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/ Unity itself is free to use for amateurs.
 

jobar

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Here is another example:

 
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I have to say the maps look pretty but I really do not think the characters fit in it. I think the idea of the characters is just fine but looking at this picture, the way the characters are drawn and the way the map looks it is just a too big difference for me to really get an interest.
 

Bloodlines

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absolutely beautiful. the graphics just jump out at you. so vibrant.
 

jobar

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I have to say the maps look pretty but I really do not think the characters fit in it. I think the idea of the characters is just fine but looking at this picture, the way the characters are drawn and the way the map looks it is just a too big difference for me to really get an interest.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Would you say the characters don't fit in because of their color schemes or because they look like 2D characters on a 3D background?

Here is another example:
 
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Funny that you ask this because I was thinking about my post today that I should have elaborated on it a bit. But yeah I think it is the smoothness of the map compared to the pixelized characters.

In your last picture, the only one fitting in (in my opinion) is the teacher near the chalkboard. I can't see any squares on him but in the hair of the boy with the crossed feet, I can see a lot of squares. I get that you're trying to make it shiny or at least pop off some other color but it lessens the smoothness that the rest of the map and that professor has.

Like, your maps are really awesome so I could be a bit of an ass to say this but most of your characters could use more smoothening to let them blend more into the map. But I do want to say it because I really think it will up value the game your making (still your choice if you think it's worth the effort, though!).

Good luck and have fun with mv ^^
 

jobar

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I am currently working on a small demo that will show the gameplay mechanics and how it relates to learning a new language.

Here is a new screenshot mockup. I have tried to smoothed a bit the characters for nicer integration. Tell me what you think!

 
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Hi again, I am not a skilled artist so I do not know what it exactly is, it could be the colors because they still look a little off. Tough I mostly get this feeling when I see maps on a different level compared to the characters. I would say the guy on the upper left fits and the first animal, 2nd animal (personally) not really like the sprite. And the 2 humans on the right are placeholders I presume? Cause they are not even looking the same as the other humans. But again I am not a skilled artist so I can't pinpoint it further, just wanted to give an opinion to give you some feedback.

I would like to play your demo, I never played language games so don't know if I like it but if I don't I will just be objective in my feedback rather then saying anything about the game genre.
 

feckyeslife

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I think the edits you've made to your sprites are bringing them closer to that "smooth" integration into the map. They still are in that more pixel-art style which I believe is the main reason why they're popping so much from the environment. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. The gameplay and overall environment is more important to me than the sprites so long as they're all uniform across each other (if that makes sense).
 

jobar

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I will keep them like this for the moment, to produce my demo. I need to work on the gameplay as well.
Objects the player can interract with will follow the same art style as the NPCs. Like this it will be easy to see what the player can interract with.

The characters on the left are children. I am using the RMMV generator for the children NPCs and some of the adults heads. Because I can't produce that many sprites. My game will have many NPCs because the goal is mainly to listen and talk to people to learn the language.


Here is a small update, one more outdoor map:
 
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