HL: the game

NotAPumpkin

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THE PROJECT:

A Ren'py-coded visual novel (with romance elements?) game featuring the adventures of Hidden Levelers.

THE PLAN SO FAR:

The basic structure of the game as far as I have planned it is: Choose where to go and who to hang out with, which leads to a “route” with that person. There is an overarching story that all the routes tie into.

People who have expressed interest in the game so far are:

Ky
Iso
Kaos
Vark
Inex
Almonds
Gingerale
Ecto
Tesseract
Mr. LL
Triguy
canoe
LA

NOTE: There's a ton of people I'd love to put in the game, but I will not assume assent, so if you want to be in it, please drop me a line.

THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE:

Everything.

Okay, except for coding, because Ren'py is kindly taking that burden off my shoulders.

Well, we can break it down to WRITING as the top priority, and then DRAWING and maybe even a bit of MUSIC if we're lucky.

PLANNING:

I have an UNNAMED PROTAGONIST who is a bit of a schrodingers cat when it comes to their true identity, if any.

The story involves a sinister plot to take over Hidden Level and the efforts of various forum members to thwart it!

ROUTES SO FAR:

I have some vague ideas for some, but suggestions and ideas would be awesome!

Some of my ideas:

Vark enacts a diabolical counter-strike

Inex the multi-talented artist has been cursed

Almonds leads the Hidden Level army to victory

Triguy the private eye digs deeper into the evil plot

I think when things are a little more organized it'll be easier to delegate things if needed. So start spawning some ideas, people! Brainstorm warning: in effect. If I have ideas, I'll bounce them around in this thread.

I'd like to add that this project is inspired by AH's MSPAFA, which had an awesome setting, great characterization, zany hijinks, and was overall excellent.

We could go back to Almonds' "Forums are a Strange Hotel" setting.

I like the way you think Ginge! Because you happen to be thinking the same thing I am thinking.

....And it's not “Let's take over the world”. This time, at least.
 
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Almost Human

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Let's do it!
I may not be available 24/7 but if you have the patience let me work around my schedule, I'm in.
 

NotAPumpkin

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Oh man, I'm so glad you guys are interested! I'm gonna spend the next while hashing out details because I want to figure out which direction this is going before I end up spawning some massive thing that will never get done.

I'm thinking it will be smart to keep things simple at least until the project is well underway. And if you really want to help, man oh man I'm probably going to need it. For one thing, planning. Over the next little bit I hope nobody minds some crowd-sourcing while I bounce some ideas around. Drawing will be a thing that I need help with for sure, but some planning needs to happen before that gets started.

The primary question right now is what form the game will take. The easiest way to go writing-wise would be the "mysterious newcoming protagonist" one, and you do some choice making and end up on different paths. Thoughts? (I need thoughts.)
 

Almost Human

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We could go back to Almonds' "Forums are a Strange Hotel" setting.
I like the way you think Ginge! Because you happen to be thinking the same thing I am thinking.
Any ideas, settings or anything else from that adventure are totally up for grabs. I won't be doing anything with them in the foreseeable future, if someone wants to get some use of out of them by all means go for it!
Also I'm flattered to think that my silly shenanigans could have inspired anyone to do anything, you guys are the best.
 

Terrorbuns

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im not terribly active but i can probably input some suggestions n' stuff

also im for the "faceless protag" because then anyone who isn't us could be like "its a me" or something silly

you should plan out like, 3 routes first before anything else. write up an outline, decide whether you'll get to make choices and whether those choices impact the story, and if so what are the good/bad endings/whatever etc. etc. etc.

So something like:

Intro -> Choices leading up to one of routes -> follow the route/make choices affecting the route -> End[ings?]

My experience with visual novels is fairly limited but I imagine that's about how it goes.

You'll want to keep it small for now and then as stuff gets done and planned out then slowly start adding to it but be OK with culling the weak because you don't want it growing TOO much/fast. I'd also help with the "code" side of things/using Ren'py but I've never used it so I can't actually help outside of theoretical stuff.

Ugh I had something else that might've been important to add to this post but I can't remember what it was. If I ever remember I'll pop back in.
 

NotAPumpkin

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im not terribly active but i can probably input some suggestions n' stuff

also im for the "faceless protag" because then anyone who isn't us could be like "its a me" or something silly

you should plan out like, 3 routes first before anything else. write up an outline, decide whether you'll get to make choices and whether those choices impact the story, and if so what are the good/bad endings/whatever etc. etc. etc.

So something like:

Intro -> Choices leading up to one of routes -> follow the route/make choices affecting the route -> End[ings?]

My experience with visual novels is fairly limited but I imagine that's about how it goes.

You'll want to keep it small for now and then as stuff gets done and planned out then slowly start adding to it but be OK with culling the weak because you don't want it growing TOO much/fast. I'd also help with the "code" side of things/using Ren'py but I've never used it so I can't actually help outside of theoretical stuff.

Ugh I had something else that might've been important to add to this post but I can't remember what it was. If I ever remember I'll pop back in.
Thanks, LL! Your vote for the faceless protag is fortunate, because I've written a little bit already with that premise in mind.

I think you're right about starting small. Trying out a couple of fairly short routes before getting into anything too crazy seems like it would be for the best. Choices are going to be a thing, but I want to keep them simple and straightforward. Probably something like one good, one bad end, for now.

Ren'py is luckily pretty user-friendly, and so far I've got basic scripting, adding images, and making simple choices down. I'm sure I'll run into difficulties along the way, including the tedium of coding things to go the way I want and wading through my vastly inefficient organizational methods.

I'm going to add you to the list of project people, if that's okay. If you want to keep popping by or help out in any way that would be awesome!

I suggest we also draw some idea from this weird thing

although to be honest I'm not sure what could be usefully extracted from that pile of surrealist nonsense
Haha. Yes. This is so usable. At the very least it would make an interesting "Bad end". Or a really wacky route.

I wonder if Swari wants in...
 

Varkarrus

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I think, before we start literally ANY individual plotlines or stuff
we need 2 things

A) a location
and
B) a zero timeline (basically a list of events of what would happen and when, assuming the protag sits on their hands the entire story and talks to nobody)
 

NotAPumpkin

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Handily, I lay down an idea for a plot earlier. I like the idea of an overarching story tying the routes together, and then there can also be scenes common to all routes, which also might make writing easier.

Then again, I've never made a game before, so advice is appreciated.

Plotchat!

I have the rough outlines for a story that may be revised at the suggestion of anybody, or my own better judgement.

It involves sinister forces conspiring to take over Hidden Level, and the forumites efforts to stop them. Everybody fits into the scheme differently, and hijinks may ensue.

And I guess I'm basing this off a throwaway line in the AH's MSPAF: FA, but every story does need a villain:

Almost Human:
"Ha! I mean...uh, You must be thinking about my brother, Nearly Human."
I might also do a "man behind the man" kind of thing.

Okay, a rough outline:

Part 1: (Common)
Arriving at the forum

Part 2:
Hanging out with whoever you feel like

Part 3: (common)
Some kind of event involving everyone that branches off into the chosen route.

Part 4:

The route you're on gets tied into the larger plot

Part 5:

Typical "sorting out your issues" stuff going on

Part 6: (Common)

Everybody teams up to get ready to save Hidden Level
Whoever's route you're on determines what role you will play

Part 7:

Foiling evil plots yaaay

Edit: Rejoice, citizens, for I have mastered the art of using if statements to code menus. At least until the next time I have to do it. I'm drafting my route in order to get used to Ren'py, and so far it's going okay. It's giving me flashbacks of the programming course I took once.
 
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Almost Human

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I started flipping through my adventure to see where I'd written that and holy fuck I think I broke my own mind. I can't believe I was sincerely worried while writing this that the "plot" was too linear and predictable.

More on topic, that sounds like a good, broad outline. I don't know much about Dating Sims, since I've only played the one with the pigeons and the one with the dying melting robot sex, but I'm interested in the 'sorting out your issues' bit. Is that in relation to your character or your character's relationship with their partner? Because I don't know why but for some reason I find it hilarious to think about a faceless protagonist having an existential crisis while choosing which flavour partner to hunt.
 

Almost Human

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I was super unsettling! The robot dude was all falling apart and dying but his last wish was to have sex with you and it showed him falling apart and made gross squishy noises and honestly I haven't been able to go back to dating sims ever since.
I may be scared.
 
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