Oh man this has taken me forever, I’ve been putting it off because I’m pretty shitty at organizing information. Also, January. Nobody likes January, especially me.
I haven’t done a whole lot of work on this lately, which is another stalling factor, but nevertheless, I don’t intend to kill this project after merely a month of work.
Alright, now getting down to brass tacks…
First things first, helped by the supreme guidence of Almost Human, I decided to change the structure of the game a bit. Now it’s more like
Common Route-> Sub-route-> individual route
Common route-> Individual Route
So now I’m grouping people into subroutes. That may sound confusing, so let’s try to break it down.
Arrive at forum àChoose an option, leading to SUB-ROUTE à Sub-routes group three or so people who share a common storyline, with variations.
For example, Ectocal, Tess, and Inex share a common route, and Triguy, NaP, and AH share another (in these planning stages). The events surrounding all three of them affect each other’s storylines both directly and indirectly, and kind of tie together.
I hope that made sense.
Oh, and here’s a route outline I made up that can hopefully be adapted to everyone.
ACT 1: Meeting and greeting
- You meet the people on the route and get an idea what kind of stuff they are doing
- Hints at where the routes are going
- Make a choice to follow a certain person
ACT 2: Trouble in Paradise
- A panic situation arises/the MC is plunged to the heart of a problem
- Shenanigans ensue
- You either get stumped/make a breakthrough
ACT 3: Relevation Revolution
- New information on the situation is brought to the table
- Something bad happens/ have a run-in with the bad guys
ACT 4: Darkest Before the Dawn
- Things look bad.
- After freaking out for a while, a solution emerges
- Things get better
ACT 5: Rally the Troops!
- Make a plan to save the forum and get ready for the coming battle
- Regroup with other members of forum
ACT 6: Ultimate Showdown (common)
- Fight the good fight!
Even more specifically, I drafted a route for Ecto to test the formula.
Ectocal runs streams all over the forum, but his stuff won't work. It's been sabotaged by NH, and the airwaves have been hijacked by a soundwave that messes with people's heads. (The MC is not yet affected by this, since they just got there, but it’s affected the rest of the forumers.)
Ecto goes to see if Tesseract can help him fix the problem, and Tess gives him some stuff to try.
while Ecto is trying to make his stuff work, he sends the MC to look for Inex, who has promised him a story to stream for his show. The MC finds Inex, who is feeling out of sorts and has been hiding out in her room, swapped into manatee form.
The MC returns to Ecto with a manuscript or whatever, and it turns out he still can't get his stuff working. At this point, Tess runs by in pursuit of Real Playa, and while you're pondering over that, Triguy runs by in pursuit of NaP.
Ecto begins to suspect that some pretty seedy stuff is going on.
NH pops by and Ecto asks what's going on, but NH laughs it off and tells him there's nothing shady happening in the forum whatsoever.
Following his keen journalistic instincts, Ecto decides to tail NH for a while, taking the MC with him. This eventually leads down to the basement, where they stumble across NH's evil rally (the one Ginger wrote up, natch). Unfortunately, you get caught.
While imprisoned in the Basement, the MC, Ecto, and AH (by radio) talk about what's going on. Since they are out of range of the weird mind control sound, Ecto is finally able to understand what AH is saying.
While you're moping around in your cell, NaP comes and busts you out (she was also at the rally, having fled Triguy, and found out where you were being kept). She runs off saying she'll distract NH if you can spring Inex, who has apparently also been captured.
You go do that, and somehow make it back to the forums.
Making it back to Ecto's studio place, the situation is assessed. The jamming sound is still playing, and AH lets you know that it can probably be cancelled out my Inex's singing, and also that in her current form her posting privilages have been suspended so she's effectively mute as well as avatar-locked.
You round up Tesseract from wherever he's been and between all of you you manage to hack some of the power that NH has stolen and restore Inex's voice.
With Inex's voice restored, and also maybe some equipment that Tess has picked up in his adventure, Ecto takes back the air and broadcasts Inex's voice all over the forum, disabling the jamming sound. He also makes an announcement rallying everyone else in the forum.
AH busts out and and everyone is kind of doing their own thing. In the ensuing chaos, the MC and Ecto are cornered by NH, who is pretty pissed off that they managed to derail his plans. But they somehow manage to take him out, and the day is saved.
NH and ACSL are vanquished, things in the forum go back to normal. Ecto gets busy reporting the details of the conflict and hires on the MC as an assistant journalist.
CHARACTERS (so far)
MC: The Main Character. Does not have a name, gender, etc. Identity may vary based on routes.
Almost Human: The Admin of the forum. Has been locked into the admin panel by Nearly Human, who is impersonating them. Early on, the MC finds a radio that AH is broadcasting on out of boredom, and that’s the only means of communication they have.
Triangle Man: A private eye who received a tip-off by a mysterious informant (actually NaP) saying that trouble is brewing in HL.
NaP: Accidentally discovered the evil plot by NH and Shia Labeouf, and is being blackmailed (on threat of AH’s life) not to interfere.
Tesseract: Likes messing around with machinery and electrical stuff. Lately he’s been fixing up bots that have wandered into HL, but when one of them disappears mysteriously, he goes in search of it.
Ectocal: Runs a streaming channel, which has been acting up lately. While investigating this, he stumbles onto the larger plot and ends up in over his head.
Inexpediency: A forum personality/superstar who not only writes, but sings as well. Likes to meditate by switching her avatar to manatee form, but eventually is trapped in that state by NH.
Gingerale: AH cottoned on to Shia Labeouf’s plans, and had enough time to send Gingerale to try and disrupt their plans. In the process, Ging got trapped in the bizarro-space of the Basement, and has since become a pirate.
Varkarrus: Also having caught on to the sinister goings-on in HL, Vark has protected herself against the mind-scrambling signal and has been sneaking around, awaiting her chance to strike.
Nearly Human: Almost Human’s evil twin, working for Shia Labeouf. Has been impersonating AH and subtly disrupting the workings of the forum. Nobody notices, partly because of the brain-scrambling signal, and partly because they’re attributing it to AH’s usual shenanigans.
Shia Labeouf: Actual cannibal.
Hidden Level, of course!
AH is a hell of a lot better at translating the forum to a physical setting, but it’s coming along.
Way upstairs is the “Rules and other important stuff” subforum, along with admn stuff.
Each Subforum has its own floor. Sodom is the main/ground floor, Gomorrah is downstairs, the art floor is a floor up, etc.
The basement is in its own special category, since as well as a shortcut to other parts of the forum, it has normal rooms and portals to completely different locations. Anything goes down there. Normally this isn’t an issue, but the scrambling signal in the air makes it a lot more difficult to navigate down there. Not sure exactly what form it takes, maybe a big maze or something.
Some specific areas:
Tess’ Workshop (Sodom): Where Tess hangs out, obviously. Lots of electrical equipment and whatnot hanging around.
Lobby (The Home screen, I guess): NaP’s been lurking in here lately. It’s the off-the-streets entrance to the forum.
Gomorrah: Takes the form of a noir city street. Triguy’s office is located here.
Community Hangouts: Ectocal likes to frequent this area, which is a large open space with a stage and recording/broadcasting equipment.
Admin Panel: Essentially the security office. Not very big, lots of buttons.
Okay, there’s probably stuff I forgot to add, but there we go for now. I’ll try to get on distilling additional information from the primordal ooze of brainstorming that’s slopped all over the place.
Gah, I’m such a slacker. Sorry, guys. Dipping off for a month or several and then returning to a project is a thing I do that I’m not very proud of.
I'm liking where it's going so far. The only risk so far is that it will end up becoming a super-big, super-overwhelming project of sorts, although that's where co-authoring and editing would come in handy - which is something I'd be willing to do even given how busy I am with literally everything else right now, especially now that we have a generalized plot structure to work with. In any case, I look forward to seeing where this goes!
NAP you are amazing!!
I love everything about this BUT can I ask what the game is supposed to look like visually? I don't know a whole lot (or anything) about Ren'py and what its coding capabilities are. Is it kind of free-form like AH's Forum Adventure, or more structured like talksprite-kinda deals over static backgrounds ala Phoenix Wright or something. Sometimes I want to doodle stuff but I am pretty low on creativity so having a frame of reference for this would be nice
I can't speak for NAP's vision but I was kind of picturing it in the more phoenix wright/standard dating sim sort of style with each character having a few different expressions and the backgrounds being largely static. But I may be head braining the crazy, so who knows?
Spot on! As previously mentioned, my drawing skills are less than optimal so I figured the less complicated the better on the art front.
So yeah, character sprites with limited expressions and static backgrounds woooo
Gah, I wish I would stop feeling sick and my brain worked right so I could sort this out.