I'm making a game. I call it Lunar Scythe.

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by EvaXephon, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    Hi everybody,

    About a year ago, I had an idea for a video game. I've made several prototypes, and I'm really proud of my most recent one, so I'd like to share it with you all.

    The game is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game. Here's a screenshot, here's a 30-second gameplay video, and here's the 80-megabyte demo.

    Please check out the Read Me file for instructions on how to do air combos and stuff like that.

    All of the art assets (character models, animations, GUI, background music) are completely placeholder. I'll be replacing all of those temporary assets as soon as I can.

    I'm not satisfied with the combat yet, so I'll probably make a lot of adjustments to it. You are all more than welcome to give me feedback on how you think it can improve!

    Here's the current design of the main character. I was lucky enough to get Mariel to sketch my character, and then I paid an artist to color the sketch.

    The story of the game will be told in visual novel format. Here's a visual novel test that I did.

    This demo only features the "hack and slash" part of the game. When the main character is not killing people, she can play minigames on the video game console in her home, and do odd jobs around her city to earn money to buy new outfits. The game is heavily inspired by No More Heroes, as you might have guessed...but I'm not going to force the player to do annoying side-missions before they can do story missions.

    So far, I've spent hundreds of dollars paying dozens of artists to make concept art for this game, but I still need character designs, 3D character models, textures, animations, environment models, GUI art, sound effects, background music, and lots more. I'll keep chipping away at it until eventually it's finished...

    You are also welcome to ask me any questions you'd like about the gameplay, the story, and the characters! :PUN:
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  2. Verdant Brave

    Verdant Brave Anti-social

    Peacock
    Unknown
    So... what is the story?
     
  3. PKStoopKid

    PKStoopKid *PKStoopkid soul at rest*

    Location:
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    Parasoul
    Fukua
    Eliza
    What program did you use to make the 3D models both characters and background, mostly the background cause without revealing or saying to much, I'm coming up with a concept for a game and I eventually want to make models for it.
     
  4. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    The main character is a girl in her late teens named Luna. Luna is obsessed with an idea; the idea that this world is full of people who don't deserve to live. Murderers, thieves, kidnappers, human traffickers, drug dealers, arms dealers, arsonists, scam artists, identity thieves - Luna desperately wishes she could do something to rid the planet of such people, but she feels like there is nothing she could do that would ever make a difference.

    At the beginning of the game, Luna dies. As Luna's spirit looks down at her own body, she feels nothing but apathy. She didn't want to live in a world filled with human filth, anyway.

    That's when Death shows up.

    Death looks into her soul to determine which afterlife she belongs in, and he is surprised at what he finds within her. He learns that she is free of sin, yet her strongest desire is to take millions of lives. While examining this pale girl clad entirely in black who yearns to kill, Death feels as though he's looking at his own reflection for a moment.

    Death decides that Luna may be able to serve him a purpose.

    Instead of sending her soul to the afterlife, Death makes Luna an offer. "I'll bring you back to life, if you agree to bring me human souls."

    Luna is shocked by his offer. "But I don't want to kill innocent people!"

    "Then do not kill the innocent," Death replies. "Kill the guilty."

    "But who are the guilty?" She asks.

    "That's for you to decide," Death replies.

    Death is offering her the authority and the power to kill anyone she thinks deserves to die - and she thinks that a LOT of people deserve to die. She doesn't want to come back to life and return to a miserable world filled with criminals, sadists, and psychopaths...but if she had the power to purify this sinful world, she could create a world that she actually wants to live in.

    And so, Luna accepts the offer, not to become Death, but to become Justice.

    Death resurrects Luna, gives her a giant scythe, and grants her superhuman powers that become active at midnight. By day, Luna is an ordinary girl who works part-time jobs to scrape by...and by night, she is the judge, jury, and executioner of her city, an agent of death.

    If Luna does not bring him enough souls, Death will take her life. Luna asks Death how many souls he wants, and what her deadline is. Because Death does not perceive time the same way that mortals do - in terms of seconds, minutes, or hours - he cannot give her a specific date. As he looks upward in contemplation, he notices that the moon is full. And so, he decides that Luna must use the scythe to deliver a specific number of souls to him by the end of the lunar cycle. Hence the name of the game, "Lunar Scythe."

    (What do you think? Corny?)

    The game takes place over the course of a year. After each full moon, Death demands more souls by the next full moon. So, Luna has to kill more and more people to meet her quota each month.

    What Luna doesn't know is that she's not the only dead girl that Death has brought back to life! He has also resurrected other recently deceased girls who each have the capacity to take millions of lives. Every time there is a full moon, Luna will fight another resurrected dead chick wielding a giant energy weapon. The game takes place in 2015, and there are 13 full moons in 2015, meaning Luna will have to face 13 of these enemies in total.

    What is Death plotting? Why does he want mortals to gather souls for him? What will happen once Luna has defeated all of the other dead girls?

    You'll have to play the game to find out. ^.~
     
    thepaintrain8465 likes this.
  5. Squire Grooktook

    Squire Grooktook The wind blew all day long

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    To generate discussion, what's your "ideal" for the combat? Are we talking something where you have to really commit to attacks (no dodge or block cancelling moves, heavy wind up, etc. basically think Souls series or similar games), or more something like Bayonetta (instant cancelling of any move into offensive or defensive moves, etc.). Are you thinking something more memorization/trial and error oriented, or more of a twitch game?
     
  6. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    Oh, I didn't make the 3D models! I bought the 3D assets off the Unity Asset Store. The player character model does not really resemble the concept art for the main character, but the model was only $15 and came with over 20 animations that were totally fitting for a hack-and-slash game, so I couldn't resist.

    I definitely want the combat to be fast-paced. More along the lines of Devil May Cry or Bayonetta than Souls. I want a lot of cool animations and flashy special moves that damage every enemy in the vicinity. My philosophy is that the player should feel like a total bad-ass. I want the levels to be short (the "S-Rank" target time for each level will be about 60 seconds) so I have to give the player the tools to wipe out every enemy in the area quickly. This might sound vague, but I want the combat to feel "flowing", like there is never a break in the action, as long as the player doesn't get hit. I don't think I want to include blocking...it would look weird with a scythe, anyway.

    I'm going to look at a lot of games and listen to a lot of feedback before I settle on the final combat system. Right now I'm thinking of prototyping something like Remember Me's "create your own combo" system.
     
    Squire Grooktook likes this.
  7. Squire Grooktook

    Squire Grooktook The wind blew all day long

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    60 seconds, that's interesting. Are you planning on having actual "levels" or is it going to be more like missions that take place in fammiliar overworld locations (ie beat up 30 dudes on this monument etc.)

    As for flowing, I think that could be either in terms of level design (one fight or activity to the next), or as in you're constantly stringing moves together and pressing buttons.
     
  8. ReluctantZombie

    ReluctantZombie World's saltiest Squigly

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    Hey, do you need any monster/enemy/boss designs, by any chance? I've always wanted to do concept art for something like that!

    I take commissions, so hit me up if you're interested!
     
  9. Vadsamoht

    Vadsamoht Well-Known Member Administrator

    Steam:
    Vadsamoht
    Ms. Fortune
    Robo Fortune
    Moved to gaming section.

    This is looking pretty cool. I had a quick play and it seems interesting. I think I may have found a small error in your controls, though - I was mashing Z and C at the same time (for the air dive move), and I seemed to get what is essentially an infinite against one group of enemies and it looked kinda glitchy. I tried it again shortly after and couldn't repeat it, so it might be timing-specific or something.
     
  10. DukeMagus

    DukeMagus Not A Duke; THE Duke

    Looks intresting... Just don't tell me you'll make a kickstarter right now... My wallet needs a rest!

    Also, it could work as a good animation or comic plot. Use 3d models to make the scenes, loads of photoshop and voila
     
  11. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
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    The game will be pretty "mission" based. The shortest mission should be 1 minute, and the longest could potentially be around 5 minutes. I don't want to bore the player by making them do a super-long, super-repetitive level where they are just killing mooks over and over. The idea of the game is, "How fast can you pull off this objective, and what's the best rank you can get?" If the player is replaying a mission over and over to get the best score, I want them to be able to blaze through it. Some environments will definitely get re-used.

    Of course, that's all subject to change. I'll see how I feel about the one-minute missions after developing more environments and enemy types.

    There won't be any monsters in this game, just humans and super-humans who have been granted crazy powers by Death...but I definitely need boss character designs. Right now, the plan is to make each boss similar to the main character - a dead chick with some very extreme beliefs and a very large energy weapon. The work of Edwin Huang comes extremely close to what I am picturing!

    By the way, there might be a little bit of red tape involved. Do you remember Juju?

    You see, if I pay an artist to design a character for me, the artist will legally own the rights to that character's design. If I use that artist's design in my own commercial product, the artist has the right to sue me for "loss of potential income". The only way to avoid this is to make the artist sign a contract saying that I now have legal ownership of their design, or that I have permission to use their design.

    This is the sort of thing that I have to keep in mind, to protect myself and avoid getting sued. :( I'm hoping to do business with an artist who has already done this type of work and already has these kinds of contracts prepared. That way, I run no risk of getting slapped with a lawsuit in the future.
     
  12. Vadsamoht

    Vadsamoht Well-Known Member Administrator

    Steam:
    Vadsamoht
    Ms. Fortune
    Robo Fortune
    You should be the one preparing these contracts, because you're the one that needs to know it's watertight. Otherwise, an artist could give you one they prepared earlier, claim it's watertight, and then sue the pants off of you because of a loophole that was left in the document (intentionally or not).
     
  13. PKStoopKid

    PKStoopKid *PKStoopkid soul at rest*

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    Stoop
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    Fukua
    Eliza
    Vadsamoht is right, in any legal endeavors, you want to be the one making the contracts. Also make sure you read said contract twice and have someone you trust read it as well just to catch anything you missed or can be considered a loophole. If you need an idea or two you can come to me, I have so many ideas I figure I could spare a few.
     
  14. CHAOS_FANTAZY

    CHAOS_FANTAZY Fledgeling Skull Hunter

    Steam:
    CHAOS_FANTAZY
    Parasoul
    Valentine
    Well, would you look at that. I was somewhat afraid that "Luna" here was going to be resemblent of a Mary Sue, but after some review, you might have a fan out of me yet. A few things, though:

    > This might be just me, but the contrast between the supernatural, fantastic Death and the sci-fi laser scythe he gave to Luna seems strange.

    > I don't know how many levels you're planning on, but ones that flit by in a minute (Even at best) is not exactly something up my alley. I'd prefer something more like the level design of They Bleed Pixels, in which blazing through the level super-fast is possible, but taking it slow is an option for the more cautious player. Alternatively, you could make it so each level has a certain amount of time until "dawn" (At which point the level ends), and you have to rampage about and harvest as many people as you can. It could, again, just be me, though—I am more used to games where caution is practically necessary.

    > Is it safe to assume that the potential to harvest anyone who isn't displaying the worst of humanity won't even be present in the game? I'm just thinking out loud, here, but there's potential for a lot of moral conflict there.
     
  15. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

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    I tried my best to make sure that Luna wasn't a Mary Sue. There are a lot of details about Luna that I left out...

    Luna's younger sister, Stella, was a child genius and a celebrity. Chess grandmaster, master of four instruments, wrote and published a best-selling novel, graduated college, performed surgery - all before the age of 12. Luna was never able to measure up to her little sister in any way, which left her with a horrible inferiority complex. As soon as Stella started pulling in tons of money and making the family famous, her parents practically forgot that Luna existed. Luna tried everything to get her parents' attention - causing trouble at school, wearing bizarre fashion, dying her hair crazy colors - but this only pushed her parents further away. She moved out at age 18, and she hasn't spoken to them since. She doesn't bother reading any news related to her younger sister, preferring to pretend that she doesn't even exist. The goth fashion and dyed hair became a part of her identity after so many years, so she still keeps a little bit of dye in her hair and wears gothic accessories from time to time.

    Luna started struggling immediately after moving out. She barely graduated high school, she can't make friends easily, she can't hold down a job, and can't afford to pay her rent. She's depressed, miserable, and desperate when she finally dies. Even after her resurrection, she still lacks the qualifications or experience for any full-time job, and has to keep doing lousy part-time jobs to scrape by. She literally has nothing going for her, other than the fact that she gets superpowers for a brief period of time at midnight...then it's back to being a failure at life.

    I'm glad you brought that up! Take a look at some early concept art for Death...

    http://i.imgur.com/phelLi4.jpg

    Death looks sci-fi, too! Death looks like a robot, or a man in a suit of powered armor. Who is Death? What is Death? Why is Death giving out sci-fi weapons? What is a "soul", anyway, and why does Death need them? I promise you that I have all the answers, and that by the time the credits roll, it will make a lot of sense why Death's equipment and weaponry look sci-fi. :D

    This game was originally designed to be a mobile game. Like Angry Birds, the focus would be on fast, pick-up-and-play gameplay. Load a level, fight some dudes, see what score you got, move onto the next one.

    Since then, I've decided to make the game a PC / console game, but I never actually re-designed the game to suit non-mobile platforms. It's still got that same pick-up-and-play level design, and maybe it's time for me to reconsider that. I'll probably experiment with several more prototypes before I arrive at the final design of the game.

    Luna is extremely preoccupied with the question of, "Who deserves to die?" At first, she almost doesn't accept the scythe from Death, because she doesn't believe herself to be worthy of judging people. Death puts her fears to rest by giving her a device. This device measures the amount of "good" or "evil" in a person's soul, and states whether that person's soul is destined for heaven or hell. This device is the feather that tips the scales, and makes Luna decide to accept the task of doling out punishment to sinners.

    Before Luna begins a mission, she uses that device to locate a group of people who are all destined for hell. All of her victims during that mission are people who committed enough evil to deserve hell upon their deaths.

    But, how does that device work? What criteria determines whether a person deserves to go to heaven or hell? What IS heaven, what IS hell? What would happen if Luna pointed that device...at herself?

    You'll have to play the game to find out! :3
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  16. DARKNESSxEAGLE

    DARKNESSxEAGLE Master of Disguise

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    If you're looking for freeware, the best option for 3D modelling is probably Blender. It's a bit messy and has a steep learning curve, but there are tons of resources online to help you get into it. If you're wanting to turn your idea into a game then it'll also help that Unity (the same software that Eva's using to put his game together) allows you to import .blend files, which is quite helpful if you decide to use Blender. There's a free version of Unity that's missing some functionality but if you're new to games development then its limitations don't matter too much and it'll definitely be the place to start for learning things.
     
    PKStoopKid likes this.
  17. Bucky Barkley

    Bucky Barkley Well-Known Member

    Steam:
    Bucky Barkley
    Beowulf
    Do you already have ideas on all the 13 other girls? Also, when taking out groups of 'deserving' people, will there some mini-bosses?
     
  18. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

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    There will be enemies who operate differently (they use shields resistant to Luna's scythe, they use projectile weapons, they deal tons of damage with each hit) and there might be a "final enemy to kill" at the end of a level (gang leader, mafia boss, corrupt police chief) but they will be human just like the rest of the enemies, so they won't have absurd health bars.

    Again, this is subject to change if I implement it and the feedback is that it's no fun.

    As for the true boss characters, I've got some ideas, but nothing is set in stone yet. Actually, now that I count up the months, there will only be 12 bosses, because the game begins on the first full moon of the year.

    All of these are subject to change.

    I once tried my hand at creating a fighting game engine. After I have Luna + 12 characters and animations to go with them, I might try making a fighting game starring this cast.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  19. CHAOS_FANTAZY

    CHAOS_FANTAZY Fledgeling Skull Hunter

    Steam:
    CHAOS_FANTAZY
    Parasoul
    Valentine
    I see. I'm far more used to Death being this guy rather than that guy. You definitely know how to capture attention, at the least—this definitely has potential; you can call me interested.

    I would like to point out that it seems like this game has a very heavy storyline; from what I see here, making it a casual mobile game would have lessened the effect.

    Come to think of it, this sounds of Marie—a young(ish) girl who witnesses firsthand the true extent of humanity's evils, becoming an extremist of thought but one of little power; then a chance to get back at them appears, in the form of a shady stranger offering an extraordinary strength. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I thought I would at least point out the parallel.

    Actually, would you like help with the story and/or characters? I have practically no credentials (Unless my previous works and a small army of people who would vouch for me count), but I would be more than willing to help if you would have it.
     
  20. Bucky Barkley

    Bucky Barkley Well-Known Member

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    Bucky Barkley
    Beowulf
    The characters sound awesome! More questions: Are all of their weapons going to be scythes? And do you have ideas on what they'll look like?
     
  21. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

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    Huh, I never even noticed that! There really are some parallels there. I'm a huge fan of Death Note, so that's where a lot of inspiration came from. Normal person suddenly gets the power to execute anyone, tries to make the world a better place through genocide of a particular demographic.

    I'd be honored! You're welcome to make any suggestions that come to mind, and if I'm having a particularly hard time reconciling some aspect of the story, I'll drop you a line. I'll even credit you in the game!

    Each girl should have a different energy weapon; Luna should be the only one with a scythe.

    Psychopath: Energy chainsaw
    Religious Fanatic: Energy broadsword
    Robin Hood: Energy bow-and-arrow
    Eugenicist: Energy axe
    Assassin: Energy daggers
    Superhero: Energy gloves
    Revenge Seeker: Energy whip
    4th-wall-breaking-otaku-girl: Energy katanas

    Stuff like that! As for their appearances, though, that's still to be determined. I have some mental images, but I'll be commissioning artists for concept art before I commit to anything.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  22. thepaintrain8465

    thepaintrain8465 Generic love song by British guy whispering softly

    PSN:
    thepaintrain8465
    Parasoul
    Peacock
    This is looking like a great game so far! Keep up the great work! :)

    I was wondering if there might be some form of upgrade system in the game: maybe if Luna exceeds the quota, Death would allow here to spend the extra souls to upgrade herself? Just an idea.

    I also liked the dark alleyway in the video, but would there be more areas to explore? Would the entire game be set in one part of a city or all around it (or beyond?)
     
  23. DukeMagus

    DukeMagus Not A Duke; THE Duke

    i see you truly like a melee approach to combat.

    Maybe putting someone with a pistol or machinegun could be intresting. making the first half of its level a desperate escape with the crosshair following you the entire round
     
  24. ReluctantZombie

    ReluctantZombie World's saltiest Squigly

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    Understandable. Hey, I'm cool with that as long as I get paid for the commission! :P

    Like other people have said, I think writing the contract is your responsibility, though. Publishers (or whatever) usually make the artist sign their contract, rather than sign a contract that the artist wrote up, because the publisher knows that their own contract is legit.
     
  25. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    When you level up, you gain a skill point. You can use that point to increase your damage, increase your health, or increase your movement speed. You can respec the character at any time, at no charge. This is to encourage the player to make custom builds for tackling specific challenges. You might use a build with high health in order to beat a level that is swarming with projectile-using enemies you can't avoid, so that you can shrug off the bullets. And you might want a build with 100% damage and 100% speed for speedrunning levels, while leaving health at the 0% because you don't intend to get hit.

    You need a specific number of souls to advance to the next "full moon boss fight", but you can also use souls to buy permanent upgrades for your character, such as more bars for your special meter and new special attacks.

    Every level of the game will take place at night, but there can still be a lot of variety in the levels. At first, when you're just taking down street thugs, you'll see a lot of urban environments; street at night, subway at night, abandoned warehouse at night...the levels will start to change when you go after different types of enemies. Police station (kill corrupt cops!), skyscraper (kill corrupt businessmen!), underground criminal hideout (kill mob bosses!). Each boss will probably have their own level.

    After Luna gets infamous and organized crime syndicates start targeting her, Luna might travel around the world to defeat the organizations that are sending men after her. There might be a Tokyo level where she fights the Yakuza or an Italy level where she fights the mafia.

    If the game feels way too repetitive, I'll add in more varieties of environments and enemies, but the theme of "going after evil people at night" has to remain.

    No More Heroes' boss fights totally ruled because every boss felt completely different from all previous bosses. Fighting the old lady with the laser canon was an entirely different experience from fighting dude on a motorcycle, etc. I definitely want to capture that feeling of every boss being completely different, so I'll definitely include some bosses with long-range attacks.
     
    thepaintrain8465 likes this.
  26. Tomo009

    Tomo009 Well-Known Member

    Eliza
    Robo Fortune
    Beowulf
    I'm more interested in how you put together the systems in your unity fighting engine haha, especially collisions and cancels and the like.

    I've got to say I haven't enjoyed too many games in this style in the past, mostly because other games in the genre haven't felt as fluid or were too simple mechanically for me. I feel that so far the game is looking very similar to pretty much every game of this type I've seen. You need something interesting going on in your fighting system I think, or if you want to keep it classic, you need to really refine it to the level of games like DMC3/4 or Bayonetta. Make sure the opponents have real variety to them, not just dodge stuff and slice stuff. That way you can put enemies together in different groups to create unique challenges that are engaging each time.

    I know you are using unity store assets right now so its kind of hard to get much of an idea of what it would really play like.

    I don't mind the short levels idea, I love games like that, just play on the whole arcade-y feel, make every actual feel powerful, make the player feel skillful and reward them constantly. Have a crazy scoring system at the end of the game with numbers flying up and some kind of animation with the character. Really play on that and you will get OCD players going.
     
    EvaXephon likes this.
  27. PKStoopKid

    PKStoopKid *PKStoopkid soul at rest*

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    Stoop
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    PKStoopKid
    Parasoul
    Fukua
    Eliza

    Sorry I forgot to thank you for the links.
     
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  28. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

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    EvaXephon
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    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    I've heard a lot of negative feedback about my character's appearance. I've heard people say that she looks too generic, she doesn't look memorable, her silhouette is not recognizable, or that she looks too similar to other characters (like Ruby Rose from RWBY, or Ryuko from Kill la Kill, or Cassie Hack from Hack/Slash).

    So, I've been commissioning new designs for the character. I told each artist to go in a different direction with the character's appearance. If you guys have a moment, I'd like your feedback on these designs.

    The original:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    More practical/realistic clothing, like something you might actually be able to find in real life:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    A "Not so grim, dark, goth, and edgy" design:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    A more cheerful and happy-looking design:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    Another potential design:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Well? What do you guys think?

    Alternatively, do you think I should simply stick to my own personal vision, pursue my own creative desires, ignore what anyone else wants the character to look like, and use the design that I favor the most, regardless of what anyone says about it?
     
  29. Vadsamoht

    Vadsamoht Well-Known Member Administrator

    Steam:
    Vadsamoht
    Ms. Fortune
    Robo Fortune
    This one, all the way.


    As for whether you should stick to your vision, I guess the two questions you need to ask yourself are:
    1. How strong is your vision for the character? Was the original design a product of a number of elements you strongly believe she should have, or was it just the first complete model you came up with so you want to stick with it to avoid 'wasting' that work?
    2. Is it more important to you to have the 'vision' intact (artistic integrity, etc.), or for people to want to engage with the character, and by the extension buy/play the game?

    There's no way for me to explain what I think is wrong about the original design without coming off real mean, so I'll ask you yet another question: why do you think people find the original design too generic? (and in case someone else reads this post, please don't answer before Eva does).
     
  30. Zidiane

    Zidiane Doing my best

    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Steam:
    Zidiane
    PSN:
    zidiane5
    XBL:
    Zidiane
    Cerebella
    It's important to remember that the people who play the game aren't going to think about how you see the characters. If the character looks too much like another, then they'll think that it's a rip off of that character. It won't necessarily hurt the experience, there are games whose design and mechanics and narrative overshadow those things, but it's a thing you have to weigh and consider.

    If you want to change the design, and want my opinion, then here's what I think. The biggest connection to that "generic" look I can see is the colors. Black and red outfit with black and red pink hair with a black and red scythe. If her hair was black and blue and her outfit was blue and black and her scythe was blue and with green energy, however hideous that color scheme may be (I have bad sense of colors), no one would see that and think of any of those previously mentioned characters I don't think.

    About her outline, yeah, she's not too memorable. I'm not the biggest design buff in the world, or probably even in town, but it can be dangerous to try and force something so that she has a unique outline. If you change something, it should be natural, perhaps related to the event with Death to show that she was ordinary before but something drastic happens and is expressed in her appearance. Maybe give her different weapons so that "Scythe" isn't the thing attached to her. I know you had the thing about each boss having different weapons, but maybe you could add a Megaman feel where she takes them. But, before you change anything, remember that not every one of the great games has unique outlines. Lara Croft is just a girl with big breasts and a braid. Dante is just a guy with a trench coat. Superman is literally just a guy with a cape.
     
  31. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Steam:
    EvaXephon
    PSN:
    EvaXephon
    XBL:
    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    My vision for the character is extremely strong. I know exactly what's in her wardrobe, what's in her refrigerator, how she acts, how she talks, how she thinks, how she'd react in any given situation. Almost everything important about her was determined before the initial concept art was drawn.

    It's really hard for me to say whether I'd prefer to keep my creative vision intact, or ensure that a huge number of people buy the game. In a perfect world, I would have both! But at it's core, this is a passion project for fun - a vanity project, really - so, in the end, I think I'd choose to keep my original vision of the game intact rather than have a huge audience or make a lot of profit off of the game.

    Go ahead and be mean, I'd rather hear harsh criticism than perpetually be in the dark about ways to improve the character.

    The original design looks very cliché; sexy chick with big boobs and big weapon. It could also be criticized for the grimdarkedgy black-and-red color scheme, which makes it seem like her creator was trying sooooo haaaaard to make her as dark and cool and badass as possible. The giant laser scythe can also be criticized for being an impractical and illogical weapon. Of course, those are also all of the things that I love about the character's appearance. I love sexy chicks with big boobs, I love black-and-red color schemes, and I love sci-fi energy weapons. I think the character can stand to have a more recognizable silhouette, but I really wouldn't want to take away the traits that I just named...
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  32. Erreip199

    Erreip199 Bounty Hunter

    Location:
    Colombia
    Steam:
    E199
    Squigly
    Ill make sure to download this later and give you a fully fleshed out coment once im done with it
     
  33. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Steam:
    EvaXephon
    PSN:
    EvaXephon
    XBL:
    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    Thanks!

    If you don't like the combat or the controls, don't worry; they're very far from final. In the past couple of months, I've played some games that gave me tons of inspiration for a much better combat system than the one the game is currently using. I have extremely high standards for what qualifies as fun gameplay, so I won't let this game get released until I am 100% satisfied with it.

    (Also, the lighting is way too dark, and I need to fix that. Also, all of the character models are temporary. And so are the animations. And so is the music. And so is the HUD...basically, it's a pre-alpha prototype, and everything you see is a temporary placeholder stand-in.)
     
  34. Zidiane

    Zidiane Doing my best

    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Steam:
    Zidiane
    PSN:
    zidiane5
    XBL:
    Zidiane
    Cerebella
    I'm confused. Do you want to change anything, or are you embracing the cliche? If you're making the game for yourself, no one else's opinion matters. If you're making it for others, you can't be too attached to any specific idea. Also, making it so others can enjoy it more isn't the same as conforming to target the biggest audience. Making a game that a couple people remember forever is still something respectable.

    I haven't played the demo yet, but I'm downloading it now.

    Also, I don't know if you've seen Extra Credits, but I've been watching them. I want to make some games at some point, and they give A LOT of really good advice, some of wcould be applied to the things you are doing right now. I can try and find some of those videos, if you want.
     
    Vadsamoht likes this.
  35. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Steam:
    EvaXephon
    PSN:
    EvaXephon
    XBL:
    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    Oops, what I said sounded kind of contradictory. I'll try to be more clear this time...

    I love a lot of things about the original design. I love sexy, busty femme fatales, I love dark anti-hero characters, and I love energy scythes. I don't want to give any of that up. However, I understand how the design might be unappealing to others, because some of those things are cliché or unoriginal or stereotypical.

    Putting aside for a moment everything I love about the original design, I do feel that there are some ways in which it could be improved. Namely, the silhouette. Let's take the Skullgirls characters as an example. Cerebella has an extremely memorable and unique appearance, because of those giant arms coming out of her head. Same goes for Peacock - her top hat and her arms give her a silhouette that you can instantly recognize; no other character has that exact look.

    However, my character doesn't have a trademark...signature...thing that sets her apart from every other character to exist. Right now, she's just a girl in a skirt. Of course, she's a girl in a skirt with a design I love, but I would be happy to improve that design even further by adding something truly memorable and unique to it.
     
  36. Vadsamoht

    Vadsamoht Well-Known Member Administrator

    Steam:
    Vadsamoht
    Ms. Fortune
    Robo Fortune
    Okay, negative things I can see about the original character design (EDIT: I know I had 2 or 3 major things in my mind when I wrote the last post, but I've forgotten :/):
    - Scythes are an overused and incredibly impractical weapon. When they were actually used in combat, they were often converted into war scythes so that the cutting edges were actually useful for killing things other than grass. The main reason they appear in games is due to their symbolic links to both the Grim Reaper and (less commonly) Kronos.
    - Scythe has a large number of unnecessary features.
    - Black/Red colours are striking and tbh very appealing, but because of this they are a very overdone choice, especially when going for gothic/metal/etc aesthetics. Even Red/Black (i.e. with red as the main colour, and black for 'highlights') is used much less
    - The costume is very impractical. The miniskirt is probably the most practical part for what the game entails, as large boots are meant for stability rather than agility, and corsets are uncomfortable.painful to wear if you're standing still, let alone if you need to move quickly/accurately. (And if you're going to be doing strenuous physical activity, being able to actually breathe helps). Also again, corset/miniskirt isn't too original
    - Considering the clothing style and aestheic, the hairstyle (one of the more important elements in defining a character, as you are often drawn to the face but can't mess around with those proportions too much without everything looking wrong) is about as run-of-the-mill as you can get.
    - Young white female protagonist because ???
    - Large amounts of cleavage/midriff/legs showing because !!!

    Opinionated stuff in here. Be warned. (open)
    This isn't to say that the character design is completely bad, but there's something that's probably worth pointing out at the risk of really offending you. To be completely honest, this character design reminds me a lot of ones I've seen on places like DeviantArt, where someone has thought that they can make their character cooler by adding more and more stuff. Then when people say it's boring, their first instinct is to add even more detail. A better solution would be to attempt addition by subtraction. What is the one thing about the character that you're absolutely not willing to compromise on? The fact that she has a scythe? The Black/Red? The corset? Then make all other decisions to justify and support that main feature in a plausible manner. I'd be happy to give you an example if the process isn't clear.

    The other real problem is that the whole game seems to go for dark/edgy for the sake of being dark/edgy. What exactly does this atmosphere add to the game? If you want to embrace the subcultures, notions and themes that this suggests, that's fine. If you want to parody it, that's fine too. But for both of those (and all other possibilities), the way that you use key elements such as dimly lit streets or the costume choices for each of the characters will need to be different.


    Speaking of the silhouette, you seem to be going for something of a realistic style, so the unique outline is going to come from one of these places:
    - Her hairstyle
    - Physical abnormalities (includes things like massive breasts, but is more visible for characters with e.g. only one arm)
    - Her costume
    - What she is holding

    Also, regarding the thing about how many people will play the game before, note that I'm not saying that the choice is between becoming a smash hit or being mildly successful (though of course I hope your game does become wildly acclaimed, etc.). Treat the choice as: Do I want this game to sell enough that I can consider myself to have been paid for all the time I spent on making this, and perhaps put a little aside for preproduction costs on the next game I make, or am I fine with it only earning me enough to buy a few beers every now and then? Again, not saying that your game isn't going to sell, etc., but it's probably best to treat this (and any major) decision as affecting the game's balance between breaking even and earning practically no revenue at all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  37. Zidiane

    Zidiane Doing my best

    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Steam:
    Zidiane
    PSN:
    zidiane5
    XBL:
    Zidiane
    Cerebella
    I think it's gonna be hard to reconcile your love of the cliche and the need to make her unique at the same time. Anyway, I feel like a memorable outline isn't always the best thing. I mean, memorable outlines are important, but I feel like "how many times do you just see the characters outline?"The reason why a memorable outline is well received is because it helps the player remember this specifically and keep it in a special place in their memory, but you are totally able to do that with every other part of the game. The style, the story, the gameplay, the humor, the dilemmas, the music, the plot twists, all of those things can also be super memorable. Outlines just do it immediately on sight.

    Also, there are totally people who are gonna recognize this on sight, but this character doesn't have a super distinguished outline but spawned an epic and unforgettable game.
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
    Show Spoiler
    It's Simon from Castlevania
     
  38. IsaVulpes

    IsaVulpes Just Throw

    Location:
    Trinidad && Tobago
    Ms. Fortune
    Filia
    Double
    This is Boba Fett
     
    DARKNESSxEAGLE likes this.
  39. Vadsamoht

    Vadsamoht Well-Known Member Administrator

    Steam:
    Vadsamoht
    Ms. Fortune
    Robo Fortune
    Missing Seeker and rangefinder. Not Fett.
     
  40. EvaXephon

    EvaXephon Video Game Streamer / Unpublished Indie Game Dev

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Steam:
    EvaXephon
    PSN:
    EvaXephon
    XBL:
    EvaXephon
    Cerebella
    Double
    I'm totally aware of how ridiculously impractical it would be to use a scythe as a weapon...in real life. But this is a video game, where the Rule of Cool is the only rule I need. I'm willing to throw realism and practicality out the window for the sake of having the coolest weapon possible, and to me, that's got to be an energy scythe. An umbrella isn't a practical weapon to use in a fight, either, but that doesn't stop Parasoul. You can argue that Parasoul is using a special fantasy umbrella that shoots projectiles - and, likewise, my character is using a special sci-fi scythe with an energy blade rather than a solid blade, which opens up combat options that a grass-cutting tool does not.

    I agree that the scythe in the original design has too many features; I've never liked the way that scythe looked. I've always thought that it was way too over-designed and bulky, and I've always wanted it to be slimmer, like this one...but it's the character's design that's on trial here.

    I agree that black and red is way over-used. So, what other color scheme would you suggest?

    I agree that the costume is impractical, but that doesn't matter to me very much. Once again, I'm willing to completely suspend my disbelief as long as something looks cool enough...or sexy enough. I'd rather have an impractical and cool-looking character than a completely realistic, practical, boring character. With that said, it may be entirely possible for her to be wearing a much more cool-looking outfit than her current corset / skirt combo...but whatever outfit I eventually decide on will definitely not be restrained by practicality. So, what would you suggest for the outfit?

    The reason I wanted to give the protagonist a simple hairstyle is because I haven't been able to get cloth physics or long hair physics working in my game engine. But, of course, that's a personal failing, and shouldn't restrict the character's appearance. So, what would you suggest for the hairstyle?

    What's wrong with having a young, white, female protagonist? If this is a "social justice warrior" thing, I'm definitely not going to argue about that subject in this thread. The costume is my primary concern here.

    About the cleavage, midriff, and legs...well, there is a story-related reason why she desires to dress up in a sexy outfit when she fights, but even if there wasn't a plot-related reason, I'm going to fall back on the Rule of Sexy. I absolutely love sexy-looking femme fatale characters. ...aren't we on...the Skullgirls forum...?...

    I really hate over-designed characters with too many belts and zippers and random useless accessories hanging off of every limb...but I really don't think my character suffers from that problem. She's got a pretty simple outfit. There are some details, sure, but I don't feel the design approaches the DeviantArt level of ridiculous over-design.

    Everything about the character's design, however implausible it might seem at first glance, does have a justification. The reason she dyes her hair, the reason Death thought a scythe would suit her best, the reason she wears a sexy outfit - it's all worked into her backstory. Is that what you're talking about?

    I didn't really purposefully make the game's storyline dark for the sake of being dark - I just made it a story that appeals to me, and dark things happen to appeal to me, so the story came out really, really dark. I guess you could say that my over-abundant enthusiasm for impractical weapons, sexy outfits, and super dark-and-edgy plot elements is totally steering the design and direction of this game. (However, because the game takes place predominantly in LITERALLY dark environments, it may be a good idea to give her a brighter color scheme...)

    Maybe it's because all of these aspects of her design appeal 100% to my personal tastes, but I just can't imagine that choosing to go with this character design could actually result in "practically no revenue". Is that what you're really suggesting? Or are you just saying that every time I make a decision about a character's appearance, I should treat that decision, no matter how minor, as being a choice that could ruin the game financially? Because that doesn't seem realistic to me, either...

    Anyway, why even criticize the original design? I'm ready and willing to replace it with one of the new re-designs that I posted. So, please tell me what it is you like / dislike about the NEW designs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014

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