Dec 302014

In the process of writing, the story has changed quite a bit from what I initially expected.  Thus the title of the game will also have to change to better fit the story.  I’m not quite ready to share the new title yet, but for now let’s consider “Nia’s Journey” a working title until the real title is revealed.

Apr 162014

I just created a full image of Nia from the smaller portrait used in-game.  It’s mostly just for fun, but I’d like to do the other characters too.  Anyway, it was a nice break from writing.

A black woman in a denim jacket, purple shirt, and jeans.  She is waving "hello."

Nia, waving “hello.”

Dec 202013

I need to go back and change some of Nia’s dialogue.  It was originally my intention to make her more of a “blank-slate” character whose primary purpose is to serve as the player’s avatar.  As I’ve been writing, she has developed more of her own personality, so now I need to make sure all the dialogue options are consistent.

I think it’s better to narrow down the choices to things that are “in-character” for her, rather than try to guess what the player would want to do or say.  Honestly, it’s more fun to write this way, and I think it will be more fun to play too.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this story turns out!

May 272013

For the next few months I’ll be focusing on writing.  Now that I have the right tool for the job, I should be able to get the story done relatively quickly.  In the meantime, I have a slight backlog of character designs that don’t have their character written yet.  So, you can still look forward to a few character design posts as I get those done.

It’s amazing what a difference it makes to have free & low-cost software like Ywriter, Inkscape, GIMP and RPG Maker.  I would never even have dreamed of doing a project like this otherwise.

May 162013

One of the big struggles for me in working on this project has been organization.  While RPG Maker is a great tool for RPG development, Nia’s Journey has some particular challenges that have made writing within the RPG Maker editor difficult.  On a basic level it’s pretty straightforward to add dialogue, but since I’m planning to include a lot of branching in the story, it can be difficult to keep track of what has or has not happened in previous scenes.

I just recently learned about a great writing tool called Ywriter that I hope will make it much easier to write more consistently without having to stop so often to try to remember everything that may or may not have happened in the past that would be relevant to each scene.

Although Ywriter is designed primarily for writing novels, not games, the ability to organize the story by scenes, chapters, and sections fits perfectly with what I need to write more effectively for this project.  In Ywriter, I can quickly see who was in a prior scene, what items were relevant, where it took place, as well as a summary of what happened.  It even allows me to import images such as character portraits.

Going forward, I’d like to try focusing more on writing outside of RPG Maker, so that I can import the dialogue and script characters’ behavior with a clear understanding of how the scene should play out.  Hopefully this approach will allow me to work more efficiently on this aspect of the project.

Feb 052013

If you’ve been following for a while, you probably already know this, but I just want to say that I really appreciate feedback from my readers. Even though I have a specific vision for what I want to create, your feedback helps me achieve that vision in the best way possible. Just as an example, in one of my earlier posts I discussed my plans for random encounters and I learned that I could create the experience I was looking for using on map encounters (which most people seem to prefer.)

Please do keep it coming…and thanks your support!

Jan 182013

Lately I’ve been thinking about how to handle defeat.  Traditionally in RPGs, a lost battle means everybody dies and it’s game over.  You can either load a save or start over from the beginning.

My thought was that it might be cool to make losing part of the gameplay as well.  For example, if you lose a battle, you might still have a chance to talk your way out of being killed.  I don’t think I’d do this for every battle though, since it would take too much time to add dialogue for so many scenes that players won’t even see most of the time.

Unscripted defeats would probably be best limited to boss fights or other especially difficult encounters.  I have some ideas for how the story could continue after an unscripted defeat, or at least offer a chance to retreat and try again.

What do you think of this idea? If you lost a battle but were able to continue playing (with consequences), would you reload your last save, or keep moving forward?

Dec 292012

Hey folks,

Now that I’ve done the character design for Chinyelu (for now, it could always change), I thought it might be nice to post a quick tutorial on how to make a short fro like hers in Inkscape.

When I first tried making a short fro, I used the method in my previous Afro tutorial, and it didn’t work very well at all.  For very short styles, the individual curls aren’t as visible, so it’s better to just give an impression of how they look rather than actually drawing each hair.

Ok here’s how Chinyelu looks with no hair:

short fro 1

To start all we need to do is add the basic shape of the hair, closely following the contours of her head.  Note that I have also added a slight blur (about 1.5).  I also set the opacity to about 75% so her skin still shows through slightly.  This can be adjusted depending on how long the hair is and what works for the image background and skin tone.

short fro 2

The “trick” to this is in the next step.   Continue reading »