Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Big Change

So, after a long wait I've decided that you guys won't eat me if I reveal what's been going on after all.

I've been busy converting Demonheart from NWN modules to a standalone game. Basically, it will be a conversation based interactive novel, illustrated by someone other than me.

Now, I expect some of you to be angry because there will be repeated content, and why won't that witch Rivera go away already...? How much fun can the demonheart girl really have in the Golden Forest replaying Chapter 1 over and over? (More fun than me rewriting it for ages, I bet. :S)

But... We have to think of the others who haven't seen Demonheart yet because they don't play NWN. Some people can't even run my modules, I don't know what's going on. Others just give me an outraged look and ask why on Earth was I making content for such an old game.

And now the peak of my honesty. I didn't know how long the development of the Demonheart modules would take. I just wanted people to see my work. These stories are a half of my life. Before the Prelude module, I didn't even know if people would like what I'm making.

I had just started college when I began serious work on the modules. So much time has passed, that getting a job has become a pressing concern for me. Out there in the real world, my job would be programming 8 hours a day for someone else. I don't think that would leave me the time or energy to do my own projects. I'd rather make my own games for a living than be locked up in some company's basement writing someone else's software. Plus, all that human contact. Maybe you've been able to guess this due to the fact that I've spent all that time coming up with alternative worlds - I am one secluded person.

In the end I'll do what I have to, but first let me try my luck with this project. 

There will be changes in the plot and the game will start a little earlier than the Prelude module. I'll write more about it when there is time, but I am actively working on the game (just having doubts if I should be writing blog posts or game content).

Big thanks to the NWN community for giving me the confidence to start and keep working on Demonheart!

103 comments:

  1. I'll still play it.

    They were really great NWN modules, though.

    Good luck.

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  2. Hi Lamb,

    It's good to hear that you didn't abandoned Demonheart project. Although I am a bit worried that you've decided to change the game concept from NWN module to interactive story. Mainly because your NWN modules where one of the best available for this game. But I guess that the best thing about your modules was the story. So if in this new form there will be more story, the game can be even better :). I keep my fingers crossed and wish you good luck.

    PS: If you are worried that after finding job you will not have much time for other stuff, I am afraid that you're right. When I try to program something for myself after 8 hours of programming in work, I usually end up watching TV or playing games. So maybe you should try Patreon? There is a lot of project that get more than $1000 per month, and some of them get even more than $10 000. So meaby there's a chance that you won't have to go to work and focus only on Demonheart :-). And if not at least you'll get a few bucks that get you motivated to continue working on this game. I myself will definitely pledge to your project :)

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  3. 'Plus, all that human contact.' Brutally honest - I like it ;) Bear in mind, it may be much easier to interact with people at work on work-related projects than it is outside in a social context, so it may not be as bad as you think if you haven't tried it yet. Having said that, always follow your heart first: if making your own games on your own is what you want to do, go for it! As anon said, crowdfunding is always an option, regardless of what shape you want your project to take.

    As for my selfish opinion on DH, what matters most to me is the story: your NWN modules were superb, but if you find you can push out content more quickly and just the way you want it in pure text, I'm all in favour. What package are you aiming for - Twine, choicescript, Undum, ... ? Or something more like a visual novel?

    I for one eagerly await news of what lies ahead in your new direction - but I hope you'll be writing blog posts as an after-thought to content :) In any case, best of luck!

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    1. There will be background and character images, all 2D. I made a custom engine for displaying conversations. Not sure if there will be any minigames between talking, it's not a priority atm.

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    2. Custom engine sounds great, can't wait to see it in action.

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  4. Great, what i love of your game is the story, i always use cheats in neverwinter modules to not deal with the combat anyway, so perfect.

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  5. Great news that we get more DH!
    I will miss nwn of course but I will probably enjoy a visual novel more in the end as I mainly play games for the story.
    As me and others have said before and now, patreon would likely do you well.

    You may want to look into http://www.renpy.org/ instead of spending time on an engine of your own, at least if you plan to go for a pure visual novel experience. It's open source and free even for commercial use.

    Again soo happy about this news!

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  6. Woah, that's an unexpected turn!
    Well, as long as you put as much effort into the story as you did before, I would play this game, no matter the format.

    Also, this is quite sudden, but I am a huge fan of Demonheart and an artist as well, so if you need any help with 2D art - I would be happy to assist!

    Best of luck to you, Lady Lamb!

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    1. The graphics have me worried right now, because the one artist currently working on DH is working a full time job for another game developing company and does DH on the side. There will need to be lots of backgrounds and I'm worried if she can do it by the time I'm finished writing. Granted, I am slow, so anything can happen.

      I could show you the kind of backgrounds we have for now, if you'd consider doing some. As for the characters, I'd like them done by my concept art, but better, so I talked to the artist about having her paint over my drawings. I'm very touchy about the main characters' faces.

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  7. Excellent news.

    I second looking up renpy if you haven't already to save time if you really are going for a visual novel format. Could be useful.

    Looking forward to this and wish you luck Lamb.

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  8. Hey Lamb, awesome news!

    Change is always scary, but I've been in love with Demonheart since the day I discovered it, I have faith in everything you do. Also willing to support it with my wallet. Honestly there should be more people like you who aren't afraid to step out of the boundaries. Anyways, great news and best of luck to you.

    I have a question though:
    NWN allowed us some degree of customization over our characters. I know I used a face model of the main char with my own tweaked texture. Plus the look of the armor could be changed via toolset. Will there be any customization for our girl in the new format? Or you are planning only the first person view to avoid customization at all?

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    1. For now, I'm counting on a player character with a fixed name and appearance. It's easier to write that way. She'll be behind the scene most of the time.

      Giving some appearance choices sounds interesting. We'll have to see how that would fit in once we have more content. I'd like to have some special images of the player character hugging someone etc, so not sure how we'd integrate a custom face or hair color into that. But we don't know if there will even be such images. Depends on the artist(s), time, money :S

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    2. Its better with fixed character. - Torment, Deus Ex, Witcher all have set character and has best stories by far.

      The moment you have set character the story can be more diverse with more options - on the other hand - the more diverse character options you have(gender, backgrounds, look, classes, names, etc...) the less diverse will be the story

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    3. Well, Demonheart is already about a set character which is a young human girl. Nobody here is talking about changing race, gender whatever. It wouldnt even make sense if the main character suddenly became male. We were talking about aesthetics like not having a set appearance.

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    4. During module development I've found that the more options I give, the more I'll have to write and the less of what I've written the player will see. It's ungrateful business, writing 200 branches, and the player only sees a 4 lines long conversation. I know it's those player choices that really add value to the game, so I'm trying to find balance.

      Anyway, I understand the concern with appearance. It bothers me when the writer assumes something about my character (that she's short, skinny, or muscular, with tanned skin etc :D)

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    5. And it is perfectly understandable. I also don't think a writer should concentrate on too many tiny branches of someone's haircolor for example, because its simply not worth their effort, as it could be invested elsewhere in a story. :)

      To be honest I wasnt concerned about appearance.
      English isn't my native language so I'm usually jumping around a point for the fear of offending someone, in this case you as a writer, or appearing entitled.
      I can't speak for others obviously, but I personally would avoid any indication of appearance at all if it was possible. Since that way we could imagine all we want our protagonists to be. I mean you did a great job in Demonheart by really just saying that the girl is pretty and tall. I usually make my characters skinny and short :P but even here I could get behind the idea of her being tall. The rest of the appearance was shown by the portrait and it was enough for me.
      Now since Demonheart is being converted into the new format and the scenes are painted the only thing I was worried about was being shown our protagonist's face painted by the artist. But since you said she is most of the time going to be behind the scenes, I'm not really worried. :)

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    6. play Serafina's Crown for example,it's made on renpy and have dynamic hair color. by selecting replies,you take a point of specific god.and your hair will slowly color itself to color fo that god.
      also any VN have layer system. it's used for emotions mostly.

      to see how it's made you can decompile with simple tools and see game's guts.

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  9. At first I was kind of sad to hear the module will never be finished...but then I thought that maybe we will be getting more of Demonheart not restricted by the old NWN engine.

    I wish you good luck and I will certainly keep tabs on your new project! Perhaps you could, like somebody else has already mentioned, move to Patreon, Kickstarter or any other site that helps new, promising projects? It would certainly net you more of an audience! :)

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  10. Thank you for the reply.
    That sounds really good. :)
    If you are willing to take suggestions, is there a possibility for you to consider not showing the main char's features? Like only show from the back or something in the scenes where the character is required to be present (not behind scenes). I don't know how others feel, but I think that way there is a greater ability for players to make a character 'theirs' so to speak, and also as you say easier for you to write... Custom face sounds really awesome tbh, like a NWN portrait or something. It is of course always up to you to decide whether it is worth your time/money/bother etc, you are an awesome talented person that gave us a great saga all by yourself, so I'll be happy with anything really. :)

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    1. I'll make a reminder about this, though right now the priority is to see how the artist will do the NPCs >:3

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    2. Oh thank you! Of course your characters come first :) they are what really makes the modules great imho.

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    3. i'm not agains't faced PC,more over i'm all for it !
      i don't even remember VN where we don't have PC with a face.
      make it pritty like Triss or Yennefer tho lol xD

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    4. I would prefer a well defined protagonist over "headcanon" any day, I find it rather immersion breaking that the main character is somehow an undefined shadow. It should be also way easier to write a detailed story that includes character features (hair style, eye color etc.), than leaving everything open. I believe that is something Dragon Age Inquisions suffers from and Witcher 3 does way better. But then again I don't consider the protagonist an extension of myself, but rather that I'm playing a role in which I can influence the world around it somewhat.

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  11. Ok, I won't eat you. But that's only because I've had a couple of double cheeseburgers tonight. Yum. :)

    Have to admit, I didn't see this change of plans coming! But I am happy to play a Demonheart game no matter what the format. I am a big fan of NWN and continue to play as much as I can. Though in reality, I realize not many folks have this game on their computers and that number will probably diminish as time goes by.

    So I can see where this module/game in another format would most certainly broaden it's appeal. And a visual novel/2D sort of format would probably be less time consuming as well for you to develop. Just do what you think is best. I look forward to experiencing the DH universe no matter what gaming format it eventually lands.

    Thank you so very much for keeping us updated! And of course, look forward to future updates.

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  12. About this patreon business some of you have mentioned. I'm not sure how it would work in my case. If it were for the old NWN modules, the audience is just dropping in numbers. For a standalone game, could I release smaller chapters as I work on them? I'd prefer to throw out a bigger chunk at once, though.

    I'm seriously considering some crowdfunding platform like kickstarter, except I'm not in the US so it will have to be an alternative one. Or I have to trust an external company with the campaign to make it on kickstarter? I hear there's a much bigger audience there than on indiegogo.

    That would help new people to see the game, as well as with some funding. Again, I'm not sure how much to ask for. I'd love to have the game with voiceovers, but that's kind of optional. The graphics have a flexible price. I could just say there's 1 image per chapter. But of course, I wouldn't like that.

    As for music, there's free music I absolutely love that I could use, but there's always a possibility someone has heard it as part of something else, and I wouldn't want people to be reminded of the wrong things while playing.

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    1. What makes patreon so good is that unlike kickstarter and similar you don't bind yourself to a contract of sorts and with the usual too short timeline.
      Patreon is more like a monthly donation from people who want to support you and your ideas. The only commitments you make is the ones you choose to do yourself. Since it's a monthly payment it is easier to get a steady income as people can usualy spare 5$ a month but say 50$ one time on kickstarter demands a bit more.

      You can of course do them all but I'd suggest starting out with patreon to get a feel for things.

      One thing that could be nice for patreon is to let people vote on how you spend the money. Say music, art, coffe and such. Would help you see what people prefer from the game.

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    2. It doesn't have to be a monthly payment.

      Some people making games are making it a per chapter release payment, or per game.

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    3. patreon is NOT a donation site,not even close.
      DONATION and COMMERCE 2 different thing,and patreon is the last. it's a SUBSCRIPTION site.

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  13. What about stats? There will be something like STR, DEX, CHAR, etc? Or only text just like a old and classic VN? Would be cool if it was something like the Winter Wolves games; they mix classic turn based RPG with VN interaction.

    Sad that you will never end the NWN Demonheart BUT I'm happy that you won't leave me without knowing what happens to my little crazy demon lover ^_^

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    1. No stats planned, that part is fixed for now (for example, the DH girl might be considered quick but not strong).

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  14. I was curious about one thing concerning the custom content you have made for Demonheart. Do you plan to release any of it for public use with NWN?

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    1. Hmm, what custom content exactly? I meddled with lots of things, not sure how user friendly I could make it.

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    2. Several placeables I noticed, as well as edits to I think at least one animation.

      I hate to see you leave NWN, but I also would hate to see the CC you worked on collect dust if your not using it anymore.

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    3. I'm not against someone digging up the custom content and making a new hak. I merged lots of things together and I no longer remember which files exactly are required for what. Animations are probably in one of the "pheno" marked haks.

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  15. This is actually a really, really cool idea, I'm all for this. I do hope we can keep some degree of customization with the visual novel but I'm not opposed to a fixed character if that's what's easiest for you in the long run :) Thank you so much for the update Lamb! All the best! <3

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  16. Thank you for the answer on the other post (I am the Anon who asked about Dorna's phenotype). :)

    While I mourn the loss of an epic NWN saga, I do believe this a VN is a better idea. The battles were fun, though (are you going to implement a battle system of some sort, by the way?), but it was very clear that the conversations were the most important part. Demonheart was, in many ways, an interactive novel already - one written with nwscript. ;)

    Are there still going to be choices, by the way? I dearly hope so.

    On another note... well, let me begin with a lengthy disclaimer that is perhaps called for here (I have been publishing a lot of literary projects on the Internet, collaborative and solo, and bloody hated feedback that tried to tell me/us what to do plot-wise, and however well-meant offers of 'ideas') - I would never presume to try to tell anyone what they should do about a project, it's just a respectful suggestion from the perspective of a potential player: the fixed name and appearance might not be the best idea; perhaps allowing customization would be worth the extra time and work? Personally, I only get truly involved with the story if I get to create my own character (at least where the most basic characteristics are concerned: name and colours)... I am sure it's that way for many others as well.

    Thank you for your work, and the news. <3

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    1. Since the game will start from the beginning, you remember that part is kinda linear, but there are conversation choices that may lead to different NPC responses. I'd say roughly 50% of the game will be reused from the modules (not the whole modules, only parts that make sense in the new game), and the rest is something added, changed, replaced etc. I'm considering giving a real fork in the story later on.

      I'll post more info about the game later, first need players to get informed that there will be one.

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  17. eeeeeeeeeh?!
    i'm not against conversion,but i'd rather see finished Nwn.
    DH with NwN engine have specific atmosphere,novels just wont make it same.
    it will be totally new game with same characters.
    i'd rather see novel after nwn finished or at least made in parallel.

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  18. You know, I thought to myself while playing, "this series would make awesome books." I would kinda prefer to see it finished in NWN though, since that's how it began. Looking forward to the next update! :)

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  19. I completely understand the change. I installed NWN for the first time only a few months ago just so I could play this mod and ADWR, but I know I'm in the minority :P. I'm also a software engineer, and after work I'm too exhausted to look at code anymore.

    I'm excited to see what you come up with!

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  20. While I'm disappointed to see that the NWN modules wont be finished, I'm grateful that will be seeing the full Demonheart story, even if it's in a different format. I'm hoping you'll continue to make Demonheart a game instead of switching to strictly text in a vn format. The thing that I've enjoyed most about modules like Demonheart and A Dance With Rogues is that they mix game play and the ability to explore a little in with the story. It makes the experience far more engaging then just choosing different text options in a visual novel format.

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  21. Thanks for the news Lamb. I'm hopeful the new direction for your project works out. I'm looking forward to what you do with Demonheart.

    Good luck.

    8)

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    1. Thanks Lamb. Good to see you posting some too.

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  22. I'm a bit dubious about the interactive novel part. Text based game - sure, but definitely not a VN in a traditional sense. Random encounters of all kinds, conditional events based on player's personality or stats and all those small, not directly (or somethimes at all) plot-related responses to PC's behaviour are a major part of DH's charm, so I feel it's abolutely essential that things life character customization, inventory and free time set aside to just explore the world and poke around are preserved.
    While I can see how nwn platform has been dragging DH down somewhat, a pure VN where player advances along the selected plotline would definitely be less appealing than the original module regardless of how many branches there would be. Sandbox and customization elements, even if limited ones, are very important.

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  23. Another NWN amazing module not finished *sigh* ... while i'm very sad about this news I wish you goodluck on your new project, I'll try it no doubt.

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  24. I'm glad that most of you reacted positively to the news. :D

    I had no problem developing in the NWN toolset - in fact, I loved switching from writing to scripting to making custom content. But time is limited, and I can't effectively produce a game that's fit for a whole gaming studio (and starve to death as a bonus :D). That and I'd like people who don't play NWN to see the DH world/characters also.

    I just got some character art for the game, and it's awesome! Will show it later, I sense there are more people who haven't seen this post yet.

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  25. Awesome news ^___^

    Honestly, after you gave a link to your friend’s Amazing Nightmare project I thought you should start your own project too, because DH is more than just a mod for NWN (despite all my warm feelings for NWN mods), it deserves to be an original book or game or interactive story, but not an addition for other game. DH is great and fascinating. I mean it :3

    I can’t imagine what kind of game a new DH will be, but words "illustrated" and "novel" in game context somehow bring me back to Soul Sacrifice (storytelling part, its amazing way of presentation, not slash-fighting part), and if DH is going be kind of something like that – oh, wow =^__^=
    (well, just an example, in case http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bM5ui-usN_8 there is a short fight between storytelling)

    But any way I wish the DH project grows up well and brings you not only inspiration and joy of creativity but becomes a source of income (for living and future games). I believe in you:)

    p.s. - Eagerly waiting for future news (and character arts *__*)

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  26. maybe after novel you you'll finish NwnN OR -!!!- make a game on Unity or UE4 like dragon age or witcher :D or rather like whorecraft

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  27. Lamb, I suppose you are going to start patreon? Your work is really good so I always wanted you to do it professional. I looked some projects at patreon and I think that what you do is quite superior. I, myself, is really eager to support your work. Best wishes, sry for bad english) and don't wait with patreon it usually starts slow.

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  28. Did not see that coming but this will be very interesting.

    I really liked your modules but I was mostly in it for the story so changing to a VN sounds cool. Honestly you could publish an entire choice-based text game with no music and artwork and I would probably like that too (Choicescript is really good for branching choice-games, but I've only seen limited artwork in those games and no music). I know you've said that there won't be attributes for the MC, but will there be *any* kind of tracking systems? Like for example an inventory, where having picked certain things up, results in being able to do certain things (an example is having a rope with you in chapter 2 of DH), or a form of alignment system like NWN? Also will the r**e scene with Brash still be in the game? I'm not saying you should remove it but I would imagine it's a bit more risky when one's game is one patreon etc. Especially if you can't avoid the scene.

    Anyway I wish you good luck with your new project. :D

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  29. Working on a tracking system as we speak. Okay, not while I'm writing this. xD I like alignments - maybe not traditional ones, but there will be something like that. There has to be something different in the way characters react to you based on your choices so far. I'd like the game to be replayable like the modules.

    The rape scene. Will people be disappointed if I remove it? :P In a very old version of the story, Brash wasn't supposed to go far with the rape at all. But then I got writing help from Thirdpres, and since we had content for some insignificant NPCs, I wanted Brash to get his share too. For me, it's not a vital part of the story. In one version, Brash was supposed to be a tragic character who never gets what he wants. But everyone else only saw the rape version and maybe you all consider it a defining point in the DH girl's life?

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    1. Replayability is what I like the most about a visual novel so hope we will impact the story allot in one way or another while going trough it.

      As for the rape scene it was intervowen into the story quite a bit. So would seem odd if it did not happen now. I liked how it affects my own mind and way I play the girl.
      If there is just a rape attempt I'd hope for it to be Rivera that stop it rather than Brash having a change of heart. After all rape seem quite common for him after he became a DH, maybe before that too?
      I trust in your skill to change it all for the better should you choose to do so and just look forward to see how everything is turning out in the end.

      Man this new anti bot select pictures is kicking my ass, no doubt a bot would have an easier time...

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    2. I would love to see Brash being as hopelessly tragic as possible, so the idea o actually not having a rape scene is a good one.
      However, I also believe the rape scene as it was presented in the module was very strong and added a lot to DH's development (at least for me), besides it gave a good reason for a lot of people to hate Brash just based on that alone and led to some different roleplaying possibilities. I mean should Brash have been just tragic people would probably react to him in a similar way, but the rape could have actually split opinions quite drastically between the players (Vico was similar). Anyway, I love the guy, and I love that DH is sufficiently dark with dark things happening to PC. If you did not re-write too much, i.e. Brash's arc. I would say leave the scene in. I think it added a lot to development.

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    3. I think that the rape scene was one of the strongest written scenes in the game, and it would be a tragedy to remove it. I think it is a very important part of the story, and I would be quite sad if it was removed.

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  30. I think you should do it similar to the Blowjob scene, if the MC is more or less pasive or want it, it happens, if she resist Brash stop. That way isn't rape. But i don't think that you should be scared of including rape or similar fucked up content , do the game that you want without worrying of what people will say.

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  31. I think you should keep it, and I personally think it was a defining point for the DH girl's tale. A lot of people don't like rape as a plot device but in this story I think it works and adds layers of complexity and conflict to the relationship with Brash that she doesn't really have with anybody else.

    As the person above me said, don't be afraid of including fucked up stuff, it's one of the many reasons why I love this series - you aren't afraid to go *there*, wherever there may be.

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  32. I think the rape scene is strong one -- it's a fact and good for story tension. a) if you remove it you lose a moment of tension and a lot of Brash content BUT if there will be a lot of such strong moments about him (and other characters) -- loss of some content is not a big deal. b) if you keep it and care about Brash personality you should learn about rape in the context of human psychology and deal with it.
    I'm not expert of rapist physiology but when I played the girl who fought him back and whom he knocked senseless then continued his doing -- it seemed to me improbable: did Brash really enjoy fucking unconscious body of the girl he's almost in love? I could understand if he was like a imbecile guy (necrophile's apprentice), but Brash seems have too much intelligence or self-comprehension for such things:)

    So the rape scene is not bad itself: it's realistic, bad things happen and a (wo)man not always can cope with it. The trick is how you use the scene in the novel ;)

    +1 to "do the game that you want without worrying of what people wil say"

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    1. Uh-oh, I don't think he'd actually enjoy that :S now that you say it, unconscious body. So he was a little unrealistic... Because for the module we said it MUST happen, for future references.

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  33. You're back :)
    Sad to see you giving up the Aurora engine, cause, I loved playing NwN modules.It felt like a game with stats, combat and and possibility "were to go now", which a VN lacks. But if gonna decide on doing a VN, I will play it nonetheless. Did you already decide which engine you want to use (Ren'py etc.)?

    Regarding the "rape scene":
    I didn't like the rape scene at all. Brash is a very broken man and highly unstable. Playing module 1 was like:"How to not get raped......oh no."The whole frigging time. The MCs whole mental wellbeing was hanging on a thin thread since she was introduced to Brash. Like watching out his mood swing " Will he do it or do it not". It was awful nerve wrecking. ->Yeah. I loved module 2. Module 1...not so much.
    How about making it so that our character can save herself ....or ... well... fail.

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    1. I'm using my own engine. Hope it doesn't have bad memory leaks. xD I like writing exactly what I need, so I put up resistance when people try to make me use something new, that possibly has more features than I need, or will limit me in some way.

      LOL, "How to not get raped... oh no." xD

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    2. Ohhh, nice. Thank you for clarifying.
      That sounds very interesting and different from the pabulum we often get to see, especially in regard to VNs. I wish you luck on this project and hopefully it will make you happy doing it your way. I mean, coming to the conclusion discontinuing using the Aurora engine and creating/using your own engine. You sound very pleased about that :) .

      And regarding Brash. Let's just say I'm not a fan.
      "I got broken and that's why I have the right to break others. Doesn't matter if I make someone suffer "
      This attitude does not sit well with me :\ . However it does match his state of mind.

      *goes back into hiding and waits for updates*

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  34. Bah, the blog ate my rather long post! Don't you just hate it when that happens?!

    I don’t know if may glad or saddened by this news.

    NWN engine definitely wasn’t suited to what you were trying to do with Demonheart. I couldn’t shake off the feeling that the story didn’t allow for a lot input from the player, kinda like Telltale adventure games – lot of complex characters, lot of conversations allowing you to roleplay a character, but in the end, the story unfolded in a certain way irrespective of player’s input.

    That was fine for the prelude and chapter 1, when we were trying to find our bearings after a storm of events that turned the life of our dear Demonheart girl upside down. I was hoping that chapter 2 would be a little different. Initially it appeared to promise more player agency and involvement, but in the end was very similar to the prelude and chapter 1, which is why chapter 2 was the worst of the lot in my opinion.

    Since I now understand that wasn’t simply a drop in quality but a design choice, I agree that visual novel, or even a regular novel, would work much better.

    I don’t particularly like visual novels, in my opinion there’s not enough player input to be considered a proper video game, but they work well enough when you just want to tell a story, I guess, and Demonheart story is good enough to make me want to get to the end, in whatever format.

    Anyway, I wish you best of luck, one should always follow one’s passions, and if you need any kind of help, even if it’s like a second opinion or something, feel free to holler.

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    1. Now I think I understand what people meant when they said the NWN engine was limiting me. It's like the other way around - I had to limit what the player was allowed to do, and waste a lot of time on it. Since there's so much freedom in NWN, I always had to come up with ways to stop the player from breaking the game and think of everything they will try to do.

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  35. I'm personally really excited about the changes. The only reason I play any Neverwinter module is because of the story and dialogue they add. Really not into the combat in any of the old Bioware games, so I usually cheat through them anyway xP. Something like a visual novel with your storyline would be fantastic. Just hope there's still going to be plenty of choice in dialogue. ...And more steamy scenes.

    As for the rape scenario, I think you wrote it quite well and don't see why you shouldn't keep at least the attempt in. Brash's desperation and near madness right before turning you over to Rivera really added a lot to his character, I feel. At that moment I wasn't sure what to think about him. I remember early on being worried that he was going to turn out to be the typical asshole. *cough*Vico*cough* However, as I learned more of why and how he's under Rivera's control and how he's in this state in part from being betrayed by an old flame I started to see him as more of a tragic character. Add in the little sweet moments (the lock of hair, Brash's sword, the protectiveness he occasionally shows) and I began to really like him as a character. Still an asshole, granted, but an asshole with layers, which many similar characters don't pull off *at all*.


    Just want to add, I love Brash as a character. Of all of those in the modules, I most enjoyed the interactions with him (Raze has been interesting so far, too, but we've not seen so much of him yet.) No matter which personality type your character is, Brash's responses are interesting, whether you're arguing with him (which I find especially fun) or making him feel bad because he's hurt your character's feelings.

    A large part of this is because of how well you've written the Demonheart girl's responses and gave such a wonderful range in personality types. Playing a rude, sarcastic, and insulting character is actually really fun in your modules. I've found that most games make it so that if you want to play such a character, stupidity always comes along with it. Like the only way to be rude is if your intelligence is so low that you're drooling on yourself and everyone responds to you like your character's an idiot. Whether enraging Brash or sneakily insulting Raze, you feel like you're playing a character who has some wit and intellect rather than some brute.


    Thanks for all the work you've put into sharing this story with us and the work you continue to do.

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    1. The *attempt* will stay anyway. :) So, I guess I should take care to keep as much content from the module(s) as can fit the slightly changed story. It seems like too much Brash now, but some of him will be optional. Hmm.

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  36. I just read the news. Surprising. But, I think the strength of DH was the story. The NWN battle mechanics were nice too, but limited. So, if that's going, then that might work in the project's favour. Oh, and by limited I simply mean that when playing a thief character, without access to prestige classes, it was going to be very hard to have fun with battling tough enemies.

    I have no idea what the game might play like now, but I'm still interested in the story, and if this allows you to tell that story in a more straightforward manner--so that the big pieces you write are actually seen by players--then that could work really well. Depending on the writing. I'll continue to take an interest in this.

    What kind of time frame are we talking about? End of the year... something like the first module? Or I guess you could call them chapters now. Will you release module-like portions, or just write something that tells a full story and then maybe add to that, or sequels to that? Open question, but there's no real need to answer one way or the other. Just curious.

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    1. The whole Apocalypse story isn't any more complete than it was in the modules, so I couldn't stuff it all in one game. I'll try to make the (first) game one complete story, but there might be hints of the apocalypse that currently lead nowhere. I don't like leaving cliffhangers, so I'm not sure how to handle it. The game should not end on "to be continued", but I would like to make a sequel. And that's the difficult part, because I know it's supposed to be continued...

      So, the question is how to have a satisfactory ending while knowing you are the sign of an upcoming apocalypse. I'm thinking of "and she regained her freedom and became powerful, and she lived with X"

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    2. Whoa, is the sequel going to be about the same girl or a totally new person?

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    3. Still haven't decided. I'll leave the ending open enough so that it's possible to make a sequel with the same girl, but there's also a possibility of telling someone else's story in the same world.

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    4. I don't think an explicit hint at a continuing storyline has to involve a clifhanger necessarily. I think first of all a good ending would include specific goals for the PC and letting the player achieve at least some of them; picking and winning some battles today should go a long way towards mitigating any bad feelings about future world-ending struggles.

      Secondly, if all the PC has at the end of the game are signs, portents, and prophecies, you could let the player choose what they mean to her through conversations and actions throughout the game.

      Thirdly, clearly define the open goals that remain to be dealt with and let the PC start along the path they choose to dealing with them. The ending can then reflect not just what she has achieved but also her sense of direction and purpose. Whether part 2 then picks up from there, or the new PC just gets to see the effects of those choices, can then remain open.

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    5. Bob, this comment has been so inspiring, I went and wrote a bunch of conversation snippets for a part of the game I thought I was stuck on. :D

      Making a game that officially has an ending gives me the freedom to put some significant choices at the end, without having to branch the story into 5 different paths and kill myself working on all of them. If there is a second game, the player might learn some of the choices weren't so smart, or did not result in what they expected. But until there's a second game, they can be happy with their freedom of choice.

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  37. Damn I was so looking forward to this module being finished :(

    Have to admit I am kind of interested in the VN though. Have you ever consider writing games with a program like cog (choice of games) uses? might work out better then a VN still allows people to create characters and have a bit of control to the story. you might find it interesting even if not for the DH series. But anyway I wish you luck with your new project :D

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  38. I'll play it regardless. Are you planning on using Twine or Ren'Py or some similar software?

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  39. I am glad to here you are moving forward, even if it means replaying some of the previous stuff again (the horror, the horror) ;) The best part of the game was always the writing and the characters, and if that is the best way to get it to folks, then makes sense to me! Can't wait to see more!

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  40. I admit to being disappointed, as I'd certainly hoped to be able to play (and replay) the finished module. I always thought that playing it as a game, in its module format, was highly immersive, and I'm worried that a visual novel won't be able to provide that same level of depth. I suppose I'm also just someone who really digs NWN modules and am always saddened to see projects moving away from it. But, in the end, it's your story and not ours, and you have to tell it in the way you feel fits it best. I'll still be keeping an eye on your progress insofar as the novel goes and I'll likely try it out, however, because -- in the same vein as others have said -- your Demonheart tale is an amazing one, one I'd be sad to leave behind and one I'd like to see the continuation of in one format or another.

    Good luck on the endeavor and, above all, thank you (as always) for what you've given and plan to give to us (especially considering all those very legitimate real life concerns you mentioned).

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  41. I'm disappointed you're stopping production of this module in NWN form, especially since you mentioned you were going to greatly change the story. Characters like Raze and his romance were a big draw for me. If you ever get around to putting the VN out of Demonheart, I would give it a shot at least. Would it be a straight up VN, as in a linear story with some visuals? or a choose your own adventure with multiple paths, like games by Hanako or Winter Wolves?

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    1. TBH, I haven't played as many games as other gamer people have. Maybe visual novel is not the right name for what I'm making. Choose your own adventure sounds like too many choices, but I don't know what the norm is. There will still be conversations with several options like before, but not every option leads to a different outcome.

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  42. Good to see you haven't given up on the project!

    NWN is an outdated engine that isn't really up to much of what a modern game would look like. On the other hand, it's very mature and comes with tons of tools that can be used to tell your tale. It also allows for a range of player customization at very little costs, which is a lot of work in 2D (haircolor, clothing etc). Doing a major change midway such as switching out your engine and game genre even, I have some doubt it's an effective choice for getting the project done, but overall it's understandable.

    What I have a harder time to understand is creating your own engine. Well I guess there is a certain type of programmer that likes to (re)create on their own, but I'm convinced that goes counter to getting your project done. I mean renpy has been worked on for a decade, chances are they experienced and worked around many issues any other engine developer would also face. I can honestly only see two good reasons to go with your own engine
    1) You're implementing it in HTML/JS and have some game mechanics which aren't covered by existing engines (not sure how the market looks there, although I'd be surprised if non at all existed, but obviously HTML/JS is less mature)
    2) You're doing it to gain programming skills which you could use in your future career.

    I'm certain you could focus on writing your story and game mechanics if you'd use an existing engine, meanwhile you'll have to put lots of attention to building your game engine if you'd building that up from ground.
    Ultimately of couse, it's your decision, time and freedom to do what you like.

    Monetization as others mentioned could be done via Patreon on a monthly or per release base or one-time with something like Offbeatr. I'm just not sure if there is a market for a VN. My impression is that interactivity is a pretty important in the West, it's probably way easier to attract people with an RPG (RPG Maker seems to be a popular engine) or a Sim. Of course both also require more effort to implement, but then again for somebody that likes programming a Sim (with Story) might be perfect. Wouldn't fit with this project however.

    I'm quite surprised how a buggy game with such an inconsistent art style such as Roundscape Adorevia manages to get as much money as it does on Patreon (and that is on top of an Offbeatr campaign they originally had). One way to mix exclusive with open access is to have the current version for paying customers and the version before that as public version. On the other hand despite promising to make Roundscape free to play in their Offbeatr, it's still only available for Patreon subscribers. I guess there are some ways to milk your customers.

    One thing I have no idea about is, what type and density of sexual content is needed/expected/counter productive. I vaguely recall a comment from you, which sounded like you'd consider AdwR to much porn, but I image that density and a variety of fetishes is something that makes people pay. On the other hand you have a companion raping the main character with no way to avoid it, I'm certain that crosses the border for many. But maybe you can leverage that shock moment for some free PR. ;)

    While we're at it, you were asking about removing it. I found that rape just random, same way as it appeared to me in case of Vico. I suppose I'd prefer if the player character would be in some way pressured in to cooperation, instead of I'm raping you because I can. Overall that simply ensured that my character would hate/kill that character on any chance given. I don't care much either way, but maybe you really should leave it in to stir some controversy. Just make sure it's not illegal and could get you into trouble in your home country. ;)

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    1. When it comes to writing and programming, it's not like programming is stealing my time which I could otherwise use to write. I can only write when I have inspiration, but I can always code when I know what I'm supposed to be making. So I like to do both. I'd rather learn a programming language and practice programming than learn someone else's engine and how to use it, and then maybe realize too late that it can't do something I want it to (slim chance of that, I've taken a look at renpy, but anyway). Making the new engine bug-free for everyone is a concern, though.

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  43. It's a brave decision, but yours to make. But most importantly, if it means a finished story, then go for it, as it is your story :)

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  44. Visual Novels are getting more and more popular in the west, several companies are currently working on localizing Japanese otome games. To give an idea of some localized games check out the Voltage Inc. games on Android. Unfortunately most of them have very (and I mean -very-) weak female protagonists ('doormat' personalities). I'm sure making DH into a VN would be quite well received here... provided people know about it. As for getting the word out perhaps a site like http://www.englishotomegames.net/ could help you out with garnering interest should you decide to start a fundraising campaign.

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    1. Thanks, I'll check it out. I'm hoping a campaign itself can make more people notice the game.

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  45. Just noticed you had a donate button added so here is for some coffe, or beer if you don't have a rainy summer like I do. :)

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    1. Thanks. :D Coffee is cheap where I'm from, but I'm investing in graphics and hopefully voice actors :D

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  46. 'Tis sad that you're abandoning your module. I didn't actually play a lot of them, but yours has special charm I wasn't able to find in other series I've played. But you're the author, so 'tis your choice to decide what to do with it.
    Nonetheless, I have a glimmer of hope that you'll finish your work someday...
    Good luck with your project!

    And I have two questions, if you don't mind :)
    1) Are you going to keep that nice music in novelish Dh? Or would it be something new? :)
    2) I know 'tis kinda daring to ask about, but will you make female characters' clothes skimpy by default or will there be practical armor? Or maybe there'll be an option to choose what to wear?

    I shall anticipate your reply :)

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    1. 1) It's probable I'll keep some of the music that was free as long as the author was credited (the one not coming from Baldur's Gate). :) Custom made music is not a priority when there is perfect royalty free music to use, in my opinion. I'd rather have more graphics and voice acting.

      2) I've thought about a choice of at least 2 outfits, but I can't promise anything.

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  47. Is there going to be any content aside from main story progression? I'm assuming with the RPG elements toned down we won't be seeing extra dungeons and the like, but I liked exploring the world and seeing what extra scenes I could find, as well as fooling around in the town hub (in more ways than one.)

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    1. Yeah, world interaction, non-plot scenes and outfit reactions added a lot to the charm, would be a major drawback to lose those.

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    2. I don't know that yet :/

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  48. So, you are switching to visual novel?
    A little disappointed cause your modules were very well made, and i like to deal with a real gameplay than just using dialog options. But i suppose something like an Eushully game, or something like the Rance saga, is above your possibilities.
    But anyway i like to see something made by a westerner (you are not japanese right?). I think this project have potential cause the story and characters were very interesting.

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  49. So, lovely Lamb, do you need any stimulation? Cause we all know how procrastinations works.

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  50. This is sooo.... disappointing... I much prefer this in the form of a nwn module than a visual novel. It's not like I hate visual novels though, i'm currently reading Steins Gate on the Vita. I just happened to really enjoy your module in the form of a playable gameplay kind of form.

    There's no chance you'll finish the modules though right? If not, would you ever allow someone else to finish the module after the visual novel has been released, and just pretty much copy the story, and finish the mod?

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    1. The story will be changed, not the main things I had in mind but when and where things happen. I intended to at least release the unfinished chapter 3 because there's some content there. But since it would contain a spoiler for the game, the game should be first.

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    2. Wouldn't people who play the modules know a great chunk of the vn story anyway? What's one more spoiler? And those who don't won't play ch3 either. Tbh, after the hints about possible cut content I'm waiting the module more.

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  51. You shouldn't be too worried about spoilers. They are different media so the replayability is ensured. It would be like not enjoying a game based on a book cause you read the book first. And anyway your VN will reach a different audience than the remnants of NWN players.

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  52. Hey Lamb. Great to see you back :)
    Kinda sad by this news, was really looking forward to see how the Raz romance would develop, will that one still be in the game?

    But am looking forward to seeing what new plan you have :)

    sry for my english

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    1. Raze will definitely be in the game :)

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  53. We'll still be able to choose whom to romance? i don't like raze very much, Brash is more fun XD.

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    1. I went with the flow and ended up with Arana+everyone. Only regret is that she's reluctant to join in the fun when the MC finds more adventures on her rump.

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    2. Yes, you can always choose not to like Raze.

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