Monday, February 22, 2016

Vampire House

Over the weekend I played a text adventure game called "The Vampire House", and became pretty enamored with it. At first I was a  little wary because most of the "Choice Of" games I've played aren't in first person, and this one starts you off with your character having already decided how they feel about the world without letting you choose it... and it happened to be something I didn't agree with. However shortly after that it becomes a wacky romantic drama with some very dangerous undertones as there's a killer on the loose, and even though your house burned down and you're stuck living with vampires, and still have to go to school and deal with being a teenager--you decided you're going to catch the murderer with the help of a magic book you find. While there's a lot of routes you can pursue, I went after the badass demon guy, appropriately named Damien, and totally fell in love with him. Even after beating his route, there's still a lot of mystery that makes me wonder if the game was rushed out the door as a lot of questions go unanswered and the event the game has been building up to ended up not taking place for some reason--possibly because I made a wrong choice. I sure hope we'll be seeing more of the world that's been presented as it was a lot of fun the first time around and I feel that it has a lot of potential for a sequel!

I think one of the other reasons I liked it so much was because of how much it reminded me of Japanese games, particularly Otome games and the Persona series. There's a stat and event progression that reminded me A LOT of Persona, and the fact that you can pursue specific characters the way that you do really reminded me of otomes games I've played. Not to mention that if you've watched anime or played any JRPGs the characters are going to feel very familiar. For instance the first viewpoint character is Elizabeth, a cute teenager vampire who happens to be a complete tsundere-ojousama type, she's rich, has servants, and because of your character's action in the prologue she ends up with the ability to blackmail you into being her servant, which is all fun and games until everyone in school sees the behavior of you doing what she says for romantic affection and thinks the two of you are dating. It was hilarious, especially since it seemed like it had been building up to a very serious story, yet here we have goofy high school drama. That's not to say that this is a comedy, but it is a story that balances the serious, the comedic, the action scenes, and the cute moments very well based on what I've played so far. The other romanceable characters include a friendly goth girl who is Elizabeth's cousin who comes to stay with you, a werewolf girl who is Elizabeth's friend and very protective of those she cares about, a shonen-hero type human guy who is your friend from the get-go and wants to become a hunter to defeat dangerous creatures, and Damien the cool-guy demon who is working with the police and also hunting the killer. All the characters ended up being very charming even if you didn't go out of your way to interact with them or they disliked your main character. And the killer... sheesh... very very creepy...

Another thing that I should point out is that the creator used the format of the "Choice Of" script to time jokes or drama, very effectively, also the text is more balanced saturation-wise so I didn't feel like I was reading a page for forever like some of the other "Choice of" games I've played.

The whole thing reminded me of an anime I wish I had been able to watch as a teen, your main character gains magical powers, decides to help out by finding a killer even though they're the killers targeted demographic, and finds romance and a super cool other world that's hiding right next to ours. The supernatural elements with all these different creatures and world properties never felt boring or overly over-explained like someone was reading a manual to me--they were fun. And the things that got explained were normally the really cool parts, so it never overstayed it's welcome.

I would recommend you go out and play the game, it's available for all of those out there with an iOS device and through Amazon. I should also mention that the game is FREE, however I ended up buying it myself in order to have unlimited replays and to support the creator in the hopes that they expand the universe they've created. It's only $2.99, so if you enjoy it I'd suggest you buy it too: THE VAMPIRE HOUSE.

I did a quick character design of what I imagine Damien and the female player character could look like based on their in-game descriptions, it was fun!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Posing and...

...gettin' ready to fight!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

ROOM 134

For the 2016 Global Game Jam, I paired up with 2 other teammates and completed a small game called "ROOM 134"! It's a puzzle game that takes cues from the dialogue to figure out the solutions. The event was hosted by the Portland Indy Game Squad, it was a lot of hard work over 2.5 days but it was super fun!

Brian Wolf, one of my fellow collaborators made a cute pixel version of our team to put on the credits page:

Here's some process from our Programmer, MeantGames, setting up the puzzle room and making things work, then dropping in some assets that Brian made:

We split up a lot of the tasks, here's a few of the sprites that I made:

...and here's some screen shots of the finished game!

Please go check out the game and play it for yourself! Let me know if you realized what the ending was or not, we had wanted more time to make it more clear narratively what happened, but if you have a discerning eye you should be able to figure out what happened.


It was a great experience making this game, and I'm looking forward to making another one soon!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Witchsona 2016

I finally did one of these, it was a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to doing one every year to see how things evolve!