Hey, folks. It’s another late night Fates Weekly Update. As is normal for my Saturday, I spent a fair amount of it playing Dungeons and Dragons. First I was a male half-dragon monk, then I was a female human healer, then I evil, then I was a statue, then I was a private eye in a noir story, then I was killed in a dream, and now I’m part-machine. I’m pretty sure this character is terribly traumatized by this point. After Fates, the life and probable death of Hobson might be a story. Until then, onto Fates!
Wordcount: 6,014 (Pretty rough week, similar to last, but I did get to spend a good amount of time working on things. Tropolain is a planet that has a lot of history in lore. The original full-length novel even visited it at one point. That visit creeps its way into a fair bit of the routes of the people who were part of that; Anton, Yoi, and Sol all have scenes that reflect back on those days. Part of me wants to rerelease that original novel, even though 90% of it has completely fallen out of canon. I think I might end up including it as an early release in the book of short stories and then a later release for general. As funny as the idea might sound, I think there may be people who are interested in reading the adventures of Lenna Edeck.)
-Sprites: Sprites are all done! Every single member of the cast is done! The grand total of characters in Rising Angels: Fates is ending at 21 characters. Two protagonists, eight love interests, and eleven support characters. It’s a pretty massive cast to be sure, but there are two storylines and five worlds to visit. One of my favorite things when building a universe is to have it populated with both strong and unique “party members” and a supporting cast that is more than the occasional throwaway without a sprite. The world is populated with more than the main character and love interests. You don’t get that feel of being on an epic adventure through space without the locals.
-Our CG artist is a bit sick, so I’m taking a moment to wish her well. I’m also going to take a moment to remind everyone to eat healthy, get sleep, and workout as best as you can. Taking care of yourself is important. It is going to be a few more months before Fates is released and you gotta take care of yourself to see its release. As someone who has had too many medical visits lately, health is a very important thing to protect. Okay, that’s all for my soapbox moment.
-Today’s big topic is a bit of discussion on how the romance system will be implemented in Fates. It has gone through some evolutions over the months of development and I am quite happy with how things are going. Let’s take a moment to review the changes and what you can expect on release.
Starting out, we originally were going to use the bread and butter points system. It’s a very basic system where every choice gives you points towards a certain character. If you wanted to get on Zuri’s route, you had to say things that would make Zuri like you (don’t be a selfish jerk). This system was used for Rising Angels: Reborn. For most visual novels, this works out really well because the aim of most visual novels is to be primarily romantic. As you might have guessed, I rapidly fell out of love with this system because romance is not supposed to be the leading draw of the Rising Angels series. Yes, love is a part of it, but the adventure is the most important part. I want people to worry that their decision could be ruining a relationship, but saving the world, not worrying how to figure out how to get on a route, gather the points, and try to save the day. Too wide of a focus.
The second version was much more separated. After talking with everyone several weeklies back, I decided that the best idea was to have the romance and the story options in two separate districts. The investigation sections would only impact the case as a whole, while the story sections would only impact relationship with the character. Even then, the impact was going to be fairly minimal. You would pick a character option at the start of the game and the story would bring you along with those scenes being paired along the story. You’d get some options to make the character love or hate you more, but nothing too world shattering. This was a merger of some of the original ideas of the project and the new ones. In the end, I decided that modifications were needed. As it stood, it was too inorganic. If you are screwing up and threatening the universe, Sol wouldn’t just sit there and nod his head. Zuri wouldn’t be kissing you on the cheek if you just accused her of being a terrorist in disguise. Too inorganic.
The final version is a merger of those two. At the start of game, you will get the choice of whose route Natalie and Name are going to follow. No ambiguity, no forced options to try and get on a route. From the start, if you want Natalie to realize her love of hair drills, you just choose that. This will also determine if Natalie gave Kika more time to work on the crystal or if she decided to use it in the engine. Kika and Alexi are with giving Kika more time, Sol and Zuri are with putting it in the engine. However, just because you choose which line of scenes are going to appear between investigations and core story scenes does not mean you can breathe easy. Forcing the player to occasionally make the tough choice between what they think is the right choice for the case and what their heart is asking them to do. I’m trying my hardest to make sure there is rarely a “right” answer. I think this is going to be the biggest appeal of Fates. You are an investigator, lives are in your hands. If you constantly disagree with Zuri and question her all the time, don’t expect her to not to begin to question if you really love her in her route. At the same time, if you don’t ask questions and look for the truth, you all might not be alive to have a romance at the end of the day.
It’s requiring a lot of writing. Honestly, it is a pretty hefty load even for a veteran writer like me. That being said, it is something I think will turn out for the best. And with that statement of optimism, I am going to wrap up this weekly and get some more writing done before I retire for the night. Remember, folks, to try and keep healthy. Until next time, Chief out!
For the video of the post, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to the Kobold (Earth type), the Djinn (Wind type), and the Fire-Souled (Fire type).