Great game, fun to see the write up too and how you worked through the concept over time!
It's been a while, but I wanted to get out my thoughts about this little VN as the response has been absolutely amazing.
The secret world of a teenage girl…
That's the one I wanted to explore. Making promises with no real drive to honor them, bitching about schoolmates in old cars eating chipper, your first kiss, your first crush, your first bully... Weird girls who are trying to make sense of the world around them, knowing it's wrong and against them - but having no power to change that.
But what if they did?
I love the idea of getting what you wanted, but it was ultimately the worst thing that could happen.
I'm sure a lot of people have had those intense, crushing relationships in their teens when they encounter someone who's seemingly bigger and brighter than them. I've had my fair share.
I had old designs from when I wanted to play more with comics/original work. So it ended up being a huge timesaver and design jumping point for the whole game.
Another huge help for Jamie + Claire's relationship was old Jacqueline Wilson novels - Bad Girls, Vicky's Angel, My Sister Jodie. She's still the best at capturing the desperately lonely girl.
I've never found those "character worksheets" helpful, they're a bit too clunky. Especially for something as short as this, and I had visuals to help build up character. Broad strokes are much more helpful to me.
For anything you do, there should be limits. Or nothing would get done.
- No full body sprites
- Two named characters
- A linear story
- 3-4 locations
- Photographed backgrounds / assets
- Limited palette
- No fancy menu/UI changes
- 8-9k words (lol)
I needed goals/a plan to refer back to and make changes when real life popped up or I realized something wasn't working and had to adjust. VN Cup was a huge help with their rules of under an hour and a linear story.
It's nice to make plans, but they tend to fall apart.
My aim was to make myself write every single day. That was the hardest part. I struggle with getting into the flow of writing and the structure of it... But with Visual Novels, it's easy to think of it as writing a TV script or play. "A one hour TV drama" was how I went about writing this.
A game can look good, but if the story isn't right… it's just nice to look at.
Quickly into writing/coding - I realized the two main girls needed names. Up until I'd started coding in the middle of the first week, they'd been Girl A and Girl B. One of the first framing ideas was for this to be told as a Garda interview, or court proceedings. I quickly tossed that idea for time.
So I thought of the two dirt-common Irish names I could think of. I'm fond of giving a girl a boyish name, so we got Claire Murphy and Jamie Fox.
I went out to a park near me and got all the photos. Everything was Clip Studio Paint 3D assets + auto actions.
Going through my own devlog, a lot of what I kept fiddling with was text visibility. If there's one thing that makes me turn off a game is tiny text/hard to read UI. I used google docs for a lot of the main writing, and then coding/final drafts were done in atom.
There's no glamour in writing "I made myself do this" lol but that's the process! You write everyday and suddenly it's done. A timer and tracker helped me.
Something I've had to keep relearning when I try a new medium is - just finish it. Done is better than perfect.
I'm delighted with the response. I've been able to talk to other devs and artists I've looked up to for a while. Making games is amazing! I wanna make more.
Thanks for reading. I'll see you again in the future.
ps - this was the song on repeat for two weeks while writing Walk In The Sun