As the player you enter a fantasy world as one of three characters who are trying to travel to the center of an enchanted forest. The forest is a location where multiple worlds have collided, filling the forest with unusual and sometimes dangerous encounters.
As the player travels through the forest they will end up in situations where they can gain or lose various resources such as party members, food/water and gold. If they run out of a resource they will start to lose party members or completely lose themselves and fail to reach their goal in the center of the forest. Overall the journey will take three days where they will experience three different encounters.
Figure 1. Steins;Gate Visual Novel (5pb.& Nitroplus, 2016)
The game itself will be a Visual novel in genre like games such as Steins;Gate (Fig 1) where most game interactions and choices are done by the utilisation of dialogue boxes and character portraits. It will also have a form of resource management that will affect the player’s choices.
The forest and encounters that the player has are inspired by Grimms Fairy stories (Grimm & Grimm, 1922a) and as such the setting is a form of dark fantasy where the fairytales are adapted to fit into a more cruel fantastical world.
Fairy tales Reimagined
To create a story for my visual novel I’ve been researching different popular Grimms stories and decided instead of using just one fairy tale to use multiple as inspiration. The main fairy tales I have researched are Rapunzel (Grimm & Grimm, 1922d), The Frog Prince (Grimm & Grimm, 1922e) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Grimm & Grimm, 1922c). I decided to use more popular Fairy tales as a lot of them have already been adapted, allowing for more material to work from. I have therefore taken elements from each of the following fairytales.
Little Red Riding Hood (Grimm & Grimm, 1922b)
A common association of Red Riding Hood is with her taking a basket of food to her grandmother’s house so I thought she was an obvious choice to use her with a boost to the food/water resource. Her character, however, will be a darker version of the typical little girl and I don’t currently have plans to include the wolf and grandma’s cottage, instead she will visit locations and characters from other fairytale stories.
The Golden Goose (Grimm & Grimm, 1922f)
For the gold variable I thought of a twist on the golden goose as a humanoid bird merchant. As the goose in Grimm’s Fairy Tales is depicted to lay golden eggs, a merchant carrying lots of gold seemed like a fitting counterpart.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
When trying to decide what to do for the party members variable I thought that the Seven Dwarfs fit perfectly due to the set number of them. Snow White also inspired one of the encounters where a woman is found in a casket in a glade of white flowers. In this case though it will not be a poison apple but sinister flowers that are keeping her in a death like state.
One of encounters is influenced by the story of Rapunzel but in this story she is not held captive in a tower by a wicked sorceress but instead it is her place of refuge from a dark force in the surrounding forest. When you meet her she offers to give you shelter but you must do her a favour in return.
The Frog Prince
The third encounter is influenced by the story of the Frog Prince. When the player comes to a swamp they are unable to cross. A frog, swan, carp and otter offer them assistance for the price of a kiss, but which one will carry them safely to the other side, and is the frog really a prince?
At each encounter the player will be given a number of actions to choose from, each one will have a different outcome and effect on the resources they carry. The resources they have remaining at the end of the game will determine the final ending.
I started by creating the base encounter functionality in Fungus, allowing the player to select from three characters and adding a script that randomly picks an encounter depending on the path that the player chooses, removing it once they’ve gone through it.
Instead of prototyping/creating a level diagram in another software I went straight into Fungus as I have previously used its flowchart system which is just as fast and easy to use. It also means that I can implement some basic functionality alongside to save time.
While I would want to have a total of 9 random encounters for a full game I decided to do three different types of encounters as it would be unrealistic to do so many with the time I have.This could be expanded significantly at some point in the future due to the number of Grimm’s fairy tales available for adaptation.
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