An interview with unity, creator of Luxaren Allure

An interview with unity, creator of Luxaren Allure.

The latest victim of my on-again, off-again interview series is unity, purveyor of girl romance and creator of RMN's 2015 Game of the Year, Luxaren Allure.

Start off by telling us a little about yourself!

Hello! :D I'm unity, an office worker and occasional secretary by day who really loves making games ^_^

Luxaren Allure was RMN's 2015 Game of the Year! What are your thoughts on this?

Yes! I was really surprised! I was thinking that it would be cool if Luxaren Allure won something in a category, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. I was absolutely stunned to find out that LA had won in multiple categories and was voted Game of the Year!

Given that the core theme of the game is lesbian romance, I really didn't expect to gain any sort of popularity, but the response from the community has been amazing, and I have been so happy to see people who were skeptical or not interested in the game's themes or the romance angle that still enjoyed playing! I am so thankful that so many people thought the game was worthy of such an honor!

What were your inspirations for Luxaren Allure? Why did you want to make it?

I've always enjoyed the classic RPGs like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, and I've been fascinated with the old cliche of the Hero vs the Evil Overlord present in a lot of those games. I was near the end of a play-through of the Super NES version of Dragon Quest III when I thought, what if the hero and the evil overlord where both ladies and in love? I was just getting involved with the RMN community and that really reawakened my passion for making games, so from there, Luxaren Allure was born! ^_^

A lot of Darkloft, the game's antagonist, came from villains like the Dragon Lord, ExDeath, and especially Golbez from FF4. I just love the idea of a dark, imposing, nigh-invincible figure clad in dark armor. I know how cliche that is, but I just ran with it and made the Isles of Luxaren 50% a generic RPG world and 50% of it going "Geez, that's weird" and had fun with it. The tone can be a bit jarring, and hopefully if I do something similar in the future, I can pull it off a bit smoother.

If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm kinda obsessed with stories about ladies in love (>.>;;;) and that romance and emotional connections really resonate with me. I've always been seeking out those kinds of stories, and, sadly, was often disappointed, generally because they fell into "You can have gay characters in a romance but it has to end in absolute tragedy" or "You can have gay characters in a romance but we're putting great priority on titillation over actual emotion or character growth" or sadly, both, so I wanted to tell a story with lesbian romance without that, and that attitude really drives a lot of Luxaren.

Did you learn anything while making Luxaren Allure??

Oh wow, I learned a ton. The game started as a pretty simplistic project, and I hadn't put as much thought into characters and storytelling as I should have. I released the first demo for the game, and while people liked the gameplay, Red Nova and Housekeeping had a lot of very useful criticisms about the story and how I handled characters. From there, the scope of the game increased to flesh out the characters a lot more and became a lot more solid.

I learned a lot about battles and strategy, too. I got some super valuable advice from LockeZ, who, thanks to his "Design a Boss" thread, helped me make the first boss and the potion monster boss and got me thinking about how monsters and their skills need to interact with the player and their skills, and I owe a lot of LA's battles to getting that great early advice.

In the second half of the game, after the town of Springsmouth, I spent a lot of time and effort on the script, thanks to my best friend Sooz, who helped me edit and rework a lot of the dialog to be more punchy and fight my horrible habit of "telling" rather than "showing." While I have a long ways to go, I think I learned a lot about writing characters from that.

What inspired you to want to get into game design?

I really enjoyed RPGs growing up, and I was always making stuff. From board games on cheap poster-board, to card games on index cards, to crappy comics telling ridiculous fantasy stories, I was always making stuff as a kid.

When I was a teenager, I found RPG Maker, and it was like a whole new world opened up. I started a silly but very poorly made game about a total Mary Sue in RPG Maker 95, but scrapped that when RPG Maker 2000 got translated and gave making a full complete game a shot, and have been making games ever since.

When Sooz linked me to RMN, I had an RPG Maker XP project that I had picked up, worked on, and put down repeatedly for years. Getting involved with this community is what really reinvigorated me to get back into serious RPG work, and to start Luxaren Allure, and I've been loving every minute of it! ^_^

Your latest project is Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening. Can you tell us about it?

WaUTaH is a bit of an oddity, as the name might suggest, but especially for how I make games, as it's very different than anything else I've done. It's in a modern setting, which is mostly new territory for me, and has a bunch of influences from various things I love including Earthbound, OFF, Persona/Devil Survivor and SMT in general, and has some elements of survival horror (the idea of the town cut off from the rest of the world is very Silent Hill though not quite that scary XD) and especially Lovecraft thrown in.

How the final project will feel is something that I'm constantly struggling with. I want it to feel nice and cohesive rather than a hodgepodge. Also, maintaining tone is something I've had issues with, and this deliberately plays with conflicting tones, so we'll see how that goes.

The story is mainly one of an oddball aunt with psychic powers trying to rescue her niece from a town that has become a playground for otherworldly beings, and her interactions with the survivors and those strange entities. It's very much one of those projects that's hard to talk about and I'm wanting people to play to find out more, so if people would be on the lookout for the eventual demo and completed game, I'd be very happy ^_^

You've been involved in multiple team projects here on RMN. Any advice for people aspiring to put together a collaborative project?

The best way to go about this is to get to know the other people well before you collaborate with them. I've collaborated with Red Nova a lot, but that happened because we were both helping each other with our games for months before that, and had gotten to know each other and how we work.

Another is communication. If you're having problems or are unhappy with how a project or collaboration is going, tell your teammates. Keep people in the loop. Keep in mind that a team project works best when everyone is motivated and involved in shaping the final project. This means compromise is key. The end product will be something that has a bit of everyone in it, so giving some leeway is always helpful.

And lastly, the most important part, in my opinion, is respect. Respect your teammates. This doesn't mean you can't disagree with them. What it does mean is to consider their situation and the work they are doing. Try to see things from their point of view. They may have a lot of insights to share with you.

Also, if a team project doesn't work out, try not to be too hard on yourself. Sometimes teams just don't click and work well. It doesn't mean that your future team collaborations are doomed, just that when you introduce a group of people who have never worked together before that things won't always go smoothly.

Are there any games on RMN you like or recommend?

Wow, so many! I'll try to be as brief as I can, but I could go on and on with RMN game recommendations XD;;

I really love Red Nova's Soul Sunder, and am very much looking forward to the sequel Prayer of the Faithless (which I'm doing a little bit of work on myself XD;;)

I am so looking forward to Housekeeping's amazing-looking game, Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. Seriously, I am so excited to play that game!

PentagonBuddy and emmych's Free Spirits is amazing, an RPG where you battle by talking things out AND you're trying to put ghosts to rest! Set in 1923 with a bunch of awesome characters!

LockeZ's Iniquity and Vindication aka THE SHARK GAME WITH LAVA SHARKS is a lot of fun tho on the difficult side, and I'm hoping he finishes it one day.

Marrend's Okiku, Star Apprentice has always been a favorite. It's a short very fun romp with a delightful main character.

Koi's Qui Domi demo is very different but very cool! I'm looking forward to playing more!

And last but not least, how about something with yaoi to contrast the yuri? Check out Maki's You and I for a short, fun, surprising game!

Whoops, that wasn't brief at all ^^;;

Any advice for other game developers out there?

If you are just getting started, I'd advise not starting out with a big, 40+ hour RPG epic. Make some shorter games to get familiar with the engine you are using. Trust me, it'll make a world of difference for when you go for that big game.

Also, the best advice I stick to myself is to plan out the game you want to make and then make that game. If you get distracted by other cool ideas that don't work for the game you're making, write them down in a notebook or a Google doc and use them for a future game. Stay focused and see your current game to the end!

Any other comments?

Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the RMN community again! I owe much of my success to you wonderful people and all the help and inspiration you've given me! I hope to keep making and playing games here for years to come. You're all magical to me! :D


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Unity love incoming <3
Very nice!
I really get what you mean with the lesbian stories being so sad always. Kind of feels like they're all saying lesbianism = bad end which sucks! And a lot of them can be pretty stiff story-telling-wise. Kudos for them including homosexuality though!

LA avoiding this is part of the reason I like LA so much so it's nice to see it was purposeful.

Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
Thanks for the Okiku shout-out! I appreciate it!

Is it strange that I'm also happy that Luxaren Allure won multiple Misaos (not to mention having a good chance of being featured in February) as well? I dunno. Gonna try not worrying about it and just be happy!
Ooh, thanks for the shout out to Qui Domi!
Lovely interview! There's a lot of great, practical advice there.
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