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The Heart of it All

Since the Jam is just about coming to an end, I can hopefully resume production on LoTL now. In between mapping the areas for Transcend, I've been writing out plot concepts at work and working on Luna Engine in VXAce while at home. As tempting as it is to make the jump from VX to Ace, I'm deciding against it, as it will not only kill motivation and push back development of a game that is nearing a two-year production cycle ( I'm terrible at setting deadlines for personal projects ).

However, Tristian's plot has become dark. Very dark. Actually, it's so grim now I will be forced to put TriAnna through some very difficult situations, and it will even jeopardise their blossoming romance. While it is difficult write situations like this, I feel it will yield more interesting outcomes as well as set the tone for not only more interesting scenarios, but better character and plot development too.

Now, I don't even know if I am a skilled enough writer like blueperiod ( whose LINUS heavily influences me, I've been following the project since 2010 or so ) to pull off a gritty storyline while handling the core themes in an adroit fashion, it is still an interesting challenge to improve ( in my opinion ) one of the weaker aspects of my game creation. Said core themes could involve incest, murder, betrayal and a child born out of wedlock...

So yes, the Kingdom of Liguria ( the old name was Kingdom of Genoa ) has become a pretty grimdark place underall the shiny pixel art. Aka Crapsack World/Crap Saccharine World, one of my favourite tropes, but I've never implemented it
yet. Until now.

I just love this woman, but if the plot will progess the way as it is, well...

The good news is I've basically finished summarising the entire plot structure, but it's still pretty rough around the edges. However, and I don't know if this is a positive or negative, but the arc structure has somehow pushed the estimated game length of around 7-10 hours to about 15+, if I'm judging correctly. Once Tristian is freed from her restraints as a knight of the Cerulean Order, she becomes the mercenary-swordswoman, Ira Cross. The game's progress also ties in with their character; Paladin Tristian rigidly follows her orders and thus the game's arc is structured around that. Swordswoman Ira has no allegiances apart from Ianna, and is free to do what she wants, which translates into the player being able to do so much more in the game.

She's only Tristian Katherine Liangale for about 1 hour of gameplay, for the next 6-9 hours, she's Ira Cross.

Ulltimately at its heart, although LoTL is dark medieval tale, it is still a traditional RPG, with the usual questing, looting and monster-hunting we've come to expect. And memorable characters. And sexy swordswomen and hunky pirates ( I'm looking at you, Trabant ).


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LoTL was never planned at 20 hours. For the most, it was going to be the same length as Enelysion at around 12. But due to my stupidly whimsical nature, I tend to change things at the drop of a hat, which creates vicious cycles of both procrastination and bursts of creative energy, which leads me to assessing and sometimes overhaul things which leads to-- well, any game developer worth their salt knows the purgatory that is Game Dev Hell. And I was there exactly a year ago and it's happening again.

God damnit.

So you went from a 20+ hour game, to a 5-7 hour game, to a 15+ hour game? Sounds like quite the roller-coaster.
I think putting them though some trying trials will only strengthen their bond with each other but I will still present some happy/comic-relief situations when the need arises for it. I myself am not a fan of all 'doom-and-gloom'. The scene where TriAnna confesses their feelings for each other is just one of the game's few rainbows, but I'd rather have fewer, stronger scenes than many fluffy ones that leaves little to no impact on the player.

I will need all the luck for this, because no matter how pretty the game is, or how good it will play or sound, a poorly-executed plot with flawed dialogue can easily spoil the entire experience.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
I always thought TriAnna was destined for dark times. I mean they can't end up together when all is said and done so I knew that investing in them was going to lead to sorrow. I always just expected this game to fill me with feels of all kinds. I think the grimdark could be an interesting experiment for you, but it is a hard one to pull off well without falling into the many pitfalls that sort of scenario presents. You have to allow at least a glimmer of hope throughout all the depression or you can lose the players. They need to be able to imagine a future where it gets better but still feel the edge and violence of the times they are living through. Good Luck.
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