This week and the last have mostly been spent on contacting publishers (if you're a publisher and you're reading this, hi! Please help Viola!). But I've also been concepting characters and mapping out the game's story and levels. I've created a timelapse to show how I move from a concept sketch to a final sprite.
Click 'Read more' to see all the character concepts I've created this week!
I wanted a character that was about the same size as Viola, since most characters are taller than her. At first I created a mouse character called "Mhys", but the design wasn't that good, and he was very unpopular among playtesters. So I've replaced Mhys with the "Nekomancer", Niko.
I've mixed Mhys' excitement with the playful demeanor of a fawn character I had in mind to create the exciteable and slightly arrogant Niko. I liked him so much, I moved him to be introduced at the start of the game.
I wanted a character that would serve as a bridge between Viola and the antagonistic Justice. If Justice is the protagonist of his own story, Ceryn is the deuteranogist. I also thought a quadruped character would be interesting, since the other animals are anthropomorphic and stand on two feet.
Ceryn has a lot of pride, but is also thoughtful and considerate. I didn't like his initial design, so I made him more weather-related by turning his body into a cloud. I also added a necklace to make his sentience more apparent.
Arti was a character in the original playtest, but he also wasn't very well liked. I didn't want to entirely scrap the concept, since I enjoy robot characters a lot. Instead, I made him a lot cuter by making him smaller and fatter. I also wanted to give him a fun characteristic, so I gave him a top hat.
The ghostly kimono girl "Isabela". I thought having a ghost character that attacked with fabrics would be interesting. I still think the design is neat, but she didn't fit nicely into the story, and I couldn't figure out her personality.
I've wanted to add a dragon character since the start of the project. However, when thinking about the character, I had no idea where to put her in the story... Or even what she'd look like. I settled for a concept of a halfling, whose limbs would transform during combat.
The idea became too complicated, and I couldn't even figure out what the design would look like, so I scrapped the idea entirely.
Places and Levels
The new Overworld: essentially just a level selector, rather than a full map to walk on. This should be less work while looking a lot better than the Super Mario World-esque top down map I had before.
Ye Olde Shoppe. The shop can be accessed from the Overworld, so the player gets a nice gameplay loop: enter level, fight enemies, get money and items, finish level, go to shop. Repeat. The shop features my two cats: Leo and Robin. Leo keeps the shop, while Robin can be found in the levels digging for treasure.
I want the game to start with a "Cold Open": diving right into the game without going to a title screen first. This is the moment Viola is about to give up on learning how to play the violin, and the portal to its fantasy world is created. Or at least, this is the area it'll happen in.
Next week I'll get started either on the shop or the cold opening of the game. Probably the shop, since I'll have a bit less time to work on the game next week.