NaNo2019: Helica Ascent

Hiiii, everyone!!

It’s finally time for NaNoRenO 2019, yay~! I’ve already been hard at work these last few days, but coming up with a synopsis and all that stuff was harder than expected. I mean, obviously I know my game best, but with a project like this you have to be a little careful with the wording – I wouldn’t want to spoil everything right away. So what exactly is it about? (・・。)ゞ

“At the border of the wastelands stands Helica Military Prison, a largely automaton-run facility with only a few human operators around. One day calamity strikes, the whole area shakes – and a struggle breaks out, during which most captives are either killed or manage to flee amidst the confusion. After the dust settles, there appears to be only one human survivor who is stuck in the building without any means of escape. Left without much of a choice, he decides to reactivate one of the automata in the hopes that it will cooperate and help him find a way out.”

Like 90% of my projects, this game also takes place on the fictional continent of Iridos. The player takes control of the reactivated automaton, which is pretty much immobile because it’s a pretty old and battered model that’s in dire need of repair. It’s not really an escape game, but there will be some riddles along the way, together with a few mysteries that need solving. What happened outside? What’s with this weird last survivor who’s really bad at lying and looks suspiciously fancy? Is there really no one else left in the entire prison?


Our MC is Cinque, who received that name because of the automaton’s model number, which starts with a 5. You’ll basically see a limited part of the world through the camera feed of an automaton’s artificial eyes, so I’d prefer not to show a sprite/bust. (I don’t have a nice artwork in general yet, but I’ll hopefully be able to show you one soon.) Cinque has a casual style of speaking and can be pretty sassy, but is generally more down-to-earth than his companion. Unfortunately he can’t access big parts of the main system or has much of a clue what’s going on outside, so he doesn’t seem like the most useful ally… but that might change rather quickly.

Our deuteragonist is Neus, or at least that’s what he says his name is. He also claims that he is the prison’s janitor, which is such an obvious lie that we won’t even pretend otherwise in his character description. Neus is a friendly airhead who pretends to be more serious than he actually is, but easily gets distracted by weird observations and nicknaming unwilling victims. He can’t really keep track of his lies either, which makes it very easy to see through them. The primary focus in many scenes lies on him, so I’ll try to make him as expressive as possible and give him a few different sprite poses too!

I hope no one expected “the character who you’ll stare at a lot” (which is something I said on Twitter) to be anything but a long-haired prettyboy ww (Cinque is the “cool guy” of the duo!) Neus’ first outfit references the outfit of Fion, the deuteragonist of my first NaNo attempt a few years back, in a few places: Both have a ponytail, wear something wrapped around their waist and have a slightly worrying spot on their left arm. In Fion’s case, it was a wound, in Neus’ case, it’s a weird bracelet… hmmm. Also, there’s a sneak peek at his 2nd outfit, since he won’t wear the first one for very long. Anyway, I hope you’ll like him! (Or you’ll at least like poking fun at him via Cinque’s dialogue choices.)

Lastly, here’s a first ten minute sketch of the interrogation room, which is the most important background of the demo. The final version should look a lot messier and I’m thinking of having the door on the left either open or off its hinges, so the room doesn’t look quite as cramped as it currently does ;;

Soooooo, what are the current plans? For now, I’ll focus all efforts on finishing a demo, because I’m solo’ing this jam and really want to finish at least *something* playable. The demo encompasses the first four scenes as well as the first simple riddle and a short scene afterwards, so you’ll be able to get to know the characters and the gameplay a little.

So far, I have:
– Finished Neus’ design and roughly sketched a lot of his sprites, which need to be cleaned up, inked and colored
– Drawn a map of the floor Neus is stuck on and sketched the first background you see above
– Written the first 3k words; but the rest of the scenes are all planned out via keywords and stuff already, so I “just” need to write everything down and most likely shuffle some things around. (This’ll take a while, I’m pretty slow at writing :’D)
– Finished the logo (although I’ll most likely prettify it for the final version)

I’m also fairly certain how the GUI should look… and technically, I’d also like to include one or two CGs (apart from the intro), but we’ll see if there’ll be time for that. The one thing I have literally no clue about is the music (as usual), but, umm… I’ll figure something out? Hopefully? ;;; Anyway! There are exactly four weeks left of NaNo and I’ll try my best to create something fun~!

Ah, also. I’ve said this before and I think it’s obvious, but just to make it official: TTI:L production is on hiatus until jam time is over! I’m still going to post a White Day artwork (which only needs to be colored at this point) and I’m literally unable to 100% focus on something, so you might see a few random doodles in between… but I really want to focus on NaNo otherwise!

Alright, that’s it for today. Next update will be in about two weeks, but if you’d like to be updated on daily progress, please consider following my new gamedev Twitter account “shichiyousei” ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ Bigger updates will still be on Prismanga, but this is the account where I just talk about whatever dev-/OC-related stuff is on my mind or post WIPs/random art. Speaking of which! Have you seen my cute catboy son Yori yet? I drew him for Cat Day, which was February 22nd~

Alright then, I’ll stop here. Thank you for reading and take care~! (And best of luck to everyone who also participates in NaNoRenO!!)