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The Battle of Hernani - A RPG featuring Victor Hugo

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by taxalot, Mar 24, 2013.

?

Does this suck?

  1. It does suck.

    5 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. It's not entirely crap.

    4 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. I'd kickstart it.

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    I have some time to lose, and so I have been thinking about a little game.

    1. Starting point.
    The setting is Paris, 1862.

    Victor Hugo, famous novelist has just released his latest book "Les misérables", the tale of the city poors and their destiny fighting oppression and protecting the ones they care for... A marvelous tale about mankind in general.

    The book is an utter failure.

    As he stands at Novelcon, Hugo is saddened to see his only few fans cosplaying as Valjean, Cosette and looking for his approval. But far from it, the only thing Hugo is able to give is his complete incomprehension. The real buzz at Novelcon is Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian poet. His latest book "Trodjmann dus Apfelglück" is an astonishing success and is stealing the show despite the fact that nobody understands the language in Paris.

    Alone, in his mansion, Hugo despairs. Until one day, the ultimate humiliation comes in the form of a letter from Ibsen asking Hugo to meet him the evening at some place of his chosing. Desperate, he goes at the appointed place. Ibsen greets him, gives him a chair in some very large room. A lot of Ibsen's friends are here too.

    On a stage in front of everyone present in the assembly, some people move and talk to each others. The thing seems to tell a story.

    "What devilry is this ?!" exclaims Hugo.
    "This, my friend" replies Ibsen, "is the future of entertainment and culture as we know it. I calle it a 'play'. I have already patented it.".

    Hugo is astonished at what he sees ; everything is so alive ! This is absolutely unlike books !
    And a new fire starts to burn inside of him. This might be a new start. Yes, Hugo decides to challenge Ibsen : he will write a "play" too. In fact, he will be the greatest writer of plays of history ! Hugo asks Ibsen to meet him again in two months. And this time, he won't hold back.

    However, as Hugo starts writing, inspiration doesn't come. He meets his old and best friend, Orson Welles.

    "Hugo, my boy. The key to your audience's heart is another heart." he says. "You need a woman. And you will soon see that putting your emotions on paper will become a lot easier."

    Reluctant at first, Hugo accepts. He realizes that in the next months he will need to find actors, write a script, promotes his work... but also he'll need a woman. Following some directions given by Welles, he meets enigmatic pick-up artist Mr Darcy, who leads him down a path of womanizing and debauchery. Hugo will need to learn fast ; and at the same time, work very hard on his groundbreaking play.

    2. The Game World

    The setting is an anachronistic Paris, in the 1860s but also with lots of element taken from the modern days. The ensemble is a strange mixture with some steampunk and even at some place some cyberpunk elements.

    The characters inhabiting the towns are, for some, complete idiots infatuated with the Norwegian works although they understand no word of it. However, they love the "way it sounds" and how "trendy" it is.
    Other characters involve lots of novelists (expect to meet Balzac, Zola, but also Ayn Rand, Marx, Hemingway, Jane Austin), but also their characters as it is strongly hinted in the game that novelists are pretty much lazy people who just put people they know in their books instead of thinking up characters.

    The city is buzzing with technological advancement ; of course, there is the "plays", but the VERNE-Vrydenberg-Yoshimito megacorporation, headed by CEO Jules Vernes (whose extreme longevity (300 years old) is the talk of town) provides the people more and more complex machinery. Ibsen, a friend of Verne, is what you could call a "early adopter" and he has solved his inspiration issue by purchasing a japanese robot maid girl. Hugo feeling bad at easy next to her decides quickly he will not resort to such trickery in his quest of finding a woman. Lately, VERNE has also started to work on human augmentation/implants... How far will these guys go ?

    3. Gameplay

    At first, I envisioned stills taken from old photographs, and menus that helped you move around, but I am now more thinking of the terms of overhead RPGs, a bit like something you would see in RPGMaker.

    The game would pretty much play like a mix between a dating game and a RPG. Hugo has 60 days to
    -Write a play
    -Hire actors
    -Becoming the buzz of the town so that a lot of people go to see the play

    The play's quality is dependant on how much time he spends working on it, but also on his personal experience. As he moves around town, he meets people that inspires him, situations that give him ideas. But all of this is NOTHING if he doesn't get himself a woman. Following Mr Darcy around, Hugo gets to know a world he doesn't understand : the female mind. If he can find happiness in love, then the play ought to be better. Right ?

    The game would then climax on the play itself ; if you allow a bad pun, the play would play very differently depending on how successful Hugo is at his various endeavours. Player would see the results happening storywise in the last chapter of the game, and then be given a final score according to the reviews of the play, and the numbers of tickets sold.

    I have been thinking a lot about story and universe over the last few days, sadly, neglecting gameplay... Because that's a tough one. I have hesitation on the presence of fighting in the game, for example. How I envision it so far is :
    -Hugo has a number of turns everyay
    -You can use these turns to write or do other stuff. This other stuff involves enhancing some stats that will appeal to women, finding actors, and doing shit in general.
    -You do these things by moving around town, in the map of Paris etc. The 60 days are planned out so that it doesn't feel boring : Mr Darcy calls you and introduces you to many women, Hugo needs to break in at some point in the VERNE-Vrydenberg-Yoshimito corporation and learns the horrible truth about Jules Vernes. Those things happen after Hugo's turns are done or right in the middle of the day. Even the act of writing might lead to substories.
    -You meet a lot of people in the game who volunteer to act in your play. You need to audition them, train them. They are all part of the story at some point and both their personality and training will impact the success of the play. You can pick which role goes to which actors too.

    This is obviously all very vague and no actual work besides a (very vague) design document has been produced so far.

    Still, Codex thoughts?
     
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  2. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    oscar
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    Yeah it's neat. Not every RPG needs to be about killing things to get better at killing things. That recent beta for the 19th century Parisian painter game was a lot of fun, so why not this.
     
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  3. Goliath Arcane Zionist Agent

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    Link please.
     
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  4. Syl Arbiter

    Syl
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    This reminds me of this game: Les Guignols de l'info : Le Cauchemar de PPD. Did you play it, taxalot ? It's surprisingly good, not to mention hilarious of course.

    Concerning your game: (ah fuck it I can't seem to be able to make my point in english so here it is in french)

    Y a un truc qui me dérange, les personnages étrangers ne semblent pas à leur place. On dirait que tu essayes d'attirer une audience anglophone dans ce qui est somme toute un jeu purement français (le lieu, le personnage principal, la culture). Peut-être tu devrais faire une version française, et plus tard adapter le jeu dans le Londres du XIXè siècle avec des personnages anglais et américains. La mécanique du jeu serait la même, l'histoire aussi, une bonne partie des dialogues peut l'être aussi.
    En résumé, comme c'est maintenant, j'ai peur que ça ne plaise ni à un public français, ni à un public anglophone (aucun des deux ne s'y reconnaît).

    I'll try to translate it later if someone cares.
     
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  5. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    Syl is asking me if I played some obscure french game, and is bothered by the mixture of french and international authors, wondering if I am trying to attract international people to the concept.

    As a matter of fact, yes, that is part of the reason. Paris and french writers are specially focused on because, well, it is what I know best, but I believe that would make it quite obscure to most people. Also, it allows to add diversity. The fact that those norwegian an english characters do not belong there also would add to the surreal atmosphere ; it is already anachronic, it might as well be uh, anageographic.

    I was actually considering two towns at first, Paris and London directly linked by the Tunnel under the Channel. But I found no gameplay reason to have those two towns.

    But I do see your point of view, and I am not sure if yours or mine is the right one. As of now, it's just a concept, floating ideas. I'm not sure I'll ever write a line of code (but I sure would love to).

    And YES ! I did play that Guignols game. And I loved it... But I'm afraid I do not see the connection with my idea :D
     
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  6. Piety Shitpostin'

    Piety
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Votre objection est essentiellement Français, Syl. Celui-ci, c'est la raison que personne ne vous aime.
     
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  7. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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  8. Piety Shitpostin'

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    This is awesome, taxalot, I get a massive boner for this kind of thing. I like the historical anachronisms, love the Verne biotech corporation idea, and I'm embarrassingly entranced by the idea of encountering the famous writers and finding that all their great tales and ideas were just lifted from the lives of people they know.

    I think I prefer your original interface idea, still pictures with menu options, rather than a top-down move-your-guy-around-the-map type of deal... It's the time limit that bothers me, I think with a top-down-walk-around setup the time limit would make me less inclined to explore and experiment, which is the best thing about games like this. Maybe that's just me. This even bothered me in Fallout.

    As far as combat goes... I hear you on the difficulty of introducing combat to a game like this, it'd feel tacked-on and outside the general thrust of the plot. Nonetheless the idea of an RPG without combat, I'm not too embarrassed to say, feels wrong to me. I've always felt that combat encounters are where the rubber of character stats meets the road of the game's world, and is satisfying in a way that stat-based dialogues and environment interaction can't match. What might be interesting is to implement a lot of the non-combat tasks in the game (writing a scene, picking up a girl, talking your way into Verne's lab, etc) with a combat-like interface, superficially resembling combat in a blobber maybe. Could be turn-based, with both the difficulty of the tasks and the abilities of your character represented by stats. You choose an action at the beginning of each turn, your success/failure/some-state-in-between determined by dice rolls, and afterwards the difficulty you face has to roll for its response to whatever your action was.

    In any case, I really hope you pursue this, love the ideas.
     
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  9. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    There are some very good suggestions there. I'll just work more on the idea and see if anythings comes out of it :o
     
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  10. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    I have decided I will be finally making this game.

    I will keep you updated.

    Thanks for your continued interest.
     
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  11. Viata Arcane

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    Good luck!
     
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  12. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    First small roadblock (those are pretty much expected at this stage)

    The game will use RPG Maker MV. Before all of you gasp in terror, yes, I am aware of all the cliche of the engine, but this is not the first time I have used it. Just because it is this engine does not mean it does have to be cheesy japanese weeaboo shit.

    The roadblock is this :

    I want this game to look decent. For this, I have to carefully plan the environments, and especially what kind of artstyle I want.

    There is one tileset which appears to be everything I want to use : https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/steampunk-tiles.65/

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I seriously think this looks pretty great.

    Problem is : use in a commercial game is strictly forbidden by the author, for it uses ressources borrowed from other places (other versions of RPG Maker, other commercial tilesets).
    Meaning, if I go for this tileset, I cannot sell it.

    Now, it's a bit of a small dilemma. While I am doing this for fun and not going after that sweet indie money, I am not entirely averse to the idea of people giving me change if they appreciate what I am doing.

    Meaning, I guess, that legally I can make the game free and put a donation button on the website whenever that thing gets online.

    As I said, monetization is not what I am after, but it's still something I have to take into account before going much further.
     
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  13. Viata Arcane

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    You can use Ruby/RGSS to modify the game enough so it can avoid being a generic rpg maker game.
    For example, this is a brazilian rpg maker game:
     
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  14. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Shitposter

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    Yes it does. It really does.
     
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  15. Theldaran Arbiter

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    Hernani WUT
     
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  16. Max Heap Arbiter

    Max Heap
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    I first read that as "Battle of Hernia"

    That's a battle I don't wanna fight.
     
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  17. vonAchdorf Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    vonAchdorf
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    I think the tiles should be modified with some French accents so it's less generic and more grounded in place.


    Donation buttons (in most cases) generate so few donations that you don't need to bother with them.

    Is this the only Steampunk set for RPG Maker?
     
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  18. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    From thinking about it to actually trying to do something only took 9 years! This shit has a faster development cycle than Star Citizen!
     
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  19. Syl Arbiter

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    I don't know why I didn't explain what I meant by that, 7 years ago. Lazyness I guess.

    I was thinking primarily about the gameplay part of your post, which definitely made me remember this game.

    In the Guignols game:
    - You have to run a successful TV channel.
    - You have a fixed number of actions per day and a fixed number of days.
    - You visit different places in Paris to hire hosts and guests for your shows.

    The resemblance doesn't go much farther than that, as it's not at all an RPG.
     
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  20. baud Liturgist

    baud
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    Reading the title, I first though it would be an historical RPG, set around the controversies of the Hernani play.

    Also regarding combat, it could be used to make progress on the play, with enemies being abstract concepts, like a dialogue, a character, a typo-ridden tirade to rewrite. It would take the shape of a turn-based combat, with a turn limit: how much 'damage' you've done to your enemies is the work you've done that day. You'd have to re name all the skills, with unlocking advanced skills in the exploration/romance part of the game. You could have basic skills like write, use your imagination (buff), write a lot (stronger attack, but can spawn typos or plot holes). Of course I have no idea how fun it would be to play.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  21. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    Both of these are actually what I had in mind :) But also with a bit of actual combat and "Savate" sequences, although it's clearly not the focus of the game.

    But yes, it's going to be a fictional account about Hernani, which is going to the name of the play.

    At first the idea was during a conversation with a friend, where we laughed about making a dating game featuring old 19th century writers. Then I remember visiting with another friend the actual house of Victor Hugo, and there was a painting describing the Hernani controversy.


    Show Spoiler

    hernani.jpg


    The whole thing pretty much evolved from the early dating game idea, this painting, and the visit of Hugo's house.

    There was also this drawing
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]



    Back in 2000, 2001, I started development on a RPG MAKER 2K game called "31 days of Kung Fu".
    It was a humoristic RPG set in Hong Kong, happening over the course of 31 days, with an idiot trying to learn Kung Fu to "get the girls" and finding himself into a conspiracy set by old men trying to steal the winning money of the local tournament to save their Mahjong parlour.
    Each day had "story events" that were mandatory although they could be approached in different fashion.
    But most of the gameplay was "open". During the open sequences, a counter would appear on the right side of the screen, allowing a limited number of actions (train, do shopping, talk to girls, do activities with friends etc...). It was clumsy, but I thought it worked okay.

    Years, years later, Persona 3 came out which was EXACTLY the kind of gameplay I had designed for 31 days of Kung Fu. Except I never completed the game. I wanted to do it episodic, in 4 or 5 chapters. Chapter 1, including the first 7 days was completed, uploaded, played by a fair number of people in the french RPG Maker community, had some positive feedback...

    ... but was never continued upon, which is probably my most shameful procrastination act, now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  22. vonAchdorf Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    You could add "gilet rouge / gilets rouges" to tap into the modern day news cycle for attention.
     
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  23. baud Liturgist

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    There's even a revolution that happened the same year as the Hernani premiere. But I'm not sure it would fit with the tone of the rest of the game. Or perhaps just in the background.
     
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