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Author Topic: Life is a Party (formerly Euphoria)  (Read 3828 times)

DeadSuperHero

  • There's no sense crying over spilled tears.
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • I can help with characters
    • I can help with making music
    • I can help with scripting
Life is a Party (formerly Euphoria)
« on: 11 Dec 2020, 03:48 »
Howdy y'all,

It's been a while since I've tried one of these. This is a project that's pretty personal to me. It started out as an attempt to do AdvX Jam, but missed the deadline. I decided to keep working on it because I liked the idea, and it's starting to take shape into something I think I might be really proud of. I'm planning on the game itself to be relatively short, but one of the central design goals is replayability. Many of the underlying themes are based on real experiences, and so making this game is serving to be an odd form of therapy.

This game is based on a simple idea: a friend you grew up with moved away, and you two drifted apart after a major incident. Now, years later, he's back...and to make amends, he's inviting you to a party. He even hyped you up to a bunch of people that are probably way cooler than you are!

It's up to YOU to rock the party. But you're a nerdy introvert that's normally playing Dungeons and Dragons with like two other people on a Friday night. You don't know about anything these party folk like! Somehow, you're going to have to have a good time, even though your desperately afraid to.

Key Game Mechanics
The game heavily revolves around dialogue interactions with other people, and deals with trying to be sociable while being terrified of other human beings. Our hero, Paul, thinks he needs to impress people. It's worth mentioning that the protagonist's point of view and the player's point of view are meant to be subtly out of sync with one another: Paul is an unreliable narrator who has a warped view of himself and other people. Therefore, the goal of the game is not necessarily "BE THE MOST POPULAR PERSON (even though Paul thinks it is)", but rather, try to figure out what you would do in this situation. Are you going to try to be cool? Or will you take a greater risk by being your real, lovable, vulnerable self?

  • The Anxiety Meter - your character suffers from anxiety attacks. As your character's anxiety stat increases, it becomes more difficult for him to properly engage in dialogue with other people. The more he messes up, the more aggressive the meter becomes...and the more likely the hero will automatically start picking. You can decrease the anxiety in a number of ways: increasing confidence through positive interactions, ingesting various substances, or running off to an isolated space to calm down (just like you do at REAL PARTIES)
  • The Memory Journal - Paul has an amazing memory, and can recall fragments of information that other people have told him. This allows him to bluff in conversations about subjects he's not actually familiar with at all. One type of puzzle in this game allows Paul to use fragments of his fake knowledge to get other fragments, which will allow him to bluff even more. The only problem is that Paul is at a party getting progressively more and more drunk, which will cause the journal to become increasingly muddled to the point of incoherence.
  • The Heat Map - Paul has some assumptions about what he should say. Dialog trees get a colored heat map: Green options are assumed to be safe, and ostensibly cause Paul very little anxiety, whereas red options are assumed to be dangerous, which makes him nervous to even ask.
  • Followers - in his quest to be popular, Paul is going to try and earn clout by impressing people. The more people you impress, the more confident Paul becomes, leading to more outgoing types of actions.

Now, for some screenshots (note: the art in this game is still in the rough stages, so a lot of it looks half-finished right now. Also, the resolution that these were captured at, and the resizing within the post make them look shittier than they actually are. Click that 2x button to get a better idea of what the screenshots entail!)


Introducing the Action Wheel! A bastardized hybrid of the Sierra GUI and Verbcoin.


Hide in the bathroom to get your anxiety levels down...JUST LIKE YOU WOULD AT A REAL PARTY


A visual dialog system, which refer to many different pieces of visual context


Win approval from your new friends...or, lose it just as quickly


The Memory Journal - a visual, local Wikipedia that's in your head, that gets less reliable as you get more drunk


Learn all the juicy details about your peers!

I'm basically using this game to teach myself how to make better sprites, draw better backgrounds, and write better AGS code. A lot of this is about cultivating my own techniques, along with my own style. Right now, I'm having a lot of fun learning to do animations.

Kevin from Los Angeles, one of the many party-goers.

My hope is that, once this game is done, I'll be releasing the source code under an Open Source license, with the art assets under the Creative Commons. I hope to donate all of the art assets to the OpenGameArt project.  :-D

Edit: I had to change the name for the title due to the fact that a Visual Novel already exists called Euphoria...and, uh, it's kind of a bit much. This project isn't related to that one at all.
« Last Edit: 15 Mar 2021, 03:30 by DeadSuperHero »
Check out my game: Life is a Party!

The fediverse needs great indie game developers! Find me there!

Re: Euphoria
« Reply #1 on: 11 Dec 2020, 04:30 »
The game mechanics sound intriguing!  (nod) Will the goal of the game be different endings, most points, titles/achievements or something else?  :)

DeadSuperHero

  • There's no sense crying over spilled tears.
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • I can help with characters
    • I can help with making music
    • I can help with scripting
Re: Euphoria
« Reply #2 on: 11 Dec 2020, 19:00 »
The game mechanics sound intriguing!  (nod) Will the goal of the game be different endings, most points, titles/achievements or something else?  :)

Good question! At the moment, it's kind of a sandbox for social interactions, where it's up to the player to go with their gut instinct on what "feels right" to them. I'm largely considering a branching story path where you can basically be a different type of person each time you play. Something I'm toying with now is an invisible stat system that racks up various types of points (confidence, sobriety, humor, empathy, etc) to unlock certain kinds of paths. One way I'm already doing this is in providing flavor text from the narrator that changes based on anxiety levels.
Check out my game: Life is a Party!

The fediverse needs great indie game developers! Find me there!

Re: Euphoria
« Reply #3 on: 18 Dec 2020, 23:40 »
I should admit that this is really interesting.

Mini Militia App Lock
« Last Edit: 17 Mar 2021, 14:52 by avensis »

newwaveburritos

  • Party Weekend
    • newwaveburritos worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Euphoria
« Reply #4 on: 29 Dec 2020, 18:43 »
Oh, this is a really fascinating idea and a great idea for an adventure game.  I've always been a sucker for the "one crazy night" trope and having the "puzzles" such as they are be social interactions and friendships is a great idea.  I'm working on a similar idea in my own game so I'll be interested to track your progress and watch it as it unfolds.  Thanks for sharing!!

DeadSuperHero

  • There's no sense crying over spilled tears.
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • I can help with characters
    • I can help with making music
    • I can help with scripting
Re: Euphoria - Life is a Party!
« Reply #5 on: 17 Jan 2021, 04:03 »
Updated with some new screenshots exploring the game mechanics and UI! A lot of the art and writing has a long way to go...but, it's been fun getting the mechanics in place.  :-D
Check out my game: Life is a Party!

The fediverse needs great indie game developers! Find me there!

DeadSuperHero

  • There's no sense crying over spilled tears.
    • I can help with backgrounds
    • I can help with characters
    • I can help with making music
    • I can help with scripting
Re: Euphoria - Life is a Party!
« Reply #6 on: 06 Mar 2021, 18:36 »
I'm back to working on this in fits and bursts. I ended up refactoring how the core UI works, and ported it into an open source AGS template for other people to use: ActionWheel!

The development process was kind of funny here: I ended up porting the original code into an individual script, then tweaked a bunch of functionality, like a new inventory system and rules for click-processing, and had to struggle to port those improvements back to the original game. But, that part is done now! The optimizations to ActionWheel mean that the player can have their cake and eat it, too: you get a Sierra-like Ribbon in a VerbCoin format, and a multi-cursor inventory system that allows the player to manipulate and combine items.

Bigger, plot-related stuff is still moving pretty slowly, as various mechanics have to be tweaked, and doing sprite and bg work takes time. Nevertheless, here's a work-in-progress of a scene where the player has to go pick up his check from work.


 
Check out my game: Life is a Party!

The fediverse needs great indie game developers! Find me there!