What is "Priscilla Vate and the Dart Killer Cases?"
Priscilla Vate and the Dart Killer Cases is a mystery-themed visual novel set in the streets of Filthadelphia and follows the trail of a serial lady killer nicknamed 'The Dart Killer.' It was just another night dealing with unsavory clients for our heroine when she received a call. The ID said "-adelphia Police Depar-," and she knew that meant trouble. Readers will experience the VN from the perspective of Priscilla "Pri" Vate, a young but hard-boiled private investigator, as she deals with liars, lawyers, crooks, cops, darts and danger in her pursuit of truth.
Things you'll find in the demo when it's done:
- A Self-Contained Story in 30k Words in 16:9 ADV
- 15+ Full High Definition Hand-Drawn CGs
- Fully Redesigned Character Sprites
- Philadelphia inspired backgrounds and effects in HD
- Lousy Rookies & Seasoned Veterans
- Child Detectives & Femme Fatales
- Rent-Seeking Landlords & Scummy Sleaze-balls
- Long nights and a few cups of coffee
- Two Endings
- Hidden Bonus Content from the Full Version
1 Year Round Up Date: 8/24/16
After we started working on the Game Jam, one of the biggest comments we received about our heroine is that she looked like a boy. While Pri is deliberately 'not cute,' we didn't like that she came off as a boy. Another thing we addressed in her redesign is that we took more cues from Manga styles, changing her design from what was originally intended to be a pure cartoon rendering of the character to something closer and more familiar for our intended audience.
While we're edging closer and closer to the Japanese styles found commonly in VNs, we intend to make it our own by sticking to some of the designs we know best.
The second biggest thing that needed to change was the core mechanics and UI. Originally, I had thrown in a particularly unpleasant 'Sidebar' style UI with a list attached to it. While it satisfied some conditions of the Game Jam, it never felt right.So we've stripped out the clue menu entirely and introduced a transparent black full ADV interface that felt more right. The next thing we had to address was the disparity of heights between the characters. While it isn't so bad between Valerie, Bennet or Aaron, putting Pri alongside any character had a very distinct eye shift that we wanted to avoid. We wound up taking a page out of many otome we've seen and opted to put a face sprite of our heroine at the bottom alongside the ADV text.
Many of the following updates to the VN were related to how the VN was being handled behind the scenes. The VN itself is written out as plain text and put through a script processor that converts the humanly readable format into a format our custom VN parser could read.
Since we're working primarily in Unity, we've had to custom build all of the VN standard features that people have come to expect. On the downside, reproducing these features does take some time and has set us back considerably in terms of demo release. On the upside, because we're using a familiar code base and API, there's the potential to really create new and improve on features.
Our VN Script is presently stored in a line-by-line format using XML. We opted to work with XML to provide us with better debugging and script management tools(e.g, searching/reporting errors by tags and ids.)
Before our final product is done, we will also have a 'Visual Novel Director' application in the works that takes these XML based scripts and ultimately allows WYSIWYG line by line scene development, turning the scripting process from a tedious chore to something more like a role a digital film director would take. That component is currently in the works and will only be used internally, though may be adopted to different script formats and released publicly at a later date.
Our current and most arduous challenge has been writing, editing and illustrating for the script. The demo is currently on the second round of editing of the second rewrite. While we're going to release a demo with some near 30k words, the total number of words we've committed into writing is somewhere closer to 120-140k.
1920x1080 Wallpaper Available.
The main problem in the writing process has been really identifying what we wanted to achieve in our final product so that our demo would be a meaningful experience, and sculpting the characters into something we believe would resonate with people.
Originally, Priscilla was a wise-cracking hard ass that, while funny in concept, was generally unlikable as a protagonist. Bennett was originally very much a passive character, and let Pri's overwhelming personality rule over the scenes they're in. Now Pri is more level-headed and Bennet is more right-minded and combative with Pri, which provides a deeper relationship between the two characters, on top of generating common-sense based interpersonal conflicts throughout the demo.
The script is complete and we're currently in the final stretch of the editing process of the demo(over 70% done at the time of this writing,) and we expect the final script to be done some time in mid to late September, while the CGs, Sprites, and Backgrounds being completed sometime in the coming Winter.
In the meantime, we're looking for a talented composers with experience in Jazz, R&B, and/or Americana(synthetic or otherwise) to help bring the VN to life. One of the things our team isn't currently capable of is composing and assembling music, and we would like to achieve a unique and distinct soundtrack for both the demo and the final product.