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Kaia Bowett

Negotiated Study Minor Project

For the minor project I elected to collaborate with Daisy Lock - another member of my course who I worked with incredibly well last year on our project: Solomon's Seal. We decided to work together again to both test our teamworking skills and to create an even bigger project than we could've separately.

The Initial Pitch

We were given 6 briefs to pitch to a board of industry professionals and our classmates. We put together a powerpoint which we then presented to the panel for them to decide which 3 ideas they liked best. The idea from there was that we would pick one to take onto the minor project and one to take onto the major.

The Verdict

Of our 6 ideas the 3 most popular were

1. The Story Told With No Words

2. The Story for a Younger Demographic

3. The Story Told In Another Format

We decided we wanted to do the latter 2 of those choices, deciding to do the visual novel for the minor project as the children's comic would present better at the degree show.

After choosing what we were going to do we immediately got to work on the script

The Script

The script was a big undertaking, with the primary part of a visual novel being the scripting and dialogue, it was bound to be the biggest undertaking, even more so when we were given a week to start and finish it before handing in to Kevin Gunstone for him to review.

Our initial draft had over 18,000 words which we estimate could make up to 2-3 hours of gameplay in one playthrough which naturally won't be simple to mark. So we also put the script below

Tah Dah, 18,000 words which I apologise in advance for

Initial Research

We chose to do a desert/mountain setting for this project and I wanted to include some Byzantine empire style buildings as I liked the arches and domes used in the buildings and I wanted to combine it with the regular sandstone style buildings seen in most desert- fiction

Initial Concepts

I wanted to get the initial vibe for the game, working with settings and character dynamics with some sketch pieces. 

I was armed with my mood boards so I knew what general vibe I was going for and I set off on working on some mood pieces.

Vish and Rey Young.png
Young Vish.png

Concept Sketches

Further Concept Art

While Daisy got the pleasure of designing the antagonist, I took on the role of designing the protagonist. The purpose was to design a young adult with little-to-no worldly experience. I tried to design her outfit to specifically contain no utility as she is made to stay within the walls of her home. While this initial concept also contains a bracer on her left arm, that eventually came off in the final design as I didn't see the purpose of it being there.

Zoe.png

I was also tasked with designing Vishara's parents, we decided to make her father the more gentle of the two parents and her mother to be the more militaristic overprotective parent. I wanted to work on the hairstyles first as a lot of a design can come through on hair alone. 

For Zoe I wanted to focus on a practical look so, all the designs for her involved her hair either being tied up or short. I couldn't decide if I wanted her to have straight or textured hair so I also played with that a little in the concept stage and I eventually settled on the second design as the tied-back dreads had practicality and personality

Haloban was a more interesting character to figure out as I knew I wanted him to look more peppy and excitable so I tried out some more interesting hairstyles, I do think it came out as a little too rock-band for my liking so I ended up sticking with the 4th design as the hair seemed just about the right length and kept him looking gentle and fatherly.

Advertising

Advertising and Marketing is one of my bigger focuses in this project. Throughout this project so far we've made impressive leaps in our advertising which I would entirely account as successful. I believe after all the work that went into our advertising and branding we've absolutely earned the bragging rights.

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Sword Logo Colour Sheet.png
Splatter Logo Colour Sheet.png

We worked on the Logo designs and ended up choosing the basic option which you will see on all of the branding below. While you can see the two options we tried to progress further, neither fit particularly well on any of the advertising so we agreed to stick with just the words as the balance of the V and the N on the font already looked quite appealing as it was

Promotional Material

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This was the initial leaflet we used at the few conventions we attended before we had any solid art for the game, it gives a basic synopsis of the plot, target audience and genre to give a general description to interested audiences.

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My project-1 (23).png

The Kickstarter

Our proudest achievement throughout this is the Kickstarter which is currently at £342 with 22 days to go. I've promoted this on Reddit Ads, In person at conventions and via Instagram/Facebook posts to give it the maximum reach we can

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The Finished Kickstarter

The Kickstarter finished on the 2nd January and we made £675

Conventions

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Long Rest Geeky Market

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Staffs Uni Christmas Fair

Forbidden Planet Hanley Halloweekend

We attended three conventions during the process of this project where we advertised Fort Valen, we gave out a decent amount of leaflets during the events and managed to gain a fair few of our backers on Kickstarter from this method

Finished Backgrounds

Backgrounds are one of my specialties and this project gave me chance to show that off. Using my research boards and the combination of the Byzantine Empire architecture mixed with the desert setting I was able to design these pieces which will serve as the sections for the character sprites to stand in front of

Marketplace.png
Marketplace Night.png

Finished Sprites

I did the designs for Vishara, Zoe, Vakri, Haloban and Reyvani so these were the finished sprites for them

Sprite Sheet.png
Sprite Sheet.png

The Opening Cutscene

The opening cutscene was a joint effort of myself and a prior animation student and friend: Aidan Ranger. I drew all of the assets for the cutscene and Aidan animated the pieces I had given him.

The voice acting was done by Kali Malia who was a voice actress I commissioned on Fiverr using the Kickstarter money.

Social Media Posting

Videos of the Working Game

We've been using Tyrano-Builder to make the visual novel which has been a momentous task as there were a few teething issues with character sprites being stuck in the ceiling but we seem to have a decent handle on the program now

By the end of the project I racked up over 180 hours of programming

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