Programmation – Cocosd2 and us

Hello everybody,

Today I would like to talk about the programation of the game and not the visuals. How we do ? Well, Daniel uses Cocosd2. He created a specific engine for the game which is capable to mix some specificites of a point and click (exploration, take some objects, give them to someone, etc.) and of a visual novel (dialogs, story, etc.).CodeThe engine works with a .json editor. It’s simple, in the game when you talk with someone, the engine will search the right file, .json, where is written all the dialog. You can see an extract of the dialog editor just below.

TexteBecause you have several choices during a dialog (to say the truth, to be rude or to lie), each choice will have a consequence. Sometimes, you need to lie, sometimes you have to be honest. The good thing with this system is that the game will remember what you did. So, for example, if you decide to talk to someone after a very hard conversation, the character will remember that and maybe will be less friendly.

As you can we can create different boxes. A text node (to choose a face of the character, a text ) and a choice node (when you have to make a choice), and finally a branch node (to create a variable to remember an ancient choice).

So, the engine will navigate between some code and some .json files. For us, we see sometimes like that through the terminal :

TerminalWe created our own engine because we didn’t find an actual software which could do what we found. So, not a point and click and not a visual novel but a mix.

. Version française :

Bonjour à tous,

Aujourd’hui, j’aimerais vous parler un peu de programmation et non de visuels. Comment concrètement codons-nous ? C’est simple. Daniel, notre programmeur, utilise Cocosd2. Il a créé un moteur de jeu spécifique pour notre création, un moteur capable de mélanger les spécificités du point and click (exploration, gestion d’objets, etc.) et de la visual novel (dialogues à choix multiples, etc.).

Le moteur fonctionne avec un éditeur de fichiers .json. Lorsque vous parlez à quelqu’un, le jeu ira chercher le fichier .json associé. Par exemple, le vendeur aura pour fichier : vendeur.json. Dans ce fichier se trouve tout le dialogue avec tous les embranchements.

Comme vous aurez plusieurs choix durant le dialogue (dire la vérité, mentir ou être agressif), chaque voix aura une conséquence. Parfois, il faudra mentir, parfois dire la vérité sera crucial. La chose intéressante avec ce système est que le jeu se souviendra de ce que vous avez fait. Donc, si vous avez été un peu rude avec quelqu’un, peut-être sera-t-il moins amical la fois suivant.

Sur l’image, vous voyez plusieurs boites. En effet, trois boites existent. La « text node » ne permettant que d’écrire et de choisir une expression du sprite (colère, joie, etc.), la « choice node » (lorsqu’il faut faire un choix) et la « branch node » (pour créer une variable afin de se souvenir de votre attitude durant la précédent conversation).

Pour nous, le jeu s’organise de cette façon si l’on prend le temps de scruter le terminal. Pas très sexy, c’est vrai.


Story of the game – The navigation and the diary

Hello everybody,

Today I would like to talk about the navigation system in the game. It consists of the using of a diary. The young Kafka is oppressed by his father, a very strict man. So, each day, the father gave to the young Kafka a list of things to do in a diary. A way to control his son and to try to give him small responsabilites, step by step.

Through this system, the player will see, play and live the different events of the young Kafka in a normal day…or not. The system is simple, a diary and a hand. You can only choose the event which is not in grey.

After each scene, when it’s finished, the precedent mission will be barred and unplayable.

Journal seul

The diary


The hand

. Version française :

Bonjour tout le monde,

Aujourd’hui, je voulais vous parler du système de navigation du jeu. Il consistera à utiliser un journal. Le jeune Kafka était écrasé par la présence de son père, un homme très strict. Ainsi, chaque jour, le père donnera (dans le jeu) un carnet avec une liste de choses à faire. Une manière de contrôler son fils et également de lui donner de petites responsabilités pour en faire un homme.

A travers ce système, le joueur verra quand il jouera les différents événements rythmant la journée du jeune Kafka. Le système est simple : un journal et une main en guise de curseur. Le joueur ne pourra cliquer que sur les événements non-grisés. Après chaque scène/missions accomplie, une nouvelle mission se débloquera (et donc un nouveau lieu).


Story – The first screen and the title screen

Hello everybody,

Today, I would like to talk about the title menu of the game or more precisely the first screen seen. We know that the first images are very important for a gamer. He has to be seduced by what he’s seeing. So, if the result is not attractive, or disturbing, or strange, the gamer will no want play the game.

That’s why the idea, which is the same from the beginning, is to create a screen full of cockroaches. The player doesn’t understand why, he doesn’t know what to do, he just open the game and see his screen with dozens of cockroaches.

Of course, it’s a wink. The reference is the great novel, The Transformation, in which a young adult became, one day, after a normal night, a giant cockroach. His family will reject him and he will loose his job.

Insects are very common in Kafka’s writing. He always talks about insects to depict himself or his vision in society. So, with the first screen, the gamer is immersed in the strangeness of Kafka’s novels. After one click, he’ll discover the menu title, more classic.

You’ll see some pictures of the evolution of this title menu

cafards ecrantitre1rouille ecrantitre2rouille ecrantitre3rouille ecrantitrev1

Last version

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Story – Dialogs with multiple choices (gameplay)

Hello everybody,

For this new message, I would like to talk about the dialogs in our game. It will be a very important part of the gameplay. So, we are working very hard on it to give to the player a really interesting experiment.

The idea is to purpose in the game some fights that take the form of dialogs with multiple choices. For example, you’ll meet someone and this person we’ll try to take your money. You’ll have three possible reactions and you have to take one. You could lie, be aggressive or be honest. Of course, the reaction of the other character will depend on your choice. Each choice has consequences; it’s the key of the game.

For the moment, we are created a tool for the dialogs. Your action will give you an answer from the character and, again, three others choices. If I take again my example, the homeless person wants first to take your money. You could lie to avoid a fight or choose the fight by being aggressive or be honest and try to calm this person.

The most important, in our tool your choices will be registered. So, if you was aggressive with this man, the next time he’ll probably be nervous to see you and…and you’ll see the consequences in the game.

So, be careful, each choice will have consequences. Now and later.

To finish, one picture from Twine, just to show you the complexity of our dialog system.


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Story – The core gameplay of the game

Hello everybody,

We would like to talk about the gameplay of the game today. Most of time, we present our game as a combination of a point and click and a visual novel. What does it mean? It’s pretty simple.

A visual novel is a good choice to develop a strong scenario and to create a lot of dialogs. It’s much more difficult to do that with a platformer. Could you see Mario in a visual novel? Strange, isn’t? Interesting by the video game as a new way to tell a story, visual novel was our first choice, that’s why the game was originally developed with Ren’Py.

But, step-by-step, the project became more and more ambitious and a simple visual novel was not enough. That’s why we decided to combine the gameplay of a VN with a point and click.

In the game, the gamer will see several environments, still images with a small animation for the NPC, he could click where he wants to interact : see, take and talk with. The gamer is able to take some objects in his inventory for later, so like in a point and click you click everywhere! But, when you would talk with someone, the gameplay will be like a visual novel but with dialogs including multiple choices. Choices with consequences, now and later! So be careful!

Enjoy some screenshots of the game :

Essaivilledispositiob Essaivilledisposition2

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Story – Why Kafka ?

Hello everybody,

For our (real) first post, we have decided to talk about the choice of Franz Kafka as principal topic for our first game.

I’ve visited, me, Alexis Hassler (alfoux), the city of Prague in last December. It was a great trip and one day I was at the Kafka’s museum. It was a shock. I discovered the power of Kafka’s work.

The idea of creating a video game is an old one for me. After having thinking, and writing several papers, about video games I’ve decided to do more and that’s why I’ve started to create my own game.

Kafka’s life is as interesting as his novels or short stories. His life was a constant struggle between his desire to become a famous writer and his obligation as an employee in an assurance enterprise. This link was ideal for me, as a writer and game designer, to give to players some interesting feelings and thoughts about the daily struggle of life.

When I returned from Prague, I’ve started to read again some novels and short stories written by Kafka as “In the Penal Colony” which is a really good one. Step by step, I understood that Kafka would help me to create a true psychological video game. A video game in which the player will see every consequence of his acts. When I say that, I mean consequences on the mental health of the character.

Just to finish, some pictures of the Kafka’s museum.

3 2005_FRANZ-KAFKA-MUSEUM_PRAGUE_02-2 kafka-museum-prague

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