New mock-up

So, this is just a mock-up (what you see is what I have, purely graphical). I wanted a more modern twist, and I guess I decided on a new art style for portraits. Meet Neil in all of his pompous glory.

I should really just get back to writing his story though.

Yes, that is a typo.

Chapters

I’ve actually outlined Neil’s storylines, and divided them into chapters, with 13 chapters total.

Unfortunately, this means no more marriage component. Because visual novel style was the most popular, it seems people would rather follow a good storyline with a whirlwind romance, so making the game end at the end of a story seems like a good way to part.

I will still keep the ‘talk to him daily’ part, of course. You can still walk around and meddle with townsfolk.

In between each chapter, your bachelor will reference things that have happened in the previous chapter, or will talk about future things that will happen in the next chapter. So that it will seem continuous and chronological. If there was one thing I hated about Harvest Moon (aside from their repeating dialogue), it’s the fact that heart events never got acknowledged. They were a one time event that was never mentioned again. So, I want to make sure that when you play, you’ll really feel like you’re getting to know the bachelor, follow him through his daily life, and experiencing romantic events with him.

Basically, I want you to fall in love with the bachelor, and him with you. This is not something HM ever did well, with bare dialogue and personalities that were as hollow as a cardboard cut-out.

But, I’ll try. You’ll experience romance by basically talking to the bachelor every day, until the next chapter starts. And again, there are no wrong answers, so pick which ever one you like most!

I think my new goal would be to simply have three chapters finished of Neil, and have a working tailoring system. Everything else can be added later (including art).

Also, I really do like the idea of a rival tailor character! It’d be even cooler if you can decide their gender, and have some nice girl x girl romance going on.

Only women apparel?

Should you only be able to tailor women’s clothing? I mean I could add shirts, tux, pants and whatnot … but I think it would be more fun focusing on women’s fashion, and making some cute designs. If I’d make men’s clothing as well this would increase workload, and I wouldn’t make cute designs for them.

The clothing

I always talk about the romantic aspect of Tailor Tales, leaving out the ‘tailor’ in favour of the ‘tales’, but it’s something I’m still very much concerned about.

Creating clothing has always been something I liked to do in games, especially if I could also wear them (ala Animal Crossing). I’ve always been set back by the huge amount of artwork that I needed to create if I were to allow the player to mix and match outfits, and I still am. I might still just restrict player outfits to dresses only, but at least they will be unique dresses. With the current sprites I’m planning on using, this should be easier to create than with my previous spriteset.

But! There’s a bonus. With this script I’ve found, that lets the player customize their character’s ‘clothing’, I can finally allow the player to make their character look more like them. This means different skin tones, hair colours and hair styles! I mean, this shouldn’t be too much work considering I’ve already got the hairstyles, and skintones/hair colours are simply a change of hue.

So that means no more Abigail, the second main character. It will simply be Joselina all the way, except she can look however you want to. You’ll start out with a default hairstyle (colour you can change though), with more options in-game that requires gold. This also means there will be a stylist in town to let you change your hairstyle/colour.

On to the creation of the clothing. It will be largely the same (mechanics wise), except this time you will actually tailor clothing for people. A random NPC will enter your shop, and list their requests (they want something red, or maybe a shirt, or maybe a red shirt), and it’s your job to create it and sell it to them. NPCs will only come into your shop when you choose to open shop in the first place. Only a few will come each time, and you can only open up shop once a day.

Dyes will no longer be things you can buy at the market. Instead, you can scavenge for items on the ground (I said before I’d remove this portion, but it’s too much fun to remove it), with each item having a colour that you can turn into a dye. Want gold fabric? Then you need to head over to the mine to get it!

ETc. etc.

Of course the part I’m focusing on the most at the moment is getting an actual bachelor route done.

Congratulations Neil

It hasn’t been a lot of votes since then, but I’ll predict Neil will still be in the lead even with a 100 votes cast. So congratulations; Neil is the first bachelor! It must be his awesome hair or something.

I’ve always given it a lot of thought, about routes in dating games. How you’re supposed to self-insert, but then the games never provide you with any options that truly feel like you. I realize writing a million different routes is way too much work and not feasible, but can’t we tailor it a little bit to the player’s input?

Whether you want to be aggressive and kiss that bachelor during a heated moment, or you prefer to be coy and wait until he makes the first move – shouldn’t both be an option? Your personality should come through (or at least the one you most want), and no option is the wrong option. You can’t lose, you should be able to make the bachelor become all smoopy kittens over you whether you chose to mock him with your wit, or comfort him with your kindness. And the route should reflect that. In one route, he can be kind of caring, in another he’ll be cold and aloof. It all depends on you – the heroine of the story!

So I’ve decided to go with 4 endings for the bachelor. This means 4 different routes. In the beginning it is decided whether or not your bachelor was in love with you during your childhood, or he was just your friend. That’s two endings already. As you follow that route, you will get a series of choices you can select that will nudge you to one ending or the other. No ending is the ‘right’ one, you cannot choose ‘wrong’. Just pick whichever one feels most like you! These choices prop up during dialogue, and while they don’t heavily influence the scene (certainly not the outcome of the scene), it will determine which route to take when it’s time to branch off.

For example, with Neil – the snobby little rich kid that he is – he can pamper you like a goddess, or he will bicker with you until the end of the world.

It will be a lot of writing, but it will be worth it to have an ending feel like it was reached because you made the choices that felt the most like you.

Childhood friends for the win

After doing my poll, it seems it’s not necessarily the personality that people want, but more or less the circumstances.

That means childhood friend wins! But which one wins? The one that’s been in love with you since you were kids, or the one who never even saw you as anything else but “just one of the guys”? It seems the latter was the most popular, with the former being the second most popular.

So I got to thinking, wondering how to incorporate this into Tailor Tales, and I got it; you get to decide whether the bachelor has always been in love with you, or never even considered you part of the female species. Yes, that’s right, that means the bachelor can be either one of these childhood friend types, which also means two completely different playthroughs of the same bachelor, as well as two endings.

How do you decide this? Well, indirectly, I hope. You don’t get to pick “I want him to always have been in love with me”, since that feels too much like manipulation to me, and instead, I’m basing it on your personality. I think, in the beginning you will experience a few flashbacks of the bachelor in question. These flashbacks will present you with a few choices (no choice is the ‘right’ choice!), and depending on what you think fits you the best, you will have effectively decided the bachelor’s fate. I’ll have to stress that these choices aren’t straight forward as to what will lead to which ending. For example, if you act all lovely dooey towards your bachelor in the flashback, he won’t magically start crushing on you – it might be the opposite! Basically, it’s tailored to the bachelor’s personality, and how well you clash with his.

Basically, after these flashbacks, the bachelor will either have had a long standing crush on you, or has never seen you as a potential romantic interest. Both can be super fun to play through, even if it’s the same guy!

But first, I have to decide which bachelor will get priority. Who will get created first? Yes, this means the old bachelors are no more. A remake means new characters. I’m going to leave it up for a vote. So far, I’ve got 3 bachelor options, whose personality type I’ve got a bit of a grasp on, so these are your options (no the artwork won’t be chibi-style, but this is basically what they will kinda look like):

1. Cody
Cody is a troublemaker, or at least, he hasn’t fully grown up yet and accepted his adult responsibilities. He helps his dad who is a fisherman, but he doesn’t really know what to do with his life yet, and instead goes windsurfing or sailing most of the time. He can be a bit childish and immature sometimes, but can be serious when the situation calls for it. When you were both children, he lived on the same street as you, but moved away due to his father’s business. He pulled a lot of pranks on you, and even got you into trouble several times.

2. Zack
Zack would be the sheriff in town, as he’s always had a thing for taking care of people and protecting them. People come to him for guidance and really look up to him. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, and has a weird quirk where he needs to wear symmetrical things all the time (refuses to wear his badge just for this reason, unless he gets to wear two). When you were children, his mom was friends with yours, so you got a lot of play dates together. You would play dress up together, but you’d do such a terrible job that he might have developed the quirk mentioned earlier. He’s the only one that isn’t surprised you became a tailor, as he’s always known you loved playing around with clothes.

3. Neil
Neil is your snobby rich kid. Wealthy parents that always gave him everything, and they expected nothing but the best. He’s really good at painting, but his parents would rather he go back to med school to become a doctor. Neil is rather at odds with his parents about this. He will at first not recognize you, until some time has passed, but when he does, he knows you’re the little kid who he met when he ran away and cheered him up. He may, or may not, have thought you were a boy.

So, which one is your pick?

Sometime in the future

Then I’d like to give this project a go again, remaking it on RPG Maker VX Ace. But much smaller in scale (because I now have realistic goals instead of trying to make the next Harvest Moon on my own), and with portraits and such only being added at the last moment, giving priority to actually having a working demo with dialogue.

While I don’t actually have any time to spend on projects (I’m constantly working on creating new tilesets to pay for my rent), I do sometimes think about what I can do to recreate Tailor Tales.

If such a project where to happen, these are the core changes:

  • No portraits (they will be added when everything else is finished)
  • Focus on one bachelor at a time (and limit them to 4)
  • No more side gameplay like mining, foraging, cooking etc.
  • No real-time NPC schedules to adhere, NPCs will stay on the map and only change when the player re-enters the map
  • No extensive dialogue, it will be cut short
  • Smaller world – less maps to explore
  • No dating/touching mode for the bachelors
  • No marriage
  • Different tailoring system
  • Different story (no more magical foxes!)

Of course, those are the changes I’d like to have. If I actually started working on it, I would make these points my priority:

  • Have a working tailoring system
  • Have all necessary maps finished
  • Have at least one bachelor be datable

Just some food for thought. I might also replace the bachelors, for a fresh start. I’ve got a certain character that I’d like to give a home to, and that might just be Tailor Tales. So what kind of character archetypes would you like to see?