Rakit Studios

Home of Rakit Studios : Creators of Convenience Wars


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Rakit Studios Christmas Party! – Convenience Wars First Real Outing!!

OK, so wednesday we had a nice little party at Rakit Studios HQ! It was a very small affair, and to be fair it would have to be since we cooked our three guests an absolute myriad of Japanese cuisine. If you’re not interested in the fabulous food, scroll down further to read about the games first real outing. We started off with some Sushi. Granted I’m not a fantastic Sushi roller yet, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Then we cooked some Tamagoyaki, which went so quickly we couldn’t actually get a photo.

Veg Sushi

Next we served up some Chicken deep fried in Panko breadcrumbs. Oishii! Of course I consumed mine with copious amounts of Bulldog Sauce!

Chicken Deep Fried in Panko

Next was some Tempura vegetables, Sweet Potatoe and Mushrooms, again sorry no photos. Too delicious!

Unfortunately, we had at this point taken about 3.5 hours to munch our way through various foods and snacks and had to get on to game playing, however two members of the Rakit team cooked up some nice Taiyaki for dessert.

 

Taiyaki

But of course the most important thing to discuss here was not our love for Japanese cuisine. It was to discuss the first real outing of the game. Yes, the three lucky guests played through the demo so far. The route they took lasted a good 45 minutes. We started off with the in game voices enabled, so our guests got to hear our ‘fabulous’ voice acting. As we had only recorded a small portion of it with voices, that didn’t last long. Aliasvegas then came up with the bright idea of us doing the voices live. I have to admit, voice acting live for over half an hour was pretty exhausting, particularly since I did all the male characters and Aliasvegas did all the female characters. One thing to note is that people are much more likely to verbalise their internal thoughts, especially when it comes to laughing, if they have voices to listen to.

So at the end of it, what were the comments? Overall it seemed our testers were pretty sad when the end came. The cliffhanger we had placed at the end was not particularly significant and so this was very encouraging to us. Having people want to play more even when there was no one in any real danger, proved to us that we can conjure up the right level of suspense. The second point was that they felt they would be much more likely to play through it if we did put the voices throughout the whole thing. Obviously that will take considerable effort on our part, but we kinda had the same feelings on the subject anyway.

The humour and premise was seemingly well received and this was again further encouragement to us that we had the setting about right. It was very interesting hearing people talking about the decisions they were about to make. How they thought the character would react to certain situations was interesting, even if it did leave me wondering if we hadn’t made him vanilla enough.

Looking at the length of the demo so far, I would think that we will hit at least the 1 hour mark for the demo. To me that seems like a pretty good trailer for the rest of the game.

A big thank you to our testers! We had an awesome night with your guys and will have to do it again soon. Once again, any thoughts, comments, questions or suggestions are very well received.

Thanks and Merry Christmas,

cbx33 – Project Coordinator


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Convenience Wars Battle System Alpha Demo

So as a very special Christmas present to you all, we are releasing the video of our Battle System today. Remembering that this isn’t going to be an overused feature of the game and is more intended as a little bit of fun. The system was created entirely inside Ren’Py using nothing but their commands and API.

In the demo, the player is controlling Yukito, though the player can be placed in control of any of the characters. At the moment, the AI is simply just getting each character to attack back the first player on the opposing team using the Attack command.

A little look inside the internals of the system….

battle_chars['yukito'] = battle_character('Yukito',100,30,'b_yukito',None, ["attack","defend","magic","heal","fire","water","special"])
battle_chars['kazuko'] = battle_character('Kazuko',100,30,'b_kazuko',None, ["attack","defend","magic","fire","water","special"])

Quite simply, the first parameter refers to the Real Name of the character (ie, the name that appears in the menus). The second parameter is the characters health. The third is their skill, which affects how much health they take off. The fourth is an internal reference to the sprites used during the battle. The fifth is a way to show if a character has an elemental weakness, of which there are “None” for these two characters. The sixth parameter gives a list of all command options that are available to that character. This is actually pretty cool, because it intrinsically allows the characters to level up and to receive more commands as the game progresses. Each spell is also customisable, allowing us to add new spells as the people level up. The bottom line though is that we are going to keep the battle side of the game fairly simple and light.

As the characters are actually drawn on the main background and not on a special screen, we can also hide the battle menu system and have plain “say” screens come up, so that dialog can be continued during a battle.

All in all, we’re pretty happy with how the system is coming along, considering that most of it was written over the course of three evenings.


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Character Friday: Chibi Kazuko Urashima

Following the creation of the battle system, we needed characters to place into it. The obvious conclusion was to make super kawaii (cute) chiisai (little) versions of every character. As if aliasvegas doesn’t have enough to do already. Sakura was first to get the “Honey I Accidentally Drew My Characters Smaller” treatment, this week it’s Kazuko’s turn. Let us know what you think. Or who’s the cutest as the weeks go by.

Chibi Sakura


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Character Friday : Chibi Yukito Kitsune

Following the creation of the battle system, we needed characters to place into it. The obvious conclusion was to make super kawaii (cute) chiisai (little) versions of every character. As if aliasvegas doesn’t have enough to do already. Sakura was first to get the “Honey I Accidentally Drew My Characters Smaller” treatment, this week it’s Yukito’s turn. Let us know what you think. Or who’s the cutest as the weeks go by.

Chibi Sakura


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Convenience Wars : Interview with cbx33, Project Coordinator

Convenience Wars – An interview with Cbx33

I’m Slient_Phoenix and I was asked by cbx33 to conduct interview for Rakit Studios all about Convenience Wars. Knowing some of cbx33’s previous projects, I’m excited to find out more about their newest project. After doing some research and finding that I had more questions than time, I decided to break my questions up into topics. So, in what I hope to be the start of a set of interviews here’s what cbx33 had to say.

Where did the idea to get together and make a game come from?

“Well, it started out as more of a merchandise idea. AliasVegas was working on character designs to put onto products with a view of starting an online manga merchandise store. We liked the characters that AliasVegas came up with and we decided that they deserve some kind of back stories to make them more real to people and so the idea of putting the characters into a game was born. With me doing the majority of coding and script writing, AliasVegas handling the artwork for the sprites, sbx34 working on the sound effects and extra coding and stupid_little_genius doing the backgrounds.”

So what is the premise of the game?

“It’s based around two Convenience stores which were inexplicably built right opposite each other. The game follows Satoshi Kobayashi, who gets a job at one of these stores. The work force at each store intensely dislikes the workforce of the other store, cue many an insult and funny moments. Things start off well, but after a while Satoshi is drawn into a battle that he knows nothing about and is totally unprepared for. The events that follow will completely change his life and the relationships he has with his co-workers at Yuudai-Mart.”

And how are you going to deliver this story to your audience?

“Well, we’re using the format of a Visual Novel. Very popular in Japan, not so in the Western world. It’s kinda like an interactive story. The beauty of it, is that you can make choices and decisions as the game progresses in order to change the outcome. That’s a plus and a negative at the same time, we’re not just happy with creating a single story arch with a few subtle changes, we’re talking about major changes in story archs. That’s the plan anyway.”

How big and how many arc’s are you thinking about?

“It’s hard to say. On the major side, no more than two or three. The subtle ones are a little easier, like you may be walking down the street and depending on your choices, you may meet two different people. The larger arcs might be like, X dies or doesn’t…..that’s gonna be a game changer.”

You mentioned that visual novels are more popular in Japan than the western world, so why chose that as your vehicle for your story?

“Um, I think basically because it’s as close to making an anime as we can get. There’s no way that we’d be able to create an anime series. So merging an anime story with a still(er) medium, allows us to create the same look and feel of watching an anime, with a thousandth less of the work. Looking at some of the newer series where there are 11,000 frames per episode, there’s just no hope of us ever achieving that with one artist”

So would you say you draw a lot of inspiration and direction from Japanese culture?

“Oh of course, we are anime fans through and through, so Convenience Wars is supposed to be our best attempt at making an anime-ish story if that makes sense. I mean there are things in the story that are drawn from the culture itself, you know, things you wouldn’t get in the UK or US, but it’s more about the type of story. I’ve thought for a long time that we’ve kinda grown a little stagnant in Western cinema, and it’s only occasionally that you see something crazy that’s taken seriously. If that makes sense? A lot of anime stories are based around an entirely ludicrous idea, but it’s just a mechanism for telling a much deeper tale.”

Knowing a little about japanese culture and anime myself, what genres within the anime world does your story fit?

“Hmm….that’s kinda tough and not. It’s got your basic anime feel to it, there is a lot of humour and character interaction, but also there will be a very dark undertone. It’s most definitely not all rainbows and sunshine. I guess in english terms, it would be a fantasy thriller, though the emphasis on fantasy is less so.”

Bearing that in mind who are your target audience?

“Um, we’re trying to appeal to a more general audience first time round. It’s all too easy to get sucked into a very tight genre, so we’re trying to create something that has universal appeal. The idea of it being in a shop is rather mundane, something that a lot of people have experienced, either working there, or even just shopping in itself. So it’s a trade off between creating something that has a uniqueness, but at the same time, not narrowing the field too much.”

I caught on to something interesting in there, ‘first time round’ are you leave it open to a sequel?

“Well, not necessarily a sequel, but we may try something different if we make another game. Possibly something with a very strong game mechanic or based around a very tight genre, I’m really not sure.”

Going back to something you said earlier, you decided to make a game to go along side merchandising. How did that evolve?

“Well, Aliasvegas was starting to draw a lot more anime/manga characters and had the idea of putting original characters onto some merchandise. Original characters are cool, but of course if no one knows them, then you have less of an attraction, to some. So the idea was the generate an affinity for the characters, so that other people would be able to relate to and want to buy CW merchandise”

So Aliasvegas is your artist, can you tell me more about your team?

“Well, it’s pretty tiny, we only have 4 team members right now. 1 scriptwriter/coder/voice actor/composer, 1 creative director/lead artist/voice actor, 1 foley artist/coder/emoter/voice actor, and 1 background artist. But I see the voice acting crew growing”

And one last question, in a short summary what can you audience expect from Convenience Wars? A synopsis if you will

“Hmmm……fun, pain, excitement and maybe some tears. I’m not giving too much away right now – wait for the demo”

Thank you to cbx33 for giving me an insight in to Convenience Wars and the direction it could be going. Hopefully I’ll be back and next time I’ll be talking to Aliasvegas about the characters and who they are.

I’m Silent_Phoenix and until next time, stay frosty.


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Convenience Wars – Update Post – Battle Systems and more!

Hi everyone? Miss us? Probably not! But hey, we’ve got a lot to talk about this time. So it’s been a while since the last proper update post and we thought it was a good idea to keep you updated with how things were going. We’re a little more organised this time round, so it’s split up into proper sections.

Battle System
Hinted at strongly on our FB page, we’ve been working heavily this week on a battle system. Seeing as the characters play a live role playing type game, we thought it would be kinda fun to bring that to life by having a proper RPG style game built into it. The main focus was not necessarily on the actual battle system, but on making sure that the characters can still bring up dialogue boxes throughout the fight. This was very important to us, as the battles will be largely predetermined and we wanted the dialogue to help carry the battle on through.

It was also crucial to make sure that the battles are not seen as too arcade/important. The mechanism is there simply to enhance the experience. Having a character say, “you rolled a six, that means your character takes a hit,” would be far too bland. Doing it this way means the “boring-ness” of the battle is contained in a turn-based RPG environment, whilst there is still room for characters to talk and engage with the player.

Whilst we did say that some of the fights are predetermined, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome or the journey through the battle is predetermined. Though Satoshi may be guided as to what options to choose, the player will be free to make their own choices. Just make sure you don’t tick off Oni too much eh?

Sounds
sbx34 has been hard at work putting more sounds into the game. They are certainly adding that extra dimension that we were looking for. The next step is to try to incorporate some environmental sounds. Like a slightly busy street, or inside a shop, but that’s the next step for sure. The music hasn’t really been worked on much recently, but more will follow for sure.

Artwork
aliasvegas has been churning out more characters. Out of the 22 significant characters, we have designs completed for at least 6 and all of those have at least 4-5 expressions and several have 2 or more poses. With the introduction of the battle system, we decided to push the boat out and have chibi versions of the characters in there also. It turned out to be an excellent idea and the fruits of that labour will be displayed soon.

Storyline/Script
Well, since the last update post, there has been about 3,000 words added to the script. We know, we know, that’s not a lot, but it’s a start. The script is actually the easiest bit of the game to do. We have the premise tied down nicely and some of the story details figured out well. So time has been spent more on the technical side of things making sure that we can actually do what we want to do.

Backgrounds
stupid_little_genius has finished our first background and let us say, it looks awesome. We’ll be displaying that shortly in a mini video to showcase our overall style. Expect that in the coming weeks.

So that’s it for this week….join us next time

cbx33 – Project Coordinator