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Mother Nature is dead.

And the process to find her replacement has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

With half of Mother Nature’s power stolen by the outcast, Morcant, the Seasonal Kingdom’s only chance at defeating him is to find the new, true Mother Nature- You.

Sucked into their strange world, and thrust onto the throne, you must take on the role of Mother Nature and bring the kingdom back to stability.

Morcant’s bid for the Gaia throne threatens to throw both our world and the seasonal one into chaos.

Only you can stop him!

By building alliances with the Courts of the Four seasons, discovering your powers, you can bring together an army that will rival any seen before.

But, you won’t be doing it alone! Whilst the fate of the worlds may sit on your shoulders, there are those who follow you willing to help carry that burden.

--

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Courting the Seasons is a fantasy, romance visual novel. It came about from the idea of wanting a great story where the romance was a big part of it, instead of feeling like a separate side quest or bonus material.

There are no stat-raising or visible romance points/bar in this VN; this was because I hoped for it to feel as though you were thrown into a story rather than playing through a game.

The development of relationships and the story will be based much more on how you interact, rather than through building points.

 

I love Bioware games, the feeling of being a hero in a story, but I’ve always enjoyed the romance part of it too.

What I wanted to do was have something similar, but where the romance was an integral part of the story, so as it all felt more immersive and fun.

For more information or to keep updated, why not check out the links below?

Tumblr- http://seraphinitegames.tumblr.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/SeraphiniteGames

Twitter- https://twitter.com/seraphiniteVN

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Romances

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- Listen to those around you- Pay attention to the advice of others in order to better influence the rulers and gain the best alliances.

Will you gain strong alliances, or weak ones? Will Morcant steal their alliance from under your nose? Or will the ruler give no alliance at all?

- Each Ruler is different- Each has their own idea of what makes a good Mother Nature, and they will be judging the way you act and speak in order to decide if you are worthy of their allegiance.

- What type of ruler will you be?- The way you choose to handle situations will influence what type of ruler you will become.

Will you inspire the people to stand with you? Will the people’s needs always come first?

Will you choose to always do the right thing, no matter the consequences? Will you look to others for advice on how to rule?

Or will you rule for your own benefit?

- Use your power- How will you use your powers to help in what is to come?

Choose from 3 power types, each one giving you different options throughout the story.

- Romance routes that are as strong as main story- 5 romances to choose from (the 4 envoys, and a secret romance!).

Each romance route is  unique to the character and weaves into the main story.

- Cast of interesting characters- Get to know a whole range of characters, from the Rulers of the Seasonal courts, down to the people who work for you.

Decide how you will interact with them; will your personalities clash or compliment?

- Pay careful attention- You never know when overhearing idle gossip or having a chit chat with someone may lead to more options down the line.

- Your choices affect everything, not just endings- As Mother Nature and ruler, your choices will affect much to do with the upcoming battle, but that is not the only thing it will change.

How you act and respond to situations will affect the course of the game, some having consequences early on or may produce something unexpected later!

 

There are many outcomes to the battle ahead, and multiple, varied endings.

 

 

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Why no stat points or romance bar?

I found in games with points I tended to focus only on point collecting, rather than playing through as I want (even though I enjoy those games very much!).

But in Courting the Seasons I wanted to minimise that and make it feel much more as though you can make a choice based on what you want, rather than what will net you the most points and have fun with the story than worry about building up stats.

I haven’t really put in good and bad choices or ‘true’ endings.

There are a variety of choices, which aren’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just different ways of handling outcomes, some of which will be approved of by certain people and not by others and vice versa.

Each choice won’t just add to a points bar, it will have an effect and consequence in the story, maybe straight away or maybe later on.

 

Why is this VN commercial?

Though I would love to give it out for free, I am self-employed and will be focusing full time on this VN.

I'm hoping to move into this as my main career path :)

 

Are there any warnings for this game?

There will be descriptions and images of blood and death, as well as non-explicit, but still heavily implied, (consensual) adult situations both in text and images.

 

When and where will this be released?

I'm hoping to have the demo released at the same time as the Steam Greenlight campaign, sometime in February 2016, but this could be later.

The actual full game has a goal of being released in mid-2016.

I am hoping to release it on itch.io, and (fingers crossed) Steam if it gets through Greenlight once I put it up.

 

How much will it be?

It will be around $15.

 

How can I get in contact or ask you questions?

You can contact me here via PM, or post on this thread.

You can also contact me via Tumblr, or email me- [email protected]  

I'm always happy to hear from people! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update!

 

Some backgrounds (which is all I've been working on at the moment! :D ) -

 

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-

 

Some warm up sketches I have done for the love interests. I've been experimenting with which shading styles I prefer, and using them as muses has been good practice :D

 

Fell

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Elisedd

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Gretchen

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Theo

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-

 

My focus is now on getting a demo up together, which will be quite a long demo. Hopefully will have an estimated release date for that soon-ish! :)

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Sheesh, what imagery.

If you want my opinion, Fell looks like the most 2d out of the lot.

They all still look good to me, either way.

 

Feedback is always welcome! :D

 

The way Fell is shaded is how I originally planned on colouring all the art, as I wanted a more comic book look. But, I'm swinging far more to the softer shading of Theo and Gretchen, which is probably more likely how the art will end up.

 

Thank you so much for commenting! :)

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I love the originality of becoming Mother Nature. That's actually I concept I've never heard of before. It seems like the popularity of Otome as a genre is growing a lot recently, so hopefully you can capitalize on that ... although you didn't mention that word anywhere, so maybe to you this isn't an Otome game at all. Do you feel that would be a misclassification on my part?

 

Anyway, good luck! Seems like an interesting project.

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I love the originality of becoming Mother Nature. That's actually I concept I've never heard of before. It seems like the popularity of Otome as a genre is growing a lot recently, so hopefully you can capitalize on that ... although you didn't mention that word anywhere, so maybe to you this isn't an Otome game at all. Do you feel that would be a misclassification on my part?

 

Anyway, good luck! Seems like an interesting project.

 

I'm glad you like the sound of it! I always enjoy stories where the MC is thrown into a sudden heroic position and has to figure it out as they go, and I thought- what bigger position than Mother Nature? :D

 

You were right when you said otome, it is in that genre. I kind of stayed away from using the word as I wanted to get across that it is more a romance story, than a dating sim (which I know otome still covers non-dating sims, but some people assume one means the other, if that makes sense? :D )

 

Thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate the feedback :)

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Update time! :)

Worked on backgrounds until I couldn't take anymore :D But managed to get a good chunk done.

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What's behind the red curtain?... You'll have to wait and see!

--

But I finally moved onto sprites this week. I am starting on the 'misc' sprites to get back into the rhythm of things.

This is a servant sprite, who works at the Gaia Court. He's not important (you might not even see him depending on choices made), but he was a good place to start and a good example of the style I will be using for the sprites :D

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That's all for this week. I will have more examples of sprites to show next time, probably even the love interest sprites!

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I'm interested in how the art style of the sprites is closer to realistic than to a traditional anime style. The detail work in the BG is nice as well, with the light through the windows and the patterns on the tiles.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

I was hoping the art-style would be something a little different to what is normally used! :D I originally wanted a more comic book-like style, hence the cel-shading in the original character portraits, but I ended up favouring a more digital painting feel in the end.

 

Thank you so much for commenting! :)

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Update time!

Still working on sprites. Have finally managed to finish the courtier sprites, I haven't posted previews of them all, but here's another.

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'Sneering Courtier 1', from the Autumn court. I will give her a name soon :D
-

I'm moving onto the important character sprites now, which is exciting!

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Early update due to me going on vacation! :D

Meet Xanthe, your personal maid whilst at the Gaia Court.

She has worked at the court all her life and has served 7 Mother Natures before your arrival- so she has a handle on what's going on, even if you might not!

Xantheall_zpsmselyvla.png

Next update will be in sometime around 14th September. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!

Unfortunately, my computer is having some major problems, and has to be sent off to be fixed, so I won't be around to update or reply for about a week or so. But, after that, hopefully no more crashes and losing tons of work! Which also means I can get things done quicker.

I have been working solely on the script for the demo the past couple of weeks, which I am pleased to say has been going really well! I will also be going back to doing art assets after my computer comes back, which means I should be able to show some stuff again (maybe even the main character sprites!).

Until then, I shall leave you with one of my favourite, short quotes from the script:

(After being sucked into another world, the first person who greets you doesn't seem to grasp how huge of a thing that is!)

L: "This must be terribly confusing for you-"
MainCharacter: "Oh, really, you think!"

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Update time! :)

 

My computer is back and seems to be working perfectly now.

 

Whilst it was gone, I worked some more on the script which is coming along even better than expected! I will have a proper update on it soon when I reach the halfway point.

 

To test out my computer I sketched Fell- photoshop didn't crash once which was amazing! :)

 

FellSketch_zpsgkfijptb.png

 

Art may start to look different as I lost all my photoshop brushes when my computer died, but it shouldn't be a drastic change.

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Sorry to hear about your computer troubles. Fear of losing progress is one of the reasons I have backup copies of my current project at various stages of completion spread across multiple hard drives. It's good that you didn't get discouraged. Keep at it!

 

Side note, I can hardly remember a major character in a VN with such pronounced freckles. It's pretty interesting, aesthetically.

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Sorry to hear about your computer troubles. Fear of losing progress is one of the reasons I have backup copies of my current project at various stages of completion spread across multiple hard drives. It's good that you didn't get discouraged. Keep at it!

 

Side note, I can hardly remember a major character in a VN with such pronounced freckles. It's pretty interesting, aesthetically.

 

I think I have backups of backups of backups at the moment :D But, the computer seems to be doing really well now, wish I'd sent it off months ago!

 

I've really tried to give uniqueness to all the characters. Their designs are something I spent a lot of time on, and I hope each one has a really individual look :) Are the freckles something you would have preferred toned down?

 

Thank you so much for commenting, it's so encouraging to get feedback! :D

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I've really tried to give uniqueness to all the characters. Their designs are something I spent a lot of time on, and I hope each one has a really individual look :) Are the freckles something you would have preferred toned down?

 

I don't think you need to tone the freckles down if you like them. You added them for a reason, and they certainly do lend the character an element you don't often see in VNs. There are real people with freckles just like that. There's one in the office just down the hall from mine, in fact.

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I've really tried to give uniqueness to all the characters. Their designs are something I spent a lot of time on, and I hope each one has a really individual look :) Are the freckles something you would have preferred toned down?

 

I don't think you need to tone the freckles down if you like them. You added them for a reason, and they certainly do lend the character an element you don't often see in VNs. There are real people with freckles just like that. There's one in the office just down the hall from mine, in fact.

I wanted the characters to feel like they had depth, not just physically, but personality-wise too, so hopefully the whole bundle of looks and character will come together to create that :D

--

Update time :)

I have been knuckling down and getting on with the art assets. I only have 1 and a half backgrounds to go to finish all the backgrounds for this section, so yay! :D Then two more sections to go before all the stuff for the demo is done.

Managed to finish a couple of sprites, including a main one-

Meet Lance:

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He's steward to the Gaia throne, and the first person you encounter once you stumble through to the Seasonal Realm.

He plays quite a big part in your journey, acting as guide and, sometimes, protector against incredibly nosey courtiers!

-

As for the script, it's coming along really well. I will stop working on it now until I've finished the art for this section, but the script is all done for this bit.

The game contains 2,956 dialogue blocks, containing 39,209 words and 205,264
characters, for an average of 13.3 words and 69 characters per block.

The game contains 45 menus, 3 images, and 14 screens.

Those statistics are just over half of what will be in the actual demo, as I have just passed the halfway point in writing. (Obviously, there will be a lot more images too :D I just haven't coded them in yet.)

The next task is the backgrounds and then the sprites for the love interests!

--

The expected release date for the demo is still October, but if things progress the way they are, it might be delayed yet again until November :/ I will keep everyone posted!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!

Sorry for the late update! I wanted to get all the bases for the 5 love interest sprites done before posting. But, the bases are done :D Now I only have to shade them all, but the hard work with all the arm poses and head poses, and clothing, etc is done. Colouring can be the fun part!

I've still been working on the script, which is progressing really well-

The game contains 4,326 dialogue blocks, containing 56,228 words and 293,169
characters, for an average of 13.0 words and 68 characters per block.

The game contains 50 menus, 3 images, and 14 screens.

Still got a good bit of writing to go before the script for the demo is done. The figures above do include part of the secret romance route, which won't be included in the demo, but I thought I'd go on and write it whilst doing the script and take it out before releasing the demo.

Once the sprites for the love interests are completed, I will start adding them to the game to see what they look like. So you can expect screenshots some point soon!

Things seem to be coming together quicker now (guess it helps that I got my computer fixed!), so hopefully the demo won't be too far in the future :)

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50 menus seems like a ton for a game that I thought didn't have much of a gameplay element. When you say "menus" are you including choices? Or is there some other reason it's so high?

I took the stats straight from Ren'py, so I'm assuming it is picking up on every menu/choice in the game :D

It is a high amount, but this game is heavily based on choice and the player having the freedom to play as they want. Though the main character is not exactly a blank slate-type character, the player will still have a lot of influence on how she behaves- in both personality and ruler decisions.

Though, not everyone will see all of those choices in one runthrough. A lot will be based on what paths they take, as there are choices within choices.

For example-

You might have a choice of who to talk to which leads to options 1, 2, 3, 4. Talking to your chosen person will then lead to new choices being opened.

Choice 1 would open up to choice 1a, 1b, or 1c, choices you wouldn't see if you chose to talk to person 2.

I have tried to structure this game so as it feels more like you're actually a character in a story, rather than just clicking options in a game. When talking to other characters, each conversation choice won't just give you a different line or two of dialogue, but quite a new bit of information on that character or the situation you've asked them about- as with a real conversation. I'm hoping this means if people want to replay the game, then it won't feel static, and things will still be fresh.

It's not all dialogue choices though. The options on how to deal with events and handle situations play a big role, and the characters will judge and react on the way you respond to those types of things.

One of the main points of this game was that there's no real good or bad decisions, just different ones. No 'click the top option for good, click the bottom option for the naughty' choices. There are different ways of handling things but, as in real life, not everything is a matter of black and white. Some ways of handling things are just different than others. I'm really hoping this takes away from the feel I have in some games that I must play a certain way to get the best outcomes, meaning people are open to play the character they really want to and will get varying outcomes based on that. I hope that makes sense :D

Also, some choices or questions may seem irrelevant, but some may lead to other options being unlocked later, or special things happening, eg. that random maid you helped out may just reveal some snippet of info that helps in your quest to gain alliances later.

Some of the choices are in there just for fun, but most have a purpose, either by giving a choice on how to handle things, or even just learning more about the characters and lore of the world to deepen your understanding of how things work.

But, don't worry, I've written it so that the choices aren't popping up in your face every two seconds :D I've hopefully spaced them out to make sure the flow of the game is steady and the player can immerse themselves in the story as much as possible.

((Wow, sorry, you probably weren't looking for that essay of an answer to your question! But thank you so much for commenting :) It's nice to explain more about the gameplay mechanics that will feature in this.))

Edited by Seraphinite
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You might have a choice of who to talk to which leads to options 1, 2, 3, 4. Talking to your chosen person will then lead to new choices being opened.

...

One of the main points of this game was that there's no real good or bad decisions, just different ones. No 'click the top option for good, click the bottom option for the naughty' choices. There are different ways of handling things but, as in real life, not everything is a matter of black and white. Some ways of handling things are just different than others. I'm really hoping this takes away from the feel I have in some games that I must play a certain way to get the best outcomes, meaning people are open to play the character they really want to and will get varying outcomes based on that. I hope that makes sense :D

The choice structure sounds very interesting. You're right that the majority of games have clear options for "good" or "bad" choices and that the duality of the choice structure doesn't suit reality.

A good counter-example is Fate Stay/night, which I still consider one of the best VNs ever made primarily for the number of choices and how truly different the various outcomes are that can be attained. There are very few (if any) outcomes that are purely "good" or "bad" and many choices in the game lead directly to sacrificing something in order to gain something else.

If you are able to create a choice structure anywhere near that level, it will certainly be a noteworthy achievement. Best of luck with it.

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You might have a choice of who to talk to which leads to options 1, 2, 3, 4. Talking to your chosen person will then lead to new choices being opened.

...

One of the main points of this game was that there's no real good or bad decisions, just different ones. No 'click the top option for good, click the bottom option for the naughty' choices. There are different ways of handling things but, as in real life, not everything is a matter of black and white. Some ways of handling things are just different than others. I'm really hoping this takes away from the feel I have in some games that I must play a certain way to get the best outcomes, meaning people are open to play the character they really want to and will get varying outcomes based on that. I hope that makes sense :D

The choice structure sounds very interesting. You're right that the majority of games have clear options for "good" or "bad" choices and that the duality of the choice structure doesn't suit reality.

A good counter-example is Fate Stay/night, which I still consider one of the best VNs ever made primarily for the number of choices and how truly different the various outcomes are that can be attained. There are very few (if any) outcomes that are purely "good" or "bad" and many choices in the game lead directly to sacrificing something in order to gain something else.

If you are able to create a choice structure anywhere near that level, it will certainly be a noteworthy achievement. Best of luck with it.

Well, I hope the choice structure is done in a way that will suit many people. I never wanted it to feel like I was punishing the player for choosing certain options, but obviously some decisions turn out better than others, just because that's how life is :D But that still doesn't mean that choosing a different option will lock you out of achieving a result, it just means that result will be different or will lead to something else unexpected.

Thank you so much for commenting!

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@Black Sands Entertainment - Thanks! I tried to create characters as people. The Seasonal Kingdom (where the story is set) is a diverse one, so there are very different cultures and people.

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Update

I've finally managed to finish a love interest sprite! :D Yay!

They are taking a looooong time, but that's because they have so many expressions, arm poses, heads, etc. It'll be worth it in the end.
 

Here is Gretchen!
 
Gretchen_zpsqhq1q5hl.png
GretchenExpress_zpsorurfay6.png



I'm pleased how she came out. I wanted her to be attractive (obviously!), but not conventionally so.

I'll be working on Fell next, so hopefully will be able to put him later this week or next week.

When I've finished all the love interest sprites, I will update the main post with their new art, as it's quite different to what is up there at the moment.

-

As for the script, it's coming along well. Haven't written much more to it than the last update, but have gone through editing it quite a bit, so it reads much smoother. My plan is to finish the sprites, code them in up to the point I've done, then work on the next chunk of art and writing! :)

 

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