Let the Show Begin! A Stage, A Comedian, and Food! Monochrome RPG Dev Log #001

What is the Monochrome RPG???

A Quick Glimpse

Themes: Laughter is the best medicine, Violence doesn’t solve everything
Setting: Roaring 20s Cartoonland, Vaudeville
Genre: Turn-based Comedy RPG
Platforms: PC/Mac (Steam), Mobile, Consoles*

RPG Overview

The Monochrome RPG is a 1920s cartoon style turn-based comedy role-playing game that follows Otto, an isolated citizen of Vaudeville, who must rescue the town. The Bleak Barons have begun to transform Vaudeville’s culture into something so dark and sinister Otto can’t standby and watch. 

In Vaudeville citizens try their best to keep society as a whole happy. Vaudevillian society is focused on entertainment and theatrics. This means joking, dancing, singing, all to make others smile. Sounds perfect? Nope, far from it as each citizen sacrifices their personal happiness to make others happy.

Otto becomes the target of public ridicule, due to the difference in Vaudevillian values and Otto’s core values, up to the point where he must move to an island outside of Vaudeville.

Otto stays on the island until rumors about strange events happening in Vaudeville start spreading. These events have the name Bleak Barons attached to them. Otto’s few friends get dragged into weirdly, dangerous situations, leading him to leave the island and head back to Vaudeville!

Interested in how the game plays?
Try the latest demo on Itch.io!

In the Monochrome RPG, battle foes with the power of entertainment! The forces of Comedy and Tragedy can be used to heal or hurt enemies! Will you focus on Comedy and joke your way to victory? Or will you use the Tragedy to move enemies to tears? Or will you become a master of both forms of entertainment? 

No matter what you choose, use your abilities to help rebuild the devastated Vaudeville back to the glorious city it once was!

What’s the Team been up to?

Hi! We’re the Monochrome Workshop a community of artists and technologists working together to create the Monochrome RPG.

Earlier in the year, we finished a Demo version of the RPG and took it to a game convention, GEXCon, where we were able to test it with more than 100 testers.

Someone testing the game at GEXCon

Overall testers rated the demo version of the game a 4 out of 5 saying that they loved the art and potential world. However, they thought that the gameplay and content could be greatly expanded.

After receiving the feedback we began planning more content and designing how a more cohesive gameplay loop could be formed. We realized from watching testers play that we could give the players more context and provide more guidance to onboard them into the world.

Testers said that they liked the idea of having to heal enemies to have them join your party, but the system was too basic making it difficult to play for long. We were happy that the majority of people who played liked the mechanic and were intrigued by its potential. 

What we’ve been working on

An overview of our current Game Loop (Story – Battle – Troupe – Story)

Recently we released an updated version of the Demo that’s the first step to a new version of the game called the Demo+, a vertical slice or upgraded prototype. In this version we’ve updated and added:

Story

In the July Demo, we were focused on showcasing the art and world that had been created. Testers loved how the world felt through the art, however, they felt there wasn’t much depth to the world.

How battles in the Demo looked in July

After showcasing the Demo we decided to rewrite the main story to build more depth into the world and characters which interested testers. We’ve provided players more information about the world to help make them more aware of their surroundings. 

New Art Assets

Since opening up the Monochrome Workshop we’ve received more than 20+ submissions from various artists.

New Art Assets such as the Teapot, Pie, and Sack O’ Tatoes

These assets and more will be added to the final version of the Demo+ to help build out the world while also giving more depth to Otto, the main character.

Battle Loop Update (Thank you Unity Timeline!)

Timeline Example

We’ve cleaned up the flow of battles so that animations and events trigger more in sequence. 

If you’re going to make a battle system in Unity we highly recommend using the Timeline to help with triggering events such as code, text, animations, sounds, etc. Before this update we were using a Coroutine system we had developed but switching it over to Timeline was super easy and completely worth it as now designers and programmers can work with the battle sequences.

Part of the reason why adding Timeline to the Battle System wasn’t hard is because the core system is programmed using a finite state machine. Replacing the current code with play and stop commands for timelines made the code much cleaner.

While integrating the Unity Timeline we also added new art to battles to help with feedback and setting. We made sure to include a custom battle start similar to how Pokemon-battles start, but with stage curtains and signs!

In the July Demo when players had Otto tell a joke they read a joke and watched how it affected enemies. We’ve updated Otto’s jokes to allow for user choice and engagement by including a time-based interaction. This interaction helps to determine how effective jokes are. 

Finally, we’ve added a battle summary screen that makes players more aware of how well they did during battles.

How has the update been received so far?

Earlier this week we had a Design meeting where we reviewed the latest version of the Demo with members of the Workshop who had the chance to test it. Everyone at the meeting agreed that they liked the progress that was made on the Demo though it felt like there were slightly more bugs than in the previous build.

Feedback on Story

Overall, suggestions for how to make the story flow better and give more information to the player were brought up. Ideas for text functionality that would allow for better testing were also discussed. 

Feedback on the Battle System

Everyone at the Design meeting agreed they liked a lot of the stylistic updates that were made to the battle. Though the time-based interaction for Otto’s joke was a bit harder than expected. A delay will have to be added to it to make it easier to get a perfect joke.

The battle summary menu at the end of battles was said to be nice as it provided information and context to the battle, but the information provided may have to be updated a bit.

What’s up Next

In between now and when we release the next update for the Demo we will be fixing bugs that were brought to our attention by Workshop members such as not being able to progress through the whole story. We will also be adding the remaining foundational part of Otto’s Story up to the end of the Demo+. 

We hope that by getting the sequences for the Demo+ finished early we can go back and figure out how we can:

-Teach the player the core systems while moving them steadily through the story
-Have the player feel a better sense of progression and reward
-Polish the core systems that interest players so they shine better
We’ll also be continuing to integrate assets made by members of the Workshop!

Thank you for reading this Dev Log! We hope to release at least 2 dev logs a month on Saturdays! Look out for more content!

If you want to follow development the best way would be to join our Discord Server!

Also if you have 5-10min we’d greatly appreciate it if you could give our latest Demo a try and submit feedback on our feedback form if you have any ideas, comments, or questions!

Related Articles

Monochrome RPG Demo v0.0.1a Now Available!

The Monochrome Workshop has been hard at work designing, programming, and arting more content for the Demo of the Monochrome RPG. Having tested the Demo over Summer at GEXCon the team has been focused on adding more structured content as well as opening up the creation of the project through a Discord Server and new website!

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