Game Development Day 1 in An Ominous Study in Viridescence | World Anvil

Game Development Day 1

Make a visual novel in 5 days challenge

Game Development Log

I have challenged myself to make a visual novel from beginning to end within 5 days, and I am streaming it on Twitch.
This development log will describe today's progress and thoughts. It will be updated throughout the day as I continue to work on the visual novel.

In this whiteboard I begun by thinking of some ideas and themes I'd like to include in the visual novel. Unfortunately, the whiteboard deleted itself, but I made an infographic (the link above) which shows all the information that was on the whiteboard.
From these initial ideas, I was inspired with a concept for the story.
The story will be about an adult son who returns to his parents home after being away for a long time. He is forewarned (perhaps by a neighbour, or a series of text messages or phone calls) that something strange has been happening in his parents home. As he visits his parents home, he finds it disturbingly empty.
There's a rush of wind, a sign that something else is in the house with him, but flees.
The story will be the son trying to solve the mystery of his parents disappearance, while cautious that there is something else watching him.


I reflected that I am not confident with writing in the mystery genre, but I enjoyed the initial idea.
I also noted that it could be easy to make the backgrounds, as I can use photo manipulation techniques.
I will need to ensure that the plot isn't too complicated, so this challenge has been completed within the 5 day goal.


I then worked on expanding the initial idea. By doing so, I realised I was looking at a horror, mystery and surreal themed story.
I wanted to involve plants somehow, I described this as 'sinister plant vibes'. I want to use the imagery of vines, suffocation from plants and poisonous plants.
I also want to include elements of voice acting for storytelling, and for additional (and optional) lore and story points. This could be through phone calls and voice messages.
I thought further on the characters in the story. I know now that there was a few contentions between the son and the parents, partially due to their different ideals and to the son's occupation. I brainstormed a few ideas for the son's occupation and decided I will make a decision while writing his character article.
While reflecting on the characters, I realised there may be two or three stories within this visual novel. First, the surface story, of finding missing parents. Then, a story of analogy, regarding a parent's wish to nurture and control their child precisely, or to use their child for their own gain.
I also realised this was a story of loss. The main character had an older or younger sibling that died in their childhood. This may be represented as a spriggen.
I ended the first initial brainstorm by deciding that the setting will be in Colchester, UK. It is a city I am familiar with and feel confident writing on. The setting is going to be generically modern, but it uses voice messages, so it might have to be a little tiny bit historical.


Andrew Livingstone
Character | Aug 14, 2022
Sally Carpenter
Character | Aug 14, 2022
Lisa Livingstone
Character | Aug 14, 2022
Robert Livingstone
Character | Aug 14, 2022

I decided to lay down details on the characters in the story. I realised that Andrew decided to study medicine, because he was inspired by his brother dying from medical complications. By writing Sally's character article, I became very inspired on some of the key story elements.
  • The father weaved various plants together to purposefully create a spriggen, to replace his current son, in order to have a child he can use to further his own life, to achieve his own dreams.
  • The mother is obsessively caring over the plants, but becomes very upset when the plants develop personalities. She wants full control, she doesn't want them to develop personalities. She is distraught by the spriggen's existence.
  • There is some kind of plant disease that is affecting the mother and father.

After writing the character articles, I used a new whiteboard to record ideas.
After a conversation with DMSirSwank99, I became inspired to consider using a plant disease that might influence character personalities.
I then took a walk, and realised...
  • The plot twist is that Show Spoiler
    the girlfriend was actually brought by the parents to be the Andrew's girlfriend, in order for the parents to try to regain control over their son.
  • There is a strong theme of control and parenthood.
  • There will be two different endings in the game, Show Spoiler
    depending on the fate of the spriggen, to kill it or not.
  • I also realised the fates of the mother and father.
  • Show Spoiler
    The mother is 'absorbed' by the plants, and basically used as food. It will start of as she got her foot stuck, but slowly slowly, gets tied up. Her fate will be clear through voice messages.
  • Show Spoiler
  • The father is accidentally killed by the spriggen.


Revealing the story

I now need to begin to consider how to show and tell the story to the reader.

What is the dialogue and character action balance?

In this question, I need to consider the balance between written dialogue and written character action that will be present in the visual novel. This will influence the layout of the visual novel too.
Andrew will often be thinking to himself. I could show this with a font change to make it clearer. There will be dialogue, mostly Andrew asking questions to witnesses. There may also be reading text too. Perhaps I need to consider how to show thinking, and how to show reading. Can I use photoshop and make images for the reading? This will also help with the context... Etc.
I am thinking about possibly not writing any action. It might be fun to try and be inside Andrew's head as much as possible! If not, I can always change it later.
I also want to use voice messages as a key story element. The player will find various voice messages. Maybe they can keep returning to the parents house, and will find new voice messages from the Mum, and then later, the Dad too. Show Spoiler
At first, the Dad will be talking about "his son" but later we will find out he is referencing the Spriggen.

What should the writing style be like?

I want the story to be entirely from Andrew's point of view.
Andrew is a smart guy - He is studying to be a doctor, so he should be intelligent with his thought process too.

How do I 'use' items?

I don't know how to make an inventory menu, and trying to work that out in time seems it'd be a lot of stress! So I'm considering having the discovery of a clue/item to trigger a switch. Perhaps Andrew will sleep in the parents house... And later can inspect the items through a series of choices if he so wishes.
I will make the 'readables' as images, to help fortify the genre.

How will I add exploration elements to the story?

This is quite a tricky question for me, because I need to consider how to allow the character is going to solve the mystery!
If the player has the house as a base, each day, they could progress the story, or inspect the clues.
The story should be fairly linear, although I could add some general dialogue options to the conversation.

Last comments

Before I ended the progress on that day, DMSirSwank99 informed me that they have a friend who works in plant pathology, and they themselves are fairly knowledgeable. They gave me a link to a paper that includes information on Summit disease, that might inspire the project.


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