A Puzzling Thriller inspired by the Zero Escape and Danganronpa series.
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Latest Updates from Our Project:
Quick Update: Character Stuff
2 days ago
– Sat, Sep 26, 2020 at 02:00:42 PM
This Update will be pretty quick because most of what I've done has been Character art. I've also updated some environments but not as much as I had wanted to. I made a bunch of Character Sprites (60 like I said), and along the way I got sidetracked and wound up remaking the art for Adhira, Li, Lillian and Alise. Those will all be done for the next Update, but unfortunately means I got less non-character work done than I planned to.
Either way, let's start with some sprite examples:
Just a random selection of characters (dropping all of them would be silly). Some I chose twice to show the differences.
I think this is a good start, but for the majority of the sprites, I'm simply changing their faces and not their body. For Ruby and M, I had already made 2 poses when I drew them up. For everyone else, I want to start making new poses to go along with the different expressions I've added. Dialogue will start becoming a lot more engaging when both new poses and new expressions are worked in.
It is totally not ideal for me to still be working on Character Art so far into development, but I have to choose what to focus on and what not to to be as efficient as I can. The majority of the work I do is on Challenge Rooms because they're a big deal and very fun to make. So while CRooms are far along, things like Character Art and some of the more common locations are still being worked on. Everything will come together nicely in due time. Also, making trailers is much easier when I have many Challenge Rooms to pull footage from, so that worked out well.
To wrap this up, here's 3 work in progress screenshots:
A shot from inside the "Dining Room" I'm working on. It will be within Lady Luck's facility and will be a lounge area for the Thieves after a Challenge Room is complete. Not finished at all.
Still populating the MC's apartment with clutter and various objects. You won't be here long considering the whole kidnapping thing, but I want you to get an idea of what the world is like outside of the Thief's Roulette game you're forced to play.
I put some document textures onto the papers in this room (in CRoom 2). On the screen is what I'm calling an Email Puzzle and I want to keep the details a surprise. This room still needs polish as well.
And that's all for now. Next Update I will show the updated art for Adhira, Li, Lillian and Alise. Also some more environment updates. The demo Update will either come out on October 7th, or October 15th. I've got some more ideas that I want to include in the Demo that might take additional time to build. If I decide to scrap it, the demo comes on the 7th, otherwise its the 15th. We shall see...
Some New Environments and Features
15 days ago
– Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 11:37:49 PM
Some good progress has been made since the last Update but again it doesn't all make for the most exciting content to put in here. I'll start with the visual stuff, then go over the boring things after. Starting with Lady Luck's Facility that is totally still work in progress:
It kinda looks like a Quake arena right now, but the goal is to get an interesting fusion of a cozy hotel with the high tech structure of the rest of Lady Luck's creations. In this last shot where you see a hallway of doors; that is where the Thieves' dorms will be. With 2 additional rooms up the stairs. 8 Dorms on each side (which is 16... 1 more than the 15 thieves). This was a long time ago from the first day of the Kickstarter, but it is based on this shot:
I'll slowly recreate this feel for the Dorm Hallways. It won't be 1 to 1, but I want to capture that cozy look and blend it nicely with the technology all around the rest of the Facility. I think it can turn into something really nice to look at.
Getting the look down will require a bit more time. I have to lay in all the right pieces, get the colors and textures in place, that sort of stuff. The Living Quarters of the Facility will be the one thing that doesn't change throughout the game, and you will be in it for long periods of time. It needs to look good so I will give it as much time as possible.
Next is a little shot of Challenge Room 1. It is done... but I am slowly populating the entire Challenge Room with additional details to make it look really nice.
The hard part about doing this in this sort of game is making sure the Player recognizes this detail as simply detail and not important items. I'll figure it out. I've made cans, cups, papers, posters, all sorts of boxes and crates and have begun placing throughout the game's locations (not just CRoom 1). The game has the potential to look better than it does and it's small things like this that will bring it out.
This is probably not as interesting for anyone else as it is for me, but I've added this little feature:
Some simple camera movement when your cursor is on the edges of the screen. Something that I like a lot. Also, it's this room again. This is the main character's Apartment and I've finally returned to fixing it up. I'll continue adding details and points of interest around it that you can interact with. This is not the Dorm in Lady Luck's Facility, it is really your apartment in the outside world. You'll get to see this place as well in the Demo.
Now along with all that, I've been redoing a lot of code and making small changes to character art. The Pause Menu has also been updated:
First of all, the black screen was dumb from the start, but I never got around to fixing it. At least I updated the buttons to align with the rest of the UI, but that's clearly not enough. When I drop that black screen I want to fully redo this thing. I'm leaning towards something subtle and sleek, and very light weight. Along with that I'll be revamping the Settings screen and making it look more official. Hopefully I can get those things into the next Update but I can't say for sure.
For these next 2 weeks coming up, I'm going to do an exhausting dive into making Character Expressions and Poses. I'm trying to pump out about 60 different ones (at least 4 per character) by the time of the next Kickstarter Update. This is something I keep bringing up but have repeatedly put off till later. With the big Demo coming up, I want people to latch onto at least one of these Characters (or all 15 who knows), and a big part of that is letting them speak and be expressive. August and September have been all about having Thief's Roulette evolve in all things visual. I will keep this going and I know at the end the game will be very pleasing to the eye.
Does anyone remember when I said I would make more Youtube videos and do Twitch streams? I hope not, because I have done no such thing. Maybe that will change, we'll see.
29 days ago
– Sun, Aug 30, 2020 at 12:55:44 PM
I actually don't have much to show today... which is probably why I forgot to make this Update yesterday. That next Update will be back on schedule, sorry about this.
I've been focusing on getting this final Demo finished so I've just been working on new locations and improving code (which is not very interesting). These new locations are not finished either. Those locations being the Living Quarters of Lady Luck's facility, the Dining Room, the Roulette Room and some locations outside of the Facility. Most of these places have been shown off before, and are technically in the game already, but I never spent the time to make them look very good. So that's what I'm doing now, and I think it'd be better if I showed those locations in the next Update in a more finished state.
Challenge Room 1 has been finalized (again). I totally remade that first section with new items to use and even put another Item into the second part of CRoom 1 (the train room). So playing through that Challenge Room will not be the same as it was in the previous Demo. Regarding that Demo, on Friday I actually removed it from the Itch.io page. I'm aiming to get this final Demo finished for the first week of October, so I decided it would be for the best to get rid of that outdated demo in preparation for the new one.
On the Itch page I made a recent Devlog that listed what would be happening with that new Demo. The bullet points were this:
Totally Updated HUD/UI - including the Dialogue Box
New Inventory System - Examine, Use and Combine Items
Revamped Challenge Room 1
Meet all 14 of the Characters
Get a glimpse of the game's Story and where it's going
Explore Lady Luck's Facility
Optional Challenge Room 2 Playable Teaser
Many Bug Fixes & Optimizations
Pretty much everything I've been saying for weeks now. The biggest change is that I will not be including the entirety of Challenge Room 2 in the Demo (despite it being finished). I think 2/7 of the game's Challenge Rooms being in the Demo would probably be overkill, and likely ruin the enjoyment of players that have played the Demo before. So instead of that, you'll get a short, optional "Teaser" which will have you play through only the first floor of Challenge Room 2. This will be an optional thing you can select and play from the Demo's Title Screen.
Clearly I don't have much to say or show this time around so here's some not too exciting pictures.
Here's the Inventory screen with very slight improvements. When the Demo is out it'll look much better.
Wheel Puzzle with the updated UI.
And now that I've posted some visuals, I can end this Update. The next one will be much better as the things I'm working on now will be more complete. Later.
Progress, Challenge Room 1, Puzzles & More
about 1 month ago
– Sun, Aug 16, 2020 at 03:56:46 AM
This will be a quick one. Just going over everything I've done these last two weeks.
In terms of actual progress on the game as a whole, this might have been my most productive two weeks in a very long time. I've made changes to Challenge Room 1 once more, improved a lot of the game's systems and polished many aspects of the game. It's getting closer to being really legit.
Starting with Challenge Room 1, I've added more items, and a chance to use the item combination system. That first section of Challenge Room 1 has now been turned into more of an escape room. That side room where you pulled the two levers has been ugly for a long time so I've scrapped it entirely and turned it into a new room. I think this is the final version of Challenge Room 1 (about time).
Here is some new footage of Challenge Room 1's Update:
These are from the new Challenge Room 1 Update.
As you can see, there's also some new Animations going on. I've added a ton more Zoom/Focus moments like you see here. Because of that, I felt it was pretty important to also add in some quick animations to make things feel that much better. The visuals and animations themselves aren't final, but I'm happy to have these things in place to improve upon. The same can be said about Challenge Room 2 here:
I'll continue to add in more and more animations and things to ZOOM into. It's turned the game into something a lot more interactive.
I've reworked a lot of my code so that I can ZOOM into pretty much anything I want without any additional work. That has made creating new Puzzles and Challenge Rooms even easier. That along with getting the Inventory system totally functional, things are really speeding up. The Inventory Menu itself is still relatively uncool, but it really just needs some of its elements rearranged and the visuals improved. It's all coming together.
I don't have much else to show, so here's some 3D Models I guess:
That's gonna be it for this Update. Not totally sure what the next Update will hold but it will be right near the end of the month so probably some new Challenge Room screenshots and Character stuff. On the horizon I'm putting together the big deal Demo. And alongside that I have a 4th Trailer in the works. Once the game is in a spot that I'm really proud of it, I can push harder to get the game some more attention. First impressions are very important so I haven't to make them count. Till next time.
UX Updates, Inventory Menu, An Important Change to the Game, and what happens next
about 2 months ago
– Tue, Aug 04, 2020 at 05:37:16 PM
This will be a very wordy Update. Some great progress has been made, but I need to address a major change to Thief's Roulette. After that I'll go over what happens next with development.
Let's start with the Updates and Progress:
I've been slowly adding QOL (quality of life) features and plan to greatly expand on the game's options. Here I've added an option to Invert Y and X mouse/look directions. I actually only recently learned that was something people thought was important so I made sure to get it added in. Additionally, I created an Auto Read toggle to dialogue. The Auto Read Button will look much better, I just wanted it to work first! Both of these are kinda hard to show off lol, but I guess you'll have to trust me that they work. You can also see that I've changed the game's HUD and made some "final" touches to the new Dialogue Box. I put final in quotes because I think that and the other UX elements can still be improved upon. I think it's good that I've found something I like, but it can still improve.
The Inventory is up and running. Now, as you find items, they'll be added to the list on the right side. Clicking them will bring up a 3D model of the item and allow you to look at it from all angles. This feels much nicer than the makeshift item inspection I had at first. I still need to improve the visual elements of the Inventory but the goal was to make sure it worked, and it does. There's also a COMBINE option now, so that totally changes what kind of puzzles I can build. Although a number of the Challenge Room's puzzles have already been fully planned out, I'm going back in and updating things around the new opportunities the Inventory provides. For example, I'm going back into Challenge Room 1 now, and doing a final revision to the puzzles with an Inventory in mind. I think this will make the game much more enjoyable.
I'm working to get all of these updates put into the current Demo so that everyone can try it out. My goal is to have all of these things (minus CRoom 2) in the Demo by the next Kickstarter Update (August 15th). I should also say that Challenge Room 2 is officially 100% playable. I don't want to show much more of it for spoiler reasons but what I have to do now is just visual polish.
Now for that "Important Change to the Game"
The development of Thief's Roulette started nearly 2 whole years ago, which is still a little hard for me to believe. Over time, my vision for the game has been constantly changing. That's the reality for most, if not all creative projects. Especially, with such a long development time things are bound to change. The difference between a normal project, and one that was crowdfunded, however, is that it's much harder to allow yourself (as a creator) to stray from the vision that was promised at the beginning. People paid for one thing, and at the end of the road, that thing has become something different. It's a difficult process for the creator, and the backers. Fortunately, Thief's Roulette is more similar to its initial concept than not; it has still changed in one major way that I need to officially speak about.
On the Kickstarter launch for Thief's Roulette, at the list of Features, there are these 3 bullet points:
A gripping story of deception. Who you choose to align with may either lead to your death or your survival.
Heavy Player Choices that can alter the path of the Story.
I think you can guess where I'm going with this. I had been trying to plan a way to stay on track with this goal in mind, but recently (since around May this year), I believe that it would not be plausible, or even beneficial to the game. The multiple endings idea, and all the branching paths was something I liked at the start of development, but the further I got, and the more actual progress I made, I don't think that's what the game needs. On a structural level, Thief's Roulette is so much bigger than I had first had in mind. The themes and the storyline that I've created, are in the same boat. What I thought I wanted to make at first was a small, indie Zero Escape "clone." That would allow for multiple endings, branching paths, and all the replayablility that Zero Escape games are known for.At this point, Thief's Roulette is very different than Zero Escape, and even from what I thought I wanted Thief's Roulette to be. The game has gotten much larger in scope than I initially thought it would be. The game will end up being 30 Hours or longer. The length, and the direction that I've taken it, means I can't go through with all of the endings I initially had in mind.
I prefer not to use the "solo developer" excuse, but at this point I need to be realistic about what I can pull off alone. A 30 Hour game with multiple endings is for sure possible, but on my own, would take a lot more time, and I'd rather make this idea I have now the best it can be rather than spending another year or 2 working to get it as branchy as I had originally planned. That being said... the game will have 2 very distinct Endings (both "True"), but they're determined by choices made in the final act. You will not have to replay the entire game to see the full story unfold. Choices will still play a role in the game, but they will not change the structure of the story as a whole. Small scale changes in dialogue and how characters react to you is what they will affect. In a previous Update, I had mentioned that Dreams will be an important occurrence throughout the game. Every Dream will have multiple endings based on the choices you make within them. That's another way that you can experience differences during a playthrough. One more way, is through Character Choices. During Break Time, and on special occasions, during Challenge Rooms; you will make choices that will impact specific characters. All of the 14 other Thieves have a backstory that you can learn about. The choices you make will determine how much of that backstory they will tell you. If you get close enough with them, you will get to experience a special event through their perspective (in Trailer 3, you see one at 0:36s into the video). That being said, all of these events can be experienced in a single playthrough. This means, the structure of the story will be the same each time, but you still have a chance to make your experience different through the choices you make.
And that's that. I was very nervous about bringing this up, but it would be even worse if I just said nothing and released the game. For a TLDR: There will only be 2 Endings and no more branching paths. The10 Hour game with multiple endings has becomea 30+ Hour game with 2 Endings. Dreams,Small Choices, and Character Events present opportunities to create different experiences in a playthrough. I think this will make the game more memorable and the story more concise.
I know some people will not like this, but that's what the game has become. I think what I have now is undeniably better than what I wanted to do originally. If I could just tell you all what happens in this game, then tell you what would happen in the original idea, you would agree... but that's obviously a spoiler! When Thief's Roulette is complete I think all of the backers, and the new players will enjoy the game despite its initial pitch. So thank you all for the support through these 2 years of development. I will keep working hard to create a game worthy of that support.
With that finally being said, now I want to rundown my plans for development going forward.
I'd say I met my goals for July. Challenge Room 2 is playable, and I updated a lot of the game's visual elements. I think overall the game is much more appealing than before. All of these things can still improve, but I can take this as a win. So now, it's time for August:
I'm going to finalize all of the improvements that I made here. So the Dialogue Box, HUD, and the Inventory Menu will be totally polished and final. I'll also be updating the game's Pause Menu and Options Menu to align with those visual changes. With those things complete, I will Update the game's Demo. Along with that is the visual finishing touches on Challenge Room 2. When those things are all done, I'm going to put the rest of my attention on making Challenge Room 3 fully playable (its much further along than I've shown). This unfortunately doesn't leave me much time to work on Character Art (new expressions, poses, etc), but maybe I'll get a little bit of that done too, who knows. The primary goal of August is finalizing what's been started and getting Challenge Room 3 playable.
In regards to the future of these Kickstarter Updates, things might change a bit. From here on out, I have to show much less of the Challenge Rooms that I'm working on. New Trailers are going to show glimpses of new locations, but I don't want to focus too much on Challenge Rooms in Updates. Those discoveries are very much linked to the progression of the game and its themes. If I show a new Location in an Update it will have to be the least interesting part of a Challenge Room, or shots of Lady Luck's Facility. So future Updates might be heavy on Character Art and Text. New improvements and features will still appear in Updates, but this far into development they're going to be very rare. I will still be sticking to this schedule, though, so no worries there.
That's gonna be it for this Update. The comments will always be open, so be free to speak your mind. Thief's Roulette has come a very long way and I promise it will be worth the wait.