Category: Look & feel



So like, there’s absolutely going to be a crossover ending between Kris and Sleipnir/Hughes

But. It was supposed to be from the beginning—and I forgot—that Kris can either opt to defend or bring in Sleipnir and Hughes

If she brings them in, well, that’s the easier ending. Sleipnir would probably agree to it, because it’s his thing that he ultimately wants to go “clean”… Hughes on the other hand would probably fly away believing that he’d done nothing wrong in his life, just because he never had any intent to do evil.

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Fancy rep1icaWatches for you, just like Aeterna-made

I was just kind of thinking about Kris’s flow merge

Originally I imagined it just being a bracelet but like, what if it was a watch

A really fancy watch with tessellated crystally blue diamond shapes, like one of those fake rolex type things

(They probably make some fairly fancy watches in Aeterna given watches are the major product of Aeterna, Aeterna, so in one way it only makes sense for other places like Easboro to try to cash in on that by making vaguely similar fancy watches for cheaper)

I’m imagining her doing this stylised gesture of swinging her arm over and pressing down the face like a button like it’s Literally The 90s,

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I used to wonder what an att could be

So as I’ve been programming Seven Heirs (Undertale tribute using the in-progress Stablehand engine) I’ve been learning some things about Stablehand/Sixteen Hues.

For 7h, I wanted to build a “Stablehand-style RPG-ish encounter system”, because RPG encounters are a big part of Undertale but I never thought about how one would work in Stablehand and thought that would be an interesting experiment. For reference, this is called the “Confrontation” system.

And I thought about how I was building it (or planning to), and realised, this pretty much illustrates exactly what attributes were/are supposed to be.

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So I was just thinking about Lance and Jinfeng and how they actually have a pretty neat duality
I was kind of aware of it back in the DCS days, realising that while Lance was a Knight of Blood (ow the edge) Jinfeng was a good ally as a Maid of Hope

But actually thinking about Stablehand and the gamebook format has made me realise some more things about them. Lance and his mother Stars Reims are highly associated with death and moody polar imagery. But Jinfeng and Jinhuang* are highly associated with life and revival.

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7h mechanics draft_censored

Attribute and attitude drafts for Seven Heirs, a short gamebook thingy I’m making to force me to get off my butt and make the Stablehand engine, and as a tribute to Undertale.

The first thing I realised when examining the idea and thinking about how I’d apply attributes to the characters was… wait, Undertale already has those! And almost eight of them! Might as well use those instead.

Instead of Agency/Environment/Chroma, 7h uses a slightly different attunement scheme of Aid/Ideals/Activity,

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It just hit me that like, Lance is a (nominally) “dark edgy“ character who thinks about death a lot. …In a gamebook.

This didn’t have any explanation until now, it just was like, ‘his name is Lance Scharf, that sounds like the name of somebody who would be weirdly moody and obsessed with blood and guts‘

But the thing with early gamebooks was writers were lazy so instead of having interesting choices you would just either get the right choice or die all the time

I think it would be funny if

One of Lance’s “things” is that he writes these weird stories that seem normal-ish but just. The heroes just die at inopportune times, some these big dramatic tragedies but most of them are almost anticlimactic

And when people ask “what kind of stories are these“ he’s just like “the stories of people who made very bad decisions“

Retro style ideas for Stablehand

  • Some emulation of one of those FMV sequences where a person just stands there and talks and the person is so SERIOUS but it looks so fake and acted-out, like in this game (I don’t know where it’d be used, it wouldn’t be an intro?? I dunno, maybe like for dark teapot if you reach him, just have it be kinda like one of those old TV programs where everything is fancy and they’re trying to give you the vibe this “host” has invited you “into” the program). It wouldn’t be literally an old FMV intro in exactly the same style, just something that gave a weirdly really similar vibe and then you suddenly realise yes, it’s making fun of that oh my god.
  • Pre-rendered 3D backgrounds, or real libre-licenced photos with filters applied to make them look that way. But the character “sprites” are drawn in this weird fluid vector style that’s highly stylised at a distance and highly detailed up close
  • There is just a certain style of narration over a backdrop in a both sincere and slightly overdone way that they did in like the Animorphs program that is just SO its time it’s ridiculous
  • Character portraits for dialogue screens that are not pixellated but move the same way as in those games where the sprites are really detailed but also pixel and they kinda like turn their head one direction and then snap back

What Originators really are

I thought about Ariana’s flowspace again and

My new image of it is that maybe there’s literally like a little world in there. A sort of small world, kinda fuzzy beyond its boundaries, but it’s there.

There’s like this meeting room in there where she and her characters can meet to discuss strategies, and these rooms each of the characters can pass time/sleep in if she needs to put them away for safekeeping. It’s kind of like an oddly thorough explanation of the RPG trope where party people clown-car into the main character to make the screen less cluttered :p

All the areas in Ariana’s flowspace world are mainly given details by her characters;

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New story concept

I’m thinking that I might base the choices/endings for each character on powers of two.

I was kind of thinking about how the gamebook would actually work and I realised that it might be kind of unintuitive because it seemed really open at the beginning. I want to keep a little bit of an open feel to give that sense of a huge and interesting world, and I want the vibe that there are a lot of things you could do and any of them might have an effect, but I don’t want it to be completely up in the air what you do to get each major story branch.

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Attribute symbols

Lollllll everything is so disorganised now I can’t even easily find the attribute symbols any more. Let’s fix at least that much.

Click the small ones up for big versions.

Directed attributes

Left to right: Synthesis, Unity, Machination, Fantasy, Verity, Faith, Esteem, Will.

Undirected attributes

Left to right: Eternity, Frustration (outdated), Clarity, Portent, Compulsion, Desolation, Ruin, Incongruity.

Frustration is scrapped and will be replaced with a new attribute, but I haven’t named it or made its emblem yet. Its (very) tentative name is Apathy; right now the tag for it is just “UD Will”.

Totality and Nothing

Totality and Nothing are at this point considered special attributes! Now they’re only for high-level things that are ‘just good enough’ to be all the Directed attributes or all the Undirected ones (if you’re an even balance of all the attributes but a normal ‘power level’ you’re considered to be ‘Inception prototype’). But they still have emblems. (Nothing’s emblem is just an empty image, and yes, I still made a huge version for simplicity-of-programming reasons :p)