Crème de la Crème - Developer Diary

gender-choice
nonbinary-inclusive

#1

Welcome to the Developer Diary thread for my CoG project, Crème de la Crème! Here you can play a teaser section - around three-quarters of the first chapter, with an average playthrough of 7500 words.

The plan: to host this thread for questions, discussions or feedback. Let me know what you think of the teaser! Each week I’ll post screenshots and updates about what I’m up to in the writing process. Each month I’ll post snippets about the world and characters of the game. This may involve mini games, short stories, playlists, mood boards and more!

The story so far: I started working on this game on 1st June 2018, after an outline process of a month. It’s slated to be released in 2019.

Currently I’m writing Chapter 5, and the game is 124K words.

This thread is an experiment in a more open development process, and I’m excited to see how it goes, so let’s get started!

Crème de la Crème Teaser

As an eighteen-year-old socialite, your main concerns should be music lessons, romantic entanglements, and the correct forks to use at dinner. But your parents’ political disgrace complicates your obligations. Enrolled into the prestigious Gallatin College as a last-ditch attempt to regain the family name by distinguishing yourself, you throw yourself into boarding-school life.

Your environment is glamorous but unforgiving, and all eyes are upon you. Will you build a conventional reputation, or dip your toes into scandal? When you begin to uncover dark secrets of the school, will you reveal them to the world or leave them in the shadows?

Build your reputation amidst the murky waters of cults, backstabbing and political diplomacy in this sparkling, brittle world of high society.

Playable Genders and Orientations

You can play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, pan, asexual, or aromantic. Note - in the full game, stating that you are asexual and/or aromantic comes in Chapter 2.

Setting

Gallatin College is an exclusive finishing school nestled in the mountains of the fictional country of Westerlin. Exclusive, expensive, and prestigious, it is known for turning out the most gracious beaus or debutantes the continent has to offer. The curriculum focuses on the life of a socialite; literature for sparkling conversation, athletics for personal glory, arts for pleasant but superficial diversions. After graduation, students are assumed to marry, though a minority go on to attend university or even distinguish themselves in an appropriately genteel career.

Major Characters (Spoilers)

The Peer characters are gender-flippable. You can pick their genders as they are introduced, or have them be randomised. There are also other major characters of the PC’s age who appear later!

Peers:

Freddie Crawford: a fierce overachiever attending college on scholarship. They are determined to succeed and help their family, whatever the cost to their wellbeing.

Jocelyn Gonzalez: Pursuing their interest in lacrosse is this student’s main drive, but they fear that parental pressure to marry and settle down will dampen their chance at athletic success.

Patrice Delacroix: Outspoken and intense, this student is set apart from the popular crowd, focusing on uncanny phenomena. It is rumoured that a near-death experience sparked off this obsession, but no one knows the truth behind it.

Maxim/Maxine/Maxime “Max” Van Meyer: A notorious troublemaker, Max rules the school’s group of rebels, the Starlings. This student delights in chaos, but like a wildfire, may spiral out of control.

Eugene/Eugenia/Gene Hartmann: This student stamps down their wistful desire to break convention by taking their prefect duties extremely seriously, to the detriment of their social life and equilibrium.

Blaise Marechal: A gossiping student with a mean streak, this student has it out for you and seems determined to make your life miserable.

Emil/Emily/Emile Karson: The groundskeeper and general dogsbody, Karson is a servant who is quiet, brooding, and intense. They disapprove of Gallatin, seeing it as a waste of minds and money.

Teachers:

Lady Renaldt: Headteacher and Etiquette teacher. Implacable and seemingly omniscient, this teacher rules the school with an iron fist in a silk glove.

Mr. Griffith: Arts teacher. A widower who is notoriously strict, this teacher is deeply feared by the student body, but may have hidden depths.

Mr. Blanchard: Athletics teacher. A former Gallatin student, he is dedicated but unassertive, and unpopular amongst the more ruthless students.

Miss Dalca: Philosophy. New this year, this teacher is a breath of fresh air with her wild ideas and unusual approach, but this makes her controversial.

Friendships and Romances

As a social-focused game, you can befriend or romance most of the peer characters. Some characters may not be romanceable, whether because they are aromantic or because they require certain levels of reputation in order to form a serious relationship; some will reject you if your actions do not align with their values. My aim with this game is to provide rich interactions with the characters, whether romantic or non-romantic, as well as allowing asexual protagonists to have as fun romantic interactions as allosexual ones.

Of course, there will be rivalries as well, and romances will not always go the way you planned…

Developer Diary Posts

September '18
September '18: Week 1
September '18: Week 2
September '18: Week 3
September '18: Week 4

October '18
October '18: Week 1
October '18: Week 2
October '18: Week 3
October '18: Week 4

Monthly Extras

September '18: 73 Stretfield Park, an interactive short story about the worst day of Blaise Marechal’s life.
October '18: a Pinterest moodboard for this project

At the end of November, I will post an interactive short story about Lady Renaldt, as a result of the teaser poll.


Websites like this?
#2

Good start! I appreciate the decision to have most of the core characters have selectable genders! Freddie is definitely my favourite character so far.


#3

Forgive me, Hannah -

I am getting a Gossip Girl vibe from this project so far.

I love your story pitch and your development approach so far.

Thank you for trying this.


#4

Got to say, this is one story I will particularly like. I’m enjoying the fact that I’m trying to play peace keeper of sorts, with all the ideologies clashing between pretty much everyone. Whilst the establishing of what pronouns, names and titles your MC will use may take some getting use to, I’m confident it won’t detract me too much for the story.


#5

I haven’t seen Gossip Girl myself, but a couple of dear friends of mine love it, so I’m not at all offended by the comparison!

I’m enjoying building up the cliques in the writing I’m doing currently - there’s a lot of conflict and troublemaking between them, and part of joining up with one group will mean that people in other groups will have Opinions about that. It’s a lot of fun to plan out!


#6

Courtship in this game potentially sounds like a game of its own!

I do have a question, must we always defer to the ro’s judgement in order to pursue them? Or are they less strick about it?


#7

But, I just want everyone to accept me :sob:. That said, time to get my social manoeuvring on :sunglasses:.


#8

Oh Oh Oh !

I’m seeing this in black and white !! Ohh!

This give me such a deja-vus from 2 others games , seriously ! But thats a good thing!

Cose I LOVE the setting sooo much ! I mean in real life…its all feel snob and stuffy…and I be screaming and running down the hill…lol but funny enough , I love playing games like this though .

ahem…anyway…where was I ?

So many delicious roomies…to smooche…(right? we can , right?)…

Summary

Blaise…Blaise…she gonna be delicious to butthead with and make her fall from grace then in love…
But uh…I haven’t decided who I liked . They all seem so much fun and diverse (kudos!)…that…its like a freaking buffet…everything look good…(urgh that sounded bad right?)…I just mean they all look interesting and wanna know them more…before cupide hit me with it,s arrow…I swear! thats all I mean lol …

So take mah money already!!

Edit: There is just…one tiny thing I forgot to mention : at the beginning you say : Beau or debutante . Beau is the word for suitor . Debutante is the word for rookie . Why?


#9

That is wonderful. If you get a chance, ask your friends about Blair, who I am hoping to recreate in your wonderful world. Perhaps I will find my Chuck Bass (again ask your friends; they will explain) :slight_smile:


#10

Debutant/Dubutante was a guy or gal who was “presented” into society for the first time - it marked the official period of young adulthood for the Nobles and the Creme de la Creme of society. :slight_smile:


#11

well I get that . But why female get to be debutante , where males are beau ? Beau is the word for suitor isn’t it ?


#12

If I’m correct, were we not embroiled with the parents’ scandal, we were to be seen as a potential marriage option as well when entering the social circle.


#13

Hanah could have used Debutant (male) and Debutante (female) but that leaves the nonbinary sort of hanging. I just ran with Beau as a substitute .

Edit - perhaps this is the feedback she is seeking from us :slight_smile:


#14

Soo…tell me :stuck_out_tongue: what’s the female word for ‘Beau’ ?


#15

Since beau is used in French, I guess we can use Belle. Of course, that’s up to @HannahPS.


#16

This is considered the companion term, @MIGSey is correct.


#17

I knew I’d forgotten something! I took out the beau/debutante wording from the thread (for exactly the reason that it doesn’t work as a gender neutral descriptor) but forgot from the game intro. Will update to correct!

Side note - I read that beau and debutante are used as male and female descriptors in some US finishing schools for people who are doing their society debut at a debutantes’ ball, which was why I used it originally, but obvs that doesn’t allow for non binary people (and that culture of social etiquette is very female-oriented anyway; the male equivalents are much more focused on business negotiation). In the game setting, non binary genders are recognised and the kinds of socialite manners/etiquette that are traditionally seen as female in this world are gender neutral.


#18

So google tell meh…:sweat:…that was so dissapointing …


#19

Most times (that I am aware of) at Debutante balls, the guys are just considered the “Escort” for the presentation - they ask: “Who are you being escorted by?” and then make the official announcement based on your response.

Sorry for the thread spam.


#20

So…so…can we ask questions about the story ? Not like super spoilery stuff…

But like ‘will there be X in the story ? and can Y do this’’ ?