Stars Arisen Developer Diary

Since we’re talking about names, right now there’s nothing stopping me from choosing the Sorceress’ real name when I have to pick a surname. Since that name apparently isn’t public knowledge it shouldn’t raise suspicion in Kelestri, but I think it should at least get some kind of reaction from Baz - or the Sorceress later on.

I’m still deciding if I’ll implement a ban on major NPC names, but that one would be included if I do.

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Hey! The demo has been updated with Chapter 5! Take a look!

Chapter 5 is very long, with several branches to entirely separate scenes. There are a lot of chances to learn a lot more about Kelestri and about various characters. This chapter has been in progress for a long while, so I’m excited to hear what people think of it!

This draft also contains a couple of small things added to earlier chapters: a scene in Chapter 4 where you’re guaranteed to meet Natalia for longer than you do in Chapter 2 and learn a couple things from her (because keeping track of whether you knew those things was getting too complicated), and a chance to declare if you’re ace and/or aro in Chapter 3. (That chance was always coming - it was originally going to be later in the game, but that was also getting too complicated, so I moved it back.)

It does not contain any changes to what names you are and aren’t allowed to use, because we only just started talking about that and I haven’t had time to put that in. :sweat_smile:

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On names: I think even you if you decide not to ban major NPC names in general, it might be worth banning the Sorceress’s name specifically.

Let’s see. I’m happy about both Chapter Five’s existence and its contents. I have a lot of questions (and a couple comments). I didn’t see any grammar errors or typos, but I wasn’t looking that hard this playthrough.

When talking to the Sorceress about how she became immortal, she says it’s because her sister stabbed her and the Star shard she was holding…somehow got in the wound? I thought she was had it to her side or something? You might want to elaborate on how the shard got in the wound. Unless it’s intentionally vague, in which case ignore me.

Is the only choice to encourage Natalie and Em’s relationship right after she loses her dog and they find it again?

So, I’m getting a sense of what the basic shape of the endings are going to be, but since we find out from the Sorceress that anyone can become immortal, basically, will we have the chance to offer other people immortality? Possibly a whole lot of “other people”?

Can you still romance Em if you run as a Harnesser in the election?

Is it possible to lose the election (or not run at all) or is it more about how you win than if you win?

A suggestion (as always, feel free to disregard it)

So I’ve been thinking that since Natalia and Em can end up in a relationship, there could be a few reasons why the MC could want to encourage that. 1) To create chaos, generally falling in line with other “create chaos” choices 2) They’re just that much of a matchmaker 3) Might be related to 2, might not be. MC is friends with both and wants them to get along/be happy. 4) The MC is interested in both of them and wants to enter a polyamorous relationship with them. I think the part near the end of Chapter Five where you have the opportunity to spend time with someone, it would be a good place to give the MC the option of trying to bring them together.

Finally, around how many chapters will the final game have?

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First, regarding your suggestion, a chance to bring Em and Nat together at the end of Chapter 5 exists! It super exists! It exists, has a bunch of variations and opportunities to steer things in various directions, and is 20,000 words long! In order to get the option, you have to have already raised Em and Nat’s relationship before the choice about who to spend time with at the end of Chapter 5. I’d very much be interested in having it tested, and if you still can’t reach it even when you’re specifically aiming for it, that’s something I need to know so that I can make adjustments.

As for your other questions:

The Sorceress wasn’t holding the Star shard, she was wearing it as a necklace, which is how it got in the wound when she was stabbed in the chest. She does say that, but it’s fairly quick, and I could probably make it clearer.

The scene with Vivi after the lightning strike is the main time to influence Em and Natalia’s relationship. There are a few other moments where you can do it as well, like in some one-on-one conversations with them, but that’s the biggest opportunity. That might be something I should tweak, especially if it’s too hard to get their relationship high enough to get their scene in Chapter 5.

Regarding immortality, I’d rather not go into too much detail as it could get spoilery (and I’m not totally decided on what will appear in-game and what might just be implied for the future), but granting it to other people is certainly a possibility.

Regarding Em, not absolutely decided (I don’t always work out the exact details of romance mechanics until I get there, because it can depend on how story and code things develop), but it will probably be the kind of thing that makes a romance harder and requires you to persuade Em to keep going than something that prevents a romance entirely. I tend to think it’s more interesting to be able to discuss points of disagreement with the love interests than to block them off completely, except for things that they’d find completely unforgivable under any circumstances.

You definitely don’t have to run in the election. There are a few different options for how you can spend your time as it approaches. And yes, you can certainly lose.

Current plan is ten chapters + epilogue.

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I think you might have to adjust things around Natalia and Em’s relationship, as I took the first opportunity to bring them together and was always trying to work towards it (I probably did miss a couple of the conversational choices, though) and the option didn’t show up later. Otherwise, thank you for answering my questions/humoring me. I’m really happy this WIP exists. :heart:

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Just to confirm: before that choice about who to spend time with at the end of Chapter 5, you didn’t get a letter from either Em or Nat inviting you to a meeting between them, right? Do you happen to know (or can you check if you still have the stats from that playthrough) what Em and Nat’s relationship value was? It should be included with the other relationships on the stats page.

I don’t still have the stats, unfortunately. I think it was around 47%, maybe? I didn’t get the letter.

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Thanks, that’s still super helpful!

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So I replayed, taking roughly the same actions (similar stats, etc.) and the most I could get Em and Natalia’s relationship up to was 37% (I misremembered the stat being 47%), which dipped by 1% when I met with Natalia and said she shouldn’t be afraid since the captain of the guard was on the Reminder’s side. I had thought that option would raise their relationship, but even if it wasn’t meant to, I do think dipping by just 1% seems a little strange.

I also found this (exposed code and misused italics):

" Don’t,[/i}" Natalia hisses, her voice low and harsh. She takes a look around the room to see if you’ve attracted any of the rest of the Reminders’ attention, but no one seems to be looking up from their conversations. You gather she hasn’t mentioned what passed between her and Em to anyone here. “They’re not on our side,” she mutters to you, glaring. “They’re just awful at strategy. And likely furious now.”

So, if the relationship was at 37, you must have lowered it at least once, because it’s initially set to 40. (You might have picked an option trying to raise it and failed a stat test.) The test in Chapter 5 is almost certainly still too hard, though. I’ll fiddle with some things to make it easier when I have a moment.

The stat changing by 1% is something that isn’t really directly up to me, it’s due to how ChoiceScript does stat changes. The stats are set with a system called Fairmath, where the actual stat change is a percentage based on what the stat is currently set to. This is done to keep stat changes proportional, and to automatically keep stats from going below 0 or above 100. If a stat is already at a low value and is set to decrease by a fairly small amount, the change only being 1% isn’t out of the question. (You can read more about Fairmath here.)

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Okay, new draft up! I can confirm that the Em and Natalia scene at the end of Chapter 5 should be accessible now. It’s sort of a band-aid solution because all I did was increase some stat boosts and make some tests easier, and it would probably also be a good idea to give you more opportunities to increase the stat in the first place. But that will require more actual structural work, and this will work fine for the moment, for the purpose of making it actually possible to reach that part of the chapter.

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On the flip side, it now might be a little too easy to get that scene. I basically picked a single option to encourage them to talk and bam, letter recieved. I guess I did try not to antagonize either of them, but it felt a bit odd to be treated as if we’re close friends (but hey, I guess both Em and Natalia really do need a friend rn, they might be a bit desperate).
I kinda wish we could do that scene some other time, though… I want to fix things for everyone AND have my own romance! That way maybe they won’t feel so bad about me betraying everything they believe in and bringing back the person their parents dedicated themselves to overthrow.

I have to say the ch5 Harper scene went much better than I expected, considering. Especially the romance version, I laughed when he was instantly “a terrible idea, I’m IN”. Will we be able to make Harper an ally? Or are they firmly a neutral party, willing at best to keep your secret if it looks like you’re well-intentioned?
Also, please let us introduce Vivian to Harper . It would be so damn funny, he’d be so uncomfortable.

Speaking of, Viv’s ch5 scene caused me cardiac arrest, RIP. I love how exasparated he is with MC’s cheerful disregard of normalcy. I tried being mean to him once and instantly backpaddeled, even my prideful and vengeful MC can’t do it, it’s too much fun to unnverve him by being nice and perky. Poor Vivian, hang in there, we love and support you even if you sometimes accidentally zap dogs.

I have some questions about the stats, if it's not too spoilery:
  1. Freedm/security - I read the explanation in the stat page, but I’m still not clear on what exactly these stat means. Is it a measure of influence for the factions? Like, if the Naturalists are stronger, the city overall values security more? Or does it depend on events, e.g you supporting Ravenna’s speech increasing freedom?

  2. Stability/Discontent - Is this tied to the above stat? Because surely, if the rebel faction that’s anti-goverment has strong influence, the situation in the city can’t be described as stable? Or is it tied to things like increasing the chaos in the Assembly?

  3. Mom Rules OK - is triumphant return tied to either of those? Baz’s plan seem to rely on chaos, suggestion you’d need low stabiltiy, but it could be argued a content population will be more inclined to move on from the rebellion and forgive the minor issue of rampant magic destruction. And if the people value freedom, wouldn’t they be reluctant to once again have an absolute ruler?

Heroes of Myth is one of my all time favorite games, and this is alreasy shaping up to be just as good. Really looking forward to seeing more!

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Oh, it’s almost certainly too easy to get that scene now, yeah. The idea is just to make it accessible for the moment, and when I have time to go back and add some other opportunities to influence the relationship, I’ll balance everything more reasonably in general. (You kind of have to be able to get it after only encouraging them to talk once, because…there’s basically only one opportunity to encourage them to talk right now, aside from a few stray easily-missable dialogue options. I didn’t quite realize that until it was pointed out, so that’s why I need to rework some stuff.)

You can definitely make Harper an ally, yes. You can also make him an enemy. Next chapter should dive a little more into the consequences of that. As for introducing him to Vivian, probably? I figure the later chapters will have more Vivian-talks-to-other-people scenes in general, but the details are still to be determined.

Regarding stats:

Heirs of Safety/Children of Freedom isn’t linked to any specific faction. It’s about how Kelestri is essentially establishing a new identity in the wake of the Sorceress’s death, and whether you’ve encouraged people to take more risks in the name of their own liberties. As not everyone in the city has the same idea of what those liberties should be, it’s entirely possible to associate either side of the stat with multiple different factions.

Stability/Discontent is also more generally about whether people are content with Kelestri’s current rulers/overall situation or not. It might be easier to have Discontent high when Children of Freedom is, but they’re not inherently linked, nor is it inherently linked to any faction stat in particular. Discontent being high just generally means the people don’t like what’s going on - what other stats are high would likely give an indication of what their ideal solution would be.

In general, stats will certainly be combined in various ways in the endgame, but they aren’t inherently linked/tied to each other in the ways I think you mean? It should be possible for basically any combination of stats to be high and low - that’s kind of how the stat system for COG games is designed to work :slightly_smiling_face:. So, like you’ve said, it should be possible to have high Discontent/high Triumphant Return and have the people of Kelestri so unhappy that they will eagerly support the Sorceress’s claim no matter what it takes, or high Stability/high Triumphant Return and have the people willing to peacefully support the Sorceress in a bloodless return to the throne. (In echo of times in the past when her rule genuinely was stable, most likely.) The stats are designed to work so that there are lots of different shades to everything, essentially.

Really glad you’re enjoying! I always love hearing what parts and characters people are liking the most.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation!
It sure sounds complicated. Hopefully you enjoy a challenge?

Harper as an enemy… Frightening. I assume that means his entire extended family will also be out for blood? I love them, making them hate me is definitely gonna sting when doing a vengeful playthrough. Freedom of the press! But not for you, to the dungeon with you, disrespectful old woman!

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I agree with @Jackrabbit, the Harper scene is awesome, though I admit I only saw it by looking at the code. He is the RO I’m struggling with the most, mainly because he made a really bad first impression. During my first playthrough I missed all optional scenes with him, so my first time meeting him was in chapter 3 after the attack on the plaza. He knew too much, which made him dangerous, so telling him the truth is the absolute last thing my MC is going to do…

Still not sure how the election is going to help our mom, but I’m kind of interested in running just to mess with people and make them think it’s part of Baz’ evil plan…
Apparently most of my choices have been supporting the Naturalists, and I have no idea whether that’s a good thing or not…

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I’m curious, were there any specific lines or parts of that scene that made Harper come off as particularly suspicious? It’s not at all an incorrect reaction (or an unjustified one, there are definitely reasons to be suspicious of him!), but this game has a lot of opportunities to have your first meetings with people in different times and at different contexts, and I’m interested in how that affects the way things come off.

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Hmm, I wouldn’t say that. I disliked how he all but dragged me off and kept insisting with his questions about Baz. I also couldn’t quite tell whether I passed his stat check with my answer about Baz, so that was a bit unsettling. But what bothered me the most was definitely how he seemed to be on to something already while I knew absolutely nothing about him.

I had the same reaction to you-know-who in Heroes in Myth, even though they were perfectly pleasant during our first encounter and my MC was actually trying to tell people the truth in that game…

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Delighted to see this updated! I’d assumed we weren’t going to get any more sneak peeks, and would be stuck on the previous cliffhanger until the official release, haha. I have to admit relief that running in the election won’t be a must, as it looked a bit like it was heading that way, and I’m much more into adventure than politics (so far my character’s main achievements have just been collecting a mountain of star shards and continuing to make heart eyes at Vivian). It was interesting to speak with the Sorceress again, too. I’ve been on the fence but leaning towards supporting her, and hopefully will not live to regret that!

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I just finished playing the demo so far and I have to say that it was a wonderful experience! Personally, Vivian is my favorite character so far, although I liked the relationships with everyone else a lot. Except Baz, I don’t trust him hahaha although I like the interactions with him. I also appreciated all of the different ways to interact with the Sorceress, you’ve really put in a lot of thought into the different areas people want to explore.

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