The Return of Detective Butler

Hey there, it’s been a while since a game-related update, right? This is called a “development blog”, so there’s no point in keeping things hidden until they’re finished… So allow me to introduce my plans for the new and improved:

[logo by Morhighan]

The original game was released in August 2013 as a standalone executable, made in ONscripter. Most English visual novels are made in Ren’Py, because it is generally more accessible, but I became well-versed in ONScripter while making When the Seacats Cry and decided to stick with it. Of course, ONScripter has its limitations, and that is another reason why people might choose Ren’Py or KiriKiri over it. However, I decided against using either of those.

We decided to take a break from Detective Butler in the Fall of 2013, working on ideas for Witch Doctor Kaneko. We briefly brainstormed ideas for Detective Butler Episode 2 in January 2014, and while we came up with quite a lot, it just didn’t feel right. There was something missing.

Additionally, we had financial concerns with sprite production, and it was a risky endeavor to rely on the same freelance artist that we had for Episode 1. Mystery stories tend to require a lot of characters, and so we would have to compromise the story based on a financial budget, making the game worse. We decided against that, and that we would make Witch Doctor Kaneko in the meantime, until we could resolve this dilemma.

Witch Doctor Kaneko required an introduction to the Unity game engine, as my experience with Game Maker was not sufficient enough to carry out the game. During this time, I learned many things about Unity, allowing me to create the Closed Room Blitz Arena. Also, since I became the admin of this new website, I thought it would be cool if I could upload the Arena here using Unity’s Web Player, but ultimately decided against it.

Some of you may also know I attempted to enter Ludum Dare 30, but did not finish in time. I got an idea to make a visual novel out of the theme, Connected Worlds, and began working on a visual novel engine programmed in Unity. Later, I decided to combine this work with my previous code regarding file I/O with the Umineko First Twilight 3D project I had made in February. And lastly, the catalyst of inspiration was watching both JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood during this time.

The Misadventures of Detective Butler will be a serial web visual novel. The game will be made in Unity, and will use Unity’s Web Player to integrate it with your web browser. Each episode will be uploaded to this website at specific intervals, ideally once a month or so. However, these episodes will be very short, like episodes in a television show. We’re ditching the idea of “four” concrete episodes and just going with as many as the story deems necessary. We will also attempt to include a new kind of gameplay mechanic that will make the mystery-solving more interactive than the previous game, and will vary from other mystery games’ mechanics as well.

All of the sprites will be drawn and colored by me, so there will be zero financial cost, and we can have as many characters as we need. And because of the calm rate of production, we will be able to get the sprites done in time, because we will not need to produce all assets before starting — we can create them as more episodes are made, which allows for faster creation of content.

While the game is made with Unity, I decided to invent my own scripting language. Unity reads from a file containing this code, which resembles ONscripter’s syntax… but it’s not ONscripter — I call it KINscripter, because Kinjo made it! Although I am still working on the engine, and it will probably take a month or two before we get the first episode online, you can view a preview of what the game looks like below: