Date: January 2018-April 2018
Roles: Game Designer, Artist, Level Designer
Tools: Photoshop, TiledTalking Time is a short narrative-based RPG that was created in Spring 2018 over the course of three months. One of six team members, I was responsible for all of the artwork, visual design of all the characters, UI design, level design, and I also designed the conversation-based battle system the game is built around.
The core gameplay is based around a unique conversation system that relies on party members having "ideas" that can be used to direct the flow of conversation. Different ideas can move the conversation between different topics and lines of reasoning, but the conversation always moves forward meaning that characters will never repeat dialogue. Party members also have stress levels instead of health, requiring players to juggle the conversation with the enemy and not letting party members talk too much. In this way, each battle is constructed as a small puzzle game with multiple solutions.
As the only person on the team with experience in visual artwork, I was chosen as the lead (and only) artist for the project. Having never worked with pixel art before, I designed the characters starting from the smallest size sprites we would be using to ensure they were all visually distinct and interesting. Below is the Art Bible I created to showcase the design specifications I followed for the artwork and the process I went through developing the art style.
Initial versions of the game only included battles and fireside chats, but playtesting revealed that the pacing was off and the battles were much shorter than we anticipated. So, during the last month of production, it was decided to string the game together with an actual dungeon, forest, and a town to fix the pacing issues and create a more convincing world for our characters. This doubled my workload, as I had to take on the role of level designer as well, but we still finished on time.