Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Character reveal: Morial

Hello. My name is SailorBart, and I’m the creator of our first route. I have been with this project from the very beginning, and since then I’ve seen what started as a small string of ideas roll into something much larger. Today I’m here to show you the fruits of what has been a long, strange ride so far, and introduce you to Ms. Morial Catherine Lincoln Westfield.

Concept art by Thighs (bottom left) and former project artist Cherubi

Born on an uncharted planet and raised by a human couple, Morial Westfield has risen far from what could ever have been expected of her. In a society that treats aliens as second class citizens, she’s become a teacher, a biologist, and the pilot of her own small research vessel. She lives aboard the Familiarity, taking contracts with the Crown to survey previously unexplored systems in search of valuable resources and the occasional untold wonder. Though she follows her work wholeheartedly, time has found her to be more and more out of step with the Empire. In spite of this, she continues on with her invaluable research, joined by the respected Dr. Clay and her fighter escort pilot Rory Harper. Together they face a rapidly changing empire, as they follow the Familiarity through all ends of the void—known and otherwise.

Concept art by Drawbro (bottom left) and Chocojax

Morial was developed over a long, long time, in amongst several now-rejected designs. Strangely enough, after hashing out my first character over and over again, I paired up with an artist I’d only spoken to once and almost without effort, her prototype sketches were completed. From there, you can say it snowballed rather fast. The character you see before you today is virtually unchanged from the character I wrote up several months ago. In this time I’ve come to get to know her much better, and I’m hoping to bring out her vibrancy and warmth.

Get it? Because she’s kind of like a fish reptile person… thing… and she’d be kind of cold blooded.


For Morial’s route, what I’ve tried to capture is the classic adventure tale. A young man, a young woman, pirates, monsters, spaceships, and much more can be expected here. I hope you find yourself enjoying it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Character reveal: Gavin

Another week has flown by, and that means it’s time to talk about our protagonist a little as we promised. We’ve already mentioned the basics before, but today we’ll go into a little more detail.

Gavin Clarke’s situation paints a clear picture of working class life on Earth. He’s got a stable job, he’s got a roof over his head and food in his belly, he has everything he could really ask for and yet he still feels somehow out of place. Much of the planet’s population had already emigrated to space by the time Gav was even born, but interstellar travel is dangerous, expensive and slow. Now the only people left are those who lack the means or will to leave and the rich elite who tighten their grip with every passing year. Gavin’s family has long since accepted this situation and worked to make the most of what they have, and to his credit, Gav has always tried to do the same--always done his best to ignore the nagging doubt, the quiet voice whispering that there should be more to life than this.

As a child Gavin displayed a knack for any and all things mechanical, and in another life he might have become an engineer of some renown, but few things close more doors than constant and crushing poverty. Instead, Gav continues the family tradition of working as a dockhand in the Liverpool spaceport--a time-honored tradition borne of necessity and never desire. He continues to tinker with odds and ends in his free time however, and even without proper schooling he’s grown so skilled that his employers rely on him to fix their steam powered loaders and other equipment. Only licensed technicians qualify for extra pay, of course.

Possessing both an enduring optimistic streak and a cynical (albeit well-meaning) sense of humor, Gavin struggles to make a life for himself now that he’s survived both his parents at the age of 22. Honest, hardworking and dutiful, he’s no stranger to good, old-fashioned elbow grease, and he would be perfectly willing to fight for the things he holds dear--if he could only find them first.

Thanks for sticking around. Tune in next week for a look at the first of the game’s three love interests.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The long and short of it

Hello and welcome to the new home of the visual novel project Familiarity. I’m Lunch, co-manager, writer and a few other things for Airheart Interactive, the development team behind the project. You likely haven’t heard of it or us, and that’s completely okay. Our history is better left saved for a slow news day though, as there are more important introductions to be made.

Ancient concept art by Drawbro

In the world of Familiarity, mankind's mastery of steam has allowed him to conquer every corner of the Earth before extending his reach to the stars and beyond. The advent of faster-than-light and then warp technology has sparked an interstellar revolution lasting more than a century, with the empires of man quickly spreading through the galaxy on spacecraft powered by the steam of nuclear engines. 

At the helm of this scramble for the stars is the British Empire, whose unrivaled naval might and unflinching trade monopolies have produced more colonies and ships alike than any other power. Her Majesty's colonial ship the HMCS Familiarity is a symbol of the Empire's grace, longevity and determination. 

Newer art by our concept artist, Chocojax

The first and finest of her kind, the Familiarity is a mobile colony--a city in space that carries travelers to the farthest territories and intrepid researchers to places still unknown to man. A complex and convoluted blend of civilian nobles and military bureaucrats known as the Court rules over its people, be they human or foreign races, permanent residents or so-called "tourist" waiting to arrive at their destination.

The ship is no paradise, however, and life on board is no easier than any other place in the Empire. The upper echelons of high society are always preoccupied with the latest gossip and drama, competition in the markets, factories and workhouses is often brutal and cutthroat, and rumors still persist of a shady undercity, carved out of massive engine compartments and filled with the forgotten and destitute. For better or for worse, the Familiarity and her trusty Royal Navy escort are at the cutting edge of the galaxy; a beacon of light in the darkness of space... and a boot planted firmly on the throat of the stars. 

Current concept art by Chocojax

Now far away from the seats of intergalactic power, Earth has been all but forgotten. Its natural resources have been depleted, its skies are grey and smoggy and its cities chug on as if by instinct, their people no strangers to both corruption and corrosion. 

It is here that Gavin Clarke works as a humble dockhand in the Liverpool spaceport, like his father and his father's father before him. Feeling adrift and out of place in a life that should be satisfying, Gavin has never dared to dream of anything more... until the Familiarity appears in orbit above, passing through the system on a rare visit before continuing its journey. Can he find a place aboard and start a new life among the stars, even if it means leaving behind the only world he's ever known?  

Familiarity is an adventure/romance game set in an alternate Victorian Era with a retro-futuristic twist. There are currently three routes in development, each with multiple endings and branching plotlines. We don't promise constant updates--we're a small, amateur team strictly doing this for fun in what little spare time we have--but next week we plan to shed a little more light on the main character, Gavin. We'll continue to reveal the three heroines after that, then probably run out of things to talk about.

Thank you for being a part of our launch. Even all this work behind the scenes has already been quite an experience, and everyone on the team has learned a lot. We hope to continue learning and growing as creators and as people. Please stay tuned for further updates, and remember to use no hooks.