Friday, April 12, 2013

Senior Animation Project Proposal

Michelle Chih-Hua Tseng

Senior Animation Project Proposal

Dreamscape Circus

I am making a visual novel game about reviving a disbanded circus by going through a journey to find potential circus members. These members will all have special abilities that make them outcasts of society. The game is driven by written dialogues, divided by chapters, and each chapter lasts about 10 to 20 minutes.

The Dreamscape circus was the most popular in the whole country when the protagonist, Kirsikka was 8 years old. She started learning juggling after watching the performance of her favourite juggler at the circus. But when she was 15 and has the ability to perform, the originally creativity-welcoming government started to oppress creativity due to the pursuing of technology. At first the town people did protest, but due to the resignation of the ringmaster, the circus has collapsed. After this incident, the protagonist was heartbroken and wished strongly for the revival of the circus. However she was unable to do anything as a 15 year old. On her 20th birthday, she visits the abandoned circus tent and did a performance with no audience.
She was still unsure if she can revive the circus by herself. When she walks out of the tent, surprisingly, she saw a girl walking towards the circus tent. The girl was surprised to see the protagonist too. The girl was Kirsikka's childhood friend, Stella. She left the town to pursue an engineering career; while she is educated in scientific terms, she liked the fantasy setting of a circus and wanted to work in that environment. They both shared the feeling of regret when the circus collapsed, and seeing that the protagonist is wavering on her decisions, Stella pursues Kirsikka to start the recruiting journey.
First, they went to the neighbouring town. At the inn there, they heard rumours of a girl, Elize, who is strong at ventriloquism. Before the government changed policy, her ability was welcomed by the town people, but after the policy change, a lot of people found it creepy to be able to speak without moving her mouth. Her family had to hide her in a house in the forest in order to protect her from
verbal attacks. Kirsikka and Stella went for search of the girl; when they visited her house, she was too scared because she thought they are coming to laugh at her. Under this false assumption, the two sides have a huge misunderstanding. But after fixing Elize's doll which is torn by the town people, the two of them explains their true intention and promise that in a circus, no one is going to make fun of ventriloquism. Eventually Elize opens her heart and agreed on joining their quest.
In the end, Kirsikka and her circus members returns to their town and does a performance. Depending on the player's controls, the performance can either end in disaster, or can be a performance that revives people's dreams and successfully brings back the Dreamscape Circus.

Visual treatment & production process
All visuals will be drawn digitally by digital painting programs, mainly Paint Tool SAI and Adobe Photoshop. The characters are designed in Japanese anime style because I have been greatly inspired by Japanese anime facial features since childhood. During the game, one to three characters will be standing in the foreground, and a dialogue box will indicate where the texts are. The background image and the characters in the foreground will use different finishing techniques in order to make the characters stand out against the background. The characters will be detailed and have realistic shading. The backgrounds will have lighter colours, and less detailed. Most of the scenes will happen in daytime, so the colour scheme will be natural sun light for most of the time. In indoor or night scenes the lighting will be dimmed, depending on the mood.

Sound treatment
My game will include no spoken voices, thus it will be music-driven. Sound effects will be used in places where I want players to pay attention. Throughout the game, Western ethnic music that are either mysterious or melancholic will be chosen to create an unusual mood. In the more Victorian inspired scenes, traditional classical music works to create familiarity between players and the game. Ambient sound will be used in the quieter scenes in order to make the aural space more real.

Production schedule

Please see the table at the post here:

Adobe Master Collection Student Edition: 250 CAD per year
Music: $30 maximum for every original music piece
(Will be using free music as much as possible)
Background: maximum $20 for every commissioned background artwork
(Will be mostly done by me or found on websites that provide background graphics for free)
Novelty: freeware
External hard drive: $99~150

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