Gaming Pixie's Stuff - Ephemera

The Mysteries of Raziel

I am still working on Raziel. It’s just that over the last month or so, my life has been quite something. First, there was meeting my long-distance boyfriend in person for the first time — and the mad scramble in the days prior to make my apartment properly presentable. (He was with me for a week and yes, it was quite lovely. He also introduced me to Doctor Who, which explains my Twitter lately.) When he left, I missed him terribly. I also had to look for a new job, which I somehow got fairly quickly. I started work last week. So basically, lots of stuff going on. Good stuff mostly, but certainly stuff that takes time and adjustment.

But back to Raziel.

Otherworld: Interior Tile Test
Otherworld: Interior Tile Test
The biggest challenge of making this game isn’t (yet) anything technical. It’s having So Many Ideas and so much planning to do, definitely more planning than I’ve ever had to do before. The snags I run into are things like locations and story details and exact battle mechanics and figuring out how to use those mechanics to help tell the story, especially when I’m not totally sure of all the story yet, especially the parts that happen between the beginning and the ending. Which is basically “most of it”. Then, on top of that, I have kind of a perfectionist streak. I want this game to be as cool as what I see in my head and I’m prone to tripping myself up with fears that it won’t.

The thing with Raziel is that unlike every single other game I’ve made before, there isn’t just one story. It’s a bunch of little stories combining into a whole. So instead of figuring out how to tell one story, I have to build a bunch of them and tie them all together in a way that best represents the whole. And I have to plan locations, themes, visuals, etc. to do all that instead of just words and a few pictures.

And until I have all that stuff planned out with some degree of certainty, it’s going to be rather difficult to set up much else.

I know deep down I’m up to it; I’m going to make it work. But when there’s so much you can do, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out what you should do.

Raziel: Latest Updates and More Screenshots

Short version: Yep, still working on this! There’s a long way to go, but progress is being made. Oh, and there are some new screenshots at the end of this — including your first look at the game’s main character.

Long Version: I’m making slow-but-stead progress on Raziel. A lot of the slowness comes from the fact I still haven’t totally figured out the combat system yet, which makes it difficult to design the UI or put certain other elements in place. There are also certain story details I need to work out before getting too far into making maps and such. But the visual stuff? Yeah, that’s coming along. Especially now that I have a nifty sprite creation tool called (appropriately enough) Game Character Hub. I helped me quite a bit in customizing the main character. Game Character Hub isn’t just for making RPG Maker sprites, either, so it’ll probably come in handy for the future.

I’ve also decided that this game’s protagonist won’t be a total blank slate. Certain things can still determine their “morality rating”, but they’ll also have a certain degree of set background and personality. The reason I say “they” is because you pick the character’s gender at the start of the game. Whether you pick the male or the female version makes no difference in terms of gameplay; the character’s nickname is always Glitch, their basic history will always be essentially the same, and other characters will mostly react to them in the same way. They even have near-identical costumes and similar hair. I decided to do this because I thought it would be neat to have which gender you choose be purely a matter of preference — and to not have the female version be “extra-sexified”.

The new screenshots are below. The first is of a new tile test, this time the interior of a building in Etherworld. Yes, the entire place is weird and glitchy like that with the exception of a few important places I may or may not talk about later. ;p And if you think this is weird, wait until I start introducing what lives there.

The screenshots after that are Glitch’s sprites and portraits. Female version first; male version second. I might make some minor tweaks to the sprites later for visibility purposes, but I’m pretty satisfied with these overall.

Raziel: Progress + Screenshot Roundup

[09/01/2014 Update: Added screenshot for the real world.]

Hi, everyone! I am still around and working on new games, or at least one game in particular. I’ve just been busy with my [really stressful] day job and only have so much to give after I get home. I am making progress, though, and here’s what I’ve got so far.

First off, I’ve determined that Raziel will have some kind of karma system. For whatever reason, that seems to be my thing: giving players the chance to make moral choices. There will also be hints in the game about which side of the scale you’re tipping towards. But in most cases (as in life), unless you’re aiming for a certain outcome, you’ll probably end up somewhere in the middle instead of at the Good or Evil extreme.

I’m still working out the details of the combat system. There won’t be a lot of battles (and probably no random ones), but I do want to include some confrontations that fit the game’s themes. As a hint, people in Raziel’s world are dependent on the virtual realm of Otherworld. Your ultimate goal is destroying Otherworld. So, naturally, at least some of those people are going to want to defend it — one way or another.

And finally, the screenshots!

They’re all tests of tilesets. The first is an early version of Otherworld. The second is the version I think I’ll use in the game. And the third… is your first glimpse of Etherworld, which is my favorite concept in the game so far.

You can get a few more details about the realms of Raziel here. Also includes original concept art.

Desiging Raziel: Otherworld and Etherworld

Here’s some new concept art for Raziel, which currently in development. It depicts two dimensions of the game: Otherworld and Etherworld. The third aspect (the normal world) doesn’t need it at this point, though I might change my mind before the major work starts.

Basically, in this cyberpunk-themed game, you’re going to be visiting three realms. The normal world is our world, though the game will show a grayer, blander version of it. Otherworld is the cyber-world where people can live their fantasies. Thus I’m making it a place of wild, surreal colors partially inspired by the color schemes of Killer7. As for Etherworld, it’s basically a land of junk data that, normally, no one accesses or even knows is there. It’s weird and chaotic and creepy-like… and you’re totally going to need to visit it in order to finish your quest. (Funnily enough, Etherworld also takes some inspiration from Killer7, namely the Vinculum Gate you pass through every time you confront a midboss. I think the concept is really neat and, taken one step further, it fits this game nicely.)

The art’s linked below. Enjoy!

Raziel: A Change in Plans

My next non-Twine project is a game called Raziel. As I said before, it was born as a Twine game and I planned to keep it that way… but I kept getting more and more ideas that either went beyond Twine’s practical limits (i.e. “Yes, I could do this in Twine, but is it really the best way?”) or just plain weren’t possible using that development tool. So I started thinking and wondering what the best means was to do all I needed to do.

Oddly enough, I kept coming back to RPG Maker XV Ace. All of the ideas I had were possible with that, and unlike with Unity (which will indeed be necessary for some long-term plans underway), I know my way around it thanks to working on She Who Fights Monsters. Since I want to get this game finished in 3-6 months, that tips the scale in its favor.

Sure, I’ve got a love/hate relationship with RPG Maker. And I’m a little ambivalent about using it again. Overall, though, it can do what I need it to do in this case without too many surprises or a new learning curve to follow.

I’ve got big plans for this little game. Details to follow… when they follow. 🙂

New Project: Raziel v 1.00

Raziel: v 1.00
Once upon a time, I hastily threw together a thing in Twine for something called the Cyberpunk Jam. The thing-I-threw-together has since been taken down [edit: It’s back!], but I always wanted to turn it into something more. Something on the scale of Eden and Shadow of a Soul that plays like, well, a full a game and has things like music and custom illustrations and many more possibilities.

And now that She Who Fights Monsters is done, I can go forward with that.

Raziel will be a cybepunk-themed game where you go into a virtual world to track down the mysterious figure who’s been haunting your virtual dreams. Who is he? What does he want? And once you learn the answer, will you think it’s worth the price? There may be other questions, too, if you know where to look.

This game will be made in Twine. Not only is Twine cross-platform; I know it pretty well, and I think the intimate feel of a Twine game is ideal for this story. After all: most of it goes on inside your head. [Edit: Due to getting lotsandlots of new ideas, I made it in RPG Maker instead. :p The end result is very different from the original Twine, but in a good way, I think.]

Raziel: Original Version

Note: To learn more about how this one happened and the thought process that went into it, please read this post. Basically, it’s the product of my first game jam.

This is the original version of Raziel, the Twine game I created for the Cyberpunk Jam. It’s simple. It’s quick. It’s something that eventually got an RPG Maker version, and even that has at least some chance of evolving into something else just because for that version’s clearly experimental nature, there’s something about it I really like.

[Play Original Version of Raziel]

Junk Data

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything. The main reason has been, well, a lack of stuff to post. For really ling time I just hadn’t been in a game-creating place. Or, really, a place to make anything except in brief moments. But first, the game stuff.

The more I work on Raziel, the more it reveals to me. At first, Etherworld was simply a realm of junk data. And it was all one thing. But since it draws on not only the thoughts of people who enter the virtual reality of Otherworld, but the code of Otherworld, too, it made sense to me that parts of it would look like part of Otherworld Glitch visits. The upper layer, being closest to Otherworld proper, would look and act the most like it. But as you go deeper (and progress to further stages of the game), things get stranger, darker and more chaotic. Basically, you get closer and closer to what Etherworld really is: not just junk data, but collective subconscious in data form that wants to tell a story.

And now for some personal crap.

Full-time work and some personal issues (as well as taking time to have *GASP!* something that resembles a social life) made it seem like I never had time to do anything creative or just for fun. Especially the “just for fun” part since that seemed like wasting time which could be better spent. Often, I would sit at my desk and try to MAKE myself [try to] work on this game or work on some writing, telling myself I could do something fun once I’d achieved X or Y. Long story short, it never seemed to happen.

Then I realized: I was out of fuel. I can’t create very much if I’m not taking in anything creative — namely via stuff like playing games and reading books, a.k.a. the very things I kept telling myself I didn’t have enough time for. To tie it in with Raziel, new realms aren’t going to form in my head without all the tasty junk data those things tend to leave behind.

So I’m going to focus on that for a while: refilling the junk data pool. Ironically, it’s quite possible that that’ll help me find the energy and inspiration to work on my own creative stuff.

In the News

This is where I’ll post links to sundry things people have written about my games. New links will hopefully be added over time.

Articles About: | My Work in General | Raziel | She Who Fights Monsters | Eden


“8 Women of Color Game Developers You Should Know” – at [RE]MESHED.COM

“Her work embodies one of many “alt” characteristics, where traditional game elements… are reshaped to tell different stories—often ones that are transgressive from a status quo.” – Soha Kareem, Motherboard

“So please keep your eye on Gaming Pixie Games … because Gaming Pixie can obviously explain her process far better than I can and, trust me fellow Clappers, she is one fairy that you should definitely believe in.” – Matthew Kirshenblatt in Mythic Bios

“She has produced powerful works like Eden (playable for free but well worth supporting) and What’s In A Name?” – Lana Polansky, Sufficiently Human


“Imagine a combination of The Matrix with its artificial intelligences and hacker themes, Inception with its levels of intersecting reality and memory, Christine Love’s *AI games with their background of gender, sexuality, and treatment of AI as individual entities, and Kan Gao’s To the Moon with its heartfelt use of virtual capsules and subversion of a single instance of combat. Raziel is reminiscent of these films and games, but it is more.” – Matthew Kirshenblatt in Mythic Bios

She Who Fights Monsters

“Jennifer’s home is a terrifying world to her, which becomes viscerally apparent when the environment occasionally transform into a twisted nightmarish landscape when her anxiety begins to escalate….” – Kent Sheeley, Video Game Tourism

Featured in Princess of Arcade, 2015

Juego Gratuito: She Who Fights Monsters, los tormentos de un padre alcohĂłlico – Lunatika, Survival Horror Downloads

Chosen by jury for the 2014 Wordplay Showcase

“In some ways, it is even worse this way: to depict a normal childhood and have it impinged upon by the violence of an unknown and terrifying adult world, and the understanding that it will change Jenny’s life. It is a real life horror story of an ordinary world shattered by something aberrant and always lurking under a façade of normalcy.” – Matthew Kirshenblatt in Mythic Bios

“Meanwhile, those abusive moments play out in surreal horrorscapes where we run from shadowy figures, watch Jennifer rot and deteriorate before our eyes, and helplessly try and survive RPG-style battles against abstract horrors with only weapons and abilities like “tears” and “innocence” to defend ourselves with.” – joffeorama, Video Games of the Oppressed

“These games both present the player with a realistic view of life inside of a virtual world … They will always bear the scars from their childhood. There is no winning for them, only surviving.” – Brian Rumsey, “Alcohol Abuse in Gaming: She Who Fights Monsters and Papo y Yo”


Featured in the fascinating anthology Videogames for Humans, edited by merritt kopas

“A game about being human.” – merritt kopas, Forest Ambassador

“I can feel the ethereal world GP created and was falling deeper in love with each passage.” – Soha Kareem, Set $Games to Destroy: Vol. 2

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[*Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Matthew is my friend. He’s also a darn good writer and his posts are from his personal blog.]

She Who Fights Monsters v1.03

Note (6/20/2014): The current version is now 1.10 1.20. It includes a minor dialogue fix for an issue I didn’t learn about until AFTER I uploaded version 1.03. But everything else posted here (in particular how I don’t plan on making any more non-critical updates for a long time; hence the version number jump) is current.

Further edit: Exactly one day after my posting 1.10, someone noted other minor, non-gamebreaking bugs and, being me, I couldn’t rest until I fixed them. So version 1.20 it is. But seriously, I’m done with this game for now.

Howdy, all! I’ve uploaded a new version of She Who Fights Monsters that fixes a save glitch where in certain installations, you can’t save. It basically happened because when something is installed to the Programs directory, it can’t be written-to unless it’s run with Administrator privileges, at least in certain versions of Windows. (Having jumped semi-recently from Windows XP to Windows 8 (stop laughing), I didn’t know this.) And by default, the free installer program I’m using installs things to that very directory. To avoid future confusion (and my apologies for any inconvenience, past or present), I fixed it by remaking the installer so it installs to My Documents by default instead.

The new version also contains a steam banner by Raven Maurer, who actually first made it at the request of someone else and, in the process contacted me for some of the game’s artwork. I liked their work enough I asked if I could include it in a future version, and here we are. 🙂

I’ve also updated the end-of-game credits to include Madamluna, and I’m embarrassed that I forgot to include her earlier. After all, she’s the one who gifted me RPG Maker. So if it weren’t for her, She Who Fights Monsters might not exist.

Overall, I’m proud of this game, but I’m tired of looking at it. This means aside from game-breaking bugs, there won’t be any new fixes for awhile ’cause I need to work on something else for the sake of my already-questionable sanity.

Next project: Raziel. Which, to my own surprise, I think might be best-served as an RPG Maker game now. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

Take care,

Signed, The Pixie.

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