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Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Suggestions and Advice for First-Time Creators
Random advice based on things seen.


I'd posted this on discord but I figured I might as well put it up because y'know it took a while to type all this out originally and I didn't want it going to waste and I'm actually lying someone just said it might be a good idea to do it so I'm doing it.

So, here are some basic tips for new-time fangame/case makers that may or may not help you. I imagine if anyone wants to contribute to this, they'd be free to do it.

  • Before doing anything, pick an engine and be sure that you know how to work with it. Knowing what you're gonna use will let you plan out your possible custom features accordingly and will speed the process up significantly further down the line. The two of the best options (at the moment) are AAO and PyWright.
    • AAO will get you started the fastest but keep in mind it may not be as flexible as you'd like it to be when it comes to some custom features. Custom features ARE possible, but if you're going for technical and visual perfection, it's probably gonna take out a lot of uploading. Since every custom piece of content you put in your case needs to be uploaded to another site, where it may or may not be removed at some point. Still, a lot of the community in case-making has moved to AAO and a lot of great cases you've probably never even heard of are on there right now. Plus, anyone will be access the case without downloading anything onto their computer. Plus, people are still working on it to make it better. Beta-testing is also a lot easier since all you have to give people is a link.
      • You can find AAO's documentation here.
      • Enthalpy's tool for using code to transfer over to the AAO editor, Catalysis, can be found here. (Note: still in development).
      • It's also worth mentioning that, if you seem to be out of ideas or just want to create SOMETHING with no clear direction, you can always join the AAO competitions that have a certain theme so to them. The entries are not only limited to AA stuff, so you're free to use the editor as you see fit.
    • PyWright takes code, but if you're the type of person that feels comfortable having everything in one neat package, then go for it. After all, if the archive goes down, re-uploading it is easy enough. Plus, working with code gives you a wide array of features you could potentially create (mainly minigames whose complexity varies on your own knowledge on how to code, obviously). You also have a much larger freedom when it comes to tweaking the user interface, making your game look as close to the real deal as you need it to be. You will have to transfer all gifs and animations in general to sprite sheets, which could perhaps be a pain. But overall, a lot of great (and most popular) games as of now are on PyWright.
      • You can find a tutorial on how to use PyWright here.
  • Fangames take time. If your fangame is traditional length (let's say 4 cases or so), be aware you could potentially be looking at 4 years of work, if not more. After all, you have other commitments.
    • As such, it's important to consider if you could potentially condense your story down to a single case instead. So many first-time fangame projects throw in what you'd call filler cases in order to satisfy the quota (and doing so before even having the plot of that case set fully in stone), thus extending development time even further.
    • If not, at the very least, it is important that you try and plan all of the cases out. And this is going beyond simply having a general idea for a setting -- you should have most pieces of evidence, characters and contradictions planned out in detail and written down. That way, you know in advance which resources to use and if your case is managable time-wise. And, when you're unsure of your ideas, you have the outline to show someone else, making it easier for someone else to be able to fully judge your idea.
    • [Ropfa's Advice]
      Ropfa wrote:
      Don't add arbitrary lengths to your cases ("I'm gonna make this case 3 days and the final trial have 20 cross-examinations!"). There's no reason to shoot for length, just so that you can boast about making a case bigger than Rise from the Ashes. Make the case be exactly the length and complexity that it needs to be. Take into consideration... Does this case work better with two days or three? Or how about even just one?

      I actually fell into that trap myself when I made The Rogue Turnabout. There were a few cross-examinations that were largely just made separate so that I could pad the length of the case. In my later cases, I actually ended up REMOVING testimonies that I had planned in my outlines or rough drafts. Each of the trial sections in T-Unknown had maybe 3-4 fewer C-Es than I had originally planned for. I took them out because when I was writing the actual coding/dialogue, it no longer made as much sense to include them and it just felt more natural to continue to the next part.

      That's not saying go out of your way to remove things. Just make it natural and make sure that every C-E has a purpose.
  • Another thing to consider are the aforementioned resources. If this is your first project and you're asking for help on the site -- be aware that there is a possibility that very few (if any) will heed your call. It's just how it is. Sprites take time to make, as does any content. Unless you're willing to pay, that is.
  • It's also suggested that you perhaps write out the entire script of the case beforehand, and then simply copy and paste the lines into the engine. This isn't necessary, since a lot of the authors can work with just ad-libbing, but it could help you out greatly when trying to determine if some lines flow or not. This one's optional, again, since everyone had a different approach to these kinds of things.
  • Before even announcing the game publicly, I would personally suggest you have something to show. As in, say, have a certain portion or chunk complete. People have seen a lot of projects just announced and not really go anywhere, so having something done from the get-go is a good way to have people go "oh, he's serious about this."
    • In general, while planning is extremely important, you should also know when to say "okay, these are my ideas for the case and this is what the case should be", stopping with the ideas and moving on to actually making the case. I've seen projects that never took off the ground because all of the time had been wasted on planning and saying things that will be in the case, but never actually getting past that point.
  • If you're having trouble determining if a certain case's crime or logic flow works, here are some things to keep in mind:
    • Firstly, think about the prosecution's case and what they're claiming. The first time hearing it, without any context, you should think "oh, this person really does seem guilty." It might sound like a "no-shit" type of thing, but I've seen projects that really forget to put the heat on the defendant. (And at times, to even include the prosecution's case!)
    • When thinking of contradictions, make sure that you always think of what a contradiction means; why it's there and how it changes the facts of the case. Again, a lot of first-time projects in the past added contradictions but failed to really make anytihng out of them. (Example: The culprit says "he was stabbed in the front" OBJECTION! "he was stabbed in the back!" and the culprit goes "nooooo" is not really... something that ends up completely making sense in the long run, is it?)
    • Try to put yourself in the characters' shoes (characters related to the crime I mean). Why would they do certain actions? Would it makes sense for anyone to act in a way they did? (This is especially important in locked room mysteries or such.) Sure, it'd be really cool if this person did this thing, but... don't force it. (If you've recently played Umineko and are attempting to write a mystery in a way it had, this one is pretty important for you. I say that having fallen into that trap a lot in the past.)
    • I think it's important for first-time trials to keep it simple, crime-wise. Not simple to the point where the player is bored, but don't think of any epic, mind-bending crimes worthy of a series finale. Even those are actually a lot more simple once you strip down all the misdirections. Naturally, if you think you can pull it off, who am I to stop you?
  • Get beta-testers. Especially important.
    • A thread by Ropfa, giving a general overview on how Beta-Testing should ideally work.
  • Keep in mind your case doesn't have to follow canon. This isn't something that doesn't really happen as often, but say that you had a plot you took months to develop and once you're finally done, lo and behold, SoJ comes out. And SoJ's plot makes your case's impossible. Do you adjust or scrap your plot to make it fit with SoJ, even though it probably won't be as neat? Of course not! People can be very loose when it comes to canon as long as the case is good (and besides this is fandom anyway nobody should really get that upset if you don't follow it; just add a disclaimer or something).
  • This one's just my opinion, because even from my own experience of attempting to make one -- try and avoid crossovers. Not only will it be hard since so very few franchises will give you sprites to work with (making you having to request people to make them), but there's also the issue of writing. A lot of the times, it comes off extremely... well, not that great. Mainly because AA's writing style doesn't mesh well with a lot of other franchises.
    • And what about the audience that isn't familiar with the non-AA franchise? Are they simply alienated? Or will you somehow use your case to introduce them? If you do, then you run the major risk of having your case clogged down with exposition, which makes a lot of the experience boring for the player (since the reason those other franchises work is that you get to SEE that stuff happen, not have it be TOLD by you through something).
  • Once you think you're at a point where you've got your ideas all sorted and planned out, got a decent chunk of your work done (or at least have something to show that will interest your potential audience), by all means -- go and create a thread. If your case is made on AAO, don't be shy to post on the forums there as well. A few things to note about threads, though:
    • A single paragraph and maybe a link it's going to do you any good. Saying something like "I'm making a game in X it'll be called X and it'll feature these characters" and leaving it at that won't really entice anyone. You just made a statement and the best response someone can give is "ok", because... well, we're not sure if we're really supposed to look forward to it. There hasn't been anything shown to us to make us at least go "okay, yeah, that's a great idea go for it". Give us a general idea on what we should expect, if the game is still being made and you want your audience to be interested. Screenshots are always welcome.
    • At the same time, don't give out too much info. A detailed explanation on how the case'll play out and how things will proceed are useful bits of interest in, say, a development forum where you're expecting people to be directly involved in the project, but here the audience will just be turned off from the case because they'll know what to expect.
    • Presentation is everything. EVERYTHING. When someone clicks a link to your thread, they'll probably make a decision to start or stop reading in a matter of a few seconds. It's just how it is. Make sure the thread's structured nicely, each section clearly visible and marked out.
      • Having a boxart, screenshots, or any custom art in general will help you a great deal in gathering attention.
      • Avoid cluttering your posts with emoticons.
      • Perfect grammar isn't required, but pay attention to capitalization, punctuation, etc. Also, if English isn't your first language and you're thinking of simply using Google Translate for everything and anything you post (including your game)... Probably better not to. The results are very likely to be confusing for both sides.
  • Don't force yourself to work. If you don't have the motivation or it's no fun after a while, don't be afraid to just take a break or even quit the project. Just don't lead people on.
  • [Ropfa's Advice]
    Ropfa wrote:
    Also, I just wanted to say that the millions of case-making guides out there can make this seem a daunting experience (and it is), but don't let that discourage you. Making a fangame was honestly some of the most fun I've had on the Internet, period. It's a great experience being able to make something that other Ace Attorney fans will (hopefully) enjoy, so I truly hope that everyone who sets out to do it can have the willpower to finish and have fun while making their games!

Most if not all of these came about from watching a lot of failed first-time projects. Hopefully, if you're thinking of creating a case or a full game, you'll manage to gain something from this.
That one guy from AAO that made about a dozen cases that all kinda go off the deep end and fall apart at one point or another.


Last edited by DudeWithAMask on Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:59 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Totally-Not-Miley Omelia Tigre

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This will help me and many other first-time writers out alot in the long run. Is this going to be sticked?
Anyway, thanks for the tips!
*insert weird signature here*
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Dracarys!

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DudeWithAMask wrote:
Fangames take time. If your fangame is traditional length (let's say 4 cases or so), be aware you could potentially be looking at 4 years of work, if not more. After all, you have other commitments.


This, so much. I honestly groan every time I see somebody claim that they're gonna complete a 4-5 case game within a few weeks. It's just not going to happen. It takes me that long just to beta-test, after most of the long work has been finished. Each of my 4 longer cases took at minimum a year to complete.

Also, I'd like to add... Don't add arbitrary lengths to your cases ("I'm gonna make this case 3 days and the final trial have 20 cross-examinations!"). There's no reason to shoot for length, just so that you can boast about making a case bigger than Rise from the Ashes. Make the case be exactly the length and complexity that it needs to be. Take into consideration... Does this case work better with two days or three? Or how about even just one?

I actually fell into that trap myself when I made The Rogue Turnabout. There were a few cross-examinations that were largely just made separate so that I could pad the length of the case. In my later cases, I actually ended up REMOVING testimonies that I had planned in my outlines or rough drafts. Each of the trial sections in T-Unknown had maybe 3-4 fewer C-Es than I had originally planned for. I took them out because when I was writing the actual coding/dialogue, it no longer made as much sense to include them and it just felt more natural to continue to the next part.

That's not saying go out of your way to remove things. Just make it natural and make sure that every C-E has a purpose. (Like DWAM said, a purpose to each contradiction).
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title

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Thank you for making this a thing, I'll be sure to follow it to the most minute detail.

...of course, there's the possibility you'll pull a last minute update that changes everything. *cough*EdgeworthAndBlackquill*cough*
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Updated with Ropfa's advice.

087-B wrote:
Thank you for making this a thing, I'll be sure to follow it to the most minute detail.


These tips are really more with how to get started and go about planning on how to make a fangame, when considering your player base, limitations, and the mistakes of other projects. What your fangame actually is in terms of ideas, in the end, up to you. Aside from "don't do crossovers" or "don't plan characters you won't be able to get sprites for", I can't personally really suggest much in terms of what the case itself should be. Not at this point, at least. This is all just "okay, you have an idea, now... let's make sure it can actually get made".

EDIT: Put in some helpful links on the case making sections. Added some general advice when creating threads.
That one guy from AAO that made about a dozen cases that all kinda go off the deep end and fall apart at one point or another.
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Dracarys!

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Can we get some sort of tag thrown on this so that all the new people will always see it?

Also, I just wanted to say that the millions of case-making guides out there can make this seem a daunting experience (and it is), but don't let that discourage you. Making a fangame was honestly some of the most fun I've had on the Internet, period. It's a great experience being able to make something that other Ace Attorney fans will (hopefully) enjoy, so I truly hope that everyone who sets out to do it can have the willpower to finish and have fun while making their games!
Re: Suggestions and advice for first-time creatorsTopic%20Title
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Ace Culprit

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this will really help us in doing our cases.

seeing Conflict of Interest ended, makes me also more eager to continue and finish my own game as well (Kudos to Ropfa)
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