Happy Birthday, Raziel.

Today marks 365 days since I’ve started developing Project Preta, which all of you know as Raziel.

A year sure flies by. And, to commemorate this, I’ll be telling you some of the things that happen before and during its current development.

Before even thinking about Raziel, I was already considering making a game that was based on some of the things I wrote in the past. One that would be short, bittersweet, tackle on real and mature themes and have simple gameplay (without combat and things that would otherwise deviate the attention from the story). The reason for this was the burning frustration I was having with the flow of development of my other game, Dying Cat (Its details can be spoken of in another post) and for the hard time I was having to endure existence at that period.
Being tired and wanting to work on something else, I simply grabbed a pile of stories I had wrote and began to read all of them, until I stopped at one called “Quarto de Hotel”.

“That’s it. That could be a nice game.” — I thought.

I can’t talk in details about the contents of Quarto de Hotel without pretty much spoiling some parts of the game, but basically, it’s a story about a guy who lives in a cheap and moldy hotel room, works in a library and you get to know about his life before he ended up there, among other things. Pretty simple.

And pretty bad. Being one of the first stories I’ve written, it was filled with grammar errors and inconsistencies. Something that to this day I’ve trouble showing to someone (only a single person besides me have read it). Still, it was a story that I thought could become a good game.

So, with the initial idea on my head, what was left was to name both the project and the game itself.

I decided to name the project “Preta”. A little homage to one of my long deceased black cats. The name “Raziel” came from one of the themes of the short story, which is religion.

At first, I was thinking of using RPG Maker 2003 to make it, since I’ve bought it forever ago with my copy of VX Ace but never actually used it, and I always wanted to give it a try.

The first ever title screen for the game.
The first map made: Avoir’s room.
The first iteration of the Graveyard map.
First iteration of the Church map, with one of the now cut characters, Sister Yavina.
The front of the Library. Left unfinished.

That didn’t go very far, since Steam put RPG Maker 2000 on sale at the time and, on a whim, I decided to buy it and move all production to it instead (and with that, all the two weeks of work I’ve done).

To this day, I don’t know exactly why I did that, but I sure am glad I did.

At first, my intentions with the game were minimal. To be honest, I didn’t even think I would be working on this project for as long as I am today.

Initially, all I was planning was to do was a short adventure game based on the story, and that would be it. No frivolous gameplay, big maps or game length going on hundreds of hours. I didn’t even had the intention of sharing it with anyone else besides my friend Andrew, who was always interested in playing my games since the beginning and is also a person who I share many secrets and memories with (that’s why I ended up dedicated this game entirely to him).

In the end, I made a game page draft on Itch just in case I changed my mind.

After a while, I showed some concepts of the project alongside the game page to my other friend, Victor, who said:

“Holy shit, dude.”

And then proceeded to share the game page link on his Discord server. I kindly ask him to delete it afterwards.

That, somehow, was enough to convince me that there would be some people besides Andrew that would be willing to give this a go, so, a few days later, I finished up the game page and set it live.

I even posted it on my twitter.

Not much longer after that, I decided to share the development of the game on some RPG Maker related Facebook groups and forums, and to my surprise, it grabbed some attention from the public. One of them, Derick Dantas, owner of the Brazilian RPG Maker 2000 preservation website, Maker2K, offered a space on it for my game to be downloaded once the development was completed.

Another welcome attention came from the Condado Braveheart forum, responsible for granting me great feedback and criticism on each devlog posted. I’m really grateful for the wonderful help they still give me to this very day.

From this point on, development began to be a little bit more complex. There were a lot of things I was really dissatisfied with, like the facesets being from online character generators, chipsets being too simplistic and the fact that the game didn’t have anything that remarkable, like a proper menu screen (something that plagues most of RPG Maker 2k/3 games). Although I could try to draw the assets and program the menu from scratch, I saw myself almost in the same situation I was with Dying Cat, and that terrified me. I was in dire need of help.

With some months passing by, I was able to get the help I was needing. First, there was illustrator Caroline Thaynara, who helped me with some illustrations and facesets for the game (she even drew this picture you saw at the title of the post).

A comparison between the generated facesets and the ones Caroline did for the game.

Next was Dr. XGB, a skilled programmer and eventer for RPG Maker 2000 (I told you I didn’t regret it). He helped me with everything related to the engine (at the time, I only knew how to work with VX Ace) and programmed a full custom menu, title screen and some events of the game.

A comparison between the menu I was planning to make myself and the current menu that Dr. XGB programmed.

Then, for the soundtrack, I had the help of Elvis Suhadolnik Bonesso, a multi-instrumentalist musician who made extraordinary music for key points of the game, and also had the pleasure to discuss a lot of the story of the game with.

Last but not least, illustrator and pixel-artist Eduardo Arving also joined the team to make wonderful pixel-art cutscenes.

Wonderful stuff, without a doubt.

They’re not the only ones, though. A lot of people came and went to help with the project, and I’m grateful to every one of them.

A project that, in the beginning, didn’t had a lot to go with.

Now, it even managed to get a spot in the brazilian game magazine, Make The Game.

The project’s full page.

Anyway, a lot of things happened and continue happening during the development of this project, and unfortunately, I won’t be able to talk about every single one of them. I can only grab your attention for so long, after all.

I just want to say thank you to all the people who helped and continue to help me with the project, and to all who followed its development since the beginning or just heard about it today.

Thank you for being here and read this. You make my life fulfilling.

Raziel is still in development, but you’ll be able to play it soon enough.

One can hope, at least.

Happy birthday, Raziel.