Penrose: Dawning

I posted this to my tumblr and my own discord, so i guess its time to share it here (and I will put it on the narrat discord too at some point i guess lol). Some of this summary comes from my existing posts but I will expand on the actual concept more on this thread!


Considering this is only a month long jam, its unlikely i will finish an entire game in that time, but I will make a “narrat jam” release once it ends, and continue to work on it after to make a full release.

This game will be considered an introduction to my world “Penrose” as a short game called “Dawning”. Apologies if my summary remains vague, trying to keep some level of mystery.

The story takes place around a fake town called Penrose in Nevada. It is a small, irrelevant town that the main character Mick had previously called home until she left at age 18. She is in her 30s now, and returns when realizing her utter lack of memories triggered by online blogs that had taken interest in the little place. A strange drive to uncover what was lost from her mind, urges her to do so. Through the town and past the old church sits an expanse of a campground- or so it seems, from all that can be assumed. Static does nothing to clear up what Mick cannot see.

She finds that her old friend Eden never left their hometown, and asks her to come along in piecing things together.

Considering i see this as a short “intro” game, you probably wont get all the answers you want about the world in front of you.

This game aims to be simple- while future games based around this universe may become more complex, this one will have a smaller goal.

Dawning will focus on branching dialogue, above all else (which means likely unfinished scenes/drawings lol). I intend to do this far more than anything else, hoping that there will be big enough trees to make unique play-throughs for at least a couple and create interest in lore. Even if i cant manage that during the jam its what i hope to do with some full finished version!

Dawning will not have any skills (unless i have time for it/can figure out what?)

Dawning might have two endings.

Dawning will hopefully have original music lol. (i will probably re-work music i made. i dont make music a lot but i want my own ost in my games so ill just do it this way for the jam. hopefully…)

The world “Penrose” has existed for quite a while (2015) under different names and worlds and designs… For fun, you can look at this toyhouse page if youre curious about loads of old art of Mick (and some old comics). just know theyre not “canon” or even remotely related to this story!

I have technically concluded loads of research, and have a loose outline. Start, Middle, End. Plans are to make flow charts for dialogue and also locations- and will probably work on art first as i dont want to over do it with the backgrounds/scenes and just solidify myself w what i manage. I love writing though, I feel like I may get caried away haha… so we will see how much I get done.

also! while i will be posting every minor piece of progress on my discord, i will try to give larger summaries here ^^


I wanted to give a little peek into some of how i am tackaling the plans of my narrative! since i want to be very focused on text. note! this is no where near final, its still a “vague outline” to me. none of the dialogue is in character and there arent any text descriptions of settings/etc…

i will show the general “intro” to the game as its not spoilery and will still change a lot.

here is my flat document that contains the entire vague script:

I use some things to try and remind myself where things will ‘branch off’ (in this case B1, B2, so on…) and when they ‘return’ to the main dialogue (in this case R1, R2, so on…) and then i use bullet point lists to write out those ideas. i do plan to, and need to remind myself, to put in some branches that arent dialogue and just actions etc…

anyways. here is a flow chart i started to display this visually.

(be sure to click this one, its hard to read!)

might wonder the point in doing this and the flat outline is that i work best visually- it gives me a good idea of progression and i think itll be easier to play out more and more dialogue and text this way in the end. (it also just fun to look at in general).

anyways. thats the lil dev update i wanted to give! probably gonna jump into some art stuff. really need to figure out the looks asap.


just throwing in an update to the creating process I came too last night that will change up what i will share progress wise (which may include a lot of censored images lol)

i told myself “ok, i will define locations, so i can drawing images asap and also design my characters properly/find my art style” which is bc i think the images will take a lil bit of time to define and i want that to look good.

however after writing a bit i was hit with “wait this game is 90% text. if i dont finish/solidify my text i will not have a game lol”. after all, this is a narrative game that needs text to uh… be a game! my plan now is to work heavily on the important writing (where setting description will go, where dialogue will be and generally what its saying, along w chosing where stuff will branch) AND with that, also do coding to implement it properly. i want to have the actual “gameplay” (clicking through text and seeing it) 60% or so done. at the very least i am capable of throwing together sketches for things i may not have time to drawing completely.
40% left would be art, and really just reviewing my text and likely adding more or taking stuff out if needed.

I think i would also be much more satisfied having the narrative gameplay more finished by the end of the jam since i am trying to learn this engine more than just draw, as i draw all the time. i am confident in my drawing and writing skills, and i really really want to get some kind of game semi started at the very least.


I agree with this, and my general advice when it comes to making narrat games is to just open VS Code and start writing directly in your scripts. You can always refine/improve.

The thing is, you can easily put placeholder images in your screens/portraits until everything is finished, and still have a functioning game. Whereas on the other hand, you can have all the assets finished, but until you’ve written the narrat files, you won’t really know how it feels to play it.

It’s also useful to implement “the entire flow of the game” in a less detailed way (ie. can have placeeholder content with [insert more dialogue here], but it lets you follow the general outline from finish to end).

This way you can just insert content in between the various key points.

Of course depends how you feel like working

Also, as you’re implementing, you will probably find yourself changing your mind on scenes and screens, and realise you might need different assets than originally planned


yes, throwing things in the engine as i go is definitely something i was thinking as well. i plan to keep the shunky paragraphs mostly in a different document just for better editting (cuz boy, am i going to write some huge paragraphs. its hard for me to manage those in long lines of code in an editor), but im sure itll help me figure out where dialogue may branch too. writing out a flat “main line” of dialogue right now is still leaving me unsure as to where itd even branch off- or how to keep branching off… if i can get into the mechanics of it while going through those motions i think i can at least make pointers with placeholders for what it could say at least and just go back to them- with the added plus that its been implemented in some form!

For what it’s worth, enabling Word Wrap in VS Code (or the editor of your choice) ((but it’s Option-Z or Alt-Z in VS Code)) goes a very long way to giving some kind of parity with a normal text editor for long lines.


v true! will definitely have word wrap bc its easier for me to look at anyways. i just prefer the formatting of a full word software when it comes to writing paragraphs… like, i expect to write 500 to 1k words for like ONE introduction of a place so, it will be… a lot. easier to look and edit outside of a code program in the end lol (will probably write one large thing, split it accordingly, and also mark where i can write more as i insert dialogue too. i also dont expect what i write outside to be final, definitely likely i will keep tweaking and editing in the code.)

a new peek at a flowchart. my method after getting some dialogue branches done in game has been to do some stuff in game, and then further expand on the flowchart. its not easy to write the very long branches without more of a visualization, and it helps me extend it further and further than what i come up with straight on the code.
this definitely feels like the way to go for me. i want to focus hard on writing because that is what all of my game will be, and making sure i have branches that make sense- especially when you return to the center track- is what i want to get right!

yes, this is super low quality. didnt want yall to be able to read the dialogue that easily, but wanted to show off the longer and longer chaos of the flowchart…

oh and i started using for the chart, much easier and newer too. it works on web or as a standalone!

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had to upload this on a side yt channel… also i think i accidentally recorded music i was playing lol- so if you hear it, ignore it. not related. (but hey, it sounds nice tbh).

(also you’ll notice a choice at the end there, just ignore it was just a test- i also recorded this some days ago and have made some changes since!)

So hi, a new video showing off how things progressed. quite a bit! while i still have much deeper design/UI changes to make (and erm, no art for screen) i still got the color scheme going which is based off the title logo i had made prior.

through this video i have gotten two sections done-
1- the introduction
2- the description of arriving at the gate.

The supposed/planned next parts? That may change- shorten or expand-
3- entering the gate, looking at the scene, and further branching off to observe the things within this space
4- reaching a plot important place
5- plot important scene. potentially another location thrown in.

thats just outline, of course this does not regard all the long branches of dialogue (and probably more and more screens for those). i hope to get started on some artwork, its likely i wont get anywhere close to making alternate art for branches because its a lot.

though additionally, i am in a pretty hard creative block- already was before starting the game- and i am pushing to really do this bc i want to learn. but i am slowing on real inspiration for the details of the next parts of writing… may slow down a bit, but pleased with what i am showing so far!

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this may be the last big post i make before i finish what i have for the jam!

made some good writing progress for scene 3 (though still not done with it) but i am trying to get myself on the drawing side of things… honestly if i dont have any art done i cant present the game lol. if that happens by then end of the jam i definitely cant see myself posting it…

been tough w the creative block but i am getting some design work done. there is only one character beside you, which i have to figure out looks for >_> but! heres some design process for the main character “You” aka Mick.

first drawing looks at how her design looked years ago (2016-2019)

next image shows the actual old art from 2018 or so, for reference. along with some facial expression tests. My product for now doesnt deviate that heavily, not obviously… but working w my current style, i have to adjust my process for drawing her, along with learning all over again how to work with it.

aaaand clothing + final hair/fur colors. i pushed the muted colors completely and went more pink. that white just kept coming out too peachy and i struggled to keep it there but muted. her clothing colors may change/her clothing in general in more final projects will likely change but hey, i like it.


Cute art :slight_smile: itll look really nice in game

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ok. actual actual final post probably, these are the solidified designs finally, so i can get to drawing some screens. these colors are specific to the game. the last background color was skewing my color choices but i am happy with these.


super cute artwork :slight_smile:

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The game has been finished! to the best of my ability in the course of a month lol.


Good job :smiley: I’ll be trying it and others soonish when the jam ends

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