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Fangame Development TutorialsTopic%20Title
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This thread is incredibly out of date, and has been neglected for quite some time. The information previously listed was from 2010, and had not properly been fleshed out. However, the Ace Attorney Online community has since developed a series of trial-writing guides that are compatible with developing a fangame with PyWright, PWLib or any other case maker of your choosing. Please find the guides below:

* Note, these guides commonly refers to cases, episodes and fangames as trials. This is common terminology used on Ace Attorney Online.

AAO's Comprehensive Guide for New Trial Authors first posted by E.D.Revolution is a fantastic resource for any newly beginning trial/case developer. It consists of four sections: Planning, Writing/Development, Execution/Presentation & Reviews and Quality Assurance (QA) Inspections. There is an additional section on Helpful Tips which is highly recommended. Ace Attorney Online has been the primary, in terms of activity and success, fangaming community, and member contributions are well worth reading.

Nelson's Bill of Player's Rights - Adapted for AAO Cases first posted by Ferdielance details the unwritten rules of 'fairness' in any game. These rules have been adapted from Graham Nelson's "Player's Bill of Rights."

Criminal and Legal Glossary/List of Terms first posted by AP-Master lists a series of criminal and legal terms and their corresponding explanations. It is a glossary that is open to any contributions.

On the Design of Good Investigations first posted by Ferdielance is self-explanatory. Ferdielance was one of two members to receive the 'Best Investigation Award' in the Ace Attorney Online Annual Trial Awards for 2013. He discusses how trial authors can avoid linearity amongst other considerations.

Hodou Masaka's Big Glorious Trial Writing Guide! first posted by Hodou Okappa discusses the introduction for a trial and its planning as well as featuring a section exclusively on characters. Hodou Okappa analyses the strengths and weaknesses of each prosecutor and defence attorney, and makes suggestions on witness characters. The 'character' section also features his suggestions on which canon sprites not to recycle if trials are developed without original character sprites.

Making More Challenging Contradictions first posted by Jean of mArc is the most comprehensive fan-made analysis on contradictions. Jean of mArc analyses how contradictions are developed, and lists the various types that have appeared in the games. He also explains what not to do when developing them.

Encyclopedia of Cross-Examinations also posted by Jean of mArc collects the various cross-examinations from the games, and divides them into categories. It is recommended to read both this, and 'Making More Challenging Contradictions' as the two go hand in hand.

The Structure of a Trial first posted by Meph features a flow chart that has carefully broken down the basic structure of courtroom trials. It does not focus on investigations.

There are plenty more guides and tutorials available, which can all be found in the Tutorials forum on Ace Attorney Online. A number of threads in said forum are Ace Attorney Online-exclusive only as they relate to the case engine's UI, but a number of unlisted guides are available which are very helpful in developing non-AAO cases.
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Last edited by Tap on Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:47 am, edited 18 times in total.
Re: Making a Fan Game (This is a Guide)Topic%20Title
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Could be a lot more comprehensive and definantly worked on by people well into fangame making but it's a good start.
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Percei wrote:
Could be a lot more comprehensive and definantly worked on by people well into fangame making but it's a good start.


That is the point of this guide. It is for creators of fan games to contribute a piece of advice and add it to this guide for people who need it.

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Number X. -Get a good team, apart from contributing, a great motivation to keep going
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-Don't be afraid to work backwards. Saying "This is what needs to happen" and then figuring out how it happens is a fine way to get things done. You can base an entire game on just one idea, by saying "This is the one thing I want to happen" and figuring out a good case to surround it.
-Always always always make sure contradictions actually make sense in the context of the witness (ex. The murderer won't think the victim was shot if the victim was actually stabbed) and that contradictions logically lead to your next point (ex. "You said the victim was wearing headphones, but she was actually just wearing a headband! You're obviously the murderer!" generally won't make sense. Perhaps you can come up with a situation where that actually proves the person is the murderer by working backwards, but generally... something like that is a logic leap that doesn't make sense.) Contradictions are really the foundation of these games, so they need to be good!


I think it's worth mentioning that AAO has an online easy-to-use editor, and requires no programming (since that's one of it's main benefits).
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Ptapcc wrote:
LuAA (formerly Ace Attorney DS): An upcoming case maker for the NDS that will require a flashcard to use. It uses program codes to make your games and will have the ability to port your game from the PC to the DS.


I'm pretty sure B12Core said that LuAA does not need a flashcard to play games from it.
He said you had to get a separate emulator called NO$GBA.
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Well, NO$GBA is a DS/GBA emulator for the PC that plays .nds files. Since LuAA games will run on either .nds.gba files or just .nds, you can probably port them onto a flash card, which will play those files.
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papermario13689 wrote:
Well, NO$GBA is a DS/GBA emulator for the PC that plays .nds files. Since LuAA games will run on either .nds.gba files or just .nds, you can probably port them onto a flash card, which will play those files.


I understand that, but I interpreted as that he thought that you can ONLY play it on a flashcard.
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Oh, I see. Apologies.
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Sorry if I confused everyone. I added a tiny bit more information to the LuAA part but as I've said, I've directed fans to have a look at your stickied thread Paper.
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Much appreciated, Ptapcc. I'm going to do the same on my thread.
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Attorneyatlawl wrote:
papermario13689 wrote:
Well, NO$GBA is a DS/GBA emulator for the PC that plays .nds files. Since LuAA games will run on either .nds.gba files or just .nds, you can probably port them onto a flash card, which will play those files.


I understand that, but I interpreted as that he thought that you can ONLY play it on a flashcard.


Yeah, just requesting that both this thread and the official PW casemaker/fancase thread be updated so that people don't think that LuAA is an engine that can only be played using a flashcard by itself...

no$gba/DeSmuME are both emulators (supported on Windows/Linux/Mac OSX) that work perfectly fine with LuAA. I don't want people thinking that they would have to go out of their way to port every single case; that would be chaotic! Not to mention having to use load the game onto their flashcards to test them every time they wanted to.

I will post this on the official PW casemaker/fancase thread as well ^^ thanks.

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I see you fixed it but it still seems odd.

change it from...

An upcoming case maker for the NDS that will require a flashcard to use (to play games on the DS). It uses program codes to make your games and will have the ability to port your game from the PC to the DS.

to..

An upcoming casemaker where you use the programming language LUA to make your own fangames on PC, then port it on the NDS for portable gameplay! (flashcard required to play games on DS, if you want to play them on PC, get NO$GBA or DesMuMe Emulator)

or something like that.
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I always find unexpected (but coherent) endings and truths to be classic elements of AA cases.

For example, the game wouldn't be very interesting if the killer, motive, or circumstances of the murder were predictable right from the start. If you keep as much of the true intentions as mysterious and secretive as possible, people are going to want to keep playing the game to find out the answers.
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So true, I never really replay the first case of the first 2 games because they show the killer right away. I only play them to watch Winston suffer :phoenix:
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papermario13689 wrote:
So true, I never really replay the first case of the first 2 games because they show the killer right away. I only play them to watch Winston suffer :phoenix:


Same here ^^

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Cardiovore wrote:
I always find unexpected (but coherent) endings and truths to be classic elements of AA cases.

For example, the game wouldn't be very interesting if the killer, motive, or circumstances of the murder were predictable right from the start. If you keep as much of the true intentions as mysterious and secretive as possible, people are going to want to keep playing the game to find out the answers.


Well, its a good thing they decided to take that out in T&T and GS4
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Attorneyatlawl wrote:
Cardiovore wrote:
I always find unexpected (but coherent) endings and truths to be classic elements of AA cases.

For example, the game wouldn't be very interesting if the killer, motive, or circumstances of the murder were predictable right from the start. If you keep as much of the true intentions as mysterious and secretive as possible, people are going to want to keep playing the game to find out the answers.


Well, its a good thing they decided to take that out in T&T and GS4


Definitely. I'm still deciding whether to do Case 1 of my game in PWlib. I did an AAO version but now...I don't think I like the plot. I was going to tie it into another case, but, ah, I don't know.

Cardiovore- Your quote has been added to...The List.
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Ptapcc wrote:
Cardiovore- Your quote has been added to...The List.


Tap, don't steal my beta-test trademark!! :payne: lol

Anyway, helpful quote

If your using AA Characters in your game, always replay the cases that the characters are in, and pay double attention to their personality to help with Character Development. Take notes and quotes in a word document or on mortal paper, to help you script the character like he/she is behaving like they're in a future AA game. E.G.

Example:

Payne- Over-confident, cocky, arrogant, whiny, easy to pressure, wimpy, lacks presense.

Quote: Don't look at me like that! I'm only doing my job!
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I tried looking up lotus charts, but I couldn't find anything :yuusaku:
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Really? *goes to search for them* You're right. I can't find any pictures explaining them. Most likely they go by a different term as I've used them all the time, through Primary and still in Secondary. I'll upload an example later but basically it's like a big box in the middle that's made up of eight different boxes that each branch out into a big box. It's hard to explain, so I'll do an example later.

EDIT: Here is a rushed example I did using GIMP in a few minutes.

Spoiler: Warning: Stretches screen
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Wow! Thanks! I was thinking about making a fan game, and this should help me out alot!
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* It's good to take calculated risks. SBX's daring use of Maya as a defense attorney was one of the things that drew me to his project, and the engine that I'm polishing up right now is pretty risky, too. It may not please everyone, it may provoke a lot of WTF responses, but I'm enjoying the process of making it.

* This is Capcom's property, and they have the right to shout a big, fat "OBJECTION!" to any derivative works. Include disclaimers in your readme text and on any download sites. It might be wise to even include a disclaimer in the intro, but SBX and I forgot to do this for 1-1 - so I'm putting it at the beginning of 1-2.

* Related: Do not promote your game in a way that suggests that it is official material, or that in any way threatens sales of future AA games.

* Set deadlines; keeping them may be hard. But at least set them, so that when you go over them, you know you've got to pick up the tempo.

* Don't get into fan-politics. If someone starts arguing casemakers, bow out politely. Don't appropriate sprites or ideas without permission.

* Pay attention to details - where line-breaks go, what sounds and flashes accompany text, and so on. But don't fixate on them too early, or you'll never get anything scripted. This perfectionism is one of my biggest flaws as a scripter - I spend forever on one or two scenes, and shortchange others.

* Read fiction and nonfiction. This will improve your grammar, your dialogue, and your ideas. Do the research. If you happen to have special knowledge of one field, that's even better - use your real-world experience.

* Playtest thoroughly before sending your game out to beta testers. A good rule: if you wrote a piece of dialogue, you should see it in action yourself at least once. This is true even if you come up with a dozen different responses to incorrect evidence. Often, games take longer to debug and polish than they take to script.

* BETA TEST. This is not optional at all. Listen to your testers whenever it's even remotely practical to do so; I still regret missing a suggested correction in our game's 1-1 before we got it out the door.

* Player empathy is vital. If the player comes up with an answer that's reasonable, don't punish them for it, even if it isn't the one you wanted.

* Relax. Have fun. This is fandom, not your job!
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I've put that in a quote on it's own FerdieLance due to the extremely large advice you have given. Excellent advice by the way.
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I'm still surprised this hasn't been stickied yet. :redd:
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Attorneyatlawl wrote:
I'm still surprised this hasn't been stickied yet. :redd:


Heh, I think we have too many stickied threads for this to be stickied. At least papermario13689 acknowledges it on his thread.
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I've been looking into style templates in Open Office Writer recently. Style templates are predefined settings that automatically formats paragraphs or pages so the user doesn't have to do so all the time.

As an experiment I wrote a Ace Attorney script template that makes textbox-looking paragraphs, which might be useful to any Open Office people here. It lets you see if dialogue will fit inside the textbox.

A short example might look something like this: Example
The template can be downloaded here: Template
Download contains the Open Office document template and Phoenix Wright fonts made by jeti.

Keep in mind:
The text looks crisp at text size 7.5 on a 1440x900 screen. For all I know it might look terrible at other resolutions, so you might have to alter the paragraph style templates so the text looks good and the paragraphs are the proper width.
Also, it's a good idea to assign a hotkey to switch to the paragraph style called PWname for quick writing.

Please tell me if there are any problems or questions.

It would be interesting to see what other people's scripts look like. Post 'em!

ON TOPIC:
Yeah, and a tip on making PW games:
First, write the entire script. Draw a simple sketch of every object, person, and place that will appear in the game.
Second, rewrite the script until it is good.
Third, translate the script into a casemaker of your choice. Use placeholders for everything you can't make quickly.
Fourth, create assets and ask for help with anything you can't do on your own. Or, do this step when you're halfway through step 3. Whichever really. Just know what you need before you create it. Planning is cheap. Don't waste other people's time.

Alternatively, just do steps 1 and 2, since they're the fun bits.
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Pronoun - Excellent advice. The script was interesting as I just have a word document with dialogue and no fancy effects.

I've added your advice ;)
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Attorneyatlawl wrote:
I'm still surprised this hasn't been stickied yet. :redd:


Not to be "that guy", but this isn't exactly fantastic, it's a very rough guide with random advice thrown together. I'd look to someone such as Ping' or Cardiovore for game making advice, as they have real solid experience. This isn't sticky worthy. Not yet.
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Percei wrote:
Attorneyatlawl wrote:
I'm still surprised this hasn't been stickied yet. :redd:


Not to be "that guy", but this isn't exactly fantastic, it's a very rough guide with random advice thrown together. I'd look to someone such as Ping' or Cardiovore for game making advice, as they have real solid experience. This isn't sticky worthy. Not yet.


Of course it's rough. It is meant to be a guide with advice from fan game developers. What did you expect? A 750 page document you could download and read over? I acknowledge your point as I have only been making JM since November 2009, so I don't have legendary advice to give however...

The point of this is for people like us (though you don't seem to want to contribute at all) to provide advice to anyone new to making a fan game. If you think that this is lacking anything, then why don't you help and contribute with a quote of your own? Your game has been in development since 2008 so you must have at least something to add to this.
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Percei wrote:
Attorneyatlawl wrote:
I'm still surprised this hasn't been stickied yet. :redd:


Not to be "that guy", but this isn't exactly fantastic, it's a very rough guide with random advice thrown together. I'd look to someone such as Ping' or Cardiovore for game making advice, as they have real solid experience. This isn't sticky worthy. Not yet.

I agree that this guide could use some organizing and stuff, but since Ping (at least, dunno about Cardiovore) is doing his game with a team, there are plenty of more people that have good experience for speaking about this :P Also the fact that there are a ton of ppl who have made great cases on AAO, and a lot of people in the process of making a fangame can still give advice, even if it is, "This is what I did, and it really delayed and stalled the development of my fangame, so don't do it!" advice. [/randompointlessrant]

(...not that it was really rant... :yuusaku: )
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Bad Player- Agreed. I reorganized the first post and provided a bit more information however it is still lacking. Anyone who feels up to the task (and preferably has experience) should PM me with what they think needs to be changed/added etc and I will do it as soon as possible.
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Well, this is a good guide to know the basic steps for making a PW FanGane...or is it? well, i've read it, but still, there's something bothering me, in the scripting part, i understand there are many programs, but none of them seem to be able to be edited, let alone make an entire case. What i'm going at, is that i don't understand myself the purpose of those engines, as well as the script that should be used to create the game, that i assure you, i do not know.
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Nicogear wrote:
Well, this is a good guide to know the basic steps for making a PW FanGane...or is it? well, i've read it, but still, there's something bothering me, in the scripting part, i understand there are many programs, but none of them seem to be able to be edited, let alone make an entire case. What i'm going at, is that i don't understand myself the purpose of those engines, as well as the script that should be used to create the game, that i assure you, i do not know.

Uh... Do you mean take an existing case, then edit it to fit your case? That's not how you're supposed to do it... You need to download the PyWright or PWLib engine alone, and then build up your case from that. (But I don't know exactly how you use them to make your case) Or you can make an AAO account then use that editor.
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Nicogear > The fact that actual cases, with all the features of a standard AA game, have been made for each of the major casemakers should be proof enough that it's possible, don't you think?

If you were expecting an editor, and find "coding" difficult, you can try Ace Attorney Online, which doesn't require any coding : there are plenty of tutorials, as well as a helpful community.

But both PyWright and PWLib are actually quite easy to master.
PyWright has a doc, tutorials in progress, many cases from which you can copy large portions of code according to your needs (simply changing the dialogue, characters, locations, etc.), a topic on CR, and a website where you can ask for help. PWLib has PWLib in a Nutshell, a very detailed tutorial, and a CR topic in which your questions will almost always be answered quickly. Both saluk (PyWright) and KSA_Tech (PWLib) are often online :)

Edit: More info coming in my pm.
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Your PM sure had good information, ping, but what i meant(wich was also answered by your PM) is that i did not know exactly where this script had to be placed, like, i open pywright, i see a menu that says "select a game" so i try putting a PW game in the games folder, it was an already fanmade game, it worked quite fine, but at that time, i asked to myself:"And how am i supposed to start making my own case? there's not even an option for that in here!"but of course, you already explained that, so thanks for the info, Ping. :)
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Sticky'd.

If you'd like some quotes, I think I have some for ya as a Computer and Video Games university student.

  • The most important thing is to not to be overambitious. People would rather have a small, but well written and plot-hole free case, instead of several long unfinished ones.
  • On a similar point, never be afraid as a writer to ask for assistance if you believe you need it. Tailor the complexity of the case to your confidence as a writer. You can pull the rug under the feet of the players with one plot twist, if it's good enough.
  • Practice your writing with other forms like short stories, radio scripts, poetry or even draft cases. Read and listen to lots of fiction too.
  • Characterisation is even more key than anything else. However good the story is, with no good characters it will fall completely flat. Remember that good characters doesn't have to mean likable. We all love to hate Manfred von Karma, afterall.
  • Don't burn yourself out! Have fun with your team!

Re: Making a Fan Game (This is a Guide)Topic%20Title
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Gender: Female

Location: United States

Rank: Ace Attorney

Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 4:09 pm

Posts: 2276

This is definitely a helpful topic. I've tried several times to make a fan case, but I always end up giving up on it (Just like I did with the Bakeshop Turnabout), because I would get frustrated trying to do the whole thing by myself. I've actually started making an entirely new case, but with Ace Attorney Online, because I don't have enough time to deal with scripting. I won't give up on this one, I swear XD
Re: Making a Fan Game (This is a Guide)Topic%20Title
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Programmer

Gender: Male

Location: Sweden

Rank: Bug Sweeper

Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:25 pm

Posts: 825

My advice:
The biggest errors are the ones that are the easiest to catch by just test playing. Things like graphical errors and typos are painfully easy to spot with just a minimum of testing. People are not going to be impressed if you have noticeable gaps in the graphics
Talking about typos, use automated spellcheckers and save yourself a lot of worry. They are not perfect, but they are quite good.
Music is a powerful tool that can easily create or ruin the experience, use it wisely.
Currently working on a redesign of cr.net itself! Come talk to me about it on Discord!
Re: Making a Fan Game (This is a Guide)Topic%20Title

Waiting on Godot...

Gender: Female

Location: New Zealand

Rank: Ace Attorney

Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:23 am

Posts: 2404

This looks alot like writing a comic ^^ You have to write a script for that, have a beginning middle and end, and panel stuff out before you lay it all out. It's a bit of a daunting process to go through though :( I wish I was more computer literate in the programing side so that side of it wasn't so daunting. I'll looked at the case makers before. There's alot to them >.> The syncing, the repetitions of sprites- heck... the sprites themselves, the timing, idiot proofing the code so that if users do the wrong thing then it doesn't crash... So much to learn O.O

Side note- if one was to make a game from scratch, none of those game makers would be usefull, would they?
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