Downfall to the Turnabout ~ Development Diary #1 (Creation)
The original idea for Downfall started exactly a year ago. I remember it was a time I just wanted to MAKE SOMETHING
. I didn't know what it was about, I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I had this itch to just make an Ace Attorney fangame of my own. Don't ask why, because I don't know. So, I started to write a project titled: 'Downfall'. The original concept was to take place in an alternate reality where Matt Engarde got away in the events of 'Farewell, my Turnabout'. The events would take place in the AJ timeline and would pretty much be a 'What if?' story – but with a twist. One, it wasn't supposed to be very long (2-3 hours at most), but the player would be given many choices that would influnece how certain events happened that would eventually give him many different endings and the player would have the option of controlling all the essential characters (Apollo, Phoenix, Gumshoe, ect.) It was from this idea that this sprite was born:
This was meant to be the hobo Nick of the alternate universe.
It was my first attempt at a sprite and I was very happy. The problem was – I just had no ispiration. It felt like too much work and the culprit wasn't so much deduced from the 'How?' rather than the 'Why?' and it got... stale. Eventually, it just faded away and became nothing more than a distant memory.
Then, a few months later – I got another idea: It was a three-case series whose cases were very tightly connected to each other. The first case 'The Fool's Turnabout' was the case the Prologue of Downfall was based on – Edgeworth was arrested for the murder of Catherine Holl and the one who defended him would be Phoenix Wright. ...And yes, it was supposed to take place in the AJ timeline. The idea was that Phoenix pretended to have regained his badge in order to represent Edgeworth in court.
The Nick in 'The Fool's Turnabout'. Some might notice the similarity of his line with the one used in the 'Downfall'.
An example of the original script used for 'The Fool's Turnabout' wrote:
???: Are you sure.... this'll work?
???: The risks you're taking... they're too big.
Phoenix: The truth must be preserved.
Phoenix: You said that yourself, remember?
???: I know. And I meant it.
???: But for your sake... I...
Phoenix: Trust me. I'll be fine.
???: I trust you, Wright.
???: ...But if you're caught...
Phoenix: I know. Your verdict will also be jeopardized.
Phoenix: Don't worry. Thanks to the jurist system, you'll be safe even if I am.
???: Wright... I... Thank you.
Phoenix: That's what friends are for.. isn't it?
That idea quickly evolved when I decided to replace Phoenix with Apollo as my main protagonist. And soon, I kind of decided to combine all those three cases into one – Downfall to the Turnabout. It was going to be the first case of a fangame – 'Apollo Justice: A Game of Deception'.
I'm not going to lie – When I announced this on Court Records, the only concrete idea I had was for cases 1 and 4. The 2nd case was essentially character introductions and the third one... I had no idea. Despite this, I proceeded with the creation of Downfall. Eventually, after releasing the first part of what was going to be the first day, I suddenly got an idea – make case 1 and 4 into one case! Well, naturally details would have to be changed, but the concept would be the same. Another reason was that I was 80% precent sure that if I were to do 4 cases, the fangame would never be finished. So, I announced this and went directly to part two of the case. ...Only to stop dead in my tracks. I started to eventually stop working on it due to my schoolwork and became unable to find the time or the will to pick it up again. Something that people have to understand is that making a fangame, of any kind, isn't easy. It requires planning, dedication, endurance and the will to just throw everything out of the window and start again. It's a tedious and frustrating process, believe me.
Another, unsurprising problem was the coding. Not that the coding itself was hard – on the contrary, PyWright is an extremely easy program to use once you get used to it. The problem was how time consuming it was. Do you remember Doe's first testimony in Prologue Pt. 2? The easiest testimony in AA history? That took me two days straight to code. It was annoying and I just wanted to stop and say: 'Screw this!' and leave everything (like I had so many times before). But I didn't. My fingers hurt like hell, but at the end of the day, I managed to finally get through it. The point is – making a fangame isn't easy. It isn't easy to write it. It isn't easy to code it.
Now let's talk about the presentation. I never actually intended to work on the presentation that much to begin with. But, as I started to make these small touches to improve it, I eventually became obsessed with it – from simple fade-ins or making sure that the Cross-Examination sign disappears after it shows to animated evidence adding, evidence boxes, 'Select your answer' fgs, Apollo zoom pose on the bottom screen whenever he objects, etc., etc. It didn't make my life any easier, but frankly, it was worth it, without a doubt.
It's actually one of the reasons why I won't be making say, an AAO version. The presentation in cluded in it is... simply far too complex to spend all that time making it, fine tuning it and uploading it with the danger of it being taken down.
Moving on to the writing. When making a fangame, you really need to make sure that: A) The pacing is right, B) You've got the characters down and C) That the crime itself is good. I'd say that Prologue had problems mostly with the A) (the lobby seen was dragged – but it was something I had to do) and C) – in other words, the crime wasn't that interesting or flashed out for people to understand it. This is something I'm working for in the next parts. If people are actually trying to solve the crime with Apollo, that means that I've succeeded. Will I? Only time will show...
As for the characters, I didn't actually have any trouble writing them. That's not to say my characterisation is 100% prefect – by no means, however people found that it all mostly worked. ...But that's for the characters that you've seen so far. Other characters (namely Trucy) I'm not so strong in writing. So we'll see.
I can understand I should talk about some of the things like Catherine Holl, Rudolf, DeKiller and possibly their ideas, characters, etc. – But I won't. The simplest reason I can give you is: 'It'll be explaned'. ...For most parts, anyway.
That concludes the first Development Diary of Downfall to the Turnabout. I can understand it wasn't that interesting, but I hope some people found it useful, anyway.