I've learned more recently that most people either don't feel that they need to go to therapy or are scared to go to therapy. After losing my father at a young age, I've had plenty of therapists in my life. I've been able to learn skills that help me succeed in life, like self-love and self-compassion. Even without therapy, I've learned how good it is to support others and help others realize their dreams. With the idea of altruism the story idea of "A Country Called Agape" has been in my head for an extremely long time. The concept is that a selected group of individuals are allowed to live and create an altruistic society in order to help teach humans about true loving behaviors and the factors that create them. I want to use that story now to create something to help people learn how to get help, learn why they should get help, and many other diverse topics that are discussed in therapy. I love teaching others and even streamed most of the creative process of this project on Twitch to teach people about coding. Since therapy has been such a huge thing in my life I thought it would be important to help teach others how to begin looking at themselves introspectively.
What it does
This hack is a visual novel that tells a short story and begins to ask the reader questions relating to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as well as what altruistic love and self-love actually entail. Though short, it introduces characters, speaks of the arrival of the Outsider, and foreshadows future story points.
How we built it
To begin, I laid out a basic storyline, but ended up scrapping most of it due to time and just focused on the first introductions. Using the Ren'Py launcher and learning the Ren'Py modified python-like language I wrote voice lines, bought a character maker and made the visual characters myself, and found, edited, and placed background visuals for the story. I also used a domain from MLH to web host the project so you all didn't need to download the Ren'Py launcher and download the project.
Challenges we ran into
Time and burnout. I felt myself getting burnt out quite easily and had to actually get some rest limiting the amount of time I could use on this project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
A practical demo that works and introduces characters and themes in a visually appealing way. Creating characters and visuals. Actually having a full project, no matter how short it is.
What we learned
I learned a lot more about python, story writing, and scripting. Along with this, I learned a lot about how to flesh out characters and story arcs.
What's next for The Country (Tabletop Therapy)
There are quite a few things I have planned. I want to make an actual RPG game (I would have tried this method, but RPGmaker is quite expensive). I want to get this story out there in some way, but also I want to develop the Tabletop Therapy idea and take it into the counseling scene. I want to one day become a genetic counselor, and even now am taking an applied counseling class and I think it could help children project themselves into a story and their true feelings, as well as use storytelling to help adults interact and think about themselves.