It's the final match between the cool, princely Davonte and the fiery, hot-headed Hao Yu! They've always had a close friendship — and rivalry! — but could there be something more blossoming between them? (Yes. The answer is yes.)

Splash! Tournament of Love is a visual novel about a passionate rivalry between collegiate athletes.

Play as the sweet prince, Davonte Thompson or as the hot-headed tsundere, Lin Hao Yu!

I developed Splash! Tournament of Love for Yaoi Game Jam 2020 alongside two of my talented friends, dybyr and Michelle "waveoftheocean" Pang. I wrote two major branches from the perspective of our main characters, along with two endings each, for a total of four endings and 5,000+ words.

We wanted to create a queer romance story that was pure and wholesome. dybyr noted that he wanted to create a game that would make him feel like a total fanboy and shipper. He specifically requested that this game's writing fulfill his needs for a romance that fully unfolds on-screen, as many non-romance anime don't develop relationships past fleeting gazes and blushing faces.

I came up with the concepts for each character (nicknamed "Blue" and "Red" — these themes are still present in the final version, as illustrated below) by listing out common tropes they'd follow, their idiosyncrasies, and their overall character arc.

The title screen featuring Davonte ("Blue").!_dPYBaTRNgE.png

Alternate title screen featuring Hao Yu ("Red").

Drawing inspiration from anime characters like Tenou Haruka, Suou Tamaki, and Kashima Yuu, I wrote Blue as the princely type who felt that he was a cool customer, while in reality, he was a bit of an airhead and miscommunicated often. Red, on the other hand, was inspired by explosive tsundere characters, like Bakugou Katsuki, Sohma Kyou, and Saijou Claudine.

Michelle then took those notes and created the following designs, and I felt she captured these characters perfectly. She's a huge fan of sports anime, and her work showcases her love for the genre. She created the character base models plus dozens of expressions for me to work with (which included file names like "HaoYu_angry," "HaoYu_angryblush," and "HaoYu_angryblushpaint").

Michelle's original sketch.

A screenshot of Hao Yu acting like a tsundere.

Meanwhile, dybyr created a visual novel engine in Godot for me to use. He created "minimal gameplay" sections which offered the player opportunities to "flavor" their experience of our game. We wanted these "minimal gameplay" sections to engage the player since we know that VNs can end up bland.!tol.gif

One of the many "choice tracks" built by Sam.

I aimed to spice up all of the dialogue by throwing cheesy line after cheesy line into the script. I wanted to make the most of this awkward, princely dork and his impulsive rival best friend.

Most importantly, every ending is a happy ending — it's up to the player to decide whether or not they stay "true" to the character or take the next step in their development.!_S4P4ZxP1o0.png

A nod to a fantastic BanG Dream! character who served as the primary inspiration for Davonte.

Pelt your crush with a paintball or three at dbybr's itch page!

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