Nanoreno 2016!

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Hey everyone! This is just a quick update to let you know what Lore and I will be up to for March. Once again we will be taking part in Nanoreno (the annual Visual Novel 1 month game jam) and so by early April we should be able to present a brand new shiny game for everyone to play!

The game is called Where We Lay Our Scene and will be commercial. There will be a male protagonist and the four love interests are of varying genders and sexualities. The game takes place in Europe this time around and there’s quite a lot of diversity in the cast and backstories!

Early character concepts

Early character concepts

These are some early character concepts I did but since then Lore has finished the character bios and outline so they all may be changing a little bit, though visually most of the elements are there.

Christian Marino has become a household name, what with his face and body always visible when you open a magazine or look out your subway train window. But now famous model Christian Marino finds himself at a crossroads. What will he do with his life once his well-known and much-cherished looks fade? Is there even anything more to him below the surface that everyone else sees? As he considers these issues of future and identity, he’s suddenly cast as the lead role in a film based on a bestselling novel. With fresh new challenges to face in an unfamiliar environment, this just might be the solution Christian was looking for—to more problems than one.

We’ll reveal more about the setting and characters once Nanoreno begins! In the meantime I am hurrying to get all my planning done so I have a chance in hell of getting the game complete. This will be my 6th Nanoreno so I’m not new to it, but we are really pushing ourselves to create something great this year!

Actor Paint Test Full

Painting Test

This was a painting test I did early on, so this is the style I’m going to attempt to achieve for the game. The backgrounds should be a similar level to what I did for The Blind Griffin. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m hoping the final product looks really nice!

UI Planning

UI Planning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also done a fair bit of planning for the UI. I’m aiming to try and refine the UX since that is now my day job so I really should be paying attention to it!

 

 

That’s all we really have to share so far! We hope you look forward to seeing what we can produce for Nanoreno 2016!

Updates and musings

BCM CG update

Long time no see! I have a bulkier blog post today with a number of things that I want to talk about. First off, BCM is entering its final stages of development. The rough draft of the script was finished some months ago, but I’m currently working on heavily revising it, particularly the endings and epilogues. The problem with writing a script over a 4-year period is a lot of the old writing doesn’t really match up with the new; even the characterizations are a bit off. Auro is done with pretty much everything art-wise other than the CGs at this point, which is what she’s hammering out now. While she’s working on those, I’m fixing up the script as best as I can. I’ll have some directing (that is, matching sprite expressions to dialogue) to do once the script is finished, too, but from experience that shouldn’t take me too, too long. If all goes well, we’re looking at a release later this year!

In other news, 3 days from now I’ll be headed to Australia to visit Auro. I’m spending a whole month there and I’m really excited about it! I’ve never been outside of the US and I’ve also never flown on a plane by myself. I’ve never done a lot of the things that I’m planning to do on this trip, so I just know it’s going to be a great experience. Of course, I’m bringing along my laptop, too, so while I doubt I’ll be at my usual level of productivity, I do want to get some work done while I’m down under. We’re going to see The Lion King at the theatre, too, so I’m super duper excited.

I’d like to take some time to talk about this design document template that I made up a while back. The first version of it that I came up with was for Ristorante Amore. Back when we first started with Cyanide Tea, Auro and I mostly communicated via Google Docs. So having a document that we could pass back and forth was really crucial in the planning stages. The template went through a lot of changes every time I used it, but it’s been in this form for the last three projects I’ve worked on (Taarradhin, the Blind Griffin, Spirit Parade). People often ask me about how I organize my ideas for projects or how I plan things out…and this is it! The story and character sections are important, of course, but I think the art assets part at the end is crucial, too. It’s a good way of keeping scope in mind. If I can see a list of (potential) BGs at a glance, I can figure out how many scenes can take place in each one and maybe eliminate BGs that are less useful. Passed back and forth between your team members, you end up with a really good way to see the skeleton of your project at a glance and cut the fat when you can. It’s also great for making sure that everyone’s on the same page.

Finally, I’d like to talk a little bit about this year’s NaNoRenO. Auro and I teamed up with Noyemi K and Rins to form Asphodel Quartet this year and we released the Blind Griffin. I had planned out a long postmortem on the game, but in the end I think it’d be most useful for myself and others if I just talked about two things: the challenges I came up against and the lessons I learned from working on it. I’m going to present these in list form.

CHALLENGES

  • having to do a lot of research on history, fashion, and language to make sure I was pretty accurate in terms of character voice and setting
  • writing a main character who never received a formal education (I’m used to writing very educated characters)
  • making sure that the story pacing wasn’t too rushed, but that there was still enough believable romance on the romantic routes
  • working with positioning and resizing full-body sprites, which I’ve never dealt with before
  • actually writing humor intentionally

LESSONS LEARNED

  • there’s no point in giving up 2-3 days’ sleep just to try and get something done. chances are you either won’t get it done or it will be done extremely poorly. there’s no point in finishing a game if you ruin your health while doing it.
  • always have a time buffer when scheduling work on your projects. in a game jam, you absolutely WILL end up with at least a few days where family drags you out or you get sick or something unforeseeable happens, so don’t plan on working every single day.
  • related to the above point, if you find yourself with some extra time one day, use that time to do some more work on your project instead of taking off early! you might be very glad you did later.
  • if you think you’re being funny, you’re probably not. if you don’t think something you’ve written is funny, there will be at least one person out there who thinks it’s hilarious.
  • eat the frog. don’t save your work for the end of the day when you’re already tired from everything else you did that day. even if you think you’ll have energy or time, you will be surprised at how fatigue can creep up on you. caffeine can only do so much. stay healthy and get an early start so you can rest early. this is something I’m still working on…

Okay, that’s it for this post! If you’ve read all the way down, thank you and I hope I said something useful for you! (:

2014 in retrospect

So 2014 is over! Looking back, a lot happened this year but there’s still a lot that needs to be finished, as well. Since the two of us are a team, it would follow that we should do a post together to wrap up the year, so that’s what we are doing! ♥ (more…)