May Updates

There wasn’t much to report for May… until a few days ago. The day job had gotten really busy, and there was no real YAGS asset progress – my sprite artist was on a crazy work schedule for his webcomic (and therefore has had no time for sprites since the first week of April), and my background artist had been unresponsive since January – so I kind of put gamedev and game projects (i.e. AFS) off to the side.

So, of course, the right thing in my dearth of gamedev motivation was to start a new game, for Yaoi Jam. (/s)

It showed up in my Twitter feed (on a rare day when I was actually checking it), and we came up with an idea, so now I’m working on a new game with @pmscenarios​. It’s tenatively titled Xenopathy, and is a sci-fi romance thriller kind of thing that will hopefully be a lot of fun to write. (We’ve also enlisted the talents of @soulsoftea​ on sprites, which will be amazing.)

I’ve spent some of the long weekend working on the GUI for the game. It’s mostly done, minus cleanup of the screen contents (preferences, load, save) and a possible redesign of the start screen. But it’s already easily my deepest dive into RenPy screen language and ATL ever, and I think it turned out pretty well.

In YAGS news, I found a new background artist, Vui Huynh, to finish up the final two backgrounds, so I hope to have all backgrounds replaced in-game by the end of June. Here’s a sketch of the game room.

YAGS’ music is also making progress. We’re only missing two more demo tracks, at which point I can start staging music into the game. I also received the shortened version of the YAGS theme, which I’m going to use to throw together a game trailer (using RenPy!). I assume none of that is happening soon, given the game jam, but hopefully by the end of August we’ll have a lot more progress to report on YAGS.

So that’s been my May… it’s been busy, especially considering almost everything above has happened within the last week.

Not really sure what I’m doing with AFS at this point. I do want to finish it, at some point, but RenJS is proving to be a pain to work with because I can’t run the game locally, and I’m not in the right frame of mind to either be developing live on a server or uploading changes constantly for testing. I might have to research other HTML-based visual novel engines, because using RenPy (and forcing players to download the game and run it) seems like overkill.

April Updates

April was kind of a weird month. Between travel and (both planned and unplanned) visitors, I didn’t really get much done in the gamedev realm.

I pushed a new YAGS game build, which I’m sure you saw, featuring Dan and Jake sprites. My sprite artist is having a bunch of deadlines through at least the end of May, so I’m not expecting to make much progress there in the next month or so. There’s a bit of general cleanup I need to do, which I’ll find time for at some point.

My musician has also started on tracks again. Hopefully we’ll have all of the music for YAGS (at least in demo form) by the end of May, which will let me start staging the music into the game.

I’ve been bad at keeping up on fics, due largely to a current creative slump, so we’ll call those as being on hiatus for now. At some point I’ll get the inspiration to start writing them (and ZAGS?) again, but I’d rather not publish any for now than churn out garbage.

In other news, I finished the sprites for AFS. My May goal is to finish the game, but we’ll see how much progress I actually manage to make.

Gogo gadget progress.

March Updates

March was full of Nanoreno 2018 awesomeness, and we got our game done! Whale’s Waldo is available for your downloading pleasure, now.

I had the pleasure of working with six other amazing people, and also learning a lot of new RenPy things in the process, like ATL and transitions and getting more experience with screens (some of which I’ve detailed on this blog).

The best part was probably working with people that approach writing and gamedev in such a different way than I do. It made me think a lot about my own writing, and the kinds of things I tend to focus on, and I think it’ll make me a better writer and gamedev in the future.

As far as YAGS goes, March involved getting Jake’s final sprite into the game, and getting awesome Dan inks from my sprite artist @stollcomics. Hopefully we’ll have his final sprite soon, so I can push a new game build.

I’ve also been continuing my series of YAGS fics. There’s been a few pieces this month that I particularly like (including the background fic of Chris coming out to Janet), although the theme has seemed to be more around pre-game-timeframe backstory fics. In April, I want to divert more back into the few remaining in-game backstory fics.

Other than that, the current plan for April is to actually get work done on At First Sight. It’s going to be a busy month IRL, so we’ll see how much progress I make there.

Fic: At First Sight

A random comic showed up in my feed that has the same general idea as this piece, so this seemed like as good a time as any to post it.

This is a random fic I threw together a month ago when I couldn’t sleep. It’s going to be the basis for a short visual novel project that I want to make at some point (see my attempt at sprites for it in the last post).

My original plan was to do this for nanoreno in March, but that seems unlikely now given my other commitments. We’ll see how that works out.

Obligatory warning for strong language and discussions of sex.

(For those of you following my series of YAGS fics, this is completely unrelated to those and the YAGS universe. So don’t worry about spoilers.)

At First Sight

Everyone has a soulmate.

It seems ridiculous to write that, even now. I mean, of course they do. It’s a fact as obvious as the sun rising every morning or the planet continuing to orbit the sun. Even babies, wide-eyed and babbling, stuck in their endless cycle of eating and shitting, somehow have an innate understanding of that fact as their mothers – and fathers; okay, it is the 21st century after all – drag them around on shopping trips to be poked and prodded and cooed over by strangers in the aisle of the grocery store. Even they, somehow, know this, and the lucky ones – the really, really lucky ones – are wheeled past one another between the rows of canned corn and dry pasta and then never leave each others’ sides again.

Everyone has a soulmate, and you’ll know the first time you lay eyes on them.

Okay, the second part is maybe a little less obvious. It’s strange then, maybe, that no one really talks about it. But it explained why I was sitting here, in a shitty run-down bar drinking watery tequila with one eye on the door and the other on the clock.

The dreams had started a few days ago. I was old – pushing 30 years, at that point – trying to deal with the fact that I was one of those unlucky few who would go their lives without that glimpse into the future that would help find that elusive them. Or her, anyway.

30 years old, trying to deal with the fact that fewer and fewer of my friends – really acquaintances because, let’s be real, no one really wants to be friends with a thirty-something-year-old guy still off on his own – sent wedding invitations each year, that stupid “plus one” staring at me from the crisp white cards, as if mocking me. That more and more of them were having kids of their own, eating and shitting and babbling their endless streams of nonsense.

What a load of crap.

So it was somewhat of a relief when I had the first dream, vague as it was. I wasn’t even sure it was a premonition at that point because, you know, no one really talks about it. Which seems silly because, hey, it happens to everyone, right? Thank god for the internet, at least.

But then I had it again, a little clearer the next night. And the next. And so on, until today when my bus home popped a flat, and I decided to walk, and in my infinite wisdom managed to screw up the route so badly that I ended up in front of this bar that I’d never seen before, staring at the dusty wooden letters above the rickey old door, and feeling a lump in my throat because I knew this place. I knew this place, and I knew that this was it.

I took another shot, noticing the bartender watching me – concern maybe? disgust? – and glancing over at the door again. I also knew that she was late. But, somehow, with that expectation, maybe she’d be here exactly when she was supposed to be?

The door shuddered open again, and my eyes darted back to it – when did I look away? – and she walked through.

More accurately, they walked through.

I started into their eyes, their arms around each other, their smiles fading as I watched and we watched and we knew. All three of us, somehow, knew.

“What the… fuck?”

We sat at a booth – although calling it that would be generous – awkwardly trying to look everywhere but each other, the butterflies in my stomach having given way to some deep, gnawing pain, instead, and my head spinning a bit more than I’d like, not just due to the knowing.

This was all wrong.

One of them, the blonde one, clears his throat and sticks out his hand.

“Hi. I’m, uh… I’m Tim.” He jerks his head toward the other guy, who’s trying his hardest to pick the cracking ends of the cheap linoleum tabletop to pieces. “That’s Matt. We, uh…”

The sound of a couple of glasses hitting the table sounds like a gunshot, and the bartender nods at us, quickly, before returning to his post. Tim’s hand hovers, awkwardly, and I grab it because, hey, it’s only polite, right? If only the damn walls would stop moving.

“What’s… what’s your…”


He nods, and I make the mistake of looking at him again, those blue eyes drawing me in, in the dream feeling like an oasis in the desert but now, somehow, threatening to drown me. I tear my gaze away from him and focus on the puddle of tequila in my shot glass.

“I’m not gay.”

The other guy, Matt was it?, laughs at that. It’s not even a particularly nice laugh, soft and pleasant – no, it’s rough, like nails on a chalkboard in the foggyness of my brain, and I know I should stand up and walk out of here, now.

“Funny, coming from a guy drunk on shots of tequila in a gay bar.”

“Matt. That’s not…”

“Hey, just pointing out the obvious.”

Tim bites his lip, fingers awkwardly drumming the table.

“We, uh. We should talk about this.”

“You’re supposed to be a woman.” The words come out, angrier than I intend, perhaps, and slurred from the booze, and Matt just stares at me, this stupid grin on his face as Tim takes a huge gulp of his drink. Then he’s laughing again, and I’m shaking my head. “No. Stop that, dammit. You’re supposed to be a woman. Emphasis on the ‘a’. As in one. Person. Also female.”

“That’s why we should talk about this.” He takes another gulp, the obnoxiously pink liquid sliding down his throat, and my eyes lingering, somehow, there and on the way his adam’s apple bobs as he does. “I, uh… we, I guess, uh… we all felt that, right? That knowing.”

“Babe, you’re stating the obvious again.”

He puts his hand on Tim’s arm, and I stare at it. In revulsion? Disgust? Why the hell was I feeling this way? I don’t want some faggot’s hand on my arm.

Must be the liquor talking.

“Well, it’s not exactly something people talk about. And, uh… not exactly something I expected to ever feel again, in my lifetime.”

“What, we don’t stare into each others’ eyes every night while you’re buried deep inside me?”

Tim turns red and stares at the empty glass in front of him, a drop of pink slowly running down the side.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” My stomach is outright revolting now, threatening to unleash its wrath upon the unsuspecting tile floor.

“Chris. Dude. I don’t know what this is either, okay? But we all know it’s right. So why don’t we…”

My stomach makes itself known, then, dumping its contents, the sickly stench of tequila and whatever crappy lunch I’d had that day permeating the air, and Matt is laughing again, and I want to tell him to shut up and walk away. I want to punch that stupid face and walk out of here and never see either of them again.

Instead, I take sips of the water he brings me, and let sleep take over.

I wake up in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar room, the pounding in my head and cotton in my mouth adding to the confusion. There’s a trashcan by the bed, and I grab it, dry heaving as my stomach tries, unsuccessfully, to rid itself of the emptiness inside it.

Tim walks in, a glass of water and some pills in his hand, setting them on the table and sitting on the bed, next to me.


I look at him, not entirely friendly, and he stares at the floor.

“What did…”

“You passed out. We weren’t sure where you lived or anything, so we brought you back here, instead.” He hands the glass and pills to me, still not meeting my gaze. “Nothing happened, if that’s what you’re asking. We just…” He bites his lip again. “We just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

I eye the pills warily, deciding they’re just painkillers, before downing them and half the glass of water. He watches me, and our eyes lock, neither of us able to look away until Matt erupts into the room, sees us, and starts laughing.

“Having a moment?”

“Matt, that’s not…”

“Hey, I want in on this too.”

He sits down next to Tim, an arm over his shoulder, smiling at me with that stupid grin on his face.

“Feeling better?”

I shake my head, the light too bright and my head still pounding, and he laughs again.

“Dude. Ten shots? I’m not surprised. Also you should make sure you go pay the bartender tomorrow… we convinced him to start a tab for you, but he doesn’t exactly have a card for you, so we’re gonna be i…”

“Matt. We should let him sleep.”

“Where are we going to sleep?”

“Our couch pulls out, remember?”

“But babe. We…”

I shake my head, shimmying out from under the covers and feeling the unfamiliar carpet under my feet.

“That’s okay. I should, uh… get out of your hair, anyway.”

Tim bites his lip again and Matt shakes his head.

“Uh uh. You’re staying somewhere we can keep an eye on you, dude. Just maybe not exactly there.” I open my mouth to protest, and end up in the plastic haven of the trash can again. Matt just laughs, does an I-told-you-so, and kicks me out of the bed.

I end up on the couch, staring at the ceiling in the darkness, my stomach still doing flips but not angry enough to fight, anymore. There’s snoring coming from the other room, and I wonder if it’s Tim or Matt.

It’s oddly endearing.

No. It’s shit, and it’s annoying, and what the hell am I still doing here, lying on some stranger’s – no, strangers’ – couch with vomit on my shirt and the worst hangover I think I’ve had, ever?

No one has ever rejected their soulmate. At least, not that I’d ever heard. Then again, I’d never heard of anyone having two, either.

“I’m not gay.”

It comes out, softer and maybe a bit more hoarse than I’d like. But It’s comforting, somehow, to say it out loud to the darkness. And that slight comfort, or whatever, was enough to let me drift off to sleep.

So this is probably the part where you expect a sort of coming out montage, where I find my inner Cher, or RuPaul, or whoever, and start taking it in the ass from Tim and Matt, right?

Well, sorry to disappoint, because sexuality doesn’t work like that, no matter how much I may have wanted it to, or not wanted it to.

That’s not to say they didn’t try – I had a rather interesting, and honestly rather pleasurable, experience on the receiving end of some blowjobs. But straight is straight, and gay is gay, and there’s just something about another man’s lips wrapped around your cock that is an instant boner killer, you know?

So no, we didn’t get it on every night with hot threesomes that kept the neighbors up.

What we found, instead, was somehow even better than that – a sort of closeness and companionship that you can’t really describe with words. It was perhaps the first time I watched them having sex, seeing the way they looked at each other, and somehow getting caught up in the moment myself, despite not caring for the particulars; it was perhaps that time, and the way they also looked at me in their throes of passion or whatever, that made me feel like, somehow, this was where I belonged.

I’ll spare you all the gory details of our arrangement – suffice to say, arranging hookups with un-soulmated women wasn’t particularly difficult – but it somehow worked for us. A week after that fateful day in the bar, I broke my lease, packed up my shit, and moved in with them to their cramped little apartment in the middle of nowhere, and none of us have looked back since.

Well, no. I suppose there’s one thing I need to fix.

Everyone has a soulmate, and you’ll know the first time you lay eyes on them. But maybe not just one.

Upcoming Projects

randomnobodyandfriends asked:Really enjoyed YAGS, will definitely play it a few more times once finished. If you don’t mind sharing, do you have any idea what genre your next project will be?

Thank you for the message!

I expect YAGS will be code-complete by the end of February, with both final backgrounds and music, leaving only sprites to go. Those should filter in over the next few months, so hoping for a final release sometime this summer. (But with plenty of releases between now and then with sprite updates.)

I have two projects I want to work on while I’m waiting for sprites:

The first is ZAGS, a direct sequel to YAGS, but built more as a stat-based dating sim, because I really want to get into more advanced RenPy coding, and I think setting up weekly scheduling with interspersed VN scenes would make for an interesting project. YMMV in terms of play, because I expect it will feel extremely different than YAGS.
This also has the benefit of reusing many assets from YAGS, so its release won’t get delayed waiting for sprites. And hopefully I’ll be able to plan in several CGs as well.
(Screenshot below of the current GUI, as implemented in RenPy, including the stats summary screen.)

The second is intended to be a short (5-10k word) VN based off of a drabble I wrote one night while I couldn’t sleep. It’ll probably be in RenJS, and I mostly want to pursue this project as a way to handle all art assets for a game myself. (Some sketches of the sprites are below. They look pretty weird. I’m clearly not an artist.) Story-wise, it’s a slight fantasy twist on reality?

Of course, given my lack of motivation on things sometimes, it’s also possible that neither of these things will actually come to pass.

(It’s also worth noting that the second of these projects was my primary reason for splitting my tumblr up yesterday, so expect more details about it in the relatively near future.)