I’ve been posting monthly status updates at @bobcgames, but I figured I owed some update over here as well.
There hasn’t been too much progress, in the past few months. My sprite artist has been crazed with his webcomic, and my background artist seems to have had some personal issues.
As noted in the last post, I found a new background artist, and the final two backgrounds in the game are now complete, thanks to Vui Huynh. The epilogue apartment is kind of a gorgeous way to end on backgrounds.
In the music department, I have almost all of the tracks as demo versions, so I’ll be able to start staging music into the game soon. With any luck, the next build in a couple of months will have fully-staged music as well as another sprite or two.
It’s worth noting that the game is already fully playable, despite the lack of assets, and you can download it today. Just click the “Get the Game” link above.
Another week down in @yaoijam, and we’re making great progress!
The majority of what’s gotten done this week is spritework: @soulsoftea has been doing a great job churning out awesomeness. Since last week, we have final designs for both Bethan and Cian.
@pmscenarios has continued doing a great job on world building and character backstories. Almost all of the characters have been fleshed out at this point, and we have a good idea of the whole plot.
Stuff in the writing department (Bobco™ division) is proceeding perhaps a bit slower. I’m doing a rewrite of the first part, to better fit our desired characterizations and style. Life has gotten in a way a bit, but I aim to at least be through the rewrite of day one this weekend. Otherwise, the rest of the first half is fairly well stubbed out, except for day three.
We’re one “week” into Yaoijam (only because we started early), and we’ve made a lot of great progress!
@pmscenarios has been doing a lot of research, story planning, and world-building. There’s not a lot to directly show there, but suffice to say, this is probably the largest part of what’s gotten done over the past week.
@soulsoftea has been hard at work on the first sprite, Axton. We got a few different variants to start the conversation on character design, and got to a rough sprite for him, but he’s already looking amazing!
As for me, after getting some stuff done on the GUI, I’ve mostly been writing. We have a (very) rough draft of day one, along with the beginning of day 2. We’re also 7000+ words into it, so that’s some decent progress.
Next week is likely to be more of the same. My goal is to have a super rough draft of the first half of the game done, and possibly also some further GUI cleanup.
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 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.
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.
Sorry for the relative silence here. Figured I’d dump a general status post here before February is over.
March is nanoreno, and I’m signed up to work on the sea life dating sim Whale’s Waldo, which should be a lot of fun, but won’t leave me much time to work on other projects, like YAGS.
Which is probably for the better anyway. YAGS itself is basically finished, minus assets (backgrounds, sprites, and music). If you’re been following the tumblr, you’ll notice that I’ve been writing a series of backstory fics while I’m waiting on assets. My goal is to post one fic a week for as long as I can… either until I run out of things to write about, or I start ZAGS development in earnest. I’m hoping nanoreno won’t interfere with this goal too much.
And speaking of assets: There’s not much progress to report there. Jake is complete, and will be added to the game at some point, but my musician has run into personal issues, so staging music will be further delayed a bit. Sprites and backgrounds otherwise are ongoing.
I’d gotten some feedback that Dan’s previous pose was a little strange. It was intended to be a friendly “I want a hug” kind of pose, but ended up not quite looking like that, and also looked particularly odd when I started to replace his sprite in the game, because he didn’t have a more generic default pose.
@stollcomics was awesome enough to oblige me, and came up with this instead, which I think fits his character well and also is a much more reasonable “default” for him.
I also wanted to provide a general status update, because it’s been an incredibly productive winter break. I’ve actually gotten through the entirety of my last TODO list except for updates based on personality. But more importantly, I’ve also finished spite replacement in the game for Dan, Jake, and Juan, which means the next game build is ready to go once those sprites are in.
This was particularly interesting for Juan, because I don’t have even a sketch version for him yet, so I improvised by making a variant stick figure sprite that included his different clothing. The result was rather, uh… interesting.
The behind-the-scenes book is also making good progress. In particular, I finished the guides on how to obtain all of the achievements and collectibles, wrote the sections on the different locations in the game, and mostly finished the section on characters.
Currently we’re waiting on the final Adam sprite to push a new release. But a few awesome things have happened in the meantime:
New background (campus buffet) was finished
Main theme song was finished
Bonus scenes for almost all of the guys are written
Once the sprite is in, it should be a quick process to export all of the layers out, replacing the current sketch placeholders I used to test. The music and background are already in the game, so should have a release out the same night. Yay.
(Also, yeah, this looks ridiculous, even with just the sketch placeholder. 😛 And I guess it will continue to do so until most of the sprites are replaced.)
I’m also in the early stages of assembling a behind-the-scenes book (PDF), which goes into a bit more detail than this blog about the early process and story of the game, how different characters developed, and compiling some of the artistic process behind the assets together. (Of course it will also include copious galleries of sprites and backgrounds.)
The plan is to offer such a book as a “bonus” you can pay for. (The game itself, of course, will always be free.) Thinking something like $5 for the soundtrack (and a steam key, if/when I port this over to steam), and $9 for the book?
The idea is that I want to raise some small amount of funds to commission more art for the game (like CGs), because there’s more I want to do there. Not sure how reasonable that (or those amounts) seem. I guess we’ll have to see.