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Posted by : Kuna (admin) Friday, March 31, 2017

5 Months Resume

March is over. Since tomorrow I will radically change shift schedule at irl job so I don't know yet how heavily this will compromise progresses for Serenade. What I can write now, though, are how things went during these five months I worked 6-8 or 10-12 hours per day on this game.

First of all, it didn't went as planned : D It never goes, right? No matter how optimistically you plan your deadlines, there is always a sprite that won't draw right, a background that won't background the way one initially thought, etc. And it's totally normal : D

Back in November, after several prototypes, I started the definitive version of Serenade. I first learnt how many hours a full background art would have taken, I noted down the things to improve, what part of the programming or of the visuals I would be missing and several other things. It was like a research period, during which I managed to complete 30% of the demo in length, 50 or 60% in assets. So what has failed the original plan? That's a resume:

  • I was supposed to complete scene III within Feb 15th.
    But I'm finishing the coding right now, and I'll be working on it for part of next week as well.
  • I was supposed to complete scene V within the end of April.
    I was so happy when thinking about this achievement! Finishing scene V would have meant coding more than I ever reached in my prototypes. So I felt excited imagining how those new scenes would have looked like. But nope. I will work on scene IV for all April and part of May. So we'll talk about scene V way later, in June.
  • I was supposed to start working on the Tokyo arc by the second half of June.
    Being thing this way, it may happen in July (but this is a minor issue, since the Tokyo arc is part of a second release of the demo and won't bother the development of the first one).
As you can see I'm quite late. But I learnt this is how game development works so I guess it's okay. : 'D

Second CG

During March I've painted 4 background art while going on with the coding as well. The last art I painted will work as a CG scene and it depicts the car accident that caused Kairi's amnesia. 

As said before, this picture will be the reference for the event, shown throughout the game. It's a "shot" taken from Kairi's memory, but since he's suffering amnesia, it's the memory he built inside himself, combined with some photo he saw in the news (Of course he experienced the accident in first person and not as a witness). Since he's the protagonist, even when it's some other character the one who tells about the accident, Kairi rebuild the scene inside his mind in a similar shape of this one and the player sees it through Kairi's mind. So the variations of this CG will follow the same point of view. (Of course Kairi would like to remember what he actually saw on that day, but that will be a totally different CG : >)

What is a visual novel?

To conclude, as I wrote in the title, I'd like to spend my two cents on what I think it's a visual novel. Lately I've been confronting with this topic a lot while writing and coding Serenade

I used to draw doujin manga and for what I could experience, manga are similar to cinema or plays for what concerns direction. Unless is a story full of dialogues and logic, manga is fast and every scene has a purpose, adding something more to the story or to the relationships of the characters. First four scenes of Serenade are a sort of prologue and I myself want to finish them as soon as possible to start the real game :'D. The reason why I'm still stuck at scene III is not only I'm busy painting all the assets I need, but also because this urgency I'm feeling is preventing me to give its right place to every single part of this game. I feel uneasy if dialogues are too long, if there's no practical content in them and such. I'm more for "say few and pay attention to how you say it". In other words, take care of body language, words to pick up, etc.

Anyway, I'm used to play visual novels and I don't find them slow or anything. The fact is the even if a dialogue doesn't make the story progress considerably, or if you have to follow your character to their daily routine from morning to evening and still waiting for a change of pace to happen, you need to know about what you want to talk about and talk about it! There will be a main plot, a list of events that will occur and also the way you are telling your characters and the environment they're living into! I don't know if it's correct to call it "subplot" but, well, it's something I'm paying attention to right now. To sum it up, the prologue for Serenade is growing longer than I had planned, but it's still very concise and doesn't digress evidently. Still, it looks less like a screenplay : D

So, for me, the basic difference between a visual novel and a faster paced media is that in visual novel, besides experiencing a plot, you also enjoy your journey with the characters. This is probably the same thing you do in different games as well. : >

Next week (1-9) I'll work on a brief game tutorial, on the choice screen and I'll also complete scene III. See you!

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