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Archive for March 2018

[Week 65]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • PBS Demo's Four "Partitions"
  • The "Mad Man"'s New Concept Art and Profile
  • A New Trailer is In The Making


It's not possible to estimate a date for the release of a demo for PBS yet, but one thing's sure: that day draws near! In this week's blog post I'd like to focus entirely on it and talk more in details about its structure and some of its features. I hope it'll be an enjoyable reading despite it being a bit technical! 😉

PBS demo's four "partitions".
The time to share a preview of the scene structure of the demo has finally come! I'll try to explain it the more I can without being spoilery. 😇

The structure I decided for the very first part of PBS is functional for the player to get accustomed to the story, to Kairi and to what they're going to experience as a game mechanic. A sort of "prelude" for the game itself that will be similar to a certain degree.

However, while the rest of the game follows a more linear sequence of events that's somewhat clear in order for the player, the prologue featured in the demo will be split into short scenes combined in a fixed order. If I'd have to compare it to some movie or TV show, I'd tell you to think of one where you have three or more parallel stories that meet and merge together at a certain point, and you'll be aware of it only at the end.

My general idea for the whole game (early preview). The demo I'm currently working on doesn't include the Tokyo Arc but I'll hopefully release a second, more complete one later.

In the demo we have four main settings where the player is called to operate in. Here are the bullet points to summarize them (I've given them iconic names):
  • Choumugai (3 scenes)
  • Investigation part (3 scenes)
  • Kairi's amnesia (2 scenes)
  • Kairi's personality (2 scenes)
And if I'd have the demo structure explained through these themes, it would be like this:

(Before the time skip) Choumugai - Investigation - Choumugai - Personality - Amnesia - Investigation

(After the time skip) Personality - Amnesia - Choumugai - Investigation

Basically you have four "stories" split up into ten scenes and you go through each of them accordingly to the sequence I reported above. Note that, for example, not all the three scenes of the "Choumugai sub-arc" are set in the Choumugai location, and same goes for the other partitions. It's a "behind the scenes partition" but, at the same time, my main aim is to have the player be aware of "continuing something that they left opened" every time they get to the same theme a second or a third time.

This is basically the technical introduction to the upcoming demo and I'll surely cover the matter again in the future. Before moving to the next topic though, I'm going to briefly recap what these partitions are about so that you can have a clearer picture of them. (A crucial detail about these partitions is that they evolve accordingly to the time flow).

  • Choumugai sub-arc: it's a short story aimed to introduce Kairi to the players and it also introduces Fujisa's route. As you can see from the list above, you get to play the end of this sub-arc only after the time skip.
  • Investigation sub-arc: now and then, the game will ask you to gather clues, actively or passively, to solve the paranormal mystery of the story. You'll learn about this mystery only when you reach the Tokyo arc though. So, yeah, during the demo you'll have a partial understanding of what it's about.
  • Personality sub-arc: its main aim is to describe Kairi's personality to the player. In this case it also introduces the other characters of the Fujisa's route. The cafeteria trailer was set in this sub-arc.
  • Amnesia sub-arc: it's about Kairi's amnesia and Kairi's past. The Isahai trailer belongs to this sub-arc.

The "Mad man"'s new concept art and profile.
While revising the script I ended up rewriting a whole character from scratch. 😓 I'm referring to the "Man" character you can still see in the Characters Profile Page

So why am I now wasting time in rewriting things and, in this case, drawing a character again? 😌 Well, I actually have been having difficulties for the scene concerning this character since the very first draft. It was originally planned to have some sort of realism in it but, after several tries I couldn't combine that with the scene's pace quite well.

In addition to that, I'm using this "Man" character to let Kairi introduce the choice system, so... even if I have to do some huge changes in it I guess that in this case they are somewhat worth the while! 😇

The new design is the following one, accompanied by a short description with some info about his background story. His name is now changed to "Madman" (waiting approval though).
Early sketch for the "Madman" character. The design has totally changed to adapt to the new script. (Gruesome) comedy is guaranteed!

A new trailer is in the making.
It took quite the time but I'm finally able to work on a new trailer and this time properly introduce the choice system. The trailer in question will feature the scene with the "Madman" and deal with Kairi's encounter with Fujisa and Teru back in high school. Yeah, finally a trailer set before the time skip! 😉

That's all for this week. I plan to use the next post to open a new "special column" of the blog featuring thoughts on game mechanics. If you like nerdy post, don't miss it!
Thank you for reading, see ya!🙌💜

The demo's partitions.

[Week 64]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • Door Creation 
  • The 3D Warehouse (Decorate with Furniture) 
  • Paint in Colors 
  • Having your 3D as A Lineart 

Second and last part of the tutorial for the basic usage of SketchUp MAKE! 🏡
We're going to continue building where we left last time so if you missed the first part, check the related post here

Door creation.

We built a floor and three walls. The next step of this tutorial is about creating a door. First of all, let's proceed with making a hole in one wall (!).

Double click on the wall to start the edit mode. Now let's select the tool for geometrical shape-making and let's draw a rectangle over the wall's surface.

We now use the pull-and-drag tool (the solid with the upward arrow) to push the rectangle inside the wall until it vanishes.

Ta-dah! We (proudly) made a hole into the wall! This is the basic and raw way about making passages into your buildings. Click anywhere else in the screen to exit the edit mode.

The 3D Warehouse (decorate with furniture).

We made a hole and created a passage. To refine our room we can consider to have a proper door. Of course, one can choose to built one from scratch but in the case of this tutorial I'm going to illustrate how we can use the users' online library 3D Warehouse and download models for almost every object and save time! 

Okay, here again with the language barrier. Simply click on the File menu and select 3D Warehouse > Get models or the equivalent in your version (an internet connection is required).

A new window appears. Let's write "door" into the browser. We can adjust our search priorities from the AZ menu on the top-right and have, for example, users' favorite models appearing first. 

I'm going to choose a simple one. When we click on download, the program asks us if we want to have the model directly downloaded into our 3D project. Let's say "yes".

The model will materialize in a few seconds! Let's rotate it and resize it to fit the hole, then let's move it into it (we learnt how to do all these operations in part I of this tutorial, remember? 😇)

Ta-dah! We have a cool door! (If you prefer, you can first download a door to your satisfaction and make the hole afterwards).

Paint in colors.

As you have probably guessed, you can use the 3D warehouse to look for the other pieces of furniture as well and decorate your rooms as you wish. I'll leave you the fun, while for the next part we're going to cover how to change colors and textures. Let's color that door then!

Lets' double click on the door once, and then again a second time to activate the edit mode. On the right side of our canvas we have a popup panel. Click on that and select "Materials". We're going to choose a texture from the wood selection. Use the bucket tool to pour paint over the door (complex models have the surface divided in several parts so we have to bucket them one by one).

We may want to change the color for the wood. Let's say we want a white door. Next to the panel where you selected the material you have a further "edit panel". There we can adjust the RGB values and get the nuance we prefer.

Don't forget to move around the model to paint the tiniest parts too.

Ta-dah! We got a white wooden door with golden metal handle and tag.

Having your 3D as a lineart.

Least but not last, we may want to have our model outlined as a lineart. Sketch Up can actually render it that way for us.

Let's browse the Styles in the panel on the right side of the screen until we find some used for the "photo rendering". Once selected the style applies instantly.

You can have a .png file of your model by clicking File > Export > 2D image. The picture will save accordingly to the style you selected.

Sketch Up MAKE basic tutorial ends here. Thank you for sticking with it! 🙇💕
Next week PBS updates will be back again. Get ready for some new screenshots! 😋

Thank you for reading, see ya!🙌💜

Sketch-Up Basic Tutorial (Part 2)

[Week 63]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • An Early Glimpse of The Dating Game Mechanics
  • Spring Illustrations
  • Youtube Update


PBS's reports are back once again! 🙌 This week's update include some hints about the game mechanics as well, therefore it's definitely time to start with the tour! 💨

An early glimpse of the dating game mechanics.

I'd like to begin this topic by recapping some info about the dating part included in Serenade. Here's a few bullets:

  • The game is mainly aimed for a female audience. For this reason, a plot where Kairi pursues girls purely because of romance purposes was not matching quite well the nature of PBS.
  • Instead of that, Kairi/the player is going to choose one girl over another because she appears to be one of the three possible way to solve the story.
  • Moreover, as you could have noticed in the second gameplay trailer, Kairi is a rather Machiavellian protagonist and seems to have no rooms for feelings. So hopefully it makes sense 😌

I came up with this solutions mostly because of the nature of the game itself. There's going to be a sort of "boy harem" in the Tokyo arc to delight female players, but at the same time I didn't want to create a BL game and make Kairi able to date those boys (if anything, PBS's original story was a love one between Kairi and a girl!). Therefore, both because I thought that girls could be uninterested in pursuing female characters and because of Kairi's personality, I reached this compromise and surprisingly it doesn't necessarily look that bad lol. (And yeah, I guess that the whole development thing took too long because reaching this point required many scrap-and-rewrite phases... 😌)

The topic doesn't end here. I prepared a small scheme to illustrate how the routes are going to work as well. It's a very basic one but I hope to give you a general idea of how the game is going to flow.
Read the scheme right to left please

So, yeah, the game starts in the middle of a route. Or better, it starts a bit earlier than that but it's Kairi himself that chooses that route before the player can even consider their love options, therefore there isn't much one can do at first.

As you remember seeing in the second trailer, Kairi is going out with Fujisa meaning that he is already into her route. To "change girl" a player has first to get to the Common Route area that may be triggered once the Tokyo Arc is reached. There, the other two girls will be available to be pursued (not via traditional way though *evil sadic laugh*) and the one you get will start a different route (while if you keep staying with Fujisa you'll continue her route).

Hopefully it all looks wonderful in theory, let's pray it'll work fine in practice too ahah 😌
I won't miss to update this matter from time to time to give you more insights about it! 

Spring illustrations.

Aaand the illustration series I've prepared for spring season is called "Is spring any near?" and features Teru and Fujisa. Hope you'll enjoy them 😁🌸 

Teru during a break from his daily training.
Snow in Kujikawa is finally melting...
Fujisa is enjoying a new seasonal milkshake
while strolling in the city.

Youtube update.

Finally, I finished editing and correcting the second gameplay trailer which was already published some weeks ago here on the home page but it's now also on PBS Youtube channel

As for the previous video, special thanks go to Livestraes (beta tester) who helped limiting Kairi's evil tongue 😇 and NovelistEzhno (MoeWriting) who provided the proofreading and polished the text to its best! Therefore, for the ones who missed it, here's the second gameplay trailer! 

Don't miss the final part for the basic ShetchUp tutorial next week!
Thank you for reading, see ya!🙌💜

Waiting for spring.

[Week 62]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • Basic Tools to Move Around
  • Building Our First Room 

First entry of March 🍀 While waiting for spring, my enthusiasm for background art keeps growing (!) and I thought about releasing a tutorial for SketchUp MAKE. Since it's the first one on the subject, I'll cover the basic tools and functions. Also, I think that for someone who first approaches 3D models it could be a tricky issues so I'll be very detailed.

Basic tools to move around.
When we start the program we get a plain view with a blue sky and green land (and the figurine of a person 👤). Let's learn how to move inside this virtual place and go look up to the bar crowded with all sort of symbols.

The Hand - Select the Hand tool, then click anywhere on your screen and drag to move wherever you want. 

Double Arrows -  Left to the Hand there is the Double Arrows tool that allows you to rotate your environment. If you want to save some seconds you can activate the DA button any moment by clicking and holding the scrollwheel on your mouse.

(Unfortunately I don't have English names for buttons and I also believe SU is translated into dozen of languages so I'm going to use icons' images to write this tutorial)

Magnifying Glass - Use the scrollwheel forward and backward to zoom in and out (to do it manually use the Magnifying Glass next to the Hand button).

Magnifying Glass + 3 arrows - The last button on the same bar is used to get out of 3D models and have the camera in a position from where you can watch your creation entirely. In practice it can be used this way as well: when you're building your rooms or cities sometimes it may happen you get stuck inside a wall or under the pavement and this button is useful to teleport you back in the green land.

Building our first room.
From now on we're going to cover the tools to operate on our buildings. Let's build a room! 😏

Let's now select the last button on the first bar, the one looking like a square crossed diagonally. Let's click on the green land and drag the cursor until we make a square or a rectangle to our liking. It's going to be our pavement.

On the right lower corner of the screen we can check the size of what we're building.

Now, let's introduce a Core Tool: the Black Arrow. It's the first one on the left. Let's use it to click on the surface of our square to select it. This tool is used to select any item on screen. To apply any effect, move and transform an item you have to use the Black Arrow to select it first.

The square became blue. Let's select the four lines contouring our square surface as well while holding CTRL on the keyboard. Then right-click on our shape and click on "Create group" (or some equivalent for it in your language ^ ^).

When we "draw" something with the square tool we indeed get every part of our solid disconnected from the others. This is not wrong and let us edit every single part individually, but I believe it's more convenient to have every piece "assembled" as when you want to move it around you don't have to select every single part of it especially in case of complex items. Moreover, after you create a group you can still edit each of its part in a more convenient way. So let's proceed and finish building our pavement.

Now, let's double click on the surface. This will split its parts again but only temporarily. (When we click back on the green land we will have our shape assembled again. So remember: Double click to temporarily "dismantle an item" to get able to edit its part. Click anywhere else on the green land and you have it put back together again.)
Click on the surface to select that only and then use the button with the upward arrow to drag it and build the width. Now we have a 3D pavement.

In a similar way let's build the walls for our room. Lets' create the first one and copy-paste it on the other side. (To move items on screen use the four-arrow tool)

To build our third wall we copy-paste one more time and we use the tool with the two arrows in circle to rotate it. Click on the tool and bring the virtual goniometer on the top surface of the wall (it has to be blue in color, meaning you're rotating the item on the x axis). Now click on the wall and then move the cursor a bit far and click again: you anchored the wall. 

Now you can move the cursor and rotate it until it fits its place.

Note that this third wall is slightly shorter than what it should be. This lets me introduce you the last tool we're going to cover for this entry.

Let's click on the last button on the bar, the one portraying a square with an arrow pointing at the upward right corner. This will allow us to resize our target.

A bunch of tiny cubes will appear all over around the wall. Depending on which you click upon you will resize items differently. The cubes in the middle of each trio resize items while mantaining proportions. We click on the one you see in red in the figure and drag it to enlarge the item.

Ta-dah, we have our room. 

Generally I leave it open on one side, I mean it's more convenient if you're creating an interior. As for the ceiling I usually add it later to have more freedom in movements.

So this was my introduction to SU tutorial. We learnt how to build solid items and the basics to move around in the landscape and also to control objects. There's going to be a second part in two weeks, and that will cover: door creations, coloring and applying materials and the 3D warehouse.

While next week entry will be about PBS development naturally. 😀 

Thank you for reading, see ya!🙌💜

Sketch-Up Basic Tutorial (Part 1)

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