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Archive for July 2018

[Week 83]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • New Background Art

Back from the second-ranking most work-loaded week for this year! While last week I planned to create two new sprites from scratch, this time I aimed to four new background artworks

In the case of background art it's very difficult for me to cut down the production time, I can't just shrink the size of the canvas otherwise the art will lose quality. So in the end I stove for full-res art pieces. How did it go? I finished only two and three-fourths of the third one. I'm quite satisfied with the result though and I think they're going to work greatly in the game!

Prepare for an art tour then! 😁

New background art.

Kairi's bedroom.
The first background is divided in two halves, as the player will be able to explore the "night area" of Kairi's room (the part where his bed is), and the "desk area". Both will have different functions, so it was necessary to have them separated. Moreover, this room is a recurring place in the gameplay too, so it was also mandatory to provide the same background during different times of the day. With this plans, the art required summed up to five art pieces.

Kairi's room during the morning, at sunset and in a rainy evening.

Kairi's desk in the morning and at sunset.

All this was handled with a 3D rendering program. The original models date back to 2016, when PBS was still in the early stages of its definitive production. Even after two years I thought that the feeling they conveyed worked pretty well and I wanted to use them, but guess what...?

For some reasons the textures were gone! And the rendering program wouldn't work with replaced ones... 😞 And there I thought I had half the work already done in advance...!

Luckily it wasn't that big issue and in the end I could solve it (SketchUp allows you to download each model again from the Warehouse, by clicking on them!), but it took quite a bit before I realized how to.

With Kairi's room's backgrounds, I aim to have the player feeling as thought as they were in their own room and possess all the items they can see there. 

Komines' estate - Indoors.
The second bunch of backgrounds was planned to be made with digital paint, and it's going to depict Fujisa's house. I needed to have one indoor and one outdoor and I've been working on the former during the past days.

Komines' estate indoor, still to finish. Click to enlarge.
Fujisa's manor is built in the style of the Japanese tea houses, and the garden that surrounds it is probably the oldest place you can find in Kujikawa. The scene that requires this background is set in spring, so I thought about having cherry trees in full blossom in the distance, and an overall refreshing atmosphere in general, to convey a cheerful moment and a luxurious environment too.

In general, while designing these places, my constant aim is that of make the player enjoy the places as well as they'll enjoy the story. Even in a 15k-word demo there will be a lot of different environments, on which I entrust the task to create a standalone world. 


That's all for today. Next week I'll be finishing the background art and start with... the coding! Yes! The coding for the demo! 😁 Not all the assets are ready yet, but I planned to have August focused on coding so I'll be starting with it anyway.
Thank you for reading, see ya next week!🙌💜

New background art.

[Week 82]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • Last Two Sprites
  • Rough Sketch of The Cover Art
  • Character Cards Updated

I feared this time of the year the most because I knew I would have needed to draw two whole new sprites for PBS! ...The pressure to make several expressions and make them fit with the body of the character right when my schedule is the busiest! Against all my expectations, it went well though. Since the characters I needed are minor ones, I used a smaller canvas and that saved one whole day and half of work! It almost looked like a miracle!

Another important update of these last days is that I'm working on the upcoming Lemma Soft post, aka PBS's debut in the "world out there". What to say? And, how to present the game? That's what I've been working on above everything. Also, that post is going to be important for one more reason: I'm going to include disclosures about PBS that I've never published anywhere else! I can't wait for that! But the road until there is still long... 😕

Last two sprites.
(...For the early demo, of course! 😅)
What characters could they be...? Well, Fujisa's parents were still a mystery, weren't they? Since Kairi is going to become her fiance and have a job relationship with Komine senior, I will have the whole family to appear in the story from time to time! 

So, let's go to meet them! 

Since they have few variations and just one pose, I thought about presenting them through the renewed character cards. There's not much to say about them aside from what it's already presented in the cards, for their attitude will be best shown throughout the game. (The following cards are just a preview and the content can be slightly changed before the demo is out).

Rough sketch of the cover art.
PBS is going to have its cover art soon!
The concept is something I drew six years ago and to me it represents the story very well. Also, its compositions and its colors are two aspects I'd like PBS to be identified with.

So, today I present the rough sketch to you! Characters are Kairi and Suzume.

Character cards updated.
After being sloppy for so long, I'm pleased to announce that the profile cards for the main characters are now updated and renewed, and wait for you in the Kujikawa's Characters page! 💘

I changed the heights of a few characters again... 😥 Because apparently I keep changing my mind on those, eheh. But I also added a few more information! The only cards missing are Kairi's parents and Fujisa's parents which I'll upload as soon as I review them!

The only minor character you can admire at the moment is the notorious "Madman". I've been procrastinating about renewing his card for a long time (and kept the old, rejected version), but now that I came up with a new graphic I finally had the occasion to publish the updated design!


An update full of pictures for a change, uh? 😌 Next week I'm going to work on four more backgrounds (another tough week, ugh...), so expect loads of new pictures again! I hope you enjoyed today's post!
Thank you for reading, see ya next week!🙌💜

Last two sprites.

[Week 81]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • The System Page Explained (Part II)
  • Official Twitter Account

The System page explained (part II)
The second and final part of the "guidebook" to Pitch Black Serenade's features! Like last time, I'm going to cover the points contained in the System page. Go check the first part if you haven't done it yet! 😉

     Travel between two cities. This is a feature that will appear in the full game, while in the demo the player's trips are going to be fixed. As already mentioned, PBS's story takes place in two cities, Tokyo and Kujikawa, separated by a 300-km train trip. After the initial introduction of the story, the player will have the chance to move freely from time to time. "Freely" includes taking the train and change city!

I was first inspired by Ace Attorney series for this feature. In those games you usually need to interrogate the accused while in jail, but they won't reveal certain information unless you provide the necessary clues. Such clues are not in the player's possession at first, but they can be found by going back to investigating some significant places for the crime. The basis of this interaction can be summarized this way: interrogation > locked information > back on the crime scene > new clues > information is now unlocked.

I'd like to have a similar interaction for PBS too. The difference is that such a gameplay will be entirely optional. I'm planning to leave clues here and there to push the player linking them and further investigate. So for example, if they observe something peculiar in Tokyo they may find a connection to something else happening in Kujikawa.

To do these extra travels, the player will be asked money. There are various ways to collect it, one is the allowance our main character gets every Monday... but only if he's in good terms with his parents! 😌

     Explore maps. Once the player is left free they will be able to explore the locations up and down. This means, going around Kujikawa and Kairi's house for example. Maps will show characters' position to interact with them (or avoid them!) and it will be possible to explore backgrounds completely. Clues await there in the background artworks, as well as second chances to play the minigames.

     One extra, secret route. It revolves around a female character but it won't be a romanceable one. This extra route is rather short and will be contained in all the main routes. In other words, it's an extra story and solving it won't end the game. Going through it will only complete the playing experience and solve some doubts.

Was it necessary to include an extra route? Yes, it's part of the story. The clues to start it will be given during the main story but it's up to the player whether to investigate about it or not, or even finding out how to do it.

     Collect cards. I loved this feature from mobile games, especially my favorite one which is Ai★chuu! So I really want to implement it in PBS. Cards will be unlocked whenever a minigame is played for the second time outside of the story (this means that it first needs to be found), or whenever Kairi does something exceptional, like persisting in some activity or behavior for a long time.

     More than 15 main characters to meet. Tokyo will definitely have a very "otome" atmosphere, with plenty of male attractive characters, funny dialogue lines and a sort of "bromance" between Kairi and Shin. 

I used to really enjoy only a few anime for girls and fujoshi so I don't think I can call myself a true fan of the genre. But I was for those titles, and I really liked how they worked and how such genre can entertain its audience. My plan is to build a similar atmosphere for the Tokyo Arc.

Official Twitter account.
I've been using my own account to tweet about PBS so far but I guess it's finally time to have a proper one. You can find it @pbserenade!

I'm going to post updates and info about PBS and retweet other similar games' news as well! 


I've been relentlessly working on the assets for the past week and plan to do the same during the next one!  
Thank you for reading, see ya next week!🙌💜

The System page explained (part 2)

[Week 80]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • The System Page Explained (Part I)

Writing from our cozy apartment for summer holidays! 😎🌴🌞
After taking a few days off to recharge the spirit, it's time to go back to work again! For this new entry I'm going to explain in detail another part of the new System page. Hope you enjoy reading it! 😋

The System page explained (part 1).
In the previous post, I illustrated what the Pitch Black Serenade in short section was. This time let's focus on the first half of the extended features list!

     Choose your story. The Story page on this website has been providing a short insight about what the plot of PBS is like. The starting point for all the events in the game is the car accident Kairi gets involved in during his last year in high school. From that point onward, Kairi suffers amnesia and the rest of the story is about getting his memories back despite the obstacles he encounters.

This is PBS's story in short and when I first wrote it as a novel, it only was just a matter of story. But since I decided to turn it into a game, I thought that it would have been great to let the gameplay revolving around this problem too! So that's what the game is about: getting Kairi's memories back or not getting them. Playing along society's rule or being a rebel. The choice is left to the player and there will be different and logical consequences to each path.

     Your choices shape the game. This part has to do with the choice system which I'm going to explain in one of the next posts. Choice menus will contain or not contain options, depending on what the player chose in the previous menu. Each choice reflects one of the attitudes the player can take on a case-by-case basis.

     Be a manipulative bastard or just be good. In other words, choose between the two attitudes and proceed with the story. As the previous bullet point, this is related to the choice system too. 

There are only two ways Kairi can approach the situations, one is honest while the other is manipulative. The game gives the player different contexts to play both ways and it is possible (or even recommended 😇) to have a double life, aka to behave differently depending on the people Kairi interacts with. The manipulative approach has a danger though: indulging too much in it will cause the honest choices to disappear from menus forever.

     Solve the mystery. This is the first time I reveal about such a detail: Kairi turns out to be the only witness to a mysterious event. 

In one of the gameplay trailers, Kairi mentions that Tokyo is highly polluted, its sky is grey and its air is toxic. The pollution news is what media show to people but the whole problem is actually related to some paranormal events. And that's not all. There's a second paranormal happening yet to be mentioned and it will be soon in the demo.

The two mysteries together provide the adventure scenario for Kairi, in addition to the slice-of-life one. The fact that he's the only witness to the mysteries lets him play the main role in both parts of the story.

     Choose your girl. Nothing that I haven't already talked about. Once that the mystery is fully presented to the player, choosing one of the three girls becomes a significant move to proceed with the story. Fujisa will give the player the opportunity to unfold their destiny in Kujikawa, while Minami and Suzume will explicitly provide two different ways to work on the paranormal events.    


I'm going to cover the second part of the System features in the next post and provide new information about maps, collectible cards and characters
Thank you for reading, see ya next week!🙌💜

The System page explained (part 1)

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