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[Week 70]

*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • A Walk With Teru
  • New Illustration Preview

I'm in the middle of a quite long script revision. Parts to revise are not very extended, however... some of them are tricky to fix. Script is everything but "conspicuous" to show, as progresses are just words and most of the time they make no much sense outside of their native context. Anyway, I guess I'm going to blab about this topic a bit nevertheless, and stay close to the latest achievements PBS demo has reached. Wish you an entertaining stay on PBS blog this week as well! 😁

A walk with Teru.
The 4th scene that has been planned for the demo is aimed to explain Kairi's personality. (You can check the various "theme sections" of the demo in this post.)
Mock screenshot from an older test version of the scene in question. 
Aim of the scene is to explain to the players why Kairi, Fujisa and Teru chose the same class at university. Each of them has a different reason related to their characterization and their evolution in the Fujisa's route. Easier said than done, I obviously need to provide such information in a natural way, communicating Kairi and Teru's personalities at the same time, since this is also the first long interaction the two have.

Communicating both information and characters' personalities is something I've already done in the cafeteria scene. Hopefully I made that work correctly, I just need to repeat the formula here.

Another difficulty of the 4th scene is to insert one of the special choices of Kairi. I'm not sure I'll manage to do it for the demo release. In case I don't, you're going to read a quite long interaction without any choice, and experience a sort of interruption in the timing of such choices. I'd like to avoid it but at the same time, inserting any meaningless choice would feel worse than having a pause from them in my opinion. So, yeah. If I make in time for the demo release I'll insert the "right one" and that only.

New illustration preview.
We already entered Golden Week, uh? So why not portraying PBS's main two "kids", Shin and Kairi, on Children's Day? πŸ˜‹

The illustration is still in a draft stage and my plan is to be able to show the final result on next week blog post.

That's all folks! I'll keep working on the script and on the complexion of the demo as always. Wish you a nice week!✨

Thank you for reading, see ya!πŸ™ŒπŸ’œ

[Week 63]

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


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

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 πŸ˜‡ 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!πŸ™ŒπŸ’œ

Waiting for spring.

[Week 56]
*:....:*・゜Table of contents *:....:*・゜
  • The Setting: Kujikawa
  • Kujikawa's Arc's Three Main Characters
  • The Cafeteria Scene's Early Screenshots


Last week I talked about the mood of the story in Pitch Black Serenade, this time I’d like to introduce the town where the game starts and the three main characters the player is going to interact with while there.

Expect a “nerdy, behind the scene” post.😎

The setting: Kujikawa.

I plan to cover this location with a map someday soon (maybe after the demo is out), for the moment let me introduce what kind of city it is.

First off, it’s a fictional place made up to serve PBS’s story needs. In Japanese its name 久時川 means “the river of the eternal time”; imaginary speaking, it’s located in the Gifu prefecture, about three hours from Tokyo.

Kujikawa is built on two levels: the lower one is generally called “Kujikawa City Centre” and looks like a Japanese modern suburban area. Shops, hospitals and facilities are all located there.

The upper level is up the hills. It’s where most of Kujikawa’s inhabitants live and half of them are landlowners, aka very rich people with important businesses.

All around the two levels it’s only mountains and woods, making Kujikawa a secluded place. 
For this reason people developed quite the narrow-minded mentality. It might seem a small detail, however this factor is very important not only to comprehend the characters you’re going to interact with, but also to choose how to move as the main character in such environment.

Kujikawa Arc's three main characters.

So who are you going to meet in such far-off, mountain location?

In next paragraph I’m going to describe the three main characters’ psychology. What I’m about to write is a “behind the scene”, aka, the things we usually sense and deduce when reading a story here plainly explained.
As expected from a dev post, nah? 😎

Little story: I kind of wanted to create a sort of “Kujikawa fashion”. Therefore, characters who are native of Kujikawa might wear similar clothes.

The three main characters from the Kujikawa Arc are Kairi, Teru and Fujisa. I refer to them as “main” because they’re part of one of the three routes of the game. Moreover, one of the task the player will be asked to carry out is to manage the relationship among them. Let’s observe them one by one!

Kairi Nakajo

He’s the main character, the one the player is going to “control”. Kairi left Tokyo a week later he lost his memories to move in Kujikawa. He’s from a rich family.

Which kind of person is our protagonist? Well... Let's summarize his personality in a few bullets (not sure if he's going to be liked afterwards πŸ˜…):
  • He's a narcissist. He sees himself as the center of the universe and above everyone else. Kairi manages to achieve great results in practice too, therefore his exaggerate self-confidence kind of never wavers.
  • Additional effects of his narcissism: 1) He always feels entitled. 2) When something bad happens he refers to himself as the "victim" and it's never his fault. 3) He's manipulative.
  • He also feels envy whenever someone else achieves a remarkable result. Kairi is very able to mask this side of him. However, it can be easily spotted when he compliment someone: His latent envy prevents him to make compliments from the heart therefore he may sound fake.
  • He may appear emphatic but his empathy is not genuine, rather just another piece of his facade. Kairi is only lotta cunning and tries his best to comprehend others in order to anticipate them. Moreover, living in a town where everyone has the same fixed mindset makes things way easier for him.
So... How does it feels? Happy to control such nice guy? πŸ’‘ πŸ˜€ 

Teru Momiyama
Teru grew up in Kujikawa and he's a "commoner". He lives in the Takenogata η«Ήι‡Žζ–Ή residential district and attends the law faculty together with Kairi and Fujisa. 
  • He's honest, loyal, caring and emphatic.
  • His first approach is to believe in others. He can read people pretty well but he's not interested in judging them good or bad. On the contrary, he's extremely friendly with anyone.
  • And this makes him quite the naive type. He rarely left Kujikawa and doesn't know much of the world. He never had his heart truly broken by another human being.
  • Being unaware of the evil in the world, he's almost never scared. But lacks courage too.
Fujisa Komine
Fujisa too grew up in Kujikawa and the outside world stays a mystery to her. She's the only daughter and heir of the Komines, an old-established family that influences Kujikawa and part of the area around. She lives in Odo ζ‘œι“, the upper-class residential district, and she's neighbor with Kairi.
  • If Teru can be labeled as "naive", Fujisa is ten times more! Her family decided everything about her education and she never had any power over her own life. From her point of view, she feels like she lives inside a fairytales book.
  • But she has substance. She constantly wonders about the world and life issues.
  • Despite being shy she wants to communicate and to connect with others as much as she can. She believes that being hurt is part of the process and endures it.
  • Despite non controlling anything about her life, she gives her best in everything she does and enjoys to learn new things. She's always happy for some reason.

Okay, I know. Kairi is a jerk among angels.
No, I can't make you control anyone else. Play as the jerk. πŸ˜‰

I'll cover the relationship map among these three in some next post. I'm preparing a new gameplay trailer that depicts a scene from which you can deduce all the personality traits I described here as well as their relationship.

The Cafeteria Scene's Early screenshots.

The new gameplay trailer I plan to publish is from a segment I call "the cafeteria scene". 

It's a very relaxed scene where the player is introduced to a new situation after a three-year time skip.
Playing the full demo will obviously let the players compare the story before and after that. However, from the trailer it's still possible to deduce most of the changes.
(Not the biggest change though, that is a fun reserved for the demo πŸ˜‰)

Next week (22-28) I plan to release the new trailer! Therefore, I may write another commentary post!
Thank you for reading, see ya! πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

Time for Teru to show his range of expressions! They are only ten at the moment but I'd like to introduce one more body pose in the future and add some more emotions as well.

As you probably may notice, Teru is rather cheerful and also a bit goofy-looking. Anyway, because of his mistrustful personality, he can also become very annoying as he rarely forgives a lie. The expressions "serious 3" and "glare" will serve this purpose. I plan to change a bit his description in the Kujikawa Character's page with more updated info like this one, and also, I want to change his university major as, storywise, the current one is not fitting very well. I will talk more about it in some future post where I'll explain clearly Teru's role.

Second accomplishment for this past week is the writing and coding for Scene II. As not all the assets are completed, the coding is still missing some parts, but most of the work has been done. This scene is about 1750 words and takes place in Eizono Private High School in Kujikawa City (I'd like to create a profile page for places too, similar to the one I use for characters). Eizono High School will only show up in this scene and in some flashbacks later in the story. The background art you see below was made by my "partner in crime" over three years ago for the first version ever of Serenade. And we're still using it today! I have other backgrounds from those years, I think I will share them someday : D.

Next week (12-15) is very short. I will take a short break from 15 to 19 but I plan to finish scene II completely prior to that. I'm already working on the first CG of the game, then I will need to polish a NCP sprite and code it. 
See ya next post! : D

Teru's expressions map - Scene II

During the years I learnt I can draw with decent results, but everything I know about this skill of mine only comes from practice and experience as a hobbyist. I've never studied drawing or painting, so when I spot something off in what I'm drawing, most of the time I don't know what to do to correct it. For me this simple task requires a lot of time. As a solution, since I can't seem to understand which part to touch, I generally delete the whole part and start from scratch!

To complicate it even more, I like to draw and paint new things most of the time. I could feel safe drawing usual poses, usual clothing, etc. but I like to draw exactly what I have in mind and most of the time this means new things, which I need to study first and fail at drawing several times before I understand how to do it properly. I don't always get what I want. I fail 90% of times. So I try to keep consistency in what I draw at the very least. I focus on symmetry, 3Dness, etc. I still fail at these but I try. I learn a lot but it's very very very time consuming.

Ok, this wasn't meant to be a depressing post. I only wanted to write a bit about my art process. Style can vary from author to author, but perspective, symmetry and other technical aspect can make a drawing feel real. 

Progresses for this week include Fujisa's starting set of 20 face expressions.

Fujisa is really expressive. She doesn't hide what she's feeling, she's direct and sincere, so her emotions map reflects this trait of her personality. She's also a bit clumsy and I aim to develop her as a very cute character.

Another step has been made for what regards Teru's outfits as well. I completed the lineart and flat colors for his Naginata uniform and for his casual outfit, which he will wear after graduating from high school. 

For this latter outfit I wanted to show a stylish side of him. Even if he's studying advocacy, he would choose a more casual style to go with and reserve a tuxedo for formal occasions (I will draw such outfit for some special scenes : )).

Next week (1-11 <--Way long week because I have ugly shifts at irl job orz) I will work on Teru and complete his starting set of expressions as well.
Thank you for reading! : )

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