Fates Weekly Update #14

Hey, folks. Chief is back from his vacation. For the first time in months, I got a decent amount of sleep. Twelve hours on two of the days and ten on another. I had completely forgotten what being awake felt like. It is an amazing feeling! I hope you all are enjoying your holidays as well. Most of the team is still gone, so today’s update is yet again sparse. I had intended to talk about effects for sprites, but the artist is on vacation and there is only so much I can bumble my way through before I sound like a nutter. Anyone who has been with me during the early days knows that I have no drawing talent. Even my stick figures are ugly. But that’s why I don’t work alone anymore!

Wordcount: 3315; I did manage to snag a few hours after family time and knocked out two scenes. Last week, I started on Kika’s route and quickly realized that I had a rather adorable storyline on my hands. This week (and next) I’m devoting my energies into Zuri, the unofficial main heroine of the universe in the series. I only got to get a couple of the early scenes done, but I’m liking how things are turning out so far. Zuri is a strong believe in the core draemon warrior beliefs. Protect the innocent, never betray a friend, never allow greed or pride blind you, and always follow your heart. While she has had moments in her past that have made her waiver (your scene with Stan causing a flashback to one in her mind), it has never been nearly the same as when she fell in love with Natalie. The more of the universe Natalie shows her, the more she wonders if there is a place for a warrior in the universe… if there is a place for her. The only thing she knows in the world twisting and changing around her is that a young investigator needs her protection from the monsters she fears they might become.

-I showed her lineart a few days ago, but I think now would be a good time to show one of the support characters, Eve. Like the other minotaur, Eve is also a doctor who will support Natalie’s operations into deep space. Poor Doctor Stan is losing his job as Natalie’s personal physician… maybe… Dr. Eve is there mostly to help keep Faye running strong for a little while longer since she won’t stay put. Eve might have her own route, though that depends on the volunteer writer.

Eve, Faye's doctor

Eve, Faye’s doctor

-Backgrounds: We’ve had a small snafu with the backgrounds and they were a bit delayed while things shuffled around. We are not quite back on track, but things are once more headed in the right direction.

-A few updates ago, I showed and talked about Natalie’s younger sister, Name. As the first couple CG are getting completed, I am once again agreeing with Yoi for Red Rose that their dress uniforms are really impractical with the pencil skirt. As someone who has to wear military dress uniforms, I can tell you from experience that they rarely are what I would take into a prolonged expedition. This was one of the reasons why two additional uniforms were designed for fleet usage, one of which is seen in Reborn. The reason I’m bringing this up is because Name is the only person to wear the dress uniform and… well… it is a bit awkward. The CG isn’t completely done, so I will have to wait until next weekly to show off the exact details…well… as long as you all remember that things are works in progress…

Random tangent: The Katajion Defense Forces uniforms have evolved in different ways over the years. I’ve always tried to push hard that they be designed with their role in mind. If I would never dream of wearing it into battle, then a different design needs to be thought up. While the dress uniform for girls in Red Rose wasn’t the most practical design, it was designed for an office setting. It was drawn shorter than the original design for it, but I’m not too overbearing on artists and give a fair bit of freedom. I know I might be losing fans for it, but mini-skirts and tube tops will never be military uniforms in any of my Rising Angels stories. Civilian outfits are a bit more lenient and depend on the character. Characters have… ya know… personalities and different tastes.

That’s it for this week. New Years is coming up, so you all know what that means! That’s right, Chief is going to be staying at home writing. I hope you all have a much more festive holiday planed than I do! Until next week, Chief out!

 

Doing a video of the post since it is the holidays. This song is a tradition.

Fates Weekly Update #13

Hello, folks. It’s Chief or Hobson the Monk at the moment, since this is being written while I play D&D, here to bring you the weekly Fates report. It’s the holiday season and it is only me manning the studio. Even I’m going to be heading home back to Virginia soon. I don’t take time off very often, but I managed to snag some to see my family. But before that, let’s do our quick weekly update. Like I mentioned before, this week and next week are going to be sparse.

Demo: Delays on the backgrounds are slowing this down. I apologize and ask you to bear with us for a little longer.

Special writing event: I know many of you might be curious how the Kika route writing event went. Work hit me harder than I expected, but I was able to do some pretty decent writing sessions. The final workcount is 20,086 for the Kika marathon. I’d say I’m about a third of the way through her route specific events. It might be a bit less since I am entering the big events for Kika’s route in the third act. The first act (Celestia) and the second act (Tropolain, the elven ranger planet) are relatively calm for her, focusing more on strengthening your bond with Kika and showing some of the softer sides of the princess. Act three… To put it blunt, there is a decent chance that Kika’s actions are going to hurt you and she might not make it out alive…

I’m going to try another writing marathon over the holidays from the 24th to the 4th. I really wish I could do some sort of streaming to possibly make things more interesting than textual updates. If you have an idea, please let me know.

Since many, if not most, of those who are reading this are fans of visual novels, you are the best people to ask this question. Most romances in visual novels are dependent upon choices. If you want to be in a relation with a specific character, you are almost forced to choose certain actions to keep on the character’s route. I remember wonder a few times why Muv Luv even bothered giving me options once I decided which character I wanted to go with. So, here is my question…

As the player, would you rather just choose the character’s route at the start and then have all options be plot related or do you like the current visual novel setups where your options are intertwine between the romance and story? Ex: Telling Kika that you think she’s right because the investigation lends itself to that instead of saying it because Kika said it and you want Kika’s route. It was just something bothering me as I looked at how I wanted to layout certain scenes.

I hope you all enjoy your holidays! Until next week, Chief out.

Fates Weekly Update #12

Hello, folks. It’s Saturday and it is time for me to give the moooooooooorning report. Gives you the long and the short! Every grunt, roar, and… Wait… it’s night. Never mind, continue your musical numbers elsewhere. Sorry, sorry. Because of the astronomical amount of IRL work this week and completely random schedule, I have lost track of time. If it wasn’t for my weekly report, I doubt I would have realized that it was Saturday.

Writing: I’m in a marathon event right now. This coming week is the first week in months where I had a set schedule! That’s right, I don’t have to wake up at utterly random times and can have some sort of semblance of normality in my life. To celebrate this, I’ve cleared out nearly all of my commitments, got everything in order, and am doing a writing marathon. For the next seven days, I am going full bore to completely write all of Kika’s scenes. Can I write roughly 60,000 words in one week? Probably not, but I’m going to make one helluva go at it. I’ve learned a lot of tricks over the years of being a visual novel writer. Time to show a few of them. Wordcount will update next week.

Dakimakura: Still waiting on the Natalie images. However, I did a personal commissioned with CG artist to do a special Zuri one for me. Originally, I wasn’t going to share it because I am an evil mustache-twiddling madman, but I was recently talked down from that position. Are the daki backers (or any random passerby) interested? As a reminder, if you can’t see it in the link, these are fairly NSFW.

http://www.idhasstudios.com/Images/NSFW/NSFWZuriDakiA.png

http://www.idhasstudios.com/Images/NSFW/NSFWZuriDakiB.png

For today’s chat, I want to talk about some of the GUI things. When we decided to split up the storylines between the Katajion Defense Force and the rebels, the idea of having a split GUI was pondered. The factions themselves are fundamentally different. The Katajions are a lot more formal than the rebels and drastically more regimented. Anton has the power of Intelligence Director Doichu and the funding of the directorship on his side. Things like finding ways to refuel the ship and how they are going to keep food in their bellies isn’t an underlying issue. The individual natures of each faction resulted in us wanting to take some differences in the GUI.

GUI example for the rebel side

GUI example for the rebel side

 

GUI example for the KDF side

GUI example for the KDF side

The window being shown is the presenting window. This window is for both regular interrogation scene where you can present either people to the person you are talking with or in key situations where you need to propose a suspect or an item. The two windows being shown are for those key moments. One thing we are debating is whether you, the player, should be limited to just the basic information about the person/object you are trying to present or if we should make it a little more interesting with Natalie adding clues/red herrings based on scenes and evidence gathered.

I’m torn myself on this. On one hand, having Natalie give her feedback on it means that clues you might not have caught or events in dialog that were overlooked can be given to the player for free. It makes it easier for the player to determine their course of action. Green clues meaning that it supports this person/item being the right one, yellow being indifferent info, and red being evidence that disagrees with you. In the pictures shown above, the evidence shows that Kika is much more likely to be a pillow thief than Anton. It takes some of the organic nature of investigation out and makes it easier on the player.

At the same point, it does make things more difficult. Just because all evidence is flashing green doesn’t mean that you have the right person. Missing key events, asking the wrong questions, coming to the wrong conclusions in questioning scenes can build you into a false answer. Like a real investigator, you have to determine if the facts are what they appear to be. It could add a new layer of gameplay of intrigue while not forcing you to constantly reload to try and remember some random scene.

So what do you all think about it? A handicap that takes away the fun of drawing your own conclusions or a nifty system that makes life easier and will make you think?

That’s all for this week’s episode. Tune in next time to see if Chief managed to give himself carpal tunnel hitting that mark. Until next time, Chief out!

Fates Weekly Update #11

Hello, folks. Well, the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. That means it is the dawning of the Age of Fates updates.

Wordcount: 43096 (1200 this week.) This week’s word count is pretty low because most of it was spent in editing. If there is one thing I hate more than anything, it is having to go back through my works with a hedgetrimmer, but any good writer will tell you that being able to take a saw to your baby is a key skill. Nobody writes things perfect on their first go, no sane artist uses their sketches 100%. Of course, I am also notorious for using my first drafts as my final drafts. It’s a weakness, I admit. My day job eats up so much of my time that deadlines force me to drop a dozen or so edits after release. NOT THIS TIME! I was smart enough to budget editing time into my schedules.

-The biggest reason that time was suddenly spent in editing instead of writing this week was for the preparations of the demo. It’s going to be a fairly raw alpha, but I wanted to give everyone a show of what we are trying to do and give a rough idea of what the final product may look like. We have a working GUI, a working interface code, and several sections of story that will highlight each type of interaction. We don’t have a release date for it yet, but I’m hoping to have one shortly. We wanted to have everything done this week and it was going to be the HUGE update I promised last week, but someone just had to break some code and highlight some important mistakes, putting us back. I just need to make sure everything is set, edited, and won’t burst into unholy flames of agony like every other initial release. Kickstarter backers will have access to the entire thing to play around with, everyone else gets to watch a video of me playing around with what I want to show.

-As we get into the holiday seasons, updates are going to be a bit more sparse. While Chief hasn’t taken a vacation since the dawn of time, several of our staff members have families and children and all that other jazz that reduces work flow. The good news is that I’ll still be here each week with the updates that I will still be here to tell stories about the story and programming adventures.

-Speaking of adventures in coding, would there be any interest in a rhythm game like Final Fantasy Theatrhythm? I was bored during some down time at work and decided to draw up an engine that would allow us to make that sort of game. Originally, we were totally just going to drop the investigation engine and your romance/investigation was going to be dependent on how well you could keep the beat (just like real life), but someone managed to inform me how nuts I was before it could be implemented.

This week is going to wrap up early. As a consolidation prize, here’s a lineart from one of the characters who hasn’t been shown yet! Haven’t seen any minotaurs since Red Rose and even then the doctor was just a very minor character. Quite exciting! There are quite a few characters in the roster who haven’t had their moment to shine yet. Next week, we are going to be talking about some of the romance in Rising Angels: Fates, some history of the cast, and maybe even a little world history while we are at it. Until next time, Chief out!

One of the unshown cast members

One of the unshown cast members