Fates Weekly Update #27

Hey, folks. Short update today. I’m still trying to get everything cleaned up at the old apartment and settled in at the new one. Exhausted and nobody else was available to help out with this week’s update, so I’m gonna hit just the basics.

Wordcount: 5,222 (I’ve wrapped up the core of Act 2. Like Act 1, there are ways to get yourself and other people killed off. As a writer, I try to minimize how many unrecoverable things like that happen in the first half of the story. It gets very, very complicated when the player starts losing key people and it makes things a lot longer to write. Nevertheless, there are stakes in Fates. Even if they go up drastically as time goes on, they are still there in the earlier acts. Somethings are easy to avoid by using even the tracest amount of common sense. Others… well, you’ll learn over time the lasting effects your decisions will have. As a writer, there is a balancing act between making sure you know what you are getting into and sometimes having effects that could not be foreseen.)

Backgrounds: All of the backgrounds of the Ardent Flare are done! There are five different locations on the Flare. While that is not as many as the Nimross, the Flare is smaller than the Nimross and is more of a personal yacht than a warship.

Much nicer rooms than the Nimross though

Much nicer rooms than the Nimross though

Voice acting: Voicing acting for the other members of the cast has started. The characters who can be auditioned for this time around includes Alexi, Faye, Yoi, Lenna, Akurel, Miyani, Sora, Syl, Eiril, Nigel, and Stan. Who is a villain, who is a hero…? They’re ALL villains! Or not. Either way, if you are interested in auditioning, information can be found here.

I hate writing these short updates when I had fun ones planned. Next week we will have something incredibly fun planned, I promise. Until then, Chief out.

 

And the video of the post is a very, very, very important one for Fates.

Fates Weekly Update #26

Hello, everyone! Chief here writing from a pretty barren office today. I’ve spent the last couple days packing up and moving, so this will be the final weekly from my current office. While I was looking forward to this day for a long time, the actual moving parts have completely and utterly wiped me out. It didn’t help that the day I was going to start the heavy lifting was the same day that I also got to do a pretty heavy workout. Not exactly sure how I am going to get out of this chair…

Wordcount: 1,566 (Didn’t get to write much this week. Between packing and moving, I got barely any time to sit at my computer to just knock things out. I plan on catching up though by dedicating tomorrow solely to writing since I won’t have any internet after I finish this post. The other thing I’ll be knocking out is Rising Angels: Hope (the remake of Red Rose). It has a release coming up next month and will be free with early access to all backers/donators.)

Voice Acting update: I’m hoping to have some samples of the voice acting to share in the upcoming weeks. We are almost done with the first act’s voices, which is the core of Celestia. After that will come act 2, which is our first trip to the Nimross and Ardent Flare as well as both teams’ adventures on the forest planet of Tropolain.

The biggest voice acting update though is that we are getting ready to start auditions soon for the secondary characters. The list of characters to audition for is pretty long and there are a decent number of “route” characters who are hiding in there as well. One thing to note is that most of these roles are female. I didn’t realize it when I was making the outlines and deciding characters, but Fates is pretty heavy in the female to male ratio. Funny story involving Eiril accidentally changing genders in there as well… These characters will include… Alexi Faye Yoi Lenna Akurel Miyani Sora Syl Eirl Nigel Stan

Art: With sprites being completely finished until we start working on all of the animations for them, the focus turns to CG and BG. Tscbr, our CG artist, has recovered and work has continued forward for the CG. Got to see a rough for a Zuri route CG that I can’t help but share with you all below. There is a variation on this one that I love and hope you all will love when it comes out. Zuri standing up for what she wants… People evolve as time goes by and working with Young Zuri for the short stories makes me a bit proud of her evolution.

Rough of a Zuri fighting CG

Rough of a Zuri fighting CG

The first set of backgrounds is all done! Right now, all we are waiting on the rest of the Ardent Flare backgrounds, a couple more Emerald City locales, and the backgrounds for Natalie’s adventures 20,000 leagues under the sea. All in all, there are probably 13 more backgrounds that need to be done out of the 36-40 backgrounds in Fates.

Greenlight: After a long amount of discussion with various people, we have decided to use the Greenlight system to get Fates onto Steam. It’ll help spread the word, which is something I’ve always struggled with over the years. More details to follow, but I did want to make the initial announcement now.

And that’s all for this week. As all that remains in my office is my desk, computer chair, and computer, I really need to finish packing up and getting it to the new apartment. Until next week (from our new locale), Chief out!

 

For the video of the post… don’t ask why I felt the need to listen to this or share it with you. Some things are better left unasked.

Fates Weekly Update #25

Hey, folks. It’s another late night Fates Weekly Update. As is normal for my Saturday, I spent a fair amount of it playing Dungeons and Dragons. First I was a male half-dragon monk, then I was a female human healer, then I evil, then I was a statue, then I was a private eye in a noir story, then I was killed in a dream, and now I’m part-machine. I’m pretty sure this character is terribly traumatized by this point. After Fates, the life and probable death of Hobson might be a story. Until then, onto Fates!

Wordcount: 6,014 (Pretty rough week, similar to last, but I did get to spend a good amount of time working on things. Tropolain is a planet that has a lot of history in lore. The original full-length novel even visited it at one point. That visit creeps its way into a fair bit of the routes of the people who were part of that; Anton, Yoi, and Sol all have scenes that reflect back on those days. Part of me wants to rerelease that original novel, even though 90% of it has completely fallen out of canon. I think I might end up including it as an early release in the book of short stories and then a later release for general. As funny as the idea might sound, I think there may be people who are interested in reading the adventures of Lenna Edeck.)

-Sprites: Sprites are all done! Every single member of the cast is done! The grand total of characters in Rising Angels: Fates is ending at 21 characters. Two protagonists, eight love interests, and eleven support characters. It’s a pretty massive cast to be sure, but there are two storylines and five worlds to visit. One of my favorite things when building a universe is to have it populated with both strong and unique “party members” and a supporting cast that is more than the occasional throwaway without a sprite. The world is populated with more than the main character and love interests. You don’t get that feel of being on an epic adventure through space without the locals.

Pray you never see all three of the game's draemon at once. It's not a good end.

Pray you never see all three of the game’s draemon at once. It’s not a good end.

-Our CG artist is a bit sick, so I’m taking a moment to wish her well. I’m also going to take a moment to remind everyone to eat healthy, get sleep, and workout as best as you can. Taking care of yourself is important. It is going to be a few more months before Fates is released and you gotta take care of yourself to see its release. As someone who has had too many medical visits lately, health is a very important thing to protect. Okay, that’s all for my soapbox moment.

-Today’s big topic is a bit of discussion on how the romance system will be implemented in Fates. It has gone through some evolutions over the months of development and I am quite happy with how things are going. Let’s take a moment to review the changes and what you can expect on release.

Having Angry Yoi would result in a much more falsely confident Yoi.

Having Angry Yoi would result in a much more falsely confident Yoi.

Starting out, we originally were going to use the bread and butter points system. It’s a very basic system where every choice gives you points towards a certain character. If you wanted to get on Zuri’s route, you had to say things that would make Zuri like you (don’t be a selfish jerk). This system was used for Rising Angels: Reborn. For most visual novels, this works out really well because the aim of most visual novels is to be primarily romantic. As you might have guessed, I rapidly fell out of love with this system because romance is not supposed to be the leading draw of the Rising Angels series. Yes, love is a part of it, but the adventure is the most important part. I want people to worry that their decision could be ruining a relationship, but saving the world, not worrying how to figure out how to get on a route, gather the points, and try to save the day. Too wide of a focus.

The second version was much more separated. After talking with everyone several weeklies back, I decided that the best idea was to have the romance and the story options in two separate districts. The investigation sections would only impact the case as a whole, while the story sections would only impact relationship with the character. Even then, the impact was going to be fairly minimal. You would pick a character option at the start of the game and the story would bring you along with those scenes being paired along the story. You’d get some options to make the character love or hate you more, but nothing too world shattering. This was a merger of some of the original ideas of the project and the new ones. In the end, I decided that modifications were needed. As it stood, it was too inorganic. If you are screwing up and threatening the universe, Sol wouldn’t just sit there and nod his head. Zuri wouldn’t be kissing you on the cheek if you just accused her of being a terrorist in disguise. Too inorganic.

The final version is a merger of those two. At the start of game, you will get the choice of whose route Natalie and Name are going to follow. No ambiguity, no forced options to try and get on a route. From the start, if you want Natalie to realize her love of hair drills, you just choose that. This will also determine if Natalie gave Kika more time to work on the crystal or if she decided to use it in the engine. Kika and Alexi are with giving Kika more time, Sol and Zuri are with putting it in the engine. However, just because you choose which line of scenes are going to appear between investigations and core story scenes does not mean you can breathe easy. Forcing the player to occasionally make the tough choice between what they think is the right choice for the case and what their heart is asking them to do. I’m trying my hardest to make sure there is rarely a “right” answer. I think this is going to be the biggest appeal of Fates. You are an investigator, lives are in your hands. If you constantly disagree with Zuri and question her all the time, don’t expect her to not to begin to question if you really love her in her route. At the same time, if you don’t ask questions and look for the truth, you all might not be alive to have a romance at the end of the day.

It’s requiring a lot of writing. Honestly, it is a pretty hefty load even for a veteran writer like me. That being said, it is something I think will turn out for the best. And with that statement of optimism, I am going to wrap up this weekly and get some more writing done before I retire for the night. Remember, folks, to try and keep healthy. Until next time, Chief out!

 

For the video of the post, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to the Kobold (Earth type), the Djinn (Wind type), and the Fire-Souled (Fire type).

Fates Weekly Update #24

Hey, folks. It’s Saturday and that means it is time for another Fates Weekly Update! It is NaNoRenO season, so you know what that means… It means that I won’t be participating this year. While nothing would make me happier than to sit down and write some epic tales, I really can’t pull myself away from the work I have now. Dedication and all that. That means that all of you are going to have to go out there and make games in a month for me! I’m counting on all of you!

Wordcount: 3710 (I decided to take a short break from working core to indulge myself with some content from the character routes. Alexi got some special attention this week. Writing a Raltin character allows me to explore her unique heritage and point of views. It also has led me to a moment where I am trying to figure out what to do about adult content. This isn’t the first time where I’ve had to come to terms with characters letting hormones and feelings put themselves into mature situations. I’ve been practicing and I think I could write such scenes tastefully. On the other hand, I’m not sure I want to bring them in. It’s only certain characters and fading to black works for most situations. This doesn’t work in this particular case because Alexi seducing Natalie is a key plot point for her arc. If she doesn’t, things unfold completely differently than if she does. It changes certain dynamics between them and evolves her arc. This week has been me pondering if I let it go forward and then fade to black before it gets too far, give an option for a softer option that leads to the same place, or rework her route entirely. If anyone has thoughts on the matter, I would love to hear them.)

Merchandise update for backers: Okay, as those of you who follow me on Twitter already know, the person who was supposed to be in charge of shipping everything and had told me had already done turned out to be a liar. It came to my attention this week that he had not done so. After some choice words and removal from the studio, I will personally be taking care of getting everything out. I have a short (inconsistent as well) lunch break, but I have been trying to get all the customs forms and packaging finished up. I’ve got some of the things out and will get the rest out on Tuesday since I have time off of work to go to a doctor’s appointment. I cannot begin to state how sorry I am for this. I apologize and promise that it will not happen again.

I’m going to cut this one off early. I just… uhhh… lost my dinner, if you get the phrase. Apparently I am sick now and probably should go lie down or at least hover near the bathroom. I hate apologizing twice in one week, but I just can’t seem to shake this illness. Tune in next week (or possibly sooner, as I meant for this one to be longer) as we talk about Rising Angels: Hope getting ready to get out the door, new music for you all to enjoy, and some more lore to dive into. Until next time, Chief out!

 

And let’s do a video of the post for me to listen to as I hack up a lung!