Fates Weekly Update #36

Hello, folks. Short update this week as things are at a lull as work continues to be done. In addition to all of the development hats I had to wear this week, I also had to wear a couple weird ones. In addition to being a flight engineer, writer, studio head, and a few other random things, I had to put on my NASCAR fry cook hat. Twelve hours of manning a food tent cooking fries and serving burgers and hot dogs. While Fates does take a bit from some of my military adventures, I’ve got a feeling that Natalie won’t be asking the Raltin Empire if they want chili with their ancient superweapons. I mean, that might be a fun spinoff…

Wordcount: 2,122 (Pretty low wordcount this week as I was more focused on coding things out for something special. Coding is probably the most boring part of development. Since the engine for the investigation sections is already done, most of the coding was the more generic character emotions and scene transitions. Most characters have two poses and ten emotions, so I’ve had to design an easy system to use involving spreadsheets and numbers instead of length names. When you’ve got thousands of lines of dialog, it gets pretty tiring over time. If I don’t take time every now and then to do the code work, you’ll see a very braindead man during the last couple weeks of development.)

So as we get closer to release, I have another question for the audience! It’s a pretty big one as well. How should we split the protagonists? We have two protagonists with two stories that are running parallel to each other. Right now, there are four ideas that we have been toying with back and forth.

Idea #1 is the one we’ve been running with so far. At the start, you will pick the character route for each sister. The story will start with Natalie and follow her through Act 1. At the end of Act 1 for Natalie, the game will then switch to Name and go through her Act 1 (which happened storywise at the same time as Natalie).

Idea #2 would be closer to a traditional TV show. You’d still pick the character start. After each scene or couple scenes, you’d go back to the other sister as she continues her story. It’d be very back and forth.

Idea #3 would be a complete run-through of one sister, player’s choice. After you completed Acts 1-3, you’d go back to the start and go through the other sister’s story. At the end of this, you’d then go into Act 4 with the gathered evidence and biases and the story would conclude from there.

Since I don’t like having short weeks with nothing interesting, let’s have a showing of the completed CG illustration from last week. I feel sorry for Yoi. Out of all my characters, she is probably the most abused one. Life and poor choices always seem to land her into a bad situation. This is the worst one she’s been in so far. There’s a death flag in there for poor Yoi, just like there is a very, very bad situation for the universe in this scene as well. There’s five variations for this scene and they progressively get worse for your team if Name can’t solve the situation quickly.

 

That’s all for this week. Please comment on which idea you think would work best for the protagonist swapping! Until next week, Chief out.

 

Since NASCAR is on the mind, the video of the post is my favorite song from NASCAR ’98.

Fates Weekly Update #35

Hello, folks! It’s Saturday evening here at the studio and, unlike last week, I don’t sound like death incarnate. Just like the draemon I’m writing about, I’m feeling pretty hearty and strong. Not as strong as I’d like for my fitness test next week, but that’s how life goes sometimes. You don’t always get to choose the hand, but you do choose how you get to play it. Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk some lore this week!

Writing: 5,988 (Took a break from Bri VII to write some of the other half of Act 3, which is the other half of our playable characters!)

While Natalie is off on Bri VII, Nàme is hot on her tail… on a completely different planet. Like I mentioned last week, Act 3 is the first and only act where our two investigators end up on completely different tracks. How they end up on different tracks is something you’ll have to wait to find out, but Natalie does manage to shake her tail.

For those of you who don’t remember from Reborn, Ona’thon is a desert wasteland that is home to the draemons and their sacred site, the City of Emerald Winds. For Act 3, Nàme doesn’t end up in the city, but instead is pursuing a key clue hidden in the wastes. Ona’thon is a rather poor planet, more of a place for the scum and villainy of the universe than her more prosperous residents. With few natural resources and more than a few ruins and failed cities, Ona’thon is a good place to get sand, lose authorities, and get yourself into serious trouble. Only the toughest survive here, which is why the draemon pride themselves on being both an honest and a resilient people. With their natural genetic advantages and unique society, draemon are considered some of the most talented fighters in the galaxy.

But that advantage doesn’t come without sacrifice. Draemon are born from eggs laid in clutches out in the desert wastes. These young draemon, known as hatchlings, wander the wastes as they learn to survive its harsh and unforgiving land. While there are some ancient elder draemon who return to the wastes to teach hatchlings, most hatchlings have to learn how to survive on their own. As expected, only the strongest survive the land and the predators that prey on young draemon. When a draemon is old enough and has conqured the wastes, they are given the opportunity to join draemon society and be given their names. Some choose never to leave and become predators themselves, but most accept the three golden gems, known as the mark, and being their journey to the ancient temples to learn their heritage.

These draemon, known as wildlings, journey back out into the wilds to find the six temples. These temples teach them what it means to be a warrior, a scholar, and a draemon. When they have proven themselves to the elder of the temple, they are given a Wing of Chaza to show their learning. While there are trails and routes that are commonly taken between these temples, they are also the most often preyed upon routes. Often, draemon will band together (mostly from their birth clutch) to safely travel these paths. Nevertheless, most draemon do not survive the journey that takes them across multiple continents. A full journey often takes years to make, though draemon themselves tend to live hundreds of years. When a draemon gathers all six Wings, they go to the City of Emerald Winds. It is here, while the ancient song passed on from generation to generation is played, that the wings glow bright and are grafted to a draemon to show their passing into adulthood.

Draemon are an ancient race with a tradition of strength and discipline. Messing with their home and their way of life is dangerous and can very easily spell the end of a SITO team. If Anton’s team lives long enough to someday hear the song or if they find their doom in those wastes… it all depends on well you play the game…

Hope update: I haven’t heard back from the CG artist for Hope and I’m a tad bit concerned. Considering a half dozen deadlines have been broken in regards to them, I am being forced to consider what my alternative options are. The one thing I refuse to do is release it without CG. The style is rather unique, so it is hard to find alternative CG artists. Hopefully, we should have a viable option soon.

Speaking of CG artists, Tscbr is doing an awesome job on the Fates ones! There’s some adorable Natalie and Nàme ones and a pretty spooky one with Yoi. Roughs, right now. Poor Yoi, she’s life’s kicking bag it seems. Not showing the other variations of this one. No spoilers.

Pronunciation guide: While I was listening to some people talk about RA: Reborn, I realized that everyone has a different pronunciation of many words in the universe. Time for some educational lessons on pronunciation!

Katajion- Ka-teh-jah-n (This is the most commonly mispronounced word. Mostly because it looks Japanese in a traditionally eastern medium and isn’t. All because it is not pronounced how it is spelled. English, amirite?)

Akurel- Ah-curr-el

Draemon- Dray-mon (It was misspelled in the entirety of Reborn because I screwed up the ctrl-F replace at the end. The codex, which had the correct spelling, is the right way.)

Nàme- Nah-May

Raltin- Rahl-tin

Puccile- Pew-seal

Tropolain- Tro-poh-layn

SITO- Sigh-toe

That’s all for today. I’m hoping to get the rest of Act 3 core done in the next two weeks and then move on to the final act. Really happy how development is going, though I want to increase my writing outflow to make sure I get as many character events in there as the outline calls for. Until next time, Chief out!

And for the video of the post… let’s go with something not many of you have probably heard before.

Fates Weekly Update #34

Hello, folks. Chief here with the latest and greatest update for you all to enjoy. Hasn’t been a good week for me personally. I’ve had an upper respiratory viral infection paired with severe seasonal allergies since Monday. My hearing has been muffled to the point where it sounds like I’ve got headphones on and enough liquids coming out that I could fill an ocean. You know, you never hear about heroes in games and stories that suffer from mild illnesses. They are either 100% healthy, stuck in bed for cute cutscene with the love interest taking care of them, or dying from the illness. Never any mild suffering. I need to go share my bug with them…

Wordcount: 7,001 (I was going to break that 7k mark. My marathon days were ruined a bit by the fact that I coughed up both lungs over the course of the week, but I did manage to get some good writing in and some editing of older scenes. This week, we rejoined Natalie and her adventures on the watery resort planet of Bri VII.

Bri VII is a fun little planet that is the resort world of the Ryu’llian Republic and shares the border with the Katajion Directorship. While Uterik is the more preferred world to visit, Bri VII has a lot more to offer a tourist. Unlike Uterik, Bri VII used to be home to an ancient civilization that once ruled the stars before humanity ever left Earth (for the second time). These once great and beautiful cathedrals floated upon the seas by magic (or technology that humans cannot quite grasp yet, your choice). When the empire fell, the cities dissolved into ruin and were sunk to the bottom of the sea. For you historical, treasure-hunting types of tourists, there are plenty of ancient ruins to skulk around! For you more fashionable tourists, there are beaches, spas, boardwalks, and all sorts of sea and wildlife tours to be had!

Bri VII is a planet for the opulent as they pay homage to powers they do not understand. It is up to you as Natalie to pursue the pieces of the weapon that threatens space travel and render them safe. Bri VII brings back some old faces from previous acts and games, adds a couple new villains to Fates, and brings about the end of several arcs that have been running through the series. Stan Nelson’s true role will come to light and, at the request of many, you have the option to leave him at the bottom of the ocean. Another arc that will come to its conclusion, one that has ran many RA games, is Sol and the non-humans. His actions over the series, his motivations, and his true thoughts will finally come to a conclusion on Bri VII. It’s been incredibly painful writing his development over the series. Writing a likeable racist was by far one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I hope Sol’s story with Faye, Kika, and Lenna comes to a conclusion that everyone will enjoy. Or end it with drowning him alongside Stan. I like to keep the options open.

Natalie also is getting a second outfit for Bri VII. It’s a parting gift from one of your party members…

BGs: Since we are talking about Bri VII, here is one of the BG sketches currently in the works for the planet. Bri VII wasn’t originally in the outline, so these backgrounds had to be added afterwards. The previous ones turned out very nice and I have high hopes for these as well.

Trailer: Still trying to get the video editing just right!

Miscellaneous: Since the question was raised, IDHAS Studios will once again be working with Sekai Project to release Rising Angels: Fates on Steam. We had a good relationship with them for the Rising Angels: Reborn release and I’m looking forward to working with them again on the sequel!

Brilliant Shadows, a necromancer/paladin adventure with yuri done by our colleague and artist Geckos, is down to its last 48 hours! If you can help them out, please do so!

That’s all for this week’s update. I’m off to take my evening medication and catch some sleep. Until next time, Chief out!

 

Video of the post is in celebration of the 10th aniversary of this.

Fates Weekly Update #33

Hello, folks. Chief Komi was out of the office for most of this week and barely around this weekend. Sorry for the super short update, but I’ve been borderline dead.

Wordcount: (5,310; Started into Act 3. This is the first and only act where Natalie and Name are on completely different missions. Natalie is heading towards Bri VII, where she will be attempting to find her way to a sunken temple. Name, on the other hand, is heading for Ona’thon in hot pursuit of Natalie. Yes, that might sound like a bit of confliction of information. Act 3 is full of betrayals, death, and the trails of friendships under fire. While you can damage your investigations in Acts 1 and 2, Act 3 is where you can do the most overall damage. If you screw it up hard enough, a lot of your friends (and then the universe) have a very, very grim fate…)

Voice acting auditions are over and now the roles have been cast. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who auditioned. We had over 200 auditions and it was incredibly difficult to choose.

Akurel- JoeyKat

Alexi- ohnobones

Eiril- Damaru

Faye- Axus

Lenna- Kendra Braun

Miyani- Heidi Tabing

Nigel- Ardailec

Sora- Marissa Lenti

Stan- Sparkvoice

Sylvania- Rachelacting

Yoi- MewVenus

Rising Angels: Hope is still delayed as I wait for the CG artist to deliver. In the meanwhile, I’ve gone back to finish the coding for Spark and I took a day this week to code out a game that is jokingly called Baby Dragon Oregon Trail. If the draemon quest to become adults is as hard as this game, it would be amazing that there are 3 draemon in Fates’s cast.

Wallscrolls and dakimakura should be arriving! If you have not gotten one and are expecting one, let me know.

We are still taking suggestions for possible contests.

Anyway, next week I hope to have the trailer up and running. Until then, Chief out.

Video of the post has some Queen and Freddie Mercury for ya.

Fates Weekly Update #32

Hey, folks. Chief the terrible scanner here to bring you the words! Pretty tired, but I’m in a good mood after a terrible week. Between the painful day job and development, development was by far more fun and certain more rewarding. Remember, kids! Don’t be like Chief, do what you love for your day job. If you can’t do that, do what pays so you can do what you love in your spare time. It leaves you constantly exhausted, but it is rewarding. And now on to talking about the rewarding work!

Wordcount: 2,782 (Mostly just editing this week)

Voice acting: The second round of voice acting ended last week. Right now we are going over the voices and we should have a cast list up sometime next week.

Sprites: Almost all of the wiggles and blinks are done! Only one character remains on that! Here’s a very happy, very excited example!

Very excited! Much happy! Wow!

Very excited! Much happy! Wow!

Trailer: It has been a long time coming, but work has almost completed on the trailer video. Though it isn’t an incredibly amazing and astounding video that will awe children for ages to come, I’m very delighted with how it is shaping up. The song is good, I’m rapidly learning how to use the video editor, and all of the assets are coming together. Right now I’m getting recordings from our tech demo, which is very rapidly becoming an alpha of the first Act. This will be the first public showing of some of our gameplay, so I’m incredibly stoked! As a bit of a sneak peak of both voice acting and the trailer, here’s our opening line from Natalie, voiced by Jill Harris.

 

 

Promotion ideas: It’s not just the trailer that we are thinking about for getting Fates out there to the masses. I’ve always been fond of running contests and promotions, thought it has been a while since I’ve had a big one. I’m thinking there will probably be three leading up to release, one tied to each of the three big games. I’ve got some fun ideas for prizes, but I’ve been pondering what sort of contests might be fun. While there is always the classic fanart/fanfic ones, I decided it might be fun to ask out to the audience for suggestions. As always, either send your suggestions to the IDHAS e-mail or drop them here in the comments!

Last week I was asked about how I decide scenes and how they are written out. Very happy with this question because I do things differently and you all can get a sneak peek into how the madness is formed!

Like most writers, I start out with a simple idea of what I want to see. Nothing big or cosmic at this point in the process. It was a lot easier for Fates because I didn’t need to decide the premise idea because it was mostly there from Reborn. I want an investigator working against multiple enemies to try and save the universe. Very broad, very generic. The next step is to build the world. Again, most of this was already done because the RA universe. There were some additions to the universe though, mostly the underlying evils and further developing the crystals. Lore is incredibly important when designing a universe. If you don’t understand the societal and historical settings, it is hard to design characters.

Characters are my next big step. This is the part where I have a lot of fun. I’ll go through dozens of character ideas that could make for an interesting cast. I’ll pair foils, I’ll grab some stereotypes and see what I can get out of them. At this point, I pass the best ideas to the artist. When the designs come back, I then tend to consider whose design is the most interesting. That’s actually how Zuri ended up moving from a very minor character to the primary love interest and Natalie’s best friend.

Once I have the characters diviated to their respective positions, I decide how I am going to start the story and how I want to end the story. For Fates, I want to start out with something a lot more dynamic and exciting than Reborn. Reborn started really slowly and I had to cover the space sector side of the Katajion Directorship. Now that that’s done, I can go ahead and kick the door with some adventure. As for the end, I wanted a very solid end for the Rising Angels series. The stakes are high, so I need to make sure I keep the tension up.

Now that I have my start and stop, I need to start filling in the rest. Traditionally, I’ll make the vaguest semblance of an outline. Just normally enough to figure out the barest basics, though I’ll increase it when I have a fellow writer with me. I don’t traditionally follow the outline too closely. The original outline for Reborn had several routes that ended up not making it in. I know several writers who will adhere to those things religiously, but I’m not as fond.

A big secret of how I write is that I write a single draft. I’ll spend hours of time ponder thousands of different variants of a scene while I’m working at my day job, while I’m getting ready for bed, or whenever. I’ll evaluate how those characters in the scene would play each event and how changing a variable can change the overall effect. By the time a scene makes it to paper, I’ve probably spent 10 hours working on it. I do this for every major scene. It’s pretty taxing, to be honest, but I am strict dungeonmaster. There are no rerolls in this campaign.

Now, that covers the major plot scenes. There’s a lot of time when I’ll get ahead of the curve. This is when I decide to work on some of the more minor scenes and scenes that are character specific. These scenes aren’t incredibly thought out. Because of all the investment into characters and setting, I’ll step back and let the characters push things along. These points are very fluid and they can either turn out really well and give me a brilliant idea for the next major scene or… they can screw things up pretty hard. One of my favorites has to be the Zuri talking with Natalie about her friends growing up. It wasn’t planned, but it sounded fun when the idea popped up. As I was writing along, I remembered that I had earlier given Zuri a major clue. By letting Zuri speak herself, I not only managed to get a pretty cute scene, but I got a stagnant investigation back on track. I was very proud of that one.

That’s how it goes. I do all the universe prep work, I set the start and stop points, and then bounce between highly scripted moments and very loose scenes. With all these put together, I’ve got my script. The one exception is that when I’m writing visual novels with options instead of kinetic novels, I’ll take some of those variations on major scenes and let them develop into different routes. There are a LOT of those in Fates. It’s staggering. This is a very, very, very big game.

I hope that was interesting. If anyone wants me to highlight things and go into more detail, just ask. Until next week, Chief out!

 

And for the video of the post, I give you something that’s been stuck in my head ever since the writer of Brilliant Shadows put it there.