Fates Weekly Update #39

Hello, folks! It’s Saturday night and that means it is time to boogy on the dance floor! Wait… it isn’t? When did disco die?! There’s a very large music festival going on not too far from here and they aren’t playing any hip beats! Back in my day… I wonder if Terranivium could do a disco track for Fates… Get Natalie in some bell bottoms and… what I mean to say is let’s get back to the update.

Wordcount: 5555 (Jackpot! I mean… this week, I was writing some of Name’s romance scenes. Name’s possible romances are a bit more complicated to write because I’ve got to try to get pre-Rising Angels stories into Fates without being dry or hamfisting them in. Yoi is easier than Anton since she basically just forces herself into the lives of any character she meets. While there is some history between them, its easy when they’re co-workers and Yoi’s a complete flirt. Anton carries baggage with him. Name blames him for ruining her career, while Anton can’t figure out what is wrong with her. It is a story I’m weaving into the plot while trying to tell the current plot. I won’t lie to you, it has been challenging at some points.

That’s why I’ve been writing Faye. Faye might have history in the series longer than any other character, but Name and Faye are fresh. It’s the lazy, naïve lupide paired up with the active, grumpy detective and they can play off each other without the fear of old stories trying to interfere. Other than Lenna and Faye; that completely interferes with Name’s almost tsundere efforts to bond with the adorable Faye. Between Lenna and Yoi, Name has some competition for winning Faye’s heart.

But the scenes between them are adorable. The one I most recently wrote might end up being my favorite. Poor Faye pushes herself too hard on Tropolain and ends up falling ill after returning to the Nimross. Not terribly ill, not deathbed… yet, but down under the weather. You have two different choices with it. You can let Dr. Eve take care of her patient (which will score average points with Faye) or you can risk trying to take care of the lupide yourself. If you try too hard, it turns into a fairly wacky scene. If you’re a jerk and don’t try hard enough, you make Faye slightly worse and make her feel more alone in the world. If you try as best as you can, there’s a touching scene of bonding between the two girls. It can’t cure deadly toxin damage, but friendship can heal a lot of emotional damage…

Starting next week will be our first promotional contest for Fates. There was a lot of debate about what sorts of contests and themes we would do for possible events. Since some of the major themes of all Rising Angels games are time and growth, I was thinking we’d start with a fanart contest to celebrate where we have come. Prizes are going to be money, merchandise, and maybe a few other special goodies if I can get approval in time! More details and start of the contest will come out in the next Weekly Update!

Trailer video is finally starting to shape up right. Video editing was something I was brand new to when I first started. My first couple attempts at making a Rising Angels: Fates trailer video were bad. Really bad. I’ve been practicing for the last few weeks to learn the ins and outs and I think I’ve finally learned enough to make another solid go at it. It was taking me an hour at one point to make six seconds of terrible video. Not so bad now.

Short week, mostly prep stuff going on. Next week starts the fun though, so stay tuned! Until then, Chief out!

 

For our video of the post, let’s enjoy a pretty awesome video game music video.

Fates Weekly Update #38

Hello, folks! Old Chief here with some of the latest announcements from the front! The Steam Summer Sale is going on and I am happy to say that Rising Angels: Reborn is now 75% off. That’s right, you can save all of the money and make it a super free game! Best deal you’ll get, even better than that 75% off of Valkyria Chronicles that has preoccupied most of my evening. There are a lot of really good visual novels on sale at the moment, so I hope you all are getting out there and finding some solid games to occupy your time.

Wordcount: Very little writing was done this week. I was mostly working out things for the investigation and testing out how the code was working. Investigations are a pretty large portion of the game and I want to be able to give the player the most possible options when presenting clues and facts to characters. The most annoying thing in the world in Phoenix Wright was getting the same message again and again when you presented different pieces of evidence. I want to minimize that as best as I can. Even if they are only a line or two, I want to maximize the uniqueness of the events. That means figuring out how many items there are and how many different ways they can be presented. It’s a flow sheet nightmare…

Voice acting: Act 2 lines should be finished up in a couple weeks and almost all of Act 1 lines are done. Voice acting is progressing at a solid rate.

For today’s topic, let’s chat a little bit about our main protagonist, Natalie!

Name: Natalie Puccile

Age: 24/25 (Natalie has a birthday over the course of Fates. Some of the fun character events involve it.)

Gender: F

Rank: Major

Nationality: Katajion

Bio: A brilliant mind who always excelled at schooling, Natalie won numerous awards growing up for academic excellence. When she graduated, Natalie immediately joined the space force to work as a Special Investigations and Tactics officer. After being posted to the KSS Nimross to investigate a missing research team. After stumbling upon a threat to the future of space travel, Natalie takes it upon herself to independently pursue and neutralize the danger to the ones she loves.

Chief’s Notes: I realized I never talked much about Natalie and her story heritage. That’s a bit odd for me, considering she is the protagonist after all. Then again, Natalie is another one of those characters who comes from a lucky break during the creation process. The original main character for Rising Angels: Reborn was supposed to be her sister. Name is a much more… aggressive character than Natalie, much more driven to succeed. Overwhelmingly self-confident. This is part of the reason why Natalie is a lot more forceful and stuck-up in the introduction of Reborn. She was still channeling her sister.

Eventually, we decided to change it up a bit. Using Name as a base, a new character was fleshed out. I don’t really recall why we decided to name her Natalie. I keep feeling like there is a story there, but I feel it may have been lost to the ages. Knowing me, it probably has something to do with Natalie Portman, but I honestly couldn’t tell you. Either way, Natalie arose out of the ashes of the Beyond Fading Stars project and I quickly set to work fitting her into this new universe.

Still recovering from the Red Rose fiasco, I didn’t want to have a repeat where the cast was a bunch of very forceful people with a laidback protagonist. With Sol and Kika both planned to return, I needed someone who could balance their aggressiveness out, but not be pushed around. Name would have been too harsh, too demanding, so I started working. Natalie would be more interdependent, relying on her personal skills but willing to vest some of that trust into the rest of the crew. Sol was a beautiful match for her in that aspect. I wanted her to have a trusted friend, someone she could rely on from the start as she fostered relations with the other characters. They were foils, to a degree, but those differences only served to strengthen the bonds between them.

Zuri was an unexpected factor and really helped evolve Natalie in my mind. Unlike Sol, Zuri was a true foil to Natalie. The strong warrior and the academic scholar is a fairly time-tested duo. I expected them to fight and argue more, but they both shared a common thread. Natalie’s starting out with a focus on her own advancement had her very selfish at the start. Not a lot of honest caring for others. Zuri was the opposite, only caring about how she could better serve the group. Putting them together helped me evolve them both. Natalie started to see the crew as actual people, realizing her decisions had consequences. Zuri had her first streak of greed since losing Akurel all those years ago; she had a closer friend and didn’t want to lose her. Both girls fought against that inner reflection, not willing to accept that the reflection might show other aspects of their heart.

With there being a lot more hands-on investigations in Fates, I’m eager to see how Natalie grows. As the writer, I see a tipping point in her development and psyche. Will she return to being that career-driven officer who sees this investigation as a way of improving her standing by becoming a hero? Will she become more interdependent by opening her heart to her friends amidst these trials? Both are perfectly viable options with the story. Normally, I have my own canon for a character and that’s what they are. Not this time. Not for Natalie. Life is still very much transpiring for her and I don’t think I will see who she will become until the story comes to its conclusion.

Well, that’s all for this week. Go out there and remember to enjoy the summer with things other than video games as well! Books are totally awesome to read indoors in the summer as well. Until next time, Chief out!

 

Video of the post is some awesome music by an awesome guitarist.  Or was. Video didn’t load. Instead, here’s something else! Okay that didn’t load either. I’ll try again later.

Fates Weekly Update #37

Hello, folks! Chief here after another week of exhaustion and suffering. Too many early mornings! Whoever invented 5 AM needs to be taken to a psych ward for an evaluation. Why do most characters in stories work banker hours? I envy them so much… Anyway, if this update doesn’t seem to make much sense, blame the lack of sleep.

Wordcount: 5,544 (This week I decided to take a break from writing the events of Bri VII and Ona’thon. There are times when everything is overwhelming that I just don’t have it in me to write tense and dark scenes. During those moments, I like to write the character scenes. This week’s scenes were Sol’s. Sol’s scenes and possible romance are tricky, but I’m kind of fond of them. Sol’s scenes assume that you ended with being close to Zuri at the end of Reborn. While they’ve always been very close friends ever since they went to the junior academy together, recent years have strained their relations. Between Lenna driving a wedge between them and their arguments on Sol’s behaviors, there are a lot of small sticking points.

But that strong bond is still there. It may be hidden behind all of those disagreements, but it is still there. One of the first things that happens on Celestia is that Natalie needs to get it out on the table. Spending no time with her when they all thought they were going to die, his treatment of Zuri and Faye, and his abandonment. Those first few scenes are going to be tough on the player. You can fight it out with him or you can just smile and keep those concerns to yourself. What is the correct answer? I’m not going to say. False smiles might be better than tearing Sol’s heart apart or it could scar a man who considers himself to be a close confident of Natalie.

Sol is a pretty hard person. He doesn’t like to show a lot of emotion. He’s an officer and damn proud of it, even if he doesn’t wear the uniform anymore. During the core and investigation sections, Sol is a very reliable source of perception and calm. Like when he considered Zuri’s guilt in Reborn, he tends to think things through calmly. His character scenes are a bit different. There’s moments when the iron curtain cracks and you can see the other sides of him. The things that make him laugh, smile, and even a couple moments of sorrow and worry. Will you embrace him and rebuild your once trusted friend or will you let the gap widen…

Updates on last week’s question: As some of you may have noticed, I completely forgot to include the 4th option. Why? Because it was a terrible option that I’m kind of glad that I forgot about. Votes ended up leaning towards option #1, which was going through Natalie’s Act 1 and then going through Name’s Act 1 and then alternating.

Music: The soundtrack is almost complete thanks to the awesome Terranivium! Here’s a rough sample of what awaits!

That’s all for this week. After a week of early mornings, I’m heading to bed! Until next week, Chief out!

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.

Fates Weekly Update #31

Hey, folks. Chief here with another weekly update. It is going to be a short update since there isn’t a lot of things happening. It’s pretty rare when I have a week that is almost solely aimed towards writing. Normally there is a lot of setting up art commissions, listening to audio from SFX and music, coding games (some mini-games that probably won’t be included in this game), and other odd activities that keep me darting around. Not this week. It’s pretty weird not running circles as the studio head.

Wordcount: 6,441 (So, there I was, happy that I had completed the Act 2 core. I was getting ready to finalize the script and send it off to the voice actors when I realized that I had completely forgotten to include vocal sections when you run into characters during your investigative scenes. These small scenes add to the story and help with character development. I was upset that I had forgotten to include them for Act 2 and spent a pretty healthy amount of time adding them in for each character. Just as I was finishing those up and getting ready to finalize again, I remembered that I had forgotten write a very special scene.

Sol Hackett is a character that I’ve always had some difficulty writing. Sol’s a jerk. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. He’s very strict, has no problem with pointing things out… and he is that horrible racist. As a writer, I have to find ways to show that he isn’t as terrible as he tries to make himself out to be. In Fates, there are a bunch of smaller stories that run alongside the main event. By far the most important one to me is the Sol’s past and his relationship with both Zuri and Kika. If you bungle this subplot earlier, you’ll end up missing this scene. Though you didn’t see too much of it in Reborn, Kika and Sol have a long history together, almost as long of a history as Natalie and Sol. They’ve served together for years and they know each other really well. How they’ve managed to stay friends over that time period, if they are even friends at all… this scene is the first one that shows Sol’s feelings and attitudes and how they’ve evolved from the hateful cadet we’ve seen in the original Rising Angels game. I’m hoping this arc plays out well and people will enjoy the stories that aren’t focused on Natalie.)

Voice acting auditions are ending in a couple hours. That’s right, you don’t have to hear me promote them any more! We’ll be reviewing all auditions and should hopefully have a list ready for the weekly update!

All physical merchandise is out the door. Some of it didn’t make it out originally due to a box getting lost when I moved apartments. This is the first time the studio has ever done physical items and it was a pretty painful learning experience over all. If anyone wants some of the details and stories, I’m willing to do a hotwash about the lessons learned.

Rising Angels: Hope is currently delayed. I’m very, very, very unhappy to have to say that, but it is an unpleasant truth. While all of the chibi CG are done, the CG art for the game is delayed. It’s unfortunate as these CG have been in development for… a year now, but that is the pain of development. Thankfully, Fates’s CG artist is quite speedy and I doubt we will be seeing the same problem twice. The good news is that delays are letting me play around more with the GUI and adding some more minor scenes to the game.

Anyway, short night. Just wanted to get those quick updates out so people didn’t wonder too hard why Hope wasn’t out yet. After Hope is finished, I’m going to be moving on to finish up the coding of Spark. Got a good lineup of things coming soon. As a reminder, if you have any lore questions or whatnot, I’m always up for some story telling. Until then, Chief out.

 

For the video o’ the post, let’s go with a bit of a classic. It’s hard to think that the once overwhelming cult of this has evaporated. Makes me feel old.

Fates Weekly Update #30

Hey, folks. Chief here with your weekly update. Are you in a good mood? I’m in a good mood. I’ve finally recovered from my illness and get to return to my flying job next week! That means I can get back out there earning and saving money that can be used to increase the amount of awesome things in Fates! That, and I hate sitting at a desk. The old man isn’t one for sitting at home living a 9 to 5. Those stories of excitement and adventure you all enjoy have to be inspired from somewhere, right? Until then, let’s talk Fates.

Wordcount: (6,010; Focused a lot on finishing up Act 2 as quickly as I can. I really want to get off the Planet of the Elves and continue my journey. A lot of focus this week was on the investigation sections of Act 2. Though this may come as a shock to you, I’m an old hand at Phoenix Wright games and enjoy them a lot. One thing that bugged me about Phoenix Wright though is that there is always only a single correct answer. A specific line and a specific piece of evidence is needed to move things along. I get it at points, but there were several cases that had me banging my head against a wall because I had a clear cut solution and the game didn’t like it.

I’m going into this with the idea that there should be multiple solutions to a particular investigation, multiple clues that could answer your mystery or take it on a completely different path. Act 2 is the first point where the clues and how you react to them will influence the story. A particular moment I want to share involves Lenna Edeck, Sol and Faye’s old love interest. During the course of talking with her, there will be several moments where you can use clues gathered to either realize that Lenna isn’t sharing her facts. Pressing too hard, however, can turn Sol against you pretty quickly. He still loves Lenna, and if you want to press her too hard, you can expect the investigations with him to be a lot more difficult. That does increase the amount of writing I have to do though, which is why I’m considering that additional writer.

Art: Still working on the blinks and movements of the characters. I do have a pretty awesome thing to announce. Originally, we didn’t have a character sprite for Natalie. Much sorrow. The sprite artist wasn’t going to be able to finish her off. However, thanks to the awesome Geckos, who is doing those animations, we now have a sprite for Natalie. That’s right, you aren’t going to be forced to do all Natalie/Name scenes from Natalie’s perspective! It also opens the possibility of side sprites again. I’m really, really, really excited. A couple characters are also going to get additional outfits as well.

Sisters fated against each other...
Sisters fated against each other…

Advertisement: Speaking of Geckos and her art, if you have a few spare dollars, please consider backing her kickstarter for a pretty awesome visual novel called Brilliant Shadows. I’ve gotten to do some admin support for it and I’m pretty excited about it. You can check it out here.

Voice acting: One last week to get your auditions in!

Lore: Now, for this week, we get to talk about something a little less… happy. While I do have some experience with chemical and biological weapons, I didn’t put a lot of thought into what hit Faye on that desert planet. I knew what I wanted to happen and lore didn’t really catch up. However, as her illness is going to be a pretty strong point in her route (dying tends to be a major life moment), it had to be worked out. Thanks to the help of the Eve writer, we now have a very detailed list of effects to what Faye is now suffering from.

Qudratexadon uses an ibotenic acid base to disrupt the lupide immune system, thus allowing it to take hold without being combated effectively. It causes inflammation of the alveoli, thus limiting gas exchange between the lungs and blood, and causing a buildup of fluid in the lungs. Qudratexadon poisoning directly causes effects to other parts of the body as well. Tissue hardening between brain hemispheres is a common symptom of Qudratexadon poisoning, and causes emotional turmoil, as the brain can no longer properly regulate emotion with reason (the effect is more profound in people that were predominately logical, as those mental tendencies are disrupted). Muscle development becomes hindered, and while the effect is generally universal, most cases are afflicted with uneven loss of muscle mass. In the worst cases, this can cause muscle spasms so severe they appear to be seizures, though most cases simply inhibit basic motor functions. Higher doses have a profound effect upon the nervous system, mainly damage to the nerves along the vertebral column and brain stem, causing impaired touch sensitivity, muscle paralysis, blurred vision, and possibly death.

I’d like to take a moment to mention that Faye is one of my favorite characters, she’s been in 3 visual novels so far. That being said, she is a very, very sick lupide who had the misfortune of ending up in a bad situation. Should she be out there? Definitely not, even with a specialist doctor following her around. Even though she’s a very lazy, very laidback person, Faye’s not going to abandon her friends in their time of need. Will Name be able to help her keep going or will Faye succumb to such a terrible disease…? Faye will be one of the hardest characters to keep alive in this story (both from external and internal problems), but you can do it.

With that bit of lore, I wrap this up for the evening. Remember not to contract deadly toxins! Until next time, Chief out!

 

Today’s video of the post is one talking about our new spaceship design. Kinda creepy that he does look a bit like me…