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Aug 04

Weekly Update #207: Plans For August

With August just having started, I thought that for today’s blog post, we could take a look at our major tasks and goals for the month. Before we get into those, however, I’d like to talk about our goals from here on out in general, so let’s get right into it!

So far, ever since the release of SHINRAI almost two years ago, we have started working on two new projects. And while the focus has always been more on GENBA no Kizuna, I certainly did not want to neglect SHINRAI‘s sequel Withering Without Hope. So we worked on both of them at the same time. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about this approach and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really work for me. Working on two projects at the same time means that, although you’re making progress on both of them, it’s very little and, as a result, the development time for both of them is dragged out significantly.

I think I’ve always been the type of person who works more efficiently if I just focus on one thing at a time and give that my undivided attention. Of course, there are many moments when you long for a breath of fresh air and want to work on something else. New story ideas regularly form inside my head, all of which I’d love to work on immediately. But if I’d do that, nothing would ever get finished.

The main reason we were able to finish SHINRAI within three years with just a team of two people is because I solely focused on that project. It was often difficult and I kept thinking “I kinda wanna work on something else already“, but I guess the key here was persistence and not letting myself get distracted too much by all those other ideas.

After we had finished SHINRAI, I thought I’d try working on two projects for a change, since many people even suggest doing so. You will often hit a wall and get stuck after all, and whenever you do, it can help a lot to divert your attention to something else for a bit. It will clear your mind in regards to your main project. And eventually, it will provide that spark of inspiration that you needed in order to tear down those walls preventing you from moving forwards.

And while I can confirm that this is certainly true, again, I do think that I work a lot better if I just focus on a single thing. By now, two years have passed since SHINRAI‘s release and GENBA, which is a smaller project, was supposed to be finished this year. I’m not sure if we would have actually achieved that even if we had solely focused on it. But one thing is for certain: we would have definitely gotten a lot farther in development by now. And thinking about that is actually a little frustrating.

You also have to keep in mind that, ever since we have officially released a game and put it up for sale, a whole bunch of new tasks and responsibilities have come along with it. It’s not just about working on a visual novel anymore. We’re running a business now. And even things like Patreon, which is very important for us to be able to even continue doing this, is taking up quite a bit of time. Sure, making a post every now and then in itself isn’t that big of a deal. But the little things keep adding up and together eat away a lot of time. So we actually do have a little less time for VN development now than compared to before.

And of course, there are all the adult responsibilities outside of VN development, but don’t even get me started on that, haha.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is NOT that I have decided to stop working on WWH. At least not entirely. But plans have certainly changed. I think from this point onwards, I want to almost fully focus on GENBA and only continue working on the script for WWH every now and then. I had already started working on its assets, but asset creation especially is a very (if not THE MOST) time-consuming process. Besides, recently, I’ve been playing with the idea of actually hiring artists for that project, so any sort of asset work I’d be doing now might end up being in vain.

I’ll probably elaborate a bit more on this in the near future, but I think that for now, it’s more important to have a finished script anyway, so that will be all I’m going to focus on in regards to WWH. Outside of that, I want to direct my attention towards GENBA and, first and foremost, the completion of its extended demo. Or at least I would like to, but again, there are lots of other things that need to be taken care of, too. Which is all the more reason to “neglect” WWH a little, as much as it pains me. But I’d really like to finish and release the demo as soon as possible.

We really need to find a way to speed up development, but the only real way to do that is to get a bigger team and hire more people to help us out (right now, Natsu and I are basically still doing everything ourselves, except for the music). And in order to do so, we obviously need more funds. So it would be really nice to finish another game some time soon and be able to sell it, haha (also, on that note, once again a huge THANK YOU to our patrons! You really have no idea how much you’re helping us out here).

So this is the conclusion I’ve come to for now. And based on that, I think it’s pretty obvious what I want to do this August!

First of all, I will continue working on the next scene for GENBA no Kizuna. As mentioned before, the scene following the events of our early demo focuses on the introductions of Dr. Shinketsu Kikai and Officer Rei Shirayuki, as well as the discovery of the body. It’s a pretty long scene that also features a little bit of interactivity. Since the script for it is done, all that’s left in order to actually code it and make it playable are the assets. And while most of them have been taken care of, there is still a lot to be done in this regard, so here is a quick progress overview:

Being newly introduced characters, Shinketsu and Rei naturally need sprites. My work on them is mostly done except for fixing some details here and there, but Natsu still has to properly color and shade them. Since the base sprites have already been completely finished, this most likely won’t take long, however, as only certain parts of the bodies need to be re-colored.

With Solo finishing our corpse discovery track very recently, all the music for the scene is ready, too. Three new tracks will be featured throughout it. I still need to double-check, but there don’t seem to be any new sound effects that will be needed. But even if I end up deciding there are, it won’t be more than one or two.

So what else is missing then? Basically all the menu-related stuff. At the end of the scene, players will be provided with three new notebook entries, which I have actually worked on over the past few days. They just need some more revising, but are basically completed. Still need to create the respective menu buttons for them, but that’s a matter of minutes.

The biggest work that remains lies in the background department. While the Main Hall in its original state has been finished, I still need to finish the crime scene version of it. I also need one more background that provides a closer view from a different angle. And last but not least, I need some nifty blood splatter screens, similar to the ones we used in SHINRAI every now and then.

That’s everything that remains to be done in order to be able to code the scene. It really isn’t that much, but there are a lot of other things that need to be taken care of this month, so I’m not sure if we will actually be able to fully finish the scene within August.

August is a pretty important month, after all. Not only is it the month of Raiko’s birthday, but also of the anniversary of SHINRAI‘s release. And of course, just like last year, there are some things planned for that, which I’ll have to work on too. Over the past few days, I’ve actually been very busy with the anniversary artwork!

Speaking of artwork… Patrons have already been able to take a look at it, but I guess it’s time I share last month’s artwork (which was completely done by Natsu) here as well! So, to wrap this up, have Momoko and our little bat attending a summer matsuri:

As always, patrons can download a much bigger version over on Patreon. Moreover, they can now start voting on who will be featured in September’s artwork, as well! The poll will run until the end of the month, so be sure to get your vote in!

That’s about it for today, so please enjoy the rest of your weekend and, until next Saturday, take care! :3

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