Dec 29

Weekly Update #228: 2018 Wrap-Up

Welp, this is awkward. First of all, I need to apologize for the lack of a weekly update last Saturday. The funny (well, actually rather sad) thing is, I had prepared the update in advance and the draft was ready to be published. All I needed to do was to hit that “Publish” button last Saturday, but I kinda totally forgot about that… “orz

To be fair, I was basically away from home all day and only got back somewhere around midnight. I guess at that point, I was too tired and my mind too occupied with other things to think about it…

This really bugs me now. After all, in all this time I’ve been doing these updates, that’s actually the first time I forgot to post one!
Aaaaahhhhhhhh, my beautiful track record… stained!! Q__Q

Well, there’s no use crying over spilt milk. If you’re curious about the contents of last week’s update, I’ve just published it as well, so you can check it out here. It was a short post anyway. The really important thing brought up in it is the release of the next part of our extended GENBA no Kizuna demo, which patrons can now play test here!

But yeah, with that out of the way, let us move on to today‘s actual topics!

2018 is about to end and a new year itching to start. This one certainly was an eventful and rather unexpected one for me personally. It went into directions I would have never even dreamed of one year ago. As a result, what I had planned to accomplish throughout 2018 didn’t quite work out, at least in regards to visual novel development.

For instance, I had to realize that working on two projects at the same time didn’t quite work out as I had hoped it would. The initial idea was to alternate between them whenever I would get stuck. So if I’d hit a wall on GENBA and would need to think about how to proceed, I could work on SHINRAI in the meantime and make some progress on that. Sometimes, it can be nice to get a breather and focus on something else for a while. It can clear your mind and you can return to the other project with a fresh outlook.

In the end, however, I guess I’m just the kind of person who works more efficiently when I purely focus on a single thing. That’s how we got SHINRAI done after all. Despite the constant urges to work on so many other things, I managed to stay on track and not get distracted. So maybe that’s the key to success. At least in my specific case.

Either way, around the midway point of 2018, we decided to purely focus on GENBA. SHINRAI‘s sequel hasn’t been ditched entirely, of course, but for now, GENBA takes priority. It’s the shorter of the two projects, it chronologically takes place before SHINRAI, and it provides (optional) introductions for characters that will play a big role in Withering Without Hope.

You will still be able to play WWH without ever playing GENBA, but checking out the latter beforehand will provide you with some more context and background information in regards to the police investigators that will be involved in the case.

We have also already accomplished a lot more on GENBA in terms of writing and asset work, so that’s why we ultimately decided to focus on that project first. Nevertheless, I also made some neat writing progress on WWH earlier this year.

(And on that note, if you’re curious about the setting of WWH and want to get an actual first glimpse at what the location looks like, I’ve published a new special blog post on Patreon, featuring a WIP-preview of the very first background art!)

Earlier this year, I was thinking about releasing a demo for WWH in December, containing the entire prologue, but… that obviously didn’t work out. We did, however, release a demo for GENBA‘s prologue in April and have since begun to work on an extended version of it, featuring even more content! As mentioned in the beginning of this post, the first half of it can already be checked out on Patreon. Work on the second half still continues, so the public release will happen some time early 2019. But we’ll get into more detail about that in next week’s blog post!

In any case, 2018 didn’t work out as I had envisioned it. But that doesn’t mean I see it as a failure. On the contrary, privately at least, it actually turned out to be one of the greatest year’s of my life! And ultimately, I still managed to accomplish a lot of things I’m proud of in regards to VNs too, even if they’re not necessarily what I had originally planned.

I would have liked to release the extended GENBA demo this year as well, but I’m still proud of the progress we have made on it thus far. We did, at the very least, release an early demo of the project earlier this year. And speaking of demo releases, there is also the one for Pitch Black Serenade, which I have to mention here, since I’ve gotten personally involved with the project as well.

It was a lot of fun to work with Kuna and I enjoyed proofreading the script a lot. It’s an unconventional romance/mystery VN showing a lot of promise, so if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, I highly suggest checking it out! It’s more than worth your time!

Besides, eventually, Kuna will be working with us on our future projects as an artist, so you might as well use the opportunity to get familiar with her art! I really can’t wait to see her breathe life into our characters and worlds!

Now, I guess I could also mention the release of The Day Akatarou’s Blood Ran Out, a dumb little 4 minute VN I made over the course of a weekend earlier this year. This was really just me fooling around with Visual Novel Maker to see what it’s capable of, but it was an enormous amount of fun as well as a fun change of pace. With this one, however (even if it’s just 4 minutes), I’m really not sure I could tell you it’s worth your time, haha.

I’d really like to do something like this again, but with a bit more effort put into it and no use of pre-existing assets.

Anyway! Overall, I couldn’t be more happy with how 2018 has turned out. One of the biggest problems we’re facing at the moment is that we’re still at the start of our new project. A lot of assets are still missing, but once we have completed the extended demo, a huge chunk of the character sprites will be done, for example, so development should continue at a much quicker pace afterwards.

I will be talking about our plans for next year, specifically January, in next week’s update. But for today, I guess it’s time to not only wrap up 2018, but also this post! Once again, a huge thank you to everyone sticking around and following our progresses! The support we’re getting means a lot and is a driving factor behind our motivation to continue! And rest assured, we’re fired up to provide you with a lot more content next year!

Now, before I leave, I’d like to share two more things with you, which have also been added to our gallery.
This morning, I received this super adorable Raiko from Khana:

But that’s not all! For Christmas this year, Natsu drew a little pic featuring Shiku, one of the four suspect characters you will get to meet in GENBA! It also features Fujisa, one of the characters appearing in Pitch Black Serenade:

Now with this, I wish you a great end to a hopefully satisfying year! Please enjoy the last few days of 2018 and have a safe transition into 2019! Until next time, take care! :3

(Oh, and speaking of the new year… patrons can now also check out a WIP-look at our New Year’s illustration!)