Oct 17

Weekly Update #322: Chapter I Progress

So, today, I will finally talk in detail about what’s currently left to do in order to fully complete the first chapter of GENBA no Kizuna.
And I guess the best way to start is to take a look at what’s already been completed!

As you may very well know, we’ve released a demo last year, containing the prologue and the majority of the first chapter, which introduces all the main players in this story: our investigation team and our circle of suspects. I’d say what you experience in the demo makes up about 70% of the first chapter.

Naturally, this means that its last 30% are not included and are thus what we’re currently working on.
This percentage number pertains to the script, however. In terms of the assets, it’s a bit harder to pin down an estimate…

You have to keep the following in mind: when you just start out making a game, just getting the very first scene playable requires an extraordinary amount of effort, because you don’t have any assets at all. No backgrounds, no character sprites with various poses and expressions, no CGs, no GUI, etc.

The further you progress into the story, however, the less new assets will be required. At some point, you’ll have all the necessary sprites together for a character to portray a vast range of emotions. In GENBA‘s case, this is especially true for our main character Keiichi. Although he will get a few more sprite variations later down the road, the vast majority of them are already done, since he’s been appearing in the game right from the start of the prologue.

Other characters that were introduced later, such as Rei and Shinketsu, or the four members of Raptor Pack Productions, haven’t had much screen time yet, so they still require a bunch of new sprites for future scenes.

Similarly, as you progress through the story, more locations within the Kaseki Residence open up, meaning that new backgrounds will be required. In the beginning, however, most scenes take place in just a couple of different rooms, so not many backgrounds have been necessary thus far.

But what exactly is missing then, in order to finally finish up the rest of chapter I?
Well, let’s first take a look at the scenes that are currently missing:

  • Scene 09 takes place where the demo left off. It’s a short scene in which Keiichi returns to the main hall and talks to Shinketsu.
  • Scene 10 is a bit longer, featuring a conversation between Keiichi and Amber as they head up to the 2nd floor for the first time.
  • Scene 11 is the first real investigation segment and thus a pretty long one, as players will not only be able to freely talk to Amber about a number of different topics, but they can also examine Ryuunosuke‘s room in search for clues.
  • Scene 12 is about the same length as Scene 10 and gives us a first look at the victim’s body in its recovered state.
  • Scene 13 is the chapter’s conclusion and another convo between Keiichi and Nobuhiko, similar to the one in the prologue.

Overall, the remainder of chapter I focuses on characters and places we’ve seen before, so a lot of assets are already available.
Nevertheless, there is quite a number of new ones we’ll need in order to visualize all this stuff.

First and foremost, there are two new locations: the 2nd floor of the main hall and Ryuunosuke‘s room, so that’s already two new backgrounds. The good news about this is that Ryuu‘s room is already done and I’m halfway done with the 2nd floor BG. Not just that, there is even one extra BG showing Ryuu‘s door, which has already been completed as well:

That’s it for completely new BGs, but we will also need some variations for already existing ones, depicting new details.
After the body has been recovered, it will be spread out on the floor of the main hall, for instance, along with some new pieces of evidence that were discovered during the recovery process.

Furthermore, the BGs you can currently see in the demo aren’t actually finalized. That’s because I only finalized the story and mystery back in July and, based on this final result, a few more details need to be added to the main hall BG. Based on some feedback, I’ve also added a carpet to it, so the lower half isn’t so plain and empty anymore:

Now, what about characters sprites? Again, we’ve seen quite a bit of Keiichi, so right now, he will only need one new variation.
As for Amber, we will spend a lot more time with her now than we did in the demo, so naturally, she’ll require a handful of new sprites, which I’ve already started to work on as well. Rei, Shinketsu and Nobuhiko only have short appearances, so they won’t need a bunch of new sprites. Amber really requires the most work here.

CGs… now this is where it gets a bit more tricky. There is one relatively simple CG I want to use for scene 10 and then we will need a very complex and detailed one showing a close-up of the body. This will be a crucial CG in chapter 2 when players can actually examine the body, so this will definitely require a lot of attention and time.

There will also be some mini-CGs, like a picture frame depicting a much younger Ryuunosuke together with his grandfather.
That, along with some mystery silhouettes for the chapter’s final scene, has already been worked on, though:

Sound-wise, we already have all we need, but in terms of the GUI, a number of new DPA entries will be added, meaning more writing and a couple little display artworks will be needed, such as this profile image for Prof. Dr. Kaseki:

This almost wraps it up, so as you can see, not a lot of stuff is left to be done, buuut… I still need to do some script revisions as well, and not just in regards to the new scenes. I’m also taking the feedback to heart, trying to fix some issues with the demo content.

So yeah, that’s where we’re currently at. I’m thinking of releasing the rest of chapter I scene by scene for patrons, so they can get an early look and help us with polishing things. Don’t expect anything playable to show up before December, though!

I know it’s taking quite a while to finish this up, but again, keep in mind that the further we progress into the story, the less assets will be needed, and that chapter I is actually one of the longest parts of the game, sooo… things will definitely go much faster with chapters 2 and 3 (primarily because we will have most assets for those by then)!

Now then, since this post has gotten a little lengthy, and I’d like to get back to work on the 2nd floor BG (new preview for patrons tomorrow!), I guess I’ll come to a close. Next time, I’ll give you a look at the actual to-do list and a clearer idea of the progress, but until then, please enjoy the rest of your weekend and, as always, take care :3