*blows the dust off of the Ouroboros Connect blog*
Hey, everyone! Happy New Years. Inspired by other developers doing the same thing, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back on 2014. Our output this year was definitely better than 2013’s. At the start of the year, I wrote a post where I said, “I want to diversify what I can do and really grow as a writer this year. On the visual novel development side, my challenge will be to release 3 things in 2014.” Did that happen? The first sentence did, but the second one…not quite.
In April, we completed Nanoreno 2014 and released The Mishka Effect, our time travel adventure-comedy. Then, the weekend of Halloween, we participated in Asylum Jam 2014 to finish and release Saving Zoey in 48 hours. Both of those projects were triumphs for different reasons. I’ll forever be proud of both of them. A second version of The Mishka Effect is still on course to be released some time in 2014. We haven’t forgotten about that, don’t worry!
To prove my skills as a writer, I started getting into interactive fiction writing. At the end of June, I participated in a narrative game jam and released Draw Everything You See That’s Mine and Yours. It was surprisingly well-received, managing to get #3 overall in the jam. A month later, I made a solid attempt at a genre outside of my comfort zone for IntroComp. It was called Mount Imperius and honestly, it didn’t do so hot. You win some, you lose some.
Taking what I learned from those two Twine attempts, I decided to enter the 2014 IFComp. I gave myself a rule: don’t hold anything back. Write whatever comes to mind, no matter how horrible it might be. This resulted in Venus Meets Venus, which pulled 13th place out of 42 and the unofficial Silver Banana of Discord (second highest standard deviation of votes). The response for Venus Meets Venus has been amazing. It made it onto Forest Ambassador (and won Best Numeral Exegesis, haha), was mentioned in a podcast, was described as a champagne and tiramisu breakfast (yes), got praised by one of my IF idols Emily Short, and continues to receive nice feedback. I read every review I can find.
It may have been emblematic of the problems that many people have with Twine but people seemed to enjoy it despite that. IFComp was truly a wild ride. I think you have to have a thick skin to participate in it. It can be tough to see your work get completely trashed. And believe me, VMV had its fair share of getting dumped on. The thing is, you can’t take any of it personally. You have to look at the negativity & the criticism, and learn something from it. Focus on the most useful parts of the criticism.
What I’ve learned is that if I do IFComp in 2015, I’ll be creating something with more interactivity and a little less poetry. I’m also going to start and finish my project much sooner than I did with VMV. Who knows? Maybe I can start practicing with some parser projects throughout 2015 so I can throw my hat into the parser ring. We shall see.
Overall, I’m proud of what I did throughout 2014. I didn’t release 3 visual novels, but I released 2 visual novels and 2 pieces of interactive fiction (Mount Imperius was only an introduction so I’m not counting it). I survived 5 jams/competitions. Wow, I just realized that I only released works that were meant for jams or competitions. Oops. Well, they’re good motivators for finishing things!
The problem with doing all of these things was that it came at the cost of my works-in-progress. I’ve got three that are definitely in the pipeline for 2015.
Everything Around a Bridge: this was a project that was meant to be done in 2013, oops. The writing has been finished since then and hasn’t been touched. I think it’s under 6000 words total? The artwork’s all done. The GUI might need to be revamped. Sprites need to be coded into it. If I wasn’t so hesitant about it, it could have gotten released around November. There’s just something that it’s missing. I think I have to get over myself and release it already.
7 Months in Between: the first draft of the writing is all done. Both routes have gotten alpha feedback. The sprites are finished. It needs GUI and an extensive amount of photography done for the BGs. There won’t be any CGs because I can’t afford them. Editing is 0% done unless I’m forgetting something. In that case, it might be like 3-5% done. For some reason, I have a lot of issues with this project. The other day, I actually ranted on Twitter about needing a personal assistant to see it through. If I got my act together, this project could EASILY see the light of day late Summer 2015.
Besides, how much longer can we deny the world of Gus?
In This Dream of Ours Remake: Honestly, I dropped the ball on this one. The sprites are done. Haven’t started on GUI designs, BGs, CGs, or any of that. I’m taking way longer on the writing than I thought I would. I think I underestimated the amount of work required. Turning it from a KN to a VN took a tremendous deal of effort. That being said, it’s the longest visual novel I’ve ever worked on to date. I’m pretty sure it’s going to more than double the word count of 7 Months in Between when it’s all done.
YEAH! Cheer us on, Yasahiro, as we make it across the writing finish line!
Game Jams in 2015?: I’ll be doing NaNoWinter 2015 with some of my The Mishka Effect teammates so expect to see something new from me by February 1st. Nanoreno 2015 will definitely be happening, so that’s something else for April 1st. I’m expecting to do IFComp 2015 as long as I have the time for it. Other than that, I’m not sure! I’ve definitely got to get EAB, 7MiB, and ITDO ’15 out the door so they’re going to be taking higher priority.
I’d like to repeat my 2014 resolution for 2015: release three things in 2015. Here’s to 2015 being even better than 2014 was!