2015 Retrospective

 Interactive Fiction, Planet, Serial Fiction, Visual Novels  Comments Off on 2015 Retrospective
Jan 012016
 

2015 saw the releases of Fairly Dangerous, the second version of The Mishka Effect, and Nowhere Near Single. The former two titles were ported over to the Google Play Store (and even have HTML5 versions over at Sandbox Adventure). The latter ranked 14th place in the 2015 IFComp and won me a spectacular pair of pajama pants.

Thanks to Kailoto’s assistance and proofreading, Everything Around a Bridge is on the very edge of being released…if I’d just let go of the project already. After all this time, I’m still the only thing that’s preventing it from getting out there. I’ve got some personal reservations about it.

I’ve got another project that is just about done and is going through some finishing touches. It’s more of a mini-game type of experience – something light and silly. I made it for school over the summer and my classmates thought it was funny, so… trooper6 was nice enough to clean up the code for it, and Jojo from leveretta dev.’s making the GUI for it. Anyway, I’ll write more about it when it’s closer to release!

Our NanoWinter project, SNO Place Like Home, from around February 2015 hit some snags, but we’re pulling it together. It’s not abandoned. I haven’t given the project the attention it deserves so that it can be finished. Getting it finished in time for the end of Winter 2016 is a nice thought…

Other projects grounded to a halt. There wasn’t any significant progress done on any of my longer-standing WIPs. 2015 was a busier year than I expected it to be. It was also the year that I’ve started to come to terms with certain things I may touch on in a later blog entry. I struggled a lot with self-doubt about whether or not I can “make it” as a creator/writer, and if this is something I’m still capable of pursuing after all this time.

As a result of those things, I only managed to get one full visual novel out there. Since I’ll be working on Redwood Crossing, my interactive serial, I’m expecting that I’ll have even less time than I did in 2015. The team from Fairly Dangerous plans on reuniting for Nanoreno 2016, so you’ll see at least one visual novel again from me in 2016. I’ll also make more of an effort to keep this blog updated this year. I can’t believe I only updated it twice last year!

Thanks for the support, everyone who’s reading this. And if you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to Redwood Crossing so you won’t miss the release announcement. New chapters will be released weekly. At the end of every chapter, readers will be presented with a choice on where to take the story next. RWC should be starting mid-January, so see you there when it starts!

The Fairly Mishka Dangerous Effect

 Planet, Visual Novels  Comments Off on The Fairly Mishka Dangerous Effect
Jun 212015
 

Hey all!

I haven’t updated this blog in a long time. The easiest way to stay up-to-date with what I’m working on is to follow me on Twitter, where I’m always available for a conversation. Earlier this year, most of the crew from The Mishka Effect and I started working on a Snowpocalypse-themed visual novel for the Winter Nanoreno jam. Since our scope grew, we’ve had to take extra time on it, but it should all be wrapped up before the end of this Summer.

110048

During March, we worked on Fairly Dangerous for Nanoreno 2015, a game about a group of paperclip-sized fairy friends trying to survive in a human’s apartment. It’s a dark comedy featuring the high possibility of death from things like mouse traps, microwaves, glass bottles, and more. It was released in April, and can be found here on itch.io, here on Google Play, and here on GameJolt. Special thanks goes out to my team for making this release possible.

tme_screen1

Today sees the release of the long-awaited second version of The Mishka Effect. The update includes better timing for some of the jokes, a FLOWCHART, better graphics, improved animations, and more! You can find the new version over here on itch.io and download it here on Google Play. This is a comedy time travel visual novel, which was originally made in one month for Nanoreno 2014. Thank you to everyone who made this happen! Couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Will update more about the other things I’m working on soon. :)

Dec 312014
 

*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!

2015

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!

Moving Along

 Planet, Visual Novels  Comments Off on Moving Along
May 012014
 

I’m sorry I am a few days late on this update. Honestly, because of my night classes, I’m having trouble sticking to a consistent updating schedule.

I’ve received some good feedback on 7 Months in Between. I think I am getting a better idea on what to do about that route that’s been left open. Art’s been moving along steadily. Once I’ve finished the new route, I can show the game to my editor, get GUI & music, and start hunting for backgrounds. It’s going to take me a long while to photograph all the parts of the city that I need. Getting the right photographic angle is going to be a pain, too…

I started doing some writing for In This Dream of Ours. I’m wondering if I can do the writing without an outline. Probably a terrible idea. For now, I’m just trying to improve the original script while marking off places where choices could be. I think I’ve got an alright GUI concept design in mind. Don’t know if I should move on with getting the GUI in place yet, though. I want the script to be done before I start looking around for help with that.

I’m working on some things for The Mishka Effect Version 2. Still discussing the possibility of a new ending for it.

All in all, things are going well. School and life are both keeping me busy. I’m surviving.

The Mishka Effect Released!

 Planet, Visual Novels  Comments Off on The Mishka Effect Released!
Apr 092014
 

This blog entry is a little late, considering how The Mishka Effect came out on April 1st, but that’s alright! The team pulled together and successfully finished our one-month NaNoReno 2014 project. There are more details about the game on its project page. If you haven’t played TME yet, be sure to or else you’ll never get to know the joy of eating a crunchwich!

We’re working on an update to the game that should be out some time next month. I plan on porting the updated version to Android so everyone can take Mishka wherever they go. Well, not everyone. Just Android players. It’s the thought that counts… This updated version will have lots of CGs, updated art, updated BGs, updates to the text, and yeah, lots and lots of good updates. XD

Thank you so much to everyone who’s downloaded TME so far! It seriously means a lot to us.

Now that Nano’s over, I’ll be getting back to work on my other projects. I’ve been hit with sudden inspiration for In This Dream of Ours that’s caused me to wonder if I should change it from a KN into a VN. I’m still weighing the pros and cons of that decision. I’ve got more editing to do for Sleipnir’s part in Elysian Days (it’s not dead! XD) and there’s work to be done on the rest of my projects, too. I’m using this year to clear out the backlog as much as I can.

Stay tuned for more news next week! :)

Irregularity

 Planet, Visual Novels  Comments Off on Irregularity
Mar 142014
 

I’ve come to the realization that it’s too difficult for me to keep the blog updated with any form of regularity during Nanoreno. March is a busy month for me in general. This year’s surprisingly busier than last year. Things will go back to normal once April comes around. On a positive note, I’ve got a nearly fully assembled team backing up The Mishka Effect now.

We’re a time traveling machine with the fierce goal of releasing this VN on time. The month’s almost halfway over, but we’re going to make it happen! You can follow our progress on our LSF thread. That’s also the place where you can find out who’s on the team. I’m keeping it a mystery on this blog. Ooo weee ooo.

Enjoy March! There might be a few more bitter cold days up ahead, but Spring’s right around the corner. :)

Getting Back on Track

 Planet, Visual Novels  Comments Off on Getting Back on Track
Mar 062014
 

Wow, where does the time go? It’s been weeks since I last updated this blog. Oops! I’ll be back on track with the weekly updates starting this Tuesday. Just because I haven’t been updating though, doesn’t mean things haven’t been happening.

I’ve officially gotten an artist for 7 Months in Between. I won’t say who it is yet, but, the art style’s the perfect look for what I’m going for with the story. I still have yet to finish that additional route. The writing progress for 7 MiB has to halt because of my involvement in not one, but two NaNoRenO projects this year.

(For those unaware, NaNoRenO is basically the visual novel making equivalent of NaNoWriMo, or a one-month visual novel jam. It happens every year during March. Expect lots of cool games on April 1st!)

I’m doing a route for Elysian Days (link leads to its thread on LSF), a Centaur Otome game. Ever wanted to ride off into the sunset with a centaur? Now you can (sort of)! My centaur’s the rich, work-averse one. Look forward to seeing this game in April! I’ll talk more about it throughout the month.

The other project I’m doing is The Mishka Effect. It’s a time loop visual novel! To quote the LSF thread, “Mishka Florentine’s been having a bad week. He’s got an eviction notice on his apartment, his friend Veronica Blast won’t give him the time of day, his new co-worker’s giving him the creeps, and he even narrowly avoided being killed by a bloody stranger.

When he finds a shack in the woods that seems to put him back in time by three days, he thinks he can turn all his luck around. …But things aren’t always that simple when you’re playing with time.”

I’ll save my progress talks on both of those projects for Tuesday. As a side note, once both of these projects are out, I’ll be 2/3rds of a way towards completing my visual novel New Years resolution. XD