Devlog #6 - Status Update & Writing

Devlog #6 - Status Update

Hey everyone, since we didn't say much about the game's progress over the last few weeks we felt that it was time for another status update.

As you probably noticed, since August is practically over and we still haven't released anything, there has been a bit of a delay.
We underestimated the toll it would take on us to jump back into work right after finishing all university related projects without taking much of a break. The production plan we made a month ago didn't quite work out because of that but we've further adjusted it and are back on track again.

All of part 1 is now edited, we expanded a few scenes, and only need to re-write one scene, finish and implement a handful of art assets, and make sure that we didn't accidentally break anything. You can find a work in progress list of all the changes here.
There are still a few things planned that aren't on that list yet but the bulk of the work for version 0.9 is done.

We've decided on September 8th as the release date for the update but, as much as we'd like to say otherwise, this still doesn't include the second half.

As things are going now we should finish it towards the end of September. We're sorry that this means yet another delay but we hope that the finished game will make up for the wait.

Something else we want to talk about is pricing.
We originally planned to charge some money for the full game and we've put in enough time and effort to probably justify that.
But five months and almost 4000 downloads later we feel like it would be unfair to everyone who is already invested in the story to suddenly put the conclusion behind a pay-wall.

So ultimately we decided to keep the game on a pay-what-you-want basis even once it is complete.
And as sort of a compromise, we plan to sell a digital special edition that also includes the soundtrack and a PDF artbook/zine with some behind the scenes info and additional art and writing.

If you have any thoughts or questions feel free to reach out to us! This isn't just our project anymore and after getting so much positive feedback we want to make sure that the people who enjoyed the first half will also be happy with the full game.

Writing

And now let's continue with a short devlog about my writing process.
If you read Devlog #2 you already know a bit about how we handle branching, but here is a bit more information on the process around it.

After writing a rough story outline we planned which days of the month would be playable, what happens during them, and where important choices would be made.


Based on that we created these fancy flow charts above for the different days in order to have a better idea of how many scenes would be in the game and what exactly had to be written for each day.
To simplify things further I then wrote short outlines for every in-game day and worked through this list of outlines to write the actual dialogue.

The process for this is probably different for everyone. Personally I write directly into .rpy files because I know I wouldn't enjoy copying lines into them from a separate document.
I set up my text editor (which is Atom) in a way that makes this pretty comfortable (with syntax-highlighting, spell-check, and a convenient mini map of the whole document). In addition to built-in features like git-integration or a file explorer this makes for a fairly convenient work environment in my opinion.


Anyway, generally I write a first pass with just the dialogue and iterate a bit on it. This also involves checking the dialogue in-game to see if it flows the way I want, if the line lengths seem balanced, and if there are any problems with the pacing.
Once I'm happy with the text I add character images, backgrounds, music, etc.

This gets the writing to about 80% completion. It's technically good enough to release but there's still room for improvement.
So after working on other things in the meantime and distancing myself a bit from the writing I tend to come back to each scene at some point and do a final editing pass to iron out any last problems I see. Along with that also comes another round of play-testing to check if any of a character's expressions seem out of place, if they change too much or too little, or if the transitions are smooth.

During NaNoRenO there unfortunately wasn't much time for this last step, which is why most of the editing had to be done now.

And that's basically it!
It's a fairly abridged description of the process but everything else differs from a scene to scene basis.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you got something out of this devlog!

Now to close things off, there is less than a month of summer left, but here's some art for a little bit of summer feeling~

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