Monthly Archives: August 2013

structure from the slog

(this actually started as a quick forum response to a question about any updates about what is going on with MTVN development.  After i was done with it, i realized i should just post that here :P)

I’ve pretty much been working full-time immersion on writing and dev and figuring out basically the whole damn game (i thought there might be more organized, less painful ways to do it, but i was wrong, i’m doing it all at once).   That’s actually a pretty calm answer because i’m very much on the side of ‘things are coming together’ rather than… well, maybe im just used to feeling completely overwhelmed by the task here.   Been sticking at it tho, my usual ‘brute force’ method of making things move forward.

Just for fun, here’s a mostly harmless screenshot of some of the structure coming together:

script grinding

The flowchart on the left is really just the canonical structure (piro’s route) without any branching.  All the branching and the scribbles and the impossible to decipher structure that is turning into the game itself is all scribbles on paper – the flowchart itself prints out to 11 pages (portrait) of 11×17 paper, and all of my branching, looping and hidden emotional statistic manipulation stuffs is scribbled unreadability across those 11 pages.  It really did take a while to figure out exactly how to path and structure things – god i hope this works.  If it doesn’t, you people are all gonna lynch me ^^;;

A big decision on my part was in what ways i was going to diverge and path from the main canon story.  the simplest way would have been to have a decision happen and then WOOP you are on another story path, completely independent and totally new.  A lot of work (and not necessarily lots of good new story) and honestly not very realistic – truth is, decisions we make in life often may veer us away drastically (like taking a new job in another state or not) other times they are small things (going to Wendys rather than McDonalds).  generally the rest of your day might turn out pretty much the same.  For example, in the sample game we did, piro chose if he should talk to kimiko or not.  No matter what his choice was, largo still barged in and started talking to kimiko, and erika will still drag them off to the beergarden – some things at the beergarden might be different, of course, but the loops just lead to sublte things that might have other implications down the road…

if this sounds complicated, it is, but i feel it’s leading to far more curious directions for things, how a small thing here or a big thing there might lead to a different kind of character development later on and different directions.

I’m sorry if all of this has been really boring and you’ve been wondering about all the crickets for the past month, but there just hasn’t really been a lot to share about this side of things (except to complain loudly and whine that i’m fucking things up and this is just a massive clusterfuck and waaaah).  There are SO many ways to approach a lot of this, but i feel comfortable now, finally, that the way this is coming together feels right.  Comics are like that for me too – i can plan till i turn blue in the face, its not until you start chunking things together that i find out what works and what doesn’t.  Frankly, i’m behind on working on character drawings for all this – but i should be starting that up fairly soon, and i’ll be doing a lot of that live.  I want both writing and art production to start moving along together, but i just didnt feel comfortable with doing that till i really felt i had the story structures falling into place.  This is by no means done, but the foundations and some of the stickwork is there now, slowly being deciphered into actual scripting (note that i’m using Scrivener with Textexpander here to organize things – it gives me a lot of flexibility in compiling output – basically i get almost usable renpy code from an export (that took a while to set up).  Flowcharting i am doing in yEd and i’m managing my art resources via Omni Outliner.  Whee.

Sorry if that is kinda rambling and mangled insofar as an update, but it is actually really appropriate given the nature of how i write and organize and develop stuff… kinda like this. I’m at a point now where i can actually start talking more about stuff like this since i really DO have a solid sense of how this is coming together now as well as how i got here.  I mean, i’m starting to really want to share some of the pain here, yknow? :)

Welcome, Beta Testers!

Hi, everyone. I’m DarkMorford, and in addition to being the lead developer on the VN project and the site admin here, I’m also in charge of coordinating the beta test program.

Now, I’ll get the bad news out of the way first: No, we are not starting the testing just yet. We know there hasn’t been a lot of news lately, but that’s how the early stages of these things go. Lots of behind-the-scenes planning, writing, and just generally getting set up to do the rest efficiently.

The good news is that we are opening up the Beta Testers group on our forums. This is an opt-in group, which means you need to go to the Usergroups tab of your User Control Panel and request to join the group there. I’ll be running a script that checks the email account you used on the forum against the list of beta testers from Kickstarter, so it may take a day or two before you’re approved. You won’t get an email when this happens; you’ll know you’ve been accepted when you can see the “Beta Chatter” forum. If it’s been a few days and your request still hasn’t gone through, feel free to send me a message on the forum or e-mail me and I’ll take a look at it.

Just to be clear, if you intend to participate in the beta program, you MUST create an account on the forums and join the Beta Testers group. That’s the only place we’ll be distributing the beta versions, and the only official place to discuss it and give us feedback.