If you have played visual novels before, one thing you might have noticed about the MT demo that Fred posted a month ago was how often the character drawings changed, especially in the scene with Largo and Dom.
To cover just the first day, Fred drew 95 different character images. Some were just minor changes to the mouth, but some were major expression or pose changes. It was almost a kind of slow animation. Most visual novels use fewer character images, and for good reason.
All those extra drawings don’t cost Fred money, but they do cost him time. On top of actually making the drawings, it means more writing to decide what character images are needed when, better organization to keep them all straight, and more scripting in ren’py to program them in. This is one of the reasons the MT visual novel is going to take a while yet.
But that extra work will be worth it. The drawings in the Megatokyo aren’t just there to accompany the words, like pictures in a novel. And unlike some other comics, MT isn’t just a series of talking heads.
The art in Megatokyo tells as much of the story as the dialogue does; sometimes more. Often the art tells a very different story than the words, which is part of what makes MT so complex and multi-layered.
Doing all this work to make the visual novel really feel like Megatokyo is part of what Fred means when he says he’s determined to do this right.
He is going to reuse and repurpose drawings where he can, so it’s not like everything has to be drawn from scratch. That will become easier to do with later parts of the story where characters stay dressed the same over more comics. But there are still an awful lot of drawings and work to be done.
PS: Don’t forget, we are now one month before the release of the Megatokyo Omnibus of books 1-3. You can preorder at many places where books are sold.