Monthly Archives: August 2014

Process Tweaks

It was not the best couple of weeks for progress on the Visual Novel. Fred and family were away for a few days. Then when he got back, he had some frustrating struggles trying to get finished with the rest of the scenes in Tsubasa’s apartment. We will be making another couple of process changes to try to improve things going forward. He did get some stuff done though.


As I mentioned before, I am doing the initial ren’py scripts based on Fred’s storyboard thumbnails, and then Fred has been tweaking the script and drawing the artwork. The above screenshot is one example. The initial script had Largo enter standing on the left opposite Tsubasa. Having him in the background playing games works better. It’s a good change.

But Fred is finding those kind of script code changes difficult in practice. He’s making mistakes and misreading the code, which takes time and leaves him frustrated. That’s not surprising. Fred’s a smart guy, but he’s a comic artist, not a programmer. He can do it; it’s just not easy for him. To try to improve this, Fred will be doing less code tweaking himself, and will instead tell me or Shad0w what he wants changed and we’ll code it for him. Hopefully this will leave him less frustrated and give him more time to draw.

Up till now, we have been letting the script drive what artwork Fred needs to draw. This was intended to limit the character drawings that Fred had to make to only those that were actually used. We’re finding though that this is allowing us too much freedom in specifying the artwork in script, which ends up making Fred do more artwork.

Fred hit one of those this past week, where he drew a new Tsubasa facial expression, but found the result nearly identical to one that he had already drawn. It was a frustrating waste of time and effort. To try to minimize this going forward, Fred is going to draw a core set of character images, in the common standing position, with common facial expressions, and with the common torso, head, eye, and mouth positions. Then when I do the initial scripts and Fred tweaks them, we will first see if one of those core drawings will work, before we specify something new. Hopefully this will result in fewer total character drawings in the end.

In other Visual Novel news, Shad0w has been working on the minigames, Klange has been working on the data infrastructure to support them, and DarkMorford has been working on overall organization. It sounds like they are coming along nicely.

TheShaggyFreak has posted some more samples of the background music to the Beta section of the visual novel forum. If you are a registered beta tester, go check them out.

Chemiclord had done a little more writing for some filler areas and for the branch and alternate routes. But he is currently laid up with serious back problems, which has made things difficult. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Fred’s son Jack starts school this week, which should give him more time to draw. We’re hopeful that and our process tweaks will get the Visual Novel production cranked back up again. Fred is also looking at reopening the MegaGamers store reasonably soon, though his T-shirt printer remains out of commission and he’s still struggling to decide what to do there.

Tsubasa’s Apartment

We made decent progress on the visual novel in the last two weeks. Fred finished up the Anna Miller’s scene, most of the following Tsuabasa’s apartment scene, and started on the Gamerz store that follows. Here are some screenshots:



Fred drew a few extra background views of Tsubasa’s apartment plus one for Junpei’s apartment since it’s right next door, all for use later when we get to the Largo route. Being a former architect, Fred couldn’t resist laying out Tsubasa’s apartment, complete with a functional location for the wet wall and utilities.


Fred was unhappy with some of the Tsubasa’s apartment artwork and needed to redo it, but now we’re moving forward again. He’s also been grumbling that he’s getting tired of drawing the guys, but fortunately we’re almost at scenes with more of the MT girls.

Shadow added an animation for Piro drinking out of his beer mug for the later beer garden scene. One of the problems with the first person perspective of the Piro route is that you can’t see Piro. We could describe Piro taking a drink with text, like many visual novels would do. But it feels a little awkward that way, and goes against our efforts to “show, don’t tell”. A little animation of a rising and falling beer mug seems like it will work better.

The MT visual novel isn’t going to be done anytime soon. But we are moving along well now, and it is looking good.

A reminder that Fred broadcasts a lot of his visual novel and comic work live on

He will sometimes announce a live draw on twitter or the MT facebook page, but not always. If you want to catch more of them, you can sign up for a twitch account, follow Fred’s channel, and set twitch to notify you whenever Fred goes live. If you miss it live, you can also view replays of Fred’s recent drawing sessions, although you might miss some of the background music due to twitch’s new overly-aggressive copyright bots.

Join us for the live draws. They are a lot of fun.

Game Show

We made more good progress on the Visual Novel over the last two weeks.

Fred did the art for the Tokyo Game Show, vending machines, and about half of the Anna Miller’s scene. It all looks pretty good. Here are some screenshots:


Fred seems pretty happy with how things are going now, with the system we have in place. The pace should continue to pick up as we go along. We’re starting to get to parts of the comic where locations can get reused, like Anna Miller’s, Tsubasa’s apartment, and Megagamers. It’s much less work to adapt an existing drawing than to have to create new for every scene. The same will apply to the characters as we have more scenes where they stay dressed the same.

Chemiclord has been working on script for Piro’s thoughts during the train rides to and from Narita airport and such. It’s looking good.

TheShaggyFreak has made more progress on the background music and sound effects. If you are a registered beta tester, check out the beta section of the VN forum for some samples.

We’re over a year now since the Kickstarter ended, and there is still a long way to go before the game is finished. But it feels like we’re really making progress now, and the game itself looks like a lot of fun. Thank you for your patience. Fred and the rest of us on the team are doing our best to make this game well worth the wait.