Saturday, May 10, 2014

Getting Familiar

Greetings from deep space!  It’s sure been a while since our last news update, but rest assured that the gears are still in motion as we approach completion of Act One of our story.  That having been said, there’s a lot of news on our team and our development blog is overdue for an update.

Our staff lineup has been going through a lot of change this year, so that’s something worthy of mention.  Sadly, one of our sprite artists, Thighs, has had to leave the team, citing personal reasons.  We wish him all the best and leave the door open to him should he find himself able and willing to contribute in the future.  But that does leave us with a hole in our lineup that we’d like to patch, so we are now accepting submissions by artists who would like to contribute sprite art for us.  At present our core team of artists is still pretty strong, and we are still getting a lot of work done in the meantime, so we’ll consider applications on an ongoing basis.  It’s more important to find someone right for the job than it is for us to fill the spot quickly.

If you’d like to volunteer as a sprite artist, send us some concepts via e-mail.  Our immediate need is a new artist for Sam, so try drawing a few pictures of her.  A portfolio or link to a gallery is also recommended.  Working on a shared creative project can be fun, challenging, and rewarding in its own right, and it’s something you can proudly hang your name on once it’s completed.  We’re a very friendly and welcoming group, so you’re also guaranteed to make some new friends in the process.

Right now the art team is working on making sprite sets for use in the game. We hope to be able to showcase some of them in our next blog post.

Some concept art of Sheena and designs for two supporting characters.

Another change to our lineup is that we have added a third musician - Doc Jekyll.  Our music team has already put out a lot of great tracks for us, both individually and in collaboration with one another.  At this rate our soundtrack is going to have a lot of diversity that is in keeping with the hybrid sci-fi/Victorian setting of our story.  Here are a few samples of the music we’re working on:

So what has the writing been up to this year?  For the most part we have been working on getting Act One of our story into a completed state.  This has been a challenging but also very educational process as we work to reconcile all of our discrete values as writers and give our inherently implausible story some semblance of credibility.  And this isn’t just in terms of how 19th century England winds up in outer space.  We’ve had to nail down many elements of the setting that continue to be matters of contention.  How futuristic do we make the past?  How antique?  How do we justify the existence or inexistence of certain technologies when writing a “what if” story set in an alternative past?  Frankly we’ve had to do a lot of research and brush up on many of the rudimentary elements of history just to get a stage where we’re writing historical fiction, let alone historical futuristic fiction.  Still, the bulk of these elements of setting will be limited to background details and it’s likely that much of our hard work will go unnoticed in the end.  But such is fiction-writing.  The details that snag you are never the ones that seem important or wind up being noticeable.   

Something neat that we’ve been working on for our Act One is the extent and nature of the “choices” in the story and how they will shape Gavin and the people around him.  Writing a branching story is one of the most fun aspects of VN writing, but it can be difficult to make sure that the consequences of the choices made reasonably flow out of them.  The things Gavin chooses to say or do either shape people’s perception of him, the world itself, or even his own nature.  We are currently experimenting with a “points” system that will keep track of the kind of person Gavin winds up being by the end of Act One, both in reputation and in fact.  Is he a law-abiding citizen, or an unscrupulous liar who will do what it takes to save his own skin?  In that regard the subject matter of Act One is the kind of person you want Gavin to be, and what role you want him to have in the story he’s thrust himself into.  The challenge in writing it is that all of these choices need to be different enough to have meaningful consequences, while still being things that are consistent with Gavin as a character.  

Anyways, that’s just to give you an idea of what kind of story we’re writing in a more practical sense, as well as what the experience has been like, at least from my point of view.

More updates to come, so check back with us again in the future!

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