Friday, December 25, 2015

Spaceballs the Christmas Update

Artwork by Chocojax!

When I was a kid, December itself seemed to last six months, and the wait until Christmas was a slow and torturous crawl. Now the month is measured in pay periods, and all I had to do was blink to send 2015 hurtling towards its inevitable conclusion. But here we are, and while we're here, there's a couple things we'd like to talk about, starting with an overview of our progress towards our next demo, and our plans beyond that.

Demo #2 progress:
  • Script: 95% - barring final editing
  • Programming: 35% - much of our focus lately has been retooling our GUI and adding new features, while getting scenes up and running in the engine has taken a backseat for now
  • Music: 90%
  • Sprites: 20%
  • Backgrounds: 110%
  • CGs: 10%

As you can see, while we've made a good bit of progress, there's a still a long ways to go. Just as a reminder, Demo #2 will include all the reworked and improved content of our first demo, plus three new scenes. After it's done, we plan on eventually releasing all of the first act as a final and standalone demo. Speaking of which, the script for act one as a whole (which consists of about 30 scenes including branching paths) is currently sitting at about 80% completion.

So enough of boring old words, words, words, what else do we have to show you? Well, you've already seen that our ever-awesome artist Chocojax has worked hard to provide us with some lovely art, and while we don't have as much progress on the UI to show off as we would have hoped, our faithful and hardworking musician, Doctor Jekyll, has whipped up a holiday-themed song just for the occasion, We hope you enjoy it, and from all of us here at Airheart Interactive, have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Spacechix & Chill

Okay, I swear we didn't mean to go silent for this long. When I said "next update in another three months," I really did mean it as a joke. Yet here we are.

Artwork by Chocojax!

Well I'm sorry for the lack of updates around these parts. To be honest this year has just flown by, and while we have made progress it's been pretty slow. I'm quite pleased with how the script has come along, but then again I wrote most of it, so of course I'd say that. Actually, besides a little editing, the script for the scenes that will be included in our next demo is done and now we're just waiting for art and music assets to get done, and for the improvements we've made to the build to be ironed out.

In other Fam related news, Hearts, one of our writers, has chosen to step away from the project in order to focus on personal matters. We wish him all the best, and he will be and is missed.

While it's true that things would be much easier if we were to cut the total number of routes down to just two, we think it would change the feel and scope of the game too much, if it was a yin-and-yang kind of thing with just Morial and Sam. Besides, Diane's character and arc have vast potential for exploring the political landscape of our retro-futuristic setting, so it's totally still something we want to do. At this time we aren't actively seeking a new writer to take on her route, but in the future we might put out a call for someone to help bring our automatonic love interest to life.

While I'm at it, one other staff opening we would like to announce right now is for an additional musician. The loyal, talented and handsomely-mustached Doctor Jekyll has been a huge help, but these days he's so busy that it would be very nice if we could take some weight off his shoulders. If you think your musical style would fit our little space adventure and you're interested in contributing even just a track here or there, please use the contact link in the sidebar to the right or drop by our public IRC channel and get in touch with us.

That's about all we have to report right now, I think. Thanks for your time. Here's a parting gift from all of us. As always, feedback, comments and critique are welcome and appreciated.

Spritework by Chocojax, environmental artwork by Lordfryingpan

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Step aside, humanoids! There's a REAL waifu coming through!

Artwork by Lordfryingpan

Over three months without an update? Any sensible person would see that and assume we were dead. But in this case, that sensible person would be wrong. Sorry, sensible person.

Real update coming soonish. Or in another three months, I don't see any cops around.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Will You Be My Handheld Proton Magnetometer?

Happy Valentine's Day from everyone here at Airheart! We hope it's a good one!

Art by Rinbro!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Upwards and onwards and sideways and serpentine

Hello again. January has gone by already, and we'd like to give a huge thank you to everyone who played our recent demo and provided valuable feedback. While we more than welcome any late-comers or additional thoughts people may have, we figured now was a good time to talk a little about what we've learned and where we're going from here.

Some people rightfully noted that the main menu theme was too loud and abrupt and we're sorry for that, it's just something we were used to. In response to feedback, we're tweaking one song, replacing another and removing a third entirely, at least for now. Rest assured that we have a lot more tunes on the way!

Although a few tweaks need to be made elsewhere, the vast majority of complaints we (rightfully) received concerned the demo's user interface. This is an area where there's room for improvement, I'm not going to deny it at all. It was the first time we'd made something like this, it was hell and a half to get the ren'py engine to play along and, frankly, we were rushing towards the end. As such, we're currently redoing our UI, not only to fix the little glitches and unused boxes, but also to make it feel less flat and more like something that belongs in our little bronze-plated-anachronistic-nightmare-in-space. Since it's not really something that needs to be kept under lock and key, maybe we'll show off some of the new UI in future blog posts, stay tuned.

But no, it didn't actually look this bad ingame, for anyone wondering.
Life is pain, Jumper.

We received a lot of really good feedback concerning the story and the writing for the demo, and we've already been busy strengthening some scenes while trimming a lot of fat. Oh, and yes, "elecktrical" was spelled that way on purpose.

Last but not at all least, while a lot of programming to-do's have to do with the UI stuff mentioned above, there were a few things that we wanted to do in the demo that we just couldn't get working properly in time for our deadline. Now that we have more room to breathe we can dig out the thumbscrews and see if we can get ren'py to comply. With luck you'll notice a few new tricks the next time around, which leads me to the last item on the agenda for this post:

The future:
So where do we go from here? Well, like I've been saying, there are some things we're working on fixing and improving within the demo content itself, which is perfectly fine because there's nothing in this demo that isn't in the actual game, barring the placeholder main menu screen. All of these improvements are things that contribute to the big picture, but while we do want to make the demo content the best it can be, we also can't drop everything else and devote all our time to making every single thing absolutely perfect--there's just too much we want to do, and we'd rather release a full game that we're happy with than go down in flames because our dream project wasn't (and never will be) 100% perfect.

Artwork by Chocojax!

Further down the road, we're planning on releasing a second demo which will encompass the revised first three scenes you've already played, plus two additional scenes that follow. This demo will see the player making new and important choices, meeting new and important people and doing other new and important things that I can't talk about yet but dang I really wish I could because it's awesome!

Thanks for checking in with us. We don't have a release date in mind for demo #2 yet, but when we do we'll let you know. Until then, we hope you have a safe and productive winter's end.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

All stations, ahead flank!

Hello all, my name is Jumper, I’m the programmer here working on Familiarity. I believe this is the first time I’ve actually made a blog post, but I promise it won’t be the last. It’s very nice to meet you all! I’d like to wish a very happy 2015. Because it is the new year, we’d like to start it out by publishing our demo~! Everyone on the team has absolutely worked their asses off to get this to you, and we’re all incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish! I know I personally spent many a sleepless night coding like hell to get it done in time, and I’m so very glad I did.

The demo encompasses the first 3 scenes of the first act of the game, and as stated previously, is sort of a proof of concept, both for the audience and for us as a team. As always there were struggles, things that worked perfectly and things we just weren't able to get working in time no matter how hard we tried or how well they should have gone, but overall we're satisfied, and we hope to only improve from here. We hope you enjoy it, even if it’s just the tip of the iceberg we’re trying to make.

Click here to download our first demo now, or visit our new and slowly growing Downloads page!

I’m sure everyone is having a busy holiday season, but it would be very appreciated if you could spend a little time playing what we created. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Also, because this is our first time releasing anything for this project and because we’re still getting the hang of this, any and all feedback you could provide would be incredibly helpful to us. Please take a few moments to fill out our post-demo survey, or you can drop off a comment here on the blog, shoot us an email or swing by our public IRC!

Happy holidays from everyone here at Airheart Interactive!