I realized that we haven’t shown you the current state of the SLG half of the game. Quite a bit of progress has been made, and we have our first candidate for a character sprite that should actually appear in the game. Of course, it’s Ana. She blinks, talks, and changes her expression.
Jules and I have not done a lot of SL work in a while. I hope we can get back to it soon, because sometimes it feels like the only way to retain my sanity.
WordPress 1.5, with improved spam protection, came out just in time. The new theme is a modified version of Mallow, which is in turn based on Kubrick, the new official theme for WordPress. The change feels quite positive so far.
The good news is: we have been discovered. The bad news is: it was an online poker spam robot that discovered us. I guess someone on the earth thinks it is cool to post incoherent literature excerpts, with links to engrish web pages containing no actual services, on developer diaries for hybrid shmup/gal games. That’s a sound business plan if I ever heard one.
Anyway, this post was supposed to be about Sentimental Graffiti. I just finished it tonight after several weeks of intermittent play. It’s one of the first widely-accepted (and clean) gal games, so I thought it would be a good research subject. Indeed it’s very well put together, for something released in 1997. Unfortunately it’s quite more difficult (or chancy) than, say, Roommate Novel Satou Yuka or something, so I was unable to get the happy ending with the girl of my choice (Miyuki; I did get Wakana, though, a fine alternative).
The most interesting thing was probably Second Window, the bonus disc that comes with the game. It contains high-resolution illustrations of each character and two video sections. The first video section shows the voice-actress audition process and some of the special promotional events staged with the actresses. The second video section contains a short message from each actress. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Maeda Ai, the voice of Shion from Xenosaga, was actually in this game as Emiru. It was nice to watch her message and recognize her voice.
The really enchanting bit about the videos was the attitude and aptitude of the actresses. Each girl is obviously very passionate and simultaneously very professional. I imagine a Soft Landing Plus someday, if the original game is well-received; its main improvement would be voice acting. If that ever comes to pass, I hope to find actresses who have the same kind of enthusiasm and charm. We are continuing to set high standards for ourselves.
Welp, I’ve added a few more features from the Bugs list. Pod thrust effects, the return of missiles, and the ability to actually get hit by enemy bullets. A lot of my time was spent trying to get our project into CVS, though, and it was as crappy and frustrating as I’d expected. As bad as “lots of consecutively-numbered folders” is for a versioning system, CVS is about the least friendly thing I’ve ever tried to set up and use. So, that’s on hold for now.
We’re nearing the point at which we can put together a demo, already. I guess the majority of the workload is about to shift to Jules, because we’re going to need tons of art. So far we have one pose for Ana, who can talk and blink and change her expression at our command.
Mister Ryan Davis, founder of the Seattle Ruby Brigade (and my coworker), showed an interest in our code, and pawed through it a bit last week. He was actually rather impressed that we did so much in about 1600 lines of Python, and that’s pretty dang flattering. He proposed a better way to store our data files, which I may actually implement soon.
Some new screenshots. Not too much visual change, it’s much easier to notice while you’re actually playing it, let me assure you. Fet made this particle system that is so mind blowingly cool. Fruit increase your score multiplier up to 128x! We expect people will follow this logic well.
Hopefully soon there will be a bit more background in these shots!
It was indeed one heck of a weekend. We added power-ups and bonus multipliers, translucent explosions, ship thrust effects, enemy gibs, sound effects, the return of the text system, multi-surface character expression building, character animation, and many little improvements and optimizations. The game is actually nearing a state that I’d be happy to show it to anyone without qualifying it too much as still being in alpha.
Well, this weekend was a wild flurry of development. We sat down and got a lot of things we’d put on hold back into the game and now it has totally surpassed any past versions we’ve made of it. Faster, with more graphical effects and some new ones. New graphics, a scoring system.. we’ve even just got some of the SLG side working more deeply now too! Well, screenshot will be coming tomorrow I think. In the mean time:
Here is Ana.
Just a quick file made to test the talking animation, but it’s kind of cute. MOV format, and pretty low framerate (~250k).
This afternoon was really cool. I managed to catch Bill before he went off to bed.. we started on one of our arbitrary conversations about SoftLanding that make up a lot of our chit-chat, and ended up tweaking and fiddling with various game speeds and rules. The result : things are shaping up. It looks like soon we’re going to get a nice system for scoringchainingcomboing and have a simple – yet deep game system. I’m looking forward to the further development of this side of the game!
We’ve been posting so many screenshots, I almost forgot that it’s acceptable to make an entry without any. I took a couple of days away from SL, mainly to repair my Dreamcast and to play some Sentimental Graffiti on Segasaturn. I have a pile of gal games I’ve been meaning to play through as research, and now is the time.
Just tonight I jumped back into SL code; the STG portion now has score display again, with a newly-standardized text display system. We also have the beginnings of our multiplier system, which is based largely on spinning accelo-momos. The game as a whole has been sped up considerably, and it feels a lot more fun now.
I know Fet posted some recently, but here are some screenshots that show pixel detail a bit better.
Mac people had issues with that AVI, so here is a MOV version (4 megs).
Cinnamon CG MOV version!