I couldn’t take it any more; I came back to the project to bash away at it by myself. Nine out of ten things I want to do require new art from Jules: I can’t rework the terrain system until I can actually see what the terrain is going to be like, I can’t put together multi-character scenes without some character art to put in them, I can’t start on the boss system without any boss to work with, et cetera.
The best thing I could think of was improving the level creation system. Until today, creating a level required interacting with a pretty unfriendly Perl script that punished us pretty badly for any mistakes. Now, we can just create a human-readable text file with all of the level information we want, and pass it through a script that figures out value-ranges and random values before writing everything to one of our level-files. It’s a much more pleasant experience.
If worse comes to worst, I might color-shift Ana to create an Anti-Ana, just so that I can start working on SLG scenes with multiple characters.
SL is not seeing a ton of development right now, mainly because Jules is just coming out of a flurry of exams and other distractions. Our positive-feedback loop works in such a way that when both of us are working, we both work like mad, but when one of us stops, the whole project stops. I have added a couple of things here and there, like background music and some extra scenery support, but I can’t get really excited unless I have daily conversations with my partner.
A lot of the meantime has been taken up by Segasaturn. I had accumulated a large stack of gal- and life-sim-type games for R&D purposes: Sentimental Graffiti, Pia Carrot, Dousoukai and the like. I already posted about Senti, and it’s still the best experience that pile has had to offer so far. Pia Carrot didn’t feel as “pure” as Senti, and that’s not a surprise, as it was ported and cleaned up from a 18+ PC game, and still wore a yellow label on the Saturn for its actually quite mild images. Our aims for SL’s SLG bits are much closer to Senti than Pia Carrot, so I ended up not even finishing it.
I moved on to the three original Evangelion games. The battle systems were pretty bewilderingly clunky, but that’s not what I came for. The combination of Eva and SLG is pretty engrossing; the games end up being Eva episode generators. The first game was entertaining. Second Impression was enjoyable because of the bespectacled transfer-student Mayumi, but frustrating because of my utter failure to unlock the climactic scene of her singing at the school culture festival. The Iron Maiden is one of the most bizarre gaming experiences I’ve had. It’s pretty much a visual novel: a linear story told via a video game system, but it has inexplicable smatterings of interaction that amount to wandering North, East, East, South, East, West, South, North, and back again until you finally stumble upon the area you’re supposed to visit next. You can finish all three games in a total of about five hours, but the real enjoyment is going back to find all of the different story paths.
Buddy of mine Shishka came by and we popped in the Futakoi PS2 demo disc that came with a G’s Magazine; I might have to write up a whole article on New Gal-Games. :
I am putting together some experimental SL music projects in GarageBand, and I have finally got something I really like and want to keep going with. No samples yet, but let me say that my Rickenbacker bass sounds great through the Bitcrusher. :D