Monthly Archives: August 2005

Jinsei wa Entertainment!

Jules has a new job, and it’s been consuming much of his time. We’ve just started to get back into the project last week or so, but we still haven’t had good time-chunks to work with. Meanwhile I’ve been deeply engrossed in research: I’ve reached the fifth chapter in Sakura Taisen V.

The game that most influences my own hopes for Soft Landing is certainly Sakura Taisen. Indeed, without it this project wouldn’t exist at all. I’ve tried to explain my feelings about the game before, but it’s hard to get people to understand what’s so special about these games, probably because I don’t fully understand it myself.

Jules and I had a conversation about visual novels. With a tiny bit of preparation, you can create stories that nail people right in the emotional plexus, at least as strongly as a traditional story. I suppose a visual novel, with illustrations, music, voice, and the occasional diverging story path, is not as pure as a novella made only of words in a linear stream. But that still doesn’t seem to account for why visual novels aren’t more popular than they are.

Now that Jules has discovered Tsukihime—which is theoretically playable on Mac OS X, by the way—the gal-game/visual-novel side of Soft Landing is going to get a lot more attention. Now both of us have interest in and understanding of both sides of the project. I have enjoyed and researched many gal-games and visual novels, and I have a fairly good understanding and appreciation of shooting games; Jules brings years of experience playing dozens (maybe hundreds) of shooting games, and now he has become absorbed into a few fine visual novels.

Until I have some more materials from Jules for developing the gal side, I’ve been flailing around in Garage Band, trying to come up with some music. It’s astounding how difficult it can be just to put together a simple original tune that sounds nice.

Ammo Pax

Jules constructed a HUD for showing the score, the bonus multiplier, the enemy ships’ life meters, the shield status, and the weapon status. I’ve just got to the point where they all work, but some of them work rather crudely. I still need to make the shield and weapon level bars display a lot more nicely, and display the enemies’ names above the life bar in the fancy italic font Jules put together. 4.5 fonts have been created for this game so far, and we’ve barely started.

I also created a support ship that drops ammo packs for you; because we don’t have a real graphic for it, yet, I got to insert some of my famous placeholder art…