Monthly Archives: September 2005

32x

I guess I haven’t posted a screen shot in a while.

You can see the nice head-up display that Jules created; it’s got an enemy life bar with ship name, score, bonus multiplier with time-remaining bar, current weapon level, and current shields level. You can also see the explosions we refined a bit, and some of the newer bullets that are in the game now. The pod also has a Super Street Fighter II era blue trail going on when you synchronize with it.

Quiet

My roommate Anny commented on the unbelievably uneventful opening scene of Dousoukai 2. The screen sits at a stylized image of six photographs, each of a different character, and sets up the premise of the game through memory and internal dialogue. The image doesn’t change for at least fifteen minutes, and even once it does, the scene doesn’t change again for about another ten.

It’s unthinkable to the Western gamer that you might have to read text for fifteen minutes anywhere, let alone right at the beginning of the game. If nothing blows up within five minutes I think many players would toss the controller in disgust.

But it’s just that peaceful, deliberate kind of experience that appeals to visual-novel fans. The game engages you just enough to keep you awake, in a near-trance of press A to continue.

Items

Much work has been completed. The visual-novel bit of the game now supports an arbitrary number of poses and outfits for each character, and we can change them at will. The peripheral controller support has been much improved, now allowing for configuration so now the game supports controllers other than mine. We have been working on a script for the demo; it’s strange and exciting to finally be giving words to the characters we conceived 16 months ago. I’m really looking forward to releasing something playable…

Thing

Sakura Taisen V is over, and it was a worthy addition to the series. I had a lot of skepticism, but for the most part, Red pulled it together and gave us what we’ve come to expect.

I just popped in a couple of games I had around from my last trip to Akihabara, to see what they are like: Dousoukai 2 Again & Refrain, and Elysion. I bought both games because I like the character designers (especially Yokota Mamoru); I didn’t really know much about the games themselves. I realized that while gal-games/visual-novels are (metaphorically, but certainly not literally) a dime a dozen, the kind I really appreciate, the ones with some je-ne-sais-quoi, are quite rare. The only common themes that I can find in the ones I’ve truly enjoyed are some sense of honesty and purity.

Many games might as well say on the box, “If you’ve never had a romantic relationship and you need to simulate one, try this.” I actually don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. But that’s not a game for me. I like a game in which there happens to be a love story, and you get some control over how it unfolds. This is how I try to explain gal-games in general to people: If when you play a game, you can guide the main character’s combat, movement, and pursuit of quests to save the world, why shouldn’t you be able to guide the love story as well?

Whatever it is that makes these games so pleasant to play, I hope we can trap it in Soft Landing.