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An early present

If one recalls the last blog I wrote for this game, I was musing about doing a Christmas release. By all accounts, I certainly thought I would have this release ready after the holiday, rather than before. Then again, I found myself working on this game with the goal of getting this out by Christmas in mind. It wasn't the smoothest ride (December is always a weird month), but, I guess I can say that it more-or-less happened!

This particular release should not not require Ace's run-time package (RTP) on one's computer at all. This is mostly because I just want to call this game "done", but, I'll hold off on the "Complete" flag for a while just in case. Though, I'm not actively working on it either, so, "Hiatus" would be the logical flag.

Note that if one should want to play the "Nugget Crash Curse" version of the game (Yes, this is still up!), Ace's RTP would still be required for that. If one doesn't have the RTP, and wants to perform some kind of comparison between the two versions, one should be able to get it from this page, using the VX Ace tab.


Stream of Consciousness: The last chapter, and other developments

One of the things that I didn't really like in Chapter 3 was the sequence just before the chapter ends. If one recalls, the party just defeated Junsuina (Have we seen this name before?), and were talking about hunting down Ruri's aunt. While I still want to have something akin to a confrontation with Ruri's aunt in Chapter 4, having it be the party's top priority doesn't work for me. My current plan is to change things somewhat to having Izumi get a call that Jin is getting better. He would still be confined to the hospital, but, he's in good enough condition to answer questions. Our heroines already have their suspicions on who attacked him, but his first-hand account would confirm, or deny, those suspicions. This would mean that I would need to bring back the hospital scene, which I guess I don't mind too much. Things should be a little different, though.

I'm a little worried that the finale will not have the impact that I intend it to have. That's all I really want to say about it right now. Sorry!

For some reason, I have half a mind to make Chapter screens for this game. They may be similar to I did for Matsumori Days, though I might want to check out the possibilities that GIMP presents. I'm not exactly sure where this thought came from, or if it's really that important.

Oh, yeah. Not-plot stuff to do. Man, I have not given any thought processes to this at all!

I'm not specifically aiming for a Christams release for the up-to-Chapter 4 version of the game. However, it has occurred to me that it would make a pretty awesome gift to the game's subscribers. I dunno. Maybe I'm over-thinking things again.


Oh yeah. THIS game.

Barring any further events, (slight double meaning here), my focus for the month of November is this game. So, what's the plan? First and foremost is getting Chapter 3 into the game. If Chapter 2's development is any indication, a month might be about right to get things ready.

Saying this, I'm more inclined to skip the public release of Chapter 3, and go for a Chapter 4 release. There may still be some missing stuff, but they would be the optional tasks. The entire story would be present for a Chapter 4 release. It would be a slight deviation of my normal routine, I know, but it will be something of an experiment. Though, I suppose if there is enough clamor to have a Chapter 3 release...

As a total aside, I'm already thinking of what my next project might be. Konae Detective Agency is certainly an option, but there is also Oracle of Askigaga. It's not something I have to decide right now, but it's in the back of my head.


Chapter 2 is out!?

On one hand, yes, I've got a new download, and players can get to the second boss fight with it. However, to be fair, there's quite a bit of work to be done. Most notably, the encounters in the central portion of the park need to be filled in, and I made no attempt at having more flavor text, side-stories, or whatever else might give the game more meat.

I'm not worried about the main content of the game. It was more or less decided long before I even put up this gamepage. What I'm worried about is that the game might not offer players points of interactivity outside of combat. I made a conscious decision on that front when Arbiters From Another World was concerned, and I stand by that decision. This game? I dunno.

Maybe I'm worrying needlessly. Even if I had ideas, my preference would still be to complete the main content of the game before doing side-stuffs. It worked well enough for me with Matsumori Days, at any rate!

Anyway, I suppose I shall put this on hiatus. I know, my consistency of working on things has ever been at crapatastrophic levels. I wish I could say that the wait will be worth it. Here's to hoping that it will!


Stream of Consciousness: I'm feeling like some character interviews!

Every so often, we, at the Iwayama Daily do some interviews. Today, we have not one, not two, but three interviewees! With us today is a newcomer to the school, Momotami Ruri, the best female athlete in the school, Nemoto Mayu, and one of the smartest people in the school, Shirazu Izumi.

ID: So, you three are friends?
Mayu: Well...
Ruri: Of course we are!
Izumi: I would have to agree with Ruri on this. Though, there is one more in our circle, and I believe she was invited to this session. However...
Ruri: They invited Shoko too? Man, if I knew that, I'd bring her along!
Izumi: Ruri, allow me to remind you that Shoko is a very private person. It was for this reason that she declined.

ID: Moving right along, Mayu, tell us about your training regimen. How do you keep up?
Mayu: I've found that knowing when to stop training is really key. True story, I've overdone it more often that I care to admit!
Ruri: But it's really hard to stop when you're really into what you're doing?
Izumi: Well, I would imagine that it would be very much like being absent-minded. If you are enjoying what you are doing, you take no notice of anything else.
Mayu: If you didn't insert that last sentence, Izumi, you might have found that you needed to buy new glasses!
Izumi: Oh? I would have hoped that you had enough respect for me to, at the very least, allow me to remove my glasses before you applied your fist to my face.

ID: Let's move on to another subject.
Izumi: Yes, let's.
ID: Ruri...
Ruri: Bring it!
ID: It's been observed that you're a very energetic person. Where does it all come from?
Ruri: I dunno. It's just the way I am, I guess.
Mayu: What, you think that downing candy like water doesn't do anything for you?
Izumi: I've seem Ruri consume a significant amount of sugar in a very short period of time as well. However, a sugar high would only last so long before getting into a low. My best guess is that her energy is derived from being a very positive person.

ID: Izumi, it's your turn. Do you have any secrets to give for how to get a better grade?
Izumi: I have no secret. I merely study as much as I can.
Mayu: Yeah, but you obviously have your nose to the book alot. I mean, the glasses....
Izumi: Well, perhaps I do spend more time on my studies than others. But one cannot call such a tactic a "secret", can one?
Ruri: We should study together some time!
Izumi: I've a feeling you would merely direct the conversation towards Sei-chan.
Mayu: I can see that.
Ruri: You guys got something against the greatest, most awesomest singer, like, ever?
Mayu: You forgot about the part where I don't care?
Ruri: I wonder what Shoko thinks about her?
Mayu: Try asking her.
Izumi: I do not approve of how you meant that as a mean comment, Mayu.
Ruri: No, Mayu's got the right idea.
Izumi: Forgive me. It seems that I redirected the conversation this time.

ID: We've time for one more question.
Ruri: Bring it!
ID: How did you become friends?
Ruri: I dunno. Just happened, I guess?
Izumi: There is a certain amount of truth to Ruri's statement. With her outlook, though, we could not be anything else!
Mayu: Yeah, the full story would be, um...? Well, now that I think about it, how the hell DID we become friends?
Izumi: I think it basically revolves around... Shoko? What do you think, Mayu?
Mayu: Shoko? Huh. Maybe.
Ruri: I bet she would know!
Mayu: Yeah, good luck trying to get anything out of her, though.
Izumi: Mayu, if you please?

That just about wrapped up our conversation. Join us next week, when we interview the teacher of class 1-C, Shiotani Otsune!


Thinking about scripts

I've been thinking about scripts lately. For a bit of background, I have been, of late, toying with re-creating an Ace version of a script that I made in VX. It wasn't anything truly splashy. All it did was create a new property for statuses. It took some old-fashioned research and lots of testing to get the original VX version to work. It took a bit of doing to get it to work in Ace as well, but when I compared the final results, the code was more or less easily ported to Ace. Which was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

I recall downloading a trial version of Melody and Tenkentai for VX, trying to comprehend what all the code meant, and it just overwhelmed me. I dunno. I have a bit of knowledge of C++ and Visual Basic, not to mention that I worked with Sphere, and attempted to make a custom battle engine from scratch with that (which, arguably, was three-quarters the reason I quit Sphere altogether), but I still managed to get lost in the Melody/Tenkentai code. Still I'm figuring that, if I'm going to do scripting on a more serious level, I should probably stay on the "easy" end of the spectrum for a tad longer. Not that I have any clue what "easy" entails in this respect, but baby steps, I suppose.

What does any of this have to do with this game? Well, this game has been something of an experimental game, so I might yet try something with this. For example, I'm thinking about an ability that, basically, deals TP damage to it's intended target. Putting a negative value in the "TP Gain" box would not do the trick, as that box indicates the amount TP both the user and the target changes by. Which is not what I want to do. I'm guessing I could possibly make a new property for attacks in much the same way I made a new property for statuses. Might be high-time to do some good old-fashioned research!


Neither lost, nor forgotten

No, I have not forgotten of this game! It's just that things have been pretty crazy 'round these parts! Of course, it does not help that what time I have that I should be spending on this game, I spend on writing a walkthrough for Arbiters From Another World. However, let us not say that I don't have plans for Chapter 2 stuffs.

The main plan I've got cooking for Chapter 2 is explaining why Shoko is the way she is. If anyone who's played this has also played the "Uchioniko" custom content of Heartache 101 - Sour Into Sweet, there will probably be some similarities. As for possible differences, I'm not sure how much I wish to change, if anything.

I'm also figuring on getting at least one more party member into the group. Nothing is set in stone, and I suspect that the story flow might want to have two new members, but we shall see.

Will there be mini-games, side-quests, or what-not? I have no idea. If there are going to be any, I will not put them into the game until the main content is done. Not that I have many ideas for what I want to do, but I figure I've got some time to make some decisions on that front.

As a total aside, I'm kinda looking at Befuddle Quest - The Next Generation. Yeah, getting into that won't do much good for this game's progress. However, I'm already thinking of making a World of Xeen-style word puzzle for it. If the evidence from the comments/PMs I was getting from Matsumori Days was any indication, something like that should fit right in! Not that I have anything else at the moment, but I prefer this kind of mental exercise.


Chapter 1 Beta release!

Yes, I have uploaded a new beta! Get it! Get it now! Though, I get the odd feeling that I'm rushing this release, but, hey, that's what feedback is for! In theory.

Things of note:
The game took me 0:07:24 to playtest, according to my end-of-demo save file. That was doing the absolute minimal amount of stuff one needs to do. I'm guessing the game should take more like twenty minutes. I'm assuming save files from the previous beta would work with this, but if not, twenty minutes shouldn't be too bad.

After the boss fight in the North Park, the game will prompt you to save. This is meant as a end-of-chapter save. However, the end-of-demo event that happens after that also prompts a save screen. Feel free to ignore either, or both.

I've a theory that the end-of-demo save might not be compatible with future versions of the game. It's possible that the end-of-chapter save might not be compatible either. I'm basing this all of my my experiences with Matsumori Days. Back when that was still in development, I loaded a save that was at an an end-of-demo/end-of-chapter point after I had written more stuff into the game. What happened was, I was still jumped to the title screen, even though that code was no longer there. I haven't tested this since then, but just a heads-up.

Future release notes:
I might cut back on the music, to be honest. I only have 13 non-RTP songs into the Audio/BGM directory. All of them are very conceptual, and are linked to the project in some way, shape, or form. However, I'm not really feeling an actual need to use all of it in-game. This isn't a decision I make to make right this moment, but it's a fair warning, in case I do make discards in this area.

I had it in the back of my head that Ruri was going to fall in love. I'm not really seeing that happen with what I've got. It's a tough thing to write for, especially since I wanted it to feel natural, and have an impact on the player. It's within the realm of possibility that I was in over my head with that idea to begin with. Either the idea will be scrapped, or it will become some kind of optional task. If it's an optional task, I'm not sure how I would work it. Well, I suppose I could draw from my experience with Heartache 101 on that point, since this game does make a passing reference to that game. I dunno. The whole idea just needs more thought behind it.


Mixed news

First, the bad news. Since this project went on hiatus, which was sometime during National Game Development Month, the amount of actual work made on it has been zero. While the NaGaDeMo review drive is partly to blame for this, I've also had a few loose ends that I wanted to fulfill for other games.

S-sorry! Yes, I like this picture of Shoko, and she's my favorite character in this game. Wanna make something of it?

The good news is that I'll probably be taking what problems I'm seeing people are having from Arbiters From Another World, and might apply some theories to this game. This seems to be the game to use as experiments for theories anyway.

In any event, I'll definitely be watching to see what other reviews of this game, should any more come down the line, say about the current demo. I imagine not too much, but I could be surprised.


Quick Question

If I ever make this game into a stand-alone, there's no doubt in my mind that the file size is going to be somewhere around 200MB. Which would take me forever-and-a-half for me to upload. So, what would you players wait, I have players say to a split RAR file with files of ~100MB each? Note that I would do this only for a stable (read: I have reason to believe that there would be no further changes), complete (read: the game has the "complete" tag) version of the game.
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