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Progress Report

Worst. Editing Pass. Ever.

Hey, all.

I've been mulling over whether or not to post a brief update for a few days now, and honestly, I don't really think it matters. Whether I post it today or wait another week or two to post an update, its contents will largely be the same. Unfortunately, since I am now in full-on editing mode, I don't have anything cool to show off. This, along with the next few updates, are going to be short, sweet, and to the point.

So, I began editing the Prologue two days after finishing Chapter 5 (gave myself a little bit of a breather), and it quickly became apparent that we have a problem. A big one. The Prologue and Chapter One are really poorly written. I know my writing's improved a lot over the course of Forge:Re's development, but I was still floored at just how unacceptable the writing in those opening chapters are. I suppose it's to be expected, seeing as I wrote them three years ago, but I can't leave them as they are. I just can't.

As such, the Prologue and Chapter One have been a major slog. I haven't been rewriting them from the ground up or anything, but I have been rewriting a lot of lines. Adding some. Deleting others. And of course, I've been adding all the quality of life features that the later chapters have along the way. It's not a quick and easy process, and it's certainly not a fun one. But, it's a necessary one. That's not to say I'm one-hundred percent happy with the writing even after I've edited it. There are still some awkward sections and bits of dialogue that I just can't figure out how to word better for the life of me. But, that's what my editors are for. When my work here is done and I pass the game off to them, that's one of the major things I'm going to have them focus on: Making sure it reads well and spitballing ideas for how to iron out any rough areas.

Here's the other thing: I don't know where exactly Forge:Re's writing improves. In other words, I don't know when this is going to get easier to edit. I am very confident that editing Chapters Four and Five will be a cinch comparatively. I'm fairly confident Chapter Three will be the same. Chapter Two is the one where it gets a little iffy. I wrote approximately half of Chapter Two three years ago. Then, the game went on hiatus, and it was finished when production resumed. I don't remember what the quality of writing is like throughout Chapter Two, so I don't know if it'll be as bad as Chapter One, if only the first half will be that bad, or what. My hope is that there's a jump in quality somewhere in there, but we'll just have to wait and see.

That's basically the long and short of where I'm at right now. At this rate, I can't even begin to guess how long this editing pass is going to take. Two? Three? Four months? Probably not that long, but it'll almost certainly take another two months at least, which isn't the end of the world. I just hope it's an enjoyable game to play/read by the end of all this.

Talk to you next month.

Quick Edit: I just realized I never said how far I've gotten into the editing process. As of right now, I'm a little over halfway through editing Chapter One's investigation.

Progress Report

Chapter 5 Finished and Some Fancy New Features!

Hey, everyone! Pushing out this update early because I have some cool new stuff to show off and because, well... I just feel like it! So, let's get right into it with the biggest headline, which as you would expect is...


Chapter Five is Finished

Like I hypothesized in the last update, Chapter Four didn't take terribly long to finish up. It did take a solid four days to edit, though. I'm talking sixteen hours a day, four days straight. It was a absurd! Chapter Five isn't too much longer than Chapter Four, and I seem to recall Chapter Four only taking two days or so to edit, so... I don't really know what the deal with that was. Maybe my memory's just shoddy and Chapter Four took longer to edit than I remember.

With that I've pushed Chapter Five out to my beta testers. One of them, unparalleled as he is, played through it over the span of three or four days. There were a few problems here and there. Nothing too terribly difficult to correct. But, I'm told it was a pretty good chapter and one that really does feel like a culmination of the entire game up to that point. Hopefully my other beta testers will enjoy it as well, but I'm very happy with the response thus far.

How About Some Numbers

As is tradition, here are the numbers as of Chapter Five's completion. As always, these are subject to a little bit of change as I continue editing the game. Adding/removing/tweaking words and sentences will result in some fluctuations, but these numbers are still fairly good indicators of the final product's size.

Chapter 5's Word Count: ~208k words
Chapter 5's Script Size in MB: 1.14 MB

Total Word Count: ~731k words
Total Script Size: ~4 MB

So, Chapter Five comprises ~28% of the game (so far). In comparison, Chapter Four was comprised of ~191k words, which is ~26% of the entire game thus far. In other words, over half of the entire game as it exists today is just chapters four and five. Bearing in mind that I cut a not insignificant amount of content from Chapter Five (at least three or four scenes), now you have it in writing. I was not joking when I said these chapters have just gotten longer and longer.

Also a fun fact: The Bible is around 783k words long. Chapter 6 may be a bit shorter because it lacks a daily life, but Forge:Re is 100% going to be longer than the Bible when everything's said and done. And I've written the vast majority of Forge:Re in, what, the past year and three months? I can hardly wrap my head around that. I didn't think I had it in me, but... here we are.

The Next Step and Some New Stuff

What's next for Forge:Re then? Well, I have three new beta testers (the second wave, as I call it) all ready and raring to go. But as I said before, I'm first going to give the first four chapters another editing pass myself and fix what I can find along with the mistakes my other beta testers have pointed out. It's probably going to take no small amount of time to do so, because there are a lot of animations and writing decisions that I made in later chapters that I now have to go back and put into the earlier chapters. I'm estimating this could take upwards of a month to a month and a half. We'll see how it goes. As far as editing passes go, this is the big one. This is the one where almost everything wrong with the game needs to get fixed, so it's not something I want to half-ass.

I'm gearing up to begin said editing pass today. So, what have I been doing for the past week or so? Two things: I've redone the game's opening/difficulty selection screen, I've made a results screen for trials, and I've gotten a few other minor things prepared here and there. Let's talk a bit about the opening and the results screen.

Originally, the opening for Forge:Re was pretty barebones. It was all text. No visual component whatsoever to it. Same goes for the difficulty selection process. All text, no visuals. Back when I made chapter three I think, I did stick an opening monologue into the game with a little bit of eye candy to look at, but the rest remained as plain text against a black background. That's now been changed. I've prettied it up, added some visual flair, done a complete overhaul of the difficult selection process, and even added in a short little segment that shows off each member of the cast before you meet them properly.

Here's a peek at the difficulty selection screen:



As you can probably guess, which rose is highlighted is representative of your selected difficulty. The ones that are more closed up are the easier difficulties, while the ones in full bloom are the hardest ones.

Moving on to the results screen, trials did have a results screen previously in the sense that it showed the silhouettes of all the characters and kept tally of how many were still alive. That's still there. However, if you've played the mainline Danganronpas, you know you're also presented with a screen that tallies up your score following each trial. For some time, I've wanted to add a mechanic into the game where you can increase your Max HP if you do well in trials (only on certain difficulties, of course). And creating a results screen that tallies up your penalties gave me the perfect opportunity to finally implement that.

So, here's a sneak peek at what the results screen looks like:



For the sake of clarity, this is a mockup. I didn't pull this from one of the trials in the game. No need to worry, I'm not going to spoil the layout of one of the trials in a blog post. Anywho, you can probably chance a wild guess as to what happens within this results screen, but I'll leave the specifics to your imagination for the time being.



Anywho, with that all said and shown, I think it's high time I got to editing Forge:Re's prologue. Unfortunately, I probably won't have good reason to push the next update early now that I'm done making fancy overhauls and coming up with new bells and whistles, so I suppose you should expect the next update in a month's time. See you in July!

Progress Report

The Penultimate Update For the Penultimate Chapter

Hello, ladies and gents. It hasn't quite been a month since my last update, but I feel like now would be a good time for to give a brief progress report on Chapter Five. It's nearly my bedtime, so without further ado, let's get right into it.

Progress Report

As I said would be coming in my last update, I am now (temporarily) unemployed. Now, I'll admit, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up with development like I used to. This has been my first time working on the game without school/work tugging on my sleeve since I first started making this game back in 2016. So, I was worried the temptation to set Forge:Re aside and treat this like a summer vacation where I can laze about all day might be overpowering.

Lord, was I wrong.

Ever since my last day of work, I've been regularly pulling 8-12 hour work days on Forge:Re. Almost every day of the week, in fact. I'm finding it harder than ever to give myself a break. Which is good... to an extent. I will say that I'm greatly looking forward to wrapping Chapter 5 and getting an opportunity to rest my weary mind, though.

So, as far as Chapter 5 is concerned, the trial is completely finished, and I'm already in the middle of writing the post-chapter scenes. Now, I did end up cutting a number of things from Chapter 5's trial, but I think that worked out in its benefit. The end of Chapter 5's trial is fast-paced, wild, and should leave a bunch of people going "what the heck just happened". I know that's how I've felt in the last few days I've writing. I look back on what I've written and go "what the heck did I just write?" Sometimes I worry Forge:Re's story is a little too out there for its own good, but I guess we'll just have to wait until it's out to see what the consensus is on that.

Anywho, the writing for Chapter 5 should be finished within the week. I expect it should only take me three or four days to polish it up and get it out to my beta testers after that, though there are a few catches to that. I kind of had to add a piece of evidence into the chapter at the last minute for things to make sense, so I'm going to have to go back and make sure that jives with everything else. Along with that, I have an animation that needs re-making (because it's kind of pathetically lazy), and I'm planning on redoing the difficulty selection screen at the beginning of the game. So, this isn't just a straightforward edit job. I've got a few things here and there to take care of on top of the usual cleanup.



With that said, I guess we'll see where we stand a month from now. In a months time, I should be fixing up Chapters 1-4 (5 will have to wait for my usual beta testers to finish it) and getting them ready for my second wave of beta testers to roll through. I'm very excited for them to play it. They'll be the first people who will get to play through the vast majority of the game without having to wait several months in-between chapters, so I'm very excited to see what they think and what improvements/suggestions they bring to the table.

That's all for this month! As always, I'll see you in about a month's time!

Progress Report

Brief Progress/Life Update and Showcasing the Jukebox!

Howdy, ya'll!

Brief Progress Report

Firstly, I'd like to give a brief update on the game itself. Chapter Five is still very much on track to hit my target of being out to my beta testers by the middle of June. In fact, I'd say it might be done and ready towards the end of May. More on that later. Going into the specifics, Chapter Five's daily life and its investigation are completely, one-hundred percent finished. Furthermore, I've already made a decent bit of headway into the trial. I currently have approximately half of the second rebuttal finished. Taking into account the trial's total number of rebuttals/cross-examinations/etc., this means the trial is approaching the 25% mark. Approximately. If it isn't there already. It's been a fun time making the trial so far. Chapter 5's trial really shakes things up in a variety of ways while still staying true to the foundation that's been laid out throughout the game up until that point. Not that the rest of the trials don't feel special in their own rights, but it feels a bit like a breath of fresh air.

Life Update

Now for something completely different. I have a full-time, 40 hours a week job that I do on top of making Forge:Re. Between the two, You can basically sum up my life for the past year and half. Actual work, work on Forge:Re, play a few hours of other games to unwind, eat, sleep, repeat. That's all about to change. Lately, work has been abysmal, and while I won't get into the details, it's only going to get worse. So, to make a long story short, I'm quitting my job. I would have had to drop down to part time anyways because I'm going back to school this Fall, so it's not actually all that big of a deal. However, for reasons I again don't really care to get into, I won't be going out and getting another job for about a month and a half after I leave my current one. And even when I do get one, I'll only be working two or three days a week as opposed to five.

This isn't the most positive news for my wallet, but it's exceptionally good news for Forge:Re. Essentially, I'm going to have limitless time to work on Forge:Re starting on May 4th, my first day of freedom. Now, do not misinterpret this. I am not a robot. This does not mean I am going to sit down for eight hours every day working on Forge:Re. A lot of days, I can barely get myself to write for three or four hours. However, this does mean that the speed at which Chapter Five is finished and the entire game gets edited should noticeably speed up.

That's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to make any hard promises for fear of breaking them. This is going to be the first time I've worked on the game while jobless/not in school since... since I first started working on the game almost three years ago during my summer vacation! I don't know how it's going to go. But, hopefully, with the strong work ethic I've maintained ever since picking Forge:Re back up a year and a half ago, development will proceed at a healthier pace than ever.

Jukebox

This is a little something I wasn't originally planning on including in the main game. Originally, this was a feature meant to show up solely in School Mode. However, now that the main game and School Mode are two separate beasts that are releasing independently of one another, I figured there's no reason not to stick it in the main game as well.

I know I've mentioned it in the past, but Forge:Re uses a hell of a lot of music, and from all different places. The main game's soundtrack has grown to a pretty lofty number of ~175 songs. Some are one-time affairs. Some play several or many times throughout the game. It's probably about half and half between those that play only a single time and those that don't. Anywho, music is a huge part of Forge:Re. It's influenced me and Forge:Re itself in many ways, and I use it throughout the game in various ways for various effects.

So, imagine yourself sitting there, playing Forge:Re. A song starts playing and you go, "Huh. That's a weird song. Let me listen to it again." Or, "Wow! This song is great! I wonder where it came from!" Maybe even, "I wonder why Marche put this objective piece of trash in the game." That's where the jukebox comes in!


A snapshot of the Jukebox's main menu, which for the purposes of these screenshots has been called up in the middle of a trial.

The jukebox is a fancy little gadget you get access to very early on into Forge:Re. Right after the opening scenes, basically. You can call it up at almost any time in the game (keyword almost). Essentially, you'll be able to pull it up anytime during normal dialogue. You won't have access to it during animations or while choices are displayed on the screen for you to choose from for the most part. The animations because I don't think you should be able to interrupt animations in the first place. And the choices because I'm afraid things may get a bit glitchy if I do.


A snippet of the songs introduced in the Prologue.

Songs in the jukebox will only become available for listening after reaching the end of the scene they first appear in. Until then, they will be marked as '???'. Now, you may notice in the screenshot above that some song titles are in yellow while others are in white. There's a reason for that. Titles colored in yellow come with developer commentary, where I explain why I chose a certain song, describe the feelings I intended for it to evoke, discuss recurring motifs, and so forth. Sometimes, I'll even talk about how a certain song replaced another song! Fun and insightful comments like that will hopefully make the jukebox an enlightening feature for those of you who share as much of a love for music and the philosophies behind it as I do.


A list of handy information is displayed whenever you play a song.

But of course, credit where credit is due. Any time you pull up a song, you'll be met with several helpful pieces of information. The title I gave each song (for Forge:Re's purposes), the song's original title, the work of origin, the composer (if a soundtrack was composed by a team, I make sure to look into the individual who composed a specific track, where possible), and a picture of the album art from the work of origin. In this way, the proper persons get the credit they're deserved and you, the player, are free to look a song up on Youtube or do some research on the work it came from.

Who knows! You might find a song you really like and want to listen to more! Or maybe you'll find your new favorite game through some of the music I utilize! However much or little you use the jukebox and whatever you take away from it, please enjoy its inclusion to your heart's content.




That's all I have to say for today's update! Tune in next month, where I'll very likely be reporting in that the trial is complete! And once the trial's finished, there will be relatively little left to accomplish before the chapter's ready for release (to my beta testers, of course). See you then!

Announcement

Spontaneous Birthday Update! Vague Release Date And More!

Greetings once again, everyone!

Last time, I said I would give the next update in April after finishing Chapter Five. Buuut there have been several developments with the, erm, development of the game that I believe warrant an early update. But first thing's first! It's my birthday today! I am now twenty-four years of age! It's been almost three years since I've started working on Forge:Re and a good six or seven years since I first conceptualized it. Weird to think this game's been a part of nearly a quarter of my life. Time sure does fly when you get older. If I don't wrap this project up soon, I'll be dead and buried by the time it's out!

So, I think it'd be best to just section off the different parts of this update for your own convenience. Read whatever interests you! We'll start off with...

Progress in Chapter Five

You wouldn't know it by me telling you where I'm at in Chapter Five, but the fifth chapter in Forge:Re is coming along swimmingly. Presently, I'm writing the final 'real' scene of Chapter Five's daily life. By that mean, the scene before the body discovery. (Typically, I include the scenes leading directly into the body discovery as part of the daily life, but they're generally short enough that they don't take all that long to make compared to most other scenes.) And what a scene the final 'real' scene in Chapter Five's daily life has turned out to be. It's very hype, and it's very long. Like, I'm 99% sure this will be the longest scene in the entire game by a college mile. That said, I'm almost finished making it. I've been working on it all week and I'm in the home stretch. As such, the daily life of Chapter Five is just about finished.

Now, in my last update I said "Ohoho! Chapter Five will be done in April!" Yeah, that's just not realistic anymore. Chapter Five has quickly become several times longer than I ever anticipated. I was originally shooting to make the daily life be around three hours in length, which is the approximate length of the daily life in the game's early chapters. After feeling like Chapter Four dragged a bit, I wanted to trim the fat. Make a more lean, focused chapter. But as of this moment, Chapter Five's daily life is pushing seven or eight hours in length. At least, by my count. And this is after cutting two entire scenes from it. However, I'm not the least bit upset by this development.

Chapter Five is the culmination of so many things. So many characters see themselves either moving towards the end of their arcs or reaching the end of their arcs. The murder and everything leading up to it pulls from just about every prior chapter in some way, shape, or form. It's a cathartic, emotional, roller coaster of a chapter. One I believe is fitting of being called Forge:Re's climax. So, I'm fine with it being as long as it is. So much of importance happens in every single scene that I don't feel it should feel like a drag to play. Quite the opposite. I've a sneaking suspicion this will be many people's favorite chapter. And how very Danganronpa-like for the fifth chapter to be the fan-favorite! Huh?

But this all begs the question: When do I think Chapter Five will be completed? Well, no matter overly long the daily lives get, there's never too much variance among the lengths of the investigations and the trials themselves. So, as of right now, I'm thinking the investigation will be finished by the end of March and the trial will likely take around two months to make, which puts us in... June. (I would have said late May, but just being realistic... Unless I eat, sleep, and breathe Forge:Re, it's going to be June.) Sounds pretty far off, doesn't it? And yet, it feels like just yesterday that I made the last update, so I bet it'll creep up on us before we know it.

This leads us to two different topics that I'd like to briefly cover. But because the one leads right into a fourth topic, we'll begin with...

Current Estimated Length of the Game

I feel like I've been saying this with every update. "HOW ARE THESE CHAPTERS BECOMING SO MUCH LONGER THAN I EXPECTED?! WHEN WILL MY SUFFERING END?! NEXT CHAPTER, WILL YOU BE THE ONE TO BREAK THE CYCLE?! OH, NOPE. GUESS NOT." So then! A very good question is: How long will the game as a whole be now that all these chapters are turning out to be significantly longer than expected? Welllllll...

According to my notes here, the game was around 35 hours and 20 minutes long as of the end of Chapter Four. Adding Chapter Five, Six, and the Epilogue into the mix, and we're probably looking at a 50+ hour Danganronpa game here. That's a long game! In fact, I'm pretty sure that's longer than any of the official games! And they actually had you running around stuff inbetween dialogue! Isn't that crazy?! What am I doing with my life?! Please send help!

BUT. Here's the big BUT. We all know what game developers are like. They like to twirl their moustaches and go "Honh Honh! Our epic masterpiece of a game is going to be an unforgettable 100 hour long journey!" And then it turns out not being anywhere close to that (unless we're talking about Persona games. God, Persona games are long.) So, just to be safe, I'm going to trim that estimate a bit to account for differences in reading speed and all that good stuff. With that in mind, my official estimate is that the game will be 40-50+ hours long.

I'm kind of cheating by tacking that '+' on the end there, but I don't care. This way, none of ya'll can call me a fibber. Not unless you speedrun the game and finish it in like 20 hours. Please don't do that. Okay, maybe do it on a second playthrough but definitely no your first.

Next topic of discussion!

Vague Release Date

Now for the question on everyone's minds, my own included! When is Forge:Re coming out? As I said in the first section of this update, I now predict Chapter Five to be done in June. Chapter Six will naturally be shorter than Chapter Five (THANK GOD) because it has no daily life, so I don't see it taking more than another three or four months to make. And, I mean, there's an epilogue, too, but that's probably going to be like an hour or two long, top. Not really even worth mentioning compared to the behemoths that precede it.

SO. With every fiber of my being, I will work hard to ensure that Danganronpa Forge:Re is out BEFORE the end of December 2019. You heard it here first, folks! We're shooting to launch this year! Of course, that depends not only on me, but my beta testers as well! And rest assured, I'll be whipping them harder than ever with Chapter Five and Six to meet that vague-ass release date I just arbitrarily set for myself.

To summarize, the current gameplan is as follows:

  • March to Mid-June: Finish Chapter Five, give it an editing pass, and hand it off to the beta testers.
  • Late June to Mid-October: Make Chapter Six, give it an editing pass, hand it off to the testers. In the meantime, have my first group of testers test Chapter Five and my second group work on the second round of editing for Chapters 1 through 5.
  • Mid-October to Release: Have both groups of testers get Chapter Six tidied up. Do one final editing pass of the entire game myself to catch any stray errors. Once that's finished, release the game.


"But wait!" You say. "Aren't you forgetting something?" Yes. Yes, we are. And that's the final point I would like to address in this update.

What About School Mode?

Ah, yes! The elusive 'School Mode' that I've kept under wraps for so long! What about that? Well, you'll be happy to know that I have absolutely no intention of cancelling, trimming down, or doing anything that would compromise my creative vision for School Mode. I'm not going to condense it and turn it into some throwaway thing just so I can cram it in there with the main game in time for release. Hardly. By all right, School Mode should be a blast to play and an experience unlike any other. I won't release it if that's not what I think it is.

The problem is, School Mode is pretty sizable in scope. All the more-so if I don't want to half-ass it (which I don't). I'm of the opinion that it will take a good half a year... upwards of a year to make. And as cool as it would be to release that at the same time as the main game like I originally planned, I have to face the music. It would be pretty idiotic of me to hold out on you guys for an entire year if the main game is sitting on my hard drive all ready to be set loose in the wild. With that said, School Mode will be developed after Forge:Re's release. It will release both as a standalone game and as a package with the main game.

There you have it. You'll be able to (hopefully) satisfy yourself with the main game for a while and get School Mode served for dessert a (relatively) shortly thereafter. In a way, I'm disappointed I can't release School Mode at the same time as the main course, but I really do think it's for the best. So many of you have been patiently waiting for so long, it just wouldn't sit well with me. Heck, even if I tried to restrain myself, I'd probably say "fug it" and spontaneously release it one day. That's just who I am. I'm a patient guy, but when it comes to self-control? Thaaat's a bit of a different story.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, I've spent like the past three hours writing this update. I'm tired and I want to go to bed. Thanks for reading, and see you in another month or two with a progress update! (I won't leave you hanging until June to find out whether or not Chapter Five is still on track, I promise!)

Announcement

New Title, New Title *Screen*, and New Tidings

Hello, everyone!

Bit of an early update this time around. I'm afraid Chapter 5 is still far from being finished. Still in the midst of writing the daily life. As of right now, I'm aiming to have the chapter finished and out to my beta testers sometime in April. While I worked on it a good deal in January, I had several vacations throughout the month, during which I opted to take a much-needed break from both working on this and my actual workplace. Now that my vacations are over, it's time to get right back into it!

So, the reason for this update's been a long time coming. I believe I've mentioned on numerous occasions before about how the game's title was in dire need of changing. Now, it has been changed! The new title is 'Danganronpa Forge:Re'! The meaning of that title? Well, I'm sure you can chance a guess or two. But there are several meanings hidden in the title, which I doubt you'll be able to guess all of before actually playing the game.

Along with the new title, we're in need of a new title screen! And that title screen is finally done! At least, the basis for it is finished. I'll explain what I mean by that after showing it off below. (Wow, how long has it been since I've had something to show off?)



As you can see, we've got our protagonist Bacon gazing at herself in a bathroom mirror—something she'd likely do many times over the course of the story from day to day. Several things about this title screen are going to be dynamic:

  • The Sticky Notes: As the game goes on, things happen, some mysteries are uncovered and others are solved, the content and number of the sticky notes stuck to the mirror will change to better reflect what's going on in the story at the time and to better reflect what's presently on Bacon's mind.
  • Bacon's Expression: To start with, our dear protagonist has an expression with a tinge of anxiety and worry on her face. Understandable, given her immediate situation. However, she'll hardly feel as such the entire game. In certain chapters, her expression will change to better reflect her state of mind.
  • The Blood: You were probably waiting for this one. I know I was. Those bloodstains you see on Bacon won't be there immediately as the game begins. She'll only begin collecting bloodstains as more and more characters die. By the end, she's going to be a pretty battered, bloody mess.
  • The Music: Of course, what's a dynamic title screen without dynamic music to match? Similarly to the other elements I've already listed, the music will change occasionally depending on the mood the story's taken on. It won't change quite as often as any of the other things I've mentioned, but it will change several times.
  • A Few Other Odds and Ends: I won't say what these are because they venture into spoiler territory, but there will be some other minor changes here and there as the game goes on. So, expect a few other surprises along the way along with everything I've already brought up.


So, there you have it. That's the new title screen! Of course, it goes without saying, but the title screen I've presented here is just a mockup to show all of the dynamic elements. It won't look like the first time you boot the game up. In fact, it'll never look quite like that, because I removed a sticky note that spoils who the first victim is for the purposes of this preview.

That's all I have to say for now! Time for me to return to plugging away at the game. Chapter Five is turning out great so far, and I think it may actually have a shot at living up to the lofty expectations that the fifth chapter of Danganronpa games have carried since Danganronpa 2. So, let's all hope it turns out to be the best chapter yet!

See you in (around) two months!

Miscellaneous

A Bit of An Unfortunate Delay

Hey, everyone.

Hasn't been quite as long as it usually has since the last update, but I do want to keep those who are 'following' the game (I use air-quotes because there's really not much to follow at this point in development) in the loop with recent developments.

So, back in November I completely outlined Chapter Five, plotted out the murder, and so forth in quite a bit of detail. I daresay I went into more detail than I usually do. The chapter's looking pretty good. I'm not going to pretend it'll live up to Danganronpa 2 or V3's fifth case, but I think it's a fitting fifth case nonetheless. And in several respects, the fifth case I've come up with does some things I don't think most official (and fanganronpa games for that matter) would seriously consider attempting. It's really a unique case. Even if only for the context surrounding the murder. That's not to say I'll execute it as well as it could be executed, but I'm really looking forward to writing it and it should be a lot of fun.

That being said, over the past few weeks I've been blindsided by a number of things that have unfortunately impeded development and may continue to do so a bit longer.

For one thing, my shift is changing at work. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but I originally worked overnight and now I'll be working more or less in the daytime. For a number of months, I've been working straight through each day and taking all of my breaks at once at the end of the day, which has been great for Danganronpa Team's development as I can sit down for an extended period of time, get into the zone, and stay in the zone—rather than only having a handful of minutes before having to go back to work. I don't think I'll be able to do that on a daytime shift, considering my boss's boss's (who are a lot stricter/less understanding) will be around. But we'll see!

Along with that, work has just been much more stressful in general lately for a variety of reasons that I won't bother getting into here. It's retail, so I'm sure those of you who have any experience in the sector can chance a few guesses as to the kind of stupid stuff I've been dealing with on the regular, especially around the holiday season.

Aside from work, health has been a big issue this month, for both myself and my family. My grandpa, the head of my family, has been suffering from several different types of cancer for the past few months, and things are winding down to a close here. He doesn't have long at all to live. So that's been really tearing me and the rest of my family up lately.

But along with that, I myself got a fever or the flu (something of the sort) in early December. And that led into a pretty bad bout with bronchitis that I'm still suffering the aftereffects of. That in particular has put me out of commission for several weeks. Even a night this past week, I sat down to get some good writing in for Danganronpa Team and couldn't because I was hit with such a fierce and long-lasting coughing fit that I couldn't even get a single sentence down.

So, all this stuff sucks. It sucks a lot. I've been pretty down in the dumps lately not just because of what's been going on, but because I haven't been able to relax and get any writing for Danganronpa Team done. BUT I think at least as far as my health is concerned, things are getting better. I've still got a cough, but it's not affecting me nearly as much as it did previously. I've been dabbling in getting back to writing over the past week and I think I should be good to get back into it full force over this upcoming week. To say the least, it should provide a good distraction from the things I've been struggling with that I can't do anything about.

That all being said, this forcible break I've had to take hasn't been all bad. It's strengthened my drive and passion for this project and made me very eager to jump back into writing. As such, I'm going to attempt to ramp up production a bit compared to Chapter Four. I believe for Chapter Four I wrote throughout the week prior to going to work and then would write during my breaks at work. Back when I was writing Chapter Three I think I did all that as well as getting some writing in during my days off. I'd like to go back to doing that.

I think I've mentioned in the last update that Chapter Four ended up being very long. Admittedly, for as much as I like Chapter Four, its pacing leaves something to be desired. I'm still aiming to improve on that with Chapter Five, BUT after having outlined the chapter, I get the feeling it might end up being just as long. There's a lot of ground to cover in these last two chapters. We'll see how it goes, but know that a big part of the beta testing I do for each chapter is to help with identifying these faults and actively trying to improve upon them moving forward. So, I'm hoping that Chapter Five ends up being one of the best chapters in the game. Fingers crossed!

However, taking the assumed length of Chapter Five into account along with everything I've been dealing with lately, my projection currently places Chapter Five as being completed by the end of March. I'm not entirely happy with that, as it's a month later than I originally hoped to complete it, but under the circumstances that's unfortunately just the way that it looks like things are going. But who knows. Like I said, I feel my drive is stronger than ever after being sick for so long, so maybe the delay will only serve to improve the quality of the final product. We can hope, right?

That's all I wanted to share. Bit of an uncharacteristically long update considering how little I talked about Danganronpa Team itself in it, but I just didn't want to leave this go until Chapter Five is done and have people wondering "Oh, is it finally dead?" No, Danganronpa Team isn't dead. It won't be dead. I will have to be dead in order for Danganronpa Team to be dead. I am fully committed to finishing this game, whatever the cost. No matter how long it takes.

With that, I'll see you all in a few months. By then, Chapter Five should be finished and we'll be entering endgame territory. Exciting! And also kind of scary. While I've had Chapter Six planned out in my head for literal years, it's one of those chapters where I have to get certain things right, so I'll likely be under considerable pressure writing it. Wish me luck, I guess!... With everything!

Progress Report

The Hell That Was Chapter Four Is Finally Finished

Hey, it's been a while! Methinks its high time for an update, don't you?

After a good three months or so in development, Chapter Four is finally finished. And let me tell you, that chapter was a nightmare. Chapter Three is a tipping point in a lot of ways in the plot, and while it's a critical chapter in the story in its own right, Chapter Four is where things really come to a head. Suffice to say, Chapter Four was really hard to write. And the murder was the most challenging one to write yet. As it's Chapter Four we're talking about here, the chapter features the traditional out-of-the-box murder. It really requires you think out of the box. At least, I think it does. Kind of hard to tell when I know the answers to all the mysteries before I even test it. Still, definitely the hardest chapter to write thus far.

Another difficulty I had with Chapter Four was the sheer length of it. Chapter Four is above and beyond any of the chapters I've written thus far. Don't believe me? Here are the stats:

Prologue + Chapter 1: 87k words
Chapter 2: 106k words
Chapter 3: 139k words
Chapter 4: 191k words
Running Total: 523k words (Guess that means we broke 1000 pages. Woo.)

Yeah. And I wrote it in the same span of time as Chapter 2/3, giving myself a deadline of approximately three months to write it. I failed to meet that deadline, taking a week longer than I wanted to in order to finish it up, but still... It's hard to believe I wrote all that in the same amount of time as the previous chapter or two. That's not to say it's anywhere near perfect. I handed it off to my beta testers and the one who's already started it pointed out a bunch of mistakes in the first scene alone. But considering this last chapter was such a behemoth, I'm not surprised there are a bunch of things I missed or neglected to take into account.

That all being said, I'm going to dial it back quite a bit with Chapter Five. While I'm relatively happy with how Chapter Four turned out and think it's a good chapter on numerous fronts, it was simply too much. I can't keep making chapters this long, or else I will burn out. Granted, Chapter Six will be inherently shorter than the others considering it has no daily life, but... I want to reel it in a little with Chapter Five as well.

I know Chapter Five tends to have the craziest murder in the entire game. That's how it's been since Danganronpa 2, at least (I think it's kind of debatable whether or not that's the case with the first game, since none of the cases in that one were particularly convoluted). Chapter Five may or may not be the craziest in this game. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose. As I haven't written the murder yet (I'll be rewriting it from the ground up), it's up in the air. But I'm going to make a conscientious effort to not go overboard with the murder and the chapter as a whole. I want the daily and the trial to both be shorter than Chapter 4's (and maybe even Chapter 3's) were.

But like I said, as I haven't written anything yet, everything is up in the air. I have some vague ideas, but nothing concrete yet. As is tradition, I'll be spending the next week or two brainstorming and trying to hammer out the details while I'm at work. In the meantime, I'll be taking a very well-deserved break while I'm at home. I can't stress enough how Chapter Four very nearly broke me. It was rough. I want Chapter Five to deliver on the type of quality you'll have come to expect by that point in the game, but at the same time I want it to be more manageable than Chapter Four was. So, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I swear I said the same thing when I finished Chapter Three, though, and Chapter Four ended up being longer regardless, so... I swear if the same thing happens with Chapter Five... Actually, I'll probably be dead if that happens, so if you don't hear another update within the next four months, you can safely assume I (and by extension Danganronpa Team) are dead and buried.

I'm joking, of course. Failing to finish Danganronpa Team isn't an option at this stage in development. Whatever happens with Chapter Five's development, it'll get finished. One way or another, I'll get 'er done.

And by this point, it's safe to say I'm just rambling. So, let's switch gears a bit and talk about some other things. First of all, I've added in some new general-purpose animations since Chapter Three was finished. Basic stuff. Just some little animations when it switches from one speaker to another so the new speaker's sprite doesn't immediately pop up and replace the previous speaker's sprite. Makes things look a little more fluid.

Also, Danganronpa Team is getting a rebranding at some point. By which I mean, I'm changing the title of the game. I mulled this over for a long time, and I think 'Danganronpa Team' simply doesn't work as well as it once did. It's too easy to confuse with the team that makes the official Danganronpa games as well as 'Team Danganronpa'. I already have a new title in mind. It's just a matter of when I'm going to reveal it. I'll probably do so closer to release. Possibly when the artist I've enlisted the help of makes the cover art for the game. That seems like a good time to reveal it. You get some cover art and a name change all in one.

On top of that, I've made a Discord server for the game. No one is allowed in it as of yet. No one will be allowed in until we get closer to release. The game's download link will be hosted on said Discord server, and there are a few other points of interest regarding the server that I think bear mentioning. For instance, I have it set up so you get access to new text channels depending on how far you are in the game. Some of those channels contain fun facts about each of the chapters. So, as you go through the game, you'll unlock a bit of developer's commentary in the form of said fun facts.

That's all I think I'm willing to share this time around. I will likely open up said Discord server once the main game is finished and I'm working on School Mode, as that will kind of sort of (not really) be the final stretch of development. The game will still be a ways off at that point, but at least by then there'll be a light at the end of the tunnel. So, might as well open it up around that time.

See you in a few months, and wish me luck with writing Chapter Five! I'm both very excited and very nervous about it! Send me all the hope you can spare that it turns out well and lives up to expectations!

Progress Report

Development Update: Chapter Three Basically Finished, and the Future of Updates!

Hello once again, everyone!

I've been holding off on this one for a little while, since I wanted to have Chapter Three pretty well wrapped up before I made my next update. It's not quite there yet, but I think it's close enough to the point where I can make an update in good conscience. Approximately an hour ago, I finished the final scene of Chapter Three's trial! Huzzah! Quite a milestone. Chapter Three itself isn't quite finished yet. There's a (relatively) short sequence of scenes I have to write following the trial (every chapter has this) as well as a (again, relatively) short scene that bridges the gap between chapters (again, each chapter has this). But these should take a handful of days to write at most. In fact, my current personal goal for myself is to get the chapter out to my beta testers in three days. This is a lot more work than it sounds like, since I have to edit/polish up the ENTIRE chapter in ADDITION to writing and polishing up those final few scenes, but I think I can do it. So, heck, I'm going for it!

By the way, this would be far from the first time I've spoken about it, but I've been keeping track of how long the game is as I've been reading through each scene for my first time. And as of right now, according to my overinflated developer count, Danganronpa Team is over 20 hours long! That's right, Chapter Three is freaking LONG. It's longer than Chapter One and Chapter Two in every single area! I don't plan for this! I don't know how these chapters keep getting longer and longer! Chapter Four will probably break that trend, though. Chapter Three is in many ways one of the most important chapters in the game in regard to various characters' development and the overall narrative. So it makes sense for it to be a bit on the longer side.

But for those of you who speak the language of words rather than numbers, or I suppose I should say words in the guise of numbers, I have started keeping track of Danganronpa Team's length in another way! I've started using a script to export the text in each and every scene into text files, then compile them together into one file, and check the word count. Now, I'm holding off on compiling these numbers again until I'm completely finished with Chapter Three, but back when I was about halfway through the trial of Chapter Three, I worked my magic and came up with the number of words comprising the game thus far. That number was roughly 283,000 words, which is roughly 566 pages of text or something like that. Keep in mind, this number was from like a week and a half ago when the trial was only halfway finished, so the script's probably broken the 600 page mark now, or it's going to by the time Chapter Three is finished. That's pretty cool!

Now I do want to say a little something about the future of updates on this game page. I'm honestly considering going silent for a while, because I simply don't have much of interest to put in these updates anymore! Unless you guys want me to spoil the murder of Chapter Three or something! So I'm thinking of going the route of radio silence until the game is closer to being finished. Maybe then I could post some more creative, interesting updates. But for now, I really don't have anything I can share in good conscience.

So that's all for now. Whether or not we see each other anytime soon, thanks for your continued support, and I will keep plugging away at Danganronpa Team! Have no fear of that! Marche, out!

Progress Report

Development Update: Chapter Three Daily Life Finished (And Other Odds and Ends)

Hello, hello, hello, everyone! Not even a month from the last, and I've already got a brand spanking new update to present to you all! I don't know if I'm just getting more productive or what. Probably not, since I've spent an ungodly amount of time this past month replaying the Kingdom Hearts series (and getting the platinum trophies for each game, hence the 'ungodly amount' part of how much time I've devoted to them) to prepare myself for Kingdom Hearts 3. But I digress. Okay, but before we get into the update proper, I just have to say: Screw you, Squeenix, for making me 100% Birth by Sleep with all three characters for that platinum trophy. There, got that off my chest.

Concerning Chapter Three's Progress

Now then, there are actually a number of different things I want to talk about in this update. First and foremost, as the title of this update says, the daily life of Chapter Three is pretty much done (I literally just got to the body discovery last night). It turned out pretty well, I think. There are some pretty good scenes in there, along with a few of my favorite Free Time Events I've written thus far. I have to say, Chapter Three's daily life was a lot of fun to write in general. Because you see, while Chapter One and Two were more about setting up the characters and getting you acclimated to DR Team's world and whatnot, Chapter Three is where I've had my first opportunity to start really hinting at some of the story's overarching mysteries. And that's been a lot of fun. I love knowing exactly what's going on and hinting at it almost in a teasing sort of way.

That being said, I must admit I am quite surprised... I thought as Danganronpa Team went on, the chapters would naturally start to get shorter and shorter. After all, there are less characters, so I assumed I wouldn't be able to come up with quite as much dialogue and the pace would become a little snappier as a result. Well... the opposite of that's apparently happened. Chapter Two was longer than Chapter One, and Chapter Three is looking like it's going to be even longer than Chapter Two. The daily life is certainly longer, to say the least, and I don't see the investigation or the trial being particularly shorter than the last. It actually kind of makes me wonder if Danganronpa Team will approach V3's length after all (V3 felt noticeably longer than 1 and 2, as I'm sure any of you who've played it will agree). I suppose time will tell.

I do want to emphasize though that I'm not padding scenes out to make the game artificially longer or anything. On the contrary, I find myself cutting things I have planned out of scenes because I feel like they'd be too long otherwise. That's become more of an issue towards the end of the second trial and in Chapter Three's daily life than before. It's especially an issue in regard to the trials, because I don't want trials to drag. I've been trying to keep the trials so far at or under three hours in length or so. I'm willing to allow the later trials to get a little longer, but there's really no reason for trials in the first half of the game to be overly lengthy.

By the way, just so you know where I'm coming from, when I time how long different parts of the game are, I go through all of the options that lead to unique dialogue. So for the daily life portions, that means going through every Free Time Event possible. And for the trials that means pressing every statement and going through all the incorrect answers to direct questions you have to respond to. (I don't know if I've mentioned before, but every response in a question/answer segment in the trials has unique dialogue that follows, similar to Ace Attorney. It's a pain to write but I'm glad I do it. Better than just recycling the "Oh, no everyone's going to think I'm incompetent!" sort of line that Danganronpa tends to use when you answer a question wrong.) So you could very well go through trials and such much faster than my personal estimate. I wouldn't recommend it though, since pressing statements is where a lot of the best dialogue in trials comes out.

As for Chapter Three's investigation, I'm already prepared to jump right into that. Along with completing the daily life for Chapter Three, I've drawn up the murder scene and all the graphics I need for the evidence and so forth. So everything is ready to go. I imagine the investigation will only take a week and a half or so to make, since investigations aren't at all comparable in length to the daily life/trial segments. So by the next update I should be knee deep in trial territory! Kind of a strange feeling almost being back to writing a trial so soon. It feels like only yesterday I was writing Chapter Two's trial! But that's for the best! Shouldn't be too hard to switch gears and get into trial writing mode.

Sunset and Nighttime Sprite Tinting

So there are a multitude of scenes in Danganronpa Team that take place either at sunset or at night. You don't see night scenes so often early on into the game, but they become a bit more common later on. On the other hand, sunset scenes are relatively common throughout the entire game. I was just whipping up one such scene the other week and thought to myself, "You know, it looks kind of funny how everything is tinted orange/blue except for the character you're talking to." I thought back to the visual novel Makina is from, Grisaia no Kajitsu, which I recal tinted character sprites depending on the time of day in a given scene. So I decided to do the same thing!

Here's an example of how character sprites look at sunset:



And here's one of how they look at night:



Originally, I tinted the sprites much more heavily than I do now. Like, for reference, this was my first attempt at tinting sprites for sunset scenes:



And here's an initial test I did for the night scenes:



So, yeah. The former makes it look like Tamamo got turned into a straight-up deity. And the latter makes it look like she's halfway to becoming a member of a Blue Man Group. So obviously, those didn't cut it. But I'm sure you can tell, I toned down the sunset tinting far more than I did the night tinting, since the intensity of the tint in sunset scenes was far more blatantly offensive.

I think they look pretty good now, and I hope this is a change everyone finds agreeable. It's extremely easy to implement, so it's really no bother doing this for the odd scene. I will have to go back and implement this into Chapter One and Two's sunset/night scenes, but I think I'll just do that on the final editing pass.

Concerning Free Time Events

Another thing I want to talk about actually concerns Free Time Events. I was just thinking about the way I've been handling Free Time Events thus far, and I think my approach to them has been working out really well. That said, I don't think I've spelled out what makes them so unique as opposed to the other Danganronpas. At least, not as well as I could. So I'd like to take this opportunity to elaborate a bit more on them.

Just to refresh everyone's memories, in other Danganronpa's, Free Time Events basically amount to quick, snappy one-on-one conversations with other characters that give you more insight into their personality and/or backstory. And that's more or less it.

In Danganronpa Team, Free Time Events are first and foremost not one-on-one scenes. You often spend time with other characters in groups. Along with that, these are unique scenes that happen at fixed points in each chapter. In other Dangaronpas you could theoretically see a Free Time Event scene in any chapter. In Danganronpa Team, there is chapter-specific context for each Free Time Event scene, so they're one time only deals. For instance, let's say a cook-off is going to be held, and some characters invite you to practice your cooking skills before the cook-off. Obviously, such a scene wouldn't make sense at another other point in time, let alone in another chapter. So naturally, you only have that specific opportunity to see it.

What I'm trying to say is that rather than drawing from a pool of FTE event scenes like in other Danganronpas where whichever one you see is dependent on your bond level with a particular character, FTEs in Danganronpa Team are specifically crafted for specific points in each chapter.

Now, here's the cool thing about Danganronpa Team's Free Time Events that I didn't notice until recently. Many of the Free Time Events happen regardless of whether or not you attend them. And they often have lasting impacts on the story. What I mean by that is, say you have a choice between helping a character go shopping or attending another character's tea party. You might choose to go shopping, but that tea party is going to happen even if you're not there. And oftentimes, character/plot development and/or things that have an impact on the murder/trial will happen during Free Time Events. Not always. But it does happen.

And I think that's pretty cool. In Danganronpa Team, Free Time Events actually have an impact on the immediate plot. So you might go through a trial and that shopping trip you skipped might come up. Something relevant to the murder might have happened during it. And by going back and viewing that scene, you get more of an inside look into the inner workings of how the plot developed. Or perhaps you went shopping and a certain character changed after they attended the tea party. So you go back and check out the tea party to see how and why that character changed.

So that all being said, I highly recommend checking out every Free Time Event whenever the opportunity presents itself so you can get as full of a picture of what transpires in each chapter as you can.

Concerning an Opening

I can't remember if I've mentioned this in the past or not, but I've been considering making an OP for the game for some time now. For a while, I was against the idea. I didn't want to just copy Danganronpa 1/2/V3's openings. Heck, I didn't even want to re-use any of their music. But I've found myself a song I think I can use for an OP, and I've come up with some interesting ideas for what visuals would accompany the music. So as of right now, I'm thinking I will take a crack at making an OP. Not right this minute, but as I get closer to the end of the game, I'll definitely give it a shot.

So there's something to look forward to. Maybe. We'll see how it goes, and even if I do make it I might keep it under wraps until we get closer to release.

Anyways, that's all for this update. Unless I somehow gain the ability to stop time and complete the chapter before then, I'll see you in July!
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