HAHA WＨＡＴＳ ＨＡＰＰＥＮＩＮＧ
The soundtrack is not finished yet!
Of course the full release will sport more tracks, and here’s a work in progress directly from our music man Garoad.
There were many reasons we jumped ships from Ren’Py to Game Maker. First it was because Ysbryd required us to be able to deploy for iOS, then it was because we had a chance to get the game on PS Vita, and finally, it was because we hit a technical ceiling of sorts in Ren’Py (The drag n drop function can be buggy as hell and we’ve received reports of a game-freezing bug we thought we fixed for the Prologue because of it).
This change hasn’t been easy though, and by not being easy I mean I cry myself to sleep every night. The problem was not the mixing of drinks itself (We solved that one in about a week), but rather, the dialog system (And the saving system… and the jukebox, but that’s another story). I think that with enough time, I might be able to make my own dialog system for VNs, but the problem is, WE HAVE NO TIME. We need to get this shit done as soon as possible.
After some research (Read: Google) I stumbled upon Nacho_Chicken’s Dynamic Textbox Engine on the new Game Maker Marketplace (Let’s not speak about the hell that is trying to direct download something with third-world internet). My thoughts on it (If you’re thinking on making a Visual Novel in Game Maker) after the break.
So, we iterate a huge fucking lot it seems.
Which is good! this is the evolution of the user interface, last one is how the full-release currently looks, sporting new stuff like:
An interactive background: Have you played Hearthstone? is something like that, in the sense that you can click the objects and they will have cute reactions.
A streamlined mixer: You no longer have to switch between modes, since the slots are available all the time, and when you go over ten ingredients it automatically switches to “big” mode, ain’t that cool?
We also made Dorothy’s sprite a tad more cute. Tried to re-design her but a lot of her charm was lost, so we simply cleaned up the original prototype sprite and called it a day, it was the best decision… trust me.
For now, the plan is to see if we can replace the shaker for a nicer one, as well as better looking drinks… among other suprises.
What do you think of the new look?
Some eagle-eyed fans yesterday might have noticed Dingo’s name was conspicuously absent from the new trailer for P4D, as well as the official website.
Surprisingly, Atlus was quick to address this on their site. You should catch the whole thing if you’re really curious, but the gist is that primary development responsibilities for the game have shifted to the Persona Team, with Dingo operating in a support capacity moving forward. They aim to get the game out as early as possible in 2015 and future trailers will feature more in-depth looks at the actual gameplay.
How did this come about and what does all of this mean? There are few solid facts beyond the official statement from Atlus, but here’s what I feel is pretty safe speculation:
- I wasn’t aware of this until all of this stuff started being brought to light, but apparently Dingo ran into development troubles with the Love Live Vita games and they were apparently severe enough that it’s believed to be very possible it impacted P4D’s development.
- What makes a shift to Persona Team doable instead of an outright cancellation, then? It wasn’t made widely apparent when the game was originally launched last year, but one of the main reasons they were prepping for a Fall 2014 release original was that, to paraphrase their language, “main development on the game was already complete.” The meaning of this was never confirmed to my knowledge, but I take this to mean that Dingo had already finished developing the main technology that fuels the game both from a raw execution and rendering side on actual Vita hardware, as well as from a content creation standpoint. This is a pretty ordinary way to proceed with game development; once the core engine is hashed out (ie: how the graphics will be rendered on screen, how base gameplay mechanics will be hashed out mathematically, etc.), the design members of the team get into gear actually creating and implementing the content that players will actually encounter in more tangible terms, from art assets to, in this case, song and dance routines, as well as pretty much everything in-between, all while using tools purpose-built for the game. As such…
- It’s likely that development did still progress somewhat substantially when Dingo was still in charge. They wouldn’t be aiming for an early 2015 date if they still had a lot of songs to implement and balance and whatnot. Instead, what’s happening here is that Persona Team will likely be concerned with tidying up loose ends and designing all the remaining content that needs to be tackled. Dingo is likely therefore still on board because, again, they’re the ones who originally made the technology that’s making the game possible from most every respect. P4D isn’t the first game where another team has had to finish the work another team started and even if Dingo went bankrupt at this stage and everyone disappeared, it wouldn’t be impossible for Atlus to wrap it up on their own. But it’s always, always ideal in cases like this to still have access to the original people who made that foundational stuff, as they’ll know how to make the most of it and also any weird quirks that might be present in their engines and content creation tools. Otherwise the new development team would risk wasting a lot of time just going through trial and error and that’s never a great use of resources.
Knowing all of this, to me this is probably one of the better outcomes of what was probably turning into a bad situation. You never want to switch developers in the midst of a project if it can be avoided for obvious reasons, but the fact that Dingo hasn’t been dropped altogether is a good sign that both they and Atlus are still invested in getting a good game out of the door. While I do believe that Dingo’s presence is mostly going to be technical support, knowing Atlus’ lack of expertise in rhythm games, I also wouldn’t be surprised if some Dingo people were also helping provide design guidance and whatnot. Persona Team’s a smart bunch of people, they made god damn Catherine after doing a bunch of RPGs after all, but I know I definitely wouldn’t want to switch gears to such a diametrically different genre unless I was really, really confident I was fluent in it as a player. But I’d still want outside help, if possible.
Again, all of this stuff outside the official message is speculation, but as someone who’s research development history and creation practices for games for a really long time, I’m pretty confident I’m not too terribly off the mark here. At least so I hope. Just figure some insight with hopefully a little basis is better than just running around claiming the apocalypse for the game before its release as I’ve seen elsewhere.
Grinding art for the upcoming VA-11’s full release. This one took quite a bit of time because I find “Christmas Cake Hacker” Alma the hardest character to draw. I’m glad with the results though! she looks a lot better now.
I start with some rough sketches to get the feel of the character, then I go ahead and make a detailed “render” specifically made for the PC-98 filter™. This effect takes quite a bit of time to get right, I even make some changes on the fly like the shoulder and hair bits you see there. The end result is some retro-futuristic waifu ready to get drunk! Overall, this process takes around two days with the pixel thing being the most hardest part… you can tell because it’s not even finished, this is still a work in progress!
Below is a comparison, the old Prototype concept I did in a rush versus the newest one made for the full release. The old one was just me using posterize in Photoshop. Anyway, gotta keep drawing, Kiririn51 out!
I think next update will be the new mixer in action, look forward to it!
Have you bought the Prologue version yet? It’s on sale right now at itch.io for $4.99, get it now and you will have the upcoming full version when it’s out!
seriously, the full game will be more expensive, get it while it’s cheap.
For a while now I’ve been kind of meaning to write a long, in-depth post about 4chan. With the recent controversy between them and some significant feminist figures in the gaming industry, I think it’s important that I finally go ahead and do this. Since, let’s be honest: any time there’s a big…