Someone raised my attention that there has not been an update on another site, which was odd because I remember posting one up a few weeks ago asking for beta-testers … I am assuming I did not hit the second confirmation button to post, silly me. That would explain the lack of response! Well, let’s remedy that with a long, comprehensive update to recap all that has gone on.
Late last year, we had concluded the pre-made engine we were utilizing was unsuitable for the scope and scale Americana Dawn had evolved into. So after recruiting two local programmers, bchan and lonecsmajor, they had made plans and built an engine ground-up to better suit the needs of this project (and open the possibilities for porting to different platforms if time and budgeting allowed for it).
However, because this is a new engine, and the game is written in Japanese and English, it will require extensive testing to ensure that it is perfectly functional on the PC and the script is error-free in both languages. So this will require more time than anticipated. Though I have enough English testers, in case I need more, please shoot me an e-mail (bitbonton.com/bio) and I will add you to a list.
Since June of last year, the entire team-make up had changed due to changing availabilities. Eventually I sought out teammates, half of which were/are from Japan, and the other half are from North America. While it was a very stressful transition, it ultimate worked in producing a better quality project. The most senior member is Shnabubula, the lead composer and sound designer. He has created the entire sound library from scratch, which he has used to compose beautiful songs you can listen to on our YouTube page or website. Unfortunately, he became very unwell and had to spend time recuperating in a hospital for a few months; luckily, he is finally back home, though still resting and taking it slowly until he feels completely better. During this time, we lucked out a second time in the music department when Mr. Hokkai, who had formerly worked on the Castlevania series, also joined.
The second most senior member is juri_the_dreamer, who utilizes a really beautiful illustration style that fuses traditional and digital art (to recreate Thomas Jefferson’s favorite mangas, recently recovered by a team of archaeologists and now featured in the Smithsonian). Our vision was to create a visual style that could capture both Western and Eastern aesthetics, in addition to portraying a huge cast of varying ages, ethnic backgrounds and lives. From my eyes, she is doing a perfect job.
I am not sure how familiar people are with the origin stories of this project, especially newer readers, but it had initially begun as an engine test, based on a television show I had never watched. After doing some light reading and questioning some fans, I took off, assuming it would be a short, one-hour project based on the Super Famicom trading game ‘Uncharted Horizons.’ Though I continued to follow my passions in earnest, and overtime, it diverged into its own folklore, mythos and story.
The protagonist, who had originally been a spunky, lively teenager, grew into a quiet, meek and Southern gentleman named ‘Foster,’ who appears to be in his late twenties to early thirties. Even the cast around him had changed, and their stories became human struggles against racism, slavery, survival during economic depressions, conflicting loyalties and war. What had intended to be a light hearted story grew into a tragedy and an epic inspired by Latin American traditions of ‘magical realism,’ while taking on a form similar to Asian epics like Journey to the West. Juri’s more realistic art style reflected that change in tone.
I remember when this game has used freeware resources for RPGmaker projects, though with a better budget, I was able to break out of it. I was never satisfied because I felt like it did not evoke the feeling of Colonial America. After difficulty trying to find a teammate in this department, I asked an acquaintance “Ramenshop” who brought Americana Dawn’s visuals a level akin to Genso Suikoden and Valkyrie Profile. Though it is a much more time consuming process because the level of detail, and that many of the maps are specifically drawn for a specific area, rather than using tiled graphics alone. I cannot forget the beautiful and fluid animations our other graphic artist, Justin, has made.
I also have to thank my other teammates, old classmate c_arai, for helping me with localization, and my assistant, publicist and unlicensed therapist, Monobrow, for keeping me sane. Also finbeard, a fin with a beard, for being an unlicensed therapist. There are so many others I need to thank, including my other friends, supporters and subscribers but I might end up writing a novel.
Due to all the turbulence with a new team and a much larger vision, I had to continue securing a budget to keep this project alive, even after the help of an initial fundraiser. I was extremely fortunate to have a great crew, many of which agreed to work out of love, and had even pitched in their own monetary resources. It has been extremely rocky and difficult, but that is the nature of all development at this scale, whether indie or at a firm. To complete something, there is only one answer: Keep on going.
If given the opportunity, I would happily sell my limbs and never climb a mountain again, if it meant the finances for this game would be taken care of for the rest of the production, and I could compensate each and every person for their time and talents.
… However, I realize that is not saying much, because I can get an artificial leg and become a mountain climbing cyborg. That’s right. That actually sounds very “cool.”
Maybe I should sell my leg on the digital bidding bazaar called “eBay.” Who would like to purchase a leg? My blood type is A+. I have very powerful calves that would make Goku jealous. There is a bit of extra fat on the thighs, but for the right price, anything can be solved. It will be an exclusive, top-backer reward. Better make up your mind soon, there is a limit of “1.”
God bless the games.
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