Big Update #11: Announcement & lots of progress again
Today we’ll start with some serious talk for a change. But before that, here’s a reminder that all backers have access to ChronoServant here. In case you want to download the dress-up game and customize your own servant for the fun. Okay, back to seriousness!
About delays, deadlines, and the team’s new organization
It’s been one year since the start of Chronotopia’s Kickstarter and many of you have asked me when the game would be released. Considering our first estimated date was May 2017, I think it’s plain to see we’ve blown past that deadline. There are many reasons to that: for example, the estimation itself was too strict to begin with and I’m taking care of too many tasks on my own (I can’t progress on several fronts at the same time, after all). On top of that, Anako is busy so character art takes a while to be finished.
We did make continuous progress throughout the year but we’ve very clearly fallen way behind schedule and the delays keep accumulating. Even if the situation isn’t disastrous, I have enough experience to know I have to take action to ensure it won’t have the chance to be. We’ve only finished about 1/3 of the game in a single year, which means the whole game would take 2 more years at the same pace! Needless to say the company would not survive that. That’s why I decided to change the team’s organization in the hope of redressing the balance.
The biggest of those changes is that Adirosa has officially joined the team as assistant artist. We’ve already worked together on a few projects such as Wounded by Words (she was the colourist) and Khzi and the Cursed Stone (she’s the main artist) so I have faith in her skills. She’s also a very prolific artist who worked on dozen of English visual novel in the past, which is always a plus! Anako will stay the main artist, of course, but Adirosa will now take care of some parts of the work for her in order to make the whole process more fluid and, well, faster. We’ve already tested that new configuration on one asset and the results are quite promising; judge for yourself.
This is one of the new characters from Chronotopia, Séraphine, though I unfortunately cannot talk about her as it would be spoilers. There are several steps in making her: sketch, lineart, flat colors and colouring (then adding the various expressions). Adirosa did the flat colors when Anako took care of the rest. As you can see, there is no visible difference compared to other sprites! Since it’s our first try, we necessarily needed to figure some things out but the process was already slightly faster and it seems to be a very efficient moral boost for the team as it forces us to communicate more.
I cannot say if this change is going to pay off, but I have high hopes and I really want the game to be released as soon as possible. I will not give a precise date yet, as we still have to see how efficient the new organization is and adjust it if necessary (if we’re still too slow, Adirosa could do more steps of the process, for example). We do have an internal deadline though and I’ll be able to judge more accurately around December/January so please be patient with us. Chronotopia will come out sometime in 2018, or at least we’ll do our best to make this a reality!
Working on text is really time consuming, isn’t it?
Now let’s talk about our progress: they’re a bit all over the place, to be honest. I’ve finished writing the C2 route and edited C1 to add some scenes that were more appropriate in this part than the next one. As a result, both have a wordcount of 22 000 words. It was really important to me to do that as it really helps artists in their work, plus it means I’m officially 2/3 done with the writing. Only one route left, then the endings…but don’t be fooled, it will take almost as long as routes themselves (some are really long).
I’m currently switching back to scripting the rest of the B2’s route and I hope I can do it in a reasonable amount of time as Meles has already finished 50% of its translation!
Here comes the new challenger
Art-wise, the artists are focusing on C1 and C2 (they kinda work as a package for spoilery reasons). As I showed earlier, Anako is inking the expressions for Séraphine’s sprite which is almost complete. In addition to that, she also did some sketches for another new character: Thalie.
This is the second prince you will encounter in the story and the one Kionna will meet in C1 and C2, though in a more straightforward manner. In this new route, the princess will indeed travel further away from her castle and will bump into him almost immediately. Just like Griselde, he looks handsome and charming. And just like Griselde, one has to wonder if he has any weakness at all~ He claims he wants to protect you but doesn’t it sound almost too good to be true? As an aside, you may remember his outfit: it was one of the designs suggested by Anako for the previous prince. I thought it would fit Thalie better so she adapted it a bit for him. Isn’t that cape kind of cool? Sorry Griselde, your subliminal dagger is rather ridiculous in comparison.
Seasonal variations & more stained-glass illustrations!
Anyway, in the meantime PyriteKite has finished the patio of one of prince Thalie’s secondary residences. This background has a particularity: on top of the traditional variations (day, twilight and night), it will also include seasonal variations, each with its specific little animation. I’m currently coding it so that we can have leaves falling in autumn and snow in winter, among others. So it takes us more time than a regular background but I think it will be worth it and I can’t wait to show you the animations once I’m done.
Another good news: thanks to our writing progress, Melow was able to work on two new stained-glass illustrations and even finish them in the blink of an eye. Each route should have its own so I hope you’re looking forward to see more of them~
That’s all for today but I think it’s already a lot to digest! Next time we’ll be a year after the end of Chronotopia’s Kickstarter so I’d really like to finish what’s left of B2 by then. And code those seasonal animations. There’s still so much to do!