Posted in aRomancetherapy!, Progress Logs, WIPs

Making progress on the sprites

This time I’m taking my project more seriously, not that I was fooling around back in April-May (which, as I mentioned in my previous post, were my most productive months since I came up with this story), but after my low-productivity period I feel like I’ve come back with more determination. Last week or so I was finally able to get my hands on a tablet once again and I immediately started working on the art for the game. You see, last time I had the lineart for Ange and Dran’s sprites as well as the lineart for (most of) the main menu illustration, I had also started doing some basic coloring and yadda yadda, but I was mainly focusing on writing and also on the GUI. I have no idea if more experienced VN creators would scold me since I get the impression it’s super important to have at least a couple sprites and maybe some backgrounds before putting so much effort on the GUI… But hey I’m messy like that, I try to work on whatever I feel like working at the moment or whatever I’m concerned the most, and back then I was content with having a decent-looking lineart as well as a decent-looking idea of what the sprites would look like (even though I had only finished two characters lol). Then when I ran out of ideas for writing and the GUI I also couldn’t make progress with the art because my tablet died, yay!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have some new ideas for the story and I’ve tried writing in a few changes, you know, trying to get back in track with writing and stuff. This time however, I feel like working on the art first, haha! I didn’t plan things to be this way when I came back to my project but basically as soon as I got a new tablet I started perfecting the coloring of Ange’s sprite, first to test my new tablet of course, and second to see how much practice I had lost after not touching a tablet in a couple of months. Now, it’s not like I was super experienced with coloring back then, I’m definitely far from that, but precisely because of my lack of experience I needed to try my hand (quite literally) at it once again. Anyway, since Ange is the MC and had been my test sprite since forever, I started working on her first, mostly on her expressions; but then along the way I got kinda frustrated trying to color her eyes. As I said, I’m not a very seasoned artist and eyes are especially difficult for me (sometimes not even tutorials help), and her yellow eyes are proving to be extra difficult to color, so after trying a few things on my own (and a couple tutorials) and not being convinced by any, I kinda said “oh well, screw it then” and switched to Dran since boy needed some shadows… And I got hooked in his coloring! Lol. Long story short, he’s pretty much done, I still need to work on his expressions but somehow he ended being the first sprite to look good enough to call it a finished product.

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And I had a much easier time at coloring those pink eyes!

If you don’t mind me giving myself a pat on the back, I was kinda amazed at my own work in his sprite lol, I don’t doubt there will be mistakes and things that could be better, BUT I think it’s not bad for an amateur like myself and I’m definitely proud. Back then I considered Ange’s coloring (except the eyes lmao) to be pretty ok, some parts needed more detailed shadows and maybe some sparkle, but after seeing Dran’s finished sprite now I’m definitely stepping up my game in coloring. That said, it took me a lot of time to finish Dran’s sprite because I’m slow like that, that’s why even though I already had a good amount of progress on Ange’s sprite, I still haven’t touched her at all since finishing him (which was just a few hours ago). Apologies for being such a slowpoke, I know normal people would probably wait until they had most major characters done, expressions and all, but I still wanted to write something in this blog to take my mind off things for a while.

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Look at that plain coloring, unacceptable! *gasp*

Well, I guess that’s all for now! Kinda longass post just to talk about one or two sprites lmao, but it served its purpose of letting me rest. Now I’m off to work on Ange’s coloring!

EDIT (18/10/2019): I finished Ange’s sprite!

And further EDIT (8/11/2019): I revised her sprite and gave her a head job lmao. I realized it looked kinda big and weird before, so hopefully now it doesn’t look like she bumped the back of her head on a boulder lol. I also tried to fix her hairline (ugh, those are so difficult for me) because my previous attempt kinda made her look like she had a receeding hairline! (oh God, I’m so sorry Ange lol). You can compare with the picture above lol.

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“It was about time you got my eyes right!”

Fun fact: I’ve been using Ange’s “annoyed” expression until now to introduce her, but I decided to color her smiling one because that’s how I’d feel if I managed to succesfully color her yellow eyes lol. And I did it, yay! Now I need to work on either Lión or Narc.

EDIT (23/10/2019): Lión’s sprite is done I guess. Narc’s sprite is undoubtedly next, then I will have to go back to brainstorming ideas for other major characters like Noli and minor characters like Lave and oh so many more… help lol.

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Such a babyface lol.

Until next time!

Posted in aRomancetherapy!, Progress Logs, WIPs

Still working on aRomancetherapy!

So… I started this little project of mine as far back as the beginning of last year yet here I am, three months before 2020 and still struggling with it lol. I made the most progress back in April-May, I even rushed to create a lemmasoft thread for the game to keep me motivated and just to finally show a bit of my progress to someone, anyone, since my irl people aren’t the type to be very interested in the subject of otome games (or Visual Novels in general). But then I fell in a pit of writer’s block (it’s a curse lol) and, as if things couldn’t get worse, I had a problem with my graphic tablet (and I absolutely refuse to go back to the nightmarish days of working with a mouse), needless to say, I got my creative spirits down for months and months. Every now and then I sat down and tried to write but I felt dry as a raisin so I didn’t manage to accomplish much during these long months… Sucks but I’m not one to just throw away my beloved characters, so I figured I’d just keep on living my life and wait until I felt better and I could continue where I left off.

Right now I can say the whole ordeal mentioned above can be considered a kinda good thing in a sense. I mean, in the back of my mind I’m always beating myself for not being able to make progress faster, but while I still haven’t been able to write much I had some new ideas that hopefully will make the story better. You see, in my original plot the conflict would be that the MC’s world would be shaken when her rival Lave creates a perfume so good that it seems to be the equivalent of the “best thing since sliced bread” in their world, and no matter what she does she cannot come up with something to compete against her fast enough. Being desperate to keep the status quo, Ange (the MC) resorts to stealing (yeah, flat-out stealing *gasp*) Lave’s new formula *just so* she can figure out what in the world makes the perfume so incredibly gud. Turns out it’s love. Yeah, you read that right, her big secret is luv, just like in your mother’s cookies but quite more literally lol. Long story short she now has to earn the love of one of our three peculiar bachelors to create “her own version” of this ultimate perfume and then rule the perfumer world with the queen’s Beautiful Elite (known as the ‘Royal Perfumers’) mwahahaha.

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Oh no, it’s much worse than that. (Also quick look at the textbox, I still have no backgrounds so apologies for the white background.)

The plot looked good enough to me and I was even managing to write some promising scenes but I still fell inside that horrible pit known as writer’s block, I also started to doubt certain aspects of the plot, and, all in all, how the overall thing was flowing. I was a bit worried about the fact that the way I envisioned the routes didn’t include the whole cast (as in, once you entered a route with a certain bachelor the others wouldn’t make appearances at all). I mean, each route would have its different supporting characters and stuff, but as someone commented on the lemmasoft thread back in the day, they like seeing the other bois get moments in another bachelor’s route, and I definitely do too! (as I also commented in my reply to that user). They do. I do. You do. Everyone and their dog wants to see that and I definitely think it’s a little aspect that helps an otome game, but I couldn’t figure out how to introduce the different bachelors in different routes. Okay, it may seem like it’s not a big deal, not every game has to be like that, but what I’m trying to get at here is that one day that burnt lightbulb inside my little head just… light up, and I’m thinking about giving a bit of an overhaul to the plot that I’m hoping will give a better atmosphere to the game. I’m still toying around with the idea but, once again, long story short: while Lave’s secret may or may not still be luv, if I decide to give the story this overhaul, Ange will no longer steal the formula and try to gain the bachelor’s favors for the sake of the perfume, rather, she will be going in a quest around the world to try to find (insert mcguffin that will potentially solve her perfumer’s block here) and the bachelors will be traveling in the same fashion as her for their own reasons. I’m liking this idea better because it opens new possibilities, not only because pretty much the whole cast will have direct contact, but also because it fixes certain things that, if I look at my original plot, risked looking forced or a bit nonsensical (?). I also think it’s more interesting for the characters to visit different locations inside their world instead of the whole story being set in one city.

Right now I still haven’t started writing in these possible changes to the story, but every day I’m leaning more and more into applying them. Also, I think I will be able to use a tablet again very soon so I should start working on the art once again. Really, the little progress I’ve made during these months is mostly the GUI which wasn’t looking that good back then, I had most of the coding working but the GUI in itself could be so much better, and while it’s still not finished, I think I finally got a vision that I can feel confident about. It’s still quite simple but looks nice enough and fits in with the perfume theme going on.

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Placeholder background, yay!

Anyway! I think that’s pretty much all I had to say, it feels good to put things into perspective in a blog like this. I’m still quite far from my goal of releasing a demo, let alone the completed game, but I’m not giving up, I really want to see this project flourish and be enjoyed by otome fans and fans of everything fluffy. Ange would never forgive me either lol.

Until next time I guess!