2016 review & 2017 plans

Happy holidays to all of our fans! As in previous years, I’m looking back to all of our activities in order to close a new chapter and move forward.

2016, play with the big boys…

banner_storenvy2016 is a special year for us because it’s our first year as a full-fledged visual novel creating company, which implies some changes. Overall, we had to integrate quite a few formalities (the joy of doing paperwork) and it wasn’t always that easy!
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Announcement: Khzi and the Cursed Stone

I stayed silent since the last article and I’m sorry for that. It has to be said that Chronotopia got funded on Kickstarter shortly before the deadline and the team really needed some rest after so many emotions! And let’s not forget making a battle plan.

But today, we’re going to talk about something completely different. Indeed, it’s been about a year since the release of Milk Episode 5 and also about a year since we announced we would make a remake of this old episodic series to adapt it to our current standards (professional). So it’s high time we review the situation!

khzi-futuristic-sky

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The online store opens its doors

As you can notice, the devblog received a new design in order to be in the colours of Chronotopia! Needless to say I’m rather satisfied: I’ve been secretely hoping to get rid of the orange and old Milk banner for ages. If you haven’t read the presentation about Chronotopia, you can still fix that mistake. Anyway!

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2015 review & 2016 plans

Happy holidays to all of our readers! To end 2015 on a high note, here’s a review of everything that happened this year, as well as our plans for the upcoming year.

Satori

One of the drawings Orties made for our artbook :3

If you remember correctly, 2014 was a crazy year: we released no less than four games, made goodies, including remakes of our oldest games, ran a booth at Japan Expo and completely renewed the devblog (by adding a website). I promised myself to slow down a bit to avoid exploding. Was 2015 calmer?

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The future of Milk~La légende des étoiles

As I promised last time, here’s a more detailed article to explain what will happen to Milk. In fact, Milk~La légende des étoiles is quite a special case: since we’re talking about an incomplete episodic game, it’s inevitably stuck between our hobbyist period and the upcoming commercial period.

We could have carried on without change but, as I explained in the last post, it’s precisely because it’s now impossible that the Träumendes Mädchen team decided to become pro. Following that logic, the only way for us to keep making Milk would be to make it commercial. Which is problematic insofar as, considering we gained experience since our first steps, the quality gap between Episodes is huge, especially with visuals. We cannot sell a visual novel with mixed assets like that. Especially because ties have been severed with several former teammembers and it’d be tasteless to sell their work without their permission.

There’s no two ways about it: we’re going to remake Milk in order to adapt the game to our current standards. So the graphics will be harmonized and I will take that chance to rewrite some parts of the script. Up until now, I hadn’t touch anything, even though the story had been finished back in 2011, which is quite extraordinary, but I’m not satisfied with the way I did Episode 1 and what should have been Episode 6. The timing is perfect to review my work based on your feedbacks (I’m still looking for those BTW). I also want to offer additional scenes inside Khzi’s story (that I’m only slightly going to change) to develop the mercenaries, especially those have less “screen time”. Presentation will stay rather linear but the result should look a bit more dynamic. Most of the teammembers who worked on the first version will come back for the remake and Laniessa will become the main artist!

Milk Remake Teaser

Here’s what the new sprites should like. Looks better, right?

However, the workload being astronomical, the development of Milk’s remake would have to get unfolded across several year, in the “background” of Chronotopia, our commercial project. Unfortunately, there won’t be another Episode until a while, that’s why I really wanted to reduce the waiting time by finishing Khzi’s story. For the same reason, news about our progress are going to become scarce. And, commercial game oblige, the new version will only be available to a limited sample of testers for as long as the common route isn’t complete. If you wish to be part of that sample, it’s simple: you’ll either have to become one of my patrons (insofar as I give early access to my games to them starting from a certain amount), or to send me a mail through the team’s address asking me to be added. In that case, I’d simply ask you to give me your opinion on the game (since I’m looking for feedbacks) so that I can improve Milk as much as possible. The first version will stay online for a while and I’ll publicly announce its removal once the remake would have reached a satisfying state. So you still have the time to make the most of it!

Little Khzi In-game

Random screenshot to show the different sizes that can be used.

There we go, good and less god news: on one hand, you’ll have to be patient, but on the other hand Milk will come back all clean and beautiful! It might sound a bit masochistic to sign for another long period of development but, at the same time, we already proved we could handle that kind of things and I think it’s worth it. In any case, I hope you’ll like the change =).

The King is dead, long live The King!

I’ve been implying all over the place that things were gonna change for a while now. It’s time to explain that publicly: the team as it exists today is going to disappear.

TM teaser2Hobbyists without pretension…
The reasons are as simple as they are numerous but all overlap each other: up until now, the different teammembers were young and very young students that were making visual novel voluntarily in their free time. The goal was to have fun, to experiment, to show that it was possible to do many things with motivation. We did release quite a few visual novel “made in France” and the atmosphere was nice. However, time went by since 2012: some members want to move on and are going their own way whereas others are still motivated but cannot take the time to do visual novel anymore, because of their studies (many are doing an art school for example, which is quite a demanding curriculum). Overall, creating visual novel takes a lot of time and up until now, no one among us ever got any real compensation out of that, except the enjoyment of seeing people read our stories (but you don’t fill the fridge with smiles, even though it’d be great). In short, it’s now impossible to work as we did before. I knew it, I saw it coming.

As for me (at almost 25, I’m now one of the oldest), I had to confront the job market. I got to find a job to survive and pay my rent. In the same time, what was supposed to be a trial run turned into a passion and I want to go further than what hobbyists an do, I want to experiment more. This paradox forces me to take a difficult decision. I won’t make the suspense last any longer because my choice was pretty clear: I don’t want to give up what is making me live (writing, creating). I’m used to handle things by myself, to difficult situations. And, more importantly, I don’t want to have regrets. I’m ready to work like a dog night and day but it’s out of the question that I throw in the sponge without even trying.

Jeux TMSo, here I go. It’s with a lot of apprehension and excitement that I announce that Träumendes Mädchen will cease to be a hobbyist team…to become a fully fledged visual novel creating company, the very first in France right now. It’ll be a small structure (managed by one person, namely me) that will hire different artists depending of the projects. Old members won’t necessarily be that far since I’m gonna call them in, simply this time it’s gonna be paid work ;).

HoloThe future
All of our short projects will of course stay free, nothing will change in this case, and I’m counting on making an on-line store to offer all of the goodies we printed upon Japan Expo. The website will slowly be revamped to reflect the new situation. Concerning Milk, there will be change, but don’t panic, I will make a specific announcement shortly to explain that in details.

At the time you’ll be reading those lines, the process is well engaged, if not finished. I won’t hide that making a company is a very risky challenge: the competition in the videogame market is very fierce and it’s better to know what you’re doing. But, as I was saying earlier, I’m determined and I shall do my utmost to ensure it’ll succeed. Except that I’m gonna need your help! I need your support, your feedbacks and, of course, I’m inviting you to buy our games when they’re released to allow us to continue the adventure. Your support will make the difference. Whatever may happen, I’m sure my experience can be useful for people who have an interest in the visual novel market. It’s a strange challenge for us and I’m counting on you to follow that closely!

And, if some people think I’m now super rich, let them be reassured: I’m still as poor because the company’s money comes from a credit (I committed on several years to make everything possible). The money will incidentally fund Träumendes Mâdchen very first commercial project: Chronotopia. It involves reincarnation, “dark” fairytale and people dying, suffering and going back in time to suffer some more. More informations to come once production will have started! And those who are impatient can already discover some elements on my Patreon (patrons have exclusivity but they’re worth it~).

banner_storenvyIn short
In conclusion, the adventure isn’t ending just yet, it just takes another form. We’re grateful for the support you’ve been giving us during all those years, we’re impatient to show you what we’re planning to do and we hope you’ll like the result. Anyway, we will work hard so that you can be proud of us. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to follow us on social networks if it’s not done already; we’re posting more regularly there ;). And if it’s not your thing, you can now subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive the latest news in your mailbox!

Waiting for Godot

This post will be as short as it’ll be melancholic. To sweeten the pill, here’s some stupid pictures from the secret mini-game hidden in Between Heaven and Hell. Yes, we dared. Those who found it cannot UNSEE it.

Mockup I won’t hide that those last few weeks have been difficult for the team. Between the recent events, the lateness of the English translation of Wounded by Words extra content, and many other disappointments I won’t mention here, we haven’t been very active. At least outside of the release of the 5th Episode of Milk and the OST from Between Heaven and Hell (don’t hesitate to lend it an ear).

pythonw 2015-11-22 18-16-15-62

Yeah, the hidden game isn’t translated either, we’re so behind…

More concretely, I had promised an important announcement and I’m still working on it. I think it’s a crucial phase and you have the right to know what will become of the team. Only I struggle to find the right words to explain what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s kinda chaotic. I’m impatient and scared at the same time to announce my decision. Whatever may happen, whether it’s seen as positive or negative, I have to do it and I hope you will read me until the end. The announcement should be ready within one or two weeks, in the meantime take care, and thanks for following us during all those years :3.

Milk Episode 5 Release!

EP5Roundly six months after the release of Episode 4, we’re back with the next part of Milk~La légende des étoiles. I have to say I’m pleased by the fact that we managed to be ponctual (two episodes per year). After all, we don’t want you to wait too much ;). As usual, the download link is available on the game’s page and the new version includes, of course, plenty of improvements !

It’s the end of Khzi’s journey. The albino and her companions have to defeat the High Priest once and for all, but an ominous feeling is telling them that things won’t end as nicely as they want.

Combat finalAs the synopsis is giving away, this Episode will be the end of Khzi’s adventures. If you’ve stopped at some point, it’s the perfect moment to start up reading again (plus you’re served right with that amount of reading)! Anyway, enjoy the story, because Episode 6 won’t be available before a while.

Indeed, the team is now going to take a new form and it’s necessarily going to have consequences on Milk developement. More details to come in the big announcement I’m planning on the subject. I’m counting on you to read it when it’ll be available because it’s something important to me.