Happy new year everyone ! As I said previously, I’m trying to write on the devblog, which has been a bit disregarded lately (and woken up with a huge post) by telling you more about our projects than “We’re working on it”. So, I’m taking advantage of this changing in year to make a report of everything happened during 2013 and what we are planning to do in 2014.
2013 : hill start
After 2012, which was mostly occupied by the formation of the team and its difficulties to get to work, with most of the time dedicated to Milk’s production, it became urgent to produce something concrete (and I’m not even taking into account our entry in the No-Xice visual novel contest which was more of a warm-up). So we managed to release the first episode of Milk last February with great relief.
The visual novel I had in mind was a suicidal project : huge scenario, huge amount of artwork, managing people blindly, recruiting too early, many begginer mistakes and all. With a project like that, we should have crashed at some time or another, but nope. We managed to release a first part. That can seem ridiculously little to most people, but to us it means a lot, we felt like we’ve survived the hardest.
Obviously, my writing style being what it is, some people were a bit bothered by it, and that doesn’t surprise me. I’m well aware that what I write isn’t made to appeal to everyone and that just a handful of crazy people will like it, but that won’t stop me. After all, I’m here because I’m passionate XD What saved Milk’s release was the switch to an episodic format (the first episode being only 10% of the game, I’ll let you think about what would’ve happened if I aimed for a single release : the team would be dead) and it also allowed us to improve ourselves between releases. Yeah, we’re trying to improve more and more! Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all…
In March, we decided to take part in the Nanoreno, an international visual novel contest with a limited deadline, which was super intimidating (I mean look at the other participants). Despite that we managed to finish the game on time and Ambre was released the first day of April. I though the little story I had in mind lend itself well to something like Nanoreno and the feedback from the Lemmasoft community have been really heart-warming so far (don’t know if many French people enter the contest usually). So, the whole experience seems a little success. I might do a new version a Ambre one day to correct all the little things we couldn’t improve back then (who said translation ?).
Two releases in one yeat, that’s not bad for a small team of beginners, I think we can be satisfied. Well, two and a half since I had to lend all my team members between april and june to help making Faith/Puella, a shot kinetic made to pay tribute to Urobuchi (he was coming in France at a convention). I offered some advices and did what I could to help and the result, without being a masterpiece, seemed nice enough to me. Especially for a large temporary team who lacks cohesion. Sadly, the difficulties they run into while trying to sell physical copies at Japan Expo disheartened the various project leaders. At least, their misfortune showed us that selling visual novel, even with the best of intentions, isn’t an easy task. It’s a pity the game faded from memory since then. Especially because a V2 (with improved GUI and some corrections) is waiting in a closet for a while. It might be released soon, who knows ?
Well, after that break, we went back to working again in june and I made fewer and fewer news. Why ? Well, first reason being summer is THE season for procrastination : everybody having vacation at a different time, the team is almost paralysed and it’s easier to go with the flow instead of working… Second reason being we’re still making progress but very slowly. Doesn’t really motivate to make news.We’ve almost finished episode 2 : sprite are ready, chibis are ready, Gui have been nearly totally remade…but we’re stilling missing somme backgrounds and the CGs.
2014 will be challenging
So, what do we have in plan for 2014 ? It goes without saying but our priority is to finish the already under way Milk episode 2. We didn’t make it in time for 2013 and passed the deadline (I was too optimistic…again…ahahahah) but I think we can do it early 2014. The when is a whole different story.
We’re also thinking about trying Nanoreno again this year. If we do it, the project will be very different compared to last time. I might say it will be just the opposite in terms of atmosphere…
If possible, well most certinaly, we will try releasing episode 3 faster than the previous one. Since it’s lighter in terms of ressources, it should be a little less time consuming to make.
At this point, doing all that would already be quite satisfactory, because not every indie team can afford to release two or three thing per year. But wait, there’s more ! In fact we have a new super special awesome secret project (because all secret projet are obviously super special awesome). Something a bit different than what we usually do. I can’t say too much for the time being but it will witout doubt represent a shit load of work so 2014’s gonna be a challenging year. Anyway, if we’re doing well, you’re gonna get news really soon ~