What I’ve learned

24 Jun

Contrary to what I might’ve thought before starting on the sprites, “neutral” is not the most used expression for any of my characters. If you think about it, it doesn’t even make sense. How often do you 😐 in real life? After painstakingly adding emotions to sprites in more than half of the game, I now know what each character’s favorite expression is: for Devlin it’s his evil grin, for Alden it’s his cute smile, for Seth it’s his slightly annoyed all-knowing look. (they’re burned unto my retinas. Aaah!)

I’ve learned that rereading scenes you haven’t seen in a while can make you laugh. I’ve actually laughed out loud playing my own game before. That sounds so wrong…

You can’t trust your brain. What is acceptable one day is crappy writing the next. Whenever I rewrite a line a war breaks out.
sappy me “But that was such a cute line, I’d love it if someone said that to me!”
pragmatic me “It’s not realistic enough.”
sappy me “Who cares? If you want reality go outside, don’t play video games.”
pragmatic me “We have to draw a line somewhere, to keep things interesting. If all the guys jump you from the start, where’s the challenge in that?”
sappy me “You’re no fun.”

I’m incapable of deleting stuff. Maybe incapable is too strong a word, because I’ve cut out stuff before, but if I ever need to delete a bit of dialogue I try to find other places to put all my favorite lines so they don’t get cut out completely.

Someone is always at a disadvantage. I’ve never noticed this in other people’s games, but I notice it a lot in mine. I always compare my boys. Does x have longer dialogue than y? Does x have more encounters than y? Are they more interesting or more diverse? I try to treat them all equally but that’s never gonna happen.

Moving stuff around sucks because you have to find and rewrite a bunch of things and recalibrate the point system. Just thinking about it sends a shiver down my back.

Not writing a script before getting started is stupid. ‘Nuff said.

Is it just me or these blog posts are becoming more like diary entries?

13 Responses to “What I’ve learned”

  1. Tatiana 25/06/2012 at 05:08 #

    Visual novels – well, making them, sounds a lot like writing fanfics, except with original characters. I honestly wish you the best, and I hope to see the finished product soon. Good luck!

    • SummerFoundMe 25/06/2012 at 11:28 #

      Thank you! 🙂 I’ve never really thought about it since I’ve never written fanfics (only read them), but I would imagine they are similar.

  2. Susan The Cat 11/08/2012 at 14:32 #

    I found out the my neutral face scares people. I now make a point of smiling when I’m at work.


    • SummerFoundMe 12/08/2012 at 16:22 #

      Haha! There seem to be few situations in which a neutral face is appropriate.

  3. writingutensil 31/10/2012 at 02:51 #

    Hey GlassHeart, I’d just like to say how much I adored your VN! I’m thinking of making my first (and hopefully not last) VN myself, but would it be possible to get your feedback on some things?

    How did you learn to code everything? I don’t have much experience and wondered how long it took for you to learn how to do everything with Ren’py (Cool Gallery, by the way – I wanna learn how to code lock/unlockable galleries). I’m also wondering how you planned all the branches… (I’m struggling with that right now…it feels like I’m writing multiple standalone stories XD).

    I’d really appreciate your help on this! Thanks again for releasing SFM; I really enjoyed it ^ _^

    • GlassHeart 31/10/2012 at 10:05 #

      Thank you so much for you comment. I’m glad you enjoyed playing! 😀

      Ren’py has a wiki which is very helpful. You probably know about it already though. Here it explains how to create the gallery : http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14237.
      I also used the lemmasoft forums (a forum dedicated to OELVNs). They have some tutorials on how to make custom menues, texboxes, music gallery, galleries, anything. I suggest you read this: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14237 and check out the links at the bottom of the first post.

      As for the branches… I can’t be much help. I made up the story as I went along (bad, bad idea). But SFM didn’t have a complicated story so I just added random encounters with the boys. As long as you had the necessary points, you saw the event. I’m not gonna lie, it was a label jungle in there, checking points at every event and jumping to labels all over the place. ^^

      Good luck making your VN and feel free to ask me if you have more questions.

      • writingutensil 01/11/2012 at 03:59 #

        Thanks, GlassHeart : ) Can I ask what you suggest an absolute newbie to start with first when coding? I think I’m going to code first, then add in images, backgrounds, and everything else.

        Thanks for the link; I think I’ll work on the gallery, save/load function later – I can’t even understand what a lot of the code pasted on there does, so I’ll leave that for now. Imagemaps? Hotspots?…@_@

        I think I’ll start by trying to just code the script. Hopefully that will work *fingers crossed* >_>

  4. writingutensil 01/11/2012 at 08:23 #

    Sorry for the double post, but I was wondering whether there’s a quick way or shortcut to make sure the code is running correctly for a certain part of the VN, or do you have to play from the very beginning and try every possible choice combination? O_O

    I only have two choices x 2 = 4 choices and I’m playing through the prologue, testing each choice combo, making choices, closing the original play window (because I don’t think it updates), and open a new one to redo the whole checking process again.

    Your insights on testing would be a big help 🙂

    • GlassHeart 01/11/2012 at 13:12 #

      It’s not really possible to do all the coding and then add images since you code using those images. Of course you CAN write the code, but without running it and seeing it work, you won’t know where you made mistakes. What I recommend if you don’t have the art to start out with, is to use placeholders.
      Imagemaps and hotspots are something you will have to learn if you want a custom GUI, but not every game needs it. It isn’t easy and you will need to do the art first in order to line up all the hotspots positions to the images.

      To make sure a code is working correctly, and to skip everything else, you can do a jump right from the start of the game to a temporary label you add to where you want to test. This way you skip all that’s in between (great for when you have a big game). Keep in mind everything in between will be skipped (you can’t test point assingment or flags this way).

      Another quick way to skip through the game is to use the “>” key (shift + . ) This actually goes through all the code. I used this alot while making SFM since I had a lot of choices.

      Another tricks is shift-R which reloads the game and leaves you in the same place. This is great for testing a particular piece of code. Just edit, save the code and refresh the game to see the changes.
      Also you can use shift-D to bring up developer menu for some useful tools.

      Hope this helped. ^^

      • writingutensil 03/11/2012 at 02:30 #

        Thanks, it did! Does the jump and “>” + shift do the same thing? I tried the “>” + shift and it jumped to the next choice.

        Also, could I ask if you drew the backgrounds yourself? They look super cool! I was wondering how to draw a good, solid background, or figure out what I’m going to do for the backgrounds. I don’t want to use photo backgrounds, simply because it would a bit odd. I’ve been trying to find things, but they’re all in 640×480, but ren’py is in 800×600…:S Don’t know what to do in that case. If I change the screen size, it makes everthing blurrier (eg. text). Any ideas on what to do in this case?

        Thanks again!

      • GlassHeart 03/11/2012 at 13:39 #

        To get the “>” character you have to press shift + period key so shift + “>” is pretty much the same thing. ^^ It just skips to the next part that requires player input: a choice, an input screen (like if you ask for their names) etc, but it goes through the whole code in between so any variable changes are taken into consideration.

        I did the bgs myself. For Summer I used to render them in Sketchup, export the lineart, colors and shadows separately and put them together in photoshop. I do them differently now, but I’m still experimenting. There are sites with ready made backgrounds that you can use, but I’ve never used them so I don’t know… Have you looked here: http://wiki.renai.us/wiki/Background_Art ?

        I think 800×600 is pretty standard though. By changing the screen size do you mean with code?
        “config.screen_width = 1280
        config.screen_height = 720″
        like that? That shouldn’t modify the images at all. Anyway, to make the 640×480 image fit a 800×600 game, use something like this when declaring images: “image bg bedroom= Frame(“backgrounds/bedroom.png”,10,10)”.

        Also, check out the forums: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewforum.php?f=52
        If your game is interesting enough you can even recruit someone to draw some backgrounds for you. ^^

  5. writingutensil 05/11/2012 at 02:10 #

    Yep, that’s exactly what I meant. Thanks for the settings! I was looking into Sketchup just a few days ago, and wanted to figure out where to start when using it. I’ve tried playing around with it a little, but I don’t think I learned anything useful. I would try to move the trees around, and then they would be in mid-air relative to the houses…(I’m downloading models through 3D Warehouse and moving them around; I’m not sure if you create your own models). Positioning the camera and walking around have got to be the two most frustraining tools in there.

    So I guess my question for Sketchup would be…where do you recommend I start if I’m completely new to graphic design and the program? To be honest, it looks complicated and scary, but I’ve seen some really cool backgrounds by people who used Sketchup, yours included.

    Thanks for the help!

    • GlassHeart 05/11/2012 at 11:10 #

      Well you can create models on your own and you probably should. I’m not sure it’s ok to use other people’s models (but I use them too for things that are too complicated ) >.>
      Sometimes I still have problems moving things around and drawing lines how I want them, but you get used to it and learn some tricks. Have you watched the tutorials? Very useful. I didn’t even touch sketchup before I saw them. I’ve never used another 3d graphic program before (not more then a few minutes anyways) but know sketchup is the most user-friendly and easiest to learn.

      Don’t think you HAVE to use sketchup because I did. It’s a pretty complicated process. If you still want to do it however, here’s a tutorial you can read about it: http://tinyurl.com/2a5jarl .

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