Friday, October 25, 2013

"OK! Dinner!" (a free spin-off of the OKaverse!)

Stupid writer is stupid, as is explained in the first section of a post here.  Nonetheless, once I removed my head from my nether region, I've put together a short reunion of the four main characters from OTChi Kocchi.  Seriously, how could Shirou forget his dinner plans?!  That's almost as dumb as me just leaving all this great art laying around unused...yeah...never mind.

Please enjoy this little effort, and look forward to another free short from the OKaverse within the week!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Completion of OTChi Kocchi


“Thank you for supporting 3-AR Studios over the last year! We are excited to announce have reached a point of completion for the entire first game! We encourage current fans to continue Shirou's adventure's with the girls of OTChi Kocchi! The game has been priced at only $10. With 21 endings to discover and over 20 characters to interact with, the world of OTChi Kocchi has expanded beautifully.


The game can be downloaded here.

Feel free to post any reviews to your personal and/or business blogs. We ask that you provide a link to info@3-ARstudios.com  
 We hope to have merchandise up on the site quite soon. Currently there are two spin-off games available: "Chibi Kocchi" and "Noda+Naruko's Naughty Nights". (The latter being 18+)
We will keep you guys informed on future enhancements or side products related to OTChi Kocchi here. Any new ventures by 3-AR will be documented on it's official site here
We are off to roll out the official release at Ohio's own Matsuricon this weekend in a panel titled: "Making and Marketing a Visual Novel: Our Experience."  Thanks again for all of the support and feedback. We couldn't of done this without you all! " 

 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Days...

...until our go-live.  If everything works, of course.  Main game release, two spin-offs, complete reworking of our main website.

And, for anyone in Central Ohio, we'll be presenting "Making and Marketing a Visual Novel" from 1600-1700 at Matsuricon at the Columbus Convention Center this Saturday!

Three days.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

One Year

I'm not very good with dates.  The reason I married my wife on 9-5 is that her birthday is on 5-9; one less thing to recall!  Even one of my dearest friends from Ohio animecons...I got her age wrong by a year.  Stupid writer is stupid, as my Aoi would say.

There's much more to say than this, but I want this post on 4 August 2013.  For whatever reason, one year ago, once upon a time, I sent a text message to someone who is now a close friend of mine, saying, "Why don't we make a visual novel?"

I thought I sent this on August 7. 

No... August 4.  What prompted me to check?  No rational answer.  As I offer this entire project to God, then I'd guess it was the Holy Spirit.  Seriously:  my family's out of town, I've been drinking since noon, and it just occurs to me that "hey! your VN anniversary is really the fourth!"

Yeah.  It just occurs to me.  Sorry:  too old to buy meta-rationalization.  Show me data.

Bigger update to follow, but for our sake, I had to post this now.  This past year...has been unimaginable!  Such hard work!  But so, so happy!  And there is still so much more to come!

What is it Jerry Pournelle once wrote?  "Code Tiger:  God bless us; there's none like us!"

God bless my friend, Will Deonne.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Delta Verson, Complete!

Commented out several sound f/x and what will be the new themes, and this beast passed its code test and successfully complied into Win and Mac versions!

We are now in stage Gamma:  the last of the sounds will go in while we also check for errors.  I think (!) the points system is solid and will not produce any unexpected results.  Just know this:  recall that one of the themes of this game is "dithering kills."  I am also personally very big on loyalty.  There are Good, Bad, and Neutral Ends depending upon the choices you make.  There is even at least one True End... but every single decision you make must be the correct one!

In fact, there are 21 ends in all, just shy of 80,000 words, and something like 50 menus.  All for just US$9.99!  Seriously.  The price of a paperback these days is what, $12-$16?  And paperbacks don't have great art, music, sounds, and a story that you control!  Hmmm... should we be charging more...?

Whatever.  It's been an amazing year.  Another one coming up!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Matsuricon 2013: Another Panel!

We found out this morning that we've qualified to host a panel at this year's Matsuricon on August 23rd - 25th.  About a third the size of January's Ohayocon, but, as it was the first animecon I attended, back in 2010, it's a bit special for me.

We'll be covering some of the same ground we did in January about writing, drawing, coding... and such.  And, as this time around we'll have the completed game *cough!* we will also be discussing marketing ideas. 

Also attending this con is another VN designer, the lovely and talented Ayu Sakata, known on the LemmaSoft forums as Saki-Bento.  I hope that she'll be able to make it to our presentation just as we hope to attend hers.

This should be great fun!  Now, back to testing the Gamma Version.  VheeHooo!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Catching a Code

After a late start this AM due to issues related to some very suspicious Chicken Curry from yesterday's dinner, I was able to code the pan/zoom transitions for almost two dozen sequences in OK.  Will has some great background art, and it's an insult to both the player and him to just toss it onto the screen.  So, a few hundred "crop" commands later:  teh ossum!  (as I channel my inner Largo).

Also recoded several sprite-zooms... I was too young and stupid eight months ago and they blew; much better now.

I await a few more backgrounds, minor sprites, and many major sprites of secondary characters to complete the coding.  That would enable me to release a gamma version without music and sound to a select few for testing.  With luck, what Will would consider the 'final' version... what I consider the Beta version... might be done by August 10.  That allows for 9 days of real beta-testing before the release date of August 20.

What an interesting year this has been.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"I see..."

I almost see an end.  LINT tells me about 80k words... half what I expected eight months ago, but then I never knew Aris and Aoi had sequels, either.

Blood pressure diastolic has kept spiking over 90 long enough to piss off my family MD and dentist.

"Too busy"  Is my reply.  I'm onto something here, and with the Sight granted me, Will shall have images within a fortnight. 

Tweaks to the story:  a Good End for Atti; the True End is best, of course; but hard.  Will says I love her too much to let anyone else near. 

Feh:  I manifest  myself as Aya and write another 1000 words for Aoi... if you do the right thing.

And a twist to Rimu's End... who knew that my RIVAL would end up there and try to take her away from me?  Another Bad End..

PyTom tells me I cannot make the screen ripple when Aoi accidentally almost destroys the world!
I must find another way.  The world... not the ripple; I've faith in PyTom.

An Alpha Release on 20 August?

"TIME IS SHORT; WE DREAM BIG."

Pray for us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Colleagues and Competition

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I see that Fred Gallagher, of MegaTokyo fame, is now in the Visual Novel business.

Good for him!  I and my wife have had the chance to meet him and his wife at several animecons, and they are wonderful people!  As Fred already has an established fan-base, his KickStarter project took off rather explosively. 

I sincerely hope this goes well for him; the OELVN market in the US is only in its toddler stage, so rather than viewing Fred as some interloper to be destroyed, I very much welcome his work, and hope we can all work together to bring our stories in this new media to all of you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Unlimited Fork Works

At 1900 Eastern Daylight, on D + 2, 2013 ARSH, it would seem I finished the script for Aris' path.  About 12,000 words... lots of those menus and pointy things... can you tell I'm tired?  I've Will checking it for "lecturing," after which I'll go back through all four of them for editing.

After that, there's some locals and remotes I want to farm it out to for re-checking.

Then, I start coding. 

Living under the gun of the first anniversary of the release of the inspirational Katawa Shoujo was a tremendous motivator.  While our original release date for the full version of OK was Halloween of this year, we have revised that to the last week of August.  Two months less.

I think we can do it.  I've seen the line drawings of the illustrations... I was so psyched after that my blood pressure was around 190/90.  There is some serious awesome coming y'alls' way.

I've been very pleased to read that not only is he not dead, but Fred Gallagher is working on a VN for his MegaTokyo series.  It's nice to stand in the company of giants.

Ten months of my life... a story of almost 100,000 words.  Thousands of lines of code.  Hundreds of stunning (if retro) images.  All of this with Day Job (Pharmacy) and Evening Job (Dad).  Thanks everyone for your encouragement and support!

"God bless us; there's none like us."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Aoi... Love Plus

Am I trolling the bots with this post title?  Me?

I knew I'd gone through her script too fast.  I'd even made notes such as: #fill this out later!
I guess I was having too much fun with her.  Now, after a meeting with Will and a few additions... about another 3500 words, I think Aoi's finished.

The middle's a little more fun, if that's possible.  I bring back some more old faces:  Noda, from 2nd Shift, and Naughty Nurse Naruko, from Any Shaft.  The ending got a bit darker; to clarify things, I had to find out what happened to Aoi's mom.  And a throw-away line from Aya is a great segue for me to start writing Aris' script.

Off today and tomorrow.  Spent the morning editing and coding one of Will's spin-off VN's.  I'd love to talk about it, but it's mostly his work, so I'll leave it there. 

So, now I step away from Aoi, right into Phlegethon.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Running On Empty

And, that's largely it for Aoi.  Shorter, like I thought, and a bit more like a kinetic novel.  Around 12,000 words, 3 menus, 1 points test.  Things happen fast with her!  There are a couple of little scenes I'll flesh out more when I've seen the illustrations, but I think I can stick a knife fork in her, too.

I must say, this was much, much easier than the other two.  Not just because of this being Writing Retreat Week (which ends today), but I think also due to tone.  Sure, there are two bad ends (one of which hurt to write), but Aoi is a happy, loving and loveable person.  There was no 'angst about my future' with Rimu or 'angst about my past' with Atti.  Maybe it's just easier to write happy things?  I've no idea.

Turning to Aris' story should be interesting then.  Not at all angsty, just violent, dark.  More new people to play with:  Felicks, Mnemosyne, Henry, with special guest appearance by Aoi.  She really steps in it. <rim shot>

In-laws coming over in 90 minutes.  Better start drinking.

Oh:  it's Memorial Day here in the 'States.  My sincerest thanks to all who've served in our Legions; you're all the best!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's that in the road? A head?

Just looked over my Aoi notes from some months back.  This should go pretty fast.  Not only are the notes more detailed, by way of the story, not so much direction, but her and Aris' stories are much shorter.  Knowing for a fact that you're planning a sequel gives The Writer much needed breathing space.

It's not as if I'm going to be cheating anyone of story... far from it, in fact; the way Aoi's story developed (thanks for the kick in the head, Will!) means that the seven pages I'd originally hand-written into the aforementioned sequel, "Aoi's Gone!" are now largely integrated into her OK story.  Will's idea, again, and it makes good sense:  in Rimu's path there are the unique characters of Jun and Izumi; in Atti's, it's Mitch and Will (not that Will, another one).  My first pass with Aoi had no-one like that; so, after that kick in the head, I pulled Aoi's friend, Aya (what is it with all these "A" names???) forward from her manga prequel, and back from being the central character in the sequel.

Aya's an interesting person, and much like kudzu in the lawn, could take over if I'm not careful; imagine a Lawful Good Evangeline A.K. McDowell... who likes to drive on the M6 in the UK at 150 kph, specializes in information-magic, and is fanatically loyal to Logres.

So, not so much lots of exposition, but lots of travel:  east to the beach, north to Hokkaido, south to Aoi's home in Nagasaki.  Poor, bewildered Shirou... lost in the Blind Spot.

"If you puke on me, I'm leaving you nowhere!" Aoi shouts.

But who is the mysterious man in the shadows following?  Why does Aris hunt him?  Is this all good fun, or, after breaking too many rules of those living The Life, will it all end in a bloodbath?

Atti:Fork:Stick

I took this week off my day job to work on what's really important.  That is, all those things my wife wants done around the house.

But, when she goes off to work and the girls are in school, screw that!  It's writing time!

So, I am pleased to announce the completion of Atti's script.  19,000 words, nine menus, six points tests.  Much darker than Rimu's story, but with many pleasant moments as well.  I very much enjoyed getting to know Atti's friends, Mitch and Will.  And what a sex drive that woman has!  Act 4 was longer than I'd anticipated, but Act 5 was short, and wrapped everything up nicely.  If the player makes it that far, of course.

The writing was easier; like anything else, the more you do it....  Maybe I need to take another week off?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Status... now with more Screw-up!

About halfway through Atti's Act III; writing in fits and starts:  there's been too much RealLife(TM) crap this week, and it's starting to affect me.  To solve some of that, after working my crappy day job this weekend, I'm taking nine days off... to write and do whatever my wife tells me to do.

Some mixed news from this afternoon:

On the first hand, I made some changes to Act I for the final game; it's back in 'developer mode' and changed the coding about the points system and who you can select at the end.
On the second hand, I tried plugging in Rimu's A2S1... it's missing art, of course, but the thing actually ran!  I guess I do remember how to do some of this!
But, on the gripping hand, I was so enthused about all this that I totally forgot to pick up Daughter #1 after Strings Practice at school.  Ack!  And that made her late for swim team, too.

Thanks for the pageviews here, and please keep telling your friends and enemies about us!  The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!

Friday, May 3, 2013

"The Three Faces of Atti"

At least that's the echo I get from what Shirou sees during that first dinner over at Atti's place.  Scenes 1 & 2 of Act 2 are complete.  Two more Scenes to go, then two more Acts... although her Act 4 is relatively (for me) short.

I know it's the weekend and Will has RealLife(TM) stuff to deal with, but I'm hoping he takes a look at this.  He actually knows military widows and much of what I wrote over the past two days is based on my interviewing him.  I'm hoping I got it correct.

*chuckle* I do which he'd do a background scene of when Atti unexpectedly kisses Aris on the mouth... my mental image of that is hilarious.

And Yuki does not like orange vegetables.  No sir.

Stick a Fork in Rimu

Done script is done.  Mostly.

Six days ago completed the script for Rimu's complete arc, acts 2-4. It's got about 2/3 of the code already imbedded. Right now, it's 19,500 words, but I'm sure I'll edit that down by at least 10-15%. There are six menus, and at least nine times where a flag/points check occurs.* Unlike Act I, where you're getting to know all four characters, I was surprised how much more difficult it was to focus onto a single woman. I hope the next three go faster.

Atti's story is next, then Aoi, then Aris. Will was concerned that Aris' story would be 50k+ words, given her enormous history and my bad tendency to lecture, but I'm thinking to push the complicated Secondary World stuff into Aris and Aoi's sequels.

*And I've thought of where to add one last point check... creating a 'Neutral End.'

Sunday, April 14, 2013

These are not just Words

They're people.  OK, sure, they're made up characters in my mind.

But why is it that, when I originally hoped to be done with Rimu this weekend, I'm still about 500 words shy of ending her Act 3?

There are some times when I want to just write dreck and get it over with.  Yet nothing happens.  I'll go away, do something else, and OH! Of course, that's what happens next!  How could I have been so stupid? [sit down, Aoi!]

I know my dear colleague wants to move the schedule up... as do I.  So far, increasing the caffeine and alcohol intake has done little else than insure that once I finish the story, he'll be coding over my corpse.  Fine by me, generally, but he'll miss the nuances.

Yes, yes... Izumi, Jun, Rimu, and Shirou are at the teahouse... I'm sorry I can't hear them right now.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rimu Act 2

Done is done.

And by done I mean 80% done.  I'll nip and tuck at the fringes, but Act 2 of Rimu's four is written.  I'm sure Will can breath a sigh of relief.

As things stand, with little bits of code interspersed where I thought, Act two is the equivalent of 20 pages, or about 7200 words.

I would like to thank Lorri in Central for making me those extra coffees.  I'd also like to thank Bushmills and the entire Australian Barossa Valley for making Rimu Act 2 possible.

On to Act 3.  BEACH TRIP!  Bikinis!  Fanservice!  Unnecessary lecturning that I have to replace with dialog!  One more Bad End (that makes three!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

End of the Beginning

     Plot notes for all four paths are complete.  Unlike the free-range writing of Act I, neither I nor Will wanted to wait six months and 200,000 words for me to figure out how these stories ended up.  Thus, I've at least structure and some dialog to guide me towards a Good End and maybe a new True or Neutral Ends.  Bad Ends?  Humans are fragile, watery things... death is easy; I'll write those on the fly.

     I note that Will is giving out a taste in the post below (and boy would I like to be tasting them!) so allow me as well....

Rimu's Path -- "Drawn Together"
   At lunch with Shirou one afternoon, Rimu looks about at everyone with their tablets and smartphones and wonders, is print-manga a thing of the past?  Or, even if it's not, how to break out of the publishing paradigm.  Will Shirou support her?  What about Izumi and Jun in her drawing circle?  And if her father finds out she's still set her heart on drawing AND wants to turn the world upside-down, will she be under house-arrest?

Atti's Path -- "Shattered Glass"
   Dating an older woman!  Who, once she has a man back in her life -- and bed -- takes full advantage.  But are there too many cultural hurdles?  She's from Hokkaido and her friends are Americans from Okinawa... and when little Yuki starts to call Shirou "Dad," has Atti betrayed the memory of her late husband?  Will Shirou help her open or heart, or does she remain a broken soul in the small hours of the night?

Aris' Path -- "Shadowlands"
   Aris knows her time to train Shirou's body and mind to where he just might survive what's coming is short... very short considering the bloody fight that ensues the next evening.  But even Aoi's curious:  "Are you two dating?"  Shirou thinks to himself, 'If you consider getting the crap beat out of me and carrying dead bodies dating, yeah, sure.' 
   Any fight is decided in the minds of the opponents before a blow is struck.  Will Shirou learn this and learn to place his trust in Aris... in time?
   Too bad about Aoi, though.

Aoi's Path -- "Stepping Out"
   [I've more dialog written for this than any other... she just wont shut up!  But I learned so much about her... OK, she is flighty and child-like, but there's a good brain there, and the beginning of wisdom.]
   An idle conversation, an unexpected visitor, and a sudden desire to find someone lost to her.  Aoi grabs Shirou and races about Japan, trying before too late to find clues as to her missing father.  Lost cell phones, foreign documents, hidden pictures... and betrayal.  Behind it all, a shadowy figure watches.
   "Just think of it, Shirou!" Aoi says:  "You, me, and Aya on the loose in London, winters in Okinawa with Atti and her gaijin friends, impromptu trips to visit Aris wherever she's killing people!"

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ideas... cross-overs...

   Caffeine... alcohol... and playing with ideas.  Of the many things that inspire me, one of them was and is, obviously, Katawa Shoujo.

   One of the characters there had something major happen to her half a lifetime ago; it suddenly hit me:  dear God, what did Aris do?!?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nose: Grindstone

    Back at it; writing that is.  Trying things a little different than Act I:  taking the time to write "plot notes," or a very loose outline of each character's path.  If any stray bits of dialogue sound good, Ijot those down.  But, it's mostly the plot branches, menus, choices and the like.

   Once I sit down with the right mental attitude -- and coffee or alcohol -- the interactions will take care of themselves... usually.

   Yesterday was six hours and 8 cups of coffee only to slam against a wall:  how in the Hell do women think?  So, break out the big guns:  I asked my wife.  I outline Atti's situation and the drama into which both she and Shirou were cornered.  Not really knowing how the female species thinks, I asked what a guy should say to provoke a Good End, and what would guarantee a Bad?  She had to explain it twice, but about 45 minutes later, it's all good.

   Atti's plot notes are complete.  Rimu next.

   "I could have conquered all of Europe, but I had women in my life."  -- Henry II Plantagenet.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ohayocon! XIII

Tomorrow begins Ohayocon in Columbus, Ohio; the largest animecon in central Ohio.  I've been attending with my family for some years now, but this year will be the first time that I'm hosting a panel.

Will and I are presenting "Making a Visual Novel with the Ren'Py Game Engine" on Saturday evening at 1930.  It is really a story of our past five months, with almost every spare moment devoted to the completion of OK Act I.

We've 50 minutes, a little PowerPoint set, and a bunch of discs with the game and some special features to give away.  I think it'll be fun.

And the bar is just out the panel room door, and 30m to the right.  Good times.