Archive Page 2

Perceived Quality

It’s time to go on a bit of a tangent!

So this should be the year where we get to see the original Higurashi digital novel released on Steam! There is still no date, but apparently the game is going through a re-translation before its final release to the mainstream masses.

I’m currently going through the second half of Higurashi myself, and a little shine on the script probably wouldn’t hurt, putting aside the faults that were probably in the original to begin with.

This is great (even if old) news to the vn crowd though. Lately, especially with the Greenlight program, visual novels have seen a small surge in places like Steam and the general gaming media. From the start with Analogue to japanese titles like World End Economica.

And that’s not all. Recently a wave of crowd-funded visual novels have appeared on Kickstarter, most of them very successful. And many of them very ambitious, such as the returned SunRider and Exogenesis, two of my favourites at the moment.

For me at least, it raises an interesting question though. Looking at the last two projects, and then back at Higurashi, there is a steep difference between the two when counting first impressions and glossy surfaces.

"I just want to be a real girl!"

“I just want to be a real girl!”

This is going to be a hard sell to people who don’t already know of the novel or the popular anime based on it. (There are un-official patches on the internet that replaces the original art with the art from the polished console ports, but because of copyright issues I wonder if these will be able to make it to the Steam Workshop?)

Looking past the visual impression, Higurashi also lacks another thing that visual novels have become known for – interaction. There are no choices or branching storylines in this novel. Past each chapter the game likes to tease you with “good or bad endings” and “difficulty” depending on what you as a reader has deducted on your own so far, but that is all. It is simply a linear textbook with added sound and pictures. (For those wondering, without patches the game also has no voice acting. It’s a true barebones doujin game).

For those who know and love Higurashi however, this doesn’t stop them. After all, to my knowledge it didn’t take much for this title to be greenlit in the first place. There are plenty of people who already got this from MangaGamer (me included), and more that want to make their first buy on Steam. For these people the shoddy art and simple UI doesn’t deter from what the game is really about. Some are willing to look past it, and for others this simple style is part of the story’s charm.

How much leeway does this give other non-japanese indie games? Will people be just as willing to look past the simplicities of the surface of similar games that are not from Japan, and find similar hidden gems?

It’s a difficult subject. With the increased focus on this part of the market, both “good” and even more “bad” are flooding through, and no one has the time or patience to look through it all. Without Higurashi’s reputation, something of similar looks and simplicity will probably find it difficult to find proper footing in the market. But the question of what people find “acceptable” in terms of art and presentation still intrigues me every time titles like these manage to make it through, when they have competition like this.

0851e2c96856157634ffaca199440b89_large

What are your thoughts on the subject?

(And speaking of Steam Greenlight, have you voted for Blue Rose yet?)

Valentines sale!

Valentine_2014

To celebrate Valentines Day, Blue Rose is 30% off until February 16th! Go get it now for your friends or dear ones, or take this chance to get it cheap if you were holding out!

For the full version of the Valentines artwork, go here.

What’s brewing?

ao_eyes

Time to finally talk a little about what is currently going on with White Cat!

It’s been almost half a year since Blue Rose was released, and I’m very thankful for the nice reception of our Visual Novel so far! Even with private and open testing though, there will almost always be hiccups with the script after release. ome of you have sent in your corrections and comments on these, a few of them very detailed as well, and I really appreciate it. They will all be taken into consideration, and a future patch for the script will take all these things into consideration. Feel free to still send me a mail if you run into something bugging you!

Remember that the game is also still up for voting on Steam Greenlight, should you wish to show your support there.

Now for what is currently on the drawing table for White Cat. Those who have followed my twitter or tumblr, you may have already noticed me mention one of these projects in passing a couple of times. I have been reworking and rewriting Angelic Orbs from the bottom up for a little while now, our company’s next big visual novel title. Some people might know the title from our first free vn from years back, while a very few might even remember its roots as a webcomic from even longer ago.

The first vn of this title was a kind of sidestory, while this project is a complete telling of the original story from the ground up. It will also be different from Blue Rose in a few ways, one of the most noteable ones the fact that this is not a first-person story. The reader will not step directly in the shoes of a protagonist and aiming for romance routes, but will instead follow a small group of protagonists and influence their journey over the course of the story, sometimes even choosing what POV to follow in the coming events.

A few other features are in mind for this title, that I won’t speak of yet however. The script is in the middle of being written, as well as general character and world designs being made. Hopefully I can show you something more of this soon, though the game itself won’t be done in a while.

At the same time as this, I am also working on another project of a very different kind than Blue Rose and Angelic Orbs. It will be cute and deadly. But that is all I’m going to say about it so far.

And that is mostly what is going on at the moment! After our first big release we are hoping for 2014 to be another good and productive year, coming closer to bringing you great storytelling and entertainment.

And in the future if the support for it is there, I might return to this lonely folder on my desktop named “Blue Rose 2″…

Blue Rose best Romance of 2013!

Blue Rose best Romance 2013

VN’s Now! announced their winners for the 2013 Best Of’s, and Blue Rose got the spot for Best Romance!

A big thank you to the site that has also given the game and White Cat a nice bit of attention with their review and interviews!

And of course a congratulations to the other winners on the site, especially Muesli and Dischan for winning “English Visual Novel of the Year” and “Studio/EVN Circle of the Year”!

Here’s to hoping we can all keep it up in the new year!

Vote for Blue Rose on Steam Greenlight!

Blue Rose

The visual novel Blue Rose is now up for voting on Steam Greenlight! If you’d like to see some Otome fantasy action on Steam, go vote now! If still in doubt, you can always try out the demo.

If you already bought the game, feel free to vote anyway and maybe get the chance to get a steam key for your copy.

The past or the present?

writing

I just stumbled across this article, that puts light on something that bothers me about me current project. It discusses how, in time, some authors in printed literature began to drift away from using third person past tense, to use third person present tense, most likely because they were inspired by the style of writing screenplays. The article then goes on to touch on how those two different ways of writing have a different impact on the way your story is perceived, and that you should choose one depending on what you wish to achieve. This is all when discussing traditional novel writing.

How does this come out when writing for the visual novel format? They are usually a mix between choose-your-own-adventure stories and comics, making them very different when approached from a writer’s angle, sometimes more than you’d think.

The script of most visual novels are written with a first person POV, putting the reader in the shoes of the protagonist. He’s seeing things happen, he makes the choice as they come up. Present tense lends itself well to this type of story, as you’re supposed to be there, experiencing all this, in a story where no one knows the ending yet. It is part of what sets visual novels apart from reading book or a comic.

In comics themselves, this issue most often does not exist, as there is no descriptive text – only dialogue. The rest is something you see happen, it’s not told.

The voices in my head, duking it out.

The voices in my head, duking it out.

Now what if you want to write a third-person visual novel?

This is what I’m currently doing, and it’s proving surprisingly challenging. You’re no longer “in the shoes” of one person who sees all this unravel – you’re not making choices of what one person in particular would think or do. Adding to this, I’m trying to lean more heavily on the visual side of things, mimicking the original comic roots of the story I’m writing. But that’s for another day.

I soon realised, that when returning to third person, I naturally wanted to revert back to past tense as well, as I used to do. It’s what I’m used to reading, and writing. And it’s something people might be more used to reading as well, as the article puts it. This is something I’m struggling with quite a bit at the moment – as a reader you’re still put directly into the action, you’re still making choices for these people on the screen and impacting their lives as you go – should it still not be present tense?

eri_blushingwhilereading

“Omg, the writing is so bad! What was she even thinking!?”

I think the evidence still points towards the latter, though I still have to be careful with not falling into pitfalls of old writing habits. But the subject interests me.

What are your thoughts on the subject, as readers and writers?

Elusive Aran: Some hints

Since releasing Blue Rose, I have received many requests for guides and help with obtaining Aran’s ending.

While this is not an actual walkthrough, here are some hints for those who are still stumped.

guide1

Continue reading ‘Elusive Aran: Some hints’


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