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Quick Update – Odd Times

I just wanted to make a quick update post to talk about the past month, what my next few months hopefully look like, etc. I also just… really wanted to put this down in writing? Namely, this whole “thing”. This whole pandemic. We’re in such an odd, scary time that most people never thought possible. Over spring break, my plans- my future- came to a screeching halt.

We decided to go to the beach, to the Mississippi coast just for a day or two (at this time, there had been no confirmed nor alleged cases in Mississippi). I had been making jokes with school friends on Discord ever since spring break started, but as the days went on things started to get more serious. “What if someone comes back from spring break with it” stopped being a joke and more of an actual future occurrence. The night before we were supposed to leave, all of the US’s borders to Europe (i.e. travel) were closed. Some people a few days prior had joked “what if they cancel school”. Now most of us were hoping they would. The next day, they did.

In one email, our Chancellor gave us an extra week of spring break, ordered all teachers to move to indefinite online learning, canceled all on-campus or campus-sponsored events, and postponed graduation ceremonies. (Exactly a week later he ordered us online for the entire semester, but I digress.) I love college- I love all of the cool events I get to go to and help put on, I love hanging out with friends, I love living down there. I hated high school- I never went to things besides choir trips, I had very few friends, and I just hated it. I’d been working on several campus events, all of which are canceled or slimmed down & moved online.

So, what am I doing now? I’ve moved back in with my parents (something I was planning to do after graduation for a time anyway). My job hunting has basically stopped- as has all my email threads with potential employers. I’m working on school work at home (typically from 12-5). I’ve been self-isolating for 3 weeks now. NaNoRenO has been going strong- there were a few road bumps but we’re still on track. I’ve been working on Asterism some still as well as another script on the side.

That’s about it. I wish I had all day every day to do VN dev, but sadly I still have the same homework load as before… I’m hoping things will pick up but in this climate that’s unlikely. I’ll be working on a few new marketing / dev editorials soon though!

Thanks for reading- stay safe and please don’t go to large gatherings!

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2019 Year in Review

2019 has been a pretty good year for me! A lot happened and I’ve met a lot of great people. I’m terrible at remembering things and even worse at remembering things in order time-wise so I’m going to just list some cool things and talk about them- if they end up in sequential order, cool!

  • Entered several business competitions (and won some!)
  • Got a job on campus at the business school
  • Released Paths Taken, Alice in Stardom, Image of Perfection, and Memories on the Shoreline
  • Had an interview on Forbes
  • Started doing PR for Studio Élan
  • Started my senior year of college

Full Releases

Drawn by the lovely Violora!

For the first full release of the year I released Alice in Stardom, a yuri visual novel made for NaNoRenO. It had by far the biggest team I’ve managed with at least 8 people working on different aspects of it. It was hectic but it was fun, and I hope I’m able to do another NaNoRenO entry this year (granted, I didn’t do much of the actual work on it besides some scripting and directing)! Overall it was fun and the team was great!

Drawn by Violora as well!

A short time after Alice in Stardom, Paths Taken finally (finally…) finished development after a few road blocks and halts. It didn’t come out how I envisioned it when started but I’m happy it’s done. I fell into a bit of a depression once it came out since I felt I hadn’t delivered anything people wanted since it fell short of what we wanted it to be, namely story-wise. Still, I’m thankful for everyone who’s played it and enjoys it!

This year I focused more on experimenting on mechanics and VN game types, trying to figure out what people wanted to play and what I wanted to make- finding a sweet middle ground between those two. Image of Perfection was a project written by a friend, Omega, as both a way for me to experiment with a small horror-esque RPG and for her to work on a full project. I think the game came out fine, though I was under a fair amount of stress (due from Paths Taken having just wrapped up, RPG Maker giving me a ton of problems- basically myself causing my own problems).

Onto the last release of the year, Memories on the Shoreline! As with every project, I learn at least one thing and regret two more. But really, my only regret with this project was not giving it more time. I say that, fully knowing I was spent on time during the development of it, as the semester was wrapping up and I was (and am) working two barely part-time jobs.

As before, I was not the writer on this project, that was instead the talented Keiru! We met on Discord and it just so happened she was lovely to work with. I don’t have much else to say for this one… I want to add an additional scene to the game sometime in early 2020, so look out for that. As you can see I didn’t do the artwork, only character designs- the sprite artist was ChocoBerryInk! (personally, I think their sprites came out super cute)


I didn’t really set any definite goals last year for myself other than “release more games” and “learn more about marketing”, and this year will be somewhat the same.

  • Draw more full art: I want to get back to doing more full pieces! Nothing dramatic, just trying to draw faster by doing one fanart or original piece a month or such.
  • Sketch traditionally occasionally: My aunt gave me a sketch book for Christmas, so I might as well use it. I’m actually unable to draw half as good traditionally as I can digitally since I just don’t draw traditionally anymore, so this’ll be a good way to get back to that.
  • Release Asterism: Not much to explain here. Asterism will be in development for 3 years come this February, it’s time for a release.
  • Slow down a bit on projects: Last year from April-November I was releasing a full game almost every other month. I have a lot of ideas for future projects after Asterism (some of which have already been started) but this year I want to spend a bit more time involved in the dev process of each game.
  • Graduate college: Last but not least, this is my last semester of college! By May I should have a Bachelors in Computer Science.

There’s a few more goals like “learn more about marketing” and “meet new devs” but these are the ones I’ll be focusing on the most. Thank you guys for your support, I hope this is great year and decade for all of us! ♥

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2018 Year in Review – A Hectic but Informative Year

It’s that time of year again, that time after Christmas but before New Years… the time when we all try to hurry up and finish what we’re working on to finish one last thing before the next year… but, that also means it’s time to look back and see what was accomplished this year!

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♦ 2018 Releases ♦

As Vast as the Sea

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As Vast as the Sea was an entry for Ludum Dare #41. It follows Erita, a young woman who becomes lost at sea until she wakes up in Ogygia, an underwater world full of mermaids and secrets.

​That Which Binds Us

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That Which Binds Us was originally a demo I made for IGMC 2017 and then extended into a full visual novel in Ren’Py. It’s my first fully commercial game and first game on Steam, so I’m pretty happy with it! It changed a fair amount in development to the finished product and I learned a lot from it’s release- a lot of which makes me more confident about Asterism.

I Saw Him Today

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I Saw Him Today was an entry for Ludum Dare #42. It’s a short, experimental and completely linear game about dealing with grief among other things. It’s one of my favorite if not favorite Ludum Dare entries I’ve made, and I wasn’t the only one to think so since it ranked #12th in Mood.
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Crossed Paths:Connected Worlds ~ At First Sight ~

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Crossed Paths:Connected Worlds ~ At First Sight ~  was an entry to Yuri Game Jam 2018 and a remake of my very first visual novel, Crossed Paths:Connected Worlds (which was made in 2014 for Ludum Dare #30. It follows mostly the same story as the original but with better writing, choices, art, etc.

Left Behind

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I’d be remiss to only talk about successes this year, wouldn’t I? Well, I did release 5 complete games this year as usual (1 big release, 3 Ludum Dare releases, and one additional game jam release), and that includes Left Behind. While not a total failure, it’s certainly not on par with the rest for a number of reasons ranging from final exams to lack of interest. It was an entry for Ludum Dare #43, and follows a group of friends making a video about an abandoned mansion.I’ve thought about extending it some and adding more endings, but I’m still uncertain whether that would equal quality. Since MV doesn’t like to port to Android (despite claiming that it does) it’s hard to say if I’ll spend the time editing this when I could spend that time making an Android port for That Which Binds Us.



♦ 2018 Resolutions ♦

​Now that we’ve gone over what all I’ve released this year, let’s go over what my resolutions were for this year! (copied and pasted from last year’s year in review)

  • Publish all the games I’ve started. Now, this one comes with a bit of a catch- basically, I want to publish something from every project I’ve started. I want to finish That Which Binds Us, upload the update for The Witch in the Forest, finish a side project, and upload a demo for Asterism (as I’m shooting more for summer of 2019 now). That sounds like a lot, as you also have to include all three Ludum Dare games I hope to make in 2018 and maybe other side projects, but I’m nearing completion on a lot of projects right now, so publishing 5~ games this year isn’t out of my scope at all.
  • Get faster at writing. In 2017 I started writing much more heavily, and thus got better at it as I went along. In 2018, I want to focus on writing better and faster.
  • Get better at marketing. Yeah, I’ve learned marketing is super important this past year. So, in 2018 I want to get better at it.

Publish all the games I’ve started. Haha…. yeah…….. I definitely did only half of this……… I’m not close to a full demo yet for Asterism, but I did publish a demo for Paths Taken! So…. close…….

Get faster at writing. I’d say this one was accomplished, since That Which Binds Us was around 60,000-70,000 words long and only took me around 4~ months to write it while the original draft for Asterism was only about 45,000 and took me over half a year to write.

Get better at marketing. I’d like to say this one is accomplished! This past year was a bunch of reading, studying, asking questions, and researching, and now I’m freelancing as a marketer for other visual novels. So, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about it.

♦ 2019 Resolutions ♦

Now onto resolutions for 2019! There’s a bunch of small ones like “be more active in clubs at school” (which I already am, but I want to keep it up), “panel at my local convention”, etc. but here’s my main list for 2019:

  • Publish Paths Taken and a demo for Asterism. This… is a big one. Paths Taken is currently about 60% done, with the route divergences being written and coded right now, so I’m hopeful we can have it ready around the summer. Asterism, on the other hand, is a very different story- the RPG sections are giving me trouble but I plan to, for now, code the entire game in VN style (as you’ll have the ability to pick between playing it as an RPG with VN sections or as a pure VN), send that to testing, and then finish the rest. There’s a lot of assets still needed so I’m very unsure of what percentage of the entire game is done.
  • Market further. I want Asterism to be a success so once I’m nearing the demo stage I’ll be amping up my marketing. I’m really hoping to get it into some festivals and competitions as well as share it wherever I can.

…That’s really all I can think of as major goals go. There are some I’ve mentioned here that I consider “smaller” such as entering more competitions both at school and online and hopefully paneling at my local convention, but these are the main ones I want to work on.

So, here’s to another great year! Thank you all for sticking by me and reading!
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New Company Logo

As TWBU slowly wraps up and I get closer to release- and more importantly, releasing my very first commercial game- I’m establishing my game company, Mikomi Games. It’s gone through many name ideas but I’ve settled on Mikomi Games because my games are already visible when you search it- something I very much need as I already have many games to my name. To those who use Itch.io, this is already apparent, as I changed my Itch.io account’s name to Mikomi Games weeks ago, but I’ve been slowly getting everything together hence the lack of a formal announcement. The full deal will include a separate Twitter, website, and Discord server for Mikomi Games which will be launching soon now that I have the logo finished.
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No NaNoRenO Plans

Figured I’d make a post just to clarify, incase anyone was wondering- no, I don’t plan on entering NaNoRenO this year, despite wanting to. I think it’ll be best to save my month-long slots for VNs for later in the year once That Which Binds Us is finished (and when it gets closer to Yuri Jam and IGMC), and I just really don’t have the time for NaNoRenO. I’ve got my own projects to work on that I’ve already started and I have other people’s projects that I’m either helping with or working on as well, and that’s not to mention school work. So, while I do want to enter NaNo at least some time in the next few years, it won’t be this year.

​Instead, I’ll be aiming to release some beta builds for That Which Binds Us!

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2017 Year in Review

2017 has been a really busy year for me, but now it’s coming to a close, so it’s time to reflect on what’s happened and where I can go from here.

For starters, I almost ended 2017 on a sour note! My laptop had been having a lot of smaller, strange issues over the past few months (such as freezing when coming from sleep) but on the 26th the hard drive decided to really start failing by making all my programs not respond and freeze the entire computer for over an hour (which it had done before, but it usually came back from it or we just turned it off). Frustrated, I ran a check on it, and found that the hard drive was failing. Over the next few days I went through the process of saving all my data onto another computer- the biggest jump drive we have is only 64GB, so I had to transfer some files to it and then transfer them to my parent’s computer and then repeat the process about 5 or so times. Once the files were backed up in numerous places, we installed a new hard drive and my laptop is back up and running! 

This summer I wanted to work more on visual novels that weren’t my own, so I offered sprite artwork. This took up most of my summer, but I was able to meet with and work on several different VNs from a variety of stories. However, now I’ve taken priority to my own VNs, as I have a lot to finish on my own time.

Around the beginning of the year, I started getting more into Discord and joined several VN communities- now, I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so much about VN dev that I’m thankful for it all. I eagerly look forward to the road ahead in the next few years.


​I published a lot of games this year! Like, a lot. I (barely) met my quota for finishing all 3 Ludum Dares this year, and I published 3 other games outside of that. So, let’s look at them.

First this year was .help, another attempt at a game that uses a chat-like system just like Nightowl, my LD entry from the event previous. However, I just couldn’t recreate the feel of Nightowl, and the game suffered from it, becoming a big mess of generic and obvious twists.

For my second LD entry in 2017, I had Lights Out, my RPG horror-homage. It detailed a few young girls having a sleepover, only to be thrown in the middle of fairies fighting. This entry was alright, and I later expanded upon it for a post-jam build where I included a bunch of small improvements, from more fairy types, a harder difficulty, more puzzles, a much bigger map, and more.

Last but not least, my third entry for the December LD was Feathers, my first real attempt at Twine. A short, sweet story about a harpy and a boy that I made in 5 hours. I feel like this entry best shows how far my writing has come this year.


​Now, onto full releases!

Starry Dreams
This project has had a long dev cycle, for me…. it had been in limbo for about 3 years, as it was one of the first projects I ever started. Suffice to say, a lot has changed since I started it, which is why it took so long for me to finish it. Cause I didn’t want to. It started off a cutesy VN about a LGBT couple wanting to make a bakery… and that was it. No plot. No actual characters. If I had to make a game with a similar concept completely from scratch again, I’d quit dev. This project taught me that I can only really work on projects with fantasy, drama, and intrigue. 
Still, after redoing all the assets, learning how to do custom GUI, and finishing the 20k word script, I was able to release it. I still try to shove it in the corner, but some people have liked it so….. more power to them…?

The Witch in the Forest
Again, this is another project I started a few years ago but never finished. However, TWITF was originally a webcomic, not a VN. Like Starry Dreams, it’s a moege, so it’s mostly for the cutesy characters and simple plot, but it was easier for me to work on because I worked harder on making the characters and interactions more interesting. It also helped that I only worked on it for a month, for the Yuri Game Jam. I tried a lot of different stuff with it- I made a new moe style for the sprites, and went for a more classic NVL type to make it reminiscent of older VNs. I’ve gotten good feedback on it, so in early 2018 I’ll be releasing a mega-update that adds a fair amount of content for it. It’s only 10k words and is mainly about the two girls, Fidelia and Jastiline, going on dates, but this is definitely my best full-length VN so far and I’d like to possibly get it on Steam in the future.

That Which Binds Us
The last entry in the list, and the one that was the most fun for me to work on- it’s a modern fantasy, mystery, josei, and romance VN (gee, I wonder why it was the easiest for me to work on?). This was made for IGMC, the somewhat-annual game jam held by Degica, the publishers of RPG Maker. Likewise, I made this is RPG Maker MV, and found out how hellish it is to copy and paste dialogue into RPGM while also changing sprites. It took forever, which is why after the jam I opted to move it to Ren’Py where I can finish it much faster and hopefully release it around Valentines Day. The post-jam version will feature a much longer script (currently about 16k words), more characters, and a more fleshed out plot. 


Resolutions
Now onto New Year’s Resolutions! Here are my resolutions from last year:

  • Focus on my original projects / games!  I want to finish some longer (AKA non-Ludum Dare) games this year, but I also want to do more original art in general. Currently I do about 1/4th original art and 3/4th fan art, but this year I want to make it more even, and maybe draw more original art more than fan art. I’ll still draw fan art, but focusing on original art will help me a lot more in the future than drawing fan art will.
  • Work on one non-Ren’Py game. I love Ren’Py and I’ll always try to be active in the visual novel community, but if I want to be a better game developer I need to broaden my horizons and work with other engines. I’ve done work in other engines, but nothing as concrete as my work in Ren’Py. 
  • Work on composition and thumbnailing. In 2016 I worked on anatomy and lighting, so this year I want to make more interesting drawings.

Looks like I finished all of these, except a bit on the last one. I didn’t do too many full drawings in 2017, though the ones I did I tried to make more dynamic. So… not a total fail! Now, onto 2018 goals!

  • Publish all the games I’ve started. Now, this one comes with a bit of a catch- basically, I want to publish something from every project I’ve started. I want to finish That Which Binds Us, upload the update for The Witch in the Forest, finish a side project, and upload a demo for Asterism (as I’m shooting more for summer of 2019 now). That sounds like a lot, as you also have to include all three Ludum Dare games I hope to make in 2018 and maybe other side projects, but I’m nearing completion on a lot of projects right now, so publishing 5~ games this year isn’t out of my scope at all.
  • Get faster at writing. In 2017 I started writing much more heavily, and thus got better at it as I went along. In 2018, I want to focus on writing better and faster.
  • Get better at marketing. Yeah, I’ve learned marketing is super important this past year. So, in 2018 I want to get better at it.

I hope I’ll be able to accomplish all these things in more! Here’s to another great year ​🎉