Author: vatina

Character Introduction: Tia

Character Introduction: Tia

Name: Tia
Age: ?
Angel


“But it’s okay. It’s what I decided when all this began… if I can at least do a little to undo the damage, then that is all that matters.”


Tia is one of the four protagonists of Angelic Orbs, an angel fallen from Heaven who is determined to look for ways to right the mistakes that put her into exile. Kiyoshi discovers her shortly after her arrival on Earth, and quickly becomes her guide in a world mostly unknown to the sheltered girl.

Young, hot-tempered, and inexperienced with the human world, this girl would not at first glance seem like someone capable of causing world-changing calamities, and the exact circumstances of what happened is something she keeps as a close guarded secret. However, in spite of her shortcomings and doubts, Tia is strong-willed, good of heart, and eager to make things right at any cost.

Angelic Orbs – Character Introductions

Angelic Orbs – Character Introductions

It’s been a while! Although this place has been quiet for a while, work on Angelic Orbs has still been ongoing. As can be seen on the (almost) weekly art streams, a lot of this work has especially been going into sprite art for the different characters in the game.

Which means, it’s about high time to start letting you all know what these characters are even all about!

Apart from a few general overview posts about the game itself, I haven’t been talking much about what the story of Angelic Orbs even is, or who you will be taking the journey through the game with. To rectify this, I will very soon start updating this blog with introduction posts about some of the more important players in the story, and try to keep them coming somewhat regularly.

So stay tuned!

AO: Fallen Star progress update

AO: Fallen Star progress update

It’s time for a more concise report on how work on Angelic Orbs: Fallen Star is going. (For those not entirely sure what the deal is with this game, head over here for a general overlook at what it is.)

Anyway here we go, as this is the first one, it will be a bit long…:

Script:
The script itself has been done for quite a while. There has been some trouble with gaining a reliable editor, but outside of that it should be pretty much done, bar a puzzly section that I think needs some cropping down to become less frustrating for players. Development focus is therefore now on creating art assets, as well as coding all parts together.

Art:
I have been working on sprite sets for the main characters of the game on livestreams lately, and have more than half of the most important ones done so far.

In the case of how many poses and variations each sprite gets, I’ve gone with the same general principle as I did with Blue Rose: The core set of main characters get at least 2 different base poses each with their own set of variations, while less important side characters get just one to keep things manageable, unless something really demands an extra for story reasons.

In reality this means that for almost all of the core characters, actually 3 poses are needed. There are many action-based scenes in Angelic Orbs, and outside of normal poses and variations, one is needed for such confrontations as well. And let’s not talk about someone like Tia, who requires different sets of clothes, wings and disguises as well…

If you’re interested in how I do these things in practice, feel free to hop by my stream on fridays where I always work on game art, or have a look at the archive of previous art streams.

I am thinking of making another blog post on the nitty gritty of sprite creation as well, or at least of how much I know of it, in the future.

I have started work on a few of the scene illustrations as well, commonly known as CGs. Mostly those needed for the prologue of the game, with the aim of having some mostly-finished version of that to use as a demo. Some of these have also been made on stream, though at some point I imagine that a lot of these will have to made offline, so as not to spoil future events. There is still a lot of work to be done here.

But then what about backgrounds? So far all I have are placeholders, quick sketches made by myself to generally indicate what needs to be there, so I can get an idea of scene setups as well as what I’ll need to have as finished background art in the end. I will almost certainly be outsourcing this, as drawing and colouring character art is already taking a sizeable amount of time, and background art is not my forte either way. Hopefully I will soon be able to start reaching out to other artists for this.

Sound:
Music is another thing I wish to outsource for Angelic Orbs. Composing is something I am most definitely unable to do, and while there are many great sources for free music to use in indie games, I still believe that one of the best choices I made for Blue Rose was to get an original soundtrack. I hope to be able to gain something similar for Angelic Orbs, creating a personality of its own.

There is still no composer connected to this project, but this will be what I reach out for next, after work on backgrounds has been settled.

As you can see, Fallen Star still has a lot of work ahead of it. Having a script ready is important as it is what sits at the heart of any visual novel, but is still far from a finished product. I’m aiming for this to be the year where I can hammer most of the bases of the game into place, and finally see things coming together properly.

In terms of art and sound, a lot of this will also set the base for the next Angelic Orbs games to come, even if those will also have bucketloads of new assets to be made. But especially because of this, I feel that it’s important to get these fundamentals in place, so everything can come together as a great whole.

Here’s hoping we can create something great for you all in the coming months!

I Stream Art!

I Stream Art!

In the distant past before the days of Twitch I tried streaming my art a couple of times to some friends for fun. It meant I only had a couple of viewers if any, but it was an interesting thing to try, especially as I eventually ended up living so far apart from my other art-inclined friends. It never became more than that though, in spite of the thought of it being in the back of my mind once in a while.

But a few months ago I finally decided to give it another go. I had been talking with some new art-interested friends about how to go about this and that, and got the idea to try and stream a piece of mine to better show I personally went about things, and because doing it together could be fun times. I still had my old streaming playlist lying around with the thought of “what if some day I’ll need it”, so I stuffed some new additions on there and looked into how to make this all work on Twitch.

And I’ve been doing it since! I now try to stream at least a couple of times a week, with Fridays reserved for work on art for my game to make sure I keep up steady progress. I’m a very small streamer-fish and don’t even always have anyone watching, but it’s turned out to be a great motivator in general to get drawing, and it has even gotten me back into contact with a few old friends from years ago as well, so it’s been a good time so far.

In general I treat it as an exercise in focus, along with teaching myself to be less secluded about showing off my progress and work. I’m terrible at getting my stuff out there. Answering people’s questions along the way is a fun added bonus!

So! If you’re interested in seeing how I go about things art-wise, are curious about how assets for Angelic Orbs are made, or just want to listen to some chill music, feel free to drop by and say hi!

Resolution: Year of the backlog

Resolution: Year of the backlog

As we swiftly move towards the end of January, I thought I’d briefly touch on what ended up being my personal resolution for 2020. 2020! Such a catchy number, and we’ve only got it for one year.

At first I didn’t intend to make any resolutions at all, and instead just commit to the general concept of “Keep going!” with some of the things I’ve managed to get started lately. But as the new year closed in I ended up thinking of one thing I keep wanting to do and never manage to stick to for long. A resolution I’ll most likely fail before the year gets properly going, but trying never hurts, yeah? So here it is:

I’m not allowed to buy any one new book/game/similar kinds of content without having finished two I already own. Finishing counts as reading the book until the end, or otherwise exhausting the content of whatever it is until a point where I feel I got what I wanted out of it (in the case of games and such that have no definitive ending).

At first I started with a one to one scale for this, but then decided to make it harder for myself by upping it to two finished per one new acquisition, with the goal of actually lessening my backlog of “things”. Some of this stuff is old man, and still waiting to get its turn! Will I succeed?? Probably not, as much as I like shiny new things that go on massive sales much too often. But at least I’m going to try! I’ve made my public dedication to this now, so let’s see how long it lasts. 

Hello World once more!

Hello World once more!

 

Hello? Is this on? Is anyone out there?

Looking at the posts below, it sure has been a while! But as something I have considered for a long while, this post here was the final push to finally convince myself to dust my old blog off and move it whole-sale into becoming part of my website, with the intention of actually using it again once in a while.

So far my almost-not-embarrassing archive of posts from my old wordpress blog have been moved here, a place it appears I stopped using in 2015(!). Since then I’ve mainly been using a mix of Twitter and Tumblr for project updates, and twitter is one I’ll likely still continue to use regularly. Tumblr… well, I’ll likely still use it for art once in a while. I very much enjoyed tumblr’s ease of use and design, something I’ll likely miss.

The main website for White Cat is still looking a bit like a placeholder-mess, and the look of this section isn’t set in stone yet either, but hopefully I’ll have it all nice and shiny again soon. Or at least serviceable.

And that’s that for now!

What is Angelic Orbs?

What is Angelic Orbs?

Seeing as the game is taking shape and many changes have been made since my original announcement of this title, it is time to take a closer look at what exactly AO is and hopefully give a clearer idea of what is coming:

Angelic Orbs is a planned series of three visual novels, telling the story of a group of misfits, travelling through a world that is headed towards change. Fallen Star is the first of these three games.

AO is not a visual novel focused on romance – it is a fantasy adventure story told in third person, following the group as they unravel the events that are happening on their path, and only eventually allowing the player to nudge the story towards one of a few different resolutions.

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Who is the main character?

At first all four of the main characters will serve as eyes and ears of the player, though as the series progresses, it will focus more on the viewpoint of Kiyoshi.

So, are there choices?

There are choices, though in the first of the three games, they will have minimal impact on where the plot ultimately goes. Instead it will offer the player an occasional choice between viewpoints, showing different things that happen or could happen.

How many endings are there?

For the first game, only one. However, as the trilogy progresses, this might change in the titles to come…

Is there no romance at all??

In Fallen Star you are not playing through the eyes of one specific character, and as such you as a player are not able to directly romance anyone. That does not mean that different kinds of relationships won’t form between the main characters, though!

Does each game stand on their own?

All three games go together to tell a greater story, but it is the aim to give each one of them their own resolution, hopefully enabling them to stand on their own and not leave the player feeling cheated. I would like to say that there is no reason to wait for all three to be finished before diving into Fallen Star.

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So what is the story, then?

A calamity has struck heaven and the angels have been stripped of most of their magical powers. These powers are trapped in small glass orbs, and one night a shower of lights are seen on the sky as these orbs are scattered and fall to Earth.

As he journeys to search for the truth behind what happened that night, Kiyoshi finds the girl Tia, who also appears to have fallen from the sky. She claims to be an angel on a mission to retrieve the orbs and right the wrongs she has caused. Hoping for a miracle of his own, he decides to go with her…

As they continue their travels they run into other allies and enemies alike, and it turns out that Tia is far from prepared for what her mission might bring with it.

That’s cool, but I have more questions.

You’re welcome to ask them! If you are curious about Angelic Orbs, or have other things you’d like to know about White Cat and my games, feel free to shoot them to me on twitter, and I will do my best to reply.

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Here’s to hoping this will manage to clear up the nature of the upcoming games, and that it has piqued your interest, if only just a little!

Blue Rose Steam Release Date – April 23rd 2015

Blue Rose Steam Release Date – April 23rd 2015

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The Blue Rose steam version finally has a release date!

Barring no issues, Blue Rose will finally release on Steam on April 23rd 2015. That is, in less than a week!

The steam release will contain an updated script, a few corrected event CGs, as well as achievements and trading cards. Those who have already bought the game directly through the White Cat website will receive keys following release for activation on Steam itself.

The game on White Cat’s own website will of course also be updated to reflect the changes and improvements in the steam version, though there will be no achievements or trading cards.

AO: A question of linearity

AO: A question of linearity

lets_ruin_our_friendship

As mentioned earlier, it’s hard to share information about a game that is still only in the phase of having its script written. Not only do I not have many flashy pictures to show, but there is still so much that could change about the script itself that even sharing that is not really an option.

But now that the first draft of Angelic Orbs: Fallen Angel is finally finished (note: only the first draft), I will instead try and go in depth about another topic that tends to come up when working on the writing itself: and that is the matter of having the player affect the outcome of the game.

Those who have followed the sparce details about Angelic Orbs since its announcement would know that this game is not advertised to have differing endings based on choices. Instead it is officially planned to give you, the ‘observer’, different ways of seeing things unfold as they lead to an inevitable outcome.

However, that is not to say that there are no chances of things turning out differently. Since I began serious work on AO, possibilities and openings for making this into a game with mulitple (maybe very different) branches and outcomes tend to come up. It is something I’d definitely like to do if it turns out to be feasible, and as such it is one of those little things that like to gnaw at a creator’s mind and demand attention.

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Advertising the game as linear has been the most sensible and safest way to go so far, I believe. There is still a very large possibility that this is how the game will eventually turn out, and in that case I do not want to disappoint people by delivering something less than promised. Chances are, no matter how much I mention it, there are someone out there who will still be disappointed.

To be honest, I am already worried about making this post at all, in the fear of giving people false expectations, or the idea that the first option would merely be the loser’s version of the second. But here we go, into the brave unknown.

To help understand why all of this is so uncertain, and why it sometimes nags so much at me personally, I will try and go through some of the considerations that could stand in the way of of a truly branching Angelic Orbs:

– Workload

I am of the belief that if AO has to go multi-ending, it has to do it properly. Which means it won’t just be minor variations of the outcomes, but proper, branching stories that are very different from eachother. I want to make this game the best I can be at this point in time.

Considering the general theme and direction of the script, as it looks at this very moment, there is potential for two, maybe even three distinct branches, that will determine how the story evolves and, ultimately, ends. Angelic Orbs is not a small story to begin with. This means that the amount of script that would need to be written and illustrated/adapted into VN format would see a massive increase. It would most certainly push back release, and increase not only expenses, but also the risk of creating this game altogether. (The “risk” part is something I wish didn’t matter this much, but as a lone, starving artist this is sadly a big issue.)

Zyra_eyes

– Continuation

Angelic Orbs consists of more than one game. The early branching would happen already in the first part, and the transition into the continuation would have to be handled properly.

I already mostly know how to handle the question of whether a player has savegames or not, but there is also another point in this that may affect people’s impression of the game. Chances are that the first part will not have any major differences to its ending, even if your choices so far will still have major impact on what happens further ahead. Considering people’s reactions to to things such as the first episodes of Telltale Games, this is worth keeping in mind, I feel. It’s no fun to finish something that is supposed to have a beginning and an end, and not knowing if what you did actually mattered or not.

This point is still up in the air however, as it can’t really be said how it would work until more of the script would have been completed.

 

Eruda_photo

– Balance

Making sure all branches feel worthwhile.

It goes without saying, but all of these possible turns of the story would also have to be of acceptable quality, and feel like they were worth going through. The best possible outcome is if one player ended up only going through one of the paths, and still felt like they experienced a full, enjoyable story, and not something that was merely tacked on and lacking in substance. I would be glad to see different players have their reasons to choose different outcomes and journies as their favourites, rather than only having one true story that made sense to them. If thelatter was true, I’d rather stay on a more linear path, and keep at telling the story I originally had in mind.

While the existing story of Angelic Orbs is mostly sorted and ready for writing, I must admit that these possible variations are still just very vague ideas and concepts in my mind. And I only want them to be there if they end up working out.

This, of course, links back to point one – workload.

kiyoshi_zyras-warning

I hope this gives some insight in the challenges of working this kind of game/script, be it one like AO, or a traditional romantic visual novel where the creator has to decide between staying with the three original routes, or maybe adding two more that fans wished were there. We would all love to do the second, if the circumstances are right for it.

(To see more concepts and other art-related news more frequently, feel free to visit my tumblr!)

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