Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Writing Developments! + CONCEPT ART DRIVE


'Who is this strange ~quadiddly character?', you may be wondering. Well, it's me. I'm the new head writer of Hungry Whispers. Lovely to meet you if we haven't already encountered each other on Skype. Would you like a cup of tea?

I've only recently got more time to pursue hobbies such as writing (context: my studies have swallowed my life for the past three years) but I've actually been a quiet part of the Team Wasabi/Project Whispers crew for a while. I've usually just proofread bits and bobs but now that I have the chance, I've volunteered to be in charge of writing the script for Hungry Whispers in order to really get the ball rolling so we can aim for a full game! Exciting, right?

Well, there has been quite a bit of progress in the past few weeks which I'm going to update you all on now. After ReadCon, Queen Wasabi and I sat down together and decided to finalise the plot/skeleton/structure of a full game. We felt this was a necessary thing to do having realised (in part because of ReadCon) that a) the game wasn't really getting past small beta/demo stage and that b) this was because we lacked proper direction. So, we sat down and we finally worked a direction out.

You can view the fruits of our labours here (it's a Google Doc which anyone can view as long as they have the link).

A lot has changed since you may have last seen this kind of thing. The main characters are all still there - Yu, Kemi, Lotus - but Rage Mom has gone and been replaced by a mysterious old lady with an umbrella (oooh, spooky). There's been a serious reduction in the complexity of the plot because the ideas we had floating about before had begun to get really, really out of hand. We've split it into five key acts (perhaps this is how we'll release it at the stage of completion - an act at a time rather than all in one go?) as well.

Please let us know what you think of the plot! Is it scary? Are there clich├ęs or inconsistencies which we need to work on? All opinions valid and welcome (just don't be nasty because that's unhelpful and immature, yo).

After that, I started trying to write a draft of the script for Act One. The link to it is here (also a Google Doc, but this time one which you have to request to view).

This was an interesting experience for me, because when I've written in the past, it's been in prose form - short stories, magazine articles, opinion pieces and so on. I've never really had to write a script before, never mind a script for a playable visual novel! In the process I've had to play through some visual novels to understand how the interface and gameplay work in order to gear my style to that, and I've also had to relearn how to write at least semi-convincing dialogue. As with any piece of writing, this will require a fair bit of editing and looking over, but this will come in time. I personally am extremely pleased to have got to this stage so far.

As it is, this script are by no means complete - the final product will have the full information on what needs to be programmed, including music, backgrounds and sprites. For now, what I'm working on is the bare bones - the dialogue by which the story moves forward. You artists, you musicians, you programmers - you'll be the ones to give this skeleton the flesh.

This means what I've written may not always read clearly - if this is the case, let me know. You are welcome to leave comments on the draft of Act One too, particularly regarding the gaps where research is needed. I've realised that we need to figure out what Lotus' illness actually is, as well as place names and the names of characters. If you have any suggestions, please get in touch. I will love you forever.

With this script moving forward and ready for your viewing pleasure, we are hoping now to encourage an increase in CONCEPT ART. If you read the plot and script and ideas start bubbling up in your head, put them to paper. There are all kinds of new things which need to be drawn - so get to it!

That's all for now, I think. If you have any questions or ideas, get in touch. Let's get this show on the road!


Saturday, 3 August 2013

ReadCon 2013

Hello! Sorry for the delay in writing this up. I can say that once ReadCon was over, everyone was just mega busy with everything.  Anyway, here's some pictures of what went down in ReadCon!

Early morning set up of the JDWasabi Studios table. Sarah is already at it with the fizzy drinks! 
We were asked to arrive at 9am but since Reading wasn't our usual base not everyone on the Team could make Reading.  While I rolled up at 9am on the dot, Sarah was there since Silly O'Clock and needed the sugar / caffeine to live.

Since this was our first convention, we didn't really have any other merchandise to sell.  We sold £2 worth of art cards but hey! Better than nothing right?!  In terms of promotion, free business cards were still the way forward.  Will need to print more out soon!

My lame attempt and enticing people to come say hi (with free chocolate which didn't mix well in a very warm environment)!
The Team has assembled! Thanks to Nina for taking the picture!
It was a delightful to have so much wonderful support for our project and the Wasabi Philosophy!

As the day went on, everyone got into the swing of talking to the curious who visited our table.  I think we've nailed our cold/hard selling techniques thanks to Nina.

Happy belated birthday Team Wasabi! Deliciously made by Nina- Thank you again!
We were so focused on ReadCon that I totally forgot that it was Team Wasabi's 2nd birthday on the 7th July >_>. What better way to celebrate our achievement of being part of the amazing ReadCon experience and working together for over 2 years with some home made cake?

The original Team Wasabi members stabs the cake.
A new friendship is born!
We met loads of amazing people, especially these fellow indie game developers of Tengu! Check out their Facebook here :)

The time had come to our hour long panel session. I was really nervous since this was the first time doing anything like that and I honestly had no idea what to talk about.  I had talked about what we did in less than five mins to everyone visiting our table so there was no way I could drag that out for an hour!

The three of us headed up to the empty panel room making small talk about what we were going to do.  No one turned up which we anticipated and took the opportunity to chill in the room.  Thankfully the room was like fridge compared to the trader rooms which was incredibly hot in the summer day!  A few people popped into the room so we started setting the laptop up and I recited what we did to get things moving along.  In doing so, people kept coming in and wouldn't stop til we had a full room! It was an amazing and unexpected experience to see a room full of people attending your panel session and from the discussions we had, it was very successful!

I recognised many faces of those who were keenly interested at our table and we ended up having a very enjoyable discussion of game design, our experience as gamers in horror games and what made it great. From what I heard, our panel was one of the most popular sessions at the convention!

Chillin' at the Maid Cafe.
The hard part was over so the guys holding down the fort took a break at the Maid Cafe. Despite the seriousness of this picture, the topic of conversation was not!

Closing ceremony / cosplay masquerade!
ReadCon was finally coming to an end and after packing our table away, we attend the Closing Ceremony and Cosplay Masquerade!

Job well done! Congrats again Team Wasabi!
And finally a full team photo to end the day! But did the day end? Nah.

Celebratory pizza time!
Lesson learned. Conventions will make you hungry. Very hungry. So we feasted on pizza and cider! (for some of us).

And collapsed on the grass.

Thanks again to everyone who made our experience so enjoyable - the Team, the organisers, and the con-goers! For those still interested in working with us, do feel free to drop us a line / comment and I'll get back at you!

Thanks for reading!

Our original intention was to show case our latest beta demo but unfortunately due to some technical hiccups, we needed a little longer to make it work.  Don't worry! It'll be up soon once we're happy with it. Stay tuned :3 -Wasabi