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2021-03-05 News

You know what I like? Writing news posts where I get to say “Everything is great and we’re moving right along!”

So here we go, another boring news post where I get to tell you how smooth things are going! (Might have to move these news updates to every two weeks instead of every week.)

Seriously though, things are good. We’re in the groove and everything is trucking right along.

We had four great streams this week to work on Lupita’s chapter and the early artwork coming out of that process is wonderful!

Reception of the last release is still making the circuits but the majority of players seem pleased and the only bugs we’re getting are few gui related inconsistencies that don’t throw errors or break saves.

That’s about it! We made it folks!

I’m just going sit back, continue writing story and make renders with you four to five days a week.

We’re on easy street!

That can’t be it can it?

Well, ok. Not exactly.  I do have some other things in the works. I guess I could share those with you.

The Script Converter

I have made a few changes to the way I write and code the game. But with our programming resting on the foundation of this Scrivener to Renpy converter, making those kinds of changes is easy and seamless. I just program some new tags for the converter to look for in the script, tell it what to do with them, and the game updates itself.

And since those new tags mostly relate to just logic statements, it doesn’t change or break anything in the game. So as we go forward I’ll continue to add tags as needed and fine tune the process. But a thirty minute programming session to the algorithm saves us hours of programming time on the game and just adds functionality and options.

3D Art Improvement

Let’s not kid ourselves. This Cassie chapter has some of the most beautiful renders I’ve ever put together. My skill set with Daz, lighting, posing and 3D has certainly come a long way. But guess what, we can go further!

Now I’m not talking about any kind of major overhauls in the art or anything. But more like subtle improvements that come with the continued perfection of a process. A couple of things I’m looking to integrate on the very near horizon are:

  • Substance: It turns out that the Substance Package has become quite affordable in the last year. For $20 a month I can get access to Substance Painter, Substance Designer and Substance Alchemist. Access and training in this software will help us fix surface problems and inconsistencies in the game quickly. Makeup, mismatched skin tones, improved textures. In time, there should be no surface effect or we can’t fix or achieve. And the results can be exported back into Daz or into Blender, so even as we grow in skill the value of this investment will grow with us.
  • Zbrush: Like Substance, the price of ZBrush seems to have become rather affordable in the last year as well. For $40 a month or $200 every six, we have access to the latest version of ZBrush. My real goal with ZBrush is the creation of highly detailed normal maps. Now for those who don’t know, normal maps are used to create highly detailed surface textures on low poly meshes. It’s how you achieve ultra high quality detail like skin pore and wrinkles without adding geometry or increasing your render time. If you want to see some amazing examples of what hardcore training in Zbrush can accomplish, check out this work by Kris Costa! Obviously we aren’t going to achieve that level of detail any time soon. But it’s an example of why it’s a worthy investment. And again, the surfaces and normals we create in Zbrush are directly exportable to Daz or Blender.
  • Blender: And of course my Blender training continues to get stronger by the week as I continue to complete different courses and tutorials. Learning all the ins and outs. I plan to start by using Blender to create props and environments. As that process is perfected and we get fast and accurate with it, we’ll start to move up to character work and animations.

These are short to long term goals. The Substance integration I think we can have integrated in the next month or so. Zbrush and Blender will take a bit longer.

But hey! Since I’m trying to transition to working on the game full time and all we’re doing is writing story and making renders, I figure we have some flexibility to start learning new skills that will take this game and any future ones we make to the highest level possible!

I have always loved working on this project. But with each new level we hit in development, my enthusiasm just continues to grow.

These are exciting times and I look forward to seeing where we go from here!

Salute!

*Well damn, that turned out longer than I thought it would*

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