Happy New Month

Oh my gosh, another month ended… can’t believe that a fourth of the year is over already! But hey, this is, like, pretty much a new beginning too? I always loved making new plans at the start of a new season/year/month, and then ditching them after five days! Today it’s no different!

So after looking through most of my projects, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really can’t ditch all the things I’ve worked on these past 8 years. Like, seriously, my poor sons?? (And the daughters too, I guess.) This means that I’m going to start a totally new brand on April 4th! “That’s so soon??” Yeah, right? But it’s the best date there is, considering that my new endeavor will be all about otokonoko, and April 4th is the (unofficial) Otokonoko Day (男の娘の日) in Japan. Because Girls’ Day is on March 3rd and Childrens’/Boys’ Day is on May 5th, so we otokonoko enthusiasts were like “April 4th is perfect for Otokonoko Day, then!!”

But you know how many ideas I have all the time, so I didn’t know what kind of endeavor to focus on. Games? Webcomics? Vtubing? Discord killing games? Music videos? Reviews?  So I was, like, at a total loss… until it occurred to me that I could just combine everything into one big multimedia project!

So we’re going to have one “main mascot” who looks less otokonoko and kinda cool instead, because he’s obviously going to be the harem lead. After all, I also like BL, so why not just go the polyarmory route and make all the boys fall for him? Because he’s the main character, his color scheme will have a lot of red! The other colors of the rainbow will also be represented by one boy each, and they also stand for one topic respectively! The yellow mascot, for example, will be in charge of the Discord killing games! (Tbh I was going to give him a less happy color, but when I looked at the Discord icon, I couldn’t figure out if it appears more blue or purple to me. So I went the “inverted color” route with him – it all works out!)

Oh right, each of them is also representing a genre (the killing game boy obviously is all about mystery) and will be getting his own theme song! But I’m kinda broke, so our fiery-colored main mascot will be turned into an UTAU (because he needs something to do as well) and sing everyone’s songs. Then again, an idol band would also be fun, so maybe I can just make seven different UTAUs by trying really hard to change my pitch while recording all those different voicebanks. Maybe I could even split them thematically, because half of them will be otokonoko who still dress like guys, while the other half will be crossdressers? Or maybe I could-

Actually. It’s getting late, so I need to stop here.

Not only the blog posting, but also the nonsensical rambling. Happy April Fools Day? ;;;
I just let my imagination run wild and tried to come up with a project that sounds like “me”, but that’s also ridiculously huge and would take forever to do, which… is also very much like “me”, unfortunately. So nope, nothing will happen on April 4th. Sorry about that. Everything was a lie. Except for Otokonoko Day, which really is an inofficial kinenbi happening on April 4th, since it’s sandwiched between Girls’ and Boys’ Day ww

The thing is, I was actually going to post something else, but then I couldn’t remember if I had showed it off before. So in case I already did, I wanted to pull some extra mischief beforehand. Now, here is some art I did back in 2020, which I can’t find in the media library, but which I may have posted to Twitter? Potentially? I seriously don’t know anymore, but I still love how it turned out, so I’m just going to post it (again) ;;;

It’s a little parody crossover between one of my most beloved projects and Danganronpa! A fun hypothetical scenario where the project ends up being a VN instead of RPG Maker horror, complete with a mascot called “Monodoll”, which obviously doesn’t exist in the actual project ww

During the prologue, you explore part of a dark, mystical forest and meet your fellow killing game participants! Here, you meet Kiyoshi (the green-haired guy) while Rena accompanies you, but for some reason, our MC Shinya has some memory problems and doesn’t recognize him.

Monodoll’s first appearance! (And now, you can see Shinya too.) Of course it doesn’t take long for everyone to get thrown into a killing game. This one has a special twist that involves hide-and-seek!

And then the first murder occurs and a sort of class trial happens as a result. Not all characters are in the same grade, but for the sake of April Fools shenanigans, we’ll conveniently overlook that. These Truth Bullets-… Uh. I mean, Truth Daggers(??)… may or may not show topics that become important during the real game. (To no one’s surprise, I had to give my fluffy son Senri some extra spotlight here…)

Finally, we have a so-called “Mass Panic Debate”, which is an actual thing in Danganronpa V3, if you’re not aware. Things get heated and everyone’s talking over each other, and you somehow need to figure out who is lying/mistaken (by shooting yellow statements) or agree with someone (by shooting blue statements). The pink lines are just noise that is supposed to distract you, or block your Truth Daggers from hitting their target. Will you agree with Misha that she is not the killer? Or refute Iori’s assertion that no one would have a reason to murder… someone? (Yes, I placed the dagger in a way that makes it impossible to tell if the text says “him” or “her” ww) But be careful with your claims, or Youko might beat you up…

Anyway! It’s been 3 years, but I still remember how much fun it was to draw this! I wish this was an actual, playable game, but sadly it’s not, and it never will be. (Not even because I stopped making games, but because I’d be forced to make it an actual Danganronpa fangame. As much as I love DR, I’d rather not rip off entire concepts like the class trials for my own, official games.)

Now I’ve really run out of time… so yeah. See you next blog posting~

Spring Cleaning, Part 6

Tonight, I only managed to take care of three projects, because reading through the documents for each of them took a long time. But since all three had something funny about them, I still feel compelled to write a little blog posting… at 8:30 AM. I should also spring-clean my sleeping schedule, but right now it’s useless anyway because someone is doing repairs on the attic at this unfortunate time. Sigh.

I won’t be going into too much detail with explanations, because there would be a lot to say and it likely would be more confusing than interesting since you don’t know many of the characters. Also, apologies for the lack of accompanying artwork. Two of the projects are from 2015 and 2017 respectively, so the drawings are too awful to share “orz

Project #1 (Webcomic, 2015)

This document took me a loooong time to read… about 2 hours in total, for 57 pages with about 27000 words. It’s basically the “origin story” of Tsukasa and Setsuya, my duo of unlikely brothers who always stick together, and it was supposed to have 2 manga-length volumes. But with this amount of planning and attention to detail, it might as well have ended up spanning 3-5 volumes. (I mean, that document already has 57 pages, but it actually only details the first volume…)

Now, despite how happy and dorky Tsukasa comes across in Tenkei Tales, his and Setsuya’s origin story is freaking tragic and I really put both of my sons through the wringer there. Battles with sad outcomes, poison and bloodshed, betrayal and sacrifice. There’s plenty of action and scenes that would’ve required elaborate monster/machine design, and the latter is something I struggle with to this day. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to draw this project back in 2015; at least not in a way that actually looks cool. But I still love this story a lot, and even though the 2nd volume hasn’t been properly planned, I remember most of the important plot points and the ending has been set in stone for a long time.

What’s funny about this project, though? Well, I realized how freaking interconnected everything is. It’s not uncommon to find references towards other storylines in my planning documents, but this one is particularly impressive, setting things in motion you’d never expect. The third project in this list also has big connections to a grand total of 4 other storylines which all had their own games planned. I really don’t use memes very often, but looking at this web of connections, I kinda feel like this dude:

Random trivia I feel like sharing: Tsukasa and Setsuya aren’t related by blood, they just stick with an old lie they once told to get someone to help them. Since they’re basically inseparable and genuinely do feel a brotherly bond, it just works out for them. Meanwhile, I have a different pair of pretend-brothers who would gladly clear up the misconception, but are forced to keep up the charade. Funny how that happened.

Project #2 (RPG Maker horror, 2017)

This document wasn’t quite as bulky, with only about 12000 words across 18 pages. While the story is very much complete, the big hurdle here would’ve been the map design and stuff like puzzles/challenges. Both setting- and plot-wise, it’s a pretty surreal experience from start to finish, with a grand total of 21 endings that either help you figure out what’s going on, or just confuse you even more. Probably the latter, because the only way to get real explanations is the canon ending and the subsequently unlocked bonus story.

Now, while this game didn’t have much in terms of romance, it still had some undertones here and there. Otome undertones. Only that, at some point, I decided to turn the female protagonist into a male protagonist. You might think that this is a result of my recent otokonoko obsession, but I typically don’t change a character’s gender out of the blue – I just create a new character if needed. But in this specific case, keeping the character as-is while only changing the gender was beneficial for the story and added some small bonus intricacy and surprise to a few plot points.

The funny thing is just… I knew that I wanted to do this for quite some time, but I really, genuinely thought that I had never written those plans down. So when I read all the way to the end of the document with the intention to add this change tonight, I was super surprised to find that I already had written a few paragraphs about it – I just didn’t remember.

Pictured: My older self being proud of my younger self for taking care of important otokonoko matters so reliably. (Note that I never watched Love Life, so I have no idea what this scene is actually about.)

Project #3 (BL/Slice-of-Life VN, 2018)

15000 words across 20-ish pages (split into 2 documents), I think. It’s a bit difficult to tell, because I copy-pasted a bunch of stuff at one point, so part of it repeats. This was a story I came up with on a cold December night, when I felt very disheartened about the state of my projects, and my life in general. Somehow, all the despairing and lamenting I did on the balcony that day gave birth to another project, and while the protagonist isn’t a self-insert by any means, his story took some inspiration from my own grievances.

I came up with basic goals and gameplay mechanics, structured the romance part around those and sketched a dozen backgrounds. There were plans for one of those typical romance VN calendar schedules, requiring you to balance responsibilities with skill improvement and the quest for love. The protagonist’s apartment was supposed to be shown in isometric view on some menus, and I still like that a lot… I always wanted to make an entire game in that style.

This game really wasn’t special in terms of story or gameplay, but what I found funny was… this:

I don’t remember if I posted this to Twitter, but yeah. I was seriously torn about starting yet another project and clicking that “Create New Project” button in Ren’Py, to the point that I drew a tiny comic about it and called the file “struggle.” Of course, both the game’s protagonist and his love interest would encourage me to click, even though the former didn’t have much hope that it would work out. Well, what can I say? He was right “orz

And that concludes this somewhat weird posting. I wish I could go to sleep now, but it’s still noisy… “orz

Spring Cleaning, Part 5

Spring cleaning still continues, both IRL and digitally. I’m tired of things being a complete mess, so I’ve started to archive, compile and delete data, as well as throw out physical items I don’t need anymore. This should also make the whole “leaving and never returning” business a little easier. Anyway! By now, I have come to a bunch of interesting and rather revealing conclusions, but I think I’ll leave those for the wrap-up posting next(?) week. For tonight, let’s get back to the topic of non-gamedev projects!

You may remember this “Under Construction” artwork from the time when I wanted to revamp Prismanga, but pretty much screwed everything up in the process.

These two are Tama and Ceri, a mischievous catboy and his cute co-worker who’s way too easy to tease. The two of them work in Café Septet, and the blueprint even shows an actual map I made of it – the 3rd floor, to be precise. Now, I don’t remember how much I even said about these two and their purpose, but at the very least, I featured them on a (Twitter?) banner as well… so I guess I must’ve given some kind of information.

Tama and Ceri were supposed to be the main characters of a yonkoma webcomic, and man, I really got into the idea for a while. I created several casual outfits for them, mapped out the entire location, had a whole bunch of potential uniform designs and even downloaded SketchUp for the sole purpose of making a 3D model of Café Septet. (That’s because I had read about webcomic artists using 3D models of their main locations to speed up the drawing process, and I thought this made sense and was a fun idea. Of course, having never used SketchUp before and always tinkering with something else, I didn’t get very far…)

Tama also was used for the tip jar graphic, back when I still had Patreon:

“That’s all well and good, but what about the actual yonkoma idea?” … Unfortunately, I never drew any, even though there’s a document with ideas for about 100 of them. Maybe because I was distracted by other stuff again, or maybe I wanted to try and finish the SketchUp café first? I don’t remember that either, even though it’s “only” been about 4 years.  I think Tama and Ceri’s shenanigans were the last big obsession I had with regards to Prismanga plans, which would make sense, given that they were featured on the final artworks and banners. In fact, this might have been the last banner I sketched for Prismanga before its closure:

The white spots in the backgrounds where the lines are interrupted… that’s where some other characters were supposed to be. But I deleted them for the purpose of showing off the sketch, because I didn’t get far with the drawing and they were nothing but wonky shapes.

Anyway – this is what I was doing at the end of Prismanga’s initial run instead of doing, you know… gamedev. But hey, it’s not like these two were totally disconnected from gaming – both Tama and Ceri were supposed to be supporting characters in my YaoiJam 2019 attempt and their scenario required you to play a waiter minigame. A bit like that one minigame in Tales of Berseria, where you need to memorize the guests’ orders.

It’s honestly depressing when you have a billion ideas, but not enough time for everything… and since there’s so much fun stuff to do, it becomes extremely difficult to focus on only 1-2 projects. At least that always was the main problem for me: Not a lack of interests and ideas, but way too many of them. It didn’t help that they even made me feel guilty after a week or two, because I thought “Why do I waste time here instead of focusing on the game project(s) I’ve already announced?”… But resisting the temptation to tinker with unrelated stuff was pretty much impossible nonetheless.

Man, I just want a machine to clone myself… “orz

Spring Cleaning, Part 4

Tonight, I was looking at another super old RPG Maker game I was tinkering with in 2015. The planning document had 9 endings listed and detailed the plot and puzzles until the third chapter, but everything from that point onward – half the game, basically – wasn’t noted down properly. Still, I remember a bunch of things I was meaning to implement, none of which I had the knowledge to code at the time. I also remember never getting a pretty simple animation to work, which frustrated me a lot. Kinda makes me wonder if these technical difficulties were the reason why I gave up…

This is one of the basement maps. They were mostly done, but I have no idea if I ever made them playable. Maybe there’s some data on my old PC, but I have no way to check right now since it doesn’t boot up anymore. Yep, that’s a beckoning cat up there on the shelf. And the purple thing on the lower shelf is a chainsaw, but it was just decoration and not used for anything.

That’s on the first floor, I think? A waiting room, but man… considering the height of those walls and windows in comparison to the character sprite, everyone would’ve looked pretty short. Same for the furniture, even though it’s only sketched. There are laser bars in front of the windows to make escape impossible, which is the main reason why I chose to show this room.

Also, this is the only usable character sprite – yep, he can walk in all four directions. That’s Hiyoru, a young man tasked with keeping the peace in Port Astraea. You weren’t even supposed to meet him until later in the game, but I still finished his sprites first because I liked him most out of everyone. Although he is the soft-spoken and polite type, he fights with a big axe ww

That machine in the laboratory could open portals to different places. Messing up the coordinates is not advised, though, since you might end up in dangerous situations. That’s what caused half the bad ends :’D

If you ever wanted to know what my desk looks like, here you go? I actually had some fun making a secret developer room which only could be accessed after getting the true ending. I haven’t played RPG Maker games in a long time and have no idea how common this is nowadays, but I remember many older games with dev rooms. The desk itself, the monitor, the drawing tablet, the lamp and the boxes below the red PSP are still exactly like this. Unfortunately, I don’t actually have a fridge in my room…

On one hand, this is kind of funny. On the other, it reminds me that I’m still stuck here. Haha… “orz

Spring Cleaning, Part 3

The number of folders I need to go through still hasn’t decreased much, so this time, I sorted them from oldest to newest. Looking through some documents, I realized a few things:

  • While it absolutely feels like a decade since I started with gamedev, it’s only been less than 8 years. If you consider the time of Prismanga’s closure and the fact that I got very preoccupied with server games in 2021, one could argue that I’ve only been trying seriously for 5-6 years. And even during that time I got distracted by things like webcomics, so I’m wondering how much time I actually spent fully focusing on gamedev.
  • The (probably) first time I mentioned otokonoko and crossdressing in my planning documents… was in 2017, several years before I seriously got into this stuff. Now I really want to draw my first real otokonoko, Mairi. Poor guy never got a proper design, but I sort of remember how I wanted him to look.
  • I thought my first attempt at NaNoRenO happened in 2016, but I actually tried in 2015 as well. Unfortunately, I have no recollection if I ever said anything about that project. Part of me is half-remembering that I went “I’m not confident in announcing a VN yet, so I’ll try in secret”… but I’m not sure.

This is the one and only background I managed to finish. I had sketched a few others, but now that I look at it, I remember that I got completely burned out with… this one.

With my meager skills back then, it took a billion years to make things look somewhat presentable. Of course I also insisted on making everything way too detailed, no matter if it made sense or not. Back then, a resolution of 800 x 600 was still relatively common, so of course it was useless to fully render all those little details in the background. You can’t even read the 蜂蜜 (hachimitsu, honey) on that sign over there…

The best part is that, after missing the NaNoRenO deadline by a looooong shot, I refused to give up and instead made a 60-week schedule that was supposed to guide me towards completion. Of course that didn’t work out at all…

Speaking of weeks, I feel like I will be stuck looking through my files for several weeks at this rate :’D