What’s up with Painter Story?

September 17, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

I’d like to start off by welcoming miipasu to the PS dev team. While her position is somewhat nebulous at the moment, she’s been helping out with organizing the replanning of the story, and will likely take on some writing and editing duties in the future. We’ll likely have some additional team reshuffling in the near future as mii gets better integrated with the team.

As for the story itself, we’re pretty close to working out the outline from a 50,000 ft perspective. There are a couple days we still have blank, and here and there on plotted days are still openings, questions, and worries. But I would say we’re certainly on track to begin rewriting in October. It doesn’t hurt that the outline for the first few days is still pretty similar to the old draft, which has saved some time and mental energy in this rewrite process. (That’s not to say we’ll be reusing the old draft’s scenes as-is; there are still tweaks and a few good-sized changes in those scenes for the new draft.)

Anyway, the rest of the month will be spent filling those holes, as well as dropping down to a 10,000 ft perspective for the first few days of Painter Story. I’ve been questioning whether or not we want to make a demo out of the first few days, given that all of PS will likely only be about the size of Katawa Shoujo Act 1, but it’s probably still worth doing. In any case, the planning so far has been contingent on focusing on prologue through Wednesday of the story, and that at least we’ll stick to.

3DCG character mockups

July 21, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

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Got a chance to play with eroge doll maker program 3D Custom Girl, decided to whip up the Painter Story girls in it.

Meanwhile, we’re still alive, just retooling things.

In which we retool how we develop things so our writing won’t suck so hard

April 19, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

Let’s start off by welcoming simpleDvorak to the Painter Story development team. As zahlman has been promoted from interstitial writer to actually managing one of the story paths, I decided that we should have someone who isn’t doing any path writing to handle editing, especially including smoothing out the differences in writing style between zahl and myself.

With that out of the way, I’d also like to announce that we are completely changing around the project schedule, and here’s why: Our current method of writing (straight into Ren’Py script files) takes away focus from writing the story, and puts it into making something that runs. And thanks to the horribly loltacular temp assets we are currently using for graphics and audio, this has caused much consternation for the people we’ve forced to read the story (as well as those who have received builds simply for hanging around in the right places on IRC).

So, rather than continue down this dark and dreary (and complaint-filled) path, we are, effective immediately, changing the writing workflow and all but entirely scrapping the Ren’Py stuff we’ve done so far.

zahlman and I are currently working on extracting the actual story scripts from the piles of .rpy files lying around, and reformatting them more along the lines of screenplay scripts. For one thing, this means instead of simple Ren’Py style direction, we can actually express what’s going on in a more meaningful way for the story. For another, this means we won’t be doing any more demo builds for a good long while.

Less complaints, a writing workflow that lets us focus on what’s happening in the story and not the engine — looks like a win-win situation to me.

Anyway, in the long run we’re probably looking at another nice big delay to a decent, public demo, although the format translation work for the scenes will probably be done before the week is even over. We’ll have to get used to the new way of writing out scenes, and now we won’t be doing a dev demo for recruitment.

And speaking of recruitment? We’re not going to look for artists now, after all. I might ask some people I know for concept art from time to time, but that’ll not be announced here, obviously. Even if we do show the results of it.

Have fun, see you in another week, or month, or whatever.

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Rewriting the prologue

April 15, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

So, thanks to expert advice from someone else developing their own OELVN (you know who you are), zahlman and I are pretty much completely rewriting the prologue. Well maybe not completely, but a lot of editing work is happening as well as an expansion that will double or triple the size of the thing. That coupled with a bunch of IRL crap is the reason there’s been no update in two weeks.

Pretty much all of our focus right now is on this bit of rewriting, as well as cascading any necessary changes down the storyline. Hopefully these will be minimal, but as certain characters will now be introduced earlier than planned, there will be some work required.

We are still looking for artists, by the way. Just sayin’.

Act structure

March 31, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

Progress is still progressing on the script. While there are a couple of troublesome scenes that need some serious work before they’re even badly written, a lot of what’s left to do for the first three days doesn’t look all that tough right now. Days 1 and 2 are practically done (apart from the aforementioned scenes), and I find myself writing the ending scenes of day 3 right now, and leaving about half of the rest of the work to my partner in crime zahlman.

Because the plan is to put out a story demo to attract interest in people who could help us with art and audio, and then later put out a real demo showing off the first three days, these end-of-day scenes for day 3 have to be a logical conclusion to the previous ones. I’ve taken to thinking of the prologue and days 1-3 as the first act, with the end of day three serving as the climax of the act.

Chances are that I’ll be making an act two out of days 4-6, and turn day 7 and the epilogue into its own act as well. I already have something in mind to serve as the climax for each of those points. Act three, as it were, won’t be that traditional, though, being mostly climax followed by coda. Still, it’s easier to think of the story this way, at least for me. Mind, I’ve not actually started plotting out the rest of the script in detail yet. That won’t happen until zahl and I are done writing the first draft for act one. (And even then, there’ll probably be a break to recruit/kidnap artists.)

Speaking of artists, we’re still planning to start looking for people at the beginning of April (which is what, tomorrow?) and seeing what people can and will contribute. I’ll have more details on that in a post tomorrow or on the weekend, but if you’re an artist and interested in helping out, doesn’t hurt to draw some concept art of the girls and post links to it in the comments. Just sayin’.

Character mockups

March 29, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

Thanks to the Katawa Shoujo IRC channel, I found an interesting little character maker program on DeviantArt. I decided to whip up some art of the three girls whom the protagonist can pursue in the VN with it, and share the results with you.

Keep in mind that nothing you see here is final, but it certainly gives a better idea of what I would like to see than the current loltemp sprites.

You can play around with the character maker yourself. The tool used is Create a Character, by dA user ~Crysa.

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Progress report

March 15, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

It’s been about three weeks since the initial blog post about Painter Story, and I’d like to share a couple things about our visual novel. Progress is going slower than I hoped for in terms of writing, but it’s still moving along well. I’m still working towards the goal of days one to three drafted by the end of March, although it’ll probably slip some. However, save for three tricky scenes, the first draft script of the first two days is done.

To make it easier to get a feel for what’s happening, I’m not writing in plain text and then copying over to Ren’Py. I started that way, but I find it’s easier to think in Ren’Py’s scripting language and write for that directly. It also has an added bonus of letting me test scenes as I write them out. The fact that Karl (my programmer/editor) and I wrote out a scene library (like Katawa Shoujo has, but not as pretty) certainly helps, as now I can go straight to the scene I’m writing, to test it out.

Whether or not I make my writing goal, we’ll start looking for artists in April, who can help us flesh out the graphical side of things. I might put out a low-distribution alpha of Painter Story when the draft is done through day 3, to help garner developer interest too.

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Painter Story: A visual novel of art and romance

February 23, 2010 in Painter Story by Chris Charabaruk

A shy high school artist. A girl who came out of a painting. And the story which they create together. Painter Story started off as an idea in the summer of 2009, a visual novel where a magic paintbrush brought to life the girl of the protagonist’s dreams while he struggled to get acquainted with his new school. Since playing Katawa Shoujo for the first time in December 2009, I’ve refined the idea, and let my own project take shape.

It’s still quite early in the project, but the story itself is certainly taking shape. To start things off, I’ve been working on just the first quarter of it; developing the plot and writing scripts for the scenes belonging to the first three days of the story. My goal is to have a solid draft for those days finished by the end of March, and then start recruiting a couple artists and a musician so that a demo built on those three days will be completed by the end of June. Currently the dev team is myself as writer and director, and a friend of mine who is serving as editor and tool developer.

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