We've got a bit of backtracking to do to show you what we've been up to thus far! Although this dev log is a summary of about three to four months of progress, future devlogs will be more frequent.
With the beginning of summer harkening the arrival of— gasp— free time, we've been able to get down into the actual development of this project.
In June, we settled on a new name for our project— "Green Carnations" was scrapped, and "Of Sense and Soul" came to be!
The name "Of Sense and Soul" was inspired by a line from L'amour de L'impossible, a poem by John Addington Symonds originally published in 1882, which you can read here. Symonds, a cultural historian, poet, and literary critic, battled with his homosexuality as a young man and coped through writing poetry and memoirs. He became an early proponent of the gay rights movement later in life, using his knowledge of Greek Classics and Renaissance figures to promote his beliefs. Here's the excerpt we drew from:
VIII. The Use of Pain. HE that hath once in heart and soul and sense Harboured the secret heat of love that yearns With incommunicable violence, Still, though his love be dead and buried, burns : Yea, if he feed not that remorseless flame With fuel of strong thought for ever fresh, The slow fire shrouded in a veil of shame Corrodes his very substance, marrow and flesh. Therefore, in time take heed. Of misery Make wings for soaring o'er the source of pain. Compel thy spirit's strife to strengthen thee : And seek the stars upon that hurricane Of passionate anguish, which beyond control Pent in thy breast, would rack and rend thy soul.
(Symonds was rather angsty with his poetry. Luckily, we're not drawing total inspiration from his work!)
To us, "sense and soul" conveys not only the story's tone but also how we intend to tell it— in both an emotional, heart-driven way and a practical, head-driven way.
Over the summer, I was busy with an internship and with wedding planning, but also research! In June and July I did a… weird deep dive into historical (especially Victorian, obvs, but also Regency, for other, fannish projects… by which I mean I got really into Naomi Novik’s Temeraire these past few months) BDSM. While I didn’t get the chance to do quite as much travelling as Ingrid — or to places quite as relevant to this project — I did do a little bit of travelling in Central California, where there are still gorgeous Victorian farmhouses just standing in strawberry fields. It’s very idyllic!
Not much else is happening in my life right now, so I'm letting myself be consumed by the Victoriana. Over the month of July, I've been visiting approximate story locations in England (144 years changes the urban landscape quite a lot) and romping around London to get a better grasp on the story's environment and times! My camera has been getting a good workout and I've been amassing a small mountain of Victorian related books, which I've been inching my way through. There will be a research log on the places I went soon!
In addition to this research, I've begun drawing more assets and collecting inspiration for the game.
Research-wise, much of June was dedicated to learning more about homosexuality in the late-1800s— a pretty important subject, considering our story is a historical gay romance.
You can read about our insights into same-sex love in the 19th century in our first research log!
Alongside Ingrid's visits to period homes and other museums, she's also begun researching deeper into the function of the Victorian house and the roles of the people living in it, which was invaluable for imagining the spaces our characters would inhabit.
Towards the end of the month, she also returned to the basics— the history of the Victorian era, and the events which formed it.
This Summer's Reading List
Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century by Graham Robb
Sodom on the Thames by Morris B. Kaplan
Daily Life in Victorian England, 2nd ed. by Sally Mitchell
The Victorian House by Judith Flanders
Short History of the Victorian Era by Gordon Kerr
Through several meetings, we've been fleshing out more of the characters and story outline. The outline itself is at about a third of the way there— we've been reworking an older outline for this project into something completely different!
Experimentation for the game's art style has also been in progress in August, in the form of background art. (The sprite you see below was created a few months prior.)
We're pretty happy with the results of this background test! In the future, it'll be much easier to streamline the process of creating interior backgrounds now that we know what that process is like.
That's it for this month's devlog! Next month, we'll be covering our progress over the course of September.
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