OSAS Devlog #12: It's been a while!
Lots has happened since our last update in December last year—though not all of it OSAS related!
Though we'd of course love to be productive all the time, sometimes time just has to be taken to refuel so that we can make better work later. From focusing more on work or family to figuring out better ways to manage brain chemicals, it's been a rocky but alright first half of 2021 for the core team.
It's been an interesting few months! I was lucky to get vaccinated in early April, and was able to spend several weeks staying with my parents once my wife and I were both safe to drive the 1000 miles to see them. I've also been enjoying the spring/early summer season -- there's so much fresh produce in my area and lots of beautiful flowers as well!
I've had a bit of a creative dry spell, however. I'm continuing work on OSAS, obviously, but other than that, I've been a bit wrung-out. I'm trying to rest, and recharge my creative batteries by reading (I'm currently reading The Color of Magic by Sir Terry Pratchett -- actually my very first Discworld book!) and spending time outside.
Though there have been some new and significant developments in my life, like passing my driving test on the first go, beginning to sew clothing for myself, and entering a new relationship, I've been largely focusing on my own mental health this past half-year.
Trying to manage myself using different methods and planners hasn't worked out in the long term, so I went to a psychiatrist a few months ago and was at first prescribed anti-depressants, then ADHD medication this past week. There have certainly been ups and downs, but since starting my ADHD medicine prescription I've felt more capable and energized with regards to working and creating!
Crossing items off of my long to-do list, not only for Of Sense and Soul but for my other creative pursuits and life concerns, no longer seems to be such an insurmountable task. There are many things I've put off for too long that I need to get back to, and it's exciting to feel like I've gotten the push I need to do that.
I still need to put in the work and it will take trial and error to figure out working most effectively, but I'm far more confident now that it feels like I've pushed a puzzle piece into place! I hope I can return in the next Devlog with even better news!
Although we've been preoccupied, we've still kept up gradual progress! Ingrid's working on two CGs and a background, AKA's writing scenes in short bursts, and research has been continuing as we've come across things we need to know about. (We've been keeping up our weekly Studio Sessions over on our Discord server too!)
In our extended team, we've brought Martin back on as our composer after his hiatus and are scoping out new background artists to help bring Victorian London to life! We're optimistic about working with both new and old collaborators going forward this year, and we can't wait to share what they bring to the table with all of you.
Part of the spirit of Of Sense and Soul is our dedication to emulating and creating a believable historical setting from the perspective of our characters—sometimes that means hashing and fabricating details, and at other times it means diving into every particular possible.
Given that one of our protagonists, Hugo, is a journalist and specifically an editorialist, it only makes sense that we'd have to pay a fair bit of attention to the main news events and popular topics of 1875-1876 London. There isn't, however, a boiled down list or timeline that covers news from such a specific duration of time, so it's been up to me to roll up my sleeves, dive into the British Newspaper Archive, and scavenge for treasures like a mudlark on the banks of the Thames at low tide.
The weekly periodical The Illustrated London News has been the main focus for our current inquiry—and even then, each issue is completely packed, in very small text, with even the most inconsequential reports.
Like modern newspapers, Victorian newspapers contained news stories of the local, national, and international levels, as well as plenty of advertisements and even puzzles and jokes. Most of them didn't feature illustrations, but some did. The Illustrated London News also contained many other things: theatre programmes, translations of foreign diplomatic letters, new releases of sheet music, church service schedules, reproductions of artwork from the Royal Academy of Arts, and updates from the Royal Family and the aristocracy, among other topics.
The issues from April through May 1875, have yielded some tidbits of interest that we can use beyond Hugo's work material. The April 24th edition, for instance, featured a sarcastic editorial about a Parliament case which came with many Shakespeare references which likened the case to a "Comedy of Errors" and called it "Much Ado About Nothing." The May 8th issue, in contrast, was full of praises for the "merry month of May" and the coming of spring, along with the "simultaneous outburst—or, we may call it, blossoming—of all the varieties of philanthropic and religious associations." Editorials like these give us an insight into public sentiment about the government in both Britain and its then-colonies...and also apparently how amazing it was to have good weather at the start of May that year!
Other facts, such as the reopening of Alexandra Palace in May after being burnt down in 1873, the blooming of the tulips displayed at the Inner Temple Gardens, or the performance and sheet music debut of a new Arthur Sullivan (of Sullivan and Gilbert) song, will add colour and totality to our characters' interests and lives.
That's it for this devlog!
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