Happy New Year, one and all! Is it really 2020? That doesn’t seem like a real number.
The Victorians were big on celebrating the beginning of each year, so it seems only fitting to share a little sentiment from this 1877 greeting card:
The New Year is waiting in the porch, For the Old Year to hand to her the torch, That she may light thee on thy way, May she lead thee tenderly, I pray; May she lead thee aright; And thy path be bright With her guiding, consoling, cheering light. (Source)
(Apparently the New Year uses she/her pronouns.)
As the calendar year of 2019 has bowed out, it seems that the time for mass introspection is nigh!
In the first half of the year, conversion of our story from comic to visual novel began in earnest amidst the frenzy of completing school and other life changes. We pivoted from our old way of thinking about the story of Green Carnations with its linearity and discrete, carefully boxed in panels. Taking on the interactive visual novel medium broke us out of the limbo of not knowing where to go and gave us a new environment to shape our project in.
It became so much clearer how we could use branching narrative to emulate the twists and turns of history: specifically the personal stories that, more often than not, are summarized or glossed over rather than expressed in full, as well as the changes created by shifts in perspective and in choice.
This seemingly simple project became much less simple and all the more compelling through this process of reworking the details, which led us to a critical point: the announcement of Of Sense and Soul to the masses via social media.
In September, we started up our Twitter and Instagram profiles to a happy surprise—people like you seemed to be interested in, and even cared about, our project! This, above all else, helped affirm that we were doing something right despite being greenhorn devs.
We also got our first taste of what production would look like for our project with art style tests and outline finalization, and figured out a marketing plan that works for us! Exciting stuff, and we
Twelve whole months is an ominous void to look ahead into, especially because we’re fresh out of school: What will we do with ourselves now that there are no classes or essays or exams to fill our waking hours?
The answer is, a lot, actually!
The past year has been full of trial and error in figuring out suitable art styles and storylines and research for this project, and we’re now on stable enough ground that we can really start to create the game!
Allowing time for the trappings of daily life and unforeseen pitfalls, we intend to complete the demo (the first act of four in the full game) within the next six months. And then, finally, we’ll get to have a taste of what Of Sense and Soul could be!
After the demo is completed, we’ll also be launching a way or ways of crowdfunding the full game. Research is still to be done on what way would most suit this project, but Patreon, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo are familiar options.
All these things are daunting. It’ll be a challenge to make it all happen and do the story, the game, the logistics, ourselves, and ultimately you justice—but just as we jumped hastily into the first iteration of this project in 2016, there is no better way to continue onward than to dive into the deep end and tread those new waters. Maybe, if we work hard enough and the stars align and we’re very lucky, we may even more than float in the figurative VN dev ocean.
I put all creative pursuits on hold over the end of November into December as I moved back home to Hong Kong. It’s bittersweet to leave New York, but I’m optimistic about the road ahead! Now that I’m over being jet lagged and it’s January, I’ll be working on OSAS and art commissions. And getting some good poodle cuddles in, now that I’m surrounded by them at all hours of the day.
(I also attended Elissa’s wedding, floofed her dress for a bunch of photos and had a grand ol’ time, as well as some cake! I rarely get to see her, so it was a special weekend.)
Honorable mention to this piece of art I bought at a holiday market, as it truly embodies my spirit at this point in time:
Sighs by Mauro Baiocco, 2019
Like Ingrid, I’ve been on a bit of a creative hiatus since the end of November. I did manage to power through NaNoWriMo by doing a sort of ‘patchwork’ approach rather than writing one novel project; what I mean by that is that I counted all words — including some scriptwork for the OSAS demo! — towards my 50k, and, hooray, I made it! But since December 1st, it’s been a big rush of graduating college, getting married (which meant a rare opportunity to see Ingrid in person, since she was in the bridal party!), and now moving about 1000 miles across the continental US! Not quite as rough as New York to Hong Kong, to be sure, but still a lot of work. The first 3 weeks of married life have been wonderful, and I’m thrilled to be transitioning into this new period in my life. I’ll start work the first week of February, and I’m currently searching for an apartment with space for a writing desk!
My fun Victorian discovery from the past couple of months is this ca. 1885 wool coat from Quebec! My spouse and I are just back from our honeymoon in Canada, where we got to check out a ton of cool historical spaces and museums such as Château Ramezay in Montreal, where I took these photos. I highly recommend it if any of you are ever in the area!
That's it for this month's devlog! Next month, we'll be covering our progress over the course of January.
To get notified with our latest updates and exclusive process insights, subscribe to our email list at the bottom of the page!