I know I promised monthly updates, all I have to say is... Oops? Look, life is chaotic and progress has been kind of slow. And let's be real, what would you prefer, monthly update posts with, like, one thing in them, or more infrequent updates that have more stuff in them? It has been since June that I made an update, though, so I figure I might as well share what I've been up to.

The most time-consuming thing I've been up to lately has been... completely redrawing all of the character sprites. It's about as fun as it sounds but there is a reason behind it, I swear! So, the sprites I've finished already (which you can find on the game's Tumblr, or in this blog post) were made by sketching out the character, the outfit and the expressions all seperately (but at the same time) and then just lining and colouring for each combination of outfit and expression. This was fine, there was nothing wrong with doing it that way but I realised it would give me a lot of work to do if I wanted to add a new expression or outfit down the line, after I'd otherwise completed that particular character's sprites. As a result, I came up with a different method that I'm hoping will make my life easier. In this new method, I sketch out, line and colour a character's body (free of all facial features save for, like, the nose, facial hair, stuff like that). It basically ends up looking like a Barbie doll version of the character, they're more or less the pose and nothing else. Then, entirely separately, I sketch, line and colour the outfits and do the same with the facial expressions. Then, I can just layer these pieces as I need and save them as sprites. When I add a new expression, it'll be as easy as just switching out the character's expression to the new one then saving sprites for each of the character's outfits. I think Ren'Py can do something similar in the engine but I haven't really looked into it too much because I'm pretty sure it's ruin some of my code and no one wants to spend more time debugging than they absolutely have to. So, yeah, redoing all of the sprites I've already done (all of Jonny's and all of Tim's) is annoying and tedious but it'll hopefully end up being worth it in the long run.

With the help of some folks from the Forgetmenauts Coven Discord (seriously, the folks in that server are amazing), I have vague plans for all of the dates now! They were a massive help! Even if asking them for help did result in such fun things as: my notes for Ashes' second date literally just being "Crime?", and them somehow convincing me to try to include a date with all of the mechs where you play, wait for it... bubble football. You know, this game:

People playing bubble football.

Image Source

Regardless of the scheming that was had while the Discord folks were helping me plan (and, for the record, I can't put the blame on everyone else, I was very much part of the scheming), they were a huge help and I would still be trying to come up with dates without them.

Nothing much to say here, small tweaks were made to the dialogue, fixing parts where dialogue was too long and left the textbox, phrasing things better, making conversations sound less awkward. I'm forever tweaking the dialogue becuase I want it to be just right!

The final thing, really, is just me eternally working on fixing typos and bugs. The game's looking pretty good in that regard but there is one particular bug involving Tim that's continuing to elude me, at the moment. (There's nothing wrong with the code, as far as I can see, and yet he's messing with a bit of code that Brian and Jonny are playing just fine with). Now that I've said that, maybe I'll magically notice the issue. (Fingers crossed!)

That's really all I have to share, for now. I would promise that more updates will be coming soon but life promises to get a whole lot more chaotic real soon so I promise nothing! As a treat after making everyone wait so long to hear from me, here's some concept sketches for Jonny's expressions! (Please excuse how cursed he looks without hair and eye makeup.)

Traditional sketches of various small heads. They're making a variety of expressions.

Thank you for reading!
~ Boots