(1834) Afterwords + Extra Comic Doodles (postmortem) / Tuna Rice

(1834) Afterwords + Extra Comic Doodles (postmortem) / Tuna Rice

(This post is a CC from the original devlog post on itch.io)

Hello everyone! Konayachi here.

Thank you very much for playing Tuna Rice.
I'm glad to read your comments and ratings; they are all very precious! ♡
Being short and silly the way it is, I'm glad that it's able to warm your heart.

In this post I'll talk a little bit about the making of Tuna Rice, alongside with extra comic doodles.

(Unfortunately, I don't have any recipes...)

☆ How did it happen?

It's impulsive. Ideas only came to my mind on the third day of O2A2 VN jam.
I hesitated to join O2A2 because I'm used to work on long projects... ^^;
I'm glad that I did! The making process was really fun!

☆ Ideation

There will be spoilers below. If you'd rather; take 5-10 minutes to play Tuna Rice before continue reading!

I have 3 VN drafts in my idea dumps folder for similar pitch: a view of the world from animal's POV.
I'm mainly inspired by my childhood mangas called ShibaO & Sentarou by Nunoura Tsubasa.
I love them so much, thank you for such heartwarming reads, Nunoura Tsubasa-sensei.

2 of the 3 drafts are based on the pets that I had growing up.
Because I'm very attached to my characters, I don't think I'm able to write stories about them in just under 1,000 words.
The draft that would have become Tuna Rice was the only one that has a stray animal's POV.
And so, I picked it up and scripted it right away.

(although honestly, I think I'm attached to Fei and her human now, hahaha...)

☆ Making

For Tuna Rice, the making took me around 4 days.
In summary, my VN making progress is as following:

1.) writing

I usually write immediately in Ren'Py; so this process was very fast.
I had to scrap a few lines away since it hit the 1,000 word limit very fast.
Originally, it had a few more scenes, and one scene where I would introduce the human's name.

(I'm looking forward to introducing him properly in future projects. I have his name and background ready.)

Right before drawing, I showed the script to my co-writer (the one who helps me with Illa Café and Blooming Chimes).
My co-writer liked it, but the first comment startled me:

"Ah, I see. So, we're a dog."
"A WHAT???"

Oh right, I never made it clear what animal the MC is.
I thought Fei being a cat was obvious, but the first reader of Tuna Rice giving this comment was very surprising.
I then decided to never actually made it clear what animal the MC is! *vile mind*
I want to see how the readers of Tuna Rice would think...

(turns out it wasn't ambiguous at all. I don't hear from anyone else thinking that Fei is a dog.)

2.) drawing

Drawing was extremely fast; thanks to 1 sprite and 1 background limitation.
I also had so many mental sketches of the scenes, which unfortunately weren't possible to implement.
They're in comic doodles format, which I'll share the end of this post!

3.) scripting the sprites and background

To compensate the limited assets, I tried to work around my way in showing the sprites for movements.
The ATL was done with great help of Renpy ActionEditor3, thank you very much.

4.) scripting the ambience sound

I decided that Tuna Rice didn't need BGMs.
I used rain sound ambience instead. I think it makes the animal POV more raw.

5.) scripting the GUI

This was the step that took me the longest: 2 days.
I'm very new in this; so I spent so much time in tweaking around...
In the end I just reskinned Ren'Py's default GUI and designed some buttons.

(I wonder if anyone notices the happy tuna return button -- it's my favourite!)

6.) play test + build

I think I played Tuna Rice for 10+ times. I tried to catch bugs or grammar mistakes in this step.
I felt like I failed this step. I'll talk more about this below.

☆ Fun things

The entire process of making Tuna Rice was lots of fun!
The following were especially memorable:

1.) writing

a.) their little talks and the way how their one-way communication looks as if it's two-way.
b.) Fei's innocence (oblivion?); which makes full sense -- being a cat.
But, we get a glimpse of what happened.
c.) Fei's empathy; I think it feels a little bit of fantasy-like here.
Having first-hand experiences of animal's coincidental empathy-driven actions onto myself in the past, I'd like to think that our pets can actually sense our emotions too.

2.) drawing

I'm an artist before a dev, and drawing is one of my favourite thing to do.
Obviously, the art making process was very fun! It was done really fast too.

☆ Failed things

1.) bad grammar

My humblest apology for the strange, or broken grammar that I used for Tuna Rice.
I did my best to catch any weird wordings or phrases on all of my 10+ play test, but somehow, I couldn't catch any of it.
I only started to notice them after the build went live; then I got so busy that I didn't have the time to push a fixed build.

For now, I'll leave Tuna Rice flawed as is.
I hope it served as a lesson for me to have a trusted proofreader to go through my script on my future projects.

(my co-writer and I are both having English as our second language, so we're not capable in doing proofreading...)

2.) GUI?

I wanted to do more, but I couldn't.
After two days of tweaking, I decided to stop spending more time in it.
It does sound like I gave up easily. I'll do better on the next project!

☆ +1 XP!

There were a lot of +1 XP moments with Tuna Rice!
Being impulsive, I didn't expect this silly little VN to teach me tons of things.
As a beginner, all of these first experiences are so precious to me.
For someone very disorganised like me, I learnt to be a little bit more organised, hahaha.

I also get to know so many other amazing devs through the submissions.
I tried a few of the submissions to cool down after my submission and I was mindblown -- you're all so creative and talented!

(I want to make some time to play more of the entries...)

☆ What's next?

I created Tuna Rice as a way in manifesting story & art that I really love, in a process that I had fun going through.
It's a very rewarding feeling... It feels like I overcame a lot of things by finishing this.
This may sound selfish, but I think I'd like to have more of this feeling.
So, this becomes my motivation to keep creating! I'm looking forward to making more!

Thank you for being with me in this journey...
I hope to see you again in my future projects. ♡

☆ Extra Comic Doodles

Here are some comic doodles of Tuna Rice that served as my mental sketches when I was making Tuna Rice.

It was the unusual, exhausting night...
but there was one unusual thing.
A small, pitiful-looking little creature...
shivering in the middle of a summer rain...
"Oh, look at you, poor thing. You're so small and dirty."
For some reasons...
it seems like you're having a hard time...
I guess now that I know you exist,
I just don't have the heart to abandon you...
I don't know what to do with you,
nor that I think I'm in a place to take care of such a fragile soul...
but, let's get you warm and dry for now.
What should I feed you?
Oh, are you crying?
"Oh, you're awake."
"I'm making dinner. Please wait for a bit."
That's all I could say, but I wonder if you understand anything...
Perhaps, in your vision, I'm kidnapping you from your family.
I have nothing that could be good meal for you.
For now, I hope you're fine with tuna rice.
"I wonder if you'd like it. You can have half of my dinner--"
Huh... You eat a lot. Glad to see that.
Perhaps I should ask a vet clinic nearby if they take stray cats...
I believe this is the place.
They will take care of this kitty's need; some shots and cleaning...
That was unexpectedly expensive.
I don't think I could give the best care that she needs...
"I'm sorry, we're not accepting foster cats at the moment."
"Ah, I understand."
"I checked with my volunteers, they don't really find any cat families nearby recently."
"So, you're saying this kitty doesn't have family nearby."
"They're probably not in this area, or in worst case – they're dead."
"I see. Thank you for your help."
Does this kitty know how miserable she looks?
She really likes the head-scratch. Her face looks content...
"You're such a good girl, let's go home."
I guess, for now I'll work harder for your needs.
I'll learn about things you like and dislike. I hope you're patient with me...
Let's live together and be good with each other, alright?

Thank you for reading. ♡
- Konayachi