This post is a carbon copy of an itch post I wrote to the release of v2!
I will update this post with an "Afterwords" special mini illustration in the next few days. Meanwhile, please bear with it having no thumbnails aaa! @_@;;
Thumbnail is added! (21.01.2024)
Hello everyone! Konayachi here.
Thank you for helping Cali and Maple looking for Mrs Peregrine, even when it's really cold out there.
I hope you stay warm as well! ♡
I just notice that I didn't write any devlog when I first released this VN to the world, so let this post be it! ^o^
First of all, for you who had played Mrs Peregrine before, I'll summarise here the new contents in this new version:
- An extra story! (It's around 6,000 words)
- It also has extra cut-ins and CGs!
- Credit screen! (with extra doodles, I hope you enjoy them!)
So... I'm going to break down my thoughts on how I made Mrs Peregrine!
☆ How did it happen?
I wanted to participate in VN jams again, so I tried to work around the idea revolving Mrs Peregrine to two VN jams that was about to happen when the idea came: Nove Jam 2023 and Winter Jam 2023.
I'm able to somewhat(?) fit in the required theme into Mrs Peregrine story:
- Nove Jam 2023's theme is heroes/11: one of the main theme is Cali and Maple's heroic(?) act to look for poor Mrs Peregrine on a very cold day.
- Winter Jam 2023's theme is winter: it has a cosy, warm, and sweet slice-of-life story anyone can enjoy while you're bundled up by the fireplace (or any heater that you own at home). Cali and Maple also get to experience the first snowfall of the year in the story itself, how romantic!
With that, I started working on it on 01st of November!
A little background: I'm currently working on another longer project called Blooming Chimes: it's a soft romance/slice-of-life VN.
'Where Is Mrs Peregrine?' (which I'll refer as Mrs Peregrine here) is a small break from my ongoing project and IRL works.
I had a soft, fluffy romance idea about a nervous person trying to confess to a long-time crush.
A nervous person who gets braver in the end and they end up together. Warm and happy ending!
In general, Mrs Peregrine has very similar vibe as Blooming Chimes. As Mrs Peregrine is a much smaller VN, I treat it as an experiment for what I want to do for Blooming Chimes and my other future projects.
It's so fun! I love it a lot. It's very precious to me! (If you enjoy Mrs Peregrine too, I'm glad... Thank you very much!)
Mrs Peregrine took me two months to finish. Outlining, concepting, and reaching out some kind people for help happened outside of this two months.
This time, I outlined the entire idea of Mrs Peregrine before writing it directly.
Writing started slow, but I picked up the pace after around 3 days? I finished around 18,000 words in less than a week hahaha.
I worked on the first 9,000 words for November submission, and then finished the entire 15,000 words for December submission.
(The extra 3,000 words was from a second extra story that I planned, but it was too hard to finish, so I decided to scrap it for now. I may pick this up in the future if I can.)
I have my kind co-writer/co-reader to help me read my script as the first "pace test", and after that I had the help of a proofreader to have look at the script. Thank you ebi for the generous help!
(I think I'm addicted to proofreading process... It's super fun)
Drawing was fast. Cali and Maple's sprites were done in mere 3 days? Or 4?
The background and GUI stuff took much longer, probably 4 to 6 days by their own? I also reused a lot of elements and patterns all over to speed up my work to chase on the jam deadline(s).
Here's the first sketch of them:
3.) scripting the sprites and background
This took a lot longer, since I wanted to do a lot of camera focus movements. I also had to clean-slate my brain a lot to see if the modest cinematic that I did worked just fine to convey some emotions.
I guess, it turned out nice in the end! (self-pat) What do you think?
I commissioned Jasson the BGMs, and he returned to me within a little bit more than a week! I didn't expect it to be so fast!
I also asked for so many customisations for the music channels so I can play around with it inside Ren'Py itself. It's an extra work setting up all of these things, but it's very rewarding!
I tried to implement many fun elements of the GUI as part of progressing the story.
The main menu will change when readers reach certain point (when you finally find Mrs Peregrine!) and a subtle difference of the textbox appearance in the extra story. I learnt a lot to implement these things, it's really fun.
6.) play test + build
For the November submission:
The first build that I submitted publicly was broken and I didn't notice it until a few hours later! D: It was a backslash typo that I never encountered in my countless test runs. It seems to be Windows specific feature, and I'm using Linux.
For the December submission:
It's so much smoother and fine! I created many new persistent flags, so I thought hard to make sure this won't affect players who already installed Mrs Peregrine before, but at the same time it also lets them access the extra story without going through all the main story again.
☆ Fun things
The past two months where I worked on Mrs Peregrine was really memorable! I guess I learnt way too many things, and it's such a rewarding feeling! Yay!
A few notable things:
- Cali's expressions were the most fun to make! He has around 20 expressions by himself I think hahaha.
- I did my best to draw characters at different age of their life, while making sure they still resemble each other. I don't know how much of a success is this, I hope it's alright!
- I think soft and fluffy stories are my favourite to make... I want to create more of it!
☆ Failed things
1.) more detailed CGs
I did lots of 'cost-cutting' and turned CGs into cut-ins. I wanted to do so many more art for them, but I won't make it in time, so I turned all of them into cut-ins. I hope they can still convey the scenes well enough.
I did more than Tuna Rice, but I know there are so many potentials I can do. I absolutely have brain-empty state about GUI... GUI artists, you're amazing. (120º bow)
☆ +1 XP!
There were definitely a lot of +1 XP moments with Mrs Peregrine...
I learnt a lot about DynamicImage, persistent values and some more Ren'Py functions (which I'm not skillful enough to explain yet).
They're a bit too complicated for my tiny brain, but once using them, I can feel how helpful they are!
Cutting scopes is another skill to get. Instead of getting rid of things I want to make, I decided to just downscale the work, e.g. CG » simple cut-in.
Drawing houses, trees, grass and more while maintaining the art style of the sprites: this is not an easy thing, but I managed to finish it, I think!
I also think I have really huge BeeRef file containing all the refs hahaha.
☆ What's next?
I want to take a break from game jams hahaha (unless I get a shiny new idea befitting any jam's theme or someone comes to me with a fun idea which I'd love to draw for)
I also want to continue working on my commissions (which are always so fun!) while slowly progressing on Blooming Chimes... I hope you'll look forward to it too!
Thank you for being with me in this journey!
I hope to see you again in my future projects.
Last but not least: Happy New Year 2024! Let's do our best in this year as well! '-')9 ☆