Clearing Snow

Jul 29

Well, so much for that “update every month or two” thing, huh? Sorry for the quiet, but the truth of the matter is the stuff we’ve been working on just hasn’t been exceptionally interesting to talk about and there’s not much to show visually. While we’re still in that “quietly crunching away at things” phase working up to FS’ release, it seemed necessary to break radio silence for a bit and just explain where we are in terms of progress:

  • Writing: As mentioned last time, this has been done for quite a while and Suriko is plugging away at Twofold right now.
  • Sprites: Aco’s been stuck in a hectic irl schedule for a bit, so things have been slow on this front. Despite that, progress has been made. Previously mentioned on our to-do, character heights have been sorted, so all that’s left to do at this point is to finalize the lines. Hoping that in our next update we can have a finalized, colored up sprite or two to show.
  • CGs: Have been done for a while, A-M has moved to Twofold stuff.
  • BGs: Pretty much done, Curchack has temporarily moved to smaller assets for FS before wrapping these up.
  • Music: Our big ol’ track list is looking pretty complete. We’re still missing a couple songs (a few rely on art assets that haven’t been created yet) but past that we’re just polishing stuff up.
  • Directing: Like Aco, Shiz has been busy with stuff. We have some visual fx to brute force into ren’py somehow, but past that it’s largely just a matter of putting our mountain of assets together in a way that looks nice in a hopefully nonbroken state.

So basically as-is, with a few exceptions aside, FS is shaping up and the bulk of the work is done or close enough to being done. We don’t want to commit to a release date til we’re 110% confident that we’ll hit it but we do have a window that we’re shooting for currently.

That’s just for First Snow, though. How is Twofold looking?
As explained before, while a good majority of FS assets can/will be re-used in TF, we aren’t creating any unique TF assets til FS is out the door, so we’re entirely focused on the writing right now, and progress on that has been great! The entirely of the old “demo scenario” (everything up to and including the club fair) has been completely rewritten. The Millie path is complete sans a couple of scenes, and the Caprice route has been fully outlined.

We can finally, definitively, say that we know exactly what TF is going to look like front to back, and that is really exciting. By the time FS wraps, we should be able to creative a complete asset list for TF and transition seamlessly between the two projects. All-Maker has a few tiny assets to go back and create for First Snow after we finalize a few other things, but the time required for those should be minimal and he should be back working on TF full-time after that.

Until next time!

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New Year's Resolutions

Jan 1

Welcome to 2018! I hope everyone enjoyed our previous post. As promised, we have an actual update/progress report today.

First off: Sprites. The roughs for every character have been done up, and we’re moving onto redlining. During this period, we’ll be making adjusting the character heights as well so everyone fits neatly in the VN’s resolution, as well as fixing any anatomy issues that slipped through the cracks. Hopefully we can get through this relatively quickly so we can move onto lining!

Second, Backgrounds: You can count the remaining BGs needed on one hand, and the bulk are alterations of already existing BGs, so we’re getting super close here. After the backgrounds are finished up the plan will be for Curchack to move onto coloring the rest of our assets.

Third, CGs: Due to personal emergencies and holidays going back to back, we’re still not quite done with these yet. We’re super close though: we only really have one “full” cg left, with the two remaining ones being variants of currently existing ones. All-Maker was also working on some writing stuff during this period, so after CGs wrap up we can jump directly into Twofold. Speaking of which….

Writing: 2/3rds of the Millie route has been written up in its first draft state! The final act requires a lot of communication and planning from both writers, so that’s being held off on for now while All-Maker finishes up CG work but writing as a whole has been going very quickly. By the time First Snow’s assets are created, I’m fairly sure we’ll be able to cobble together a full asset list for Twofold as well, making the entire thing seamless. We also plan to make one more editing pass through First Snow, though hopefully that shouldn’t take too long.

Music: maidnaut has joined up with us again! If you don’t remember or aren’t aware, they created the demo’s soundtrack and will now be helping GIJames make our full soundtrack between FS and TF shine. The track from the previous post was actually created by maidnaut.

That’s about all there is to report on at this time. We’ve put in a good chunk of work since the last update and we’re well on our way to finally pushing a VN out the door! Until next time!

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Christmas Shopping for Opinions

Dec 24

“Addie, Addie!”

Charlie held up a little green and red pajama set, decorated with frills and fuzz. Included was an equally festive hat adorned with two pointed false ears. She could barely contain her grin. Adelaide, who was searching clothes racks, laughed dryly.

“Ha ha, no way.”

“Oh, come on, look.” She reached to grab a second one. “We can get one for each of them. They’ll match on Christmas morning, it’ll be a cute picture.”

“Oh yeah, so they’ll resent us when they’re older.”

“You dress them in things like this before they get around to doing that.”

“I don’t know about yours, but my kid already has opinions on things I ask her to do. She’s very vocal about them.”

“Oh for sure. I stopped trying to get Caprice to eat olives. I just don’t cook with them anymore.”

Charlie went to hang the clothes back onto the rack where she found them. It pleased her to know only she could really hear retorts like that from her normally quiet friend. Adelaide stopped rummaging in her section, sighing in frustration.

“There’s nothing good here. Let’s go somewhere else.”

They pushed through the shopping crowd out of the building and into the open air. The stores were dressed with the bright colors of lights and wreathes. In the court nearby stood a tall Christmas tree, twinkling in the evening cold. And it was cold. The shopping center’s cobblestone walkway was edged with snow.

The two young mothers shivered both at once, reflexively huddling closer.

Together they decided “somewhere else” would be the nearby cafe for a brief rest. They sat with their coffees and a pastry to split between the two of them.

Charlie held her drink to her lips, which curled into another playful smile.

“Okay, so instead of the kids, you and Mike get matching–Ach!”

She pulled the cup away as she exhaled with her whole mouth to cool her tongue. A little bit of coffee spilled out. Quick to react, Adelaide grabbed a napkin.

“Careful! You’re going to burn yourself.”

She paused in the middle of what she was doing, holding the napkin up. Their eyes met and Charlie’s look shifted into suppressed laughter.

“Sorry, mom.”

“Ah, jeez!” Adelaide slumped back into her seat, throwing the napkin at her. “Get burned for all I care!”

They laughed together as Charlie cleaned the spill herself.

“I’m too tired. Shopping is so hard,” Adelaide sighed, running a hand through her auburn hair. “My parents always say anything is fine. I barely know work friends outside of work, or school friends outside of school… And I mean, Millie is at the age where she’s got a list for Santa, so I think I could make her pretty happy. Caprice too, I’m sure, but…”

“But you want to get them something that will make them really happy.”

“Yes. And Mike. Do you know how hard Mike is to shop for? He doesn’t ever seem to want anything.”

“Oh, I know. It’s like that every year.”

The conversation lulled. Charlie watched Adelaide pick idly at her food, and could tell she was considering her next words.

“Charlie, you know…”

She hummed in response, a little wary of her tone and the direction it was leading.

“So Mike’s workplace is having this small Christmas party at the end of the week, and you know you’re always welcome to join us… One of his coworkers–you’ve met him, actually–”

“Addie.”

She took her hand. It was warm from the coffee.

“I’m just–”

“I appreciate it, but please stop. Christmas to me is about family, you know? I want to spend it with my dad, with my daughter, and with you guys.”

She scrunched up her nose.

“And not some mechanic named Jack, or–”

“Jake, actually.”

“Right, Jake. I remember meeting him alright, he’s not very subtle about his interest.”

“I know, but he’s nice.”

“I’ve told you I’m not interested in that right now. My apartment is full enough with just Caprice and me. Plus, I love you, and I love Mike. I’m glad that you guys think about me, but I’m more than happy to be your third wheel.”

“Aha, have you ever considered maybe that’s why I’m trying to pair you with someone?”

A grin appeared on Charlie’s face.

“Absolutely.”

Adelaide smiled a little bit sadly as she squeezed her friend’s hand.

“I love you too, Charlie. I want you to be happy.”

“I am!” She stood, tugging Adelaide’s arm. “So let’s go! We’ve still got shopping to do!”

“Ah–wait! When did you finish?!”

Adelaide hastily shoved the remainder of her pastry share into her mouth as she was pulled away from the table. They walked together into the cold outside the cafe, huddling together again, their hands still clasped in each other’s. Between them, it was warm.

“By the way,” Charlie turned to look at her friend. “You have an idea of what to get me, right?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. It was supposed to be the coworker guy.”

“Oh, it better not have been!”

They giggled together as they pressed onward to the next shop.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at Salty Salty Studios! We hope you enjoyed this year’s holiday post, and ask that you please wait warmly for a progress report planned to be coming on or around New Years.

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Twice the Surprise

Oct 31

Hello again!

In our last post, we went over wanting to revisit some “staples” of Twofold, and this post is largely going to be focused on those changes. Not all of these changes are earth shattering or anything, largely a lot of last names, but we wanted to throw it all out in the open regardless. To accompany this, we’ve managed to scrounge up some brand new sprite roughs (emphasis on this word, of course~) for every single club member from Acotan. (note: sprites are not necessarily to scale at this point in time)

Changes

Art club

  • Caprice’s top hat has been removed. We’re still playing with alternatives: one, two, three, four
  • Allison → Allison Merlo; Allison’s sunglasses have been removed.
  • Eileen Towers → Eileen Turner
  • Wallace → Wallace Bernard

Writing club

  • Mekki Clarke → Millie Clarke
  • Heather → Heather Cunningham
  • Darren → Darren Baker; Darren’s been given glasses.
  • Tanya → Tanya Rivera; Tanya has been redesigned.
  • Characters that felt redundant or had extremely limited use (the only ones you’re aware of at this point are Izaac and Lawe) have been cut.

Hayley

One last big change: After having to part ways with Mehkanik, All-Maker initially agreed to write the entirety of Twofold. While we were totally okay with this initially, it became obvious super quick that writing an entire VN and drawing all the CGs for it would be an absolutely inhuman workload, we’ve done some re-organizing on that front. While All-Maker will still be writing the Caprice path, Suriko has agreed to pick up the Millie path with his work on First Snow done. The bulk of First Snow development has been slowly winding down as our to-do continues to shrink, and re-examining Twofold has ended up going fantastically, so the transition period between both VNs should be relatively smooth.

That’s pretty much it for now. Thanks for continuing to follow our development, and Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Salty Salty Studios!

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Reworking the Plumbing

Sep 3

Helllllllo again! This is another dreadfully late blog post, and we wanted to start off by apologizing for that. We were holding off on making another post until after all the CG line art was wrapped up, but there was a bit of a hiccup on that front. We’re close, though -— just four to go as of the time of writing! As backgrounds have been progressing steadily as well, progress on the art front overall has been pretty positive.

In the last post we mentioned grabbing a new sprite artist without dropping a name on you. We did preview a rough Mekki mockup on Twitter but never showed anything here, so apologies if you missed that! In either case, we can 100% officially announce that AcoTan is working on our sprites now, and they’re looking great! For now we’ll still just dump some roughs on you, but we’ll of course have fully finalized stuff to look at hopefully soonish.

AcoTan's sprite sketches

Okay so, with that being said, we were going for full transparency regarding our situation in the last blog post, and would like to continue that trend in this one. What’s about to come will definitely sound dire, but we hope you’ll take our word that everything is going smoothly as of right now and we’re in a much better place than before.

First Snow was originally pitched as a small time investment, with the potential for asset reuse and the like, but that started being the case less and less due to some long-time developers’ cease of involvement. As such, First Snow’s new given purpose has been to provide us with a window to lick several years’ worth of wounds and take a critical eye to Twofold proper, giving us some time to look at the future of the main VN while simultaneously giving you guys something to chew on.

And that we’ve done. What we’ve concluded is that Twofold’s initial scripts and overall premise were more than a little messy, and we’ve been trying too hard to salvage them for the sake of consistency with publicly released information.

We’ve been trying to mask this for a while; avoiding questions in regards to writing, being vague about the premise while we tried to sort it out ourselves. We cannot apologize enough for this. Trying to keep everything you know about the story intact just tied our hands too much. Because of this we want to just air this dirty laundry out right now, so we can wipe away the things we had previously built up and re-examine things with a “nothing is guaranteed” outlook, without feeling like we were deceiving you.

So. What’s changing, as of right now? While we want to re-examine absolutely everything, here’s a few things we’ve already been mulling over:

  1. We’ve brought this point up repeatedly, but we really do want the emphasis of this story to be on the concept of family and what that entails. Despite us being pretty vocal about this, it isn’t actually super apparent with things like the website and such. This is definitely the core of our story and we want to treat it as such.

    One of the very first things we established in the story is that it would be about Oliver flunking out of school. This stopped being the primary focus relatively quick, but we kept hammering this point home because it was one of the foundations we built up early.

    Oliver suffering through his courses in one aspect or another is still planned (at this time) to be an element at the start of the VN, but we don’t want to cite this as the actual premise anymore. If we use this plot element at all in the final draft, it’ll likely just be a way to goad Oliver into a club but we don’t want it to be the focus of the story in the slightest.

  2. Trimming down characters. There were a lot of characters in early versions of Twofold. A LOT. We’re condensing them down as much as humanly possible. Some characters in the super old demo, Lawe and Izaac, have already been cut, and a few unreleased ones have also been scrapped entirely or merged into other characters.

    In addition to this, we’ve also been re-considering the roles played by the current characters in the story, and tweaking or otherwise changing their personalities and purpose in the story to better match the new situation.

  3. Oliver himself. We mentioned this a bit in the last post and before that as well, but we want to tone him down. In previous drafts he was just outright cruel and while we still think having him be a bit standoffish and antisocial can work, he was just way too deep into that.
  4. Some cosmetic and background changes. There are artifacts from Twofold’s very first draft that are recognizable, but don’t really represent the VN anymore. We want to consider removing them.

    A prime example of this is Caprice’s hat. We’ve heard Twofold called “the visual novel with the top hat girl” more than once and we considered stuff like this as sacred, unchangeable thing, but given the freedom to explore removing small elements like these would be nice.

  5. Re-working the background story of the clubs. In the really old demo and our own earlier drafts, the writing club was woefully underdeveloped and seemed to be drifting around purposelessly for the sake of giving the writing characters a place to interact. While the art club had a somewhat better development arc going for it, it needed some extra fleshing out as well.

Finally, we want to bring up the possibility of First Snow not using Twrlare’s sprites. Our plan as of right now is to go ahead and use them, as they’re all drawn up and just require coloring, but depending on AcoTan’s and Curchack’s speed and schedule, swapping them out may not be out of the picture. We’d prefer this to maintain consistency between the two visual novels, but have no intention of delaying FS to make this happen. It should not influence the release at all, so don’t worry about it too much, we just wanted to give you a fair warning just in case we update one day and the sprites looked entirely different.

At this point, we’d say that the vast majority of stuff that you’d know about Twofold from the old demo is not at all accurate anymore. As such, we removed links to the old demo from the website. If you really really need it for some reason, you can still get it HERE. It’d be nice to take the time to re-write the summary and bios on the website to reflect all the changes too, but please understand that’s a low priority right now compared to actually getting the stuff done.

We know there’s been a couple of apologies already, but I want to offer one more as we wrap this blog post up. There’s been a pretty severe lack of transparency on our part while we tried to fix things up, but all that caused was problems on both sides. While we continue to finish up First Snow, we’re going to use our time to plan out Twofold to the best of our ability and will hopefully have more solid stuff for both visual novels for you sooner rather than later.

If you have any questions at all regarding our status or the recent and upcoming changes, feel free to drop us a line in the comments below or ask on Twitter or Discord! Until next time!

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