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!
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.
“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,
She took her hand. It was warm from the coffee.
“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–”
“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.
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.
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)
Caprice’s top hat has been removed. We’re still playing with alternatives:
Allison → Allison Merlo; Allison’s sunglasses have been removed.
Eileen Towers → Eileen Turner
Wallace → Wallace Bernard
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.
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
That’s pretty much it for now. Thanks for continuing to follow our development, and Happy Halloween!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Until next time!
We ended up breaking our monthly update rule recently due to some unrest caused by recent changes in Twofold’s staff.
As we mentioned previously, we had to separate with Mehkanik due to scheduling woes, leaving All-Maker in charge of writing Twofold.
Unfortunately, we also had to part with our long-standing sprite artist, Twrlare, and his assets will no longer be part of Twofold itself moving forward.
Our initial pitch of First Snow is that it made sense for us to work on, as it would share the majority of its art assets with Twofold, while being written by Suriko.
While this is no longer fully the case, the good news is that the sprites necessary to finish First Snow have already been completed,
so there won’t be any significant delays in getting it out the door.
This also gives us a decent enough grace period to establish a backup plan for Twofold, which we’ve started working on.
We’ve been in contact with one or two people in regards to picking up sprite duty for Twofold, and we have a pretty good idea how to move forward.
We don’t want to announce anything yet until we have something to show you, so hopefully we can finalize something on that end and share it ASAP.
This has been a pretty stressful period and starting over from nothing in regards to Twofold sprites isn’t great,
but if we plan things well we should be able to pick ourselves up fine.
So, with First Snow sprites finalized, let’s move on to other asset matters!
The First Snow script has been done and finalized for a few months, though recently we did a quick pass through it to remove any references to Salt Lake City.
We were already being liberal with the VN’s geography and features, so it made more sense to break free from namedropping anything specific.
Naturally, this will apply to Twofold itself as well.
James can turn a song around really fast if something is requested, so we have zero worries in regards to music.
Directing, at the time of writing, is wrapping up work on act 2. First Snow has three acts, for reference.
Backgrounds are coming along at a steady pace, though Curchack does occasionally take breaks to color other assets or produce cut-in graphics like the one shown in the last blog post.
Twofold’s writing situation has been going well, CG rush considered.
We’ve done another pass on Mehk’s existing writing and have a pretty solid idea of where to take it from here.
Theres been several group meetings where we’ve focused on establishing what we want the core focus to be,
as well as refining Oliver’s personality from our super super super old demo.
Here’s some thoughts we’ve had and examples to the changes or additions we’re making to put them into actions:
Oliver’s personality in the demo was established as “antisocial jerk” but some of his interactions felt sort of flimsy
(hating interacting with people and then initiating conversation with Wallace, seemingly disliking women in general and then openly flirting with Mekki).
We went back to the drawing board and decided that the Oliver that we want to solidify and stick with is a pessimist and has a general negative opinion on most things,
but isn’t necessarily antisocial. We also want to establish his independence as a notable character trait, how he’s largely capable of caring for himself.
We decided to cut the character Izaac to emphasize this, along with the fact that Hayley contributed similar things to him which made him feel redundant.
We also want to start focusing on the theme of family and establish some sympathy for Oliver early on, rather than waiting until after a club is chosen.
As an example of how we’re approaching this, we’ve reworked the opening of the VN.
The hike up to the campus and the counselor interaction have been removed entirely, and instead the VN starts with Oliver having a conversation with August.
We think this starts the VN off on a better foot, since you’ll get a glimpse of Oliver with his guard down almost immediately.
Having August be around so early allows us to use Oliver’s relationship with his mom more effectively in the rest of the story.
The premise at the start of the VN has always been Oliver having grade problems, and that’s still the case.
However, the real meat of the story comes after that is established and largely resolved.
While there’s no solid examples of how we’re going to accomplish this yet, we want to dampen Oliver’s doomsday attitude towards his situation.
Instead, we’ll move the spotlight onto the things relevant to the core of the story (family and the importance of the arts to the characters).
Finally, CGs. Everything in First Snow has at least one base sketch and initial lining done, and the majority are completely finalized in terms of their line art.
Since All-Maker is writing Twofold’s script, we’ve tried to streamline the CG creation process by having Skrats help with the initial sketches,
which either reduces or eliminates the need for redlines in most cases.
Wrapping up CG lining is our number one priority right now, so that All-Maker can dedicate his full focus to writing, instead of splitting attention between the two VNs.
Woo, this was a big one. While some things might seem shaky, please continue to wait warmly and we’ll continue to try our best.
We tried to make this post as large and detailed as possible so everyone can get a good grasp of where we are.
It’s not the end of the world just yet!
If you have any questions, ideas or comments, please drop them somewhere, either in the comments, on Twitter or Discord, or wherever. Until next time!