Counting Days

Jul 27

Hi there, long time no see! While our Twitter has been active lately (and we highly suggest following it!), our blog has been relatively quiet while we’ve been working on First Snow. We figured now’s as good a time as any to give you an update though, so here it goes!

After a long road, we are thrilled to finally be able to say that First Snow will be available on Steam, and direct download for free on August 19th, 2020! We’d greatly appreciate it if you could add it to your wishlist from the First Snow store page! This is so exciting for us, and it’s been a long time coming, too. We hope that you’re looking forward to experiencing Allison and Eileen’s story soon.

Bundle up, Winter’s coming early this year. Only a few weeks to go.

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Unfolding Big News

Feb 29

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been so long, both here as well as on Twitter. Things have just been extraordinarily busy and we’ve been working away until we could finalize some exciting developments with you all! While things are still definitely busy though, we do have something to say finally, and we hope it’ll make up for the silence:

Beta Testing Begins

We’re finally here in the home stretch! We’ve started an internal beta (taking note of what we have yet to implement, throwing in a couple mandatory things that are on the cusp of completion, documenting known issues, etc) and will be sending downloads out to some external people in the coming days.

We still have a few things that need doing (coloring cgs for example, in the beta a lot of them are just the lineart) and filling in some placeholders, but the VN as a whole is fully directed and readable from front to back. We’ll be taking the beta period to wrap up those loose ends as well as implement feedback we get. We’re almost there, please just wait warmly a little longer!

Believe it or not, that’s not all! We are VERY EXCITED to announce that First Snow will be published by Studio Élan’s new Bellhouse publishing wing! Their work on projects like Highway Blossoms and Heart of the Woods is some next level stuff and the Élan devs have been great friends for a long time, so we’re extremely happy to have some help from them to push FS out the door.

Don’t worry though, First Snow still is and will be a free visual novel. This includes the (drumroll) Steam release! More details (including the actual Steam page) will be doled out as we get closer to release, so please keep checking up on our Twitter so you can stay in the know on stuff like that.

Bellhouse logo

Oh yeah, one more thing: we’ve been pretty careful about announcing characters, and up til today hadn’t even confirmed Caprice was going to show up. Well, act surprised, cuz here she is! On top of the preview in the above image, here’s a sprite sample. Like Allison, her hair is a little different from her Twofold design.

Caprice sprite 1 Caprice sprite 2

Okay, THAT’S everything we have for you for now. See you again real soon.

UPDATE: The Steam page is now live, CLICK HERE to check it out!

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Sprite on Time

Mar 23

Hellllllllllllllo everyone, long time no post!

So, first thing’s first: sorry for going dark for as long as we did, especially when that gap of time included a few holidays we typically give reports on. The excuse is simple, but maybe not satisfactory: there was just a decision to focus on asset creation rather than promo images and stuff for the holiday posts, and as far as progress reports go, we’re stuck in that “nothing much to say” mode since the rest of the workload is largely just burning through a whole lot of coloring and programming. Sorry if this made you assume the worst, if things ever do go south we’ll let everyone know ASAP, so please continue to believe in us, even if it gets quiet!

So anyway, we’re here now, so let’s talk. First off, here’s something we’ve been promising for a hot minute: a preview of a new, finalized sprite.


All of Eileen’s sprite work has been fully colored and finalized at this point, and given First Snow’s focus and relatively smaller roster of characters, Eileen alone being finished allows us to finalize a LOT of FS. Our sprite artist, Aco, is currently in the middle of some real life woes, so we’re moving onto getting some other coloring/misc work done until he gets back. Eileen’s going to be plugged into the build during this period, and we’re hoping that by the time he’s able to resume sprite art we’ll have most of our small errands completed so we can focus entirely on sprite and cg coloring.

Now that Eileen’s done and things are coming along, we believe we’re in a position where we can share screenshots more readily. There’s hesitation to commit to a schedule (since we’re so great at following them, clearly) but we’d like to post at least one new screen a month to our Twitter account if we can help it.

Other things to look forward to in the realm of soon-ish: we’ve recently found the need internally to redo the Twofold character bios + the actual VN summary to use as reference. While updating the actual key art on our web pages is bottom of the bottom priority until First Snow is pretty much shipped, we’d like to update the text on those relatively quickly. There are some elements that are really outdated (Oliver) or misleading (the VN summary and its focus on Oliver’s GPA as opposed to our core themes) that we’d like to correct to give everyone a better idea of where we’re at currently.

The next sprite on our to-do once Aco returns is Rose, a character we showed off in older First Snow screenshots who we haven’t really elaborated on. While we want to keep the rest of the FS cast and what Twofold characters will/won’t be in it in the dark for now, we’ll definitely show off the new Rose as soon as we can.

And that’ll about do it for now! Sorry again for the wait, and thank you for continuing to follow us after all this time.

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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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