January dev update — All hail the new year!

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It’s 2019 already, and we’re hard at work on Leaf’s story! This update includes news on his story’s progress, and the redraw project. (As you might have noticed, we’re redrawing all the sprites. I’m explaining why in this post.)

 

The Redraw Project

I announced this on Twitter a while back, but since Valee has become the primary CG artist, I had to make a decision regarding the art style consistency of the game. After running a poll with our Kickstarter backers, 95% of 125 votes were for revamping the sprites. This means that I’ll be redrawing all the characters from Zodiac Axis, specifically the face and hair, to match with Valee’s style.

This is a pretty enormous project considering that there’s 1400+ sprites (when including expressions) in Zodiac Axis to redo, but there’s two positives to this:

  1. Consistency. Since the CGs and sprites are much more close in appearance, the player won’t be jarred by the artstyle difference.

  2. Genre flagging. The previous artstyle was much more traditional for anime. This created an expectation that Zodiac Axis was a traditional otome. The new style helps add a bit of grit and set it apart, alerting players that this won’t be a traditional otome experience.

Phase I: The Liars

Phase I: The Liars

Phase 2: The Thieves

Phase 2: The Thieves

So, here they are! All in one spot, hooray! And it’s been cool to see the evolution of the characters throughout the years.

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And here’s some sneak peeks of the updated build with the new sprites in place:

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Leaf’s Story

On the bright side, taking time to redraw the cast is also giving me more space to catch up on writing. And by “catch up on writing,” I sort of mean… staring blankly at a sheet of paper, wondering why my characters don’t want to do what I tell them.

But, oh well. That’s life. Sometimes the words flow, and sometimes you need to incubate them like little dinosaur eggs.

In the meantime, some new asset previews!

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Progress tl;dr

  • BGs: Super ahead. Wrothsloth has finished all the backgrounds for Leaf’s Route and has proceeded onto working on backgrounds for Halt’s Route.

  • CGs: Super ahead. Valee, the CG artist, is actually ahead on CGs, which leaves us room to redo some of the rougher CGs from Common Route and Beckett’s Route.

  • Sprites: Behind. Because of the visual update, I have a lot of characters to redraw.

  • Writing: Very behind. I’ve hit a huge writer’s block that has lasted for several months now, which has been very difficult to work through due to a severe resurgence in my depression. Working on the script a little bit every day, but it definitely feels like creative constipation. Hoping to get through this soon.