Monday, October 31, 2016

'Tis the Season to be Spooky

The leaves are falling, the memes are spooky, and pumpkin spice is suddenly a financially viable flavor again. And with the change of the seasons comes a blog post.

You may recall our last blog post recruited one writer, and actually, we ended up securing a few more to boot, one of them being me. I'm Blank Mage, and I have to say, it's weird seeing these posts from the opposite side of the fence. I'm like your man on the inside now. I've infiltrated the headquarters, bringing you intel.

Since our last update, things have settled down considerably as us new writers are brought up to speed with old material, and a push is being made to categorize and integrate the enormous amount of raw material into something that works when you click on it. This means new backgrounds, new CGs, new UI, and a whole mess of formatting. It's slow going, but it is going. Really, the hard part is getting all of us in one room at the same time, something our resident Discord lackeys fans can attest to.

But it wouldn't be an update without at least one image, and Kuroe, one such an obliging fan, has graced us with a Halloween gift. Sadly, our dedicated artists are too busy making art happen to dedicate time to the blog, but on the bright side, our dedicated artists are too busy making art happen to dedicate time to the blog. In related news, we're still on the lookout for artists, especially ones proficient at backgrounds, to help speed up production as much as possible as we enter a new phase of development. If you think you’ve got what it takes, feel free to get in touch either on our forums or through Discord, so that ye may be judged.

Erik took the photo, so you'll just have to imagine his costume.

Now, as for actual secrets, I have a few I can probably get aw- oh god it was a joke I wasn't going to I swe-

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Discord is now open!

Just a short update this time:

Remember that Discord channel we mentioned in our last post? Now you can join us.

Official Somnova Studios Discord Channel!

Feel free to stop by and say hello!

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Gang's All Here

Look at this, another update! Holy crap we’re still alive!

It’s actually quite interesting to look at the progression of blog posts in the past years. 35, 22, 20, 6, and now 3 with this post just sent out. From the looks of things we’ve certainly declined: not only with just the number of written posts but simply with the general forum activity as well. However as I’m looking at the loads of work this team is putting in there certainly seems to be a strong seen difference between telling everyone what you’re doing and actually doing it.

So what is new with us and what are we currently doing?

Well for one thing me. I’m a new writer that is. Myself and a few other individuals have been brought on to spark some new and fresh talent within the project and so far it seems to be working. Frankly it’s been so refreshing to see the energy and dedication everyone is now putting into a VN 4+ years in the making.

Here’s the list of everyone new assisting with polishing up a demo that is still proving to be a massive undertaking. 

Blank MageGeneral Writer of connecting scenes and overall story flow.

KuiperUpdating the “twin” route into a new story to make more sense.

Windreda(Myself)Taking over Isolda’s written route.

DM_SinclairTaking over Annaliese’s written route.

Ultra_HREditor to assist with grammar, continuity, communication, etc.

Turns out the current script needed some massive reworking from the previous few months (Which is a good thing that we're editing this). Like in the past we are still working hard to send out something that you all can enjoy.

This time around there are a few key differences:

  • Somnova Studios has always been plagued with communication issues: not only in regards to simple miscommunication but with certain members being unable to be reached. This time around we’ve moved to Discord for team communication/Missing Stars organization. The formatting is not only a lot easier to navigate, but if someone from a specific area of the VN has a problem this can be addressed immediately.

  • Stronger emphasis of deadlines are being implemented. Bi-weekly voice chat meetings are used to not only have existing members check in, but also to establish certain time frames for things to be submitted. Sprites, backgrounds, and especially editing are hot priorities for completing our upcoming public demo(that is at this point long overdue). While we all unfortunately have lives outside of Somnova Studios VN completion at some point needs to be prioritized.

  • Finally it’s just fun at this point. Despite some of the issues in the past the members of Somnova are just having a good time working on this project. We laugh, goof off, and share our occasional meme but at the end of the day there’s a real sense of pride and enjoyment pushing out the new written/artistic/musical drafts that will be put into our “finalized” product. To be working on a project that’s educational, heart wrenching, and enjoyable just means the absolute world to us.

And so far it’s still looking just as good! Here’s a colored sprite of Ela (one of our side characters at St. Dymphna) that Morthiasik sent over that still makes me smile every time I look at it. 

Any questions/comments/concerns or frankly any simple hellos you have I, or any other member, will be more than happy to address in the forums. 

Thank you for your continued patience with us! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blog Post of Doom

Greetings and Salutations, everyone.

I'd like to say that this year has been a little rough for Somnova, but really, every year has been rough in one way or another. Over the course of the last eight or so months, we've lost (or lost touch with, in some cases) writers and editors. Fortunately, we've secured a very talented pair of writers plus a superb editor to help us out. That said, we still need at least one writer for one of the routes.

Although the route in question was already drafted some time ago, there are some issues that need to be addressed. Without the original writer, it wouldn't be right for the rest of us to pick at it in an attempt to patch things up. Instead, we'd like to have someone dedicated to the route who can make it work from the ground up.

Although there is an existing framework to work within, the new writer would have the freedom to change the plot, within reason, as well as their characters and associated backstory. We also need someone capable of carrying the route beyond act 1. For more details, visit the forums and leave a message. If you've applied with us before and haven't heard back, (probably because we weren't hiring at the time) please do reconnect.

Moving on, let's have a status update:

Editing, as always, is progressing. I myself am inserting stage and sprite directions into my scenes.

Lena doesn't cry, she just gets madder.

I know that simply saying that we're editing is rather vague, but it's a huge job. The mere act 1 of Missing Stars is in the neighborhood of 100,000 words and has gone through a number of comprehensive rewrites.

Fun fact: At one point, the main character had amnesia and at the end of Lena's route, he overdosed on MDMA while attending a rave in the catacombs under the school. 

Things get pretty sticky when elements get added to the story only to be removed. You get things referencing other things that aren't there anymore, and eventually you get two consecutive scenes that feel like they've come from two completely different VNs. It's a long and frustrating process but we've been fixing that.

Also, this girl should be wearing trousers.

Our intrepid background photographer, amarsh1138, is pulling double duty and doing some editing. He spent a small fortune at the print shop to give us the red-marker treatment.

Scenes 1-45(The first half of act 1)

The whole demo.

Merlyn's been pumping out tech demos whenever we revise the script. These mockups don't have much in the way of graphics, but are used to test the user-interface and path functionality.

Dat Splash.

Thanks for sticking with us this long.

Click here to discuss this post on the forums.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Another Year, Another Blog Post!

It's 2016! That means leap years, presidential elections, and a progress update from Somnova!

2015 has been busy for a lot of us. Some of us moved across the country, others got new jobs and responsibilities, and several members have had to leave due to changes in their lives.

But what hasn't changed is our dedication to this project. Despite our silence, we assure you guys that we're working hard behind the scenes to bring you Act 1! Let's go over where we're at in terms of writing, sprites, and other stuff.

Writing: As of writing this blog post, we've entered the final stages of writing and editing Act 1. Our new editors have done a great job in helping us make some great improvements for the story and our lovely characters. Kosherbacon and myself have slowly begun work on Act 2 for Lena and Jeanne, respectively.

Sprites: Morthaisik, AngryEvil, and Hexagod have been champs of sprite making. Check these sweet-ass sprites below:



Other Stuff:  Aaron joined us late this year willingly offering his generous services for background work. He's taken some great shots for our school campus, so stay tuned for some stellar backgrounds!

I've also been working on an actual website for Missing Stars, which we'll have up before the demo is released.

Speaking of, the scripting and design of the demo is going well. All it really needs to get started are some finished sprites and backgrounds!

Once again, we thank all of our fans for being awesomely patient and cool. It's thanks to your support that we've been able to keep going and getting that much closer to making this project a reality.

Thank you!


Discuss this post on the forums.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Resetting Panic Levels

Oops it's been three and a half months since our last blog post. My bad. So, where to begin? I guess there's some good news, and some bad news. Which is which depends on how you feel about this project as a whole.

Let's start with what I consider the bad news:

At the start of the year, we said some very bold things about setting ourselves an ultimatum for having our demo completed by the end of the year. If we couldn't achieve that, we were just going to call it quits.

We're now entering the last quarter of 2016 and we're nowhere close to the level of completion that we need to be. It's not that we've made no progress, it's just that we haven't made enough. When this project was started, I wasn't even a member. I joined a couple years into its development, personally. So did a large percentage of the current team. For most of us, we were in the early years of college, or working part-time jobs to make ends meet. Now, a lot of us have graduated, and gone on to get real jobs. Some of us will be starting university soon and don't know what to expect. While it's not that nobody cares anymore, it's just that we can't always put in as much time as we once could.

So where does that put us now?

Well, it's time for the good news: fuck the deadline.

Our pride and dignity may suffer as we go back on our word (even after specifically saying that we wouldn't) but we're going to keep at it, even after the year ends. The deadline was imposed because we didn't want to keep wasting time indefinitely if it wasn't going to get anywhere. But honestly, making the last three years a waste would be just as bad.

We'll keep working, even if people stop caring or give up on us. Because we've come to far at this point to give up on ourselves. Everybody has a midlife crisis - we just have to get over ours.

If you have an urge to join us in our struggle of self-improvement, we're currently taking applications for all roles, including writers. Our biggest need is still a background artist. If you'd like to apply, please post on the relevant section of our forums or feel free to PM me (raithfyre) there directly.

And as always, you can talk about the post on there too.

Kind of irrelevant but I've included a couple actual colored sprites. One is the hands-down best romance option in the game, and the other is Isolda.

(Just kidding, it's actually Erik's dad)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Blog Post - June 1st

Summer's here, and Summer always brings warm feelings, good tidings, and a whole host of other nice things. Right? Right.

Sorry that we haven't posted anything lately. Just like the last few posts have said, there's not a whole lot to report. Most of our announcements tend to follow either something very good, or very bad. There's been neither, for a long while now. But still, people have been getting kinda antsy, and with good reason, so here's the scoop:

A while ago, we said that we were done with the script, barring some editing and minor revisions. Well, as our new editors looked things over, it became more obvious that the needed revisions weren't exactly minor after all. So, there's been a lot of heavy reworking. Scenes are being rewritten, new scenes are being added, and even the general pathing of Act 1 is being adjusted slightly. All that's going well, and at a good pace, but it's not particularly thrilling to hear about, so we haven't made a big fuss over it.

On the artistic front, you've probably noticed but our old friend ProNice has rejoined us, as well as Nyki. They're both helping out with CG's, and ProNice is also doing some sprite work. Relatedly, if you're a background artist looking for a project to join, hit us up.

Moving forward, I can't promise more regular updates, but do rest assured that we'll inform you if anything big happens. With summer starting, all of us should be able to make faster progress than we have been. Most of us have been held back by school, moving, or working on other projects. Summer resolves a few of those issues, and so the train of progress should be getting back on track. Here's hoping, at least.