Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

We're flattered that you could pull yourselves away from the 50 Shades premiere to be with us here today. After all, nobody loves us like you do. Because we believe that relationships should be equal part give and take, we've got a couple gifts, coming from Honitsu and Sendo respectively.


Natasha by Honitsu

Isolda by Sendo

There's also a bit of good news to share today. Our art roster has once again grown: we've a new background artist named Zion joining up with us. This doubles our number of background artists by bringing us up to two. I'll post some samples of his work once there's more of that.

Here's hoping that you have a lovely holiday, whether you're spending it alone or with your significant other (2D or 3D - we won't judge). If you'd like though, come chat with us on the forums. See you 'round!



Saturday, January 31, 2015

Trigger Warning: Release Date

We've been pretty quiet since Christmas. It's not really a bad thing - there just hasn't been much to say. Editors gon' edit, and all that. Sprite production is going along pretty well, which is something that I haven't been able to say with confidence for too long.

So, the question that oughta be on everyone's mind is: how much longer? Or in the eternal words of some our IRC regulars: "Demo when?"

December. We've been hoping for December release dates for a couple years now, and a couple Decembers have since passed by. I'm pretty sure Taylor Swift even wrote a song about it. Things are going to be a bit different this time around, though, because we're going to be emphasizing the "dead" in "deadline."

If by the start of 2016, the demo content isn't at least 90% done, we're going to just call it quits. Because at that point, we won't really be able to make excuses any longer, or pretend that we're gonna get it together soon after, or whatever. If after 4 years we're not able to produce a demo, then it just ain't gonna happen.

This is something that we actually talked about and loosely decided upon a long time ago. We've had a few other internal deadlines where it's like, "if X percent of editing isn't completed by this date, then it's over" and thus far we've achieved all those. And it's not even as if we're in dire straits right now. Things look the most promising they ever have.

Mostly, we're just publicly announcing this to keep us accountable. Since it's out in the open now, we can't really hide from it or pretend it wasn't something that we meant. Basically, it's demo or die now, and I'm really hoping for the former. Here's to not letting everyone down.

We'll see you guys on Valentine's Day.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays! (2014 Remix)

Well folks, it's been a long year. Three hundred and fifty-nine days so far, to be exact. It's been an important one for us here at Somnova, though. We made a tremendous amount of progress, and it's been our pleasure to share it with you all.

In case anyone is joining us late here, I'll recap a couple important things that happened with regards to Missing Stars.

-For one thing, our art team grew three sizes larger. Now consisting of Angry Evil, Hexagod, Honitsu, Lian-Ne, Mike Inel, Morthiasik, and Sendo, we've been crankin' out art at a pretty consistent pace. And it looks better than ever before.

-We showed off some of our sprites, and went into the process of their creation.

-The world at large got its first look at Missing Stars in action, while also revisiting some of the earlier concepts.

Bit of an update to that last one, too. The very next day after posting that blog, Sendo, being the all-star that he is, cranked out a couple updated versions of the bedroom background that you can see in the gameplay video. Here's a brief look at that.

* * *

We had some big expectations for this year. Some of them were met, some were not. Overall though, I couldn't be more proud of what we've accomplished as a team. And, I know that I say this in almost every blog post, but thanks so much to you guys for sticking with us. We know that we've been taking a while with this thing, but we hope that you'll think it was worth it in the end.

Plus, just because Democember didn't end up happening doesn't mean that we don't have anything for you folks this year. Click the present below for a couple neat gifts to string up on your desktops, if you're so inclined.

Additionally, come celebrate and be festive with us on the forums.

From all of us here at Somnova Studios: happy holidays!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Missing Stars UI and Gameplay Preview Video

While we try to be transparent about a lot of our development process, one thing that we haven't really ever shown is our UI, or any actual "gameplay." Time to change that, while also giving you guys a short tour down memory lane. In addition to a brief sample of what Missing Stars currently looks like, we also decided to show you guys some of our older iterations of the UI, so you can see how it evolved. We hope you enjoy this little preview. (Click the link to view it on Youtube, or watch it below.)



Love it, hate it, or feel indifferent about? Come tell us on the forums.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Here's hoping that everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday this year. We have a few treats for you, but no tricks, on this spookiest of evenings. For one thing, Kosherbacon, Gloom, and Hamadyne all worked to put together a couple short stories to get into the spirit of things.

Hama's "Halloween Costumes" story is a much more cheerful piece that you might need after reading the others. Kosher's "St. Dymphna's Mystery Club" is dark and suspenseful, but at least it won't leave you hanging. Finally, Gloom's latest work, "The Little Death," is more on the intimate, emotional side of things.

Please feel free to leave some feedback either on the stories' respective threads, or of course come discuss everything on the forums.

And of course, it's not a Missing Stars blog post without some art, so we hope you enjoy this year's holiday pieces as much as we do.

thank mr sendo and morth




Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Destroy Angles (NSFW)

Note: This post contains nudity and shouldn't be viewed if you're in a place where nudity isn't appreciated, like work or a children's play park.

Hello again friends. Today's blog isn't a progress one, so much as it is showing you a little bit of the artistic process. Some people might not find this stuff all that engaging, but we've had a few requests for a sprite post, so here ya go. In order to actually have something interesting and factual to read, I've asked Morth to kinda walk through his process some. Enjoy.


Hello!
Morthiasik here, artist responsible for Isolda artworks. Because I am the first one to have completed a basic set of main heroine linearts, I have the privilege of writing about how it's even made.



At the beginning, Raith handed me assignment document with list of all poses, expressions and outfits needed. Thankfully everything was nicely organised and no single change was made later, I could just do my work without worries that something might be thrown away later. At this stage I began figuring out each pose, making quick gesture sketches to establish posture and Isolda's body language. It looked practically like this:


02_Gesture.jpg


Once Raith (and fellow artists) approved everything, I could transform stick figures to full bodies with faces and polish it a little. Here I could also do last corrections concerning anatomy, proportions and even head angles. To make things much easier in the future, I drew nude sketches of all the poses lined up, ready for further development:
03_PoseSketches.jpg
I call it pose chart and it's super useful.


Now we'll focus on pose number 2:


04_Process1.jpg
Here's tiny sketch resized to enormous size of 2000x4000 pixels. On top of this I made sketch of school uniform (other outfits to be added later) and started slow, line by line process of inking. I use Paint tool SAI for my drawings, not only because I generally like this software, but also for one important function. That thing called Smoothing, here set to S-2 is a magical tool that actually allows me to draw long, clean lines like with traditional thin brush. Otherwise my lines would be extremely wobbly and simply ugly.

Along the way I had to redone hair and eyes, to match up MS style set by our Style Dictator AngryEvil. Unfortunately I haven't kept old files, so I'm not able to show it. Anyway, here's the result:


05_Process2.jpg


When I'm finished I add new layers with different face expressions (few times consulted with Raith again):


06_Process3.jpg
~You'll see what else Isolda has to offer in game~


This way I made all of six poses of Isolda in St.Dymphna's School uniform with total of 34 faces. Now it’s my job to draw her in different apparel and subsequently, color this all!


As a bonus, have some concepts of her casual outfit:
07_OutfitIdeas.jpg


Well, that's all from me today, regards!
~Morthiasik

Personally, I'm a fan of outfits 2 and 3, but we haven't really settled on anything yet. Feel free to chime in if you've got some suggestions.

With the addition of a couple new artists, including a dedicated colorist, we've finally begun to start inking in some of our sprite lineart, rather than just the uncolored versions we've been sharing. The final coloring style still remains to be determined, but we're getting there. Have a sneak peek below, though.


I'm really running out of semi-witty things to end these blog posts with, so we'll leave it at that. Come post on the forums and tell us what you think.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Regularly-Promised-But-Not-Delivered-Upon Progress Report

A month ago, I swore I was going to do one of these every two weeks.

For the most part, there isn't a whole lot to say here, given that we're in a bit of a slow phase. Or at least a boring phase, because editing progress isn't exactly thrilling to read about.

I can, however, announce one of the artists I had mentioned a while back. She's recently begun working on some actual stuff for Missing Stars, so I'm comfortable saying who she is: Lian-ne will be a welcome addition to the Missing Stars art team, helping out with some of the side characters' art. Additionally, there are two other promising applicants to the team which are still pending, for various reasons. More on them later.

One bit of nice news is that we can finally, with 100% certainty, confirm that Mike Inel will be providing animations for Missing Stars. In the past, there's been some confusion among the audience, and even among ourselves, as to whether or not he's still on board. We recently touched base with him, though, and verified that he is. Animation production will begin in early 2015, when he has some more free time on his hand. At the moment, I couldn't say whether or not there will be any animations in the demo, though it's looking like "no."

Finally, simply to keep this blog post from being excessively short, I'm going to partially fulfill a promise from long ago, and introduce you to one of our side characters.



Ela is the first of many characters we'll likely receive flak for not making romanceable. A Saint Dymphna's student in the same grade as Erik, Ela is also largely responsible for showing him around the school - she's a bit of a teacher's pet. Although, with her popularity amongst the student body, you could argue that she's a bit of an everyone's pet. Ela makes her debut early into the game, being one of the first people that Erik meets at the new school, and she's got at least something of a presence across all of the routes. She wouldn't have it any other way.


Come yell at us about not giving her a route on the forums.