Sunday, April 20, 2014

And On the Third Year, Somnova Rose Again...

If you've spent any time in our IRC, or been following our blog, then you've probably seen a couple mentions of a few new artists that will be joining our team. Well, the wait is over, and I'm proud to introduce the new folks. Rather than include a bunch of links, we've instead decided to make things a bit easier: there's now an official Missing Stars art tumblr! From here on out, any promotional art that we post on the regular blog will also be posted on the Tumblr, so you can admire without having to deal with our wordiness here. In addition, we've kept up the application pieces from our new artists, so you can see a bit of their work and get acquainted with some of what you can expect. Please note that none of the application pieces contain Missing Stars characters or other MS-related material.

With these new additions, our art progress should be much smoother than it has been, and you can look forward to more frequent promo pieces and updates. And just for clarity's sake, you can view the entire art roster below:


Angry Evil - Lineart
Chisana - CG, BG, Coloring, Directing
Clivenart - Lineart
Cya - Lineart
Morthiasik - Lineart
MikeInel - FMV (Animation)
Myuto - CG
Naiyus - CG, Coloring
Nihomie - Lineart
Renko - BG
Shin - Lineart

To kick things off, here's some art courtesy of our now-veteran Chisana. Enjoy, and hoppy halidays! And as always, feel free to come talk about this post on our forums.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An apology to the Missing Stars community

I owe an apology to the rest of the Missing Stars team and the community. I erroneously assumed that the team would go along with my new proposed direction for Missing Stars that we introduced yesterday if they saw all of the amazing community support I could drum up for it, but they said "it doesn't count because it was April Fool's Day." Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon begs to differ, but I digress. I suppose I can work on the clearly superior spinoff in my spare time.

In the time I was trying to give Missing Stars a bold, new direction, it turns out we got a lot of actual work done. In fact, no one even told me that we got a new artist who goes by the name Morthiasik, along with 12 other artist applications we are currently looking through. That's certainly a lot better than me plonking away in MS Paint trying to make sprites. Seriously, this new Isolda art has like, 2000 times as many pixels as my art:

The last one was transparent. You could see her naked and everything.


Speaking of Isolda, I have been told that her route for Act 1 has been completely drafted, which once again puts the rest of the team to shame as we realize that raithfyre was the last writer to join our team, and yet one of the first to finish.

Sorry for the disappointment in making what is clearly the better version of Missing Stars, but we hope you'll enjoy the progress on the project.

If you want to discuss our progress, you can check out the thread on our forum.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Current State of Missing Stars Pt. 2

So you may remember our previous blog post having a call for new artists.

The bad news is, we didn't get any artists.

The good news is, we're doing what every indie game without artists does. 

We're going retro! Missing Stars is now being done in the classic style of video games' past, and the early results are looking great! For instance, here's our menu, now updated with the new style:



Also, we have already started rewriting our soundtrack to match the new look. We present you two songs off of the Missing Stars soundtrack in monophonic, hi-fidelity 8-bit glory.

We also started on converting our already existing sprites, but our conversion algorithm isn't quite working as planned:
We'll have something better by tomorrow hopefully.

We know this a bold, new direction for Missing Stars that you probably weren't expecting, but we assure you it is for the best. We hope you will come to see this the same way we do: the way Missing Stars was always supposed be.

You can discuss our new direction on our forums.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Current State of Missing Stars

I personally have received quite a few private messages from strangers wondering what our project is doing, and I think it's time we laid out exactly what is going on.

1. Development is still happening
The relative scarcity of posts may imply otherwise, but we are working on this project as hard as ever. Admittedly, we have waves of productivity where we're sometimes more productive than at other times (which conveniently lines up with midterms and finals), but we're always working. We originally decided not to post much until the demo released, but we realized this was a mistake due to our aforementioned waves of productivity, which leads to:

2. We're going to stop being secretive about game assets
We originally thought that keeping everything close to our chests would somehow make the project more prestigious, but in reality it just means people stop caring as little to no news is released. Even the recent reintroductions of the main characters was a back-and-forth of "how much is too much?" over a period of weeks. From now on, you can look forward to more frequent updates about stuff that will be in the game, as well as some things that are already on the cutting floor that we find interesting. Speaking of the cutting floor:

3. We need artists
VN Development is some seriously tricky business, especially when you can't make a living off of it. We have had a lot of artists come and go throughout Missing Stars' development, and each of them has contributed to shaping the final look we would have. All of the art we have shown on our new yearbook has been instrumental towards making Missing Stars what it is today, but none of it is actually representative of the final product. Since we haven't revealed that final look yet, I guess it's about time we gave you a taste. This is what the lovely Natasha looks like now, under the direction of our sprite artist, AngryEvil:



So we're on our way, but the fact of the matter is our art team is not big enough to get this project done. Without some more help, we probably won't be able to finish this project. If you think you can match the above art style, we would love for you to join Somnova Studios. If you fancy yourself as more of a Bob Ross background painter, we need those too! All styles are acceptable, so show us what you can do! You can apply on our forums.

4. We really can't estimate when the demo will release
We know exactly what needs to be finished in order for a demo release to happen, but we can't make any real guesses as to when things will be finished due to the volunteer nature of the project. A large part of this is dependent on whether we can get artists or not, but even with new artists, there are programming problems to tangle with, and maybe some problems we aren't even aware could exist in the first place. Massive companies dedicated to making video games constantly misjudge release dates, and we aren't any better.

So that's the current progress of Missing Stars. If you have any questions, you can ask in our forums, and hopefully we will be able to answer them.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Insanity and all

Slowly, with the hush of candles going out and final kisses stolen under the cover of darkness, Valentine's Day of 2014 comes to an end. Whether you spent the day holding hands with and coming closer to your loved one, like Isolda, exchanging meaningful glances over a specially made dinner, like Jeanne, or simply busying yourself thinking how you'll organize all of those new chocolates when you get back to your room (and who'll do something like that?), we hope each and every one of you had a wonderful time.

Much as with writing, in this sense, there's something fundamentally paradoxical about love: it's an intensely personal experience, private, even - yet in the same time it is meaningless unless shared with another. Few people could attest to that complexity right now, in those final, fervid moments before night becomes morning and holy becomes every, than Erik Wilhelm, whose woes are laid bare in Worthington's new Valentine's Day short story, "Expectations". Be sure to give it a read - he made it just for you, you know.

(N-not that he likes you, or anything silly like that.)

It'd be longer, but then, sometimes all it takes is a few written words to say how much you care about someone. Besides, he's been keeping his priorities in mind - else we wouldn't be able to say that just a few days ago (defying everyone's expectations of a certain eyepatch wearing girl) he's finally finished his work on Annaliese' route for the demo, bringing us that step much closer. Stay tuned over the next few months for more news - there's been a lot going on behind the stages (when is that ever not the case?), and eager that we are to tell you all about it, everything in due time.

Waiting can just make it sweeter.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Something Got Done!

Just a quick one today. We want to keep you guys more in the loop about what's going on behind the curtain, so we'll be posting about landmarks in our development process as we hit them -- for instance, when our writers finish their content for the demo.

It actually happened a couple days ago (he's been nagging me since then to do my job and post about it), but TJeffy has thoroughly embarrassed the rest of us by being one of our newest members and having his stuff complete before anyone else. So all you twins fans out there will be happy to know your waifus' scenes are all done.

Not much else to report, but things are coming together in a way that's getting even jaded, old, day-one devs like me super excited. And I'll keep you posted on writing progress as it rolls out. There will probably be one of these announcements for a certain character with an eyepatch pretty soon. See you then.

-alabaster

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Come Bearing Gifts

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's that time -- all the little kiddies in Vienna are just waking up to the presents that Santa left overnight. Over here, it's a bit earlier, but that doesn't mean I don't have some presents for you just the same.

To set the Christmas mood, here's a little tune Kevin whipped up. He's dunked the theme song in egg nog and sprinkled it all over with tinsel to capture the wonders of the season!

If you're looking for a feel-good story filled with all the joy and love you'd expect of him, Gloom wrote a little something you'll probably enjoy. You can check it out right here!

Last but not least, here's a bit of art from our friend roz, who has a has a tumblr you should check out. (Also, try clicking on that present to unwrap something else you might like.)



And hey -- if I don't see you before again before then, have a great New Years! See you in 2014!

-alabaster

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