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Showing posts from 2012

Happy New Year!

We here at Somnova Studios wish all of you a happy 2013!
...And that's it, pretty much. Hope the hangovers aren't too bad.

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Es Wird Scho Glei Dumpa

Art By Troyd
Sick of Santa Girls & Fanservicey things? Here's something local & traditional instead!

Es wird scho glei dumpa, Es wird scho glei Nacht
Drum kimm I zu dir her Mei Heiland auf d' Wacht
Wo I singa a Liad'l Dem Kinderl dem Kloan
Du mogst ja net schlafa I hör' di nur woan
Hei Hei, Hei Hei!
Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind

Du brauchst doch net woana Kumm sei wieder froh
Du hosd zwoar koa Deck'n Nur Heu und nur Stroh
Doch d' Engerl die schmück'n Dei Liag'statt scho aus
Kann schöner net sei in an König sei Haus
Hei Hei, Hei Hei!
Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind

Ja Kinderl du bist hoit Im Kripperl so schee
Am liabst'n dat I nimmer weg von dir geh
I wünsch' dir vom Herz'n die siasseste Ruah
Die Engerl vom Himmi die deckan di zua
Hei Hei, Hei Hei!
Schlaf siass herzliabs Kind

We of the Somnova Studios wishes you a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are. May the Peace and Joy of Christmas be with you always all year long.

PS: As a little production note, we a…

This Music Writing Thing Is Hard

Hey, this is keviniskool. I'm one of the new musicians on Missing Stars, and I mean that in more than one way. While I am new to the team, I'm also new to writing music in a formal, organized manner as part of a group effort. For me, this meant no more random genre changes, no more stealing from other bits of songs, and no more waiting around for ideas to happen while the rest of the project moves along. I haven't quite gotten all of these things down yet, but one song in particular has been quite the experience in rewriting and revising, as well as adjusting expectations along the way.

One of the first songs I started working on after my acceptance was a little something called "Recollections". I originally intended it to be a theme for the title menu. This small intention already caused problems for me; I started work on another piece shortly after that I also intended to be the title theme, and both pieces sounded completely different. How was I supposed to re…

1% Inspiration, 99% Convenient Self-Excuses

They say that one of the marks of an amateurish and unprofessional artist is that they only work when the mood strikes them – "when they have [the] inspiration for it". Fortunately for me, and for the majority of my esteemed colleagues here in the Somnova writing department (As I would like to believe, for the sake of my fragile artistic ego), we don't even pretend to be professional, so at least you can't blame that on us.

At the risk of tearing down whatever reputation I might have painstakingly managed to establish somewhere out there as a writer, the truth is that I'm not exactly bursting at the seams with brilliant ideas. To extend the metaphor, you could say that most of the time I'm practically deflated and have to be moved around via spatula.

While, as above, a professional writer should ideally be able to spend at least several hours a day writing regardless of whether they have a good idea or not (most guides would recommend "writ…

A Tale of Seven Writers

Hello, little darlings. Uncle alabaster here with a progress update.

Things are moving about as fast as you might expect for a big project organized over the internet, but we're on track. Even with a more ambitious Act 1 outline, scenes are coming along nicely.

It's worth noting that we just finished up the opening stretch of scenes in the story, which is a big deal. And it's not just about introducing the setting or the main character. It's about establishing how he speaks, how he thinks, how he feels. What it's like being inside Erik's head, basically, and that's a good thing to have on record when you're trying to unite the writing styles of seven different people. Doesn't make the job easy, of course, but it's nice to have a foundation, which is exactly what we didn't have on our first try.

On our first go, the writing team basically split up at the beginning in order to tackle their respective girls' scenes. Actually, I don't th…

Never Stick it in Crazy

Article images by sho-N-D

Today, I'm taking a break from putting off writing ACTUAL game content shoehorning unforgivable amounts of girl-on-girl action into Missing Stars to talk about everyone's favorite subject. No, not cupcakes. Everyone's OTHER favorite subject.

Sex.

So uh. Yeah. There's gonna be sex in the VN. There's gonna be naked people doing naked things to other naked people using their naked parts. However, the prospect of sexuality in visual novels is a bit of a touchy subject. More than a few fans and followers have expressed apprehension about sexuality being presented in this project. Why?

It can't be tastefully done in a story about mental patients.

The main concern brought up is fear that the player will partake in fictionalized rape of feeble-minded persons.

At the risk of sounding timid and unambitious when it comes to the story, I can safely say that no, the player will not be raping anybody. One of the first things we as a team agreed on w…

The Witching Hour

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and howlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon's blood, Then the charm is firm and good.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38 

The season of fear has descended upon us in full strength, howling winds and cold rains (in some places fiercer than in others - keep safe), and with it, Halloween! Ghouls and Goblins and Ghosties, oh my! These may be the final few hours of the holiday proper, but don't think we've forgotten our dues.

While we've had a bigger pic for you in mind, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for next year to see it... See, the little demons here in Somnova have been busy, busy busy…

The Art of Not Writing

I am not a professional writer.

None of us here are, so we're all -- to some extent -- learning as we go. As part of that learning, I've been reflecting more on my creative process than I have in the past. analane touched on this earlier in the month, but I thought I'd go into more detail regarding one aspect of our job in particular: how do we create our characters? More to the point, how do we figure out who they really are? How do we get to know them? Because that's what you have to do: know your character as though she was your closest friend.

Of course, methods will differ between writers. Some maybe take a walk and run over scenarios in their heads, working out how the character would react in each. Others might be inspired by real people and real interactions they experience in their everyday life. The really weird ones might role-play their characters to truly inhabit their skin; I assure you all of us here at Somnova Studios are perfectly well-ad…

Fall Has Fell

The leaves around here are turning all sort of pretty colors. The wind and the rain just don't seem to let up for days at a time. It's autumn, at least in my neck of the woods. I love this time of year, so I'm doing pretty well.

But how does the change of season affect Missing Stars? We're a volunteer outfit, and that means we all have lives outside the team. A lot of us are also pretty young, with school starting up again and consuming a lot of what would have been free time. Oddly, though, the last week or so has been the most active, productive period for months.

Some of you will be surprised by this; most will probably be shocked it didn't happen sooner, but Somnova has had its first real roadblock, the first major hiccup, the first time I've personally had reason to step back and wonder, "Are we going to make it?"

Of course, I'll never know the answer for certain -- not until Missing Stars is released, anyway -- but for now, I'm confident…

Throw It All In

It is my belief that there is a moment in every writer’s life when they realize they’re trying too hard.

Mine came not when I started work on Missing Stars in mid-January, but on a dreary November long before I “got my shit together"— when I started my love/hate relationship with National Novel Writing Month. In an attempt to write the new science-fiction young adult hit, I decided the best way to do so would be to cram every plot device, every trope, every iota of every sci-fi movie, book, or tv show into one 50,000 word novella. 

There was space warfare melodrama (of course), but there was also teen-angst melodrama, sloppily added lesbian melodrama, father/son melodrama, and my personal favorite (only because of how horrible I realized it was later), sad, orphaned children melodrama. The book was a train wreck. But not because I didn’t create each character with care, not because I didn’t spend time drafting scenes, and definitely not because I wasn’t dedicated enough. It was bec…

La Vie Quotidienne

For most people, returning to another year of high school is a wonderful time to get in touch with friends, go to parties with others, have trouble with homework, and (maybe) find love amongst the masses.

For me, my time in high school was a different experience. As someone who was never quite in the 'in' crowd, I found it hard to attend parties where all people ever did was grind up against each other to some loud, grating beat on a cheap stereo set. Homework, though I had a lot of it, was never too difficult - perhaps due to my lack of partygoing habits. Romance was something I shied away from; only having one short relationship that was never bad, but never all that good either.

Perhaps this describes you. Perhaps it doesn't. Whatever your history, the unique environment of the high school campus manages to pervade popular media across the globe to this day. When we see a character in a television show, or - dare I say it - a visual novel, we can't help but find si…

On Building a Menagerie

(edit: If anyone's noticed this post changing between page views, it's because I wrote this early in the morning while medicated. I ended up accidentally a lot of words. Also, steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5...)

Believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, but Missing Stars did not always have a plucky cast of adorable mental patients. When we first started, we had plenty of potential writers, yes, but no characters. Although imperial.standard had some character designs up, it was neither feasible nor desirable for the writers to stick with just those characters. Let's take an abbreviated look at how we resolved that.

1. Getting started.

First off, we had our potential writers come up with at least two possible love interests, plus a main character if they can. 

Name, Age, Mental Illness
Appearance
Background description
Basic idea of their route (what you want to happen in the route, it should be an event on how the character and MC are coming closer [please note, this does pertain…

It's the Little Things that Kill...

Note: some of the following images have been resized and/or cropped for blog purposes.


"Appearance: Lean, athletic build, modest bust, tanned olive complexion, short and messy dark blond hair, greenish gold eyes. Tends to wear clothes that would be considered too cold for current weather. Always seen wearing restraint mask(think Hannibal Lecter)"

That right there is an excerpt from my character proposal for Lena Forst, written up all the way back in mid-January. Lena was the most developed of my proposed characters(more on that in a later blog post), so I had a pretty good idea what she should look like.


image by imperial.standard

Based on my description, however poorly articulated, imperial.standard pretty much nailed it right away with his concept art. There were some alternative mask designs that were proposed, but in the end, we stuck with something Lecter-inspired. (For more information on the origins of the original SOTL mask, click here.)

With the basic desi…

Status Update

Development has come quite a ways since the last one of these, and we felt it was high time to put out a status update. Right now we’re still trying to identify what assets we need and who’s in charge of completing them, this makes progress understandably difficult. Despite some troubles, we’ve still managed to make some progress on all fronts.

Our writing team is chugging along merrily, coming closer and closer to completing their scenes for Act 1, after which it’ll be just a matter of polish. As it stands, I’d estimate we have 60% of the first drafts for Act 1 scenes done. The editing process is only just beginning, and that remains a large chunk of work. The outline for Act 1 is complete however, so it’s just a matter of getting all the scenes written up and polished.

On the art side of things, the art team is moving along slowly but surely. The sprite production process looks to be a fairly long one, with several stages of iteration and refinement so making a real declaration of …

100,000 Hits!

Hey, look! This happened last night!



Thanks for all of your support thus far, everyone! Hope you enjoy the last few weeks of summer.



-Hamadyne

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So You've Decided to Write a Porn Game...

Hey guys, did you hear? A bunch of feeltards are doing a Katawa Shoujo rip-off, but with retarded girls.

What kind of person would want to do that?

What kind? I dunno. I guess I'm sort of a normal dude, as are my colleagues. Well... normal-ish.

Anyways, this may come as a surprise, but Missing Stars seems to have garnered some controversy by its mere existence. Generally, I don't bother reading or listening to criticisms said about our project, as they're mostly based on assumptions since precious few details concerning our VN have been released so far.

Nonetheless, I feel that there are questions that have arisen that deserve to be answered.

Why are you doing this?


It's fucking fun, that's why. Somnova isn't just a dev team. We're friends, too. Sure, we might want each other dead by the end of the project, but so far I'm glad to have become acquainted with my colleagues. Together, we've had some laughs, fapped over shared musical tastes, swapped porn, a…

What Even Is?

Art by blackjack

Looking back, it certainly has been a wild, wild couple of months since we all started making this VN. Development has been progressing pretty well over this summer, despite most of us being busy with real-life work. Scenes are being edited as we speak. We're also busy working on the user interface that will be used in-game, and making sure the scenes flow correctly. As far as art is progressing, we're getting sprites made, and they're looking incredible!

With all this talk about sprites and scenes, what exactly are we making? A game? A novel?

The true answer is hard to determine. The 'select choice, get next scene' element of most visual novels isn't really 'gameplay' in a sense - the player merely follows a path. Many game experts would indeed be hesitant to call a visual novel a 'game', as there are no real challenges (aside from the dilemma of what option to choose) that directly affect gameplay.

But what happens when you start …