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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 bedr…

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.


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




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 somet…

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 recentl…

Here Is The News

Quick summary of progress:

-Our medical advisor recruitment went well and we've been joined by two talented individuals who will be giving feedback on the medical aspects of Missing Stars as well as helping out with the general editing. Armymond and TotallyGeekage are both very welcome additions to the Somnova team, especially now that art production is starting to pick up and demo release actually seems achievable. We'll be doing some rewriting of a few scenes to better define Erik as a character, but it's not expected to delay overall progress at all, since editing and rewriting should still be finished before art is.

-With regards to art, we've got a couple new members in that department as well. Honitsu, already a popular Katawa Shoujo fan-artist, has joined the team and will be lending his talents towards the creation of Annaliese's art. Below, you can see the piece he made as an application to the team before he actually joined. Clearly, he has good taste in …

Current State of Missing Stars, Pt. 3

The purpose of this post is to clear up a few long-standing misconceptions. If you feel that there are any issues that we as a team haven’t been clear enough with, within reason, feel free to ask after them.

One frequent criticism leveled at us is that we’re simply a bunch of concept art and that that’s all we spend our time making. While some aspect of this is fair, of course, a lot of it is inaccurate. Last Christmas, when we launched the art gallery, which is the bulk of our concept art, it was with an art team of approximately two members. For varying reasons, all of the past artists had left the team, and so we were left with their works in progress. Some were sketches, some were concept pieces, some were even now-defunct sprite-sets. We chose to release those to the public because we had them, and there was no reason not to. There was not a single piece in the gallery that hadn’t previously been for internal use only. In other words, not promo stuff.

Since then, we’ve obviously up…

Seeking Medical Advisors

It's my favorite time: recruitment time! Currently, we're on the search for a medical advisor or two - a team member whose role we affectionately call "medbros." As a medbro, you'd serve as a second pair of eyes, reading over some crucial scenes in Missing Stars and checking them for medical accuracy, as far as symptoms and expression go. It's very much an editor position, just with a specialization.

If you do choose to apply, please understand that we will expect some actual credentials in the field of mental illness. While you don't have to be a PhD or leading researcher, you do need to be more than an armchair psychologist. I don't have any strict criteria for what counts as "valid" credentials, but basically if you can prove that you know what you're talking about, then you probably count.

Interested? Great! Please create a thread on the Developer Recruitment section of our forums, or shoot me a PM. We look forward to hearing from yo…

Mibbit Stars Now Missing

Hey folks, just wanted to make an announcement that we have once again changed locations for our IRC channel. Instead of the Mibbit network, we're now located at #MissingStars on the Rizon network. Come say hello! The link on the Somnova webpage has been updated for webchat, or of course you can use your favorite client. Be advised, I've been told that the webchat from Rizon itself can be a little spotty.

If you have any questions or need tech support, we'll do our best to help out on the forums.

Additionally, just for fun, please enjoy Yune's latest piece.


Update Time

First off, scriptwriting. As mentioned before, the first draft of Act I is complete. We're excited to be welcoming an-tan back to the team. Originally Isolda's creator and writer, she'll be rejoining Somnova as an editor. She, as well as Tjeffy and Alabaster, form the bulk of our editing crew. All of us will be doing at least some general skimming and quality checking, but the brunt of the work falls to those three. We're also totally rewriting a few scenes that are a bit outdated, or just not considered strong enough.

Things have also been progressing nicely on the artistic front. Sometime soon, I'll look into getting a couple detailed process posts, working in collaboration with the artists themselves. For now though, we're making consistent progress, and seem to be on track to have all of our demo assets done this year. Don't quote me on that, though. I'm also glad to announce that our art team continues to grow. First off, an artist by the name of Se…

Hamadyne, the Jeanne Scene Machine

. . . Has completed his designated task of Jeanne's demo scenes! Act 1, Scene 88 came rolling into Dropbox a few days ago.

What does this mean? Well, it means that rough drafts of every single demo scene have now been completed! Next comes hours of heartbreak, torment and indecision for Jeffy, Alabaster, and the newly returned An-tan. Together, the three of them form Captain Planet our editing team. Expect a more detailed blog post on overall progress soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy our newest piece of promotional art. This is a guest piece done by a friend of mine, the very talented Kiwi, of Edition Development Team and Scriptforge.


Come talk about Jeanne's butt with us on the forums (or just discuss this post).

Lena's Demo Scenes are Drafted!

In the midst of all the goofing off and spreading of disinformation on the IRC channel, I've managed to get Lena's act 1 scenes drafted. I am relieved to have survived this far, and glad that I didn't carry through with anything drastic like giving Lena long hair and changing her name. Now begins the fun, action-packed adventure of editing, rewriting, and preparing for the rest of her story. A strange journey has brought us here, and an even stranger journey awaits.
 -kosherbacon

image by Myuto

Click here to discuss this post on the forums.

Katja Demo Scenes Completed!

Usually I try to have a more clever title, but I'm at a loss for this one. Anyway, defeating all naysayers, Gloom has recently turned in his final scene for Katja's Act I. In terms of word count, Gloom has surpassed all of us, so you fans of his writing and character are in for a real treat.

Please enjoy the accompanied image, drawn by Chisana and colored by Morthiasik, and join us in congratulating Gloom on the forums.


Happy Mother's Day! (Again)

We here at Somnova would like to wish a happy Mother's Day to all the excellent moms out there. And, just like many moms do, we believe in spoiling you guys, so here's a treat that you've been asking for for a while: a preview of some of the music of Missing Stars. These are actual songs that will (probably) make it into the soundtrack, though they'll definitely undergo some more tuning up (no pun intended) and tweaking before the final release. You can even download the songs, if you're so inclined, and listen to them whenever. Finally, please enjoy the accompanying album cover, featuring Annaliese, created by the always-amazing Chisana.



As always, please feel free to discuss this post on our forums.

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 …

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:



Speaking of Isolda, I have been told that her route for Act 1 has…

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 …

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…

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, "Expe…

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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