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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 upped the ante on promotional material, which is entirely my fault. We’d received some complaints about being “too secretive,” and thus we resolved to make more frequent blog posts just providing info on the state of things. It was my opinion that text-only blog posts were boring to read, and so each time we wanted to make one, I would assign an artist to create an accompanying piece. Obviously, this would take away from their time working on in-game assets, a fault which I acknowledge. As stated, the blame for “too much” promo material falls solely with me. From here on out, we’ll be posting blogs less frequently, and possibly only with text. You can still expect a promo piece at most major holidays, though.

Another complaint is that, after nearly 2 years of development, we haven’t shown any in-game assets. The reason behind this, as I’ve stated before, is that we simply don’t have the backgrounds needed to make a full screenshot. Zip. Zero. Zilch. We have some renders done by an old artist who fell ill. The intention was to have them painted over, but we never got that far. Here, you can see one below:

As for BG’s of the quality that you can expect in-game, there aren’t any. Only recently were we joined by a dedicated background artist, and some of our character art team will also be moving to BG’s once the character stuff is all done. That’s a long way in the future, though.

Sprites have been shown in an earlier blog post. At least, an uncolored version of one was. That’s all we have at the moment, because I told the artists to focus on getting all the lineart done before we color anything.

We also just overhauled our UI last week, and so that’s not really presentable either. There are some old designs that we’ve moved away from, but I don’t really see the merit in posting those. And we’re not really comfortable sharing our current design until it’s no longer a work in progress.

Speaking of Work In Progress, I’d also like to clear up the engine issue.

Currently, everything we have, which isn’t much, is in default Ren’Py. As anyone who has used Ren’Py will tell you, it’s buggy and has a lot of issues that aren’t always easy to solve. WIP’s modified version of Ren’Py, which Shiz improved in a number of ways, fixed some of these issues that we’d had, or at least did things that we knew we would need to do at some point.

We knew that WIP had a somewhat open license, and so the idea was suggested that we maybe build using their engine. In the interview, it was misspoken that we were definitely going to be using it, and things spread from there. At no point would we ever dream of using someone else’s work without their explicit permission - we just hadn’t yet asked for it because we didn’t even know if we wanted to use their modified engine. We've explained the situation to SSS and they acknowledged the misunderstanding. Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions that our respective audiences might have on the issue, too.

The last common misconception concerns our most recent blog post about seeking medical advisors. A few readers took that to mean that at no point in development have we had medical consulting, and that now that our demo script is completed, we wanted to change that. In reality, there have been medical advisors from the project’s inception up until the last couple months, in which they both dropped off the face of the internet. The advisors we were searching for would be replacements, not the first of their kind. To that end, we’re happy to announce that we’ve accepted a couple qualified candidates to our team, thus bringing our search to an end.

Lastly, one more issue that I’d like to address is: demo when? Put simply, I don’t know. We’re on track for our internal deadlines, which are going to stay internal. What this means is that we’re making good progress, with no signs of slowing down. That said, unforeseen delays do occur, and I’ve also been wrong with my estimates before. Thus, we’re going to stop announcing demo release dates that we later have to rescind on, as it only creates undue hype that’s not fair to us nor to you guys. Until such point as the end is clearly in sight, we’re pretty much going to be saying “it’s done when it’s done.” We hope you understand.

So, to summarize: No in-game screenshots because we don’t have all the in-game assets needed. We’re not stealing WIP’s code, nor have we ever planned to. Once we had medbros, and now we have medbros again. No idea on when the demo will be out, but we’re going to stop making public guesses about it.

As stated at the start of this post, if there’s anything you’re still curious about or think that we forgot to mention, don’t hesitate to ask. You can also discuss this post on the forums, of course.