General

Sasaki Nanami

by Cameron on May 18, 2017

“A single smile can erase the pain.” - Sasaki Nanami

 

Character Reveal: Sasaki Nanami

High-class socialite on the surface, abrasive journalist underneath. ‘Ami’, an average university freshman who aspires to be something other than what her well-off father motives. As a passion or retaliation, Ami often goes out of her way, to write or capture the truth via hands-on investigation. Reporting anonymously through her blog. As a friend of Ryota, she is expected to have quirks and kinks of her own.

The above character is concept art, and only reflects the final product to a limited extent.

 

For the next month, volume 2 development will go into hiatus. As development schedules and goals need to be revalidated. Taking into account, that additional help may need to consider to smooth over development woes that may arise in the future.

Script writing and programming-wise, development is powering along. I just need to stop rewriting the script if I want to make progress.

Keep following Stained with Magic for more updates.

Character Reveal: Gato Akio!

by Cameron on March 18, 2017

“Order creates peace, chaos breeds creativity, a combination becomes a utopia.” - Gato Akio, Stained with Magic

 

Character Reveal: Gato Akio!

Gato Akio

The above character is concept art and only reflects the final product to a limited extent.

Retired soldier, gang leader, art lover, killer. Gato Akio, a veteran of the Euro Zone War. Leading Japanese rescue efforts to save civilians from war-torn Europe. Gaining augmented limbs via a volunteer program within the Japanese Army in an effort to minimize loss of life. Now retired, Akio has fallen into the world of Technohexen gangs with old squad mates. Despite upholding a job as security counsel for the Sei Group’s CEO. What can her friends tell you about her? Passionate but deadly.

Australia...

by Cameron on February 26, 2017

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” - Goethe

 

Today, a break from work,  to bring more news to Stained with Magic followers. While I have been working on a number of other projects to pay the bills (with a few wondrous TBA titles). Stained with Magic Volume Two is still deep in development. More recently, I’ve been focused more on coding and creating excel sheets rather than art or anything else. Producing nothing exciting or jaw-dropping to share today. Unless excel sheets are your thing, then let me know. But fear not, character reveals are still coming! A new villain is next on the list.

 

Earlier in the week, I had a quick go at PaintsChainer. An AI program that will colour 2D line-art automatically. A Japanese-developed tool that may prove useful to other visual novel developers. Current results have been interesting somewhat to say at least. After I get the hang of it, I will share results. Check out some of the horrifying good results here from some other artists.


In other news, Australia is now officially playable in Civilization VI! A long time coming for many fans. As a bonus, the civ’s play style and bonuses are perfect for my playstyle. Must be me being Australian and all.

And For Today's Reading...

by Cameron on February 1, 2017

“The greatest limitations are those we force on ourselves.” - Aoki Kiyoko, Stained with Magic

 

While development has been slow as of late. Let’s push right to the new character reveal.

Kiyoko, the augmented human pursuing a hub-hazard career amongst the society of magi. A strong supporter of Kiyoshi Satoru thus maintaining a strong relationship with the Kiyoshi family. Currently, he fulfills a mentor role for Suki, while acting as an urban underground hero of sorts for the blighted.

The above character is concept art, and only reflects the final product to a limited extent.


As a few readers may be aware. Our official website has been going through a content overhaul. Still ongoing, with ninety percent of the intended updates finished. Please give us a ping if you encounter any issues.

Update 2017/01/05 - Takeda Yoko

by Kuro_Admin on January 4, 2017

"He walks the floor, careful to touch each stone only once, counting. He cannot purge his mind of the thoughts." - The Heart, Dishonored

 

A new year, more challenges. Firstly, a new character to reveal. Despite many characters still being in the concept art phase. I wish to push forward with bi-weekly character reveals for now on. I introduce Takeda Yoko!

Takeda Yoko

Yoko is considered to be an oddball who likes to have fun whenever possible. Despite her sickly body, gained from overexertion in practice of her magi craft. She continues to push herself to new heights, holding onto her wish for magi society to be more open to the public world. Making some allusive friends along the way……

The above character is concept art, and only reflects the final product to a limited extent.

 

Come January 20, I will taking part in the Global Game Jam again. There’s something about teaming up with randoms to make a game within 24 hours. Gets the creative juices going. I will try my best to document the experience and share via Hikage Studios and my other outlets during or after the event.

I implore any game developer to get on board. Sign up for a location close to you! - http://globalgamejam.org/

Hurry, I hear tickets are selling fast!


Apologies for the missing comic. Due to time constraints, it wasn’t finished in time. The comic featuring Yoko may be included in the next update.

Characters/Snippets

by Cameron on November 28, 2016

“The darkness will always seek out the light.” - Sawa, Stained with Magic Volume 2

 

Stained with Magic Volume 2 is steadily working through the concept stage. Adding new characters, sending characters and ideas to the cutting room floor, organising all the potential assets I may need. And so on...

 

One very important task to do. Is to get to know your characters in-depth. A benefit for writers and non-writers alike. Thus, I’ve been using an extensive character biography template created by friends.
Covering everything from physical descriptions, behavior attributes to sexual desires to example scenes and dialogue. Characters shine and become more fleshy, once I’ve filled out the template. Have a go yourself for your own projects! 

Character Biography Template Download
(File provided in Microsoft word format.)

An important aspect of any visual novel is a well-written character. Never be afraid to reinvent or cut a character. Consider what the character offers to the story, and how the story would progress without them. If they offer nothing substantial, you need to think about a new approach.

 

Finally, an introduction to a few core features for Volume Two:

- The Whispering Shadow Hunt will reach a conclusion.
- New enemies, the Holy Roman Church Paladin Order.
- Ryota and Sophie gain new allies. Old friends from the past and/or strange individuals with questionable pasts.
- Investigative themes, help Sophie and/or Ryota solve past events, dig into crimes, and catalog evidence.

Expect more reveals as development pushes forward. Character reveals, web-stories, and demos will be coming as they did for volume one.

 

More will come from future me soon. Be it the Sun or the Moon on a Saturday.

Mandatory Happiness

by Cameron on October 31, 2016

“It is not society that determines people's futures. It is people who determine society's future.” - Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass

 

Firstly, an apology for the delay on today’s update. One sorrowful combination of Halloween and the Melbourne Cup has kept me busy at my workplace pretty much all weekend. Unless you want me to go into rant mode about the weekend. Let’s get into what I intended to write.

You may be aware, Stained with Magic has moved to a new engine. A combination of UTAGE, Unity, and Live2D. As I’m still exploring the nitty gritty of Live2D. I thought I would spread the love for UTAGE.

UTAGE Asset Store Page

 

UTAGE, an add-on for Unity ready to download from the Unity Asset Store. Not free, but you get a respectable amount of tools within the package. From easy Live2D support, excellent developer support, to a too easy to manage scene system. Majorly different, UTAGE manages its scenes through Excel. A different approach requiring practice. But having everything ready to edit in one excel sheet does speed up the workflow a lot. Of course, the source code is open to programmers. You can visit the website for a full list of features and what is to come.

Personally, I always wanted to move my visual novel work to Unity, together with my other games. Coming down to my experience with Unity and it's collected features. Ren’py is an excellent program, but for me. I felt I hit the wall. Needed a fresh start. Plus, the tools (free and paid) available on the Asset Store will cover any shortcomings I or you may have with development.

 

During my free-time (minus the past weekend), I've been playing Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness. A visual novel set within the Psycho-Pass universe available on PS4. Don’t know what Psycho-Pass is? Look it up, it is worth the watch. (Also one of the few anime that non-anime audiences will actually enjoy!)

Psycho-Pass Mandatory Happiness

 

Despite being a little short, the game does play to visual novel strengths. Only a few chapters long, but a lot of choices and endings (plus two playable characters) ensure everyone will have a different experience on their first few playthroughs.

Criminal investigations gave many of the mundane choices meaning, making you feel like you are solving the crimes. Ensuring nothing feels too tacky or pointless. In addition, having to watch your own psycho-pass when making decisions adds to the tension. A crucial feature true to the original series.

Buy now or wait till the asking price drops. Either way, play it when you can.

 

As usual, I will keep it short, rather than bluster on. I'll be writing to you again later in November.

 

Stained with Magic Flow-Chart Released

by Cameron on September 25, 2016

Hank: This is just the beginning. - Swiss Army Man

 

Hello!

As mentioned before, a flow-chart/walkthrough for game one has been released! Click the image below to download.

Note first, please play the game at least once before using the flow-chart. If you haven't already.

Second, debate sections are not covered. Players should figure them out on their own. Third, remember this is a basic guide, only meant to show how to reach certain scenes.

More to story-structure, the flow-chart does exhibit the game's linear structure. A fault or not depending on your preferences. Thus, one aspect of the second game, (nearing finishing the design doc), choices will become more likely to take ou to new stories within the story itself. Branching out into multiple stories a lot more fluently. Freedom of choice will be a major goal.

Next time, new concepts and Mandatory Happiness.

New Month, New Game!

by Cameron on September 4, 2016

"The World doesn't care about right or wrong. It's all about power. And right now, none of us have it." - Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

 

Today marks the official start of development for the next chapter of Stained with Magic. Forwards on, the game will now be produced in Unity using UTAGE. A wonderful editor extension/plugin for Unity. Introduced to me by a passerby in Tokyo, and ever since, I have enjoyed my time experimenting with visual novels in Unity. Moving to an environment I'm comfortable in, with added new challenges for development will make tasks fun again for me.

(You can refer to previous updates for other reasons for the move to Unity.)

Sample

Before anyway asks, the first few chapters will be remade in Unity at a later date. Before that, a flowchart/walkthrough for the first game will be out shortly. A number of months later, and a few requests, one has been put into production.

Next update, development screenshots, and chatting...

Location, Location, Plus Gangstas?

by Cameron on August 13, 2016

"That's funny. Watching an ass strut around in a lion's skin." - Avilio, to the nephew of Don Galassia, 91 Days

 

I'm back in Australia and ready to work again on Stained with Magic. Well, I would be if I had the time. Hush, hush, but I've been working on a rather large Unity3d project. Another week, everything should be running again for Stained with Magic. But let's get into the meat of the article for now.

As previously mentioned, while I was living in Tokyo. I did some location scouting for the next game. Of course, most of the locations visited in the first game will be featured again in more detail. But there will be a few new additions. Maybe such as Ikebukuro, Takao-san or even a fictional area inspired by a non-tourist Asakusa will be included in the next game.

Tokyo and outer areas

 

What I'm Working On!

Possible features to expect in the new game! (Undoubtedly, features listed here are potential possibilities that may get cut during development.) Currently, I'm considering of changing the game engine to Unity. After a few experimentations, I consider the possible move to be beneficial. Flexible audio controls, Live2D support, more support for a variety of devices, and much more. Personally, Ren'py is starting to feel a little limiting for me. I know that Ren'py receives updates every few weeks, and it's still a great program for visual novels. But for me, a change is needed. Look forward to more news in this area!

Anime to Watch!

As of late, in my downtime, I have been watching a new anime, 91 Days. Basically, a gangsta anime made for Boardwalk Empire fans. The love-hate relationship between characters is fantastic. A story of revenge with complex undergrowth upon the backdrop of Ameria's Prohibition Era. Has everything I need, historical setting with wonderfully written characters. Be sure to stream it when you can!

91 Days

Next time, Live2D examples, and maybe some lore hint-drops for the next game.

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