Before we begin, I’d like to make sure you’re aware of something. Because I’m painfully aware of it.
Aaaaaa the first Arcade Spirits demo build hits on May 1st aaaaaa I’m freaking out.
But that said, yeah, if you want to play the first build of Arcade Spirits — my new workplace romantic comedy visual novel set in an arcade — you’re going to want to back the monthly patreon for $5 or more before May 1st. If you contribute $25 or more through the entire development process, you get a free copy of the game! If you can’t swing $5 a month, that’s cool; any amount you can swing helps and will get you early access to these developer blog posts. If you can’t swing any money, that’s also cool! Just keep tabs on this blog, right here, and get hype.
Okay, promotional stuff aside, let’s devblog.
No fancy pants visual aids today. Instead, I’m gonna talk about a game subsystem: data exporting. Get some coffee, ’cause while this may be boring, it’s going to be important stuff.
When I develop books, I post chapters in draft, act by act or scene by scene. I rarely go back and make major changes, but when I do, I always include a changelog so people who are keeping up on a weekly basis aren’t lost. It’s a way to reward people who are willing to embrace the wild unknown of an in-development project, before the final polished story is available.
But games, even Visual Novels, are a different beast. Players will make different choices, have different relationships with characters, have different personalities. How do you carry that over from “draft update” to “draft update”? Even though the story is largely linear, it needs to have persistent memory.
Enter: The import/export system.
While the game is divided into episodes (but not physically divided; it’s all one game) exactly how much is available in any given monthly build for Patreon backers may change. The game’s built-in save/load feature isn’t going to work between builds, so I’ve developed the import/export system to cover the gap.
At the end of a build, you’ll be given the option to export your current data. Once you do, the next month’s build will be able to import it, jump you right to the new content, and carry you on your way. You’ll always have the option to start over from scratch, to explore other possibilities or see sections which changed from build to build… but if you prefer not replaying parts of the game you’ve already seen, import/export will maintain continuity for you.
Now, in the finished game, we won’t have this system at all. No need for it; the built in save/load Renpy provides will do just fine. But this way, we can ensure Patreon folks have a smoother time playing the game in progress.
Okay! So far we’ve covered:
- Our colorful neon GUI
- The personality system
- Patreon import/export
Next week we’ll start introducing you to the characters of Arcade Spirits. But if you have any requests for future dev diary posts, let me know!