I’ve got something special for you today… one screen worth of 100% complete artwork for Arcade Spirits!
Naomi and Gavin are lookin’ gooooood. I’ve settled on the neon outline effect for the side images — originally we were going to put some iconic artwork there representative of the character but honestly, this is cheaper and fits our visual motifs better. As for character outlines, I’ve decided they’re not needed, not since we did some image tweaking in the arcade to prevent contrast issues.
The November demo is complete — ALL the writing for chapter 03 is finished and implemented. In addition to the new art and new scenes we’ll have a new system for softer transitions, cute emotes, and limited sprite animations; it’s not fully implemented across the whole game, but it’s a start. I’m looking forward to showing you our hard work. If you join the Patreon on November 1st, you’ll get to see that hard work. (I’d say ‘join now’ but I charge up front and I’d hate to charge you a full month for just two days of content.)
Now then. Let’s switch from my “news” gear to my “blog” gear.
Halloween approaches, and I wanted to share a visual novel with you that’s… honestly quite disturbing. And that’s coming from ME, the guy who wrote Sailor Nothing.
That game is called “Doki Doki Literature Club!“. It’s free on Steam.
“Seriously?” you may ask. “It looks like a pink and fluffy generic anime waifu romance.” Yeah, uh, that’s the bait for the trap. I don’t want to say too much more except 2-3 hours in (I’ll grant it takes a looong time) the game starts smashing head-on into numerous trigger warnings, including suicide and self-harm. (If you’re even slightly concerned about that don’t feel you HAVE to play this thing on my say so. Nobody’s judging.) Beyond gore scares and #aesthetic there’s some really amazing existential dread / psychological horror here… and a slew of metatextual commentary on the nature of visual novels, which is why I want to bring it up.
I’ve always told myself that Arcade Spirits is a project that’s (inadvisability) shooting for the moon. Back when I made Neverwinter Nights mods, I started with a very, very basic “go here and beat up goblins” quest for my first story, because I wanted to get my feet wet in a new medium without overdoing it. Yeah, well, AS is overdoing it on purpose — I’m deliberately making the largest project I’m currently capable of making because I want to get it RIGHT. (Also I’m 40, not 20, and feel the pressure of time closing in and know I can’t dilly-dally if I wanna try new things.)
Why mention this? Because in comparison, Doki Doki Literature Club is the one actually shooting for the moon, and Arcade Spirits is deliberately taking the easy path. I’m writing a pretty light story about friendship, workplace antics, and a love of games. DDLC is writing about clinical depression, manic obsession, and the illusion of choice in interactive narratives. Compared to that, I’m just sending you out to beat up some goblins.
And that’s okay! Because I can see now that by making AS a little more straightforward, I can get a handle on this new style of writing… so that future attempts in the same medium can be more ambitious. Walk before you can run. Whisper before you can scream. Fade away before you can become one with the infinite void of nothing that consumes us all. Etc.
I’m glad to see new horizons, to see greater works than what I’m putting together. I want to write all sorts of new stories, traditional and interactive, and constantly grow and reach towards those horizons. And DDLC, while honestly kinda freaking me out and staying with me for its themes that hit a bit close to home, is also uplifting in that it shows me I made the right choice in a medium which has fewer limits than I’d imagined.