Hello! I’m SleepKirby, and I’ve been working on the programming for Eastern Starlight Romance since this summer. Programming a visual novel might sound scary, but Ren’Py (the game engine we’re using) really has a lot of nice things that make it accessible, even for dedicated non-programmers. I recommend Ren’Py if you’re ever interested in making your own visual novel!
Anyway, as LTalon said, a big thank-you to everyone who tried out our first demo (released back in August). We’ll definitely take everyone’s comments into account to the best of our ability. Hopefully, we’ll have made a lot of improvements by the time of our second demo release!
One of the things people mentioned about our first demo was that the battle scenes were a little bland. Even though we’re not making a shooting game, naming magic spells and playing sounds just didn’t capture the feel of the danmaku battles that Touhou fans know and love. To remedy this, we’re going to add graphical spell animations to the battles. They don’t have to be particularly fancy, but we should be able to make the battle scenes more interesting. Here’s an example spell that we made. There are four screenshots, progressing from left to right:
It’s a simple rendition of Shoot the Moon, one of Marisa’s spells. As in the game Imperishable Night, there’s a wave of lasers shooting from the bottom to the top of the screen, aimed at slightly varying angles.
We won’t kid ourselves though – even simple animations like this are going to take some work. On that note, we’d like to extend another invitation to anyone interested in helping out our project. We mainly have two positions in mind now:
(1) Making spell animations, like the one described above. There are lots of ways to do this. For Shoot the Moon, there’s a single two-color image of a laser (drawn as an ellipse, and then Graph touched it up a bit), and then I made the animation entirely with Ren’Py code. So it’s possible to do this without much art involvement. You can certainly take a more art-oriented path, however, and you might come up with something much nicer with very little programming. Another alternative to programming is to use a flash-animation program like SWiSH miniMax, and then convert your animation to a series of images to be used like a slideshow in the game.
(2) We’re still looking for artists. We thank everyone who has applied for artist work thus far, though aside from Graph, most people have come and gone. Currently, Graph’s being a hero and is working very hard on the long list of character poses (cut-in images, to be placed on top of backgrounds). But on top of character poses, we also need stand-alone CG images for special events in the story, as well as background images. So there’s a lot of art-related work to do; an artist dedicated to CGs would be particularly helpful.
Please go here for details if you want to help out – we’d greatly appreciate your assistance.
Finally, happy holidays!