Nov 2022: The Hanging Gardens

Hey folks, Whale here,

We made it through build two. :'o]

This was a long build by FVN standards: 22k words of dialogue, new sprites (expressions, accessories, and overlays), new music themes and a whole slew of new backgrounds.

NOTE: Regrettably, I had to change the way Anamnesis handles the state of relationships and branch choices. Therefore, I don't believe saves from build one will carry over correctly. Android users, you may have to delete any existing installation of 0.1.0 on your device and do a fresh install of 0.2.0. At least, I've heard people suggest that in the past.

To reduce the pain of losing old saves, I've added a "Memories" feature to the main menu. From here you'll be able to pick your choices from previous builds and skip to the new build immediately. This feature isn't completely fool-proof yet (it's possible to choose illegal states, like picking Alma's route and the flashback where Thatcher fixates on Jeremy's blood) but it's better than nothing. Of course, there will be spoilers from prior builds if you use this menu.

Follow-on Work from Year's Turn (Build 1)

I switched the placeholder GUI back to dark mode, and redesigned the color palette. Thanks to echocord denizen JSB for linking us which rates color choices by how well they contrast with a background color. Hopefully the various text color accents read much better now.

I disabled the CTC ("click to continue") icon. It'll come back when we do a GUI update. Until then, I think that concludes all the work we intended to do during build one.

The color grating of sprites on dark bgs has been improved considerably.

I finally fixed the OpenDyslexic font problems on Android. If you see text overrun the dialogue window, please leave a comment in the build discussion thread (preferably with a screenshot or at least some clue as to the whereabouts of the offending paragraph).

Follow-on Work from The Hanging Gardens (Build 2)

Build two ended up much longer than expected. The crannog* scenes, while not my original vision, turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. Dan was very generous with his time, making custom backgrounds and helping me photobash imagery together.

Some sprites with asymmetric designs (Thatcher, primarily) are flipped to face the opposite direction, which annoyingly puts their features (Thatcher's bum ear and his snout scar) on the wrong side sometimes. Dan patched Alma's heterochromia for this**, but we haven't gotten around to fixing Thatcher's left-facing sprite yet.

Some people have requested a glossary for all the various neologisms I've gone and dreamed up. Ideally I'd like this to be written diegetically (i.e., from the perspective of someone in the world). Right now this document exists in my notes as "The Peripatetic's Guide to Aurelia", but of course it's not ready for consumption.

Beltane Fires (Build 3)

The outline of Beltane Fires is finished. On paper, this build seems fairly straight-forward, so I'm hopeful I'll be able to start work on Build 4 while Dan and Crimson work on assets. In particular, Dan is planning to do CG update for events in earlier builds. Following our experience working together on Strokkur, I leave the decision about what scenes deserve CGs to him. (It's a good way to motivate me to write more vividly, to try and influence his decision ;o])

Some people have requested a human genital option. We're not opposed to this feature in theory, but haven't committed to implementing it any time soon. Sorry. Such an option would either require a great deal of rewriting (they're kind of instrumental to the plot of an adult VN, as it turns out), or a lot of cognitive dissonance when the text refers to an anatomical feature that isn't present on-screen.

 A "SFW" mode (or at least, an option that censors genitals, bodily fluids, and "female-presenting nipples") is probably more feasible. As much as I adore Shelter's text replacement SFW mode... I don't think I can aspire to be as hilarious as Raus.

Tentatively, Beltane Fires will release on January 1. Or, knowing me, January 3. The Year's Turn hangover is real.

Thanks everyone for reading! Enjoy the update!

*A "crannog" in-game is a chunk of land so rich in cobalt ore that it breaks off from the ground and floats in the sky. Out-of-game, it's the Irish/Gaelic name for an artificial or partially-artificial island, which seems fitting.

**Which means any remaining errors in Alma's appearance are entirely my own.

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Awesome, I've been looking forward to this since the first build!