HERO: Week of 03.27

Status Report - HERO: Week of 03.27

Posted:March 27, 2022
Rocket Launch Pad

Welcome travelers! We did it! The script for HERO has been fully written! It took a long time to get to this point, fifty-five months in fact. I had estimated that it would be about a month per chapter and the reality was just a little bit longer than that. There are forty-nine chapters, averaging between 20,000 and 30,000 words a piece. A few fall under 10,000 words, while a couple top the 50,000 word mark as well. Across seven character routes, the final script ended up at 8.1 million words.

But these numbers are a little misleading, because this is a visual novel, so you'll only ever see a fraction of them on any given playthrough. I estimate one playthrough will deliver about one million words. Depending on your reading speed, it will take between 60 and 80 hours to complete, a bit more than an hour per chapter.

Sprite Spreadsheet

The writing phase of development is now complete. Now we move on to the next phase. There are two major categories to this phase. One side is the creating of art assets, which had begun even before the script had been started. These include character sprites, backgrounds, and miscellaneous.

There are 48 characters that need sprites; twelve main characters and thirty-six supporting characters. They will be drawn in illustrator as vector art. Sprites will have five poses, a neutral pose and each of the four major emotional states: happy/excited, sad/dejected, angry/agitated, and afraid/nervous. Main characters will display all poses, but secondary characters with few appearances don't need them all. Main characters wear about sixteen outfits, while secondary characters have a couple, or even just one.

Script Sprite Columns

Character, pose, and outfit are the three pieces of information that will be combined together to make each character sprite. Then, facial expression will be added on top of that in renpy to create the final composite image. The final piece of information for each sprite is its position on screen.

The other category to this phase of development is plugging all that info into the script spreadsheets. I will then write some python code that will extract the data and format it into renpy script code programmatically. Run each script spreadsheet through that code and it ought to build the bulk of the game for me. I'll just have to go in and massage it to add the final level of polish.

Rendering Test

Background art is being made in the way I've shown throughout the majority of my blogposts. The base geometry is drawn in sketchup, which is then brought into twinmotion to add details, materials, and lighting. I then render the images, bring them into photoshop, and touch up to get them looking pretty. There are some 400ish background images to produce.

Miscellaneous art includes the HERO mecha themselves, GUI elements, and various other illustrations that are needed.

Creating all these art assets is still a major task that will take many long months, but now that I'm on the other side of the script I feel a lot better about it. These I can share progress much more often, both in blogposts here and on twitter at @sasuganick and @sasugastudios.

Thanks to everyone for sticking around as I make my slow, methodical way towards the finish line. I hope we all enjoy how the final game comes out. Peace!