I wanted to take a moment and update everyone as well as introduce a concept that we intend on using in the story.
First of all, the writing for the Salima branch is completed and I'm currently editing it. It'll probably be a couple more weeks before it's all placed into Ren'Py and a reasonable approximation of a demo can be produced.
As for the concept I mentioned, it has to do with the branching aspect of the story.
To be honest, I've always had a hard time reconciling the multi-path nature of VNs. Yes, it's nice for the reader to have choices. But choices for the sake of having choices is, well, gratuitous. So, we debated the merits of balancing user choices with a more rigid storyline. In the end, what we've come up with it outlined below.
As you can see, rather than have a reader go through an introductory branch, make a series of choices and then have them play out one character's path, the reader will effectively only have four "paths" to go through. But on any given path, the reader experiences three distinct character branches.
I suppose part of this layout stems from the fact that Errant Heart was originally intended to be done in manga format, with chapters, story arcs and the like. There is a set story that I wanted to tell—And it involves multiple characters. But at the same time, it seemed important to provide alternate paths that represented different ways the main character might develop given user choices. Thus, this is the end result.
I mention all of this because I don't want people to be surprised once they start going through the various branches. After the Salima branch demo, likely, there will be an Eva branch demo—Which will take place immediately after the Salima branch, and will rely on events that unfolded in that branch.