Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Demo]

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ArtistMeli
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#46 Post by ArtistMeli » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:51 pm

Hey all, just wanted to apologize for my disappearance. I had a bit of a medical emergency and have only just now finally recovered enough to function. x_x In any case, I will be going over your replies, including the in-depth feedback from Mad Harlequin, today and tomorrow, but I can address a few quick questions I've noticed right off the bat.

The demo is pretty much in beta, since the very last scenes were added the night before the Kickstarter, so I really appreciate you reporting any errors! We'll get to fixing those as soon as possible.

It *is* only Chapter 1, so the overall story arc will not be resolved by the end. However, there will be several smaller scenarios, such as the mystery you solve in the demo, that will be resolved in Chapter 1, so you will get closure on some events! We also have Chapter 2 very solidly planned out, and expect that our funds for Chapter 1, even if we only achieve the minimum goal on our Kickstarter, will allow us to complete both. The time it takes will largely depend on how much we make, because that will determine how much time we need to spend on other jobs to pay our bills. ^_^;

After Chapter 2, it will really depend on on sales and interest as to how many more Chapters we make. I believe we have a maximum of eight or nine planned, but we may have to trim that down; the plan is to give each supporting character their own story, so the player can get to know them before making a decision on who to date/ally with/what have you... or if they've already decided, it can either reinforce their decision or change it. We really like the stories we've developed for each character, and would love to share them all, but this is one of the elements that may change if money or interest are lacking.

The bottom line is, we do have a complete story planned out, including a solid ending to the plot arc, and something like 2 dozen possible endings for your character (that's subject to change when we get to the actual writing, but we plan to have a lot).
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#47 Post by maricon » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:36 pm

How's the promotion going?

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Mad Harlequin
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#48 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:48 pm

ArtistMeli wrote:Hey all, just wanted to apologize for my disappearance. I had a bit of a medical emergency and have only just now finally recovered enough to function. x_x In any case, I will be going over your replies, including the in-depth feedback from Mad Harlequin, today and tomorrow, but I can address a few quick questions I've noticed right off the bat.

The demo is pretty much in beta, since the very last scenes were added the night before the Kickstarter, so I really appreciate you reporting any errors! We'll get to fixing those as soon as possible.
Oh, I hope you're feeling better! I can definitely go back to the last scene and provide feedback if it helps.
The bottom line is, we do have a complete story planned out, including a solid ending to the plot arc, and something like 2 dozen possible endings for your character (that's subject to change when we get to the actual writing, but we plan to have a lot).
Will you be doing another Kickstarter for future chapters? I fear that the chapter-by-chapter release might be something that's scaring away potential backers. (I really want to see this project succeed, so that's why I'm saying so.)
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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ArtistMeli
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#49 Post by ArtistMeli » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:12 pm

The promotion unfortunately came to a standstill while I was dealing with my medical issues. :( However, I've made some headway speaking to different Ren'py blogs, one of which is planning to Livestream demos from indie developers. I'm hoping to get them to stream ours before the Kickstarter ends! Stefan of Queen at Arms has given us advice on who we can talk to, as well as some other Kickstarter projects offering to post our info in their update if we post theirs in ours.

We don't plan to do a second Kickstarter for further chapters. I always feel kind of iffy about projects that do more than one Kickstarter, so I don't really want to do that with ours. This one *should* cover the greatest part of the costs for all of them, namely the music, sound effects, and other character assets that we will use later in the game. After the Kickstarter, we will probably launch a Patreon and accept donations through PayPal for rewards; earnings from these may affect how *quickly* we finish the game, and how much content we end up including, but they shouldn't affect whether or not we finish the game.

Worst case, if the game doesn't sell well, we cut the content considerably and do other games between chapters to try to raise more funds. We're working on this game because we are passionate about games, and we really want to tell the story we've come up with. While it would be great to make a bunch of money, we would be thrilled if we just end up breaking even.

The only reason I could see doing future funding campaigns would be to raise money for an animated opening. It's set as our $15k stretch goal because I got a quote for $7k on it from the animators I talked to, and we would possibly need more depending on whether or not we need to license music. This is something I could see doing when we are ready to release the last chapter and maybe do a deluxe edition with the whole game on one disc/download or something. But this would all depend on profits and interest. If we make enough money from sales, we may not even have to worry about it! It will all depend on whether or not people would be interested in that kind of thing.
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#50 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:25 pm

All right. I'm glad you have some more ideas for fundraising.

I understand your concerns about running a second Kickstarter for future chapters. That tends not to work, from what I've seen. I was just wondering what you planned to do for those chapters. But you've answered my questions, so no worries there. :)
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#51 Post by Dustiferous » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:07 pm

We're now in the final week of our Kickstarter for Hearts Under Blades! As part of our promotional push, the Ren'Py group on DeviantArt will be on Twitch livestreaming a playthrough of the demo tomorrow (Sunday) starting at 1pm Eastern (10am pacific).

The idea is to let the people in the chat make the decisions, so it might get pretty crazy. Melissa and I will be there to answer questions, too.
Here's the link:
http://www.twitch.tv/frontierguy

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Fantasy]

#52 Post by AERenoir » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:44 am

ArtistMeli wrote: (1) We're basing our visual style more off RPGs than VNs. In those, it's not uncommon to fade whatever the current scene is and display the character portraits over it for dialogue. (2) In some cases, we wanted a way to display the CG artwork longer without losing out on the character's ability to emote. I've seen this method of display used in several VNs I've played; I think it is simply a result of each particular game company's choice of presentation. :)
Wow, I sure have never seen that kind of display in a VN before! :O In RPGs I usually accepted it because the moving sprites are too small to see emotions properly, so they need the bigger portraits to show emotions better. But in VNs, well... I always thought the dramatic CGs is like the still equivalent of animated cutscene in RPGs, while the sprites + dialogue is akin to puppets on a stage.

Placing both on the same scene makes me think that the character kind of stepped out of the scene and breaking the fourth wall to have dialogue, so for me it breaks the immersion. But that's just my personal opinion. If no one else is having the same issue, then it's probably not a big deal :P

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#53 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:27 pm

Congrats on successfully reaching your goal!
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#54 Post by Leading Scientist » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:38 am

Hello to all our fans, backers, and other onlookers following the progress of Hearts Under Blades. I'm Derek, of Leading Scientists Games, and I will be handling our media updates, with some assitsance from the rest of the lab here at LSG.

With Hearts Under Blades, I'm a co-writer, along with Dustin. My role is similar to a "story and concept writer," providing the overall plot and premise, and creating quite a few of the supporting characters and the antagonists, while Dustin has had the more arduous task of "script writer." Essentially, I supplied a point A and a point B in the overall story, but Dustin has created the dialogue and branches that allow the player to travel between those points. (If you haven't had a chance to look at some of the sample "dialogue branch charts" he's posted, you should, there are DNA sequences that are less complex!) Melissa continues to work on art, which is also very time consuming, and our talented outside contractors continue to provide backgrounds, and music, thanks to our fans' support in the Kickstarter.

Essentially, this leaves me with a bit more time to provide regular updates to our fans, while the other team members continue with producing content. We will have more updates, including samples of art and music tracks, as they become available.

I can tell you, as story writer, I'm excited to see the next chapter in the story unfold in visual novel form. Our demo told a self-contained murder mystery story, but hinted at things to come. We've established that this is a world where honor and bravery are valued, where magic, murder, and secrets are present, and Shouka is in the middle of it all, trying to determine what is the right thing to do. We'll transition from Shouka hearing hints of the conspiracy, to starting to see, firsthand, the edges of the network that the senior magistrate was so obsessed with in our demo game. We'll also be introducing several more characters - fellow young samurai and another senior magistrate - who will travel with the protagonist throughout the story.

Thanks again for your support, and keep following Leading Scientists Games as we continue the work on Hearts Under Blades!

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#55 Post by Leading Scientist » Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:14 am

Hey, everyone, Derek here, with Leading Scientists Games. Our big news at present is that we are finalizing our soundtrack, and we will be getting the files from our composer tomorrow. Expect previews soon thereafter. A big thanks to Saad at Reckoning Storm Audioworks for all of his work on this!

We are also collecting reference materials for our backers whose pledges rewarded them roles as villains, minor characters, and extras. Then, we will begin work on translating those references into character designs for Hearts Under Blades. Also, our background artist Van has provided us another background piece, so rest assured these new characters will be showcased against more excellent background images.

Again, we want to thank all of our backers for your support thus far. Having the ability to pay our artists lets us ensure a high level of quality for Hearts Under Blades. Stay tuned!

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#56 Post by Dustiferous » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:05 pm

This is still in progress! I'm in charge of the week's short update, so here it goes:

Writing is moving ahead slow and steady, and I've been stewing over ways to help immerse people into the story and the setting without dumping too much information on them. One idea we've had is implementing a journal system, modeled after those found in several RPGs, in which Shouka would catalogue his(/her) experiences and the decisions the player has chosen so far. Do you think it's a good idea to have such a journal?

An upcoming scene takes place in a library - not necessarily the most exciting place, I know, but there will be some intrigue regarding the facts and ficitons behind the Empire's history. I've been considering including a number of short "books" for (totally optional) reading in the library, but I am a bit concerned that this might make players feel overwhelmed with too much information. If you've read Elder Scrolls games and games by Bioware, have you read their books and codex entries? Did you enjoy them, or did it just get to be too much?

Melissa is still getting to people who bought villains through Kickstarter about their model pictures, so if you're one of those people, expect some mail from us in your inbox sometime soon. We've also gotten some pretty cool poems already! I'm excited to gather up backer input to help inspire where your characters will fit in the game.

If you missed it on our Facebook, Melissa recently posted some sketch art of a dream Shouka has while passed out after the demo.
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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#57 Post by AERenoir » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:24 am

So long as you make it optional, it's perfect. Those who don't like reading can just ignore 'em, and those who do can have fun with it.
I personally like books and other world-building tidbits in RPGs (e.g bulletin boards, posters, newspapers, random diaries lying around, etc).

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#58 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:44 pm

I like reading journals and books and codices in games, but I can understand why you're concerned about overwhelming the player, so making that optional sounds like a good idea to me.
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
— Mark Twain

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Re: Hearts Under Blades [BxG, BxB][Samurai][Kickstarter][Dem

#59 Post by try10 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:09 pm

Any news can you share with us about the progress of this game, please? I remembered how much fun I had after playing the demo and I want to know if I can still hope for the finished product in the future.

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