If you're a frequent visitor to this site, you may have noticed that sniper Tsurune Matsuzaka has undergone a radical redesign. Here is what she originally looked like:
This was drawn by Fiverr.com artist panpan_pratama. It's quite good, but when I changed concept artists, this drawing had to change as well.
Enter Tsurune, version 2:
When current concept artist Xesxus re-assumed art duties for Musume (he was the original artist before I switched briefly), I had him redo Tsurune's first design. The result was all right, but I didn't like it because Xesxus was copying another artist's design instead of creating his own. That's never a good idea.
One day, Xesxus randomly showed me an image he was working on while we were discussing something else. That image immediately grabbed my attention. I asked him to take that new image and turn it into the new Tsurune. Here was the result:
This design absolutely blew my mind. We definitely have a keeper.
Getting Tsurune right wasn't easy, but it was totally worth it. The game's cast is really starting to come together now.
I've been working hard to learn Construct 3 and put together Musume's very first level by the end of the year. This weekend, I messed around with both city and desert levels. Here is my city level, designed to test out the parallax scrolling settings in Construct 3:
What I find surprising about this video is how good the background graphics are. The road, trees, city, and clouds all came from an asset pack that cost less than twenty bucks, and the scorpion wasn't very expensive, either. These are all placeholders, but they show just how good Musume has the potential to look when it's done.
Freelance artist (and unnoficial Musume concept artist) Xesxus has been hard at work on finishing an alternate design for Suzu and a new design for archer/sniper Tsurune.
I'm absolutely blown away with both designs. I love Suzu with those clothes and that cape so much that I've incorporated it into both the game's design and the upcoming Musume light novel. Tsurune is still early in the process but she looks amazing.
No matter what else happens, Musume will have some of the best character design of any game anywhere.
After doing some work with the Construct 3 game engine, I was finally able to implement all of Suzu's physical attacks:
This is still very rough, but Suzu is now fully operational. She just needs a bit of tweaking and polishing before she looks good swinging that blade through the air.
Once I improve her movement, I'll put her on the streets of New Tokyo - the game's first level - where she will fight monsters for the first time.
Exciting times ahead!
Edit: my apologies for the Bandicam control box that appears in the video. That is my screen recording software. I'll definitely be more careful next time.
After messing around with Construct 3 for a bit, I decided to do a fun movement test to see what Suzu would look like in motion on this engine. For the test, I took the first level from the original NES Ninja Gaiden, dropped Suzu into it, and let her go wild. Here is the result:
Obviously I can't make this an official level (I don't think Tecmo, the original publisher of Ninja Gaiden, would be too happy to see this), but it's fun nonetheless to see my original character running around a level that I played over a thousand times as a kid.
Construct 3 has its issues, but I think I'm going to stick with it for now because Suzu's movement looks and feels really good, even at this early stage. The next steps are to code her attacks and add some enemies so that we can get closer to having a real video game.
I've recently been reading the light novels for Rising of the Shield Hero (my favorite anime of the year) when it hit me: I can do something similar for Musume.
I've been working on the game's story (particularly the first volume of the game, which I hope to have done by the end of 2021), and realized that it doesn't take much to use the descriptions of the levels and dialogue and just convert them to novel format, so I've decided to create a Musume light novel. The first novel, which I hope to have done in the next two months or so, will cover the events of the first game.
My goal with the novel is to both flesh out the game's story as well as gain more publicity for the game (and hopefully earn some extra development money). I've already written the first chapter (which covers the game's first level) and am currently working on the second.
I need to point out that this will not slow development at all. Writing out the game is something I need to anyway. Game development tends to work from a master design document; I'm taking the concept of that document and tweaking it a bit to gain more benefit from the effort.
The novel will be available on Amazon.com as soon as it is done. It'll be a quick read (no more than two hundred pages) and (I hope) a fun and engrossing one. See you there.
I've spent over a year trying to build, create, or commission an idle animation of Suzu that I'm happy with. Today, it finally happened.
What you see in the above video is the work of @Otakuluis1, a freelance animator I met through Twitter. His art style and animation fit the game perfectly, and he turns out animation incredibly quickly. The background may not match the character, but don't worry-the background was always a placeholder. As the game continues to take shape, more fitting background assets will be added.
For now, though, I'm ecstatic. I spent more than a year trying to figure out a way to get Suzu animated. Now, she's finally moving. I can't wait to see the rest of the animations that @Otakuluis1 draws.
I've spent a lot of time building the heroines of Musume, but I've spent almost no time on the creatures that they're going to be fighting. That, however, has changed.
This is very much a work in progress; it's likely that none of the assets you see here (Suzu, the background, the mechanical bug) will make it into the final game. However, it gives an idea of what I'm going for. This game will have big monsters and big robots to fight, and the world will definitely be a post-apocalyptic one (similar to what you might see in Guilty Gear).
By the way, this robot was a pre-made asset that I got from graphicriver.net. Graphic river is an awesome resource for cheap game assets, which definitely what you need when you're trying to create quick prototypes.
In my quest to redo Musume in the style I want, I've had two different 3D modelers take a stab at creating Suzu. I won't be posting images of either, because I wasn't happy with the final result.
3D modeling is hard. Finding someone who can model in 3D and capture that cartoon/anime look borders on impossible. I'm giving the 3D thing one more shot, but after that I may go back to 2D puppet animation, this time using Live2D. I'm not a fan of 2D puppetry, but if it's the only option, so be it.
I've also deleted all the old character art and am putting up new art as it comes. I may have to shuffle the voice actresses who play the different characters as well. We'll see what happens. For now, just remember: the game is being worked on, even if it doesn't always seem so from the outside.