New Character Designs and Progress Report

Brand New Character Designs by Jinae G
Brand new character designs by Jinae G

Quick amendment, but consider voting in the Straw Poll here with your opinion on which girl you find most appealing based on these designs.

I wrote in a comment in my last post on how despite having made significant improvement to the performance of the game’s most demanding location, the school, further development of the location with new content being brought in has brought the framerate back down to unacceptable levels, and has led to the unfortunate realisation that there are some core architectural problems with the engine’s scene system related to occlusion culling. This would require some somewhat non-trivial rearchitecturing of this part of the engine in order to bring the framerate back up. Thankfully, I do have a set of plans for how this could be improved, and it is unfortunately going to result in some further delays, but I think it will be universally beneficial. I’m intending to take my proposal directly to the Godot community and discuss their feasibility as an engine mainline feature

More concept art for glasses-wearing character by Akainai
More concept art for glasses-wearing character by Akainai

On one hand though, I’m going try to focus on some smaller goals for the next update. Right now, I’m trying to address some problems which are present in the engine’s internal light baker, mostly stability issues resulting in crashes, but also missing features like the inability to correctly interact with translucent surfaces and raytracing from the skybox. There is also the issue of this feature’s massively high memory requirements (on my end, not the player’s), which has resulted in me having to recreate my toolchain to allow a 64-bit build of the engine in order to be able to use all the memory I have (8gb), but this may still not enough if the scene continues to grow in complexity, and if I can’t find a way to make this process more memory efficient, I may have to save up for some more RAM.

Concept showing two of the cast in potential casual clothes by Akainai
Concept showing two of the cast in potential casual clothes by Akainai

On the subject of less speculative work, while a lot of work recently has been dedicated to research as to what will be required for the new scene system, most of my other focus recently has more been on recreating early systems I had attempted with more knowledge and experience of the engine. As well as a ton of minor architectural improvements, we now have entirely abstract location loader which allows warping between the school and upcoming locations previously teased at before while retaining the state of higher level nodes in the scene. We also have improved physics, a rewrite of the title screen with some new UI theming, and new general-purpose ingame 3D prompt overlay system (to be used with interactive objects and the upcoming character dialogue system), early work on the character creator screens, and a complete rewrite of the developer’s console with a bunch of new commands such as noclip, setting and getting flags in the visual novel engine, and hooks into the new universal audio system which includes multiple volume controls for master, music, sound, and specific character voices. There’s also a ton of new 3D artwork ready to go in the engine but I’m still waiting for the right time to reveal the majority of it. A longer term goal I’m intending to tackle is creating a brand-new procedural skybox and weather system needed for the game’s timeflow system.

A new design showing potential drills hairstyle by Akainai
A new design showing potential drills hairstyle by Akainai

Something you’ve probably noticed in this post is the presence of the fantastic new character designs for the game’s cast, and my main reason for making this post was that I really wanted to share what these two incredibly talented people had made and hopefully drum up some interest in their own work. Check out their respective pages, they’re incredible, and I hope we can see more from them in the near future.

Same character, this time shown in a maid costume by Akainai
Same character, this time shown in a maid costume by Akainai

That’s all for now. The three near-term tasks I’m going to focus on right now are fixing and improving the offline lightmapper, adding in a completely generalised system for object interaction in the freeroaming mode, and finishing the character model I’d shown previously. I hope you’ll continue to follow this blog and thank you all for being so patient. While I don’t want to put out a build with such glaring performance problems, I may still do it if these issues can’t be resolved in a timely fashion, but I would still rather not have this form people’s first impressions.

Alternative proposed designs for atheletic girl by Akainai
Alternative proposed designs for athletic girl by Akainai
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20 thoughts on “New Character Designs and Progress Report

  1. Awesome job Saracen !

    Looks like you made quite a progress !
    Keep up the good work, I hope that you’ll get soon to complete the engine rearrangement thing πŸ˜‰

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  2. Akainai is an amazing artist! Keep up the good work!

    And by the way, are you going to be releasing a debug build like the yandere simulator builds (it’s great that you’re helping the dev!)

    I support you!

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    1. I will be putting something out soon, hopefully after dealing with some of the issues addressed in this post. Don’t expect too much from the first build though, since it’s much earlier in development, and it’s literally only intended to show off some of the game’s environment. It won’t feature any of characters, gameplay, or visual novel dialogue; they will follow in later builds.

      Also, some of the things I did do for Yandere Simulator have been useful in allowing me practice for things which soon make their way into Galatea.

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  3. 1. New designs, Top-notch.

    2. I stumbled upon some music for Galatea while listening to YanSim ost. Not sure if you’re aware of it. But it sounds nice. very nice.

    3. Maybe consider putting up a benchmarking test like YanDev did in the early days of YanSim. Then we could report back here with our framerate and specs. Or you could just put up a strawpoll or something.

    (‘-‘)-b

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    1. 1. I thought so too, they did a fantastic job.

      2. Yes, I know the person who composed it very well, and we’re currently discussing further musical direction for the project. You should be hearing more very soon.

      3. As for the benchmarking thing, if I decide to put out a build before I can get certain aspects of the renderer more optimized (specifically occlusion culling and skinned mesh rendering), I’m not sure I’d be able to classify them as benchmarkers, since I know we can squeeze a lot more performance out of this thing, and getting performance results after these features are implemented will result in much more accurate data. Also, when I decide to do a legitimate benchmarker, what I would actually like to do is to have the program record the framerate for the duration of the demo, and at the end, give the user the option to allow their results to uploaded where it can then be automatically organized and act as significantly more useful data.

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  4. Oh, btw, I voted for the athletic girl because she was the only one who seemed happy to be there, I think it means a lot to have them be happy, because only the sporty girls and tomboys had smiling faces.

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    1. Thanks for voting. It’s been interesting to see the direction the poll has been taking in regards to the characters, and even though the athletic girl is currently at the bottom position, I’m glad that there at least aren’t any ‘weak links’ here, and all the characters seem to have good number of supporters. This is a good sign that we’re covering a broad variety of tastes. It did surprise me though that the athletic girl is less popular than the others since she was intended to be a kind of ‘face’ of the project for the reasons you specified, possessing a more upbeat and happy-go-lucky personality compared to the rest of the cast which have a more noticeable ‘edge’ to them.

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  5. Hey! Long time not talk, school started for me and I have been busy XD I was thrilled to see two new updates and they look pretty awesome. Do you think the girls will ever change themselves somewhat to fit your characters desired image? Both mentally and physically. Like if you pick the perverted trait, you might end up convincing them to do something they would not normally do otherwise? They could also end up wearing more risky stuff at certain times in a bide to get your attention? (Perverted was just the first example I could think of. This could apply to lots of traits)

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    1. Good to hear from you again. Yes, this has been a planned feature since day one, and it’s something I’m intending to carry over from the game which inspired a lot of the design for Galatea, Love Plus. This is something which is only practical due to it being full 3D, and the model I’ve been working on has been designed with this feature in mind; the girls will change their hairstyles and clothing based on your feedback and how much they like you. Personality is a bit more tenuous with regards to how significant this will be. In Love Plus, they had a feature where the girls had three personality types they would change to depending on your feedback, but it felt really stilted and artificial when it happened (it even had an icon to indicate the personality type which runs completely contrary to the design philosophy I’m adopting for Galatea). If personality changes are implemented, it’ll definitely be in a more subtle way than what Love Plus featured, and may even be entirely unnoticed by the majority of players, but it would likely encompass things like what you suggested.

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      1. Yeah, it is much less of a mold your perfect girlfriend, because then the character loses a lot of life/value. And much more subtle changes that might actually occur in a relationship. I would say she should get mad if you don’t notice for instance her changing her hair for you or whatever. But I can’t remember if there would be choices (Because of the whole personality choice thing) Will there still be ways to lose the game? Like is it possible for you to not spend time with a girl for long enough? Or to perhaps not meet her on a date at the specified time and to simply fail? Or perhaps there could be more subtle and stacking repercussions for numerous small problems you create within the relationship? As much as I dislike getting a bad ending (I always do.) it adds a sense of fulfillment to being successful in the relationship. Especially if it is hard to get the good ending.

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        1. Yeah, that’s exactly my thinking. As much as I boast about modding potential and player creative expression, I do believe that the game still needs to have very strongly defined base characters and storylines rather than being a completely blank slate. Despite the premise of the game, I’m also not afraid to have openly flawed characters since I want them to be well-rounded and interesting, and from that, hopefully endearing. The end result will probably something like Haganai and Neighbour’s Club.

          ‘Losing’ is actually something I have to admit to being unsure about at this stage. While I do intend to make it perfectly possible to fail in getting the relationship you want, I don’t think there’s going to be an explicit ‘fail state’ for not doing so. I want to make it possible to actually play the game while completely forging the relationship angle entirely. Sure, it would mean ignoring loads of the game’s content and overall focus, but I still want it to be possible to just play as a bare bones anime high school life simulator. The game also isn’t intended to be too difficult owing to the amount of random number generation and deliberate obfuscation planned for the RPG stat progression, with the skill gulf manifesting more in the amount of time it would take to enter a relationship with one of the girls rather than being able or not able to enter a relationship at all. A western example of this would the difference between the original Sims game and the newer ones, where the focus shifted more toward fulfilling individual character aspirations rather than simply surviving the endless stress of suburban living.

          Regarding the other aspect of the game, once you’re actually in a relationship, the more obvious question remains whether it would then be possible to then break up in response to falling out and/or neglect. True, this would be fairly realistic, but the presence of such a mechanic could also significantly change the overall tone of the game, making it a lot more cynical and stressful to the player. At the end of day, although I am aiming for an overall more realistic tone, I do have to acknowledge that this is still a fantasy setting where high school romance can become a lifelong gesture, so I’m still undecided as to whether such a mechanic will be included.

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          1. “I still want it to be possible to just play as a bare bones anime high school life simulator.” So you may be able to play without going after any girls and just living high school life? There is no real failures except for the personal lack of reaching your own player set goals? An interesting thing to upkeep may be studying for specific subjects, you have to allocate time to studying subjects after school or so (Or in lunch breaks or whenever) then if you have high grades it will let you graduate at the end of the game to a good college. it would be a title only thing seeing that you don’t keep playing after that, you could also pass off to a decent college if your grades are average, and depending on your grades you can give tutoring to love interests or recieve tutoring.

            Minigames and friendship routes would also be things that would keep the game interesting even if you didn’t go after girls. You could have minigames associated with clubs, maybe a minigame you can play at home, and an arcade if you don’t want to go home or stay at school. I remember in some visual novels you always had one best friend who you ended up hanging out with if you didn’t become successful with any of the girls. Perhaps if you are stuck for the whole year and just spend time with the best friend he has a route where you help him get a girlfriend (And you are the side character XD)

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            1. These are all things I would be interested in doing, though I will say that although I will allow people to forgo the romantic relationship angle, it’s still the primary focus and where the majority of resources will be allocated. Unique non-datable character ‘quests’ are also something I would really like to see filling this area.

              Minigames aresomething I’m considering too, and a working arcade is something which is already planned. Associated minigames with clubs is also something I would really like to see, but it would be a challenge to make sure they’re all fun and have somewhat equal footing in terms of depth and re-playability, so it’s going to be a challenge. Again, it’s all going to come down to what resources. These kind of ancillary features are things where I could see crowdfunding being beneficial to the practicality of seeing them implemented.

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  6. Characters look’s really promissing πŸ™‚ and… may i say something? don’t bother too much in ambient occlusion nor sun rays, they are laggy and non productive, focus more on game’s core engine, and use false shadow maps and shadow sprites on ambient and objects, that make the game cutier and less glichy πŸ˜‰
    (oh! and sure i will keep my eye on updates !)

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    1. I’m generally not a big believer in the idea of graphics as ‘special effects’, so there probably won’t be a lot of bells and whistles in that area, with the focus more being on striking saturated colours and appealing geometry. It’ll probably end up looking similar to a game which came out last year called Akiba’s Trip just with more detailed characters. There will be some post-processing effects such as HDR as a means of enhancing the overall quality of certain scenes, but pretty much all graphical effects will be toggleable via options for aesthetic and performance reasons.

      Regarding shadow maps, I originally wasn’t going to use them, but now I think it’s necessary to have them simply due to the fact that the game will have a changing time of day and weather system, and I feel having them will be necessary for selling the overall effect, though this effect will again be configurable with tweakable quality settings and the option to omit it entirely. This will be used in conjunction with baked indirect lighting which I will likely tint for changing lighting conditions. It’s not accurate, but it’s the best I think I can do without a completely dynamic solution, which may still come to the engine since the original maintainer has expressed interest in integrating light propagation volumes alongside a new renderer for the upcoming next generation Vulkan API, in which case we would use that by default with the baked solution remaining for people with lower-end machines. I may still do blob shadows too, as I think it will be good for making character look more grounded in scenes which are otherwise fully shadowed. (And thank you for following the project)

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  7. Hello again πŸ˜€

    The drawings are amazing and I was wondering what kind of personality you were looking at for the French braided girl. Is she mean at first and then nice? Or has she always been sweet and only shows that to the main character. I’m currently working on something fun and exciting art work (which will take a while and may or may not happen depending on if I find the right website to wrap it all up but leave that up to me πŸ˜‰ ) If you would let me know that would be great or name one of the characters that will have a sort of sweet and shy feeling to them.

    I hope to hear from you soon and hope you enjoy what I will be creating πŸ˜€

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    1. Ah, the braided girl. I think people are going to find her quite interesting, and she’s probably the character I’m most looking forward to working on. She’s basically an incredibly shy and socially awkward girl, but not so much in the shrinking violet kind of way, more in a kind of smug, self-absorbed, and socially alienated kind of way. In anime terms, think someone like Tomoko Kuroki from Watamote, and she’s also kind of a stand in for one of the Love Plus girls called Rinko Kobayakawa (whom herself was based of a Haruki Murakami character), possessing a slightly similar personality and filling a similar role. Getting closer with her won’t really result in her becoming ‘sweet’ per-say, more in the sense of that the two of you end up gaining a ‘shared sense of mutal intellectual superiority’, by that I mean you often sit around together bemoaning how shallow and inspid your peers are.

      The characters in these pictures actually do have placeholder names which are known amongst close contributors, but I’m currently working with someone who knows some Japanese to help come up with new replacement names, so I didn’t publish this post with the placeholder names as I was concerned people might grow too attached to them while knowing they were all going to be changed. I will say that the braided girl’s current name is Megumi, but that is likely to change soon. If you want to know more, you can email me.

      I’m not sure what you’re working on, but I’m really interested to see whatever it is you end up making. (;

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