A story about “being unkind”.
On May 28 this year, the latest work of the visual novel game “fault” series “fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE” finally came out. It has been 7 years since the official release of the previous series.
Seven years ago, the development team of the fault series, ALICE IN DISSONANCE (hereinafter referred to as AiD), wanted to intersperse a rumored work between the two main works to adjust the atmosphere and lay the groundwork. At the time, they named the rumored “fault – SILENCE THE PEDANT” and planned to release it in 2017.
No one thought at the time that this number would be stretched again and again in the future. From 2017, to 2019, to the complete disappearance of the release date, fans who have been waiting for 7 years are not waiting for the work that AiD promised back then, but the rumor of this rumored work. As for the most critical series of works , is even more distant.
three years after three years
A month after the release of the latest work, AiD published a 10,000-character long article on its website, sharing the ups and downs over the years with fans. The full text has no skills but feelings, explaining to fans the sinister development environment of AiD over the years.
The core idea of this article is also easy to summarize, in a thousand words to make one sentence:
“We can’t find programmers.”
Visual Novel is a unique genre of games. Compared with ordinary games, such games are often dominated by massive plot texts, supplemented by a few exquisite illustrations and music. Music and pictures are responsible for setting off the atmosphere, and the success or failure of the game is up to the screenwriter. Players do not have much room for manipulation, and manufacturers have extremely limited room to play.
But AiD’s ideals and pursuits obviously don’t stop there. In their original words, their goal is “the ultimate in photography and image performance”.
For this reason, since its debut work “fault – milestone one” in 2013, AiD has worked hard on “how to use static pictures to show vivid performance effects”, and the final effect presented by the game far exceeds other works in the same period. This fledgling new team made a name for itself.
The first generation works have realized the 3D camera function of 2D games
Two years later, AiD rushed out the second game “fault – milestone two side:above” while the iron was hot, and named its game “video novel” in order to distinguish it from the traditional visual novels on the market.
The two high-quality works have brought AiD an impressive sales volume of more than 100,000 copies. AiD’s positioning for the third game in the series is to “use Live2D as much as possible”. In 2015, when this technology has not yet been widely popularized, AiD’s desire is somewhat detached from reality.
Coincidentally, at this critical point in time, the core programmer inside AiD, the only programmer to be precise, left the team.
It should be emphasized that the AiD team, which has both fame and fortune, actually has only 3 employees, of which two are responsible for art, copywriting and other work. For AiD, which is in the limelight, all they have to do now is find a programmer.
Programmers are a hot profession, and finding a new employee isn’t too much of a struggle. After the personnel change, AiD immediately found a new person, let’s call him A.
A is not an experienced programmer, but since the game development tool AiD is using only supports Python, A with a certain Python foundation can also do the job. For the team at the time, they didn’t need very mature employees. There is still a lot of time, and you can always do it slowly by starting from the beginning.
Kanban girl for Ren’Py engine
Things turned around soon after – Nintendo’s new machine, the Switch, was about to go on sale, and AiD was keenly aware of the machine’s future potential.
Looking at it now, their vision is unique, and NS has indeed quickly become the temple of small and medium independent games after its release. In order to cater to the development environment of NS and to abandon the old engine with relatively weak performance, AiD decided to abandon Python and turn to the Unity engine which is more suitable for the development environment of NS.
From God’s perspective, this was probably the worst decision they ever made.
The newly hired A was very confused. Originally, he was not very proficient in programming. The team also turned the development direction to Unity, which he was not familiar with. However, AiD did not deliberately embarrass A. They asked the publisher Sekai Project for help, asking for the support of a programmer who was proficient in Unity, and the other party generously provided a past employee with decent strength – here is this one The second programmer is named B.
B looked very reliable, and with his help, the game began to develop steadily. A, who doesn’t know much about Unity, also followed the master to watch and learn, and everything seemed to be developing in a good direction.
AiD did not waste this time. They used the old engine to develop the new work’s publicity trailer and demo demo. The excellent quality of the film was promoted by the publisher as a “guest of honor” to the 2017 Anime Expo, a large-scale American comic exhibition. the stage.
More than 100,000 exhibitors
At the time, everyone thought that the new title would arrive on schedule in the fourth quarter of 2017.
However, the new work will no longer follow.
Everyone knows that the actual development time of “Cyberpunk 2077” will not exceed 7 years
In the end, it turned out that all this was just AiD’s wishful thinking.
Since the two main creators could not understand the program, they could only listen to B orally report the progress of the work. When AiD asked B to submit the work results that he should have in the past year, the latter could not come up with anything. As a result, B made many mistakes, many irreversible mistakes. In order to recover the losses as soon as possible, AiD had to hire another programmer to restart the construction of the Unity framework.
AiD found their publisher again, and brought in a new programmer, C – but like B, C was still unable to deliver a satisfactory answer after several months of development.
AiD again got nothing, they’ve wasted two whole years. What is certain is that AiD’s high requirements and high standards for game quality are a major reason for dismissing the above programmers.
This story is full of repetitions, and there is a more tortured follow-up: AiD then found a new programmer D. D is indeed very skilled and able to solve most problems, but… he is too Can fish.
AiD mentioned in the long article that when they submitted the three bugs they checked to D, D would deal with the three problems in three separate batches. As long as no one urged them, D would have no motivation to work. Out of consideration for the quality of the game, AiD finally chose to find another way out.
Over the years, AiD has spoken to many game publishers about their problems, and one of them has offered to provide them with a competent and accomplished programmer.
It is said that the programmer called E is very young, has participated in major programming competitions, and has won quite good records. As for professional counterparts, E can even develop a visual adaptation in a short period of time. The development engine of the novel.
AiD immediately found E and submitted all their ideas to this promising future programmer. But to everyone’s surprise, E rejected the job, saying that his abilities were not yet up to the development standards and quality required by AiD.
At this point, AiD has completely given up. It seems that the development of the new game has been missed by them. The most important thing now is how to survive without being able to come up with a new game. Judging from their current staff size, it seems like a good idea.
The progress of art workers over the years is also a big selling point of the remake
This time AiD found an expert programmer F with game production experience. F was full of confidence in himself and believed that it would not be difficult to build a visual novel engine from scratch in Unity. After all, compared to his previous work projects , visual novels are much simpler and simpler.
He set himself a time limit of 6 months, and started intense development work… As you might expect, after 6 months, F was not completed on schedule.
It was not until two years later that F brought the two works to the NS platform. Four times the expected development time, which made F lose confidence. Maybe it was AiD’s continuous improvement in quality, or various minor flaws that needed to be polished before the game was released, which made the programmer exhausted, and finally he refused to develop new works. The invitation, AiD once again returned to the place where the dream began.
AiD, who switched to Unity in the early days to adapt to NS, finally put his work on NS
Five years have passed, and AiD has not been able to come up with a new work in the true sense.
The script has already been formed, and the art is ready to go, but the most critical programmers have never been able to find a suitable candidate.
In 2020, with the outbreak of the global epidemic and natural and man-made disasters, the two creators of AiD almost wanted to give up the entire project until they met their savior, a loyal fan of the fault series, a layman who does not understand programming at all, Dei.
Dei’s impression of himself
According to Dei, he is a medical-trained pharmacist, a freelance translator fluent in Japanese — and a fan of the fault series. Before that, he had business cooperation with AiD, flipped through several comics and set collections, and communicated with Munisix, one of the main creators.
Recently, when he planned to move to Japan with his wife, the sudden new crown epidemic disrupted the original plan. Dei, who was free, contacted Munisix again, hoping to help them with his free time.
Munisix confided to Dei their tragic story of finding programmers over the years. Dei is not a professional programmer, he did some simple programming in high school and never touched it again after that.
Munisix encouraged Dei to get back into programming, even as Dei made it clear that he had a blank paper experience. No one knows what the two men were thinking at the time, it was probably just a half-joking at first, but then the joke gradually turned into reality.
One dared to speak, the other dared to do it, Dei entered the AiD team by accident, signed a contract to become a programmer, and started developing games from scratch.
It is true that the production of visual novels is much simpler than other games, but for a zero-based layman, it is somewhat whimsical to make a game under the high standards and high requirements of AiD.
F, who ported the NS version of the game for AiD, had not left the team at this time, and Munisix arranged for Dei and F to hand over the work. As you can imagine, it’s hard to imagine the job at hand to someone who doesn’t know programming at all. Dei mentioned in the article that when F said to him: “This script controls the perspective change of the game object (game object)”, Dei was confused: “Can you explain what a game object is first?”
After this, F left the team.
Dei, who has lost the guidance of an expert, must complete the next work on his own. With the recommendation and help of friends, he gave up developing his own engine and turned to the mature development tools in the Unity store. While taking care of his old business of translation and medicine, Dei struggled with the Japanese visa while studying and studying in his spare time. This is 15 months.
Even geniuses can’t achieve results in such a short amount of time that professional programmers can’t. In the past 7 years, AiD’s goal has gradually decreased from “creating an unprecedented visual novel” to “launching a new game even if it is successful”. Dei, a newcomer to the industry, still needs more training. They decided to slow down the development of new works for the time being and turn to a small-scale work to try out.
In this context, the new work of “fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE”, a rumored work, was established. After 7 months of overtime work, the game was successfully completed, the fault series ushered in a new work after 7 years, and AiD finally got rid of the nightmare of programmers.
At first, they probably didn’t expect that the one who saved themselves would be this programming layman who didn’t understand anything at first.
Today, the AiD team has 4 regular employees. In addition to the original two main creators and Dei, there is also a Russian who has joined the team to work together for the next work.
AiD has also tried to summarize the root cause of the problem. Perhaps excellent programmers simply do not look down on independent game studios, let alone a niche category such as visual novels; or it is just pure bad luck, one after another Random encounters with unsuitable programmers…they still don’t have an answer. But at least, the team has stabilized now, the game has begun to develop smoothly, and after a series of bumps, AiD has miraculously returned to the right track.
“Fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE”, which took 7 years, is not so amazing from today’s perspective. In this age when Live2D has already been flooded, the final effect of this work is somewhat unnatural.
The popularity and popularity of the new work are also not as good as before. A few months after the release, the Steam evaluation is still less than one-tenth of the previous work. There may also be factors of this nature, but from the performance of the game, AiD has planted more and more foreshadowings in the script, and it seems that they are far from planning to stop there.
The development story of AiD over the years is over here, but the story of the fault series is probably just beginning – AiD, which has wasted too much time, still has a long way to go to achieve the grand goals set at the beginning .
This article is reprinted from: https://www.yystv.cn/p/9577
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