Devlog #8: QA and Q&A

(all the screenshots i have left are spoilers. while i take more, have a meme)

Hello everyone! Welcome to this month’s devlog!

If you just stumbled upon this, I am Adrienne, also known as insertdisc5! I’m the developer, writer, artist, main programmer, etc of the game. The game being In Stars and Time, which is the next and final game in the START AGAIN series, following START AGAIN: a prologue (available here!).  You can find out more about In Stars and Time here!!! 


With the game’s alpha finished, I didn’t do anything much worth talking about this month. QA is underway! I’m fixing bugs! I’m writing changelogs that say stuff like “At the hallway before that one room, getting to the edge 2+ times wont softlock anymore if you do it between the wall and a column”!!!! I’m also resting because September was a LOT!!! 

So, since I have very little to say, I asked people on Twitter to ask me questions, so I could answer them. Q&A time!

@ItsMeLilyV asks:

1. I really have been in love with monochrome & limited palette styles recently :3 How did you figure out the art style for ISAT? Are there any distinct challenges or walls you've run into? 

2. did you get to take any good naps. how would you rank the naps on a 10-pt scale

1. The TLDR is: it’s more fun to draw in black and white. And it’s faster. And it looks cool as hell!!!

I did run into some challenges especially when it came to UI- how do you draw the eye of the player to a selection, or something they need to interact with, when you can’t use an eye-catching color to draw them in?!? I ended up relying a lot on level design to do that… And animations, too, especially in the House where everything is frozen! Keeping a very limited palette also helps, I think I mostly used black, white, and maybe 5 shades of grey in between… It’s all about contrast! And not having a big muddy grey mess!!!

2. I got some good naps in, yeah. I’m a big fan of naps after lunch, so I eat, wait for the sleep to kick in, and sleep for 2-3 hours. Solid 8/10 naps. That’s heaven babes!!!

@gertritude asks:

I am curious about what your writing process is for the game!! Like, what is your planning process (if you have one) and how do you approach actually writing for it?

My writing process… It’s a little all over the place to be honest! 

I had the big strokes of ISAT figured out from beginning to end before I even finished the prologue, but then I had to really sit down a bunch of times and really figure out how to get from point A to point B. So it involved a lot of writing, and also rewriting, to Foreshadow some Cool Stuff. Also, early on I was really struggling with some plot points, so I sat down for a whole day and wrote down the entire plot from beginning to end, and tried to get really granular and write down those middle point A to point B things! If I didn’t know what would happen I just invented something on the spot! As long as the whole story was written!!! It took a while, but I’m really glad I did this, because this saved me a lot of time later on hehe

Apart from the big plot events, the smaller events that are conversations between the characters usually just come out of nowhere, like “ok I have a table here and I put cookies on it. How would everyone react?”. I try to strike a balance between “this is how people talk” and “does it say anything new about those characters”, whether it’s a character’s favorite food, or a nice foreshadowing moment that you’ll reread later and go “OH DAMN… ALL ALONG THIS WAS HERE…”

My big go-to technique to actually write is that every day 1. I decide I’m going to work for 15mn and I start a timer 2. I put my headphones on 3. I start my concentrate playlist, which is full of instrumental electro/dubstep/wub wub adjacent music 4. ????? 5. Writing accomplished. The 15mn goal is just because it’s easy to write for 15mn. I always write for longer, but I just need to get started with an easy goal!

@_blade0fgrass_ asks:

Is it hard coming up with such immaculate puns

I would like to thank punpedia from the bottom of my heart. And also google. Thanks punpedia thanks google!

@kayleighdotjpeg asks:

keeping spoilers in mind, who are your favorite characters to write? which character dynamics are your favorite? did any of them surprise you?

This is THE question. Thank you so much. 

I loved to write Siffrin (especially when they’re all depressed teehee), but Odile ended up being my Actual Favorite to write. Most characters are either 1. Full of secrets or 2. Pushovers and/or oblivious, so it’s very nice to have Odile be the one to say “Alright, enough of this. We will talk about the elephant in the room Right Now”. She’s very blunt and doesn’t care about anything and she is so useful as a plot device and I love her.

Siffrin and Odile is my favorite dynamic, followed closely by Siffrin and Loop! As for surprising character dynamics, I reaaaaally enjoyed writing Odile and Isabeau… I didn’t get to write them often, but they are so fun to write together. Please ask me this question again once the game comes out so I can say more.

@novvclutchmate asks:

How do you go about finding a balance between levity and seriousness? Would you say your story tips more in one direction than the other; if so, was it on purpose and why?

What a good question! Hmm, for me and my writing style personally, it’s less about finding a balance, and more that One Cannot Exist Without The Other. It’s like adding sweetness to a savory dish- adding them together elevates the whole thing!!! 

If I have a serious scene, I like to add some levity to kind of bring the characters back to earth. I don’t know about you, but when I have a serious conversation for too long, I automatically laugh or tell a joke to break the tension! I get uncomfortable when it’s too serious! It’s normal! I’m normal!!!! It’s also a way for the audience to breathe out- don’t worry player, we’re good! We’re back to the usual stuff! Plus, I find that funny scenes right after a serious emotional scene hit harder.

As for seriousness to levity, I think it’s fun when you have a funny slice of life scene and then the story reminds you that this scene is Serious Actually. Like having everyone talking happily and the narrator saying  “it makes you sad when your friends keep repeating the very same lines every time.” :)

ISAT tips more towards levity I’d say, because of the reasons listed above! If you’re used to funny cute scenes and then I give you a Serious Emotional scene it makes you go Σ(っ °Д °;)っ


is there any words youd like to tell aspiring/young indie devs?

Just make the dang thing!!! Stop putting it off!!! Just do it!!! Buy a simple game maker thing like rpgmaker or renpy or whatever and make the thing!!! Yes it’ll take time!!! Yes it won’t be as good as you imagined in some ways!!! Yes making games is hard!!! But you gotta just do it!!! It’ll be so much better than you imagined in other ways!!! It’ll be real!!! You’re the only one who can make it!!! It’s yours!!! It comes from your heart!!! It IS your heart!!! No one else can make it but you!!! So just make the dang thing!!! I believe in you!!! JUST MAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s all I have to say for today! Let me know if you have any questions, or if there’s any aspect of the game development struggle you’d like me to talk about! See you next time!!!


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