Whispers of the Luminaries Update – 2024
Did you miss us? It’s been a while since our last update! Unfortunately, some stuff got in the way of development, but most of them have been resolved, so we’re back on track for 2024.
First, there’s some good and bad news:
The bad news is the full game will be delayed into the later half of this year (around August), because we ended up having to remake most of the game.
The good news is this delay has given us extra time to really polish the game, and now, it’s sooo much better. Version 2.0 of the demo will be coming shortly.
Improvements to the Game (tl;dr)
- New Detective Gameplay: The Evidence List – choose what you want to investigate + some danganronpa style gameplay
- Improvements to the story: More suspense, more mystery, more characterization (overall plot is still the same)
- Improved camera techniques/cinematography
- Improved music selection + no more placeholder soundtracks
- Multiple endings
- New Save/Load System
- Lots of art – CGs, character art, extra poses, costumes and more
New Detective Gameplay and Save/Load System
Having a save/load system will allow us to implement multiple endings to the story – there’ll be bad endings for picking the wrong choices which wasn’t ideal before with our autosave system.
New Detective Gameplay:
This was something we’ve been wanting to add for a while, and now it’s finally here:
As you go through the story you’ll encounter important clues which will appear here. These will be indicated by a clue sound effect (those of you who’ve played the demo will have heard it before).
- Whenever you visit your detective office in your free time, you’ll be able to choose which piece of evidence to investigate. This will lead to certain discoveries, which can affect the outcomes/endings.
- There’ll also be Danganronpa/Ace Attorney style gameplay, where you’ll be able to select contradicting pieces of evidence. (Example: select the piece of evidence that contradicts this statement OR select 2 pieces of evidence that contradict each other).
This will add a lot more fun and thought into the gameplay and I’m really excited about this!!
After polishing and rewriting the script, it’s so much better now! You’ll get to see the fruits of our labor in the next demo!
I recently came across a Reddit comment on r/writing, which offered a useful piece of writing advice I’d never seen before. I read a lot of books on writing and this piece of advice was very interesting:
When each description is the writer’s first thought, rather than their third or fourth (or fifth or sixth)
So, like, the angry characters are always clenching their fists, and the steak is always juicy, and the main character has long, curly hair
Whereas with a better writer, the angry character will react with that anger and lash out with a stupid action that is not in their interests…
Even though it’s only a guideline and not a hard rule, it’s something you have to consider when writing.
Here’s an example of how it can apply to dialogue writing:
Person A: How are you?
Person B: Doing fine, what about you?
My first thoughts in writing a response to this would be a simple “doing fine, how are you.”
This is okay if you’re looking to “flow” or create something cozy/atmospheric with the music. However, for something more interesting with more spice and personality, it’s better to skip the first, obvious response that comes to mind and come up with something else like this:
Person A: How are you?
Person B: Just watched a damn seagull snatch a bagel out from my hands. How are you?
So even though there’s no “right” way to do things, each serves their different purposes and it’s something to always have on your mind.
Rewriting the “Weak” Portions of the Script:
As I was going through the script again with a fresh mind this time, I realized a few things:
- Too many pointless scenes early on with exposition dumps
- Having placeholder music and art didn’t help
- A few of the characters can be written better
✓ So instead, I’ve refined the script so now there’ll be more mystery and suspense intertwined into the earlier scenes to keep the story engaging. In fact, the mystery is presented right off the bat.
✓ There’ll also be more in-depth characterization and you’ll get to learn more about characters like May, which we avoided in the demo due to fear of pacing issues.
✓ Overall, the story gets really exciting at the end of the prologue and onwards, so I’m excited to finally start building those scenes.
Another writing improvement I did was cutting out extra redundant details. In particular, during scene transitions.
For example, instead of saying “It was getting late, and Taichi decided to call it a day and visit Starlight Sip,” we cut that part out entirely and skip to the next scene. The reader will make the connection. No need to waste words on something redundant like that.
✓ Overall this makes the script more professional and improves the pacing a little bit.
Learning Cinematography From Anime
We now have a new system that’ll allow us to implement better camera shots, angles and movement.
Our facial expression system is already fantastic and really brings the characters to life, but now, with these camera changes, it will make our visual novel feel more like an anime!
I’ve been studying how anime/movies handle cinematography and seeing if I can implement it to visual novels.
A lot of techniques from anime can’t be applied to visual novels, since they require new artwork for every shot, however, I’ve found some simple techniques which we can use that will make the game more engaging.
I’m really excited to showcase these in the next build.
Art & Music
On the art side of things:
✅ Detective Eiji Hoshiko character sprite 🕵️ – he’ll be implemented into the final scenes of the demo.
✅Idol costumes 🔥
✅ A cute CG of the idols
✅ More poses and facial expressions for the characters
More characters to come soon…
✅ Placeholder tracks have been replaced
✅ Improved music selection
✅ More atmospheric scenes
We’re also working on improving the sound design.
More Free Time Event Choices
More choices is always a good thing right? In the extended demo, there’ll be more free-time events.
New “Hearts” UI
I legit brainstormed for a whole month on how to do the hearts UI and this is what I came up with:
Instead of just a heart, we tied in the theme of idols and made it a clef in the shape of a heart.
The “Harmony Hearts” ^^
BEFORE & AFTER
Our goal has always been to make something special. Not just a good or great game, but a masterpiece, full of drama, suspense and mystery.
I know that’s a tall order considering it’s our first game, however, thanks to the demo, we’ve gathered a lot of feedback and learnt from our mistakes. It was very important to get insight on what was working and what needed fixing. And we got exactly that :)
Thank you to all you passionate fans who are still following the development of our project despite the setbacks and delays. Hopefully 2024 will be our year!
Look forward to the next demo build!
If you haven’t already, you can get more updates like this and many goodies (like behind-the-scenes artworks, and character backstories) by signing up to our mailing list.