…Please excuse the post title. It’s the best I could do. Anyway, I’m back again with a Four Eyes progress update, plus a good chunk info about how I came up with the setting and characters! A Tumblr anon asked me about it, and I was more than happy to answer in excruciating detail. I thought it’d be fun to share my answer here, too. 🙂
Since my last proper update on October 28th, my main focus has been on the final puzzles of the game, which…have only grown more complicated as I work on them. Scope creep is real. The penultimate one in particular forced me to add extra functionality to the character-switching system, edit a sprite, and add lots of conditional branches when interacting with objects in that particular area. I really hope the efforts pay off and you guys enjoy the puzzle! We’ll have to see how playtesters react to it. The final puzzle isn’t as developed yet, but I have all the steps worked out for it. It draws upon many things the player has learned about the planet and its various objects up until that point.
I’ve also been working on the game’s two endings; all cutscenes for the normal route are actually complete now, and the secret ending only has the epilogue left to go. They were a lot of fun for me to write, particularly Jett’s lines. He makes a difficult decision at the end, and it’s a moment that I’ve been itching to write for a while! The ending scenes are a bit long, so I’m sorry in advance for that…but I figure most people are playing this game for the story anyway, right? The first time I had someone playtest the Four Eyes demo, I had held back on making long cutscenes because I didn’t want to annoy players, but the shorter scenes actually left the playtester unsatisfied, so I lengthened a few. Now, with the full version, I’m worrying less about that and making the scenes as long or short as they need to be in order to properly tell the game’s story.
Apart from boring things like new items, bug fixes, etc., that’s the gist of what I’ve done so far this November. Now, onward to that concept talk I had mentioned earlier! I’ll pop it under a cut so this update doesn’t stretch my homepage too much.
A lot of the decisions I made when coming up with Four Eyes stemmed from me wanting to do something different than Jubilee Royale. The first thing I decided was that I wanted it to have a futuristic, sci-fi theme – and since I love astronomy so much, how could I not set it among the stars with alien characters? So I got the setting down pretty quickly.
Naturally, the main character was the first one I brainstormed. Jett’s basic personality was designed to be quite different from Cybil’s. She’s a prissy, stuck-up princess, so I decided that he ought to be friendly and approachable, but somewhat of a slob. I gave him tech skills after it was decided that Toa would have telekinesis (more on him next) so that he could have a unique role to play when solving puzzles. After determining that the plot would involve a human-alien war, I centred his character development around his discovery that friendship between the species is possible. For that to be more pronounced to the player, I made him especially hostile towards the talyrans at the beginning of the game. He wasn’t going to have glasses originally, but when I decided that Toa would have four eyes, I added them to his design so I could play off of that in the game’s title. Here’s my first concept sketch of him:
Next up came the alien love interest, Toa. I initially characterized him as hostile and reserved, but then I realized that would make it more difficult to develop his relationship with Jett realistically within a few short levels. I switched him around to be calm and quiet, but still kind-natured and interested in befriending the humans right from the get-go. I didn’t go as far-out with his design as I could’ve due to the time constraints Yaoi Jam placed on me – I wanted to have his face down before the jam officially started to save time later. (We were allowed to sketch character concepts before June 1st, just not final assets.) That’s why he still looks relatively human. I figured purple skin and an extra set of eyes were a good way to have him look, well, alien without much effort, and I blacked out his eyes to give him an otherworldly vibe without making him too off-putting. I toyed with the idea of him wearing a bun, but ultimately got rid of it and kept his hair short. His droopy eye shape made him look drowsy, so I went ahead and made him really tired all the time. I thought it’d be nice if he had some kind of special power to help the player when solving puzzles, hence the talyrans’ telekinetic “Gifts.” (I came up with that name in a rush because of the time constraints and all…sorry if it kinda sucks.) Here’s his concept sketch:
As for Irene, I wanted there to be a likeable female character in the game because women are often mistreated or ignored in yaoi fandom, so a female second-in-command was born! I love best friend characters who always rip on each other, which is why she’s so savage towards Jett. Her coffee addiction wasn’t planned from the start, but after I wrote the line about her not having had enough java to deal with Jett, I just took that and ran with it. She actually doesn’t have a concept sketch because I ran out of time before Yaoi Jam started, so the first drawing I ever did of her was her final portrait. Luckily, I’m happy with how it turned out, even if I was flying by the seat of my pants! I gave her a pink ponytail and big, round earrings to communicate a girly vibe.
I had way too much fun talking about that, so thanks again to the anon for asking. See you folks next time!!