- Mac: Hello, Diamonit! How's the weather in France today?
- Diamonit: Hello Mac! Well, currently it's the middle of the night over here, but we've had good weather these last few days. You can feel that summer is here!
- Mac: Speaking of summer, I've heard that you have recently finished up a semester of university. Am I correct?
- Diamonit: Yes, indeed. I am a math student, and I'm currently aiming to get my Master's.
- Mac: Your math has caused David to cry, you know that?
- Diamonit: That's too bad for him, math rules the world after all! (I'm joking)
- Mac: Dia, English is your second language, yes? When did you pick it up?
- Diamonit: Hmmmm, I remember starting to learn English in middle school, and at first I was "okay" at it. I believe I started to improve a lot when I took a liking to singing, especially since I prefer English songs. After that, the presence of English everywhere on internet made it easier for me to learn the language, so I'm able to speak it quite fluently now (I still have some troubles with vocabulary or grammar from time to time though).
- Mac: That's very interesting. I should probably learn French one day. Moving on though, as Project Co-Leader of Lucid9, what exactly do you do?
- Diamonit: Co-leader is somehow a vague title IMO, since I'm responsible for quite a lot of different things related to Lucid9. If I were to summarize, I'd say that I'm mainly responsible for management and communication among the team. I'm the one gathering all of the knowledge concerning Lucid9, and making sure the relevant people receive the information they need (for example, I know how the plot progresses in this route, and I know what art assets we will need for this route, it's my job to tell the artists what to draw). I am also the person that sets deadlines, takes care of recruitment, fires people (unfortunately, it is sometimes needed), and overall, I try to make sure that Lucid9 makes regular progress in every area. Other than that, I am also some sort of "plot overseer", and make sure that the whole story and journey that is Lucid9 stays consistent and coherent from beginning to end (with the help of all the writers of course).
- Mac: It sounds like a lot of duties for just one person. Is it often stressful?
- Diamonit: Truth be told, yes. It sometimes ends up becoming overwhelming and quite stressful. Work accumulates very fast, and if you're not giving it your all, it can easily make progress stall for the whole project.
- Mac: I see. Such an important job must come with such drawbacks. What are some of the struggles with this position?
- Diamonit: Well, first of all, even though it is not something that comes specifically with this position, you have to sacrifice a lot of your free time in order to keep everything in place. It is sometimes hard to balance studies, hobbies, and managing such a big project. There is always something you need to discuss with someone, an idea you need to think about, a problem you have to solve, all of that in order to improve the final VN. Secondly, being in such a position forces you to sometimes take difficult decisions. You need to look like the "bad guy" of the group and the spoilsport. Asking people to focus. Asking people to work faster. Scolding them if something is going wrong. It's hard because, sometimes, the person can take it personally, while you're really only thinking of what's best for the project. A lot of time, you need to get a global view over everything, which conflicts with specific view that other people have (most of the time the writers), which can sometimes lead to disagreements, or in the worst case, to conflicts. But it's also part of my job to make sure that every conflict gets solved in a peaceful way.
- Mac: Don't worry, Dia. Even if we bare our fangs, we still love you in the end. Anyway, since you were here from the very beginning, what was Lucid9 like at the start?
- Diamonit: That's a good question^^ Back in the day, Lucid9 was nearly not as organized as today. I remember that it all started on Fuwanovel, and our first meetings were on IRC (I remember those loooong meetings where we were deciding about what sort of VN to create, what genre and basic plot, which would eventually become the basis for what is Lucid9 now). Funny thing is that the roster of people we had back in the day differed completely from our current rosters (actually there are only 4-5 people in the current group who were part of FSS since the very beginning). Eventually, the less motivated people left, and a lot of skilled people saw the potential of Lucid9 and joined, which makes the team what it is now!
- Mac: Our team really has grown. Who's your favorite character in Lucid9?
- Diamonit: Hmmmmm, since I'm the one who created Airi, I'd probably be a bit biased, so I'll exclude her... I'd say Akira. I really like her art and the perkiness of the character, and combined with her complete randomness (and her awesome character theme OST), I feel like she's both funny and cute^^
- Mac: Dizzy is such a great artist ^^ What is your favorite visual novel?
- Diamonit: I'd say Rewrite. I'm a sucker for Key's VNs (I'm really looking forward to the upcoming Angel Beats one), and Rewrite was such a nice journey. It is definitely not perfect, and it really is a subjective opinion, but Rewrite combines both a strong message and an emotional story, the art is very cute, and the OST is just perfect. Actually, Lucid9 structure as a VN is somehow inspired from Rewrite's structure.
- Mac: Interesting. What was a hard moment in Lucid9's story development?
- Diamonit: I'm afraid I can't really reveal anything without major spoilers ;) But overall, the story will get darker. Not for the sake of having a dark and heavy atmosphere, but because our characters will have to go through hardships to grow. And the thing that is definitely the most interesting and unique trait of VNs that fascinate a lot of readers, is characters growth.
- Mac: Story plot aside, were there any major problems on the development of Lucid9 so far?
- Diamonit: I would say that the different story reworks (especially the post-common route one) are quite challenging, as they were sometimes quite huge in terms of change, and it was quite hard to change everything and rework it while not creating any plot hole. Also, we seem to be having quite a lot of issue with composers, as I haven't managed to find a composer that wanted to involve himself deeply on Lucid9 (as a result, the current OST produced are the result of the work of 4 different composers).
- Mac: I see. What is your most memorable experience from Lucid9's General Chat?
- Diamonit: Hmmm, definitely the roleplay sessions^^ Those are really hilarious, even though it's quite hard to pull them off, mainly because of time restraints.
- Mac: They are quite fun to watch! What is the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a visual novel?
- Diamonit: Hmmmm, above anything else, I would say keep it fun and create bonds with your team. It is a huge help for motivation. If creating a VN starts to become something tedious for you, and you force yourself to work on it all of the time, then you will have a hard time to keep it like this in the long run.
- Mac: That is very important. How did the Sarah x Dia ship come into existence?
- Diamonit: Haha, I wonder myself as well sometimes x) It's mostly a private joke that built itself as time went by I believe ^^ Maybe because we're taking care of Airi's route together? But we got defeated by the Yuuko x Dizzy ship unfortunately...
- Mac: I don't think that's necessarily true. If you had to give one tip to other people wanting to make visual novels, what would it be?
- Diamonit: Stay determined! You can get through any problem if you persevere enough! :)
- Mac: After Lucid9 is finished, what do you plan on doing?
- Diamonit: I don't have any plans currently. Finishing Lucid9 in itself is such a huge achievement that I have a hard time seeing myself beyond that.
- Mac: That's a good answer. I hope you might consider doing something with FSS in the future. Unfortunately, I'm all out of questions. Thank you for taking this time to answer my questions, Diamonit!
- Diamonit: No problem, I am glad I could answer your questions! Good luck for your next interviews! :)
An Interview with Diamonit!
It's Time for Another Update
So you’re probably wondering what’s been goin’ on behind the scenes. In the writing department, quite a lot. Common Route is pretty much fully drafted with the exception of some revisions and editing. The word count is estimated at around 150,000 words, but might grow considerably after everything’s finalized. The demo of the entire Common Route won’t be released any time soon though, but I’ll make sure to keep you all updated in the meanwhile.
We’ve also made some headway with the Heroine Routes, and we plan on writing a good portion of them over the summer if all goes well. How much exactly? I can’t say for sure. The writers work at different paces, so it’s hard to tell, but I’m sure we’ll find our rhythm after a while of writing.
The art has been progressing slowly, but surely. As evidence, I present you a draft from DizzyWorld2 of Elizabeth in her work uniform. <3
The other character sprites and CGs are currently being worked on. There’ll be more news about that in the next update.
Also, most of the backgrounds for Common Route are finished. We’ll be reusing some of them for the Heroine Routes, but we’re still planning on having more for specific scenes. We still have a position open for another BG artist, but I’ll touch on that later.
Concerning Lucid9′s OST, it’s been at a stalemate. In all honesty, we haven’t had much luck with composers. We’ve had around… four, I think, which explains the music’s inconsistency in the demo. The composers either left due to disinterest, lack of time, or because they were unable to compose for free anymore. In any case, I’m confident we’ll be able to solve this dilemma soon, so no worries there.
When it comes to the engine, Cloud Novel is making huge strides. The creators are adding a ton of new features, making VN creation a breeze. They’re now open for public beta testing, so why not sign up today and check it out for yourselves? I promise you, you won’t regret it. http://cloudnovel.net/
In other news, the trailer for Lucid9 has been finished and should appear in Sekai Project’s monthly wrap-up in a few days. I’ll be posting the trailer on our social media sites--Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.—once it’s debuted, so stay tuned for that!
And lastly, Fallen Snow Studios are currently accepting new members. You can find all the information on our site under the Apply section. There are two positions listed right now, but we’ll be adding more in the coming week.
I think this wraps up today’s post. It was longer than I expected. I still feel like I’m forgetting something… meh, probably nothing. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you all in the next post!
All In Due Time
Creating a visual novel takes time, especially if you don’t want it to suck more than a bat in a blood bank.
But here’s the thing most developers have trouble with: we have a hard time knowing exactly when the project will be finished.
Sure, we can make estimations, but even a skilled mathematician would shrug their shoulders in uncertainty. If we disregard members having to leave or going on hiatus because of personal issues, the other reason development takes a while is because of the complexity of the story.
Everything revolves around the plot. The writers not only plan the story, but it’s also their job to determine how many character sprites are needed, the mood of the music during a scene, what settings require background art, and the animations shown in the engine. When the plot becomes more complex, there’s a higher chance of plot holes, which in turn requires rewriting, which in turn affects the art, music, programming, and the UNIVERSE ITSELF. It’s like unraveling a long string of thread from a woven fabric. (This is why you should always plan the entire story before anything else.)
And this becomes a pain for everyone to patch up.
This, I feel, is the most difficult aspect of development. It can take a while to sort out—years, maybe—and you’d need to keep everyone from ripping their hairs out the entire time. It’s not easy, but I guess the nice thing about it is that you’re not alone in your insanity.