Where we’ve been, what we’re doing, and what’s to come.
If you're at PAX East in Boston this weekend, we'll be showcasing the brand-new demo all this weekend at the Visual Novel Reading Room in the Indie Megabooth! Come by, check it out, and let us know which cast member's your favorite!
i just wanted to make another quick post about something i’ve wanted to say ever since the demo came out
to everyone who’s drawn fanart, written fanfic, anyone who’s made even a single post in the tag, thank you so so much!!! i can’t even believe people have written stuff for us - the reception for this has still felt so surreal. none of us really expected date or die to blow up the way it did, and it means the world and then some to us.
i really wish that this blog wasn’t kept exclusively for dev posts, so i could reblog every piece of fanart to show it off. all of it has been so wonderful, even the horny host fanart, especially the horny host fanart. it’s all lovely and it’s hard not to send everyone thank you messages for it all, but as is, i hope you don’t mind me just saving all of it to my computer and sharing it within the team. all of us yell and jump up and down about it - yes, every piece. no matter what, it’s loved and appreciated so much more than we can say.
so, everyone, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hi y'all. Sorry for the quiet. We’re still alive and Date or Die work is still going! Progress is slow because this isn’t anyone’s full-time job right now, but the team is doing our best. I (Arden, writer/designer) don’t use tumblr, so I forget to make update posts, but I’m very active on my personal Twitter account, @sproutella. This is where I talk most about the game in addition to making bad posts about other things.
Right now we’re polishing up our existing demo to have a much prettier UI - screenshots attached! - as well as putting together a new demo we hope to show at PAX East 2017. This will be a slightly altered version of the game’s prologue.
I’ve been hammering away at the script and I’m pleased with progress so far! I think the entire script will, fingers crossed, be finished by the time PAX rolls around. From there we’ll focus on art, funding, and implementing everything.
Thank you for your patience and continued interest in this project. It seriously means the world to all of us.
(game-relevant images below the cut!! -julian)
hi! julian here (artist/local terrible boy, tumblr user @killmurders but significantly more present on twitter with the same url) with some updates on what’s been going on in the ‘things you can look at’ department. the bulk of our current work is going into writing - strengthening existing arcs, nailing down character voices, and so on! so, unfortunately there’s not a lot of that that we can post without spoiling things that we don’t want to be spoiled.
here’s a couple little things + more info below them! anything included here isn’t necessarily representative of the final product - at the moment, we’re more focused on getting the framework of everything put together as opposed to fine tuning the parts already in place. also, sometimes we just decide certain things work better as opposed to others! c’est la vie
because the lion’s share of the current progress isn’t visually based, most of what i’ve been involved in (aside from writing) has been UI updates! no more garbage default ren’py menus, thank god
anyway, here’s one of the drafts for a main menu! the idea behind this one was to be super over the top dating-sim style played straight, and also very, very pink. with a lot of flower petals blowing around probably. i’m still honestly very fond of this one
and this is the main menu as it exists in the current build!
the current options/setup menu! this one comes with sliders and everything.
i want to say again i’m sorry to anyone who was concerned about us - i’m a fulltime student with a day job so i post very little on tumblr, and as arden said they don’t have an account here at all! so if you don’t see us much here, don’t worry - we’re still on twitter and we post pretty frequently about game progress there. i promise y’all, we’re taking this game all the way to the finish line
Our demo is now up on itch.io!
The Date or Die team would like to wish you all HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Can you guess who everyone is dressed as?
Hi! It’s Arden again. I don’t have a ton to say for this month’s update other than “yeah, we’re still working!” but that’s still something, right?
Julian and I are both working on other paying projects to support ourselves, which means Date or Die’s development is slow right now. I could say it’s a ~labor of love~ but that’s just a way of sugar-coating the fact that no one on the team is making money from this and we have to be able to support ourselves and make a living! That’s important!
We haven’t revealed the last contestant yet, but before we do we’re switching gears to try to produce a demo. I’ll feel a lot more comfortable asking for financial assistance once I have a playable section to show people. Plus, when you’ve been working on something for such a long time without even a little scene you can play, it can somehow make your work feel like it’s not real. Even though that’s not true! Date or Die has so much work done on it already, but not being able to show it off makes it feel intangible.
I guess I’m saying this to remind other developers the importance of keeping in mind how much progress you’ve made. Even if you can put together one of your scenes with some placeholder art, being able to see the skeleton of something you’ve created in motion feels amazing and can inspire you to keep pushing forward! It’s hard sometimes, but I believe in you - we all do!
Hello! It’s Arden. Here’s what we’ve been up to the past two months while working on Date or Die.
I’ve been able to get more actual writing done, which feels great! Chris has been wonderful to bounce ideas off or help me with scenes when I need it, and I’ve been getting feedback on the cast from consultants helping me with writing experiences outside my own.
Game development is fraught for big studios with large teams with years of experience. Writing a game with no funding in a small team is also pretty difficult, unsurprisingly! Progress goes slower than you’d want it to, and it’s hard to balance trying to make a living and taking care of yourself with your passion project, no matter how much you love it. I don’t say this to go “woe is me”, but to be honest about the parts of indie development that are not fun and exciting. Games take a long time to make!
I don’t want this to be a gloomy update, though - things are picking up again, and I’m feeling better about the game than I have in months. Stuff is happening, but it’s all in the awkward phase where I can’t show you a finished thing yet. We’ll post the next character profile sometime in September, so please stay tuned for that!
Thank you for reading, and for continuing to be interested in Date or Die’s development. It means so much to me!
So, first off: we’re not dead. (Or dated; thanks, Twitter.) A few personal matters have slowed us down recently, but we’re still writing and continuing to figure the finer points of the plot out.
There’s no art in this update, but we do have some news items, the first of which being that
We’ve added a co-writer
Christopher J. Fraser is the author of two science fiction books and a contributor to the film magazine Bright Wall/Dark Room, and he’s now part of the Date or Die team! He’ll be helping to round out each of the characters, as well as expanding and refining the plot. As a work with several distinct routes, Date or Die has a lot of writing involved, and distributing the workload between two writers should mean that we can take more care when putting it all together (as well as, hopefully, reducing the amount of time it takes to finish the game).
We’re scoping the game down a bit
We started out thinking that making a game like this with ten contestants would be relatively straightforward, but that seemed less and less plausible as we started to put a plan together. So, here’s the bad news: there are now six contestants in Date or Die.
Now, the good news.
With a smaller number of characters, we’ll be able to work harder on rounding out each character. Rather than having one story with a few key variables, there are now going to be several separate routes, locked in after you make some key decisions early on in the game. We’ve done this so we can expand the role of each character in turn, and deliver a game that continues to surprise you after your fifth playthrough. Will there be some crossover between routes? Yes - although the same elimination challenge in a different route might play out completely differently. Does this model mean that we can make major changes to the plot depending on which route you choose, allowing for much greater replayability and the space to get to know characters in much more detail? Absolutely, yes.
Some of our character details are going to change
There are some characters you haven’t even met yet, and we hope we can introduce you to them soon, but this is about the ones we’ve already announced: in the time between publishing the earlier character profiles (for Mesmer, Six, Orlok and Hero) and now, some of their biographical details have changed. We won’t go into detail here; suffice it to say, if we talk about characters later on and there appear to be some inconsistencies with stuff we’ve said about characters in the past, we likely already know of the changes and we meant to put them in there.
☆ Happy Valentine’s Day from the Date or Die team! ☆
We’re excited to say that after a brief break, we’ve resumed production on Date or Die! Please expect this space to be much more active in the coming weeks - we still have a lot of characters to announce and a Kickstarter to launch! As always, you can check out our blog for more information on the game!
One of the Indie3 panels I was self-aware enough to watch live was Solon Scott’s interview with Arden Ripley about her upcoming game, Date or Die! Their discussion eventually worked its way around to talking about visual novels and games writing in more general terms, and how to write a protagonist who at once functions as the player’s ambassador in the game world and a fully-formed, individual character in their own right:
’[I]t’s really challenging, but fun, writing a protagonist who is their own character whilst still trying to give the player choices and options and stuff. I don’t want them to feel like they just don’t have any say in what’s going on at all, but at the same time I don’t want them to be able to say things that are wildly inconsistent with Hero’s character, because that just makes her a bad character and then the player doesn’t have any fun with that if their character is inconsistent and all over the place. That’s no good for anyone. […] Usually in some games you might get an option where you can say something nice to someone or be a jerk to somebody, and Hero’s not a jerk. She’s just not that kind of mean person. But what you might be able to do is accidentally pick an option where Hero says something insensitive or thoughtless, as opposed to her actively antagonising anybody. So it’s about how you approach making options for players that are meaningful whilst making her a consistent character.’
Look! Here’s some beautiful new art of ½ of the Date or Die cast for you by ½ of the Date or Die art team, Fin Hickey! We already introduced you to our protagonist, Hero, so stay tuned to learn about the rest of the show’s mysterious contestants! ☆ Follow this blog for updates!