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  • Writer's pictureSquidslinger

2023 Year End Report


Due to the tragic suddenly passing of Office Kitten Jag, there won't be a VLOG report at this time. We may add one later. For now, here's the regular BLOG report:


2023 concluded as certainly the most active development year we've ever had. Both Dust and Air and Project 2 advanced greatly. Project 2, being the surprising highlight.


However, not everything went like we hoped. 2023 left us with a big question and even more investigations to be had for looking at if we're going to remain with Tyrano or switch engines.


We know this is turning into a broken record right now but, that is just how serious it is. It is a lot of work involved.


Strikeworks has mostly abandoned western development of the engine and it's developer doesn't respond to e-mails. Which is very much a slap in the face to devs like us. It has gotten to the point there is a VN Effector project started in Russia to re-release a version of Tyrano that simply works better and gets updated more often for western devs.


This is something we've been keeping an eye on and so far in 2023 we haven't seen it resolve all of the oldest Tyrano issues yet. We'll continue to keep track of it.


Project 2 has been greatly spearheading the engine change efforts during the latter half of the year with test work started in Renpy.


However, the real problems with Renpy are highlighted even more after coming from Tyrano. Every reason why we went with Tyrano is being recalled. Simply, it's taking a lot longer to dev on Renpy. Which leaves us in another question of should we also look into Naninovel on Unity?


As of the close of the year, we obtained a copy of Naninovel are now fully investigating into going with Unity. So far, prelim looks are revealing that it's simply more of the same as Renpy in the dev time. However, we gain a lot more options since it's part of a full major game engine. We also gain DLC capability as confirmed by the Naninovel devs who state that it can be done with some Unity coding.


This is probably the biggest thing we need to tackle early in 2024 as it will have direct bearing upon a potential winter release of Project 2. Yes, we're looking seriously at this possible outcome as art production on it is speeding towards completion.


While most of our porting work has been completed on Dust and Air, Project 2 is going to greatly benefit from those experiences and if we go Unity, this will be even better.


We also did obtain a Steam Deck late in 2023 and first results with Dust and Air are promising with the title reverting to the same touchscreen control setup that we use on iOS. So the only thing we need to do there is figure out a gamepad patch and the Steam Deck compatibility should be pretty good.


The process of getting it verified by Valve is mostly submitting it to them and then having them play it and confirm it. Which could take a little time as we'd be rather low on the testing tree. However, we'll certainly see about getting that started. So look for a patch in 2024 which adds controller support if we're able to code it into Tyrano.


Overall, we're quite happy with our progress in 2023. As far as the first chapter of Raven's Prayer, that has mostly been waiting on some final touch-ups and then considering our release options which have been getting muddled as we look at switches to Renpy or Unity.


Chapter two has been progressing well and we're going to be evaluating our release plans as we finish up our Renpy/Unity tests.


There is a possibility that we will elect to stick with Tyrano for Dust and Air and this will mostly be due to the fact that it's simply still the better option to release such a large story. Development time will be much faster and since we know the issues with the engine, we can work around them.


If we go this route, the plan is we'll be releasing each story arc as it's own stand alone visual novel. How will that matter for the prior saves and story options coming over from the initial story available now?


Let's say someone buys Raven's Prayer but never bought Dust and Air? The beginning of Raven's Prayer would have a choice option for those that want to see the story route in the previous game. So we'd import over all the story sequences with Gwynevere and they could be played through without needing to play the entire first VN. Kinda of like how TV shows sometimes do a recap segment.


For those that have bought the original title and played the routes, you will get a quick choice selection screen which will help you carry over your choices from the first game. Kinda like Mass Effect did. We're also looking into a save file reader option to edit the new save files but that could be marred by issues with Tyrano's save system. We'd have to see as we go.


What does this mean for Dust and Air right now? Not much until we move to release on Raven's Prayer. There is certainly going to possibly be some prep patches if we go this route. We would also be moving to do a little rebranding of the series. Not too unlike what Muse did for Guns of Icarus. They rebranded the original Guns to being Flight of the Icarus. This differentiated between it and the multiplayer version. What would Dust and Air's current story would be rebranded as? Nothing concrete yet. We certainly could just keep the original title and add on to it like: All is Fair in Dust and Air: Cathedral Arc or something like that. Maybe even shorten that down and simplify it more.


Eventually, there would be a Dust and Air complete version where all the stories are merged into one. Would we still be using Tyrano at that time? Unknown. This is all just conjecture at this time so look for updates on this in 2024.


As we close this year up, there certainly was some sad moments. One of our oldest

investors passed away in December. She was 96 and sadly she just didn't recover from pneumonia. Funeral arrangements will be sometime in January or February.


She lived a very long and happy life and as good of final years as she could possibly get with dementia finally slowing her down. The reality of it all is that without her, Broken Hammer likely wouldn't have been founded. A memorial character will be added either to Dust and Air or Project 2 in the days ahead.


We also went through quite the finale of 2023 with losing our beloved office kitten Pudge on Christmas day for two days before he returned covered in poo. Obviously trapped somewhere.


Then, as mentioned in the opening, the next week on New Years day we had the sudden death of one of his brothers, Jag (Jaggy). Which happened so fast at new years that we were unable to get him help in time.

As you can see in this image to the left, Aibou his mother sat with his body for hours before burial.


When we rescued Aibou from a coyote area, we've had quite the experience seeing her learn and experience not struggling to survive. Then having her last litter and watching them all grow up. How she changed as a cat and how proud she was that this litter survived and wasn't eaten.


While we wanted to adopt most of them out, the interested parties changed their minds and we took on the task of providing for them over the last five months while trying to look for more interested parties and struggling to really part with any of them.


To see this little family grow has been a valuable experience. Typically most people might get a single cat or two. However, to see how they behave in more of a community is quite different. Personalities come out more.


The experience has solidified this company's support and stance on encouraging adoption and protecting the lives of such little ones who bring so much joy into our own.


Despite losing Jag so suddenly, we'd do it all again. He brought a lot of spunk into life for the short five months he had in it. We'll certainly miss him and never forget him.


That said, it delayed our VLOG report recording and we simply couldn't record with emotions as they were.


2024 is looking bright with a potential release of Project 2 if everything comes together well. So despite the rough ending, we are looking forward to this new year.


We certainly thank everyone for their support over the years as we continue this journey. Till next time, see you in the skies!







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