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  • Writer's pictureSquidslinger

February 2024 Monthly Studio Report

Happy leap year! Greetings and welcome to another monthly report!

For the VLOG version, click below!

February was a busy month as we poured into Naninovel and Unity. Unlike past months and years where we mostly did research and talked to people, getting hands on the engine has been a definite worthwhile experience.

At first, it was completely alien to us coming from Tyrano. We had done some investigations into Renpy so it wasn't completely bad. But, it certainly could have been better.

To get Naninovel functioning, it takes time to figure out how it talks to Unity and how to set up the file system. Tyrano, does this all for you on the backend. Renpy is closer to Naninovel but is a bit more forward with the file system than Unity. The trouble with Nani is it is just a control system floating on top of the robust Unity game engine so you got this incredibly complex beast that you are holding reins to. However, the more using it, the more we found some very promising aspects.

For starters, Naninovel's coding is a lot easier and faster than Renpy. It's actually closer to Tyrano with the exception that you need to work in Visual Studio alongside Unity. You also need other plugins that go with Nani that assist with character positioning and such. Once you get the assistant tools setup and working, the barriers to entry got much lower.

Nani's ecosystem is not as robust because it is a paid plugin with a rather steep barrier to entry. The biggest reason it took us so long to really commit. It simply was too expensive to justify while trying to fund development. Renpy benefits more from it's freeware status. However, Nani comes standard with a lot and even benefits from some major effects that Unity can do.

So when you consider the benefits and easier coding experience with Nani, it starts to put it ahead of Renpy. Granted, there are more aspects that need work on. Especially developing custom UI and menus in Unity. However, the parts we have seen so far are making us confident that we could migrate even Dust and Air over to Naninovel.

The big issue is going to come down to translating Tyrano KS files into Naninovel files and for that we're going to be turning to Michael who developed our KS Converter. However, even if we do it, it wouldn't be a perfect translation. Mostly just something to get the base story and writing elements shifted over. There is still other issues with translating image files because Naninovel and Unity is quite different at handling them.

In March, we'll be looking at the a bit more. If we do migrate Dust and Air to Nani, we'd like to do it in a manner that allows us minimal downtime. The good news is, we can utilize all the same models and effects that we have in Tyrano. It's just a bit extra on the setup.

That all said, work progressed on both projects in February. We even touched base with Sean again who did a lot of the music work on Dust and Air. His work life has gotten a lot better over the course of last year and he's even getting his feet wet again in music.

Will he be returning to continue work on Dust and Air and Project 2? There is no rush. We'd love it but, that is up to him. We're just happy he's doing well and getting back into music again. Building confidence is important.

Art development on Project 2 did reach a milestone as we shifted into expression work. We know we wanted to keep Project 2 more minimal but, we will likely be doing more expressions than originally planned. It simply is a shame to let the characters be so lifeless. Part of this is from our testing where we found it just simply looks better to do more Dust and Air style expressions.

Key images are also quickly wrapping up on Project 2. There isn't too much more to go. However, as we work in Naninovel, we're finding some new ones to add in to help pad a few scenes out. Which was expected as a story does shift a little once you start getting it into engine.

In March we'll look to have more updates on all of these elements as we continue our pace with Naninovel. We're hopeful and getting excited with the prospects that Unity offers for the future. Which is something we haven't felt with Tyrano for a long time.

Alright, that's it for the month. Till next time, see you in the skies!

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