June 2021 Studio Update
Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Welcome back! It's time for another monthly report!
For those that want the video report, please click below:
The flurry of the month that was June is now over, it definitely didn't end the way we thought it would. Going into the final weeks of June, we were very surprised to see Tyrano finished their big backend update and got a beta up for release in August. But, what was more of a surprise to us was how much we were going to need that update. The timing was beyond perfect.
Tyrano was one of the first, if not first, real VN engine that stepped outside the Renpy mold and tried to make something a bit more flexible and easier for developing visual novels. It has been an incredible asset since this project began and very much made it possible for us to consider attempting it.
However, our gratitude towards Tyrano was reaching a point where we were starting to outgrow the engine. This became more and more clear as this project increased in size. Since our first release, till Dust and Air 2.0, we had a lot of issues both crop up and get resolved. We knew after talking to Tyrano, that this big update was coming this year. However, we didn't have a timeline.
After the Dust and Air 2.0 release, we had to seriously look at the possibility of moving the project over to a more robust engine. Our internal team discussed a few options from Unreal to Unity, even Renpy. The trouble was, there was various issues with all of them.
Unity was starting to come out ahead since there are some VN plugins for it, however, it was overkill and there was fees to pay to use it. The others, similar issues. Renpy was the oldest and cheapest but, it would reduce our production capability speed due to it's need to all be coded. VN Maker...well, lets just not go into the scam ripoff that it is...
Tyrano really has been the best platform for Dust and Air and the recent 2.0 update has resolved all the issues we needed patched and solidified our resolve to maintaining Dust and Air on it. It just fixed so much that was needed and the difference in performance is night and day.
By the end of June, we were getting ready to get final builds made for release and then we hit a major snag that required us to look into the new Tyrano 2.0 update. Not even a day after we committed to converting to Tyrano 2.0 later in July did we face a moment where we needed to stop everything and get the conversion done. We never dreamed that Day Three and Four would create such a massive problem with the old Tyrano that it made 2.0 necessary.
Simply put, we could not export a build of 3.0 under the old Tyrano. Content was hitting over 1.3GB and we literally were causing the engine to crash just trying to process that. This is why the timing of Tyrano 2.0 was so huge. The overhaul made a lot of changes that Tyrano put into place for companies like us with big projects. The foremost of them is the ability to make 64bit builds. Which, after talking to Tyrano, is actually one of the big reasons why it works so good now. The old engine was reaching the limits faster because of it being 32bit.
The impact of this did push back our intended 3.0 release an extra week but, the wait will be worth it. Long time bugs are getting fixed by this. Full screen mode and resizable windows finally works in Windows 10 (Haven't tested 11 yet). Overall speed of loading the game and stability has increased dramatically. What the final end user will see, is a much improved experience if you saw Dust and Air in it's older builds.
On the developer end, it goes even further. In the prior engine it would often take up to 10 seconds or more just to save a build or even run a preview of a scene. The engine would lag, that's simply how it was with our big builds. We would also sometimes get a random engine crash, especially on machines with 8GB or less of RAM (Though, even a machine with 32GB had it too, just more rare.).
How shocked we were when we saw all this fixed and saw the engine able to handle our big build with ease. Really, we can't say enough about what Tyrano has done. We highly encourage other VN developers to check out 2.0.
That all said, we wrapped up the final art props needed for Day Three and even had some progression on the post Cathedral content that will be released before we leave Early Access.
Art needed for the post Cathedral content is mostly complete other than a couple of reworks. Conn has one amazing piece in the works coming up in July. Georgy does too but, we're giving him a little grace right now since he's in the process of moving. He did chime in with some amazing updates that we're excited to see final versions of. Both of which will be included in the final release of Early Access.
We also had a little meeting with Sean in early June. He had some good news from his nursing career which should free him up for some more music work. We're happy to have him back around again. Missed him a bit over the last year. He had do what he had to do for his growing family. Especially with his state shut down.
Lastly, in closing, the 1st is our 5th Anniversary. If you're interested in Dust and Air, we added an extra 5% off for the Summer Sale. It's been a wild five years and we're looking forward to the next five and beyond. Let's keep breaking hammers together!
See you in the skies! P.S. Be sure to check out Tyrano's plushie kickstarter!