[Ciel Devlog #12] Music of Ciel Part 2

(Disclaimer: All of the themes showcased are early works in progress)

Hello! It’s Jasmine here with another music devlog update. I initially wanted this blog to be about the battle themes, but realized that in doing so, I would be overlooking an important facet in their development. So, instead of talking about the battle themes, I’ll discuss their influences instead – The House and Week Themes!


(Suna’s eager to learn more!)

In my first music devlog, I went into slight detail about my ideas for the music and how it was to accompany Ciel (and you) on her journey to adulthood. Here’s a quick recap from my first blog regarding that:

“With this being a daughter raising sim, ideas have centered around different styles associating with your daughter’s age range. The first [link], more posh and refined, would be for adulthood, Casiopeia, a more renegade style, for the teen years, and boppy, synth pop for your daughter’s younger years! As she grows, so does the music.”

I’ll do this by going over my influences and inspirations for the child versions of the House and Week Theme!

The House Theme 

Influences

Wanting to stay true to the initial idea, I spent time sifting through my backlog of reference tracks in an attempt to cement a congruent style to use for Ciel. The goal is to create something with an 80s feel, that the player can listen to for extended periods of time without growing bored or aurally overwhelmed. As if instantly, my thoughts fluttered to the “Pakka Pets Original Soundtrack” by Calum Bowen (whose extremely versatile form of writing yields a lot of influence from 80s/90s Japanese Pop), and “Les Aventurs de Tintin” by Taeko Ohnuki from her Copine album.

I modeled the house theme off of those particularly open styles and their use of midi- like instrumentation, while also remembering the sound I can achieve from using real instruments:

(SUCH a fantastic album, LAWD)

Execution

I definitely wanted to give off the vibe of youth and innocence, and my first impression was RECORDERS, and WONKY SOUNDS! In the end, I achieved the result below (on the first try, surprisingly!):

You also get a chance to hear Ciel’s theme (which will change and evolve, genrelistically, as she grows).

The Week Theme

Influences/Execution – Part 1

This theme was a pain to write, primarily because I had a taxing time finding the right style and because I kept pushing forward ideas that were either duds or didn’t resonate with me after I gave them time to rest. I knew for a fact that I wanted the theme to be upbeat and bright, which led me to use this track as a reference:

Leading to this idea:

Although an extremely premature work in progress, it felt way too generic. (Honestly, it brought Alfi back to our RPGMaker days). I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I grew to heavily dislike it. Perhaps it was poor execution on my part, but I felt that I could do better. Who knows, I may try it again!

Influence/Execution – Part 2 and 3

Further research led me to find Noriyuki Makihara’s, whose style I *instinctively* gravitated towards.

It was the style I wanted, without a doubt. My first attempt, influenced by the above track, was:

Close, but no cigar. The crew liked the direction I went, but for me it felt too involved, and others thought it much too slow. I still wanted it to contain that open Pakka Pets/Tintin sound I was fond of, but fuse it with Mr. Makihara. Heavy thumps and constant pulsating will quickly wear the ears thin. Looking through more of Makihara’s youtube discography, I found “No. 1”:

Which led to the current and reigning week theme thus far:

(Fun fact: The melody you hear in the piece above also occurs in the battle themes!)

Right now, ideas have been tossed around for multiple house and week themes. While working on a possible Result Theme, I came up with an idea that was able to be re-purposed as a week theme! It came a lot easier and definitely starts with a more instinctive 80s (and American!) feel:

The soundtrack is slowly taking shape, at least from a child-like perspective! The more I dig and immerse myself, the more excited I become! Things only get more interesting from here on out. Anyway, that’s all from me! I hope you enjoyed my musings.

Until next time.

– Jasmine Cooper

[Ciel Devlog #11] UI Change… Wait, Now?

My Absence Last Devlog

Hi, RikuoTanaka here, bringing you the latest Devlog!

You might notice something weird regarding the writer for this and the previous devlog.
I’ll cut to the chase. Yes, I was supposed to be the writer for the previous one,
and this one was supposed to be numfank’s turn.
But 2 weeks ago I didn’t know what to write about, due to the lack of progress on my part.
But hey, it’s different this time! Besides I don’t think anyone missed me that much

Anyways, let’s move on with the devlog! Today I’ll talk about the general progress, and what’s to come!

New Menu Design (now of all times)

Usually, I don’t have much to say when it comes to decisions regarding the visual design of the game.
It’s not my forte, so numfank and wltr3565 usually did most of them. I only comment on them once it’s there.
But there is one thing that I find odd. And that is numfank’s desire to change the menu design so frequently.
In fact, he did it this week! Here is the screenshot of the new menu design:

Featuring squares instead of circles.

Now the menu buttons are square-shaped, and they fill the entire bottom of the screen. Looks pretty!
I have nothing against these design changes, especially when it is for the better.
With that said, I do hope that this doesn’t become recurring trend. Especially this late in development…
Oh well, only time will tell.

There is also another minor, yet very important change.
In the current build of the game, you can change the resoulution setting… but there’s one problem.
Those resolution changes nothing while in full screen mode, it only applies the change in windowed mode.
As such, no matter what resolution you are on, the game will still hog the same amount of resource.
That is until now. Thanks to wltr3565, our skilled programmer, the resolution changes in full screen as well.
See it in action below!

Best resolution possible.

 

Worst resolution possible.

Needless to say, this will be a helpful option for those who only own low-end PCs.

The Near Future

Currently the team is working around the clock for the demo build, which will be released to the public at a later date. The game is mostly complete, with only few of the gameplay mechanics left to be implemented.
With that in mind, expect a lot of new features to be, uh, “featured” in the next few devlogs.

Anything else to say… oh, E3 has already come and gone, and it was amazing. So many new games to play.
I wish we can showcase our games in an event like that. One can dream.

That’s it for now! This is RikuoTanaka, signing out!

[Ciel Devlog #10] Road to Minimum Viable Product

Hi, back with me again num with the 10th series of Ciel Fledge devlog.

In the previous blog, I’ve been talking about our effort to close the core gameplay loop of the game, which we have completed. Now with the core gameplay finished, we are working hard to actually make the game  fun to play with the bare minimum of only the core gameplay.

Making the in-game tutorials as foundation

Since this is a simulation game, which rely on so many stats to track, my first and foremost effort is always on the  intuitiveness of the UI. Everything must be smooth, easy to read, and be understandable quick. But still, with so much for the player to digest, an In-game Tutorial is a must. In the last two weeks we have implemented interactive tutorials in so many parts of the game. It mainly function to guide the player to learn the mechanics of the game, which, unfortunately, can’t be explained just by the intuitive UI alone.

 

Short tutorial on item usage

 

The most difficult part to explain in the in-game tutorials, personally for me is the battle mode. While the battle mode itself is based on simple match 3 gameplay, we somewhat actually made it more complex just so your daughter stats that you have been raised so hard can actually affect the outcome of the battle mode.

 

Yeah sure, things will go well indeed…

 

On top of that there is a technique menu that will be a hell to understand without interactive tutorial and guided practice in-game:

 

The enigma that is various technique to be used by your daughter.

 

Another concern of mine is how to make the tutorial not boring as f***. We learned it the hard way in last year event where we brought Ciel Fledge (in a bare minimum anything) to be tested by people. That time we put obligatory tutorial that must be read by the player without the ability to skip it, or just practice it right away. The result: most people find it boring and uninteresting. We put that valuable lesson in this new iteration of the in-game tutorials. Hopefully it will not be boring anymore.

Will everything going well?

All in all, I can say everything’s going well although there is occasional bump here and there. With the game reaching MVP, there won’t be long until a closed alpha of the game begin!

That is all from me, thank you for reading this devlog, hope this can somewhat inspire you the reader. See you in the next Ciel Fledge devlog!

[Ciel Devlog #09] Magnum Buster -Content Genesis-

Long time no see, readers. wltr3565 here. This week’s artwork is for the last initial set’s memorial. The canon initial set for Ciel’s costume is her white dress and ribbons, but I’m pretty fond with the cape and skirt with her black T-Shirt. I’ll remember you, cape-black T-shirt-skirt set. The magnum she is holding? The same reason as her sword on last post.

Oh, the devlog.

The focus of this week is the game’s tutorial, explaining how to play the game. This is a complex raising game, which is coincidentally, a number-crazy game… So I hope the tutorial will make you more familiar with the game’s flow first than its mess of numbers.

Battle Tutorial and Zahra’s Lecture

But more importantly, the numbers. The very goal of raising in this game is to perform well in Battles. So we take a lot of care for the Battle tutorial. There will be a lot of text, but it won’t be too restrictive. You can safely mess up the Battle in here at a certain point, so take your time in Battle tutorial.

Introduction scene… on TV!

This week we have remade the introduction scene. The old one… let’s say the director wasn’t happy. But darn, this one is done with in-game engine. What a pain in the butt.

Ciel and the Party.

With the tutorial part is more or less done, we hope that we can continue on building the game’s actual content. We have been doing too much refinement for the game’s systems. Very tiring.

Oh, why are you posting some screenshots that are taken with a camera, you ask? Actually, I want to show you guys how the game currently fare when played on TV. The project has been in development for a pretty long time, so I want to chronicle how far the game has progressed, including when viewed on TV. It’s pretty nice actually when viewed in person.

Plus, I want to make sure that the game looks good in a big screen on a convention.

The last system that we have to consider is the one that will map how the story progresses. I REALLY pray that it’s the last system that the team has to work on! Till next time. Smell ya later.

[Ciel Devlog #08] Closing The Gameplay Loop

Hi, back with me again, num, at our devlog #8 on Ciel Fledge. In case you didn’t notice the devlogs so far have been written by various author with different responsibilities within the team such as programmer, music composer, and game designer. You can read the previous blogs here!

In this devlog I want to talk about our current progress so far and how close are we to finishing Ciel Fledge core gameplay loop.

Progress Review

For the past few weeks, I have been working to make sure that every characters portrait has their own unique gesture to be animated! So dialogue won’t be as boring with the characters only moving their lips with one portrait. Now, every characters have their own body gesture, not just facial expression

Various character portrait gesture.
Character interaction mock-up

 

Aside of portrait designs, I also worked on overhauling most of the game menus to look pretty and consistent (much to the lead programmer dismay), also most importantly, to be intuitive enough that makes the player understand it quickly and easily.

The chaos in the battle technique menu.

 

Battle technique in action!

 

Wrapping up

With all the gameplay core at its simplest almost ready. My workload is now getting a bit lighter. Mainly it’s just making sure that the programming side works as intended with the design mock up and also “beautifying” everything, graphics wise. Looking for oddity in design, inconsistencies in portraits, wrong resolution and artifact in images.

Also, with all the gameplay, technical, and boring stuff in general tackled now. I can focus on actually writing the game’s story and character dialogue/interactions. The part that is largely untouched by the team.

The new character creation summary

 

Conclusion

So, actually I want to write more, but writing devlogs is quite a struggle, especially if you don’t have anything important or interesting (but need to do it anyway for all that views and exposures). Since I don’t have any interesting stuff to write anymore aside of the above writing, I’ll just conclude it here. I hope you enjoy reading this rather short devlogs. See you in the next devlogs! (spoiler: demo soon!)

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