Okay, I swore I would post at least one blog post a month and so far I haven’t broken that chain. But I do think I should start posting more frequently. The problem is, as far as game updates go, actual progress is scarce because I’m basically tackling everything by myself and I’m a slow learner.
As some of the more attentive readers of this blog may remember, I promised a couple of posts ago that we would be talking at length about Kasha and her significance to the GigaMaidens universe on a future blog post. Well, the wait is over!
On today’s post we will be talking all about Kasha and Milchi, a pair of catgirls who are key heroines to the COT Universe (that’s “Country of Tokyo” in case you forgot already). We’ll be talking about these girls, the lore behind them, a bit of more about the universe, and my plans to launch this game franchise with their help. Maybe along the way I’ll even drop some extremely prototype-looking prototype footage.
Now since it’s been a while, I’ll briefly summarize my plans before going over the characters and stuff. As I’ve said previously, for the longest time I’ve been trying to seek various ways of getting GigaMaidens done, including hiring local talent, hiring online freelancers and subcontractors, and seeking investors or funding. So far all of these routes have either been blocked or have proven unsustainable – investors/funding programs have very strict requirements, and I only have so much money in pocket to throw at freelancers. But in all the time I’ve been doing this, I have learned a decent amount.
One key thing I’ve learned (or rather, been told by other gamedevs) is how investors think, which is that they greatly favor people who have complete game projects under their belt. The games themselves don’t have to be huge, just complete. So I figure since my intention is to turn this into my cohesive game universe with various franchises and protagonists within it, why not focus on doing smaller games first?
While trying to teach myself the 3D gamedev pipeline, I have a few different goals in mind: firstly to hit the ground running and begin developing games in this universe immediately, introducing people to the characters and lore I’ve had in my head for decades and finally getting them out there. The second goal is obviously to appease the investors who wouldn’t give me a second look otherwise if not for the completed, published games I’ve had on my belt.
Normally, an aspiring gamedev would make their first games completely unrelated to their big project. A dev who is solely looking to bolster their resume and nothing else typically makes small projects with no personality. I’ve seen plenty of contrived ideas that people have come up with in game jams where they thought they were some kind of quirky genius for putting eyeballs and an antenna on an otherwise generic ball character (“his name is Splorch!”). In rare cases, one of them might make a tech demo with a really featureless and bland character that they don’t have the artistic skills to make interesting, then they give the character a name which is the FIRST thing that pops into their head… and then before they know it, they’ve sold the IP to Microsoft for a billion dollars and their character is in Smash.
Uh. I’ve lost my train of thought. Oh yes, Kasha.
Here we have Kasha. She is a young, energetic catgirl (as she describes herself, “I’m a clever kitty, but only kinda!”) who lives in the Country of Tokyo. Orphaned since birth due to mysterious circumstances, she lives with her caretaker Milchi in a mountainside home called Mellow Rock. Her favorite things are milkshakes, cartoons and any game that involves rolling a ball.
Kasha has a bit of tragedy about her due to the fact that she is an orphan. She is taken care of by Milchi, whom she loves dearly, but she is also obsessed with finding out who her mama is. However, she is far from constantly pouty about it – her childish, somewhat egocentric worldview gives her a positive and rather silly outlook on the situation, which gives levity to her pathos.
Kasha considers herself the cutest girl in the world. So because of that, logically, that must mean her mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. As such she tends to imprint on any beautiful ladies she finds, genuinely thinking that they’re her mama. Of the ones she imprints on, they usually take it in stride and humor her, because after all, she is just a kid who doesn’t know any better. Built into her is an innate sense she calls her “mamadar”, or mama radar, which tells her which women possess mama-like qualities that she would expect her real mama to have. She writes about mamas she’s met in her little journal that she calls her mamadex. Her mama radar sometimes goes off when she leasts expects it, indicating that a woman with motherly traits is nearby that could be her mama. This even results in her tail turning into a radar dish and pinging! Which leads me into another detail about her: her magical tail.
She possesses magical abilities that she can perform with her hair and tail. Her main claim to fame is the fact that she can shapeshift her tail into virtually anything she wants. This along with her ability to curl herself into a ball and shield herself with her hair grants her quite a versatile kit that can be used for various types of video games. Typically she can only equip one tail morph at a time, each one given to her by a different flavor of milkshake (I.E. bubblegum = balloon, candy cane = coil spring, mint = spear, cherry = bomb, etc.)
While I did design this move kit of hers with a platformer in mind, there are many different genres she can be used in. Basically, I am trying to turn Kasha into a great “mascot” character for my studio – our own Mario. For her debut game I am focusing on something relatively simple, which is a unity minigolf game. I do intend to have lots of different types of games with her – the “big” Kasha I have in mind is a large narrative-driven 2D platforming adventure with a World Map-based structure. I had gotten asked by one of my peers if I ever intended to make a Metroidvania with her but I am not too keen on games where your progression hinges on whether or not you have the right item for an area. Metroidvanias are largely played out these days anyways. I am much more of a fan of action platformers like Wario Land 4, Kirby and Ganbare Goemon, so her platformers would be more akin to those.
I do have a story to tell with this character, which I will eventually do when I make her big platformer game. But generally Kasha lives a sort of carefree life where most of her smaller adventures are a result of her spur-of-the-moment childish whims. She has a tendency to loudly declare what she wants to do, and then proceeds to wander off to do it – she has an almost supernatural knack for getting lost, and even though Milchi is a giant super strong amazon lady, it takes all of her effort just to keep Kasha out of trouble.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Milchi a little bit.
Towering above it all, with a stature only a fraction as big as her heart, we have Milchi.
If you’ve followed GigaMaidens’ development for any length of time you probably recognize her. She is the huge tiger lady we use as our Discord server icon, selected by me to represent GM, because, well… she’s the best girl. Indeed, she is meant to be one of the playable characters in GigaMaidens, where she retains her massive stature and even towers above the other giant ladies in the cast. Even when everyone else is big, she’s bigger. And you’ll understand why once I detail the plot of that game, but that’s another post.
Milchi is a young “Kapokan”, a race of amazon-like giants from the island nation of Kapoka – named for its dense abundance of Kapok trees. Kapokans are two separate clans – the Laimonans, big tiger folks who worship a tiger deity named Laimon, and the Sunbaskers, a race of passive yet xenophobic snake people. All people of both clans are physically huge.
At some point Milchi’s parents (the king and queen of the Laimonans), wound up with Kasha in their care, but they felt they were too old and too busy to properly take care of her. Milchi, being smitten with Kasha at first sight, eagerly volunteered to be Kasha’s new guardian. The matter was settled with Milchi and Kasha taking up residence in Mellow Rock, the old summer home of Milchi’s parents.
Milchi is a very important character to Kasha, providing lots of love and support throughout her little escapades. She is always bound to appear in some form in anything that involves Kasha. The two are mostly inseparable, although times do occur when they get separated anyways. This is part of the concept of Kasha’s eventual platformer. Kasha thinks she’s venturing out on her own for the first time when in reality she is being tailed by Milchi without being aware of it. This is one of Milchi’s talents – the “tiger stalk”, which basically grants her unparalleled stealth and basically makes her undetectable to anyone until she decides to pop out, based on a tiger’s ability to stalk in tall grass. It would be unkind to give people the fright of their life by just being a 16 foot tall tiger girl who seems to materialize out of thin air, so Milchi uses this ability sparingly as she wouldn’t want to give anyone a mental complex!
Like Kasha, Milchi possesses her own magical abilities, mostly pertaining to her hair and appetite. Milchi can seemingly eat anything without ill effect, and her hair contains its own extradimensional space. Kasha has built a clubhouse inside Milchi’s hair and often retreats here when they are both out and about for an extended period of time. Milchi stores many things in this space, from nonperishable snacks to kitchen utensils – even a full-sized fridge. So Kasha usually is quite comfortable when she’s in this space. Needless to say, they are very close.
In time I wish to tell a story about how these girls live their lives together, and the destiny they share that’s intertwined with the COT itself. There are questions that Kasha asks that Milchi doesn’t know the answer to. There are things that perplex Milchi abotu Kasha, mysteries she wants to solve for the benefit of them both. For instance, it all starts with Kasha’s question: “where’s my mom?”
Overall, there are many themes I wish to explore in their games together, not just lore drops but also gameplay themes, like maybe a puzzle platformer where a big character and a little character need to work together to progress. Maybe games where Milchi follows Kasha around and drops items and stuff for her to use as well as constructing platforms before Kasha can get to where she is. I’m basing the games on the character designs I have instead of basing the characters on the game design. What a novel idea, right?
Which Way Are The Kitties Going?
As we delve into the COT and the various games I intend to make within it, we will mostly be focusing on Kasha and Milchi for small side vignettes in this universe, eventually leading up to a big adventure starring Kasha. There is a reason I focus on these two, and it is tied to an overarching plot that ties into the COT at large and gives Kasha her pathos. Like I said earlier, Kasha is an orphan. So what happened to her parents? Why was she placed into the care of Milchi’s family? And where did she get her amazing powers? These questions, and more, will eventually be explored.
For a while I’ve been throwing ideas at the wall thinking about what kind of games I could do with her first. I initially had the idea of just diving in full-bore into developing her big adventure game with an old friend of mine and seeing how far we could get, but for some reason my drive to do this fizzled out. I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted with this, so I went back to the drawing board and tried to think of some other game concepts that could be her debut title.
Although I’m still keeping a smaller platformer on the table, I want Kasha’s debut game to be something a little more unorthodox and quirky, as a challenge for me and to make it more memorable to the audience. So the first game we will focus on with Kasha is a minigolf game. Similar in style to a widely-cherished SNES game that many people of my generation grew up with and loved, Kirby’s Dream Course. The intention is to make a browser unity game for Newgrounds, with a full download on itch.io.
I was just throwing some ideas at the wall with these prototypes when I figured I should do some kind of web game. Initially I had thought of doing a browser-based isometric platformer, but then at some point I really got into the minigolf idea. It was either that or some sort of pinball game. I had really gotten into Tower Unite minigolf and Pinball FX3 recently as methods to calm down my crippling anxiety, and I figured, Kasha is a comfort character for me, so I might as well see if I can combine her with these other de-stressor games to make a fun sort of casual game that provides a happy, relaxing atmosphere that concentrates the player.
Time will tell if my skills are up to the task of realizing this vision, but I based my idea on these two Unity prototypes in this video. You came here for gamedev stuff after all, right? So, let’s see some gamedev stuff. Here’s that “extremely prototype looking” prototype footage I promised earlier.
Now that I have a concept in mind for Kasha’s debut game, new steps to follow have appeared in front of me. I have already started a game design document, which I’m still adding to periodically. But I am also teaching myself the blender pipeline for unity. In a planned future update I will share with all of you the specifics of Kasha’s new minigolf game, some preliminary concepts, gameplay, and maybe some 3D models of Kasha and Milchi. I also plan to give more lore and character updates in the future, with another blog post in the works about the Adore Stone Maidens, the team headed by Sachi whom you all know as the red-headed heroine of GigaMaidens. We will speed through this at a marmot’s pace (I don’t know if a marmot is fast or not, so there’s your answer). This is how a small catgirl will lead the charge of big ladies.
I don’t know when or what my next blog post will be but I already have some ideas in the midst of all my work. In the meantime enjoy this artwork. See you all real soon. Milchi says be nice.