Life Blog: Midsummer Blues

Hello friends.

I return today at the end of August with just brief lifepost about what’s been going on with me lately. Like many of you I’ve been cooking in the summer heat. Didn’t do much over the course of this season other than wait for it to be over. I’m not a huge fan of summer, but I’m trying to get some barbecuing and minigolfing in before the snow hits the ground. I know people south of the border tend to think Canada is a frozen wasteland but it does get decently warm up here during summer, averaging around 30-35 degrees Celsius – the heat’s been particularly stubborn this year. As ice elementals we Canadians suffer various stat debuffs in hot environments and tend to prefer the cold.

First things first: gamedev updates. Not a whole lot to report here. My Blender skills steadily continue to improve, although personally I would prefer moving a bit faster. My 3D model of Kasha is rapidly approaching a finished state, yet there is still much to do, such as retopologizing, texturing and rigging her for animation. Here is a preview of what she looks like. Isn’t she pretty?

I’ve also been deliberating on what to do with the art style of GigaMaidens when the time comes to reopen development on it. I’ve been discussing internally with someone on changing the art direction of GM from something less “pseudo-realistic anime” and something more akin to heavily detailed late PS1 or early Dreamcast graphics.

This is how the models look in GM right now. I am no longer in contact with the artist who made these, but I appreciate the work they put in for us.

While I do believe these models are the correct direction, I’m not entirely sure it would be practical to keep them looking like this going forward. If we kept this art style, it would mean that all the other 3D art assets in the game would need to be just as detailed to match their art style, as well as needing higher animation fidelity for things like VFX and other stuff. I’m weighing the pros and cons of keeping the art style like this vs. simplifying the art style and making the characters look more like a neo-retro PS1/Dreamcast game.

On the one hand the PS1 style is a very popular look among indie games lately, and while I am a fan of it, I’m not sure it has the same broad appeal as the girls would in the above artstyle. On the other hand it would be great if the game could look something like the game in the following video with 3D environments.

There are plenty of reasons to do it this way, such as giving the game a more unique visual identity and keeping graphics development costs on the low end. What matters at the end of the day is whether or not the game gets made, and I think going the PS1 graphics route would present an easier path towards that happening. If we kept the graphics as they are, we would likely need to ask for more money from whoever ends up funding the game, and they might refuse us. If this indeed does happen then I feel that going the stylized lowpoly graphics route might be the only way to actually finish GigaMaidens. Maybe it’s too early to decide, maybe it isn’t. But this is what’s been on my mind lately.

SoulCalibur arcade is another graphical inspiration I’m looking at. It’s actually graphically inferior to the Dreamcast version which was quite a rare occurrence in the days arcades were around. I do enjoy how this looks, but again, it has niche appeal and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I picture GigaMaidens looking something like this but maybe not quite AS blocky. It doesn’t matter, we can fudge the graphics a little bit to make them a bit more detailed while still keeping the essential “feel” of early 3D arcade fighter graphics as we are not actually limted by hardware. All we’re really aiming for is the graphical feel, so the end result would naturally look better than this.

Now onto a more personal and sentimental note. I’ve been chewing on this in silence for the past month and a half while working on my projects, but I actually haven’t been doing too great lately. My mental health took a savage hit in July when my beloved cat Marilyn passed away out of nowhere on a hot Saturday afternoon. I woke up, she was breathing strange, and then she died. She is now resting peacefully in our backyard, and I’ve been stuck on it for a while. I didn’t even realize she was sick and then she died out of nowhere. I still don’t even know what killed her. I’ve been beating myself up about it in silence thinking that I could have saved her if I had realized she was sick and acted sooner, but now she’s gone forever and I have a hole in my heart. She was taken from me way too early. All I can really take comfort in is the fact that I gave her a life free from pain.

Take care my sweet kitty, I hope you enjoyed your time on this earth and I hope you can forgive me for not saving you.

So, uh… yeah. I’m still suffering, but it feels good to have that out in the open at least as to why I’ve been quiet. My anxiety and intrusive thoughts have only gotten worse since this event, so I’m trying my hardest to maintain a positive mood and keep chugging along on my things.

I know Marilyn wouldn’t want me to stay sad, nor would Milchi and Kasha, so I’ve been trying to think of them having fun in summer. I turn to my characters to give me strength when I need them. Incidentally, I got this art piece done by a Japanese artist.

That’s all for today fellas. I’m gonna take a break from my work today and see if I can meet my friends at a bar downtown, I don’t get out much so maybe that’s what I should do as part of my therapy.

I’m still thinking on what to write in future blogs and how to introduce more characters, as well as working on some more artwork, so keep your eyes peeled. I think I’ll upload another GigaMaidens music track soon, so look forward to that.

See you guys next time.

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