With the release date of December 19 fast approaching, we wanted to take a look back on the development process of the Steam version of the upcoming yuri-themed visual novel masterpiece, SeaBed.
SeaBed has been one of our most intensive projects so far, and we absolutely fell in love with the game while working on it. In total, we have worked on the game for roughly a year, from translation to polishing the user interface.
To start with the basics, SeaBed has been translated into English and edited by industry veterans Conjueror and Garejei, respectively, and we’re extremely satisfied with the flavor and life they have brought to the complex story.
While the translation work was ongoing, there was another big project that we undertook: the HD upgrade of the game. Well, HD isn’t technically accurate since the new base resolution is 1440×1080, rather than the 1080p standard, but I think it paints an accurate enough picture of what we did.
SeaBed was originally released in 800×600 resolution, but it features boatloads of stellar art (with around 100 unique CGs and over 1000 character tachies across the game) and we really wanted to make that shine. In a rare fortunate turn of events, the developer Paleontology had the original resources in higher resolution .PSD files, so we proceeded to recreate all the art in the game in the new target resolution. This work alone took months, but after playing the new version we hope you will all agree that it was well worth the effort.
Since not everyone has a 1080p display, we also added support for multiple different resolutions, including an automated resolution selection that by default always uses a resolution your screen can display.
Another visual aspect that we always pay attention to in visual novels especially is the fonts. When done right, you, the player, will never think about them. Especially not in the sense of “wow, this text sure is ugly/hard to read”. We typically evaluate dozens of different fonts before finding one that captures the tone of the game just right – so far, all of our visual novels use different fonts, not by any particular decision to never repeat the fonts we use but simply as the result of this process.
There can be a lot of text on screen in SeaBed, so the main font we chose for the English text has a calm and slightly clinical feel to it, befitting of the narrative tone of the game. It’s first and foremost easy to read.
A secondary font is used when reading through written materials in the game, and we aimed for a compromise between a handwritten feeling and still being easy on the eye.
The font size we ended up using is fairly large, so it’s readable even when playing on a lower resolution screen, but it can accommodate all the text that was meant for one screen and is not obnoxiously huge if playing full-screen on a large display.
SeaBed is our first visual novel that has in-game support for both Japanese and English languages – easily changeable at any time from the settings menu. This compounds all the effort that went toward polishing the text settings, as we had to make sure they would work even if people play around with language options.
Other improvements we have made to the game include improving the text skip mechanics, which will especially help those re-reading the story and looking for particular passages.
Moreover, our programmer Tony and one of our testers, Denis, worked together to loop all of the game’s 60+ music tracks in the game, so they now replay seamlessly while playing. The BGMs have been carefully chosen by the developer and play a crucial part in establishing the mood of each scene, and removing any distracting pauses was a way to further strengthen their effect.
Lastly, the original 800×600 ending video of the game has been recreated in loving detail in the 1440×1080 resolution, with bilingual credits. Look forward to it at the end of your journey!
Finally, the Steam version of SeaBed will come with full Steam features – achievements, Steam Trading Cards, Cloud support. Did you know that Steam overlay doesn’t work in all games automatically? There are various changes we’ve made under the hood in SeaBed – like many of our other games – to get the overlay working smoothly so you’ll never have to think about it.
Soon you’ll get to experience all of these changes live – and if you never have to stop to think about them, they’re working as intended.