SeaBed Coming to Western Shores!

We’re very excited to reveal a new game acquisition: SeaBed, Paleontology’s highly anticipated psychological yuri visual novel is getting an English language release by us!

SeaBed was released in Japan in 2016 and quickly drew the attention of visual novel enthusiasts in both Japan and abroad.

Text-wise, SeaBed is one of our largest translation projects, in addition to being known for its unique, high level writing style. We expect translation to take longer than usual, since we want to bring it out in the highest quality possible to meet the fans’ expectations. The English PC version is currently expected to release in late 2017.

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Who is SeaBed for? Well, if you like yuri games, or just like a really well written story regardless of genre, this is a game you shouldn’t miss. SeaBed’s story is deeply psychological and beggars description, but here’s the official synopsis:

SeaBed is a critically acclaimed yuri-themed mystery visual novel told through the perspectives of three separate characters: Mizuno Sachiko, a designer plagued by hallucinations of her past lover; Narasaki Hibiki, Sachiko’s friend and a psychiatrist researching the workings of human memories; and Takako, Sachiko’s former lover who has been rapidly forgetting her past, including how or why the two women drifted apart despite being together since childhood.

All three live in different worlds, but seek the same goal. To separate truth from illusion. To make sense of their own lives.

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The Steam version of SeaBed is being updated to natively support 1440×1080 resolution. It will also include Steam achievements, Cloud support and Steam Trading Cards.

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You can see a full set of high resolution screenshots on SeaBed’s homepage and Steam page. The game is available for pre-order for the price of $19.99 from the Fruitbat Factory store with a -25% pre-order discount.

About Paleontology
Developer of original Japanese version (TwitterHomepage)
Paleontology is an independent Japanese game circle creating yuri-themed games. SeaBed is their first game release. It was developed based on the characters of a 4-koma manga series created by their illustrator, hide38.

We have even more exciting announcements coming out, so stay tuned!

100% Orange Juice – Popularity Games

We just recently made an internal summary of 2016 player stats in 100% Orange Juice, and I figured it’d be fun to do a breakdown of some popularity stats for the year.

It’s a long post, so prepare to scroll down!

Before writing this post, I also made some polls on Twitter for some of the categories, to see if people can guess which character was most popular. The community answers will be included where relevant.

Starting with the big one:

Most popular starter character – the winner is… Suguri! (Community guessed correctly!)
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Least popular starter character – the winner(?) is Kai!
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Most popular non-starter character – the winner is Star Breaker! (Community guessed Sora)
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Most popular non-starter FRB character – the winner is Sherry (who gets a bottle of wine)! (Community guessed correctly!)
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Most popular non-starter male character – the winner is Peat!
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Most popular campaign unlock character – the winner is Yuki!
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Most popular bonus character – the winner is Mixed Poppo! (community overwhelmingly guessed Sora (Military))
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Most popular bunny – the winner is… Aru! Congratulations!
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Most popular NPC character – the happy winner is Chicken!
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And last, the answer (at least for 2016) to the question, which one is more popular – Saki or Sham? The numbers don’t lie, the winner this time around was… Sham! (Community guessed Saki)
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We have a lot of cool stuff planned for 2017 too, so stay tuned!

Status Update

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since our last post where we talk about the status of our various projects. Since we have an extraordinary amount of games in the works at the moment, I figured it’d be good to give a bit of an update on them all.
So if that interests you, buckle up and read on.

100% Orange Juice
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I’ll start with a game that’s not coming out any time soon. In fact, it’s been out for 3 years now. Still, it’s our best-selling title, and we’re constantly working to keep improving it, so it feels natural to talk about it first.

We employ a full-time programmer, and most of his time goes to developing 100% Orange Juice, it being the most technically demanding of our games. Over the months and years we’ve kept improving the infrastructure of the game to the point that if you watch the Steam trailer for it now, you’d be hard pressed to find a single detail that hasn’t changed in some way since making the trailer (and yes, we have a new trailer in the works!).

The latest major undertaking was changing the rendering of the game so that almost every text in the game is now stored as plain text instead of graphics, allowing us to support multiple languages in a rapidly changing game. It was the wish of Orange Juice to add support for Japanese, and with the most recent update, we can now also support any number of custom languages. It’s cool to see many people working to translate 100% Orange Juice into their native language!

On our recent trip to Japan, we sat down for a good chat with Orange Juice about the game’s current development, and the things we’d like to do with it in the future. It was heartening how they were completely on board with all of them, so we have a ton of exciting news in store for 100% Orange Juice in the coming winter. A keen observer may have observed some spoilers for some of them on the Internet already, but we also have some ideas that we’re confident will surprise everyone.
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Moving onto our upcoming releases…

ENIGMA:
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Although our background in the industry comes strongly from visual novel translation, Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish was the first pure visual novel we released as a company (putting aside the two 99 Spirits fan disc stories). However, it won’t be the only one. With all likelihood the next one will be Uzumeya’s mysterious fantasy ENIGMA:, which has an interesting narration style and tons of endings.

The translation, courtesy of Conjueror, is now at 100%, and the game is moving into editing. The project’s slated for release this winter, either late this year or early next year.

Lionheart
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This cool new RPG comes from Shiisanmei, and is packed full of cute character art and tongue-in-cheek humor. As a fairly massive RPG, there’s a lot to QA in Lionheart, and I can foresee that process taking a while.

Translation itself is at 95%, and same for editing. What remains is mostly combat data. Although it’s possible we’ll be able to release the game this year, it’s more likely to happen early next year, since playtesting is expected to take some time.

Miniature Garden
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Translation is now beginning on Muzintou’s dark mystery visual novel Miniature Garden. Not much else to say about it yet, but look forward to the finished game! The production values (including Korie Riko‘s art and the top of the line anime voice actors) are pretty amazing. We’re aiming for a release around Spring 2017.

Dungeon Girl
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Inu to Neko is a hard-line developer who’s been making gameplay-heavy games for well over ten years, a major feat in itself. Dungeon Girl is our first release from them, and we’re looking forward to bringing many new fans to the game universe. Did you know that all Inu to Neko games share the same world and many characters? Working on Dungeon Girl has been fun so far, and there’s a ton of depth to the gameplay mechanics.

Translation of Dungeon Girl is currently at 78%, and editing at 72%.

Acceleration of SUGURI 2
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We had a slightly unusual reveal for Acceleration of SUGURI 2 this summer, and one that was a ton of fun for us. Since then, we’ve received countless requests for status updates. Well, I’m happy to say that the translation and editing of AoS2 is 100% complete. However, the biggest challenge we’re tackling for its release is programming, since we want to handle its multiplayer right. As with 100% Orange Juice and 200% Mixed Juice, we plan to support Steam lobbies and possibly add some extra multiplayer features.

We will start the Steam programming shortly, but it will likely take several months, so I can almost guarantee it’s not coming out in 2016.

Seven Days
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While not really an ongoing project on our part, those who follow our social media, or visited our booth at Tokyo Game Show, saw us promoting LIFE0‘s upcoming visual novel, Seven Days, and made the correct assumption that we have the rights to an English release.

Seven Days is currently raising funding on CAMPFIRE, a Japanese crowdfunding platform, and has so far raised a hefty 4.2 million yen out of its 2 million goal. There’s still a few days left if you want to support it, though please note that CAMPFIRE is for Japanese users only. We are also co-funding the game’s production, so naturally our expectations are high.

Seven Days is coming out in late 2017 and we’ll have more updates and an official reveal closer to that time.

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…And more?
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That’s the end of this status update. You should take any release estimates with a grain of salt, as you may note that we don’t list an actual release date for any of them yet. There’s always a chance that some aspect of a game takes longer than expected, or that we run into an unforeseen issue somewhere along the way. Or conversely, we may finish our work on a game a month earlier than initially estimated. That’s why we avoid committing to any dates until a game is virtually ready to release, and the estimates you see here are just that, rough estimates.

War of the Human Tanks – Limited Operations began!

War of the Human Tanks - Limited Operations (white stroke)Pick up your rifle and jump right in! The third and final part of the War of the Human Tanks trilogy is now available on Steam!

 
Limited Operations features over 50 missions with enough challenge for even veteran Command Tanks.

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The original soundtrack of Limited Operations, Sound of the Human – LO, is also available in the store, alongside War of the Human Tanks Complete Collection Steam Bundle which gives collectors an easy way to complete their trilogy.

Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish Release Date Announced!

Independent game publisher Fruitbat Factory is proud to announce that POMERA Studios’ mystery visual novel Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish will be released on Steam on March 30.

Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish is a thrilling mystery story revolving around a series of unfathomable incidents in a town, brought to life with gorgeous artwork.

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Synopsis
In the middle of the night on a certain day of April 201X, the right arm of the owner of a general store is chopped off in the backyard of his own store. Even though he claims that the perpetrator is a ‘doll’ that was kept in the store, his words carry little weight due to the lack of other witnesses.

The doll and the detached arm are gone from the scene of crime.

“Like a light too strong may burn out one’s retinas, so too can supernatural entities be toxic to humans. Even should they take on the invisible form of one’s emotions.”

Features

  • Gorgeous illustrations by a skilled, experienced illustrator
  • Story painted in vivid colors by talented voice actors/actresses and musicians
  • Map-based scene selection
  • A reasoning system that unlocks bonus content upon successful answers

The Steam release of Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish will be priced at $14.99. The game will include Steam Trading Cards, Achievements, and Cloud support. The game’s opening and screenshots can be viewed on the Steam page.

Working on Magical Eyes, we could feel the passion POMERA Studios has poured into the game over the several years it took to create, and we’ve wanted to reciprocate that and meet the fans’ expectations. That’s why we’ve put special effort into fine tuning the visual look of the game, to give it all the polish we can.” says Jakke Elonen, Project Lead.

Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish is available for pre-order with a 10% discount from the official Fruitbat Factory store.

For more information, business enquiries  and to be included in the press release and review mailing lists, contact Fruitbat Factory at info@fruitbatfactory.com.

Sora – A Development Story

It’s been a while since we’ve posted one of these, but we had a lot of fun working on Sora and making it look good on modern systems, so we decided to give a little blurb on the technical changes we’ve made to Sora during the localization. Without further ado I’ll give to floor to Tony, the man behind the code.

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Tony: I had only played Sora briefly in our meeting with Orange Juice in May 2015, but when I actually got to spend more time with the game, it really clicked; the fast gameplay, setting, soundtrack and presentation were amazing. I was also aware of the fans’ wishes for a new release of Sora, and felt it very important to do a good job with our localized version.

When we start localizing a new game, we evaluate its customization options such as screen settings and discuss what technical improvements we could add to make it more enjoyable for the players. Basically we ask ourselves “What would I like to see in this as a gamer?” and then check how feasible it would be to add it. Sometimes the engine the game runs on makes this impossible, but usually we’re able to add fancy things like higher resolution support.

The first thing we wanted to improve with Sora was the game’s resolution. The original version of Sora runs at 640×480 resolution which feels rather small in modern HD era. Since the base resolution was so low, simply adding resolution options to upscale the graphics to a higher resolution would leave the screen looking blurry and pixelated. I had some concerns about changing the rendering resolution because in shooting games every single element’s positioning is very important, but there’s no harm in trying, right? I set up the necessary changes to launch the game in 720p as an experiment and we got this:

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First higher res shot of Sora running at 720p (16:9 aspect ratio). Notice how the action is centered on the screen because the game area is supposed to be 4:3!

The first tests revealed that the essentials were already in place thanks to Orange Juice’s smart coding, but there was still a lot of work ahead. The view was too far, allowing the player to see more of the game area than they were supposed to, leading to problems like enemies appearing out of thin air. Some of the backgrounds and effects were broken, some boss positions were off, and of course all 2D elements were still happily in the 640×480 land.

Yet even with all the chaotic results, we could see that the game’s visuals got a noticeable improvement from the resolution increase. We went through the graphics assets we were given and found that many images had more detail than the original game resolution could show. Our graphics guys Ozhan and Yulay were on board for creating high-res versions of the menu elements. After some gameplay / image comparisons our minds were set.

As a side mention, we experimented with making Sora’s gameplay fully widescreen while deciding on the new target resolution. We had a lot of fun with it and even had some back and forth with OrangeJuice, sending different builds! However, it was clear from the onset that it would break the game too much. Let’s put aside the stage 1 opening cutscene continuing forever because the missiles never hit their target, and ignore enemies popping out of thin air, how about being able to move behind bosses like Nath and getting some free shots while she’s stuck firing at nothing? The amount of undesired behavior the change would generate was overwhelming.

I’m over here!

I’m over here!

We decided to set the resolution to 1280×960 which doubles the original dimensions, the main reason being that beyond that even the higher resolution graphics wouldn’t benefit much. While our previous attempts at full widescreen were doomed, we were able to add support for widescreen menus and cutscenes specifically. As an added bonus, since the fight against extra stage’s last boss is in a special type of area, we added widescreen support for that too!

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Jakke: After upgrading the resolution everywhere else, we were left with the game’s opening (at 640×480 resolution) looking strongly pixelated, not to mention all the Japanese text in it. Unsurprisingly, the original project files for the opening were gone from existence. Luckily, we received most of the original graphics used in the opening, and pieced them together with newly recorded gameplay footage to recreate the opening identically at a 1280×960 resolution with English texts. Our friends at Interweave Productions pulled some miracles with the video.

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Tony: We also changed the texture format. Sora uses a Japanese engine called Luna3D, which is also used by our earlier title 100% Orange Juice. The engine handles a lot of things well, but its texture handling has problems. There’s an issue with texture drawing that causes all textures to appear blurrier and the engine’s own texture format is somewhat slow and also takes up a lot of space. We changed 100% Orange Juice’s texture format some months ago and brought these changes to Sora as well. As result, our version should have faster load times despite having bigger images and the required hard drive space for textures is down to less than 100mb instead of the original’s 1gb.

As for input, the original game only supported DirectInput controllers, but similarly to what we did with QP Shooting – Dangerous!!, we added XInput support to support all types of controllers, as well as added keyboard bind options. Thanks to some helpful feedback from our testers / reviewers, we also added visible keybinds in the tutorial to help new players.

We had a lot of fun with making the achievements. When we started Sora, we were terrible at the game. Back in Japan, I couldn’t even get past the first stage! However as we kept playing we got gradually better and many “How am I supposed to beat this?” fights turned into satisfying victories. We think the game does a very good job at that and that’s why we had no qualms with making the achievements challenging.

Jakke: It took me well over 20 hours to clear the original Japanese version of Sora on easy difficulty. While playing and testing the game, gradually feats that had first seemed impossible, turned possible, then probable, and ultimately felt only fair. I’m not great at shooters myself, so I largely used myself as a guideline for deciding on the achievements – if I can do this, most people can be reasonably expected to be able to. My personal favorite is ‘Dance Like a Flower’, which drove me to near madness before I finally cleared it (with controller burns on my thumb).

 

Finally, go ahead and enjoy these screenshots of things gone horribly wrong during development!

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