Tales from SeaBed

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.

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.

Tokyo Game Show 2016 Guest Schedule

Hello everyone!
With Tokyo Game Show 2016 (September 15-18.) rapidly approaching, we’re happy to announce the final list of guest appearances at our booth. The full list of guests includes Yakiniku Banzai, Orange Juice, LIFE0, Tazigen Clock, Inu to Neko, Muzintou and Shiisanmei!

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You can meet representatives of the circles at our booth, 7-N01 at the above times. Our star guest, Poppo, will also be giving signatures whenever she’s not out and about.

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We also have some super limited badges from various games available at our booth, for those quick enough to visit us each day.

TGS Badges

Hope to see you there!

Fruitbat Factory at Tokyo Game Show 2016

Happy to announce that Fruitbat Factory will be at Tokyo Game Show in 2016!

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You can find us in hall 7, booth 7-N01 – across from the 2K / Take Two Interactive Japan booth, and on the other side of the wall from SEGA booth in hall 8.

The event’s held in the Makuhari Messe convention center and we’ll be there during the regular event hours, 10-17 every day (September 15-16 business days, and September 17-18 public days).

At our booth, we’ll be showcasing our past and future releases (lots of exciting announcements coming this year!)

We’ll also have several guests at our booth, watch this space for more details and schedule!

If you’re in the area, make sure to come say hi to us. Who knows, there might even be some special items to grab!

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.