Ask!

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Silentcook
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Re: Ask!

Post by Silentcook » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:30 am

Nightfish wrote:1) Searching the thread, I saw that none of the devs are professional programmers, but what about the writers? Do any of you do this for a living? Or have you considered doing it for a living seeing how well the game has turned out and has been received?

2) I read that the game took 5 years to develop, but I believe this was basically done in your spare time, so what I was wondering is how many hours of work (approximately, of course) have gone into this?

3) Were you ever considering monetizing the game instead of releasing it for free? If so, why did you end up releasing it for free in the end?
1) No member of 4LS was a "professional" in his chosen field during the development of KS. Pretty much everyone had/has a job or academic pursuit. Concerning doing this stuff for a living, I can't speak for anybody else, but in my case: lolno.

2) For me, call it about four thousand hours (edit: over a four-year stretch, I got on board only about one year after the beginning), give or take. I believe I don't hold the record for highest number of hours clocked in, either.

3) No.
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BlackWaltzTheThird
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Re: Ask!

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:17 am

Silentcook wrote:2) For me, call it about four thousand hours, give or take. I believe I don't hold the record for highest number of hours clocked in, either.
For those that don't care to do the math, that works out to around 2 hours and 15 minutes a day on average for five years straight. I gotta say I admire the dedication.
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Nicol Armarfi
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Re: Ask!

Post by Nicol Armarfi » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:18 pm

Nightfish wrote:2) I read that the game took 5 years to develop, but I believe this was basically done in your spare time, so what I was wondering is how many hours of work (approximately, of course) have gone into this?
The amount of time everyone spent working on KS varied greatly. Some people consistently put hours into it daily for the length of development, others worked every now and then, and at the low end of the scale you've got people like me and Blue who just did our part and packed up. I would say I spent maybe 100 hours, tops, working on my part of the soundtrack.

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Re: Ask!

Post by Nightfish » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:22 am

Thanks for the answers. Very interesting to hear from both ends of the spectrum (in terms of time spent). As far as music goes, it makes a lot of sense that this would be something that can be wrapped up in a comparatively short amount of time. Not that this makes the end result any less impressive.
I gotta say spending almost 20 hours per week on average for 4 years is an amazing comittment. Probably explains why so many "let's go make a game!" projects fail. A lot of them seem to have interesting ideas but fall apart after a relatively short amount of time after the initial momentum wore out.

Question:
Reflecting on the impact this game has had on me, I've been wondering how much of it was intentional. It seems fairly obvious that one of the main things you can take away from this is to stop and think about how you view and treat people with disabilities. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume this is intentional :3

But with all the other things I took away from it, and probably a lot of things other people took away from it that I didn't notice / think about, I'm wondering if that was planned. Did you guys sit down and make a list of things you wanted to get across and then wove the stories around it? Just to name a few, I used to be kinda biased against visual novels. I had the impression that they were usually poorly written smut and usually didn't portray women in a respectful way, to say the least. Well, let's just say KS took that old yeller of a prejudice out behind the barn and shoot him good and dead. I also noticed that there is a huge thread full of people that Emi has inspired to get in shape. And so forth...

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Aura
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Re: Ask!

Post by Aura » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:30 pm

Nightfish wrote:4) I found the "about" and "staff" sections of the official page very interesting to read, especially the rough outline it gives of the game's development history. It sounds like ideas were all over the place: "For reasons we will never know, someone's genius idea of actually realizing RAITA's idea of the game caught on like wildfire and soon suggestions ranging from tender love stories to depraved sex fantasies were running amok in the thread". What I was wondering is: Was it hard to decide and agree on a "tone" (not sure if this is the right word here) for the game?
As per the quote, before the project took the 4LS form, there was discussion and arguments about it. The good thing about the 4LS staff is that though we are wildly differing personalities, the views most of us hold about stuff that mattered for several fundamental aspects of KS, such as the "tone" are pretty similar so we very quickly figured out a picture of what we'd like KS to be like. The culture of the dev team also fostered and fortified the approach and it remained solid throughout the dev cycle. The people who were of the "depraved sex fantasy" or other dispositions highly conflicting with the "4LS standard" simply assimilated, fell off the train, never got on or weren't interested in doing so.
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Re: Ask!

Post by Aura » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Nightfish wrote:Question:
Reflecting on the impact this game has had on me, I've been wondering how much of it was intentional. It seems fairly obvious that one of the main things you can take away from this is to stop and think about how you view and treat people with disabilities. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume this is intentional :3

But with all the other things I took away from it, and probably a lot of things other people took away from it that I didn't notice / think about, I'm wondering if that was planned. Did you guys sit down and make a list of things you wanted to get across and then wove the stories around it? Just to name a few, I used to be kinda biased against visual novels. I had the impression that they were usually poorly written smut and usually didn't portray women in a respectful way, to say the least. Well, let's just say KS took that old yeller of a prejudice out behind the barn and shoot him good and dead. I also noticed that there is a huge thread full of people that Emi has inspired to get in shape. And so forth...
No. We didn't want KS to have a message to sell; even the general sentiment "disabled people are normal people" isn't at all emphasized, and wasn't during the development. I guess it's arguable that since we treated the subject matter of disabilities in a more or less mature and respectful way, KS does send that message, but it was a necessary and natural thing for us to do instead of an intentional message we wanted to send. Writing with a capital M Message in mind tends to result in undesirable effects at the very least, and poor quality writing at worst (and most often). We preferred to write around our chosen themes, portraying them usually morally neutrally rather than trying to cram something down the audience's throats.

I want to think that if we really had sat down and made a list of messages we wanted to send, they wouldn't be basic, mundane stuff like "exercise" or "treat other people properly".
<Aura> would you squeeze a warm PVC bottle between your thighs and call it "manaka-chan"
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Hello71
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Re: Ask!

Post by Hello71 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:03 pm

Aura wrote:
mainframe004 wrote:How many times has KS been downloaded to date?
We don't know. Aside from the fact that KS can be freely distributed (making knowing that number impossible), we don't track even the download numbers from our own server. They are pretty high though, of the order of hundreds of thousands.
Not to mention BitTorrent downloads..

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Re: Ask!

Post by Heart2Heart » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:10 am

A lot of people have told all of you how they have reacted to KS, but how has creating KS affected you?
How does it feel that you've created a work of art that's had such an impact on other people?
When is the artbook going to be released online? Although there will be no more KS, is there a possibility of a new Artbook with new fan art being released? If enough fans request it, or rather, if enough fans create artwork, would that increase the likelihood?

On another note, what creative endeavors do any of you have planned for the future?

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Re: Ask!

Post by Nightfish » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:12 am

Thank you for your replies, Aura.

I've been (slowly) working my way through this thread as a whole and it's very interesting to read. It's rare that you get that much information out of the people making a game and the time you guys take to answer questions is definetly appreciated.
Aura wrote:No. We didn't want KS to have a message to sell; even the general sentiment "disabled people are normal people" isn't at all emphasized, and wasn't during the development. I guess it's arguable that since we treated the subject matter of disabilities in a more or less mature and respectful way, KS does send that message, but it was a necessary and natural thing for us to do instead of an intentional message we wanted to send. Writing with a capital M Message in mind tends to result in undesirable effects at the very least, and poor quality writing at worst (and most often). We preferred to write around our chosen themes, portraying them usually morally neutrally rather than trying to cram something down the audience's throats.

I want to think that if we really had sat down and made a list of messages we wanted to send, they wouldn't be basic, mundane stuff like "exercise" or "treat other people properly".
That makes sense. I guess this is part of why it works so well, the fact that it's not forced. In a way, the choice not to send a Message with a captital M on this subject is probably one of the best ways to send a message here (I swear this makes sense in my head).


So, if most of the things people took away from this game were largely incidental, was there any that surprised you? Or any that you liked / disliked a lot? I assume a lot of people shared their thoughts here since release so I'd guess that there were a couple times of "Huh, that's neat, I didn't think you could see it that way" or "Oh my god, how can you take this message from our game?".

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Re: Ask!

Post by Aura » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:11 pm

Heart2Heart wrote:A lot of people have told all of you how they have reacted to KS, but how has creating KS affected you?
How does it feel that you've created a work of art that's had such an impact on other people?
When is the artbook going to be released online? Although there will be no more KS, is there a possibility of a new Artbook with new fan art being released? If enough fans request it, or rather, if enough fans create artwork, would that increase the likelihood?

On another note, what creative endeavors do any of you have planned for the future?
How creating KS has affected me? More anger issues and stronger expressions of cynicism and elitism, mostly. Since the impact KS had on most people was positive, even constructive, it's hard to think of it as anything except "good". It doesn't really feel like anything though except mildly nice. It's hard to make a connection between what I did and the stories some fans write about their reactions.

If by "artbook" you mean the fan book Kawa-Soft are doing for their event at Japan Expo. I don't know. We did nothing for that one. Ask them. As for 4LS-produced artbooks, yeah we'll make them, but (physically) exclusively for events in Japan as mostly before. Since the artbooks we make have art by the 4LS staff and our friends, fan requests or fan art has no effect.
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Re: Ask!

Post by Aura » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:32 pm

Nightfish wrote:Thank you for your replies, Aura.

I've been (slowly) working my way through this thread as a whole and it's very interesting to read. It's rare that you get that much information out of the people making a game and the time you guys take to answer questions is definetly appreciated.
Aura wrote:No. We didn't want KS to have a message to sell; even the general sentiment "disabled people are normal people" isn't at all emphasized, and wasn't during the development. I guess it's arguable that since we treated the subject matter of disabilities in a more or less mature and respectful way, KS does send that message, but it was a necessary and natural thing for us to do instead of an intentional message we wanted to send. Writing with a capital M Message in mind tends to result in undesirable effects at the very least, and poor quality writing at worst (and most often). We preferred to write around our chosen themes, portraying them usually morally neutrally rather than trying to cram something down the audience's throats.

I want to think that if we really had sat down and made a list of messages we wanted to send, they wouldn't be basic, mundane stuff like "exercise" or "treat other people properly".
That makes sense. I guess this is part of why it works so well, the fact that it's not forced. In a way, the choice not to send a Message with a captital M on this subject is probably one of the best ways to send a message here (I swear this makes sense in my head).


So, if most of the things people took away from this game were largely incidental, was there any that surprised you? Or any that you liked / disliked a lot? I assume a lot of people shared their thoughts here since release so I'd guess that there were a couple times of "Huh, that's neat, I didn't think you could see it that way" or "Oh my god, how can you take this message from our game?".
Well the whole self-improvement thing (which is a common theme for many reactions!) was quite bewildering at first. People out of shape exercising, socially reclusive people connecting with friends, etc. I had, and still have, a very hard time understanding why it was reading Katawa Shoujo that became a catalyst for so many people for such a drastic, in some cases life-changing reaction.

Also, the guys becoming massively depressed that they will never find a love story as beautiful as [insert route] for themselves in real life was kind of a downer. Overall, the great intensity of the reactions was a surprise and incomprehensible, from your basic two days of catatonic sobbing the average reader gets to the guy who read KS, decided to get his shit together for Emi, trained for a marathon, married a supermodel, got two PhDs and found a new job where he earns more than all of us put together. For five years we thought we were making a mediocre love story, so this all caught us off guard.
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Re: Ask!

Post by Draganada » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:16 pm

Did the Non-American writers ever experience frustration at having to change their writing-style to suit the others'? Or was it only a slight alteration in spelling with no real problems?
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Re: Ask!

Post by Aura » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:40 pm

Draganada wrote:Did the Non-American writers ever experience frustration at having to change their writing-style to suit the others'? Or was it only a slight alteration in spelling with no real problems?
The Australian writers were occasionally annoyed, crud more than Suriko (well isn't it unfair? 3 of 5 writers are non-American and a fourth studied literature in England). Both of their texts had to be sanitized for British-isms, especially in the beginning, so I assume it was at least a minor challenge to swap to AE. Written English is generally very neutral regardless of the writer's background anyway so it's not like it was a big deal. We also never really stressed the small syntactic details, especially since a majority of writing staff don't use American English enough to spot the nonobvious mistakes. Personally, I never really felt writing AE was bothersome or difficult despite also normally using British English vocabulary and spelling, and as I recall I managed to keep to American English better than my Aussie friends. It was still something to keep in mind all the time, I couldn't just "flip a switch"
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Re: Ask!

Post by cpl_crud » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:14 pm

Draganada wrote:Did the Non-American writers ever experience frustration at having to change their writing-style to suit the others'? Or was it only a slight alteration in spelling with no real problems?

Hell yes.

Americans still don't know what a "servery" is. That caused no end of grief early on.

And they seem to jam "z"s in everywhere so that they can get more Scrabble points.
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Post by kindspy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:57 pm

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