Monthly Updates: October 2022

Hi, this is Driller from Drillimation.

I can’t believe we made it to the end of an era. On Friday, you can all enjoy Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess to your heart’s content. While at my side, the demo for Touhou Kourinden ~ Mythos of Phantasmagoria is nearing completion. There are some quality assurance tests that are nearing completion and debugging that need to be done. As I’ve previously said, Kourinden will be an episodic series, meaning throughout 2023, new chapters in the form of Acts will be released.

Touhou Kourinden ~ Mythos of Phantasmagoria

I will tell you some of the challenges that had to be tackled throughout the entire summer season. In July, I was on a trip in Pittsburgh doing graphics research for Kourinden. Development continued right after I returned from the trip. Throughout the month of July, I programmed the entire menu and battle system. It was a monster project. As I said before, making an RPG is complicated, as there is a lot of planning that needs to be done in order to get it right. Although most people including myself have used RPG Maker in the past to make RPGs, I’m using GameMaker for more creative freedom and enabling the ability to export to consoles and such.

Development of the game’s actual story began the following month. It required a lot of graphics to be created including overworld characters, monsters, and tiles. Most RPGs have tiles so that you always know how to navigate the world. Not to mention the game’s musical score had to be composed. The game’s score will take on a more classical approach rather than the fast-paced J-Pop-inspired action tunes that I’ve written for the Chuhou Joutai series. Since the game is being made in a style similar to Sierra’s AGI engine, the AdLib and SoundBlaster cards were the standard at the time, and everything will be written on the YM3812 chip. The game’s score will not only consist of original songs but remixed Touhou Project and Chuhou Joutai music will also be part of the mix. Not to mention that some songs that I have composed for some of the canceled projects of Studio Emiko will also be remixed.

My Old Gaming Headset Died

For the past three years, I have been using a Butfulake-branded gaming headset that my brother gave to me. They were extremely useful, as I used them during the pandemic when we had virtual classes. I had just used them one morning in mid-August after I woke up. Unfortunately, just immediately after I finished making my bed and sat back down, the headset died. It just quit working after several years of use, it wouldn’t output sound anymore, and it put me into a panic state because I didn’t know what to do and I’ve always been using headphones to work on my projects while my parents were catching up on the news and doing other stuff.

The whole headphones thing didn’t really affect me much, but I did take that as an opportunity to get a new gaming headset. What I got was a HyperX Cloud Stinger with DTS audio meaning everything I hear from my computer will feel like I’m at the movies. One of my biggest gripes about this thing is the cord is short. My previous headphones had a super long cord, giving me plenty of room to walk around. Despite this, I got a really good deal. It was only $30, compared to the competitors which are more expensive.

The Prophet is Super Backed Up

With that whole headphones thing out of the way, I also did another thing, and this concerns my files on my USB stick. For the past seven years, I have been using external hard drives to put my files on so that way I can take them between computers, such as using the machines at the computer labs at school. Simply put, it stores all of the assets and project files from my past games. This also includes if I have to grab a clip from something to use in a future video as reference material. This includes all raw footage, graphics, BGM, sound effects, and everything else. Inside my USB stick is everything Chuhou Joutai and the Touhou Project NES Demakes, which was completed earlier this year. Everything is on one huge volume, meaning I don’t have to search different hard drives to find stuff.

Apparently, I needed to find a way to easily access my files when I’m logged into the internet, whether it be my workstation, my MacBook, or my iPad. Last month, I started a project to back up everything into my iCloud account. I cannot obviously tell you how mentally exhausting this was. I had more than 80 GB of crap on my USB stick. Each backup session took an hour or more. Part of the reason is because in case you missed it, I got a new laptop earlier this year in May. You may recall the video of me unboxing it, and also showcased some of Kourinden’s music before that game began development. The old laptop was from 2018 and this was the machine where Chuhou Joutai 1 and the Highly Responsive to Prayers NES Demake were made. When I built my workstation and was informed of bugs in Chuhou Joutai 1 even after release, it took me time to squish them all.

Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess

Don’t you hate it when your game nears completion and the engine dev changes up the API which results in your entire game breaking, forcing you to start all over from scratch? Late in development, YoYo Games discontinued 32-bit DLL support for GameMaker. That’s what the game’s sound engine uses for music playback. Not to mention the quality makes it feel like I traveled to the 1990s. If you want to know why, as of 2022, less than 1% of all Steam users were using 32-bit machines. Beware of the year 2038 problem that may affect everything 32-bit. I don’t know where you and I may be during that time when it comes. I’ll probably be married and have kids at that point.

Simply put, I had to get all quality assurance testing done before that transition. Unfortunately, one client that I gave a full Steam key for that purpose suffered severe internet outages and it took time for him to complete it all. Thankfully, it was all done, despite a few bugs that had to be crushed. I’m not updating GameMaker until it’s confirmed that CJ3 is free of game-breaking bugs.

Anyway, I cannot believe I released a trilogy of danmaku games in the middle of a pandemic. Although there were times when I could snap pictures for use as cutscene backgrounds, other times I took screengrabs using Google Streetview for the backgrounds that I couldn’t snap pictures of. I don’t like traveling long distances, so I have Google Streetview at my side to help me. When I’m taking the time for the localization process of our games, I always use Google Translate to ensure the translations of all in-game lines are correct, though I still occasionally screw up and flub some lines. To all of my Japanese-speaking fans out there, you’re welcome to jump in and submit corrections.

Closing Statements

All five Touhou Project NES Demakes and three Chuhou Joutai games were four years in the making. Also, a big thank you for helping us get to 5,000 followers on Twitter. Now that I’m out of college, I’m hoping Whitethorn Digital will solidify Kourinden’s future, though its headmaster may ask me to make corrections to ensure it meets its philosophy. I have to get back to working on Kourinden and the new Chuhou Joutai game’s release this Friday. It’s tough to make something like this, but I have faith in myself, and all of you. I hope you’re enjoying your autumn, or spring if you live in the Southern Hemisphere.

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