OSAS Dev Update: January 2023

A little over two years since the original demo, the release of the Of Sense and Soul Extended Demo is near at last!

As the lead developer on OSAS, I cannot express enough how much the game has been elevated thanks to the hard work of not only myself and my co-creator AKA, but also the numerous programmers, background artists, and composers we’ve had the privilege of working with.

It has been a long time coming, but I believe this is truly the best version of Of Sense and Soul there has been or can be, and I’m incredibly excited for each and every one of you to see and play the demo for yourselves!

Now, the demo isn’t out quite yet—there are still some sprite assets to draw and chapters to script—but the to-do list dwindles by the day, and here are some of the newest developments from over the past month!

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A screenshot of Hugo and Seamus meeting for the first time at Crosby Hall in Seamus' Route, Chapter 2.

In a Nutshell

  • Hugos chapter 3 was finalized, completing all the content for the demo!
  • The demo version of the Crosby Hall Background was delivered (it is beautiful.)
  • Full scripting for Hugo Chapter 1 and Seamus Chapter 2 has been completed.
  • Basic scripting for Hugo Chapter 3 and Seamus Chapter 4 has been completed.
  • Expressions for Mr. Coulston, Mr. Bentley, James, and Mr. Evans have been drawn and implemented
  • Day poses for Hugo have been drawn and implemented
  • Camera work and sprite animation added to the game
  • Planned and put out a call for voice actors for the OSAS Extended Demo

Animation & Cinematography

The most exciting development has been the addition of camera work and sprite animation to the game. Up until this point, the story has been displayed in the way many visual novels are—with a static perspective, just like in our first demo.

But with the leap in quality of the game’s art style, camera movement seemed a natural next step for maximising the art to its full potential, as well as a fantastic way to show off the details present in every element of the art style, from our sprites to our backgrounds.

Using Ren’py Action Editor 3, a free plug-in by kyouryuukunn, I’ve been creating a more exciting viewing experience. Sprites now bounce, jolt, or move around for dialogue emphasis, the camera closes in or zooms out depending on the intimacy of the scene, and background blurs and darkens at times when all the focus should be on the sprites.

You can see some examples of how the game now looks in the GIFs on the Patreon version of this post. They were too large for itch.io, unfortunately!

A dutch angle shot on Hugo at his shock at the prospect of marriage.
A dramatic heartbeat and zoom effect on Seamus
Hugo jolting away from the splash zone as Mr. Coulston laughs.

The new dynamics have allowed much more play with the subtleties of character expressions and delivery of dialogue, which then left us feeling that there was one element left that would completely transform the game: voice acting.

Voice Acting

For another exciting development: as of the writing of this post, we’re almost halfway through the casting call for the OSAS Extended Demo!

A screenshot of the casting call document.

Though our current dialogue beeps serve their purpose, we’ve decided that partial voicing would help punctuate the narrative and enhance the immersion of players into the story.

Thus far, we’ve mostly refrained from thinking about voice acting—we’ve had a game to make, after all! We even felt the watercolour-inspired art style and dialogue-heaviness could be better served by no voice acting at all, in order to express the “picture book” quality of the game.

That notion changed drastically with the addition of animations and camera work, with the new liveliness of the story and characters; now, it’s difficult not to imagine that extra vocal touch in the game. I think it will add a sense of humanity to the game we wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise!

Though we won’t be including voice acting in the initial release build of the extended demo, we’re planning for a subsequent voice acting update to come within Q1 of 2023. Hooray!

What’s Next?

By the time you hear from us in this format next, we will have published the Of Sense and Soul Extended Demo!

In the time before then, I’ll be working hard to finish up the remainder of the sprite assets and scripting required to deliver the demo, as well as preparing marketing materials and our demo feedback form to go with the release!

I’m also giving my very first VN;Conf talk on January 28th at 11AM EST! My talk will be right at the start of the online event (eep!), held over Zoom.

In my talk, From Vision to Visuals: Art Direction and Execution in Visual Novels, I’ll be discussing ways to define the aims of an art style, translating that vision into a VN, and ways of working with VN production constraints.

Of Sense and Soul will naturally come up as a case study, so if you’d like to hear a bit about that as well as support all the other creatives and developers who make VN;Conf possible, or learn a bit about VN Dev straight from the source yourself, tickets are available here.

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Until next time! 


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