No Closure. Not Yet.

The game will have fully reached beta stage by the end of this week, and I hope to start recording a final playthrough video and shorter “trailer” video that can be shown on the internet/at the critique in a couple of weeks time. I apologise for the lack of videos I’ve posted towards the end of the project, but I’ve had yet more problems with codec compatibility with the Vcap dll I had been using for a while. I’ve got time now, so I’m going to sort out the problem once and for all.

Things are gradually getting crossed of my to do list, and I’m trying to do things in an order of priority. Today I drew up that last two “slides” for the game’s perfect ending, so there’s now very little that I actually need to make or add. These final images don’t really provide closure, because I think if the player has struggled through finding every single blossom throughout the game then the last thing they’ll want is a simple “…and everyone lived happily ever after.” The intention was that the player gets this from the regular ending.

This time, Hana returns to the shrine where she placed the Kokeshi doll only to find that the doll and the cherry blossoms are missing. This could lead to two opposite conclusions- either the mischievous spirit has escaped and will continue to wreak havoc, or she has gone away and left the world to get on with life without disturbance. I haven’t really placed any clues as to which one it is, I think the player can decide this for themselves.

The next slide could be the decider, however. This shows Zashiki Warashi next to the Maneki Neko. I personally intended this image to look as though the spirit has given into her childish nature and taken on the more playful characteristics of a child, but again this is up to the player to decide. It’s a good or bad ending, but either way, the game ends here and there is nothing more to do.

I’ve also been busy finishing a full-scale mock-up prototype of my packaging design, which I’m happy to say works very well. For the mock-up, I’ve used thin black cardboard for the case, which I’ve painstakingly measured and cut by hand to make sure all the dimensions add up. The manual is printed onto glossy photo paper, which is a bit thick for its purpose but gives it a nice shiny finish! I’ve only printed the cover for now, which actually ended up going a little wrong as I forgot to print the logo onto the back. In the photos I’ve used the manual cover for the box cover, which just means you get the words “instruction manual” on the front of the box. I printed the disc art onto normal printer paper and stuck it onto the CD with paper glue!


New Art & Concepts

I’ve been working on some new promotional art because frankly, I want something that represents the game other than pixel art. While pixel art has its benefits, like being very easy to edit and achieve great accuracy, it’s also very restrictive. This new image started off as a fineliner drawing which I scanned with the contrast setting up really high, and ultimately I’m not 100% happy with the way the line art has turned out. But this can be very easily fixed, I’ve just got to work out how! Please let me know if you-mr/mrs/miss reader-have any tips!

For now I’ve blocked in some really simply colour and added some dodgy Photoshop effects, despite the fact that I hate overusing these. In this case it doesn’t seem so bad though. I felt that the drop shadow was totally necessary to add some depth to the image.

I’ve also gone on to use this as part of my first box-art concept, “wrapping up” the game’s physical designs. I discovered an online company called weEco” that make lovely eco-friendly media packaging. One of their products is called the WowWallet with Die Cut Window, which is a cardboard sleeve with a window on the front which allows you to see the inlay, and a slot for a disc in the back panel. I really liked this idea, as it promotes the inlay as well as the CD itself. As I’ve put a lot of emphasis on the important of the game manual for Hanami, I decided it would be appropriate to use the inlay cover as box art in a similar way. Actually, I would use the back of the manual, which would be the same as the front minus the line that says “instruction manual”! So, from the front you would see something like this- a cardboard case with a window to the inlay inside:

The inside would consist of another window, allowing the user to see the front of the game manual. On the opposite side is a slot for the disc. My initial idea for the CD art is to use my new promo art. This stands out really well in contrast to all the other dark colours.

Compact Disc Digital Mock Up:

Inner Sleeve Digital Mock Up:

As for stock, I think a thick, matte black cardboard would work really nicely for the outer sleeve. The inlay would probably similar to any CD inlay, the kind of paper that your fingerprints show on too easily 😛 For now this is staying in its conceptual stage, I’m not planning to print anything for a good while…