March 2023 Progress Report
Hello! March was a busy month so let's get to it.
Back in February, 7 out of 10 scenes in Chapter 19 were written, with one of those scenes being one of the most complex and intricate scenes in the entire build — if not the whole game. Nemo was in charge of this crucial scene and his immense effort paid off, it is now complete. Both it and another scene are now in an advanced editing stage.
There is still one scene missing, but since most of the chapter has been edited already we're happy to say that it's almost complete.
We achieved an amazing amount of progress with Chapter 20 over the last month. As we said in the last DevLog, this one can be divided into four "blocks". The chapter itself is not divided like that, but in terms of production and measuring progress that's a useful way to look at it.
Let's take a look at how things have advanced regarding the first three blocks:
- Block 1 was fully written and edited since last month.
- Block 2 went from an approximate 75% completion to being fully written and ready to be edited.
- Block 3 went from a very rough, fragmented state to being fully written and ready to be edited.
In other words, 3 out of 4 parts of Chapter 20 are fully written. It's not ready for release yet; editing takes time, but the writing process is the big bottleneck that lets everything else flow.
Now, on to Block 4. This one will be, I think, a favorite once it's out. It'll have a number of fun things going on, many of which were requests we had collected over the years. Suffice it to say, Block 4 has, shall we say, "the sequel" to the kiss scene from Chapter 18.
It has 3 scenes, and this is their state of completion:
- Scene 1 has the minimum amount of content written, but could use some more variations.
- Scene 2 reached a rough draft stage, and is now being developed by KangaRube.
- Scene 3 has been outlined and is in initial stages of writing.
Scene 3 is exceptionally complex and will take a lot of work. It has many and intricate variations. We are trying to finish Block 4 ASAP. However, I'll be traveling for a while starting at the end of April, so there's a chance Chapter 20's writing will only be done in May.
So, what now?
Knowing that our plan was to release Chapters 19 and 20 in one go, we'd be looking at the writing being ready in May... Then we'd need a good, good while longer to have it all edited and coded.
Since everyone's been waiting for such a long time (and considering we're very eager to get something out there, too) we've been considering the possibility of releasing Chapter 19 first and, not too long after, Chapter 20. This wouldn't take too much extra effort from us, really. Either way, nanoff is currently busy and will only be available to start coding in May, so it'll still take an unknown amount of time for it to be ready. But you can rest assured that new content is coming, and sooner than initially estimated if we decide to move forward with this plan.
In other news...
How about we talk about something other than writing and coding for a change?
Some of you, particularly those following our profile on Twitter or checking the ancient music thread, may be aware that I've been learning to play the lyre for a while now. It's been a slow process, particularly for someone devoid of musical education, knowledge or talent, but I've managed to climb my way up... And, of course, I'm planning on recording some material for the game, though I still have to improve my recording gear before that can happen.
But, more than learning the lyre, I've been up to some mischief.
You see, over these last few years of development I've received messages from people who, inspired by the game, want to learn the lyre. I take that as a great compliment, but a part of me can't stop from feeling a bit apprehensive about it because decent lyres are expensive. You can get some cheap ones on Amazon but they are very limited and some brands often send units with irreparable defects. If you want a Greek style lyre then you'll usually not have much choice and have to look for the more expensive Greek luthiers.
At the same time, I've known for a while that people would want to, if possible, own a playable replica of Asterion's lyre, and I do want that to be possible. And I want Asterion's lyre to be high quality, but that would in theory make it more expensive if someone were to try and replicate it. And I wasn't able to go too crazy with his lyre design, since that would risk a worsened sound quality.
I went back and forth on this for quite a while. I plan on writing an in-depth DevLog about this process at some point because it was genuinely fascinating, but for now I'll skip to the results.
After a lot of thinking about what Asterion's mindset would be, I realized that he wouldn't have just one lyre. Surely he would have, over the centuries, experimented with new designs to switch it up, while still maintaining his old and dearly cherished lyre. And, at one point in the story, we will see what his experiments looked like.
I decided that Asterion's main lyre will be based around my lyre, which is an impressive instrument, a truly Asterion-esque beast of a bass lyre (called a barbiton) standing at approximately 95cm tall. I made this decision because this instrument was designed and constructed to my very robust specifications, I know it is high quality and reliable. If someone were to try and replicate it, I am sure this task is perfectly doable — with the services of a luthier, of course.
At the same time, we will have in the game a second lyre that I designed from the ground up based on a Minoan motif, the Horns of Consecration. When I visited Crete I was struck by how perfect they were to serve as the basis for a lyre, and I realized it was adequate to create an instrument that would be both good and particularly budget-friendly. I could also size it so it'd be easy to transport.
I know its price is more accessible because, of course, I went ahead and had one made in real life.
On the left is the lyre that going forward will serve as the basis for Asterion's, and on the right the one inspired on the Horns of Consecration. Elden Ring Art Books as reference.
And if you will forgive my cheap recording gear, here is how they sound:
If you're curious, that's me playing! It took me a long time but I learned the song. Here's the version we use in the game as a comparison:
I'd like to delve deeper into these two instruments soon, in a DevLog of their own. A lot of effort went into them and the story of how they were made should be very fun. But that'll be for another day. Likewise, soon-ish I'd like to do a second version of the survey we did last month, refining the results we received back then.
See you soon! We should have more news in May.
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posted this in april though
Yes. I got busy with real life stuff and was reporting on the previous month's progress.
Ooo, it’s great to have a glimpse of your main lyre. What an impressive instrument it is! No wonder it produces such a great sound! I’m glad to hear that you’re using it as a basis for Asterion’s main instrument, too. I expect a lyre in this style would suit him really well, and I’m sure he’ll have some interesting things to say on the subject.
And, of course, it’s good to see the two instruments together. It really helps get an idea of scale of the shiny new lyre, particularly with the large books as reference. Anyone who’s reading the comments who hasn’t listened to the lyre video above yet, I’d really recommend it. Both of these instruments sound superb!
I also had no idea that you’ve had no musical education/training/experience. I really couldn’t tell. Your playing is confident, self-assured and sensitive. I could easily mistake you for a pro! So don’t put yourself down. I’m sure it was a long, hard road to get to this point, but you’ve made great strides already. You most certainly *do* have musical talent, even if it was hard earned! Keep up the good work! (And I hope others will take this as inspiration, too. Great music can be made without any formal training and education. It just takes time and dedicated effort!)
Oh, and lest I get *too* distracted by lyres, it’s good to hear that the Hotel itself is making good, steady progress. All the best for the continuing writing/editing of the next two chapters!
Your lyre play sounds exactly like the soundtrack, if not even more lively! Well done!
Reading you guys' dev logs is always so inspiring - even when you're not even talking about the game, heh. So passionate. Good job with the lyre!
Too bad that Nanoff will be busy until May, but still great to hear how much progress has been made. I am really looking forward to seeing all that hard work you all have put into this. Thanks for putting in so much effort into keeping us informed of the current goings-on.
I love how far you've come in learning the Lyre, MinoAnon! Your recording sounds almost like the in-game version of music. Also, I like how you used the Elden Ring artbook as a reference. Because everyone's got one of those lying around!
Anyways, looking forward to the release of build 0.7.0!
I'm salivating in advance. Your attempt at lyre is good btw. I stil can't get enough of replaying over and over this game to discover every single morcel of lore and worldlbuilding you did.