Welcome to Catlip Candy!

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Hi! I’m Cami Lui. Welcome to my world of visual novels!

Catlip Candy is mainly about my adventures in creating Visual Novels using Ren’Py. In this blog, I’ll be posting all my visual novels and their walkthroughs, updates on my works in progress, and visual novels that I played, because other than creating visual novels, I want to see how others make their own, and maybe learn some cool things from them!

My Walter Sketch!

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So here I am, updating this good-for-nothing, old blog. I haven’t done any visual novel updates for a while because of internet connection issues, work and laziness. 

While the script progress becomes stagnant for a long time, I’ve been practicing my sketches for one of my next visual novel’s character, Walter. The very first version of him is the feature image of this post.

In my opinion, he looks like a boring character and he doesn’t appeal to me at all. Maybe it’s because of how I drew him? Or how I colored him? It could be the wrong choice of color and pose. I’m not really sure, so I went ahead to the Lemmasoft forums. I made a post on the Personal Art sub-thread to seek help from the other members. From what they have told me, my Walter lacked of “pose flow” and my coloring should be a bit “colorful” to make it look interesting. One can also add accessories to have the drawing match up the character’s personality. My second version of Walter is also a bit “boxy”.

With some help from and , they gave me sketches of their own to serve as an example of pose flow and how to color your characters to make them more interesting.

If you clearly look at the way their sketches pose, the character’s a bit tilted to the other side since Walter is a shy boy, and it looked like the hip is a bit slanted, which means the character could be standing and putting all his gravity on one foot while the other foot remains relaxed. I’ve been trying to remake Walter since then. Redoing the sketch and trying again. I’ve made a lot of versions from the smallest detail up to the whole body.

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From the position and size of the hands to the slanting of the hips, to the hairstyle and to the color of the hair, I’ve tried and tried to remake Walter. I also practiced a bit on the color of the shirt and the skin (I don’t think I did a good job on it but at least I practiced!) Now, I think I made my final sketch of Walter and I like how his hair turned out. I’m not really happy with how I colored the skin and everything else but I’ll practice even more and I hope I’ll achieve better results next time. Here’s my latest sketch of him:

Walter 8

Isn’t he so cute? Don’t know. But the accessories that I gave him are definitely cute.

Now that I’m through with Walter, I can do some solidifying of the story and the script! This should be done first but I was kinda bored with it 😛 That’s it for now and thanks for viewing some of my shitty art! Have a great day, everyone!

Played Gulam

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It’s been a while since I’ve played another visual novel! This time, it’s an entry for this year’s NaNoRenO entitled Gulam by Aracade. You can find the game’s thread in the Lemmasoft forums or download it in itch!

Gulam is about a red-headed girl named Abby whose mom left for work one day. Bored and alone, Abby searches for a way to survive another lonely night by reading books, drawing, eating and the like, until she found a creepy, talking book in her mom’s room and a demon pig that appeared out of nowhere! Things started to get weirder, with Abby wondering what kind of secret her mom is keeping from her.

oh my j abbey

Chained  book with sharp teeth and weird symbols? Don’t use the key, alright.

The art has a lovely style, the story concept will definitely pique your curiosity, and the dialogues make the characters real! Gulam is a great game for NaNoRenO 2017!

What I somehow find unsatisfying is the lack of answers to questions that readers will definitely want to know about. It’s definitely a short visual novel, knowing it’s for NaNoRenO, and so I definitely get that the developer might lacked some time in completing the story solidly.

The story revolves around the book that Abby found, and the demon pig that she accidentally summoned (this is why I don’t ever read things aloud).  But more than that, Abby’s mom plays a big part in the mystery, but the readers don’t know how. This could also lead to the bigger background story of Abby’s dad, which is, another thing that the readers don’t know why. The thing is, the story is completely unfinished in my opinion.

But NaNoRenO doesn’t really have strict rules about updating the game after the deadline is met! I just checked the game on itch and it seems Aracade updated a new version of Gulam. I will be checking it out later on, but since I’ve got not much time nowadays, I decided to make a blog post about Gulam or else, I may end up procrastinating and worst, I might finally not be able to make a blog post about it ever! So for now, I’ll just update this post once I have gotten the other endings.

whats going on

If I click the choice of wanting to know what’s happening, this is so far, the very ending that was a bit closer into unlocking the other mysteries.

In my opinion, releasing a game without completing all the story’s ending is a bit risky. People who may have downloaded the game might not be able to re-download it again in cases where they might be busy with other things in life that they might not find time to play it again, or if they found another visual novel that they wanted to play so they forgot about re-downloading the game, or if they are not notified that a newer update of the game is released. I actually found out that there was a new update as I copied the game’s itch link to this post!

Overall, it’s a satisfying game if the endings are all completed and if all questions are answered (and I will just assume that it is completed with the new update). And when I play a visual novel, I always want to unlock all endings no matter what, that’s why I can tell that I’ll definitely be re-downloading Gulam again. A walk through for Gulam is also encouraged and highly requested XD

Since I made a challenge to myself that I’ll be doing some character fanart for some of the visual novels that I’ve played in order to improve my own drawing skill! Here’s my very first fanart below:

Gulam

It doesn’t look much like the characters and I’ve missed to put some details (such as the weird marks written on the book’s cover), but I like to imagine this scene where Abby goes with Gunter for their allegiance. Gunter, the demon pig, is a very cute character by the way!

Congratulations to Aracade by completing his/her very first visual novel! I look forward to the more visual novels that you’ll make in the future and good luck!

Continuing the Visual Novel Adventure!

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So now that I made my NaNoRenO, I feel the laziness kicking in. NO! We must not give in to this laziness!

Before the Encanto visual novel, I put on hold this other visual novel without title yet. For now, I shall name it as Twisted High School Life. The story is not 100% polished yet because I may see some story holes here and there. I have broken the story into nine parts:

  • Introduction
  • Group Assignment
  • Group Clash
  • Part time Job
  • Apology
  • Start of Conflict
  • The Bad News
  • Solution
  • The Fair

Think of it as chapters of the visual novel. For now, I won’t be knowing how many words will it take me to do the script.

Now that I made my NaNoRenO entry, I had some feedback from some readers. First critic is the grammar. I have this one close friend who told me that my English was off and another Lemmasoft user who agreed the grammar can use a bit of some polishing. The same Lemmasoft user advised me to put background music to all scenes (since it can be a bit awkward if there’s no music), and that I should be more careful with the usage of POV switching. Next, I have this itch.io user who rated Encanto as 2/5 stars. Since it’s not specific on which areas I should improve, I’ll just take it as a general feedback. I do admit that my art and writing skills are a bit off. Anyways, the 2-star feedback also helps me to want to improve my works more. I’m grateful to all the person who gave feedback I for my visual novel!

Now, I should keep in mind all of the advice I got for my second project! The thing is, I’m already about to get some training for a new job. As a graduating student, I need to at least get a job. Since I got accepted in an interview, there will be a 10-day training, and it will depend on the training if I get the job or not. If I pass the training or not.

So before I get busier, I ‘ll have to spend more time to hobbies and to my loved ones, before I get tired to work 😦 I’ll be posting more updates of the story’s progress and I hope that I will find more time for visual novels! That’s all, and thanks for reading!

Drawing Skills

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I know my drawing skills are bad. Because of this, I have this list of what I think I’m bad at in terms of drawing digitally.

  1. I suck at drawing hands and fingers. No further comment.
  2. Body proportion is a mess! Sometimes, the right arm is too long, the other one is short. And I don’t know how to draw a male’s body from a female’s body!
  3. Art is never consistent! How they look and the color used never looks the same again.
  4. I always run out of ideas for new hairstyles.
  5. I don’t like how I draw characters from side view.
  6. I don’t know how to draw from different angles properly!
  7. I can only draw human beings. Animals, items, and background images all hate me.
  8. I think my coloring can improve a bit more. I just can’t blend the colors right.
  9. I really really really want to draw feet properly.
  10. I need to improve the smaller details, too!
  11. I need to learn more of the effects, such as the lighting, the gloss, and other stuff.
  12. Shadows are not placed on where they really need to be placed.
  13. When I draw a character, it turns out completely the opposite of how I want it to be!
  14. All my characters look the same, seriously.
  15. What else, I can’t draw hands again.

And there we have it! The top 15. Actually, that’s all I can think of right now, and I’m sure there will be more issues coming in the future. So what’s the best thing to do for my skills to get better?

  • Look for a lot of references! I’m actually even looking at the people around me for the tiniest detail for my reference!
  • Look for a lot tutorials! Deviant Art is the heavenly place when it comes to drawing tips!
  • Draw! Draw! Draw! That’s really it. There’s no other better way to hone skills than to just practice a lot until it becomes terrific!

So I have this challenge that I want to set for myself! I’m not just a visual novel creator! I’m also a visual novel reader! Or player! Whatever you define visual novels, if it’s a game or a story. I’ve downloaded some visual novels from the NaNoRenO 2017 Jam and I’m super excited on how the others made their entries!  Now, for some visual novel that I’ll play, I’ll be making a fanart of whichever character I adored from the story!

It’s a bit hard, considering that digital drawing will take you up to 5 hours or more if you’re really serious about it, and I don’t know if I have that much time, but I will still try! In this way, I’ll be able to draw a lot and practice a lot! This is the challenge set to me from now on.

Genius Easy Pen Tablet Issues

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First of all, I just want to share some story of how I managed to get a drawing tablet.

I wouldn’t even have bought one if it weren’t for Joy. It was our college week, and there she was among the second year students, seated with her friends, managing their booth. I was a fourth year student (still am) and I heard a song from this game called Cytus. I was in love with that game before, but I wasn’t able to install it on my previous trashy phone. I played with her like we weren’t strangers. We talked about the hidden songs in the game, and how she love the Yaoi genre, and how she was planning on going to the anime con, and how she was drawing digitally with her drawing tablet.

That’s what got me excited the most. I’ve always wanted to have a drawing tablet for myself. For so long, I was drawing with a mouse on Paint Tool SAI, and I was surprised that she was also like that before. But she found out this very cheap tablet named Genius Easy Pen on Lazada, something that I can afford as long as I don’t spend on anything besides my travel fare and lunch daily. Before I knew it, I was buying my very first owned drawing tablet. I can’t complain on anything about it. It’s so perfect for a complete beginner like me!

But later on, I encountered some issues with my Genius Easy Pen drawing tablet. The surface was scratched, and it had me thinking that the screen protector is damaged.

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Those big scars were getting in the way of drawing.

Those big scars were getting in the way of drawing. So originally, I thought that removing the screen protector will be the answer to my problems. I tried using the pen on the main surface of the tablet to see if it’s smoothly working.

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The shiny surface is the main screen of the tablet.

When I flip out the screen protector, this shiny surface meets me. That’s the main area of the drawing tablet. I tried the pen on it like what I do with a mouse and it works! But I wasn’t so sure if later on, it will have ugly scars on it, too like what happened to the screen protector.

I turned to Joy. She knows better about this things, and it was good that I added her on Facebook so I can contact her when I need her. She told me that she wasn’t sure, but if she was in my shoes, she’d only remove the screen protector once she found some alternative for it because it’s too risky. I do agree with her, and one needs to have a backup plan all the time.

That’s when I found out this tiny peeled off cover on one corner of the drawing tablet. It was clearly not the screen protector, because it was stickied on top of the screen protector!

removingThere was this very thin plastic-like cover that covers the whole tablet screen! I showed it to Joy and she told me it’s just the tablet’s cover, not necessarily as screen protector!

I’m glad that I didn’t remove the whole screen protector. If I did, I would actually won’t have my drawing tablet now.

I can draw again on Paint Tool SAI, but drawing right now is a different feeling from before. The screen is just too smooth and I need to get used to my drawing tablet again! It’s because I didn’t remove the cover, when in fact, it should really be removed in the first place!

NANORENO VN FINALLY FINISHED!

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I can finally kiss the sleepless nights goodbye!

For those of you who don’t know, I have a list of goals I want to achieve as a visual novel creator, and one of them is to make a visual novel for a NaNoRenO event!

There’s a lot of things I learned in making my first ever NaNoRenO VN. 

  • I learned that I can make a visual novel within 15 days. Sure, anyone can make a VN even within an hour. A very, very short VN at that. But this Encanto VN was made on March 15 and I ended it on March 29, 15 days to be exact. It has 6000 words, 3 character sprites, 5 CGs and 6 endings. With that, I had to do the visual novel everyday, be it by the drawings or the script.
  • One should be aware of the resources that they’ll use on their visual novels. I made an itch.io account and with it, there’s an option in which the readers can donate money for your VN. There are a lot of free resources to use on the internet but the question is, are they suited to use in terms of licenses? For example, I may gain profit from the VN if someone got blinded by the crappiness of my VN and accidentally donated, but won’t I get sued if the license of my resources indicates that I shouldn’t use it for commercial purposes? Fortunately, I only used Kevin MacLeod’s music and some other sound effects for the VN. Some of them are fine to use for commercial games. It’s a good thing to research first before doing anything, really.
  • I learned that the new Renpy software is a pain in the ass. Seriously 😦 Some codes such as the CG Gallery from leon doesn’t work anymore 😥 But anyways, one should expect that the software is changing for the better, and so codes are also changing. The problem is, not much new code has been posted for the new software. Everyone’s still new at it, I guess?
  • No matter how crappy my VN is, some of the very few people notice it. No matter how bad you think it is, go ahead and release it to the public! One out of the billions of people might read it, and you’ll be happy they did. Even though the person doesn’t like it. Because that single person endured the 15 minutes of gameplay and even bothered to download it, that’s enough to make me happy.
  • Don’t wait for your hobby to die. If you’ve been neglecting your hobbies, you will soon be lazy to do it again. That’s what I felt when I released my first VN. I felt successful because I was able to make my very first one but then I forgot about making visual novels and never progressed from there. Because of this NaNoRenO event, I focused on releasing my second visual novel, and my drive for making visual novels is back once again! One should keep on doing what they like everyday but I’ll make sure to be organized and have time for other things.
  • My sweetie’s patience is this long >//w//<  Even though I’m too busy to even chat because all I do is visual novels and eat and no sleep and visual novels, he’s still patient and keeps on waiting for me to finish this! And it makes me appreciate him even more!
  • It was worth it.

For those who are interested how crappy this VN is, you can download it on itch.io and see the discussion, if there ever is a discussion about it on this Lemmasoft thread.  To unlock all the game’s endings, you have the walkthrough here. Getting all endings makes you unlock the Author’s Notes where you can read some nonsense there.

And since my first NaNoRenO is done, I guess I’ll tick off my goal #5!

Goal 5 done

Now…

What else should I add as a goal?