Steel Hearts Progress Report – November 2, 2021

Welcome to the Steel Hearts development blog, the blog for the alternate-history love and war mecha VN, Steel Hearts.

To be frank, work on Steel Hearts had been quite slow, and I apologize for the lack of updates. However, within the past month or two, I had completely revamped my process of working, and I have gotten a ‘project manager’ of sorts that has kept me on track. Thus, I have completed a sizeable chunk of the VN within these two months, and at a greater pace.

To start off, I have completely revamped the dialogue of the protagonist, Caleb Hartmann. In an earlier article, I had him penned as a ‘soft rebel’ of sorts–a bit of a rascal, but mostly pacified by his comfortable life and strict military school. However, after some review, I did not feel that his dialogue and outlook properly reflected that fact–he was bland, a yes-man, emotionally flat and without a notable way of speaking.

I felt that this was inadequate, so I turned his personality around. Instead of a milquetoast everyman, Caleb is now more of a… proto-Fonz, if you will, albeit more as an act rather than a genuine coolness. Caleb is disrespectful (though not maliciously so), concerned with looking ‘cool’ despite being a nerd that likes sci-fi magazines, and has a nickname for just about everyone he meets. Instead of being prone to being banterous with only his closer friends Juliet and Anna, he’s now liable to banter with most everyone. I’d say he’s a bit more proactive and introspective as well. All in all, I think these changes make him much more fun of a protagonist.

Next, I have made substantial progress in the route writing, as well. Earlier in the year, I had finished act one of Juliet’s route (each heroine’s route has two acts). I had slacked off a bit afterward, but with these recent developments, I have completed the first act of each of the four heroines, leaving their routes halfway done.

So, in short, one-half of each of the heroines’ routes are finished, plus the common route. The only present exceptions are a certain action scene (due to a question of assets) and two H-scenes (those are rather tricky).

What’s next? I plan to create and release a brand-new demo for Steel Hearts before the end of the year. The demo will feature writing from the common route and the first act of each route–I expect this to run about 15 hours or so. Sadly, due to our lack of artist, all of the assets will be placeholders, but nonetheless the sprites will be fully-featured despite being made from placeholder models, and will include multiple expressions, outfits, and perhaps blinking. Our music guy has been working on some new tracks, so the demo will feature some new music as well, although some tracks will be placeholder.

This demo will be shared on our discord (found at https://discord(DOT)gg/QCRxwpd), but if I feel the demo is presentable enough despite the placeholder assets, I may share it more publicly.

After this year, I plan to finally play Metroid Dread and Shin Megami Tensei V! More seriously, in regards to Steel Hearts, I plan to have the full ‘Part One’ of the game completed by the end of the next year. That is, each heroine’s route will be completed, concluding the romance-focused half of Steel Hearts. After that, I am unsure if I will fund some art for a proper demo and try a Kickstarter, or if I will write the latter half first. That will be decided in time. Until then, please look forward to the new demo!

Also, here’s bonus art I commissioned. It’s not for the game, but I think it’s cute. It’s Beatrice and Marie, the French–er, I mean Gaullen fencing rivals of Brynhilde!

Art by @ayanobro on Twitter.

Thank you for reading the Steel Hearts development blog!

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Discord – Palladion#5914

Author: Palladion

Hi, I'm Palladion, the writer for Steel Hearts. Back in 2016, I read Katawa Shoujo, and became enamored with VNs and writing ever since. Aside from VNs, I also enjoy video games, TTRPGs, reading, and occasionally watching anime, drawing, or building models. Contact me at: Twitter – Discord – Palladion#5914

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