As this year comes to a close, I want to thank you all for your support. Earlier this year, I renovated my work ethic, and thanks to that, a large portion of Steel Hearts has been completed. A demo of the common route of Steel Hearts (act 1), plus the first half of each heroines’ routes (act 2). There is one exception–because of the animation required, the “duel” on Act 1 Day 13 is not yet implemented. The demo is still fully-playable and enjoyable after that scene, so I hope you all can forgive me for falling slightly short of my prior goal (which I may have been a bit eager in setting). The demo is also packed with new (albeit still placeholder) sprites that move their mouths and blink [with the exception of Sebastian, Mr. Solberg, and Mr. Fassbender), new sounds, some new effects, and a plethora of new camera effects.
In the coming new year, I hope to complete the writing for Act 3, the latter halves of each heroines’ routes, and perhaps beyond. After that, I believe we will have enough content set in stone to begin looking for artists. Thank you once again for your support and patience!
Keep in mind that this is a “Proof-of-Concept” demo and not representative of the final product–all assets are placeholder, and all writing is subject to change. If you wish to try the demo, it can be found in the releases channel at our Discord server: https://discord(DOT)gg/QCRxwpd
Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback, questions, or comments, I can be reached at @PalladionHearts on Twitter or Palladion#5914 on Discord.
Welcome to The Combat Report, the development blog for Steel Hearts, an alternate history about love, war, and mechs. This is another progress report. With the newest demo nearing completion, we thought we’d check in one more time.
To recap, the demo will cover the whole common route, plus the first half of each heroine’s route. All of the writing has been completed aside from one action sequence, and all of the sprites are prepared except for two side characters and some tertiary characters. Presently, my focus is on coding the scenes into the game, while my director is finishing up editing and writing the aforementioned action scene. So far, about half of the common route has been coded in.
Compared to the last, private demos, this one is fully-featured with sound effects, camera movement, and sprites that blink and move their mouths. Here is a snippet of some of that in action. Do note that, of course, these graphics are PLACEHOLDER and do not represent the final product.
Although there are a number of scenes left to code, I have been keeping good pace, so I expect to be finished by the ‘end of December’ deadline. Although I cannot promise it, I would like to include a Tsujidou-style ‘tutorial’ and a Steins;Gate-style ‘encyclopedia’ as well if I have time.
That’s it for now. Please look forward to Steel Hearts! If you’d like to follow development closer or access the demo when it comes out, please visit us at our Discord: https://discord(DOT)gg/CnqqZd2s
You can contact me at Twitter (https://twitter.com/PalladionHearts) or on Discord (Palladion#5914). Thanks for checking in!
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!
Thank you for reading the Steel Hearts development blog!
If you’re interested in Steel Hearts, feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/SteelHeartsVN. Contact me at: Twitter – https://twitter.com/PalladionHearts Discord – Palladion#5914
Welcome once again to the Steel Hearts development blog, The Combat Report. Instead of focusing on a particular character or aspect of the visual novel, I’d like to instead discuss the overall progress of the visual novel. Ideally, I will be posting these progress dates every so often (interval to be decided).
The writing is currently our present focus at the time. This is mostly done by myself, although our director, Havock, will write scenes on occasion (mostly Hannah scenes).
As it stands, the writing of the common route is 99% complete, including branches. The final 1% comes from the scene of the “walker fencing” duel at the festival. Due to the unique nature of this scene and the amount of art assets/animation required, this scene is on the backburner until we storyboard it out, so to speak.
The common route as it stands runs for about 75k words, and has an estimated runtime of 7 hours.
Scenes completed: Approx. 122/127
After the common route, naturally, the game splits off into four unique routes, one for each heroine.
Juliet’s the one I have the most work in (Brynhilde has more scenes completed, but I believe Juliet’s scenes are usually a bit longer). I spoke a bit about Juliet’s route here–it’s a deeply personal, heartfelt route, full of emotional ups and downs. In some ways, it comes easy to write (but there are some subtleties which are hard to get a grip on myself). It’s coming along well, I believe.
Scenes completed: Approx. 33/86
Lisabet’s route is, as I said before, is definitely the most traditionally romantic story. Thus… it’s hard to write(!) especially when you take into consideration Lisabet’s eccentric nature–it’s a challenge to write her as she is and not pigeonhole her too much into an archetype. It’s the route I’ve worked on the least so far, but then again, so too does it have the potential to grow more.
Scenes completed: Approx. 27/85
Hannah’s route is a real monster to get a handle of. We’ve revised the structure multiple times, but I think we’re working on its final draft. Due to the route’s focus on internal conflicts, we’re making sure to make it right. Many a time, I see similarly-themed routes blasted as “pretentious” or hard to understand. I want to be sure the route is not hard to grasp or self-indulgent, while still being gripping.
Scenes completed: Approx. 30/85
Brynhilde’s route is coming along well. As I wrote in her article, her story is action-packed, making it fun to write. I especially enjoy writing Beatrice and Marie, her foreign rivals (who later might end up helping you out…?). If I keep at it, I think this route will turn out great–maybe one of my favorites.
Scenes completed: Approx. 34/84
All in all, if you add up the scenes completed, about one route and then some has been written–not bad! I aim to amp-up my writing schedule into full gear to complete some routes (or maybe all?) this year.
After the conclusion of each route, they then branch together for part 2–the half of the story set during a terrible war, one that even surpasses The Great War. Depending on what route you took, some scenes and endings will have variations.
Some of the more significant scenes have been penned out, and the general outline of the story is complete, but I plan on writing part 2 in full once the prior half is finished. Will part 1 and 2 of Steel Hearts release separately? It’s possible, though I wouldn’t put your money on it (put your money on Dogecoin instead (this is not financial advice)).
We’ve received a few preliminary tracks from our artist, a good friend of ours. I can’t give you an estimate on how many tracks we’ll need, but I’d like to have a fair amount (I’d also like a synthwave alternate soundtrack, though that’s just my personal pipe dream).
Here’s a favorite of mine, a nice waltzy piece. I think it’ll fit for peaceful outings in the city, or perhaps for some Brynhilde scenes.
Although I have commissioned pieces from a few artists to see how our characters look drawn (previously I had drafted them with Custom Maid 3D 2’s character creator), we have not yet decided on an artist. Our director, Havock, believes it’s a good idea to wait until our writing is more complete before finding an artist. After all, we wouldn’t want to commission some BGs, character sprites, or CGs but then realize we don’t need them after we change something.
Nevertheless, if you’re interested or know someone who might be interested in providing art for our project, give us a shout!
The Yadda Yadda
Thank you for reading this far! And if you’ve been reading all our articles, thank you once again! If you have any comments, concerns, suggestions, praise, scathing criticism, death threats, or anything else, feel free to comment below or contact us.
Our discord can be found at: https://discord.gg/QCRxwpd Our twitter can be found at: https://twitter.com/heartscorps. To contact me personally, message me at —