Watercress Developer Blog #6 - Levi's Reflections

Hey everyone!  I hope life’s been treating you well.  I’m Levi, the Project Coordinator for Watercress Studios.  Today I'd like to take a step back from the clamor and look six months into both the past and future.

First off though, what exactly do I do around here?  Essentially, I ensure that each team’s content is compatible with each other team’s content.  I build a big picture of where we are and where we need to be.  As each team progresses, I (along with plenty of help) try to make sure that the pieces fit into place.  I also look down the proverbial development highway and keep an eye out for roadblocks.

That’s the fun side of things.  Managing resources, keeping track of our meetings, and helping out with the general needs of our team also fall to me.  It’s a lot to keep track of, and it will only get more complex as we move forward, but I don't mind.

February 6th, 2015 was our six month anniversary.  For six months we've kept this crazy little project alive.  A lot has been reworked, and there were times when things looked grim, but these fantastic people I have the privilege of working with stuck with it, and here we are!

We started out on August 6th, 2014 as nothing more than a group of individuals with a passion for the VN medium.  At that time, none of us were experienced.  I suspect more than a few of us were looking at the upcoming end of yet another summer and lost our sanity to some degree when we saw this thread. I remember being awake for something like 40 hours straight organizing, keeping tabs on happenings, sorting out individuals that wanted to join, and documenting.  Our group floundered about for a few days, but by the 9th of August we had worked out the name “Watercress Studios.” 

We had various claims thrown at us during the first few days, including that we wouldn't last a week.  Looking back, I appreciate the negative predictions.  It gave us a challenge; we couldn't just quietly dissolve once summer was over.  We had a reputation on the line, and we had to survive.  Had it not been for how seriously we took these predictions, I wonder what would have happened.

In any case, we set up several methods of communication, got everyone connected, and started developing in earnest.  We debated everything from the setting and time frame to the very nature and mechanics of choices in the game.  Some members found out in a hurry that they'd bit off more than they cared to chew, and dropped off the map.  None of us blamed them.

Since then, we've been keeping our nose to the grindstone.  We sorted out the basic plot, setting, characters, and team organization.  Too many votes were taken.  As a result, Strawpoll is basically a trigger word for us now!

We've recruited talented individuals into the team, and had to say goodbye to several members who couldn't stay for one reason or another.  Elements of the story have been reworked from the ground up.  Characters have been reimagined.  It has not been easy, but it gets done.

Only time will tell what the next six months will bring.  We aim to finish the basic structure of our common route by then.  Hopefully we'll have some sprite-quality artwork to show you guys.  A handful of semi-finalized music tracks, and maybe a tech demo (no promises though, that’s an absolute best-case scenario.)  While we're still very much in the brainstorming phase in some areas, we have nearly completed blocks of scenes in other areas.  Who knows; maybe someone will have a fantastic idea that isn't even on our radar at the moment.  Progress is hard to define and tuck away in a box…

Regardless of what we have done by next August, we'll be keeping you informed every step of the way.  I'll leave you with some words spoken by /u/NoviceElectromancer and reiterated by many members of the team:

Even if I have to finish this Visual Novel on my own, it will get finished.

It'll happen.

I hope you have a wonderful week.

~Levi