• SQ_Kaylan_Animation_Test.0078

Things Are Getting Unreal

 March 7, 2023

My patrons know this, but I am at the point where I can make it public. I am moving future releases of To Be A King’s development over to Unreal Engine instead of Daz Studio. There are many reasons for the change, with the main one being that animations in Daz are not workable for the vision I have. For your easy perusal, I’ve included some frequently asked questions below.

Does this mean I need a powerful PC with a nice graphics card to play future releases?

Nope. I’m sparing you from that purchase. I use a game engine called Renpy, and that engine is used by nearly every visual novel out there. This is only changing how I create the art for the game. Unreal Engine will produce the art on my computer systems, but I’ll still package everything into Renpy. You won’t have to worry about framerates, graphics quality, or anything else. If you can run the game now on Windows, Linux, or Mac without issue, you will be able to in the future. The only big change I’d expect is that releases will be larger in file size with all the videos.

Why make the switch during development? Couldn’t you wait until your next project?

I could do that, but To Be A King has at least another 18 months of development ahead. That is a long time to put off a change that has many benefits. I already know that this switch will reduce development times (in the long term), increase quality and immersion significantly, and make things like character swaps for scenes an absolute breeze. I am gaining a much easier development process, and you, the player, are gaining full animation and more choices for how the story plays out. It’s a win-win, once we complete the transition.

How is this decreasing development times?

As my learning curve of UE5 evens out, I will have a lot more things at my disposable to make releases larger, more realistic, and come out more quickly. We won’t be at that stage for a bit, as there is a lot to learn and get done, but we aren’t talking years for this either. Not only are the features of UE5 designed for quick production, but producing dozens of animations in Unreal Engine is a lot quicker than doing 1200+ static renders each release in Daz. Even things like animation assets can be shared across characters, and small changes are just a few clicks away. The one thing I am most excited about is that, because of the structure of Unreal Engine for characters, I can make improvements globally for things like a character’s skin or eyes, and ALL my characters get those improvements without editing individual character models.

Won’t it be weird that the game suddenly changes like this?

You’re not wrong. Volume 2, before its final & complete release, will get a full overhaul with everything being done in Unreal Engine to make that transition a bit easier. I’d like to redo Volume 1 as well, but I will need to have a better idea of how long that would take before I commit to a timeframe for it.

Is the game going to be “free roam” now?

No, though I will present more choices for you to choose what to do next. But there won’t be any map selection, time of day BS (“The tavern is currently closed.”), or confusing game mechanics. To Be A King is staying a pure visual novel, though now it will have better quality, full animations, and more choices available to you.

When will you have a demo or something to show us?

My goal is by the end of March for a public reveal.

When is Chapter 11 coming out?

No release date to announce yet. I already planned to have a longer development cycle for this chapter since I was including animations. We may be stretching that out a bit more than my original plan, but this transition is going to make many things easier for development going forward. With improved music & sound effects, full animations, and perhaps a few other small improvements before everything is done, Chapter 11 is going to be a release you won’t want to miss.