Discover more from merilynn's notes
you dont have to do it alone
but know this for when you have to
i blogged last, a dizzying amount of time ago, that i was working steadily onto the vision of another visual novel. i think cosmically, it wasn’t a lie. i was approaching it in ways that made sense to me, working on it ways that were obvious. but a new vncup would come along before i could put it together.
for our submission i partnered up with mentha, feeling that if we smash our heads together we could overcome our individual shortcomings. we’ve been wanting to collaborate in some meaningful way for a really long time, and it seemed by happenstance materialize in this way. focus converging on a shared ideal.
vn cup. it seems to have a way of forming around you. you get enveloped in that nebulous red carpet. mistress rara works mysteriously. i’ve tried to explain this allure in my blogs but fail to capture it meaningfully. maybe i could must succinctly explain it that “it is like crack to me”. regardless, the only thing that’s important is this — i really am just glad it comes around, every so often.
my last vn, good morning is a social construct, seems dwarfed in comparison to what we did with hello girl. working in a team has benefits. being freed of the shackles of visual direction, i was free to write what i wanted. not just what i could portray in the respective mediums of which a visual novel takes place. music was also something i’m happy to be (generally) free of in the process of production. (i did actually make a song for the game, but it was spontaneous. i could never be efficient in a way that this project needed). i felt unrestricted to work on the things i truly care about.
our musical talents were june, allie and kalibration. later, june also joined the core team.
we worked online initially. after the formation of a discord server, and a build being put together, we realized that hello girl was really going to happen. when you see the sprites come up with a dissolve and change with the text, the ctc enticing you to click to the next screen. everything just falls into place.
when it felt real, i realized that i had to fly mentha in here so that we could work together. it had to become intimate for this to come together how we wanted it to. there was no price too high for that to happen. since june was already here with me in slc, my bedroom turned into the game studio. imo team was born.
my desk was my bed (later discarded desk of roommate). june’s was the floor. mentha worked on my desk, with some modifications. (she had faithfully recreated her at-home art setup, keyboard trey, operating system et al. i don’t actually have a keyboard trey, so we got one with intent to return it.)
we passed around the outline of the game. we pointed out things that would be cool to touch base on in our story. june noodled on the guitar. we said “that sounds fucking awesome”. the routine quickly fell into place.
we woke up early. we had our coffee together. work. lunch. work. dinner. work. a snack. meeting. work. sleep. it was ruthless. it was amazing. we were a little family for a while. we turned into energy. i felt a clarity every waking moment that i normally struggle to reach even on good days. i felt spiritually in check.i think shit just made sense.
mentha worked extremely hard on this game, she became almost transparent in the process. if i asked for a new expression, she would provide it. backgrounds she could generate without much input whatsoever. they all turned out really good. i think there was a lot going on internally, but she made it look easy. i really can not comprehend how she does it. it’s charming.
june helped support this project in a way that i think was very meaningful. i was able to work closely with her to dial in the right vibe for music, and then she could execute. we could tweak it from there. i think it landed efficiently even before we had our process dialed in completely. she assisted with writing too, picking out some of my more questionable sentences and forcing me to face them head-on. this was, more often than i’d like to admit, a very emotional process. i’m not used to being critiqued in this way. a lot of my mistakes feel like they’re a part of the art. seeing someone pick it apart.. it’s a little like tearing layers of a painting off. many long walks at night through dimly lit suburbs. i felt like fleeing from my own work and peers. i think june taught me to be a much sharper writer, director, and person in this.
june & mentha—thanks for bending me into shape. i look forward to working with you more in the future. there’s no shortage of things for us to make or learn. or so i think anyway. moments like those are to be treasured. i will make it a priority to secure more clarity of similar caliber in the future.
hello girl was a success in every measurable way. it articulates what it wants to say well. it plays nice. it has good sound. it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. it has a good feeling overall. people i care about reached out and said nice things about it, some of the things that people said i both can and can not believe.
i was reluctant to relay control of my vision to the rest of the team. this led to more than one one-sided difficulty. it takes some stern talking to to realize that it’s simply not an economical way to make a game in a short period of time. it put some of the worst parts of me out on display. it’s not something i could exactly run from, everyone was chilling in my bedroom after all. ego was standing between me and this game being done. i still dont know how to act in every situation. i’ll just have to get better at accepting that i have rough edges.
i think eccentric people write the best stories, but we also have personal issues that can’t easily be overlooked. it’s a delicate balance between the worst shit ever and the best shit ever.
i think i played my role as director ruthlessly. this director chair, it’s not a comfortable seat. but i think i’m the most capable in our team to sit in it and voice my wants. as the conceptive girl, i know how to massage the story. i think i know how i can make it carry through. how i can guide. i think this is what politicians do, but on an obviously grander scale. i’d like to think i’m at least a little humble about it, sometimes to a fault, to a point of prostrating myself. idk. i don;t like controlling people, but i think someone has to maintain the vision, or it’s all soup
at some point you just have to recede to the fact that you’re holding onto some useless platitudes. if you’re being held back creatively, it’s only you who can free yourself.
i think what i feel now, is that there’s no need to be ashamed that you held certain shameful beliefs. confidence can be more than enough to make up the difference.
i will try to write more stuff in the future