March 5, 2009 - Kanna
We are fast approaching our one year anniversary, and today I have good news. Our game patch has officially entered closed beta and we hope to have a final version released very soon. Even though we've only finalized episode 1 content, I feel we've come a long way. I have extended a request for beta testers for our regular forum users. If you are already registered in the forum, please sign up for the beta program. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.
During the past few months, we have been internally testing the game installer. In order to be a complete replacement instead of a mere patch, we have had to restart halfway, so our development time was nearly doubled. The original idea seemed to be very solid, but unfortunately the libraries needed to perform online installations was flagged by many anti-virus scanners as malware. As a result, the installer size has grown from a few hundred kilobytes to around 260MB for just episode 1. We may consider releasing multiple installers to save redundancy, but it is unlikely at this point.
The information page has changed significantly and is now in line with our official documentation. As a preview for the patch, I have also posted it for public viewing. It is located at http://www.sekaiproject.net/readme
March 11, 2009 - Kanna
Thank you all who've applied to the beta! A lot of people have turned up with interest to test our patch and we are happy that you haven't given up on us. The beta program is officially closed to new users, though I may still add a few more based on system configuration. I am happy to report that during the beta we had no major bugs with the release, so everything is set to go to RC phase. In the RC phase, I plan to allow the public to download and provide feedback for the patch. We are in the process of wrapping up the core components of the patch (ep 1 content has been locked in for some time now), but I have no exact time for when that'll be completed. Please check back periodically for updates.
March 21, 2009 - Kanna
Playing Flyable Heart. See you in April.
Cross Days DelayEdit
April 3, 2009 - Kanna
I know this has nothing to do with our project but as a School Days fan I think I should report the bad news anyway. Today Overflow/STACK has announced yet another delay to the highly anticipated game "Cross Days." No real reason was mentioned but I bet it has something to do with game bugs and missed animation deadlines. One has to wonder how much money the company's losing over this...
So, the game release date has been pushed to June 26 instead of the previous date of April 24, which was of course delayed from February 22.
"Just how hard is it to string together a series of videos? Too difficult for Overflow, it would appear. Even their compatibility checker has had eleven revisions." - Sankaku Complex
Now, being a customer that actually buys Overflow's stuff, I'm not very happy with the delay but after having worked on the project for a year I think I have to defend the staff a bit. It's actually quite difficult to put videos together, even for one scene. For example, a 1 minute scene has 8 subsections and each one may have more than one cut. Then you have to dub and sync the audio to these and coordinate playback. Let's not forget the decision paths too, since each of the decisions has to go somewhere (not in the start of ep 3 though, see the links for details). So now you have to test and make sure your paths are correct, which means checking with the director and writers. Yes, they've been at this for 6 years and decision trees are part of any game but it's still damn hard to do.
The Cross Days compatibility checker for those who "played" it should already know it's not really 11 revisions. It's actually only 3 revisions to the actual engine and 11 test scenes. I've taken apart the program and the scripting engine has improved dramatically over School Days. So it's not really coding incompetence (except Summer Days; seriously whoever decided to use that engine is a moron) that's holding up the game but probably working out the storyline and paths.
For fun, I actually put up the decision flowchart I made for the QA staff so you can all see what a mess it is. Keep in mind this is only for the first 2 episodes, so imagine ep 6 being a clusterfuck of text and arrows. School Days Route Paths Episodes 1 and 2
April 4, 2009 - Kanna
Congratulations to us, we've finally reached the RC phase of our localization patch for School Days! The file has been released to our QA staff and current beta testers yesterday and right now we're making sure no bugs got through before making the release public. As thanks for supporting us, for those who've applied for the beta program before March 6, they will receive the final version, as well as all future releases, a week before everyone else.
Also, before anyone starts complaining on the forums about it, I would like to repeat that this release will only contain content for episode 1. Sorry to disappoint those who expect a full release, but we're trying really hard to get things done, I swear!
Episode 1 Finally Released!
June 30, 2009 - Kanna
It only took us two years and three months, but we're finally able to bring you the first episode for School Days! I know what you're thinking, "Oh, it's only episode 1. I've watched that demo video of it many times over already while waiting for you guys." Yes, we took forever to finish, but this game isn't like your ordinary visual novel.
A lot of problems were in staffing. Not many people who play eroge know how to hack DirectX9, and not many people know how the Overflow game engine works either. It took basically 4 or 5 people to understand and manipulate the engine for a proper English translation. As you play the game you'll notice the subtitles changed into a smaller (perhaps more readable) style, we also took time to translate important visuals such as the note-passing between Sekai and Makoto. Once we figured everything out, the rest was easy work.
All in all, I'm just trying to say we took this long because we were going into uncharted territory and trying to build the foundations for our translation. Of course, future episodes shouldn't take as long and I hope to be at episode 3 or 4 by the end of the year.
Now, on to the actual release annoucement. Before installing the patch be sure to read our readme file. Hopefully we made everything easy to understand for everyone. The installer is made so you will be able to install the patch with or without an existing game installation. As mentioned in the readme, if you are on Vista/7 it's highly recommended to install our group's certificate. This will help with troubleshooting later on, and it's also required if you want full functionality in game explorer.
Ninja edit: Subtitles are turned off by default. To turn the feature on, start the game, move the mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on options, then turn on subtitles. You only need to do this once per installation!
Sekai Project is now hiring image and video editors!
October 31, 2009 - Ascaroth
If you have wanted to join the Sekai Project team, now is your chance! In order to speed up the pace of the project, we are looking for people who will be changing Japanese text to English in the CGs or short video segments.
Image editors need to be comfortable with editing and redrawing images in Photoshop.
Video editors need to be comfortable with editing videos using a combination of After Effects and FRAPS.
All applicants must be able to dedicate 2 hours per week to the project.
You will need to coordinate with other image and video editors in the team.
Please notify us of your interest through the specified thread in the forum, and we will contact you with further details afterwards.
We look forward to your application!
December 30, 2009 - Kanna
So, 2009 has come and gone. It's now time to reflect on School Days progress and predict the future.
This year brought us to the episode 1 milestone, which was rather significant in this project's progress. This release meant that we had accomplished reverse engineering a completely alien engine from scratch. This feat also means there could be future potential to start Cross Days as a simultaneous project or a future project.
We also gave help to those who were translating the game into other languages as well, mainly Ghost Team for their Russian project.
Remember during the release of ep 1 I said we had hoped to finish ep 2 and 3 by now? I had seriously underestimated the amount of work needed to bring ep 2 to completion and a bit of mismanagement on my part contributed to this unachieved goal. Right now I can probably peg progress for ep 2 at 68%, with most of the remaining work to be done on images and testing.
As for the rest of the game, translation has been done for all 6 episodes, with 3 being edited, one being tested, 4 being mapped for decisions, and images to be done for 5. Completion is TBD.
We are still looking for image and video editors. Sorry I didn't get to everyone in time, but if you are still interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try and reply within 2 days.
New Year, New Project
January 1, 2010 - Kanna
Happy new year everyone!
As some of you have already found out, the TLWiki has a new project listed. The game's called Eden*, and yes that is our logo along with Coalguys'. A few of the staff expressed interest, and with phiber's suggestion, joined efforts.
Does this mean work on School Days will stop? No. Hopefully in the previous post I cleared up where we are in terms of overall completion. Translation is done so that means AstCd2 is free to work on other things. Ascaroth is in charge of the website and release engineering for School Days, and as you can see, this website looks great and he built us a "compile installer and patch" button, so he's free as well. Lastly, I am only a QC for the Eden* project so I am still here testing and compiling SD test builds as a full-time job.
So again, School Days development will not change. Everyone will be back to work on it after the holidays.
eden progress stopped
April 24, 2010 - Kanna
As most of you have read or noticed already, our TLWiki page has been taken down. A representative from minori has written their opposition to the translation. With respect to the developer, we have suspended all work on eden.
encubed article on takedown
additional discussions between minori and fans
Testing for Episode 2Edit
May 21, 2010 - Kanna
It's almost been a full year since the release of episode 1, and I finally have an update for everyone. Episode 2 will be released shortly and we need a few new testers to help test the script.
Everyone's probably been wondering why it's taken so long. To be honest, it's staff issues. We currently only have one part-time video editor on the team to do overlays, and there are about 500 for episode 2 that needed work. After a discussion with the rest of the staff, we thought it best to add subtitles for the initial release and change to overlays whenever it's finished. This decision will affect episode 3 onwards. As of right now I'm timing and adding the necessary subtitles for that.
If you want to help out by testing and filing bug reports or perhaps you want to lend your video and image editing skills please apply on the forum.
Email and Registration IssuesEdit
May 30, 2010 - Kanna
Thank you for bringing to my attention the fact none of you can register an account in the forum. During the past few weeks, I've been migrating to a new server and it seems that email was broken in the process. After some quick fixes this should be fine now.
If you were one of the few who tried to register during this time, sorry for the screwup and please try again. I deleted all the accounts since may 21st, so you can reuse the usernames.
If there's any more problems, contact me here or here.
Episode 2+3 Release and Current State of AffairsEdit
August 1, 2010 - Kanna
Hello, people. It's been a while.
First, let me start off by saying we're not dead yet, but I'm pretty sure some of you would like to believe otherwise. With the slow progress that we've been making ever since the start, I think I'll put off announcing a date or relative time for our next release. I can assure you, though, things are coming along.
So, it's been a month since Anime Expo, and a lot has changed in the industry. MangaGamer is quickly becoming a large contributor and promoting visual novels and bishoujo gaming in the Americas, and more and more companies are getting involved. As a result of this, game makers have been looking more closely into fan translation projects. Beginning with eden*, several major projects have closed down due to takedown requests.
What does this all mean for Sekai Project?
During Anime Expo, we were contacted by the producer of School Days and president of STACK/0verflow. His email was not by any means hostile, and he did not approach us to ask for our project to stop. Instead, he wanted to open a line of communication with the fanbase who import and play these games. After meeting with him in person, we agreed to help collect information about political and moral restrictions in different regions of the world, as well as feedback and suggestions from the community so that 0verflow can target their future titles accordingly. In return, he agreed to let us continue the project and reference our discussions with him. Sekai Project and the School Days project are here to stay, for maybe 5 more years!
So on to his request. We figure the best way to collect this information is through a survey. I know most people don't take surveys, but this one is important, as it may be shared around the industry. 0verflow has a good relationship with a lot of other well-known companies so it'll help everyone out. Since we're not a marketing company, and since the only one in the group who's studied marketing is me, you can rest assured we're not conducting this survey for our own nefarious purposes. The more data points we can get, the better. Please refer your friends and get them to help out as well!
As a thank you in advance, we are releasing episode 3 along with episode 2 today. This new patch comes in two versions: a full installer and an updater patch. Please refer to the readme for details. Both new episodes are not completely done in terms of overlays, but the lack of video editors means we have no choice. Again, if you or you know someone who can help out, drop me an email.
Survey, Episode 4, Miscellaneous UpdatesEdit
August 4, 2010 - Kanna
This is by far the fastest update on this page, and it won't be just filler. A lot has happened in just these past few days and I wanted to share some details with everyone.
First, since the launch of the survey we've received more than 400 responses, as well as some questions regarding the questions. Some ask "what's the point"? From the comments, many of you have been very helpful to look up the criminal laws and also provide moral norms in your respective regions. Like I said in the forum, one of the advantages of asking through a survey is that we can see what different people consider to be obscene content. Law is important only when someone applies it to enforce something. Personal reservations is part of the purpose of the survey. Remember, Rapelay was not critcised because it was illegal, it was because the content was deemed offensive to many people.
Now that's out of the way, on to new developments. We've recently been approached by two graphics editors, and they have started work on our image backlog in episodes 2 and 3. If those are done before episode 4 is ready to go, we'll have a 3.1 release so you can enjoy the game with the best quality.
I'm going to try and make save games compatible between releases, but only those saved at the end of each episode. Due to the unique way the game saves, compatibility outside of these times is impossible, especially when we're modifying line length and adding/subtracting subtitles. So, please don't rage if saves you made now before the H-scene in ep 3 don't work in our episode 4 release.
Game testing for episode 4 is going to be LONG. Here is the routemap for it. If you think we're just and just sit on our butts for months at a time this should help explain why it isn't the case. By the way, we need more testers, and as usual see the forum for details.
Lastly, as you've seen at the top of this page, we're finally linked on 0verflow's site! This is a big milestone for us and I think the community as well. Major thanks to 0verflow and Mr. Ohnuma.
That's it for now. Maybe another update in a month?
Episode 4 Progress
September 25, 2010 - Kanna
Currently squashing bugs in alpha. Tester slots full, but feel free to keep applying in case we need more for the beta.
Recently there were a few threads in the forum about issues installing and running the game. The installer for episode 4 will be updated with a more thorough disc check to spot corrupted files. If you've encountered a geCoreLibrary.dll error when starting the game up or a DSETUP.dll error when running the original installer, you have a corrupt disc. Please see our updated School Days FAQ for more information.
New layout for low-resolution screens
October 10, 2010 - Ascaroth
The site has been updated with a layout version that is more suitable for lower-resolution screens, assuming that your browser understands the CSS. This version automatically activates for any screen that is less than 1024-pixels wide, and removes the sidebar while placing the links on top of the page as large, touch-friendly text.
The layout change was originally intended for mobile devices, but since the iPhone and Android phones identify themselves as screen devices and not handheld devices, the layout changes were carried over to netbooks and PCs as well. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as the current layout was intended for high-resolution widescreen monitors anyways.
Please note that the 1024-pixel threshold might move up in the future as mobile devices evolve and their screen resolutions increase. Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome in the forum!
December 13, 2010 - Kanna
Yes, guys. We're still here.
Between getting a new job, new car, finances, and other real life encounters, I'm afraid I didn't put any work into School Days these past 3 months. Now that I'm finally starting to settle down again, and before the new school semester hits, I'm going to try and blitz through the remaining edits and hope to have something soon. Thank you for your patience.
Survey statistics so far...Edit
February 16, 2011 - Ascaroth
A bit more than six months ago, we launched a survey in an attempt to collect some statistics regarding key concerns with licensing bishoujo games outside of Japan. So far, we have collected more than 1000 responses, and we'd like to share some charts that present a general overview with you today.
But first of all, thanks to everyone who has responded to the survey so far! The numbers are certainly fascinating, and Mr. Ohnuma has expressed a deep interest in them as well. We're also very thankful to those of you who took the time out to write a very detailed response for question 9 since it does help everyone quite a bit. And if you haven't responded yet, please do so now because we're always trying to collect more responses in order to make our results more accurate!
(Statistics are generated from 1174 responses as of 2011.02.16 at 22:03'29" UTC+0000)
Episode 4 Public BetaEdit
February 25, 2011 - Kanna
As you can see by the godawful extensive routemap for episode 4, I thought it best to just share the beta as a public release and have the most vocal of you guys report issues on the forums. This way I don't have to spend time moving everyone onto the bug tracker, and all of you can enjoy episode 4 until it crashes.
For those that are too lazy to read the release notes, the episode 4 beta comes in two versions: a full installer and an updater. Those of you who have kept School Days installed the whole time can download the updater. The rest of you need to download the full installer.
Regarding the survey post below, I forgot to update the website so this is a reminder that there're TWO new posts to look for on this page. Ascaroth collected the survey stats and made pretty graphs, mainly because he was bored and as the release engineer he doesn't actually participate in working on the game itself...
Anyway, please check out the responses from your fellow gamers and if you have any additional comments, feel free to post on the forums about it.
School Days HQ coming in English
March 1, 2011 - Kanna
As some of you have already noticed while I was asleep there has been a new announcement made on JAST USA's website. It's been a long time coming, but we finally did it.
This is not an April Fool's joke, and yes this website is telling the truth. We're all aiming to have a finished game for you by the end of this year. I know how we established a reputation as being one of the slowest groups around, but now that we have a new engine that we don't have to patch and can ask for official support, things should go a lot smoother.
This announcement also brings the question "What will happen to the original School Days translation?" As of now all work on the original game will stop. The translations will be ported to the new game, and until things settle down the download page and this website will still be up. I will not be fixing any more bugs in the beta though, so if the game crashes and there isn't already a fix in the forums, then there's nothing that can be done.
I want to thank you and everyone who's visited this site over the years for your support of School Days. The survey you did in the past few months certainly helped accelerate 0verflow's decision and hopefully JAST's as well. Please expect the official School Days HQ release sometime this year.
School Days HQ update #1
August 12, 2011 - Kanna
Whew, been a while since I updated the front page, hasn't it? Just wanted to let everyone know we're still alive and working on the game.
Since the announcement back in March we've actually been hard at work on converting our English script from the old game format to the new. 0verflow has provided us with the original text without the mess of game code getting in the way. This is the process that will take the majority of my time to complete, mainly because the scripts don't match up 1:1. In School Days HQ, there are new scenes added and old scenes either redone slightly or removed altogether. The routes between the original and HQ may be similar, but they're not exactly the same. SDHQ, you'll be glad to know, also has some additonal H scenes which screw up script order. Things like that have to be mapped out manually and a converter won't do the job very well.
Outside of editing script and images, 0verflow is providing assistance on all the other aspects of the game, such as modifying the engine to make use of English, increasing the character limit of the subtitles, and importing the translated scripts into the game and making it all work. I have as much confidence in seeing a bug free version of SDHQ as I do seeing a bug free version of Skyrim. Some of you might be wondering why the estimated date has been pushed back to 2012. Yep, the reason lies somewhere in the paragraph...
We were actually planning to have a demo to show everyone at the JAST panel during Anime Expo, but the build 0verflow sent to us kept crashing so we had to hold off on that. Speaking of AX, I was hoping to meet with the staff from 0verflow at Anime Expo this year, but unfortunately due to the earthquake they were unable to make it. I did however get to meet Shingo, Yasu and Peter from J-LIST. The J-LIST guys were a very cool bunch and they even let me help out at their booth when I met them again during Comic Con. It was a really nice experience for me, especially since it's my first time outside Canada in 11 years. I got to meet another two members of Sekai Project and some other guys working in the eroge industry. All in all a very productive July for me.
There's still no definitive date for the release of School Days HQ, but right now we're aiming at sometime in early 2012, if not by Anime Expo 2012. If you have any comments or suggestions about the project feel free to email me or post on the forums. I don't know when the next update will be so just keep checking back every so often or subscribe to the RSS.
School Days HQ update #2
November 9, 2011 - Kanna
Current status: 5 of out 6 chapters ported over. Chapter 4 in editing. Currently working on new font and random things for the game engine. Project Diva Extend is out today. Productivity for Kanna will drop 90%.
School Days HQ Milestone Reached
January 10, 2012 - Kanna
Happy new year everyone. I come with good news! I'm happy to report that all scripts have been translated and ported including all the new content for SDHQ. Chapter 3 (Episode 4) has finished editing and is being converted at the moment. On top of that, the font and subtitle spec has been finalised. Lots of work has been going on these past few months and we will begin testing the game soon.
? to be continued