So, Katawa Shoujo is finally done.
(For those of you that want nothing but download links: http://katawashoujo.blogspot.com/2012/01/katawa-shoujo-released.html)
I do feel a little bad for not being there until the bitter end, but life changes. And that’s what I thought I should blog about tonight.
At the start of this process I was a monolingual freelance technician who lived with a flatmate. In essence, nothing over special, and that’s pretty much how I felt.
Whilst I can’t attribute everything that has happened to me since then to KS, I will admit that being in 4LS gave me a bit of a rise. It was enough motivation to start things that lead me down the path to where I am today.
So here’s a quick run down of everything that I’ve managed to do in the five years that it took to make Katawa Shoujo (and also why I had to leave).
– I was almost murdered. Not wanting to get overly melodramatic, but my flatmate (whom I had known for a number of years) had a psychotic break and tried to slit my throat. Fun, but it certainly brought about a lucidity that I have yet to replicate.
– I went to Japan for the first time. Yes, I was a massive weaboo, but before that my friends and I decided to go to Japan. It just took us 4 years in order to have our lives in sync enough to actually make that happen. Some of the backgrounds in KS are from that trip (most notably the City backgrounds. The city is Sendai, and I actually took everyone there for the sole purpose of taking background photos for KS).
– I bought a Canon 40D. After years of shooting exclusively on film, I bought a high-grade digital camera and some decent lenses. I still use the 24-105 F4 lens that I bought in Japan today.
– I fell in love with Hanako. For a long time, this burning desire to create the girl of my dreams fuelled my writing. It turns out I wasn’t as skillful as I thought, but I plugged away through three re-writes. I would even spend night shifts writing parts of her first draft.
– I learnt Japanese. Okay, so this wasn’t a one-day thing, and I wouldn’t say that I’m finished. I started classes in 2007 and stopped in 2009 (so, three years of “study”) but, as you’ll see later, I didn’t stop learning.
–I got promoted, and bought a sports car. After many years of working as a freelancer, I finally landed a low-level supervisor job. Elated by the news, I bought a car that ignited my love of driving. It was an RX-8, and man did it go. I had that car from mid 2008 until about 3 weeks ago.
– I started making, and selling, resin figures of anime characters. At one point a start-up Anime magazine even got me to do a column on the figures. I was spending quite a bit of money on figures, but the occasional sale made up for this. At the peak I had about 60 figures displayed in two glass cases.
– I went to Japan again. This time, with only one friend (the others had to pull out) I pulled out all the stops, even staying on an extra 10 days in order to take more photos. All up, in the 29 days I was in Japan, I took about 3,000 photos.
– I was sent to Europe from Japan for work. In an odd turn of events, I was sent straight from leave to my first “real” overseas assignment (I had been to New Zealand before). It was here that I was exposed to a lot more technology that most of my peers, giving me an even greater edge at my work.
– I had to kick my drug-addict brother out of my home. After returning from my 7-week globetrotting experience, I found my house in disarray. There were chemical stains on the carpet (which has since been replaced) from him trying to “cook up” in his bedroom (he has since reformed).
– Workload increased. After showing an aptitude for project work, my operating budget exploded. A “Big” project moved from being $40,000 to about $2 Million. And they kept on coming. Now living alone, I was practically consumed in my work. At this time I started being a bit rough around the edges, and desperately wanted to finish the Hanako path.
– More Japanese. Discontented with normal classes, and still reeling from my lack of skill from my Japan trip, I joined an informal “language exchange” group. Turns out a similarly minded, wholly bi-lingual Japanese woman was there as well. As there was only about 5 people our age there, we organised a couple of trips, dinners and such with this little group.
– Making out. Turns out the Japanese woman and I hit it off. I thought I was done for as soon as she came to my house. Everything revolved around my technology; mixing consoles, audio monitors, and, of course, my beloved computer (upon which most of my parts of Katawa Shoujo were written). It turns out, however, that she didn’t think I was the creepy weaboo that I was, and she stuck around.
– Promoted, again. My work in 2009 led me to getting promoted to a Department Manager. Budgets and workload increased, yet again (after changing jobs later, my replacement ended up fainting on the job due to heart complications brought on by stress). I loved my work almost as much as I loved my new girlfriend. By cleaning up my act and forcing me to act like a functioning member of society, I was able to reach professional heights that I had never imagined.
– Quitting Katawa Shoujo. Something had to give, and of all the things I loved at the time (Work, 4LS and my girl), 4LS was the easiest one to give up on. It wasn’t easy, but given the fact I was about to buy a house, I just couldn’t justify working on Katawa Shoujo for 20 hours a week. The Hanako path was mostly complete (in draft), the character was pretty much defined, and so Suriko took on the duties of polishing her into the jewel that most of you now love.
– Buying a house. Instead of buying a car (like last promotion) I bought a house. Fun.
– Buying a better camera. I got myself a 7D whilst buying my house. In for a penny, in for a pound.
– Buying Jewellery. Since I was in for a pound, I figured two pounds was pretty much worth it. My “girl” became my “lady”, with a wedding date set a year after our proposal.
– Japan, again. This time, travelling with my lady, we went to seek permission for our wedding. Turns out knowing a bit of Japanese helped, and her Dad opened a “special” bottle of whiskey that he had been saving for about 10 years. We had the manliest of manly picnics.
– Wedding Bells. Much of the space here was spent planning the wedding, or paying off the wedding. But in early 2011 I was married to my lady. Much to my delight, that also meant that I was listed on Japan’s Kouseki; the family register. Long live the weaboo dream. Our wedding car, by the way, was my RX-8.
– Head Hunted. Given my performance at my previous job, I was offered a lot more money to do pretty much the same thing I was doing, only this time with a frequent flyers card.
– Leaving my old job. It turns out that most of the people I left behind were actually happy for me, and I was able to part on good terms. I was even sent on one last overseas assignment.
– J-j-j-JAM IT IN. The end of Autumn (southern Hemisphere) brought on a positive indication of a viable pregnancy; something that we had been planning for about a year and a half.
– Japan, part 4. My wife’s morning sickness was so bad that she ran away to her mother’s waiting arms. We thought that we could survive 2 months apart, but I cracked and flew over to see her. We returned at practically the last-minute; 4 days later and we wouldn’t have been able to fly.
– Settling into a new job, performing. Already I have been kicking goals in my new role, and I think I’m going to get even better at it.
– New Arrival. In December I challenged Suriko to see which would arrive first; KS or my baby. I won by 13 days. Getting my labouring wife to the hospital was the last ride of my RX-8; I traded it in for an Impreza the next day.
So yeah. If you put your mind to it, that’s what you can achieve in the space of the development of a VN.
I’m not sure how many of you would actually read this, but since I get approximately 1 comment per year, I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing. At least I’m not clogging up the forums.