Postmortem for NaNoRenO 2021

from that moment she neglected the world is a yuri kinetic visual novel created for NaNoRenO 2021. 

Ideas Phase

The story titled after a line in a long form poem by Bai Juyi came as a bit of a spontaneous thought, an idea out of the blue in late January or early February. Seeing that NaNoRenO was coming up once more, I decided to take that idea and develop it into a visual novel in this annual month-long jam.

A xianxia story, a yuri story, a slightly bitter story that ends with sweetness. I wanted to write such a tale, and thus the story began to grow.

The details of the story, I will explain later.

Team Phase

At the end of the first week of February, I tweeted out a team recruitment call on Twitter. 

A simple tweet using the #vnlink hashtag. Around the same time, I also posted in the Devtalk visual novel dev community. (Invite link here) Within just about one day, I gathered the entire team. Half of the team came from the visual novel specific community, and the other half came from Twitter.

In personal experience, I have had more luck finding team members for NaNoRenO on Twitter than on other platforms.

By posting a recruitment tweet on Twitter, it's possible to reach people outside of the visual novel developer community such as my awesome teammates Jasper and Damare this time around. And it's also possible to more directly reach people in specific niches outside of the visual novel community such as, in this case, xianxia (a Chinese fantasy subgenre) and yuri.

Was gathering the team at that point too early? Certainly I worried a bit, but it all turned out well.

Special thanks to cygni who is awesome and organized a team bonding exercise!

Development Phase

Throughout this year's NaNoRenO, I attempted to post daily on Twitter in this thread here to show my progress and keep my followers informed with what was happening with the project. I ultimately did not post everyday, and on some days, I had little progress to show, but it was an interesting experience.

I did the writing/scripting, sprites, and 2 CGs, so I'll talk about how those tasks went.


The end product is approximately 20k words long. Before everything started, I set up the schedule so that the writing would take approximately 2 weeks to finish.  20k words may seem like a moderate amount for a game jam, but upon doing some math, you might find that it would need around 1500 words per day to do in 2 weeks.

With 2 weeks dedicated to writing, that leaves only 2 weeks for tasks that require the script to be done. Are there background details that need to reference the script? Are there CGs you don't know you'll need without a finished script? I would recommend cutting down on the scope of the script. Jams are short, and the scope knife is a trusty ally in these cases. 

That's the lesson I learned this time around.

The other option is to have a firmer outline so you can say for certain that a CG needs to be drawn a certain way, but that is also dependent on the writer. I prefer to have freedom in my writing even if I generally stick to my outlines. If you're like me, then make sure to be mindful of your teammates!

Ultimately, I would say that taking 2 weeks to write the script for a one month jam is fine, but taking over 2 weeks definitely would have been a problem.

Art Assets

4 sprites and 2 CGs on my end. Each item took about one day. 

Normally I would say that I drew them in Gimp. In the past, I have been using Gimp, but taking advantage of a recent sale for CSP, I bought CSP and decided to test it out for this jam. While the art turned out decently in the end, I would say that testing out a new software when on a deadline like for a jam was a pretty bad idea.

I definitely felt somewhat thrown off balance by the new tools, line thicknesses, and software layout.


The scripting end is where things got interesting. 

For those who have played my games before, you might notice that from that moment she neglected the world is the longest one yet at 20k words!

To talk about my scripting process, I have to start with how I write my scripts. I tend to write them without any character expressions written or even commented in, hoping that the text alone should hold adequate emotion. Then, once the story script is written and edited (given that there is editing), I transfer the text over to one or more .rpy (renpy) files and begin to go through it and add expressions, one character at a time.


"Hello world."
"She greeted the world."
B "Hello to you too."


show A smile
"Hello world."
"She greeted the world."
show B mild

B "Hello to you too."

You might expect that all of the expressions for the sprite should be drawn before putting in expressions. However, in cases like this where I have leeway with sprites and writing as both the sprite artist and writer, I like to draw expressions as I script in the expressions for the characters. For a script that's only about 5k words such as Moon Archer Shooting Starsthat is no problem at all and can even add to the expressiveness of the characters.

For a script that's 20k words, still on the short side for a visual novel but in fact about half the length of a novella, it starts to become a problem. Expressions begin to overlap too much. Expressions begin to pile up to the point of being hard to navigate.

Whether or not drawing as I script is a good idea, whether or not I should have created all the expressions before scripting, whether or not there was an intermediate option between the two, this experience has taught me that my process is unsustainable.

Given that I do have a longer work in progress, I will definitely need to alter my approach.

Aside from the revelation on expressions and word count, I also noticed a separate issue. Should I mention it under scripting or art? It really is a matter of both, so I'll put it at the end around here.

The topic is: layout

If you've had a chance to play the game, you may have noticed that the sprites are all positioned at the right and only one sprite shows up at a time in from that moment she neglected the world similar to the previously mentioned Moon Archer Shooting Stars

This sort of sprite presentation was inspired by Liarsoft's WAB series' presentation, but I'd rather not go on a gleeful ramble about that series at the moment. Instead I would like for you to take a look at screenshots from she neglected the world and Moon Archer.

A major difference between many of the WAB games and my games is that the aspect ratio of older games is relatively more square than newer games. Thus, more space is allocated to show the backgrounds in newer visual novels. For good or bad, that creates more empty space when displaying a single sprite on screen.

In Moon Archer, I made liberal use of cut-ins and very simplistic backgrounds (as I really am not a background artist), putting the bulk of the detail to the character sprites. In she neglected the world, both background and sprites have their fair share of detail, and you should notice that this game is in color rather than greyscale like Moon Archer.

Does it seem emptier or less empty than Moon Archer? That's a question I have yet to find an answer for myself, but hopefully I think you find that the game looks good.

At the very least, Jasper's backgrounds look awesome.

For all that happened throughout the development process, the end result was an amazing game!

Future Plans

As of now, the main story is complete. There are no plans for additions to the game itself.

If people are interested in some side stories for our beloved characters, I may write some. They most likely will not be in visual novel form, but I would love to tell the story of a certain beloved yet tragic pair.

I will release another devlog later in April to talk more about the story itself, but first, I hope you enjoyed the game. Or if you haven't played it yet, do go ahead and play it!

If you liked from that moment she neglected the world and like Chinese fantasy, do check out last year's NaNoRenO game tender feelings like water.

A water spirit sees a girl in red out on rainy days. The spirit and girl meet and meet again, slowly beginning to fall in love. Yet the rain ceases to end. It is flood season, and the people would like to ask the local god to stop.

You might ask: will this become a trend? A series of Chinese setting yuri visual novels for NaNoRenO?

Next up, an ancient China court drama set in an alternate history dynasty! Face slapping! Dog blood drama! Lesbians! Just kidding. While that may be the case, next year's NaNoRenO is a topic for next year. I'll have to keep you in the dark for now, but I hope you enjoy these stories.

Until next time.

Get from that moment she neglected the world

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