Foleso is a visual novel developer and the person who worked on the scripting for the Snowhaven visual novels My Sweet Confession and our upcoming title The Last Act.
They gave us a peek into their work and how they organize and plan scripting for such large projects.
This will also provide a bit of behind-the-scenes for the ongoing development of The Last Act!
I'm Foleso, a scripter for two Snowhaven Studios games: My Sweet Confession, and now The Last Act!
I'm used to working with either layered characters or characters with fewer expressions, so working with the massive number of unique expressions in The Last Act was a new challenge for me. Most characters have around 28-50 expressions, so I needed to find a way to remember all of them to use them properly.
That's why I made an expression sheet to keep track of all of them!
The method I show you below only really works if you have less than ten characters and each of them have over thirty expressions, since it takes quite a bit of time per character, and isn't useful if there aren't many expressions to track at once. However, this method can be adapted to work in those situations as well.
I used Photoshop CC for this, but most graphic programs with a Contact Sheet option should be able to handle this.
Prep the images
First, name all the images as numbers.
Open them all up in your graphic program of choice as layers. In Photoshop, I opened 01.PNG and drag-n-dropped the rest of the images into the Layer Panel. Photoshop automatically made them layers.
Making & Using the expression sheet
Next, crop only the face of the character. By doing this, all the layers will also be cropped automatically.
Select all the layers in the Layer Panel. Right-click and select "Quick Export as .PNG". Choose an empty folder to store all the face images. This may take some time.
Next, go to File > Automate > Contact Sheet II
A bunch of options should pop up. Most of these can remain default, but make sure the row & column values multiply to be greater than the total number of expressions you have.
You can also change the "down first" option if you prefer to have the numbers going across than up & down.
Finally, go through and add the numbers. I did this by adjusting the line height value so it took less than 10 seconds to get all the numbers in.
Here's the final result!
While scripting, I have the expression sheet on the right, pinned so I can use the arrow keys to quickly cycle through the character I need the expressions for at the moment.
Make sure you follow Foleso over on Twitter to stay up to date on all their work!
We hope you enjoyed this look into the scripting process behind The Last Act.
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