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Butterfly Soup 2 and creating video games to assist your previous self

This interview is part of our Road to the IGF series. The IGF (Independent Games Festival) aims to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize independent game developers advancing the medium. Every year, Game Developer sits down with the finalists for the IGF ahead of GDC to explore the themes, design decisions, and tools

Butterfly Soup 2 and creating video games to assist your previous self

This interview is a part of our Road to the IGF collection. The IGF (Unbiased Video games Competition) goals to encourage innovation in sport growth and to acknowledge unbiased sport builders advancing the medium. Yearly, Recreation Developer sits down with the finalists for the IGF forward of GDC to discover the themes, design selections, and instruments behind every entry.

Butterfly Soup 2 as soon as extra hangs with a gaggle of homosexual Asian-American teenagers as they play baseball, ship 2009-era memes over textual content, and take care of the complexities of college and life.

Brianna Lei, creator of the Excellence in Narrative-nominated title, spoke with Recreation Developer about what was particularly compelling concerning the time she selected to set the sport in (2008-2009), the difficult fan expectations that may come from making a sequel to a well-loved story, and the way she created an expertise that will have helped their previous self.

Who’re you, and what was your function in growing Butterfly Soup 2?

My identify is Brianna Lei and I created Butterfly Soup 2. I wrote, programmed, and drew all of the artwork for the sport.

What’s your background in making video games?

I’m a jack-of-all-trades! I’ve labored as a designer, artist, and author over the previous ten years on quite a lot of stuff like digital pet-raising video games, hack-and-slash video games, and courting sims. However I’m greatest identified for my solo work in narrative-focused video games.

the character Diya stresses about sleep

How did you provide you with the idea for Butterfly Soup 2?

Once I was in school, I used to be an enormous fan of sports activities anime like Free!, Oofuri, and Haikyu!!. There weren’t quite a lot of standard anime about women enjoying sports activities, so I felt impressed to make my very own story about that matter. However since I solely knew the right way to make video video games, it needed to be a online game as a substitute of an anime. As I labored on it, it progressively morphed into one thing slightly totally different, however that was the unique concept that Butterfly Soup 1 and 2 had been born from.

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What growth instruments had been used to construct your sport?

The sport was made within the visible novel engine Ren’Py. It’s free and extremely advocate it to anybody who desires to make a visible novel.

The artwork was principally drawn in Clip Studio Paint. My laptop computer has a contact display screen, so as a substitute of utilizing a drawing pill, I really simply draw immediately on my laptop computer display screen. It really works fairly effectively despite the fact that the display screen bounces forwards and backwards whereas I draw on it.

What you about doing a sequel to Butterfly Soup? About spending some extra time with these characters?

I initially needed the primary sport to have a protracted story with a number of arcs like a sports activities anime. It was tremendous time-consuming for a single particular person to make, and partway by the sport’s growth, I noticed I’d should trim the story’s size in half to have the ability to end it in time. That’s why the primary sport somewhat unceremoniously ends in a parking zone exterior a dessert store.

When the primary sport was acquired effectively, I used to be excited to have a second probability to carry the concepts and scenes I needed to life. I’d all the time envisioned the story concluding with an enormous dance. And I acquired my want!

How did you select how far forward in time to fulfill up with the characters once more? Why the yr 2009, particularly?

Within the first sport, Min’s look upsets the equilibrium of everybody’s each day lives and the story ends with Diya and Min getting collectively as a pair. I made a decision to start the sequel’s story a number of months later as soon as Min was built-in into the buddy group and everybody’s relationships stabilized into the brand new state. That method, the occasions of the sport would upend the peace once more. Additionally, it made sense in my head for the story to happen over the course of 1 faculty yr.

I particularly selected the 2008-2009 faculty yr as a result of it was a bizarre time to be a queer teenager in California. Proposition 8 introduced the homosexual marriage debate into everybody’s lives. You noticed the advertisements for it on TV and academics would preach their opinions on homosexual marriage to the category. A variety of the Butterfly Soup video games are about not dwelling as much as what society desires and expects of you, so I believed it was the right backdrop for a homosexual teen romance.

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The character Noelle plays Mario Golf

What concepts go into persevering with to discover the ideas and emotions of your characters a second time? Was it stuff you wished you’d explored within the first sport, or that you just’d thought up some extra aspects of the characters you wished to delve into?

Sure, there have been quite a lot of matters and themes that had been kind of frivolously grazed within the first sport that I needed to discover in additional depth. For instance, Noelle’s ignorant views on sexuality had been one thing I privately discovered amusing about her and I wanted I’d gone into it in additional element within the first sport.

Equally, Min principally returned from Florida worse than she was earlier than, and it’s not addressed within the first sport. She complained concerning the racist bullying she endured, however we by no means noticed the unfavorable attitudes she internalized from it in motion. I needed to tie up that unresolved thread within the sequel.

What challenges did you face in making a sequel?

It burdened me out understanding that the sequel wasn’t going to go within the path some followers anticipated. For instance, some followers had been hoping I’d pair sure characters collectively, or anticipated the sequel to happen additional into the longer term, equivalent to in school. I completely choose creating standalones the place nobody’s anticipating something!

Butterfly Soup 2 explores some troublesome matters. How did you need to current these within the sport? Why these particular matters?

I needed to jot down a narrative that will’ve helped my teenage self, so quite a lot of the matters explored had been struggles that I might’ve associated to. For instance, one in every of my on a regular basis frustrations at that age was that I couldn’t inform my immigrant dad and mom something with out it triggering criticism. It will’ve comforted me to see characters wrestling with the identical downside, so within the story it went.

My highschool additionally had an issue with Asian racism towards different minorities, particularly Black folks. Whereas I by no means skilled something like Min’s trainwreck of a battle with Ester, I believe if my youthful self had seen that story, I might’ve finished a greater job apologizing when friends confronted me about my errors as a substitute of getting defensive and making excuses.

I didn’t need the sport to really feel like an academic lecture, so I attempted to discover a good steadiness between the heavy and extra lighthearted bits. I needed to current these issues as issues you’ll be able to grapple with and nonetheless get a cheerful ending.

a text messaging screen and

Your characters proceed to have an exquisite, plausible chemistry amongst them. What ideas go into making them sound real and actual?

Thanks! To me, creating characters is sort of like a puzzle sport. In actual life, no two friendships are the identical, so I work to make sure each most important character has a distinct dynamic with each different most important character. Typically I’ve a specific taste of dialog in thoughts that I’d like to jot down quite a lot of, and work backwards to create the characters who’d play every function of that dialog.

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One in all my different writing methods is giving every character a trait that I can relate to, and turning that one trait as much as eleven. That method, my characters behave in excessive, entertaining methods, however there’s nonetheless a real core to how they’re performing. For instance, public talking makes me nervous, in order an exaggeration of that, Diya hides behind Noelle throughout her faculty presentation.

Likewise, you may have a superb aptitude for capturing the weird, foolish, and touching tones that come from texting greatest pals. What concepts go into making that really feel excellent?

I take quite a lot of inspiration from actual conversations I’ve. Typically folks say issues which are so humorous, I really feel prefer it’s a waste that I’m the one one who acquired to listen to them. So I usually write these strains down and discover some option to work it into my tales.

Do you’re feeling you continue to have extra tales to inform with this gang? If that’s the case, what does it really feel wish to have this reference to some characters you have created? To observe these creations of yours rising up and coping with difficult points and heartwarming connections?

I do! After placing a lot thought into creating them, I assume it is sensible that I ended up with characters that I get pleasure from pondering and writing about a lot. It’ll in all probability be a very long time earlier than I’ll be able to make one other sport with them, however I’m proud that I created them and that different folks really feel such a connection to them, too.

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