No, this isn’t me announcing that LoM is exiting hiatus, although it’s not not that per se.
It’s FEE3 time, and LoM is gonna be absent from the show. In lieu of a showcase, I figured I’d poke my head in here and give y’all a heads up on how things have been going and confirm that yes, I do still have plans to go back to LoM, and I even roughly know when I’ll be able to do so.
Starting with stuff relevant to y’all; LoM will be returning to active development in spring/summer of 2024.
I’ll also confirm briefly that no, the project has not secretly progressed while on hiatus. It’s remained entirely untouched since I started working on DD2, though as I’ve progressed on that project, I’ve gotten a better sense of the timeline for how I’ll be able to progress on LoM and when.
I’ll likely be starting to slow down in terms of work in the new year, and with a couple months to devote to less time sensitive stuff and some projects I’m already involved with, I should be able to get back to work some time after winter, with a couple months of wiggle room just in case I’m underestimating certain things.
I’ll probably be accepting more help than I did in the past, this time around, so if you’re one of the various artist pals who’s excited about the project and kept getting turned down to help out, I’m almost certainly going to be focusing on getting the gameplay and story done, and letting others help out on the presentation front, so feel free to DM me and ask about it. I no longer have all the time in the world to work on LoM, and I want to be able to get as much done in 2024 as is reasonable before I become busy with whatever my next contract is. That means helpers!
I couldn’t make a video in time for FEE3 due to how busy I was leading up to the deadline, so I just wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to touch base with anybody following the project from the forums - people who I talk to on Discord have likely already heard a lot of these plans already, and I don’t really have news for y’all. Summer of the Mask is coming, baby, same as it ever was, but that’s all I really have to share about LoM.
As for non-LoM related stuff, I’ve been spending some of my free time away from work doing these write-up / essay / review type things about some of the games I’ve been playing or that mean a lot to me. FEU isn’t really the place for them, but I’ve also been thinking about extending those to the romhacking scene, and maybe even making videos about them. If I did, I’d probably start sharing those in Writes n’ Sprites, so if anything progresses on that front, I’ll update that thread with it. I’ve also, vaguely, been working on a tutorial about writing supports, so that’ll go in there too.
Finally, Dark Deity 2. Click if you want to read some light shilling.
It’s weird: I’ve poured a LOT of creative energy into DD2 over the last long while, but between the NDA and the weird monetary incentives surrounding my talking about the game, it’s difficult to talk about the game in a way that conveys my enthusiasm without coming across as blatant shilling or a thinly veiled ad - “buy our game, guys, it’s so cool that you should pay us about it” is a lot weirder to do in the very personal context of FEU, where a lot of us know each other and talk regularly. However, for anyone bummed out that the DD2 project means less Xil J. Rite content, a quick update on how that game’s been going:
After they hired me for that project, the scale of my involvement grew very quickly. I was always intended to be one of the primary writers for the game, but within a few months, it was decided that I would be the sole writer, as well as the general narrative lead of the team. That means that, while the broad strokes and world-building weren’t mine, the majority of DD2’s script is a genuine Xil piece of work. I’ve had a lot of freedom and creative leeway in the writing process, and a lot of the game’s narrative has shifted dramatically since I entered the process.
I don’t mean any of this to imply the other people working adjacent to the script didn’t contribute - indeed, some of the best ideas in the current script came from them, and I honestly adore the rest of the DD2 team for how their work can elevate mine and vice versa - but it does mean that, if you were into LoM for the writing, DD2’s script is extremely close to being as much my creation as LoM has been.
All this to say; if you think I’m cool, you should check it out.
With that out of the way, sorry to anybody who was super excited for the LT version of the game, or who’s been itching to see act 2. I promise, I still think about LoM a lot, and am very excited to get back to work. I’d initially planned to start working on it again in the new year, splitting the workload with DD2 as I came to realize I had more runway than I’d expected, but we recently made some changes that necessitate I work faster, so it’ll have to wait a few months. Otherwise, if you aren’t on discord with me already, I’ll see you in 2024
The last thing I wanted to talk about, bc it’s been bugging me; I’ve said in the past that LoM is my baby, and I’ll basically never let it die if I can help it. However, that was when I figured any employment I got would be, like, writing clickbait articles online, or flipping burgers. The reality is, my current job scratches more or less the same creative itch that working on LoM did, which puts me in a weird spot. I really do want to work on LoM - I have plans for it, I know what I want to do, and I have people I know who are excited about the game and want to see more of it.
But there’s a chance that, assuming no catastrophe looms in my future, the DD2 project signals the end of my tenure as a hobbyist game dev and the beginning of my tenure as a professional one. If that happens, it’ll be difficult to justify going back and working on my pet romhack project from when I was stuck inside with covid, no matter how much faith I have in it.
This isn’t really a point with a conclusion; I’ve spent a long time talking about how LoM will get finished no matter what happens, and now the project is staring down the barrel of an especially silver-lined gun. Having to bin LoM because I couldn’t finish it before entering the scene professionally is a good problem to have, but it’s a problem I’d like to not have at all.
I’m gonna reiterate from earlier; if you’re one of the many people who’s offered to help create assets for LoM who I’ve turned down over the years, or if you’ve never offered but would like to, get in touch. Every asset I get is another set of days or even a week that I can spend on materially progressing the game forward instead, and with an actual job to my name, I can even actually pay people for their help. If I have to make LoM alone, I will, but it will almost certainly never get done if this is the case, forced to exist between contracts as it is - especially since, presumably, I’ll want to find other contracts to fill that space eventually (assuming I don’t just become an employee. Do writers become employees ever? How does that work? Real adults of FEU, please let me know.)
That includes before I’ve started working on the project myself, mind you, so no need to wait for Summer of the Mask to get your summertime vibes going. We can hit the proverbial beaches even in wintertime; none of us go outside, anyway, how would we tell the difference?
Regardless of that particular bit of doom and gloom, LoM’s execution date certainly won’t be any time soon (unless there’s secretly a line up of devs just waiting to hit my line once I’m done my work for DD2), and unless I get hit by a bus or something, 2024 is going to breathe some life back into this project. I hope y’all enjoy FEE3 this year, even without my lovely voice accompanying it, and you can look forward to hearing from me again soon. Until then, uh, stay mask-y, maskheads?