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Soundless AAA & Patreon Survey Results
Lots going on lately! Oooo...
This’ll be a long one today, so buckle in.
Reimagining CGs Is Fun
First thing’s first: Soundless progress!
I’ve been gradually chipping away at the CGs. I’ve roughly sketched all the ones that appear in the opening. The one I’ve made the most progress on is the one where Auma checks on Mercy after school, and I’m finding it fun to reimagine the CGs and try and upgrade the new CG wherever possible while still maintaining the original intent.
This CG in particular was one of the first ones I ever made for Soundless. According to the properties of one of the variations, it was originally completed in April 2017. The afternoon glow illuminating a heroine in an empty classroom feels so cool, doesn’t it? Even though the technical quality of the original is low, I think it has some of the nicest vibes.
For the new one, I took into account the fact that Mercy is sitting so close to the window and opted to change the angle of the background. This required a little bit of extra thinking on my part; I even made a sketch to guesstimate where Auma might be in relation to where Mercy is looking up from her desk.
Though, in the end, you’ll notice that the angle isn’t the same when you compare it to the sketch. I did it on purpose to make Mercy feel smaller and also have the window be off-center and not engulfing the space behind Auma. I just thought it looked more visually interesting like this.
This week is all CGs. My main goal is to complete all the opening CGs and have a brand new version of the opening ready for everyone by next Sunday at best and next week at the very least.
Art Patch Progress Summary
Main Sprites: Finished
Special sprites: Finished
1/31 completed (4 in progress)
1/5 opening CGs completed (4 in progress, 1 in coloring stage (the one in the post!))
All main sprites implemented
Toggle option implemented
Initial selection screen roughly implemented
And now…for the survey results
About 15 people total took the survey! That doesn’t seem like a lot, and it’s not surprising since we’re not exactly the biggest studio ever, but just knowing how many people were interested enough to take it was very helpful in the decision-making process.
Let’s break down the infographic by section.
Patron Interaction Perks
Voting power was more popular than Patron Q&A, but both had a fairly high “yes” ratio. I’m not surprised Patron Q&A has a few more “no”s, because hey—what constitutes questions only Patrons can ask, anyways? Our Tumblr even has an ask box. However, it was a feature we’ve seen in other Patreons, and we wanted to see how much interest there was. The fact that 66% of respondents wanted to see it regardless of the lack of details says something: people have questions they’d like to ask if given the chance!
First of all, I think it’s just incredible that there was not a single no on the pre-production assets perk. All of the questions save the optional comment section and the merch choice were required, so nobody could’ve skipped it. We’re going to have to see to making a standardized look for concept art so it looks pretty when we share it!
Interestingly enough, early access to devlogs was unpopular at first, but when the survey ended it got many more “yes” votes. It’s definitely going into the perk pile. As for the Patron-only streams, we’re definitely factoring in the high amount of “no”s. I do wonder if people are worried about missing them—Patron-only streams also includes Patron-only VODs!
This one. This one is the one that told me everything on what to do.
Whether NSFW or SFW, monthly images and short stories had a lot of support. We’ll get more into that one when we get to the tier drafts.
The credit name styling depending on tier perk, by the way, got enough “yes” votes that we’re still considering it, but it’s definitely not going to be a selling point here.
The people. Want. Stickers. And mini prints, but not as much as the stickers!
We originally weren’t going to include such a perk, but we looked into Patreon Merch and ultimately decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, we don’t think we’ll focus hard on this as a selling point either due to the…strange way Patreon Merch works (you’ll see), but we’ve actually already prepared some things to be created for the initial round of merchandise.
Canva’s graph didn’t come with a key, so here’s how you read the bar colors:
Green means Very Affordable
Yellow means Somewhat Affordable
Red means Somewhat Unaffordable
Black means Unaffordable
We’ll admit we screwed up a bit writing the questions for this section—adding in a “very” adjective was a little unnecessary and probably influenced some answers. We also probably should have included a question on just what someone’s most affordable tier was to go along with the “can you commit for three months?” question.
Even so, this told us a lot about the financial standing of people who may very well be our initial Patrons. It tracks—the global economy isn’t doing too well—and since we suspected not everyone would be able to afford the super crazy awesome tiers because of this, we wanted to make extra sure so we’re not putting perks people want to see in tiers they can’t even pledge to.
So, What’ll You Do?
Using this data, we have drafted up the tiers and adjusted some of the pricing. We increased the initial tier to $2 (so we’re not getting literal pennies after fees) and reduced the highest tier to $20 (still pretty high, but the extra $5 is a lot for some people). Here are those tier drafts:
Tier 1 ($2)
Exclusive supporter Discord channel access, forever.
Pre-production tidbits and in-depth process posts and speedpaints
2 bi-monthly short stories with accompanying artwork: one spicy, one sweet
Early look at devlog posts
Your name in game credits
Unique-to-tier Discord role and color
Tier 2 ($5)
All prior benefits
Vote for the bi-monthly special art and stories
Patron-only livestreams & VODs
Patron-only Q&A sessions (likely on unreleased/unannounced games—still workshopping this!)
Tier 3 ($10)
All prior benefits
Monthly sticker club (starts 2 months after initial pledge)
Vote on the next sticker
Vote on aspects of a game
Tier 4 ($20)
All prior benefits
Monthly mini print club (starts 2 months after initial pledge)
Vote on the next mini print
Larger section in game credits
These tier drafts are naturally subject to change for the final version. We’re also open to any comments and suggestions at this stage to further refine the tiers.
Why bi-monthly stories and art, not monthly like the survey originally asked?
I considered things for a moment and came to a conclusion: I need to protect my wrist and Cherimoya isn’t always available due to work, so at the start, we’ll be delivering these special side stories & accompanying art on a bi-monthly basis. If we get enough support, we’ll likely upgrade it to monthly since we’ll be able to outsource help at that point.
Sweet AND spicy?!
Yes, we’ll be doing one SFW one and one NSFW one! This may come as a surprise to those who’ve only found us recently, but we’ve actually been planning for spicy content in our games happening eventually for a very long time. POLYCHROMANIA was originally billed with this promise and continues to have it. Of course, due to various terms of service including Substack’s, we can’t share such development freely and it’ll all be locked behind Patreon for the most part. (Cohost is also friendly to adult content, so we’ll post things from time to time on there.)
You are absolutely free to just ignore the NSFW posts if you’re not interested.
What sorts of game content will we be able to vote on?
Patrons can influence things such as little bits of bonus content. We actually already have an idea for something Patrons can vote on for 7388 when we get to that point.
Exclusive supporter access to a Discord channel forever?
We’d like to continue our tradition of allowing those who have supported us once in the special development channel, where we post some unreleased stuff and unrefined development thoughts and progress, forever. While the launch of the Patreon means that there will still be development content that’ll be locked to those actively supporting us monthly (for instance preproduction assets, things for unannounced games, and Patron-only streams), this channel will still be around posting ~secret~ things. (But not too secret.)
I’m in the special channel now. Will we still get our names in the credits without being a Patron, too?
At this time, yes. However, this may be subject to change for logistics reasons depending on how much the Patreon grows. We apologize in advance if this does happen.
Why do we have to wait to get the merch? How is it monthly?
The merchandise will be fulfilled by Patreon’s Merch service. The way said service works is that all Patrons in merch tiers will get their physical rewards after three months’ worth of pledging. We plan on asking Patreon for the specifics on when exactly that happens (on the third month, or after the third month?—our current assumption is on) before launch.
Every month, we’ll add a new sticker & print, then phase out the previous month’s. When you start getting your merchandise, you’ll start with the merchandise from the month you initially pledged in, and then every month you continue pledging you’ll get a new sticker (and print, if you’re in the applicable tier).
This is how we’ve come to understand Patreon’s articles regarding how their Merch service functions. You can read about the Patron side of things in their own words here (link to Patreon Merch help article). We would like to make sure that we’re getting this right, so once again we will be contacting Patreon Support prior to launch to ensure we’ll actually be able to do this with the tools we’re given.
At this time, we plan on launching our Patreon at the beginning of July. The exact date will be announced when we’ve completed preparations.
Once again, thank you all for helping us figure this out. To be level with you all, we needed to start earning more money to keep milk+ visual going and ensure the safety of team members. You’ll remember a few months back, for instance, that our editor Faust was in danger of eviction—we don’t want that to happen to anyone in the milk+ visual family ever again.
We’ll use the money first and foremost to support the three of us financially. Cherimoya and Faust are very kind to volunteer because they’re close to me, but I’d rather pay them both for their time and help, as well as make sure I’ll be okay, too. The future and title release speed of milk+ visual is entirely financially dependent at this point. To focus on making our own visual novels entirely without having to worry about money would be a dream.
As mentioned before, you’re free to leave comments and suggestions about the tiers either here in the article comments, or in our Tumblr askbox, or pretty much anywhere else you saw this article posted. See you next week!
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