- May 18, 2012
- Reaction score
- First Language
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As part of my interview series, I'm speaking to prominent developers/contributors in our RPG Maker Web community to gain insight on their inner workings. Today we speak to Ronove, one half of the dynamic duo Star Cadets, that created the legendary Star Stealing Prince, the hugely promising first part of Homework Salesman, and the widely read webnovel and sequel to Star Stealing Prince, Ephemeral Prince: Fleeting.
Thanks for agreeing to have this interview with us, Ronove. First off, tell our audience exactly who you are, for those who may not know.
Obviously you can call me Ronove and I'm just a 25 year old who dabbles in writing, art, and making video games. I graduated college in 2011 and since then I've just been working and doing various creative projects.
You have a very unique and beautiful art style. How did you get so good at it?
I don't know how I got so good at it. I've just been drawing since second grade and it just sort of blossomed into what it is now. Some people tell me like from years ago they can still see a similar style then to now (I hope I've improved, I really do), but it's basically just all about doing it consistently and always trying to do better than what you did last.
I mean you can probably see the portraits and images I did for Star Stealing Prince and compare them to what I've been doing for Gorlami, Volrath and Artbane, and even in what I'm doing now if you found my tumblr or my wordpress site. You can tell there has been a lot of change since 2011 when I did SSP.
It's like anything, you improve by doing it, right? So you've been drawing from a young age?
Yeah I have been. I remember in second grade I was so jealous this one girl was so good at drawing and got all sorts of attention, I just decided to start doing it too. Which sounds bad right now, haha. All I wanted was attention! And it just blossomed from there.
You won 9 misaos out of 13. And only 11 of them you were eligible for. What do you think went so right about Star Stealing Prince?
I really don't know what went so right about Star Stealing Prince. I didn't really think it would get as big as it did (honestly, if only a handful of people played it, I would have been happy), but if you count the Misaos SSP won and then count the fans I have following the sequel, Ephemeral Prince, it's mind boggling. All I did was create a game I wanted to play and I used mechanics and the like from the games I grew up with (Chrono Trigger, Lufia, Earthbound), and made that work all together.
Then I created a story that hinged on paying attention (I mean granted you could play the game without delving into the backstory) and never tried to give something to players that was too heavy handed on themes or whatnot. I just had a story to tell and a way I wanted to say it and smooshed that all together in RPG Maker. Clearly it struck some right chords with more than a few people! It still makes me incredibly happy to get e-mails of people telling me they loved it, posts on tumblr of people raving about it, comments on either RMW or RMN. It just makes me feel accomplished and warm and fuzzy inside.
And it was such a good story. Plus, you have something you call the "sequel to the bad ending", Ephemeral Prince: Fleeting. How are you enjoying writing that?
Star Stealing Prince
Star Stealing Prince
I'm actually two chapters away from the end of Ephemeral Prince: Fleeting! Do I enjoy writing it? Well, it's depressing (since you know, it's the bad ending sequel, how can it not be depressing?), but sad to say, I love the reactions my readers have given me. I just posted a chapter last night that had a bunch of people like devastated--like really. So yes, I enjoy writing it because I enjoy the reactions people have (I know, that makes me sound horrible, hahaha, but it's so fun to see people so attached to the characters I made and all that because it means clearly I did SOMETHING right). If I didn't have people to write for, I don't think I would have gotten so far.
Fun fact: Fleeting is over 60k words and the good ending sequel, Permanence, is a staggering 100k+ words, so yes, I enjoy writing this thing immensely.
So you're saying you've already finished writing Permanence? If so, that is a staggering thought.
I haven't even finished it yet! At over 100k words, I have 11 chapters left to write. But I've been writing Fleeting since about May I think? And I'm just now almost done posting it up. I'm a very quick writer when I have nothing to do and clearly the story resonated with me and the beta-readers who have helped me work out the kinks so far. But yes, it's a bit staggering looking at how much writing I have done this summer alone.
But that's probably because I've been wanting to do these sequels since I finished Star Stealing Prince. So since I'm able to do it now, the pen flows with ease and I just feel exhilarated finally getting the full story down on paper/screen. It's a really nice feeling!
Homework Salesman is a very cool project of yours. It's a life simulation with emphasis dungeon exploration, completing quests, crafting equipment/items, and befriending people. So far, from the first part, it proves wholly addictive.
Star Stealing Prince
Star Stealing Prince
Explain how the two of you (you and your fellow Star Cadet, Diedrupo) came up with this idea, and how influences like Rune Factory and Atelier helped you form the game.
I should probably get my fellow Star Cadet to give me his answer and I can add one of my own. Let me go poke him really quick for that cause he was the main brain behind Homework Salesman.
<a little later>What Diedrupo says: It came about after I had a back-to-back gaming session of Rune Factory Tides of Destiny and Atelier Totori, and VX Ace came out around the same time. So I decided to make a game inspired by both. And I've always been interested in that kind of game because you're right, it is really addictive and making that kind of game is fun because you know people will get their time well spent out of it. I wanted to make a life simulation style RPG where the player had an overall goal but could "live" out their daily life in the game via tasks like crafting, gathering, hunting, and questing. Reniat can befriend the people in town and get to know them better and also unlock secrets and pay for extensions to the town. The crafting element is heavily inspired by Rune Factory and the RPG elements came from Atelier Totori. We originally thought about a regular day/night cycle like in Rune Factory/Harvest Moon but decided on the AP system since accounting for NPC schedules in a day/night system is a massive amount of work.
Oh and fun fact about Homework Salesman? It was one of the games in the RPG Maker VXAce trailer. So it was just cool enough to be featured in there before we even had it out for people.
Oh wow that's fantastic! By the way, while we are on this topic, how did you meet Diedrupo? Do you know him in real life? Where did your collaborations begin?
I met him back on RMXP.org (am I old? I think I am), and he was a fan of a game I had out for demo then (Memento Vivere) and I can't remember exactly how but we started working together when VX came out since he can do programming and I so totally cannot. I did a lot of mapping for one of his VX games, Razkertim, and then he did a lot of scripting for Star Stealing Prince and we realized we worked really well together so we kinda stuck by each other. We fill in what the other isn't the best at and clearly we're still doing good. I don't think the VX version was ever released though of his game, but I had done battlers for the XP version of that game as well.
That's cool. You've worked on a ton of creative projects it seems. I mean, a literal metric ton.
Yeah I have, but it's sad to say not many see the light of day! I'm too much of a perfectionist so I have like three novels sitting collecting dust because I can never edit them enough. Not counting all the RM games I've dropped working on because I go "oh shiny" and start working on a new one, haha.
I'm just going to list a few of the many games you've collaborated on: Star Stealing Prince, Ephemeral Prince, Maladaptive Daydream, Yac and Vel, Rainbow Circuits, Strings, Homework Salesman, Sunrise God, Nepenthe Heart, The Ash Curse...
You have all the names! You were just waiting to show me that list weren't you. Yac and Vel is actually Diedupo's novel though! So at the very least, I want to finish Maladative Daydream, Rainbow Circuits, and The Ash Curse. Ash Curse is merely getting me ready for Maladative Daydream (because oh my gosh, the art I have to do for that game).
Fantastic. So what are your plans for the future? You've mentioned you want to be a published author.
I do! And I'm still working on that! I just have to throw out my perfectionist nature. But my other plans for the future is just become known through my creative projects. It doesn't just have to be novels, I've clearly made a liking of making games. But whatever I do, I just want to make sure I'm doing something creative because if I don't, it just doesn't feel like my life has much meaning.
I feel the same sometimes. I mean, I forgot to mention contributions you've made to other games, like portraits and stuff. I know that you're working with Gorlami on Oneirophrenia. That's some good stuff.
And I made good portraits in X-Noir. I love helping out my friends though in any way I can because I love it when people are creative and when they stick to a project. I also love giving people some kind of unique touch on their games if I can because it just makes it all the more better in the long run.
Last question: 5 favorites.
Fruit Gummies which are probably so bad for me.
Can I do a voice actor or actress? B: Sure, why not Okay so my favorite voice actor is Troy Baker (he has a very nice voice no one can convince me otherwise) and my favorite voice actress is Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn (she has a very nice voice too). I'm not good with regular actor or actresses names so I hope that's a good answer, haha.
Favorite ice-cream flavour?
Black cherry ice cream!
Favorite musical artist/style?
I like almost anything but the ones that I listen to the most is punk rock. I really like Bad Religion and I think this is more the rock side but Rise Against too. Those two have been really inspirational for me since I was a kid. I bet real punk fans are giving me a look now. I can almost feel it.
Favorite day of the week?
I like Wednesday because by then I've probably been productive on first days of the week and if I haven't, I know I can plan to be productive the next part of the week so it doesn't feel like I wasted my week.
Thanks Ronove for your very very valuable time. You are awesome.
This was fun! Thank you for interviewing me.
[This is the eighth part of a multi-part series that will be released every few days, whenever I get the chance. The other parts are Archeia, Gorlami, Mister Big T, Shaz, seita, Tsukihime and Dark Gaia. Visit Ronove's site blackbirdsofrye.tumblr.com if you wish to find out more about the fabulous world of Ronove. Read Ephemeral Prince: Fleeting here, or if you haven't played it yet (due to living under rock), download Star-Stealing Prince here.]
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