Icebound has recently been posted on Steam Greenlight! It is now free to receive your vote, and although the visual novel is not yet finished, it has been getting some good feedback. Progress has been going well, with much of the art completed and music currently in production. The minigames are also being worked on, as I am hoping for the game to have more than one type of minigame – I just don’t want to add anything reflex-oriented to what is otherwise a visual novel, so I’ll have to stick to different types of puzzles.
One difficulty I have run up against is finding backgrounds that work well with the style of character art we’re using – flat-shaded backgrounds tend to look a bit boring even if the character art is colored the same way. An interesting thing I have discovered is that in anime, backgrounds are colored in a completely different style than the characters themselves – one that uses a different technique of shading to achieve a digital-painted effect. I believe that this is the best way to go about things, since otherwise, the background will end up looking bland and untextured.
Hopefully, the unique style of character art can avoid the knee-jerk reaction that people give to other, more typical anime representations used in visual novels. I personally like such a flat-shaded-yet-detailed style very much and I will most likely use it for any future projects I work on. It provides an increased amount of visual appeal without being so detailed as to be overly serious.