A Word on Release Deadlines (from someone who sucks at keeping them)

EDIT (3 October 2020): I just remembered that Michirin also had troubles with her computer during the development of MajiKana, so I made mention of that.

Hello, Popfan here! This is going to be a bit of a different type of blog post that I was originally going to just write as a Twitter thread instead, but with the scope I’m anticipating it to be, I figured it’d work better here.

So, as most of you are probably aware by now, Touhou Gouyoku Ibun got delayed yet again, and you’ve got people who are absolutely pissed at it. (One clown with a particularly bad case of brainrot even went around claiming that ZUN is responsible for the delays, another clown is using the delays to try and make himself look good and push his own fangame.) Admittedly, I haven’t been following the events too closely until now, so I don’t have good enough of an overall picture to provide accurate commentary on the situation, but from what I can tell, the issues are lack of communication and transparency on Tasofro’s end (something that Unabara Iruka, the lead programmer of the team, has acknowledged and taken the L on by now), as well as just a series of unforeseen circumstances.

Keep in mind that we are in the middle of a global pandemic right now, and if it isn’t team members falling ill that’s disrupting production, then it’s likely the mandated social distancing making it impossible for all of the members to work as closely with each other as they may be accustomed to. Granted, many small-scale hobbyist dev groups (particularly ones that I know personally) are composed of members from literally all over the world who each do their part for a project from the confines of their own home, coordinating their work via Discord servers or similar means of communication. They obviously wouldn’t be as affected by social distancing, at the very least not with regards to their workflow. I don’t know exactly how Tasofro usually work together, and it might have always been with everyone at home, but given that they all live in the same country and show up at conventions like Comiket and Reitaisai, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of them having a shared office or something, either.

Of course, mental health plays a big role in work ethic and productivity, too, and in this day and age in particular, it’s more volatile than ever.

The point I’m trying to make is that deadlines aren’t a binding contract. They’re not a 100% guarantee for when a game will be released, least of all when we’re talking about an indie dev team, a group of friends making a game for fun, or even a solo developer, and if you’re the type of person who gets angry at a game for not getting released and then takes that frustration out on the developer(s), you honestly need to check your entitlement. Missing a deadline doesn’t mean the dev team is lazy, and even if they are, so what? A notifications feed full of angry and destructive messages isn’t going to boost their morale, and if you’re at the point where you wouldn’t even buy/play the game anymore but still feel the need to harass developers, log the hell off, go outside, and touch some grass.

With that out of the way, I thought I’d talk a little bit about my own relationship with deadlines, as those of you who know me also know that I don’t exactly have a good track record with meeting them. To hopefully give you a glimpse inside a developer’s mind.

Personally, I’d come to see them as a way to boost productivity, such as back in 2017, when I wanted to release the demo version of COL in October and the full version no later than December. The idea was to get everything done before October (all the stages, bosses, endings, assets, you name it), then spend the next two months on testing, fixing bugs and making balance adjustments. I was actually able to meet the October deadline for the demo, but unfortunately missed the December deadline because creative drought kicked in and I couldn’t come up with anything for the final boss theme.

Still, though, with those deadlines in place, and the desire to meet them, I was able to complete pretty much half the game (i.e. finish all the stages and make the endings) in less than three months after trucking along for over a year barely finishing the core engine and part of stage 1.

The above is one of my only few success stories, though. For an example of a project that went horribly wrong, let’s look at MajiKana next: We started development on that in early 2015, aimed for a demo release in early July, nailed it, then expected to have the whole game done by the end of the same year. It would have been simple enough: just 8 stages with maybe a few unique setpieces here and there… but then we got contacted by Super Fighter Team wanting to create a genuine console port, and we began to feel like the game had to look a lot more impressive.

And that was the beginning of the feature creep that eventually killed the game. We added different types of magic projectiles that were simple enough. Then we had the idea of adding different melee weapons, each one drastically changing the way the game is played: the quarterstaff in particular greatly expanded your moveset by adding sliding and wall-jumping, and of course stages then had to be designed to accomodate for the possibility of having or not having those moves available to you. The flail was meant to work kind of like the whip in some Castlevania games in that you could hold down the attack button to fling it around, but it looked like a mess, and despite the fact that it was the lead programmer’s idea to add those weapons, he could never be bothered to go back and make it look more believable.

In an update video released towards the end of the year that showed off those new features, we had to announce that the game would be delayed by a few months, since we’d spent so much time just implementing the new weapons that we’d barely even gotten started on stage 3. The new deadline given was “Spring 2016” — and then came work on the stage 3 boss, which, without giving away too much, was at least two screens tall, and very involved. It was a nightmare to program and get everything working, and by the time it was all done, we had to realize that it wasn’t a terribly fun or engaging boss fight. Michirin and I were already brainstorming ideas for how it could be improved, but our lead programmer was starting to lose motivation to work on the boss.

To add insult to injury, Michirin also ended up having some serious technical issues with her computer, which ground productivity to a halt even further. Another update video later, we once again had to delay the game’s release to “it’ll be done when it’s done”, but… well, you know how that went by now.

Mental health has been playing an active role in the delay of my projects, too, especially in more recent years: Dextrous Yet Destitute was supposed to be finished by the end of 2020, but due in part to a particularly nasty mental breakdown in the summer of that year, I ended up losing a lot of weeks both to the breakdown and the subsequent recovery. In the end, it took me until April of the following year to finally complete and release it.

Granted, by that point I’d learned to stop setting hard deadlines for myself. Nowadays it’s more a case of “I’d really like to be able to have this thing done by this date”, such as with the v1.20a update for COL, which I hoped I’d have ready in time for the anniversary. While I had originally looked to deadlines as a way to keep me productive, it was this year when I came to learn that productivity comes from staying organized and allocating time of your day to dedicate to your work and nothing else. Nowadays, when I do set a deadline, it’s usually a soft one for myself; I don’t set hard deadlines unless I already have the thing 100% done and I’m just waiting for the right time to release it.

That’s just me, though, and while it does work for me and I would recommend others to give it a shot, too, not everyone does, nor does everyone need to. As long as deadlines are set, there will be ones that’ll be missed and then people who set them will have to make the choice between setting a new deadline or just saying “it’ll be done when it’s done”. In any case, next time your favorite developer is postponing the release date of a game you were really looking forward to, consider what could have gotten in the way, and respond with compassion, not anger. No developer wants their game to get delayed, so they’re usually not doing it out of malice towards their fans or consumers.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I apologize if I was all over the place with it.





さて、ブログ更新のメイン理由は……マジカナの話しをしたいんです。ゲームの先のアップデートはもう2016年5月にさかのぼります。Michirinさんは「公開はお知らせるまで延期になる」と言いました。それは今もそうですが、実は開発は完全に中止にしてしまいました。Michirinさんはまだゲームを再開発していずれ公開する予定ですが、外人アレク現作団と手を組まないで一人でそうするつもりです。Super Fighter Teamは2019年11月にパブリッシャーをやめてしまったのでコンソール版も無理になりました。



とにかくお楽しみにしてください! そうこうするうちに、僕のことも支援したければ、どうぞ自分の他の音楽アルバム「祖型无現の再現 ~嗹縁開无現里~」をお買取りくださいませ。すでに買った人へ、誠にありがとうございます。二回目買う必要がありませんよ。


Your Bi-Yearly Update

Hello there, Popfan here.

It’s been quite a while since the last blog post, hasn’t it? I don’t blame you for thinking I abandoned the blog in favor of Twitter. Since this blog is exclusively for major announcements, of which there haven’t been any in a long while (in no small part due to my struggles with mental health), there just wasn’t much reason to use it.

As you may or may not have been aware of, Team Gaijin Alex has dwindled down to just me. Last February, I contacted both Spaztique and FullHitPoints, and both agreed that they hadn’t had any noteworthy involvement or association with the team for years now. Nevertheless, I’m still thankful to them for what they did to help me grow as a person and develop my skills, and I wish them all the best.

Now, for the main reason why I’m writing this blog post… I want to talk about MajiKana. The last update regarding the game dates back all the way to May 2016, where Michirin announced that its release would be delayed until further notice. While that still holds true, the truth of the matter is that development has been put on hold entirely. Michirin still has plans to revive and release the game sometime in the future, but she will be taking on the project by herself, without the help of any members of Team Gaijin Alex, current or former. A console port is no longer in the cards, either, as Super Fighter Team has pulled out of the publishing business as of November 2019.

That said, do consider giving Michirin your support. Check out her YouTube channel here, her itch.io page here, and her Bandcamp page here.

As for my personal projects… the second entry to the Mukai Project is still in the works, but due to a combination of mental health problems, college, and being stuck waiting for the latest GMS2 update to come out of its beta phase, I haven’t really been able to make any progress on it whatsoever. I do, however, have a new music album in the works, which I hope to release sometime this year, but the sooner I can, the better. I’m going to make it my full-time focus after exams are done and over with, but it’ll still be out when it’s out.

I hope you’ll look forward to it! In the meantime, if you want to support me, do please consider purchasing my other album, Proto-Unreality Replication ~Len’en Kai Mugenri~. Though if you’ve already purchased it before, then thank you very much for your patronage. Please be responsible with your money and don’t actually buy it twice.

That about wraps it up. Thank you for your patience and support!









「夢界幻魔伝 ~ chain of lucidity」とは、夢界Projectという東方と連縁からインスピレーションを取る弾幕STGシリーズの第一弾です。開発はまだ初期ですが、2017年の後半に完成出来るかもしれません。マジカナと同じに、余暇に開発するゲームです。



An update on MajiKana, and a new game announcement

UPDATE (3 July 2020): MajiKana is no longer in development.

As of yesterday, Michirin has finally obtained the final parts necessary to build herself a new PC, meaning that, after around half a year of nothing, development on MajiKana is finally set to resume!

Having lost this much time on game development, there’s obviously no way we’d be able to finish the game by the end of the year, seeing as MajiKana is only about 30% done at this point. It’s a depressing number, considering the game started development almost two years ago, but with any luck, we ought to improve our productivity by putting aside at least a few hours a week for game development. Given our lack of overall progress, it’s still hard to say exactly when we’ll be done, however, so the release date will still be TBA.

That said, the first thing we’re gonna work on is another graphical overhaul. Next time you’ll get to see footage of MajiKana, expect much prettier backgrounds than ever before.

Speaking of game development, I, Popfan, want to formally announce another game that I’ve been working on by myself since February.


(early development screenshot, not representative of the final product)

“Mukai Genmaden ~ chain of lucidity” is going to be the first game of the Mukai Project, a series of bullet hell shoot ’em ups inspired particularly by Touhou and Len’en. The game is still in fairly early development, but with any luck, I ought to be able to finish it in mid-to-late 2017. Like with MajiKana, this is a game I’m making in my spare time.

The game will be fairly small-scale, having only one playable character with two shot types, five stages, and no extra stage, and it will most likely only be released for Windows PCs. At least, there are no plans for things like Mac or Linux releases. As for the current state of progress, the core engine is pretty much done, so it’s just a matter of creating all the necessary assets (graphics, music, sound effects), as well as designing the stages and boss fights. If I had to give the overall progress a percentage, I’d say it’s somewhere around 40-50%.

I hope you’ll look forward to my game as much as you’ll look forward to MajiKana.

MajiKana delayed even further ― マジカナ公開はもっと延期

UPDATE (3 July 2020): This game is no longer in development. The embedded video has been removed, but the hyperlinks are retained for archival purposes. However, please note that they may no longer lead anywhere.


As expected, we didn’t make the spring release. In fact, development has been going slow to the point where we were hardly even able to make any progress since the last update in November. To top it off, Ruko experienced some serious technical difficulties, from which she has yet to fully recover, and as such, her ability to work on the game has become limited. With a huge boss that is annoying to work on, even the programmers find themselves hard-pressed to get any significant work done.

Because of this, MajiKana’s release is delayed until further notice. We’re hopeful that we might get the game done by the end of the year, but don’t count on it.

This bad news out of the way, here’s some good news to make up for it: First of all, we’ve begun planning (and rudimentary development) of a series of side-games called “MajiKana Gaiden”, which will each be one stage long and mimicking the look, feel and limitations of a different system. Some work was done on the NES version, “MajiKana FC Gaiden”, for the sake of having something to show in the above update video, but further development on these is low-priority and unlikely to go anywhere until the main game has been completed. The side-games will be donationware, so you can decide for yourself how much you’re willing to pay for each of them.

Secondly, we’re very excited to announce that Super Fighter Team has approached us offering to port MajiKana to the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis! Given the high production costs, however, we expect the retail price to be somewhere around $40 to $60. However, just like SFT’s other titles, this one will also be region-free.

Please look forward to both, and thank you for your patience with us up until this point!




一、わくわくにお知らせるのは、Super Fighter Team様が我々を連絡して、マジカナのセガメガドライブ版を作ることです!生産値段は高いですから、小売価格が4千~6千5百円の範囲にあるでしょう。しかし、SFT様の全ゲーム通りに日本・アメリカ・ヨーロッパ・世界中のメガドライブで遊べます。


MajiKana’s Release Delayed ― マジカナ公開延期

UPDATE (3 July 2020): This game is no longer in development. The embedded video and donation links have been removed, but the hyperlinks are retained for archival purposes. However, please note that they may no longer lead anywhere.


We have been hard at work with Haruhana Soft to release MajiKana by the end of the year, but as you may be able to tell from the trailer up there and Ruko’s explanation in her update video, we added a lot of spiffy things into the game such as new powerups and an improved choice of colors. This, coupled with a fairly low productivity rate, means we won’t even have the game halfway done by the end of the year. We are going to have to delay its release until at least spring of 2016, if not further, and we are so sorry about that, but it may be better for the quality of the final product. Please be patient.

On that note, we would like to point out that donations are still open, and still with the same rewards. For further information, check out Haruhana Soft’s website or our own website’s MajiKana section.

Thank you for your support!




MajiKana Demo Release (v0.021) ― マジカナ体験版の公開

UPDATE (3 July 2020): This game is no longer in development. The embedded video and donation links have been removed, but the hyperlinks are retained for archival purposes. However, please note that they may no longer lead anywhere.


Team Gaijin Alex, in collaboration with Haruhana Soft, is developing their debut game to be released by the end of the year. However, as of July 1, a playable demo has been released that was recently updated to iron-out some kinks.

Go to Haruhana Soft’s website to download the game, or just click here instead. (Click here if you already have the game and want to update it with a patch.)

Do leave us your feedback, and please consider donating to help us during development.