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.


 昨日は、いよいよ夢界幻魔伝のv1.20aのアップデートを完成させることになって・・・それから今すぐにv1.20bのホットフィックスも公開しなければなりませんでした。まあ、相変わらずですね。とにかく、この1~2ヶ月間はすごくとんでもないことになっていて、一時はアップデートがなかったことになったところでした。プロジェクトは破損していて進捗を完全に失ってしまったのです。Game Maker Studioの2.3アップデートで自分のプロジェクトのv1.15aの時点のバックアップを取っていなかったらこれで終わりでしょう。これからはGithubを使うことになりましたが、それでも挽回しなければならない進捗が沢山ありました・・・挽回は2~3日だけかかったけど。




 ちなみに、前週新しいタブレット(Huion Kamvas Pro 12)を手に入れたので、作画の腕を磨く機会を逃さないと思います。

 また、新しいアルバムの制作にも取り組みたいと思っています。最初の「色々な更新の記録」で、アルバムを作る計画があると言ったのを覚えているかもしれませんが、もちろんそれこそが僕が取り組もうとしている事なのです。どれぐらい長くなるかまだ決まっていませんが。また10曲を狙いますが、それより少なくなる可能性もあります。「祖型無限の再現 ~嗹縁開无現里~」と「器用貧乏」の物理的なCDを売る夢もまだ離していませんし。どうしても作らせて欲しいですけど、お金がかかって、需要がなければ収支が合えません。いつの日か、ね・・・




General Update Log No. 7, and a Farewell to COL

So as of yesterday, I’ve finally finished and released the v1.20a update for chain of lucidity… which I then had to promptly supplant with a hotfix in the form of v1.20b — business as usual, really. At any rate, the past month or two were one hell of a ride, and at one point the update almost wouldn’t have happened in the first place: The project had gotten corrupted and I’d lost all my progress. If I hadn’t made a backup of the project as of v1.15a due to Game Maker Studio’s 2.3 update, it would’ve been all over. I started using Github after that, but of course I still had to recover a lot of progress… which I kinda did in the span of a few days.

At any rate, unless anything else comes up that requires fixing, this is the absolute final update for the game. It’s been over three years since its initial release, and it’s high time for me to move on to new projects, which happen to be within the scope of what I want to talk about in this update.

Starting with the elephant in the room: the second Mukai game. I’d actually attempted starting development on it back in 2019, believe it or not, but most I got done were a few new assets and maybe the shot types. Given that I effectively made a copy of the COL project to use as a base, and considering all the work I’ve done on COL itself since, it of course reasons from that that there’s not much I’ll be able to reuse — not that that’s much of a setback, thankfully.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’m hoping to restart development sometime late this year (November/December, perhaps), but no later than early 2022. Various circumstances have held me off from even so much as finding the motivation to work on it, not least of all my art burnout. However, I realize that there are many other aspects of the game that I could have been working on aside from graphics and code: music, for one, or even just writing the dialogue. “Know your limits and then work around them” is good advice to live by, and I’m going to try doing so, going forward.

As an aside, I did receive a new drawing tablet last week (a Huion Kamvas Pro 12), so I’ll be trying to take this as an opportunity to continue shaking off the rust and improving my art skills.

What I’d also like to work on is a new album. You may remember from my very first General Update Log that I mentioned I’d had a plan for one, and of course that’s exactly what I’m intending to work on. I can’t say how long that album is going to be yet. I’m going to try shooting for 10 tracks again, but it could also end up with less. I haven’t entirely given up on my dream of having and selling physical copies of Proto-Unreality Replication ~Len’en Kai Mugenri~ and Dextrous Yet Destitute yet, either. I’d love to have them made, it’s just that it costs a lot of money, and if there’s no demand, I obviously won’t be able to come anywhere near breaking even. Maybe someday in the future, though…

Now that I’m finally done with COL, though, I may open song commissions again soon. First I just want to write something for myself to get back into the swing of things, but after that, definitely going to take another jab at it. I should note, however, that I’ll be changing my pricing system to be on a per-minute basis, rather than per-phrase. My prices will also be somewhat higher, since I felt like I charged way too little for the amount of work I put in. Just as a heads-up to those of you who’ve been waiting all these months for me to open commissions again.

One last thing I’d like to mention — just this once — is that I’ve got a second blog that serves as a personal gaming journal. You can check it out here. I won’t bring it up here again, since the TGA blog is meant to be for, well, TGA-related stuff (i.e. the games and music I’m working on), but I’ll be posting on Twitter whenever there’s a new journal entry, so you can’t miss it (unless Twitter’s algorithm says otherwise).

That’s all. Thank you all for your continued support, and I hope I’ll have something new for you to look forward to soon.


 今日はBandcamp Fridayです! どういうことかと言うと、今日はBandcampでアルバムを買うと、収益の一部がBandcamp社に行くのではなく、クリエイターがすべての収益を受け取ることができるのです。


 それとついでに、僕のもう一つのアルバム「祖型无現の再現 ~嗹縁開无現里~」もよろしくお願いします。Daijin氏による最初の連縁作品「鏈縁无現里 ~ Emergency everyday」のサウンドトラックのリマスターです。主人公セリンツのボス曲、そしてスタッフロール曲の二曲のオリジナル曲もあります。


 作曲と言えば、本日はコミッションを開始することになります! アルバムは僕の腕前を表すポートフォリオのようなものだと思ってください。詳しくは、僕のTwitter(というか、このツイート)をご覧ください。以下のコミッションシートでもどうぞ。




 東方の進捗は、神霊廟のルナノーコンクリアはまだですが、虹龍洞のEXクリアそしてルナノーコンクリアを初日に達成しました! これで、格ゲーを除く公式の東方のゲームの半分以上でルナノーコンクリアを達成しました。虹龍洞はすでにLNNされたりカンストされたりしたらしいですし。カードはやっぱり強すぎですね・・・


 それと、Ko-fiを始めようかなと思っています。どうですか? コーヒーでも買ってくれませんか?

General Update Log No. 5

Today is Bandcamp Friday! What does that mean? It means that, if you buy albums on Bandcamp today, the creators will receive all of the revenue instead of a cut of it going to Bandcamp itself.

My own album, Dextrous Yet Destitute, has been out since last month, but for the sake of capitalizing on today, I’ve made a bit of a promotion video. In case you’ve never listened to it before, here’s a crossfade demo, but also make sure to watch until the end for a promo code you can use that’ll let you buy the album at a 50% discount for today!

While you’re at it, please consider purchasing my other album, too: Proto-Unreality Replication ~Len’en Kai Mugenri~, a remaster of the original soundtrack to the first ever Len’en game, Emergency everyday, developed by Daijin. I even wrote two original themes for it: one being a boss theme for protagonist Serintsu, the other a credits theme.

Of course, please don’t buy the same album twice unless it’s as a gift for someone else. Otherwise, thank you very much for your support! I appreciate it a lot!

Speaking of music, I’m also opening commissions as of today! Consider the above album a portfolio of sorts so you’ll know what I’m capable of. Check my Twitter (or, more specifically, this tweet) for more information, or just look at the commission sheet below:

To start with, I think I’ll only be taking two slots in order to test the waters. If I feel comfortable enough, I’ll open more slots. Hopefully you’ll like what I do enough to want to get something from me!

I’ve also developed something of a consistent schedule for Twitch streaming. You can find me just about every day at 6PM GMT+2, streaming for about two hours at a time. I announce my streams on Twitter an hour in advance as well as when I go live, so don’t miss ’em!

Currently I’m streaming myself playing through Phantasy Star II after completing its prequel on-stream before. It might be a pretty grind-heavy game, so feel free to try and chat me up about whatever you like.

As for my progress with Touhou, I still haven’t gotten my TD Lunatic 1cc yet, but I did get a day one Extra stage clear and Lunatic 1cc of UM! With that, I now have Lunatic 1ccs in more than half the official Touhou games, not counting the fighting games. Apparently the game has also been LNN’d and counterstopped on day one. Cards are just that OP.

That’s it for now. I’m glad the update turned out as big as it did. Heck, I spent all Wednesday afternoon editing the promo video for the album. The pomodoro technique is crazy effective.

Also, I’ve been thinking of starting a Ko-fi. What do you think? Would you buy me a coffee?











General Update Log No. 4

Damn, almost two months since the last log. Even so, I don’t have much to report, but I’m slowly getting back on track again, so if nothing else, at least that deserves a new blog post.

Regarding my obligatory album progress report: I’m proud to say that, after weeks if not months of procrastination (largely induced by severe mental health problems last month), I’ve finally started doing some more mixing as of last Sunday. That’s all I’ll say on the matter, though, as I don’t want to jinx myself by predicting a release schedule again.

Normally I’d say check my Twitter to be kept up to date, but odds are there’s nobody reading this blog who doesn’t already follow me on there.

Aside from album work, I’ve also started streaming on Twitch. Unfortunately I’m not streaming music work (although I might do so in the future, particularly once I start taking commissions), but you can usually find me there in the mornings and evenings (GMT+1) streaming either my attempts at getting a Lunatic 1cc in TD or just playing some SG-1000 games (or any other games I feel like playing at the time). Maybe someday I’ll try to make a more consistent schedule out of it, but for now I’m just streaming for the hell of it more than anything.

Speaking of stream, that’s where I somehow managed to achieve something insanely difficult I used to bite my teeth out on over the years: I cleared Flash Mode in Columns on Pro difficulty and with the height set to 9, which you can watch here. It may look easy, but I’m pretty sure I got incredibly lucky to be able to do it on my second attempt that session. After all, you really don’t get much breathing room to start with, and if the RNG hates you, you can easily end up with all the wrong colors and end up losing all your progress.

Now if only I could achieve counterstop in Arcade Mode…

Oh yeah, Touhou 18’s demo came out last month, too. Probably one of the hardest Lunatics in the series. It took me a good while to finally get a Lunatic 1cc. So far I’ve managed it with every character except for Sakuya… and after several failed attempts, I’ve decided to just not bother with her. People say Reimu is the worst shot type, but at least she has a bomb that’s good for more than just scoring.

Finally, today I went to the post office to pick up something I’d been looking forward to getting my hands on for quite a while now: a Sega SJ-200 controller, which came with Sega’s first ever home console, the SG-1000. I’m glad to announce that it’s in good working order, although the stick itself is hard to move around, especially diagonally. Then again, I suppose that’s to be expected.

That’s all for this time. Thanks for your support, and please take care of yourselves!






 「2月の月末までに」という締切にももう間に合えないようです。次の金曜日に行うBandcamp Fridayに販売すればいいなと思いますが、きっと無理かもしれません。僕を知っている人はしっていますね。僕は締切に間に合うのは苦手だと。ゆえに、「5日間かかっても5か月かかっても、完成させたら完成させた」と、言っておきましょう。














General Update Log No. 3

It’s been about a month since the last update log, hasn’t it? Going by my bi-weekly schedule, I should have written this one on the 8th, but ended up not doing so because I just didn’t have anything worthwhile to report other than “the album is still in progress and it’s the only thing I’ve been (not) working on in the past two weeks”.

At this point I’m just writing this log both for self-accountability and to give at least some sign of life.

So yes, elephant in the room. The album. Going by my progress spreadsheet, we’re currently looking at an 86.5% completion rate, but it hasn’t really been going up in a while. I’ve only got one track left to write, and it’s been giving me a headache because I’ve yet to stumble upon instrumentation for it that I actually like.

It’s also looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll meet the “by the end of February” deadline at this rate. Hopefully I’ll only miss it narrowly so that I can still capitalize on the upcoming Bandcamp Friday on the first Friday of March, but I’d keep expectations of that low. If you’ve been keeping track for a while, you’ll know that I almost never meet any deadline I set for myself, so for now I’ll just stick with saying “it’ll be done when it’s done, whether that be in five days or five weeks”.

That said, I guess I do call it a “general” update log for a reason, so maybe I could pad it out a bit with some journaling unrelated to personal projects.

As some of you may have witnessed, I finally managed to Lunatic-1cc IN last Thursday. When I uploaded it to YouTube, I realized I should also upload some of my other Touhou achievements from years past. They’re as follows:

You can also check my playlist of other Touhou Lunatic 1ccs. Counting the 1ccs I don’t have footage of – and not counting the fighting games – I’ve now got Lunatic 1ccs in half the official Touhou games. Not sure which game I’ll tackle next yet, but it might be either SA, DDC, or WBaWC.

Today I also came upon notes for a game idea I remember having since I was a kid. I remember drawing a lot of mockup screenshots for it, though while those are all completely lost to time, what remains are notes I made from what memories I retained.

Basically, it’d be a 2D Metroidvania kind of like Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap and Wonder Boy in Monster World – or, for a more recent example, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. One of the recurring elements also seems to be crystals, with one mechanic revolving around collecting crystal shards scattered across the world in order to craft them into various things, such as powerful equipment or an item that doubles how long your life bar can get

I’d love to make it a reality someday, but at present it’s barely even more than the fragment of a concept. I gotta fill in a lot of the lore and worldbuilding, to say nothing of the graphics and sound that’d have to be made. It’s definitely not something I could pump out in just a few weeks. To top it all off, I’m actually really bad at programming platformers.

Ah well, if I can at least flesh out the concept some, that’ll be enough for me. I’m only one guy, after all, and even just bringing out a new Mukai title takes a lot out of me… as evidenced by the fact that there’s still only the one.

Speaking of projects, though, I also want to update my Sokoban clone at some point, port it over to GMS2 and give it some quality of life adjustments, among other things. Like a proper pause menu instead of having to hold down Esc for 3 seconds. Maybe even a function to undo steps, though I feel like there should be some kind of penalty to it, like having it stop recording your number of steps and pushes for the level you’re in.

What I’m also thinking of adding is more cutscenes, especially to the text-only screens. A proper how-to-play section would be great to have, too, even if I doubt anyone’s actually gonna look at it.

Speaking of clones, there’s also this Columns clone that I’d been working on, but all I’ve got so far is a custom sprite font and some rough shapes for the jewels. Meh, probably no point in going into too much detail about my plans for that yet, either.

…Anyway, yeah. Lot of stuff I want to do. Nowhere near enough mental capacity for all of it. I hope you can be patient with me for at least a little longer. I’m trying my best… I think. Who can say, really?

On that note, though, this is going to be a bitch to translate into Japanese later.




器用貧乏 ~ Dextrous Yet Destitute




  1. 知らぬ時代の懐旧
  2. ソポール ~ 羊数え (CD ver.)
  3. 見覚え幼女
  4. 活気を運ぶのは東西の風
  5. 精霊樹物語
  6. 自我消失の夢
  7. 迷宮めいきゅう 明球めいきゅう
  8. 風乗族は月の国へ
  9. 尚雷しょうらい ~ 呪詛なる祝福
  10. ラバランプに映る懐古世紀