Gearing Up for 0.2.0

Hi there! First, we're really sorry for going dark in the past few months. But the Mannequin project is not dead; in fact it's going stronger than ever with the (upcoming) 0.2.0 update which should come in several days (late June/early July).

So, what were you doing?

One of the biggest changes that made 0.2.0 took so long is the rewriting of Mannequin's code from nearly scratch. We used NW.js in the current version of Mannequin; but in the upcoming 0.2.0, everything has been re-written with Electron as the runtime/wrapper. We chose this path because the Electron community is significantly larger than NW.js, which means more resources available, and therefore less headaches for us when problems come around. Plus, several of Electron's automated packagers that are already available in the wild are quite stable and feature-rich, which means we'll be able to ship updates faster in the future.

Also, we're migrating our library assets' source from Animate CC to Illustrator CC, mainly because of Adobe's lower caste support for Animate, but also in the hopes of getting more precise results and gather more information in preparation for user-made contents. Several aspects of the art style will also change because of this.

Any new features?

No uber-fantastic new features are coming, because most of what we've done is rebuilding and refining, but there are definitely some. Here are the highlights:

Tabbed Interface. Our main objective when working on 0.2.0 is to make Mannequin a real professional tool for assisting your game development projects, not just some toy for playing around. So we put our mind in real working scenarios: When developing your, say, VN, most likely you'll have more than one character. With this, you can open all of your character in the same time.

Advanced Colors. Depending on your project's art style, our default coloring might not suitable enough. So we are providing a way to adjust base, highlight and shadow color individually.

Color Palette. Some of our friends here have expressed their interest for a quick selection palette, used for quickly choosing a suitable color rather than being overwhelmed by a manual color picker each time. We've added that, and more. The color selection for different categories (skin, hair, clothing, eye) can be configured from the preferences menu for a very personalized experience.

Clothing/Hairstyle/Face Presets. A character can wear various kinds of clothing, sport different hairstyles, and make all kinds of expressions during the course of your game. So we added presets for each one of them. Add new one for every occasion, and switch between them easily.

Batch Export. Complementing the Clothing/Hairstyle/Face Presets mentioned above, you'll be able to export every variant of those presets into a folder in one click, saving the hassle of exporting them one by one.

Any potential niggles?

As with any big updates, plus considering the fact that Mannequin is still in early access, there will be some niggles. We still don't know the full list (that will have to wait until the actual release), but for now the most important thing is: Files created with older versions of Mannequin (<0.2.0) won't be able to open. This will only happen initially, as we'll bake some compatibility layer in later updates. So keep holding on to your old files and keep them safe until we're able to open them again.

Anything else?

Reflecting on what we've done in the past year, we think it's probably a good time to reconsider and refocus our efforts in various aspects, especially after considering the time that we actually have for this project each day. Mannequin is currently being worked part-time, mainly because it's still unable to generate enough revenue for covering our daily expenditures, therefore every minute of the time available for it should be used very efficiently towards the completion of the app itself. As such, we'll be closing some of our communication channels in the coming weeks.

Our Trello board and social media accounts will be inactive/deleted except for Twitter, and our release news will be moved to this (devlog) section of itch.io (replacing the one in the discussion board). Other changes might also happened during the next few weeks as we adjust things to streamline our work even more.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Again, we're really sorry for the late updates, and see you soon in the 0.2.0 release!

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