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This will be our final interview in the series! Other opportunities to showcase your Original Characters will appear in the future. Many apologies to you, JD. This was put up quite late XD

1.What made you decide to make a visual novel?

Hungry Whispers started off as a university project during the last year of my degree. I've always wanted to write music for computer games ever since I was a kid (since 1997 actually … Final Fantasy VII was to blame for that!) and my degree was highly flexible in what I wanted to do.  

Making a visual novel was the perfect start up.  It didn't require complex programming but the bare minimal, pretty visuals and of course music.  It was an achievable interactive project to aim for and most importantly a great chance for myself to write music for an interactive environment.  Since my focus was on the audio side, some close friends helped out on the other areas- mainly in the art and programming section.  We were all interested in getting into the games industry and agreed that a visual novel game was just right … within a deadline of course.

2. Can you give us a brief synopsis of Hungry Whispers?

Hungry Whispers takes place during the time of 'Ghost Month': a period in which it is believed that the dead roam the earth among the living for a month before they are sent back to Hell.

You play the role of Dr. Yu Ling who had accidently killed a young patient under his care and is on indefinite leave to mentally recover.  Things take a sinister twist when he finds that his sister Kemi disappears which begins his search to uncover the mystery of her disappearence. However the more he uncovers, the more he finds that he may not be entirely safe either...

3. Is the antagonist of the novel a spirit, or something even more sinister?

The antagonist of Hungry Whispers is both an interesting and complicated one.  In fact the team and I are still technically fine-tuning the antagonist so whatever I say here in this interview may be wrong in the final version of the game.

Let's just say, the Silent Hill series plays a large part for inspiring the themes of Hungry Whispers and I'll leave the antagonist to your own imagination.

HW: Family Pic by JDWasabi Hungry Whispers - Screenie 1.1 by JDWasabi The Plant Dr by JDWasabi

4. How much time do you spend developing your story and programming your novel?

An insane amount of time.

The element of interactivity adds so many different possibilities to the flow of the story that tonnes of planning is needed.

To expand: :iconflippinmental: is our lead programmer and I write the main ideas for the writing department to start working on a script.  I try to display the story in various interesting ways and compromise if we can't figure out how to program something but still keeping the dramatical effect of the story.

Player consideration in cutscenes:
For example, in the opening sequence of our first beta: the interactive cutscenes were developed in such a way that the story (and scares) would be effective for two different types of players. The slow/cautious playes who would linger a little longer at places to the fast paced players who would want to race ahead.  Taking those into account, I programmed it in such a way that whichever pace was chosen, the effect of the story and end result would be roughly the same.

Within the game:
In game wise, some dialogue enables players to select an answer depending on the question. These are called 'dialogue trees' where the question is the same, splits into different answer routes and ends at the same destination. No matter which option the player choses, the answers will eventually lead to the same ending dialogue due to engine constraints. Therefore, the script would need to be planned and written in a way that would work for the story as well as the engine. I hope to develop this further in future betas however!

5. How will the use of comics, animation and music help you tell your story?

Apart from the default visual novel style, Hungry Whispers uses a combination in varying degrees which I split into different departments of the team. Since our team is still small, I lead the art/animation and music departments and work with my own skill level.

I see comics like film shots which makes things slightly easier to plan and produce in terms of story boarding and analysing the emotional/dramatical/technical flow of the story.  From there I can also consider programming, music, art assets and have a good overview of the project's production cycle. Creating a comic/storyboad has its practical uses too!

I've limited knowledge about animation but I do know that it can be highly effective when used well within context.  I can't animate crazy things so at the moment I'm only using simple animation techniques to help emulate the atmosphere and environments in the story.  An example would be the light flickering over the laptop and desk used in the opening to make a bit hypnotic, leading to the main character having a flashback.

I've been researching the different uses of music and sound design in many fields, the use in film/animation, game and its physiological/psychological effect. You'd be surprised to know how much a soundscape can tell you information: how to feel, how to react and how to stay safe (your ears don't have ear lids for that reason).

The horror genre focuses on both the use of music and sound effects which gives me a nice variety to work with as a musician.  To outline the importance of a soundtrack, try watching your favourite film without it.  Incredibly dull right? Now swap the soundtrack with something else like Psy's Gangnam Style or Beethoven's 5th Symphony.  You'd either be in tears of laughter or you'd interpret the scene in a different light. The same can be said for the use of sound design and the use of silence.

We're so use to a soundtrack telling us how to feel and we actively make it so. Like listening to our favourite music artist because it makes us feel good! But what do we do when there is a lack of a soundscape? That's when we panic and start to notice our surroudings a bit more and become more alert.

Balance is probably the most important aspect when telling a story. Knowing when and how to use animation, music/sound effects in a comic setting makes an effective story. However that also includes when not to use any and to use it to your advantage. :D

Hungry Whispers - Screenie 1.2 by JDWasabi HW: THE GLOW ... IT WATCHES by JDWasabi .SIREN.promise. by JDWasabi

6. Do you have any advice for people who would like to make their own stories?

All I can really say is:


“I want to draw a comic but I suck at drawing.”

First and probably the most important is having the correct attitude to approach your story/project. Be humble, admit you need help, embrace critisism, practise drawing hands, do your creative homework! I promise you results will show if you focus on being productive. Imagine the time you've spent watching TV when you could've been practising drawing those damn imagine the amount of hours you've spent over a week...a month...a year. Just to put things into perspective. :O

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” - Jack Sparrow

Perseverance / keeping the end result in sight:
“It's too hard and I don't get it. Why should I bother?”

Expanding on having the correct attitde, it's okay to feel low about your project and it's okay to feel excited about it.  The key thing is to not give up on your aims and goals. By keeping the end result in sight, I find that a great inspiration and keeps me motivated.

For example, it would be a dream come true to create a fully working game of Hungry Whispers and for it be well received and enjoyed by many people.  Instead of focusing on just getting the betas out, I see it as a step closer to making a full version which in turn spurs me onto making more!

There's no such thing as perfection:
You could be forever planning and writing about your characters and until you find them 'perfect', release their stories onto the world! That is until you figure out the perfect plot twist ...

Sometimes, it's better to let someone else have a look at your work and get feedback. Crtisism is a goldmine for inspiration and shed light on different perspectives that you may have not considered before.  While there's no such thing as true perfection there will always be a 'better' and 'improved' version of your current level of work!

Be yourself for yourself
Keep in mind of why you started writing this story in the first place. Don't feel pressured to write to reader's expectations. It is your story and yours alone (that is until you involve more people) and most of all, have fun. :D


Project Whispers is an open game project for anyone interested in a career in the game industry.  It is a stepping stone to improve our creative skill and to see whether we can make something awesome.
Add a Comment:
LiteAngel Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I'm so happy that you got interviewed! were you excited? haha because i felt really excited and happy when i read that! I hope you and Hungry Whispers become super successful!
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my god I'm so sorry for this late reply LOL.

I only just noticed this because this interview journal was still sitting in my inbox XD Decided it was time to spring clean it >_>

And thank you! Haha yes I was and I'm glad you were too! Well to be honest I'm cautiously playing the HW card ;D. I'd love it to be big but I also don't want it to grow too big and can't handle it ^_^. Many thanks again for your continued support and sorry for the delayed reply ;D //shot :hug:
LiteAngel Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
no worries, it's all good!

Yeah, i should probably consider doing that around my room...Butttt i'm not. OuO
Yeah, i coud see where things could possibly get really busy and you would have to commit even MORE
You're welcome, I hope that HW comes to be successful in it's own unique way, and that you continue to grow with it!
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hehe! I recently cleaned mine so I'm all right (<-- can totally tell I procrastinate too much!)

Fankyu muchly ; 3 ; :hug:
LiteAngel Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
sorry this reply is so late! so many finals and things to turn it lately, teachers must find i t fun to pile on work at the end of the year -3-
haha yeah, i should probably look into cleaning mine soon about now, kinda looks like a tornado came and decided to play hide in seek in here..
tornadoes love playing games (i think...)
you're very welcome! :)
i hope you're life has been going good so far, i know mine's been pretty hectic with deadlines and school (yayy..)
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Late reply is late but

HOPE YOU'RE OKAY and that finals/deadlines didn't kill you ... XD

Life has it's ups and downs but generally they're okay :thumbsup:
LiteAngel Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
haha, it's all good, you've probably been busy too
and I SURVIVED them! those deadlines can't take me down :)
haha, true, very, very true c:
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hell YEH! What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger right? ;)

(1 Reply)
AeternusVotum Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow, I finally found the time to read this!
It's really interesting and pretty different to the others as it's about Visual Novel!
I really wish you good luck with your project - it will surely be awesome, I like the story pretty much until now :)

I also have ideas like that in mind but I don't have the time for that, so I envy you a lot and hope you will do your best! ;)
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!

I'm really glad you're finding the story interesting, I try to make it as thoughtful as possible but alas, I'm not a writer of words :)

Haha! You've honestly nothing to envy about...I should really take my own advice more often ya know? :iconmingplz:
AeternusVotum Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, the story sounds really cool even though I'm not that good with horror and/or jump scares or even psychological scares :lol:
But I do enjoy games like Fatal Frame/Project Zero, Ib and The Witch's House a lot if you know any of them and I think your work might be jsut as interesting :)

Oh yes, we all have so good advices but never listen to them ourselves :giggle:
Yet, do your best!

And I wish you a happy new year, may your new year be blessed with happiness and health :dummy:
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Late reply is late! //shot XD

I've still yet to play The Witches house but I love the Fatal Frame/Project Zero series! I wish there were more Asian horror games like that which are not stupidly rare to find and too expensive to order online haha. Perhaps I'll resort to just watching a playthrough on Youtube ^ ^.

Thank you so much, I hope you had a good new year and that it will be filled with many happy returns for you too :D.

Keep in touch <3
AeternusVotum Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, no problem, life is always getting in the way ;)

Well, I've only watched Let's Plays from the Project Zero series but that was already enough for me to fall in love with the games :3 The stories are so awesome, terrifying and yet sad :saddummy:

Thank you very much for the New Years Greeting :3
And yes, we'll definitely keep in touch!
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hooray for late replies \o/

I really enjoyed the PZ series! And totally agree with it being really sad, although I can't remember the details so I need to reply them for reference for HW XD.

Indeed! I appreciate all my dA friends :3 :hug:
AeternusVotum Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, it was because of PZ for me to start watching Let's Plays and I immediately fell in love with the story. But also the (german) Let's Player who did it, is a really good one who can easily immerse himself into the game stories, so at the end of PZ2 (my first one), he almost cried despite being a boy and that made the experience so complete for me :lol:
I love 1-3, so now I'm waiting for him to finish the fourth one, although I really think that I love Crimson Butterflies and The Tormented most :love:
Which ones are your favourite?
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol! I never really got into Let's Plays because I guess I'm impatient and I want to experience the gameplay for myself XD.

To be honest I can't quite remember the story for the first game but I think I've played the 3rd Game the most ^_^. I really liked the idea of always returning to your house and having that feeling of security. Then as the game progresses, that really isn't the case XD. Similar to Silent Hill: The Room if you've played that?

(1 Reply)
JDWasabi Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you =CuzzaCurry :love: And no problem that this is late, I know how busy you've been * w *

It has been a pleasure working with you and thank you so much again for doing this interview! \o/ I hope all the interviews you've done inspires many others and keep up the good work!
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