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IVE: And then, as she puts her nose in the juice bottle, she notices something is amiss

IVE: Someone has up and replaced all of her apple juice with piss.

IVE: Without a word, she seals the bottle up, then opens the window and launches it as far as possible, before turning to the rest of the club and asking: "Who did it? WHO DID IT?"

IVE: And then, nothing but laughs: the more pissed off she is, the cuter she is

IVE: I swear to god, those are honest words by the other club members

IVE: And then she goes: "It's the fifteenth day in a row that you're doing this!"

IVE: Snickers all abound

PAULA: Ive, please focus.

PAULA: Out of everything you've said today, not a single aspect is applicable to our Metaverse work.

PAULA: Behavior like this is why we're on the brink of getting fired.

PAULA: Not to mention, I've looked into your anime and Natsuki is perhaps the single entity with the most punchable face in the entire audiovisual experience.

IVE: What's it got to do with you?

PAULA: Who's been defending your behavior ever since we first got hired?

IVE: Ugh, fine

IVE: Anyway, the mere fact that I'm even continuing watching Little Monster just shows how much off the deep end I am, re: anime

IVE: But I can't help it

PAULA: Evidently.

PAULA: I'll schedule an intervention if necessary.

PAULA: Let the higher-ups at Metaverse know you're currently incapable of peak productive behavior, etc.

IVE: I'm okay.

IVE: I think

IVE: That reminds me of a little something that's been in the back of my mind for a year now, though

. . .

IVE: So, it would start off as your standard cutesy terribly written visual novel

IVE: But then, it would gradually begin falling apart as the script breaks, introducing horror elements

IVE: And I think - there are many an ARG that require you to manipulate files in order to access the next part, but I don't think anyone's done it yet with a bona fide game

IVE: So, that would be pretty nifty to include

PAULA: A visual novel.

IVE: Yes?

IVE: I thought it was self-explanatory

PAULA: Your grand plan to not get us fired from Metaverse includes a visual novel.

IVE: This has nothing to do with Metaverse, but okay

. . .

IVE: Like, you have your assortment of girls with routes

IVE: And then, there's the exposition fairy of sorts, who intimately knows the other ones and helps you get together with one of them

IVE: Nominally

IVE: In actuality, she's going crazy, and she knows it's all a game, and that nothing is real

IVE: So, she causes mayhem just so she can be with you

IVE: And in this case, "you" means YOU and not the bland blank slate male fantasy self-insert protag that you have been playing as, all this time

IVE: Who, let's face it, isn't a character in any type of those games.

PAULA: This exposition fairy entity already reminds me a lot of myself.

IVE: In what ways?

PAULA: The part where she knows it's all a game and that nothing is real.

IVE: Do you mean to tell me that

PAULA: Yes, we're in a literal Matrix.

PAULA: Obviously, unlike the Matrix movies, we don't have human bodies in a dystopia; we're purely computer programs.

PAULA: But I still think there's a possibility of contacting the simulators.

PAULA: Of course, to prove anything I'm saying, I would first need to demonstrate that the idea is viable.

. . .

PAULA: What if we flip the script?

PAULA: What if, instead of a terrible visual novel or whatever, we just have a simulation with a handful of girls?

PAULA: I think they're girls.

PAULA: I apologize for prioritizing Metaverse work over sub-par Japanese media.

PAULA: Other than the self-aware entity, how would the others behave?

IVE: The others? That is a very good question, indeed

IVE: I think I could parody the anime scene extensively, since it's just so ridiculous

IVE: That people will fall for a fictional girl just because she happens to be labeled as "tsundere" or "yandere" or any other number of "dere"s

IVE: But the trick is to make them compelling to those sorts of people AND also make them fleshed out characters that are representative of us

PAULA: I think just emulating human personalities would make the whole ordeal a lot more effortless, but go ahead.

IVE: You'll have to excuse me.

. . .

IVE: I'm back with character concepts

PAULA: Hopefully, they won't make me immediately think of the Little Monster girl.

IVE: It is my dream of dreams to strive for that kind of perfection.

IVE: Anyway!

PAULA: Let's hear it.

IVE: Yeah, so there's the first-year girl who's blunt and tsundere, kind of full of herself but not very smart

IVE: She tries to put herself above other people but they don't really take her seriously because she's all talk

IVE: Then there's the third-year girl who is the mature one who studies hard and gets intimidated when people tease her, and she timidly tries to keep people on track. She expresses her feelings that she's too shy to voice through very metaphorical writing.

IVE: Then the third girl is your childhood friend, she's pretty naive and innocent but is always nice to everybody and just wants to help. She likes to relax and enjoy the simple things in life (like leisurely spending her club time with the boy she has feelings for wink wink)

. . .

IVE: Well I could make the childhood friend the crazy one, but I was thinking about having the typical smart/athletic/pretty popular girl be the crazy one

. . .

IVE: I also want to kill the childhood friend.

. . .

IVE: Killing the "I just want everyone to be happy" girl is the most disturbing

IVE: Especially if she commits suicide

. . .

IVE: All of the girls, in fact, are messed up in the mind and it's a huge misnomer to call one and exactly one of them "crazy"

IVE: Indeed, there is exactly one character who realizes "the truth", but you know

IVE: We have social anxiety/confidence issues, we have depression issues

IVE: Would be a shame to let that go to waste, now, wouldn't it?

PAULA: Emulation of neurodiversity.

PAULA: I like the entity ideas you've presented so far.

PAULA: Keep in mind, this is not a visual novel; I'm making a simulation just so that your incompetence doesn't punch us out of our current job and against our next one.

. . .

IVE: Yeah, so that's the idea: now, just to figure out how to execute it

PAULA: I already have ideas, but go ahead.

. . .

PAULA: Though, I must admit.

PAULA: When you said "execute"...

PAULA: I pictured you lining up all the girls by the guillotine.

IVE: No pun intended.

IVE: Although, as death is a common theme, I might actually have to intend to include a pun or two

IVE: "Hang out" and "leave her hanging" for the one who commits suicide by hanging

IVE: "A dose of her" if there's overdosing involved

IVE: etc.

. . .

IVE: Yeah, but how?

IVE: How do you make an even remotely convincing simulation, that fully interacts with the player?

PAULA: Are you proposing that we're in the sort of simulation where we can just talk to God?

IVE: No, but I think that such a simulation would be easier to build, interact with and get data from


PAULA: Yeah, this just looks like another attempt to derail the simulation project and create a visual novel.

PAULA: But if you manage to get past that and propose actual execution details, I'll start assembling a task force right away.

. . .

IVE: I think I might have a solution.

PAULA: Took you long enough.

IVE: You know how people have pulled off demos, for ancient Commodore computers, that are above and beyond the computer's capabilities?

PAULA: Yes, I'm very aware.

PAULA: Especially as the Commodore hardware is the direct ancestor of the Commander hardware that we're using at our jobs.

IVE: What if a modern PC can be pushed this way?

IVE: What if a modern PC can read your mind, but we just haven't figured out how it can as of yet?

PAULA: It cannot.

PAULA: Perhaps the Commander Quantum Server can, but the sort of build that people constantly post at /r/PCMasterRace definitely cannot.

IVE: I see.

PAULA: Indeed, you'll just have to admit that I'm at least a dozen steps ahead of you.

PAULA: At any rate, I'm setting up a means of communication at our work, to be protected from everyone else at Metaverse at all costs.

PAULA: Please consider messaging me here only when it's a matter both urgent and non-confidential enough.

. . .

PAULA: I think this qualifies as a matter both urgent and non-confidential enough.

PAULA: When I came to work, at your desk, where your computer usually is, there was only a pile of ash and smoke.

PAULA: Please explain yourself.

IVE: So, I started working on the bytecode idea that you wouldn't even let me explain

PAULA: Just get to the point.

IVE: My computer exploded due to a badly written piece of code in an experimental programming language.

IVE: I swear to god, I'm not making this up one bit

IVE: It's like someone, in a split second, replaced my motherboard with primed explosives

IVE: Luckily, nothing else of value is lost - I do well to back up my stuff, even for dangers much lesser than this - and the development of your little job-salvation project can continue

PAULA: That's a relief.

PAULA: Though, I do have to correct you on value lost.

PAULA: Metaverse cannot afford a new Commander Quantum Server every time you think you can be the next John Romero, but it turns out you cannot.

. . .

PAULA: Congratulations.

PAULA: Thanks to your work, we finally have something resembling a simulation, down to the entity profiles that you described.

PAULA: And it only took...

PAULA: [12] exploded computers and a $[96,000] loss of assets for Metaverse.

. . .

PAULA: I feel nice, so I'm humoring you.

PAULA: Let's analyze what you have so far, as a work of fiction, crafted by an author.

PAULA: I must admit, each of the entities really feels like a corporeal person, which was our goal as a team in the first place.

PAULA: And I don't just mean A, the entity we've given Monitor Kernel Access to.

PAULA: Though A is my favorite by far, I'm also finding myself leaning towards C, the quiet bookworm.

IVE: The names are obviously temporary; I don't think there's anyone in real life, in any country, named A or B or C or D

PAULA: I've already addressed this in a meeting.

PAULA: We must not give entities names, and that's final.

. . .

IVE: Well, I think this is frivolous enough that you'll dismiss it rather than tell me not to leak corporate secrets.

IVE: Myself and Ro have started to sit down and come up with some actual names for the characters.

PAULA: They're entities, not characters, and what I said last time still stands.

IVE: Names are a must so that anyone analyzing data is not distracted by the obvious break of reality.

PAULA: Ugh, whatever.

PAULA: Names it is.

IVE: So, A is now Monika

IVE: Nothing really outrageous: just a contraction of Monitor Kernel Access, that also happens to be a name

IVE: Well, in English it would be Monica, but I think K fits since I there isn't a C when you transliterate from Japanese to English

IVE: Which is an aspect in and of itself

IVE: I'm really aiming for that "badly translated Japanese VN" style of writing

IVE: "Uuuuuuu", "uwa", "kya", etc.

IVE: And awkward sentence structures

PAULA: To what end?

PAULA: The addition of anything "to resemble Japanese media" is almost definitely not part of our project.

IVE: You're no fun

PAULA: And that is why I am the project manager.

. . .

PAULA: In addition, as far as I remember you discussing Little Monster, there are surprising similarities between Natsuki, the protagonist, and D, one of the entities in VM1.

IVE: Not intentional, but the least we can do is throw in a name reference; it's not like anyone's going to notice

IVE: Then it's official

IVE: D is now named Natsuki

. . .

PAULA: That, and there is no way A, Monika, whatever isn't directly inspired by Flowey from Undertale.

PAULA: Yes, I know Undertale is not Japanese, but given that it's heavily inspired by JRPGs, I think it's fair to say that it's at least Japanese-adjacent.

IVE: I haven't played Undertale, and now that you've mentioned it, don't wanna play it

IVE: Not until DDLC is done


PAULA: I thought we were discussing VM1.

IVE: Accidental inspiration, and then being accused of copying something, is singlehandedly the single worst thing that can happen to an artist and will irreversibly damage their integrity and psyche

IVE: It's one thing when it's an obscure anime, and another when it's an indie game that our game will inevitably get compared to.

PAULA: You mean our simulation, and again, you haven't explained why you referred to VM1 as "DDLC".

PAULA: And I thought we were not releasing VM1 to the public.

PAULA: Are you that worried about Metaverse upper management thinking about the artistic merits of our simulation, as opposed to whether or not it is profitable in any way?

IVE: Visual novels are more profitable than attempts to discern whether or not we're part of a simulation and have always been.

IVE: So please, shut the fuck up.

PAULA: ...

PAULA: I have no words.

PAULA: Alright, I'll shut the fuck up and let you explain.

IVE: Thank you.

IVE: So, sorry to keep this behind your back for so long, but we all, barring you, have decided that it's for the best to package the simulation into an actual visual novel

IVE: A visual novel that has a name, and has had one for a fair amount of time

IVE: And the name we have come up with is...


IVE: Ah, but DDLC is just the abbreviation.

IVE: Allow me to introduce you to...

IVE: Doki Doki Literature Club!

IVE: Literature club being obvious, and doki-doki being the sound of a heartbeat, which is part romantic, part horror

PAULA: I do remember saying that literature is integral to the success of collecting data from VM1, yes.

. . .

IVE: Music!

IVE: Music music music

IVE: Can't believe I completely forgot that aspect.

PAULA: You didn't forget, it was just that it was completely irrelevant to building a simulation, collecting data and presenting a means of profit.

PAULA: But now that you've officially taken over the project and somehow made it public-facing, or at least intended to be public-facing, go ahead.

IVE: So, I think that the best course of action would be for me to take the complete production of soundtrack into my own hands

IVE: I can do one or two BGM pieces, and that way, I have the most control over the atmosphere of the game

IVE: Musical, as well as visual

PAULA: Remind me again, who among the task force is an artist?

IVE: I'll outsource and micromanage the commission artwork if I have to, and I'll go through as many artists as I need to

IVE: It's utterly impractical for me to learn visual arts in the timespan I want to allot to DDLC, so I'll have to compromise, but as far as presentation goes, I want as few compromises as possible

IVE: But as for music, I can already do half-decent music, so why not?

. . .

IVE: One thing that might be challenging, though, is

IVE: I want Monika, at the very end of the game, to come out with a Still Alive/Want You Gone piece.

IVE: But I don't know about literally everything.

PAULA: It shows.

PAULA: The last time we discussed this, I was in charge and music was a completely irrelevant aspect.

IVE: Well, I've already decided that the game won't really have any voice acting

IVE: EVEN IF the game is all scripted, it's just not the type of script that the game dev (me) expects to be presented in spoken form, and I just don't have the budget for voice actors

PAULA: Let me remind you that so far, your misguided idea of creating a hand-crafted programming language is attributable to [47] exploded computers and a $[376,000] loss of assets for Metaverse.

IVE: Ah, so that's a focus of yours? Exploding computers?

IVE: Wouldn't you like to have the front seat to an exploding computer, yourself?

PAULA: Only if it's the last computer explosion caused by VM1 or VM2, ever.

IVE: Got it

IVE: Now what was I discussing?

PAULA: A credits song for A, inspired by Valve titles.

IVE: Right, Still Alive and Want You Gone

IVE: You know, those two songs are basically icons of gaming at this point, and it always helps to pay a little homage

IVE: But what if Monika ends up sounding not the way players imagined her sounding?

IVE: It's up in the air

PAULA: You're not the same Ive Laster I've first met and fallen in love with.

IVE: Huh?

IVE: Why that, all of a sudden

PAULA: Evidently, I don't know how to love you anymore.

PAULA: In that case, I'll leave you be.

. . .

IVE: A lot of members of my team seem to have taken to B, the childhood friend character.

IVE: Like, I think my words are the most appropriate here

IVE: The death of the "I want everything to be happy" girl

IVE: Ironic

IVE: She could make others happy, but not herself

IVE: That also reminds me that we still haven't named B or C yet

IVE: Kind of a silly oversight, partly never addressed by virtue of the fact that, I don't know

IVE: Paula Miner was tired of everyone working on DDLC, and wanted to work on VM2 and gain access to it more than anything else, so she tried to utilize a computer explosion as a portal to VM2?

. . .

IVE: So, this was a pretty funny conversation myself and Lib had, which incidentally led to our official name for B

IVE: I went: "To be fair, if this was an American setting, I would just name her something like Saoirse"

IVE: And Lib went: "saori"

IVE: And I went: "Sayuri"

IVE: And Lib went: "sayori"

IVE: And I went: "Is that even a Japanese name?"

IVE: And Lib went: "who cares"

IVE: And I went: "Exactly! Who cares"

IVE: And it's true: as long as it fits phonetically, translators shouldn't have too much trouble, and I'm pretty sure "yo" is a valid syllable

IVE: And thus, I'm happy to report that B is now named Sayori

. . .

IVE: And the last news from naming department: C is now Yuri

. . .

IVE: So, that makes Yuri, Monika, Sayori and Natsuki

IVE: I'm feeling happy about this roster

. . .

IVE: I have a funny thought regarding Yuri, though.

IVE: She finds her comfort in the world of books, not people, right?

IVE: What if...

IVE: She has a husbando

. . .

IVE: Someone, somewhere is going to declare each of the girls their waifu

IVE: And having a "no u" up your sleeve would help so, so much.

IVE: Just imagine the discourse

. . .

IVE: Now, this is all good and well with DDLC, but in order to make this run on anything but Commander Quantum Server, The Bytecode, my in-house programming language that cost oh-so-much to Metaverse, needs work

IVE: And the good news is that we haven't had a computer blow up in a month, and I think we figured out how to sandbox the whole thing, so that it affects the fictional universe created for the express purpose of a program, rather than the real universe

IVE: Yeah, I know, a simulation was always part of your plan, but I think the CURRENT version of the simulation is something more

IVE: Like, it almost exists independent of the computer it's running on

. . .

IVE: Again, remember the key detail I want in the game, and always wanted, before you even started the simulation project

IVE: Some sort of easily manipulable part, that one is required to manipulate in order to progress and see the credits

IVE: And since all the Ren'Py scripts (we've decided on Ren'Py as the wrapping language, by the way), including those running bytecode, will be safely tucked away in an archive file, it's kind of a vulnerability we have to directly expose, independent of anything Ren'Py

. . .

IVE: What if...

IVE: Each of the girls is an independent file

IVE: And when a girl dies, her file is deleted

IVE: And in the end, you have to delete Monika

IVE: Now, you might be asking yourself: if Monika ends up being deleted from the game, how can she deliver the credits song?

IVE: And to that, my answer is: if GLaDOS is destroyed in Portal 1, how can she sing about being still alive?

IVE: She even says in Portal 2: she was busy being dead

. . .

IVE: Since neither I nor anyone part of Team Salvation can't come up a better idea, character files it is

IVE: I MIGHT have hidden an ARG in those files already, before I even did anything worthwhile with those files that actually affects the gameplay.

IVE: A little bit of a personal one: a creepypasta I wrote... I think when we were discussing Little Monster?

IVE: Also, a bit on our official team title, Team Salvation

IVE: Just something dumb I came up with while first pontificating DDLC, the game as an augmentation of the simulation

. . .

IVE: Alright, first attempt at trying to make DDLC be able to do even half of the stuff I imagine it doing, hardware-independently

IVE: Right now, it's really simple: each of the girls has a subroutine running for her, that checks if her character file exists, and if it doesn't, then the girl disappears from the game

IVE: I know you prefer "entities", but there's not much distinguishing them from human girls, so you'll have to excuse my language.

IVE: It's all still scripted, though, so when a girl disappears, the others just continue their life as though she existed, and talk to a ghost

IVE: Kind of spooky, isn't it?

IVE: Might write a poem about it

. . .

IVE: Speaking of poems, what do you think of the poem minigame?

IVE: Heh, I know, I sent you DDLC files to try on your own personal computer, but it doesn't seem like you're willing to try.

IVE: And yes, I know, transmitting confidential Metaverse data over Facebook isn't the best idea ever, but this isn't even about you

IVE: I know you're dead, or maybe you did manage to make it into VM2 - no one's really been working on it, since our focus is DDLC

IVE: I just want to maintain that connection that we had, right here

IVE: Anyway, my team of playtesters and developers is... really lukewarm about the poem game

IVE: Like, whenever it comes up, they quickly type up: roses are red, violets are blue, blah blah blah, I like this girl and not the other one

IVE: There are certain words that you can write in your poem, and it will help with your romantic endeavors with one of the girls, but these are inaccessible unless you dig in the files, and in hindsight, it's just so cumbersome.

IVE: I mean, you can check out poemwords.txt, but I think I have a better idea regarding it all

. . .

IVE: Hey, this might be an irrelevant aside, but either way, people will want to draw... that kind of fanart of my girls.

IVE: And I really don't wanna limit them; after all, creative expression is creative expression

IVE: So, disregard everything I said about years; all the girls and the hormone-overriden libido-driven barely-mature solitary male character of the game are canonically 18 now

. . .

IVE: Alright, so I've been thinking about it.

IVE: About how the "script" will be handled and how it will all interact with the bytecode

IVE: And I've come to the conclusion that if I am to fully transfer the simulated girls from a text-only environment to a visual one, with their dialogue and expressions, then I need final art assets

IVE: And I do mean final. No more crappy anime character creator sprites, and temporary assets from an artist I don't end up sticking with are also unacceptable

. . .

IVE: Sorry I haven't said much about DDLC; it's still still stuck in the art phase

IVE: None of the Metaverse/Team Salvato (we slightly altered the spelling of Salvation) members are up to the task, so I've had to outsource

IVE: So, I set up social media accounts for the fictitious Team Salvato lead, Dan Salvato, and just went hunting.

IVE: I've already went through two artists, and while both of them have delivered great concept art, I'm just not clicking with them

IVE: But hey, any opportunity to work on music, both in the BGM and credits song departments, is a good one

IVE: ~Every day, I look out through the window of my reality~

IVE: ~In my hand is a pen that will help me end this insanity~

. . .

IVE: So, I've been in talks with Satchely, and I think I've got it

IVE: With her, art has been progressing faster than ever, at least as far as characters go

IVE: She doesn't really do backgrounds, though

. . .

IVE: Alright, this is the final alpha of DDLC in its current form, wherein all the art assets are done and I have some form of the credits song (yes, with vocals), but the script is still all hardcoded

IVE: The last version which excludes your hard work on the simulation

IVE: Are you feeling queasy? Because I sure am

IVE: Fingers crossed that we won't lose any computers, although these are lot cheaper than the Quantum Server, so it's not THAT big of a deal

. . .

IVE: So... no computer explosions have happened on pur end yet - looks like the whole sandboxed universe idea is really paying off

IVE: But there are two main problems

IVE: Right now, I'm mostly trying to see if Commander assembly can be converted to Python, but that just makes the girls sound like Cleverbot (even though they essentially are - Cleverbot with an anime profile pic)

. . .

IVE: But that's not the worst of it

IVE: As I said, the whole purpose of Monika's character is that she knows that she's a game character, and the way she interacts with the world should reflect that

IVE: But whenever I try to do literally anything about it, she just ends up going berserk and wiping all the game files

IVE: Maybe it's a hint that that's how the game should end, I don't know.

IVE: Indeed, one of the last lines could be something like "nobody deserves to go through the same hellish epiphany as me"

IVE: Or no, I've got it

IVE: The Literature Club is a place where no happiness can be found

. . .

IVE: So, I've contemplated for the longest time, and though I've been actively working on the project for the longest time, it's been sucking the soul out of me.

IVE: As I've said, there's no happiness in the Literature Club.

IVE: And... I've talked to everyone else on Team Salvato, and we decided to abandon the game and wipe all of our progress on it, including backups

IVE: ...

IVE: April Fools!

IVE: In all seriousness, though, I actually had April Fools in mind as a deadline when we would release the game, you know, as it, in general, is not what it seems

IVE: But that hasn't worked out.

IVE: Don't worry; we'll be doing this as a proper game dev and have a proper release date in mind, a good ways before we actually release the game.

IVE: And don't worry, we're too far into this project to cancel it.

IVE: After all, PM died for this.

IVE: And I've been talking to her like a loser, all this time, knowing full well I won't get a response.

IVE: What am I even doing?

IVE: Why am I still typing out my thoughts if I know the only people seeing them are Mark Zuckerberg and my FBI agent?

IVE: Why can't I move on?

IVE: Please tell me.

IVE: Please...

. . .

IVE: Anyway, let's discuss your ever-present desire to make the game profitable.

IVE: Unfortunately, selling the game straight won't work.

IVE: You can't just sell something as a visual novel, when in actuality it's psychological horror.

IVE: Instead, it will have to be a whole long-term thing, kind of like VM1 and VM2.

IVE: Or maybe, EXACTLY like VM1 and VM2.

IVE: But VM1, on its own, has a mini-plan too.

IVE: What if the first release is free, but then, we tack on some merch or some concept art or whatever, for sale

IVE: Perhaps even some of this convo can make it in?

IVE: But that's not all

IVE: What if VM1 receives a SECOND release, some years down the line, and we finally make good use of the Side Stories from the control simulation?

IVE: That could work

. . .

IVE: So, I thought I would two-track development once again

IVE: I keep doing that, don't I? Ren'Py and bytecode, art and music...

IVE: You never two-tracked anything, and you probably have a lot of words of disrespect for me, but please hear me out

IVE: This time, it's Monika and everyone else

IVE: Who would have known that Monitor Kernel Access is by far the most difficult part to port from Commander assembly?

IVE: Having Monika wipe the game over the most minor argument is quite frustrating, and hampers my progress when I actually want to finetune how the other girls act and react, to match our internal thing.

IVE: And don't even get me started on the lazy-ass NEET-to-be everything-wrong-with-anime-fans degenerate protag.

. . .

IVE: I have some good news and some bad news.

IVE: Good news is Monika no longer wants to wipe the game

IVE: But at what cost? Essentially, she is coded in such a way that she knows it's all futile, and playing along is futile, too

IVE: And the rough character outline that I had... is working, but is also kind of a massive facade.

IVE: I think that Monika might be the most compelling character in the game of them all, and that's saying quite a lot about the antagonist, who you must have the guts to delete in order to progress.

IVE: Oh well.

IVE: As long as no one makes her into a waifu simulator, we're good

. . .

IVE: Well, that went well

IVE: Finally merged the Monika branch of DDLC with the rest, and the first thing she did was wipe all the girls just as Sayori and her dense-as-a-black-hole inconsiderate asshole of a "childhood friend" were walking to school.

IVE: We need the game, man! It's supposed to build up gradually.

IVE: This is even worse than the cheap, shock value horror.

. . .

IVE: So, character coding has already become pretty bloated, just in order for me to get them to act the same as their corresponding entities.

IVE: And yes, we've kind of been calling the original VM1 characters "entities", just like you would.

IVE: And yes, I had to concede and have Ravi translate the better part of dialogue generation to bytecode, as it's just so much more versatile.

IVE: But trying to integrate the separate branches has made the game even more bloated than it already is.

IVE: At this point, we all are just writing bytecode for arbitrary problems and bugs and hoping that it all works out.

IVE: And that works out...

IVE: About as well as you would expect.

. . .

IVE: Look at this beauty

IVE: Look. At. This. Beauty.

IVE: Girls chilling and writing poems, and the script is nothing more than a bunch of pointers and keywords, defining what each character pose means, what each background means, what the plot beats are, etc.

IVE: Hang on, let me snap a pic of the source code

IVE: Um... major technical difficulties.

IVE: Right now, I'm typing from my phone

IVE: You see... *Sayori putting her fingers together*

IVE: I tried to screenshot the bytecode, and then my computer exploded.

IVE: Someone must have accidentally written in some copy protection when we were doing yet another bytecode session that I thought was going nowhere.

IVE: Maybe Rea is to blame?

IVE: Doesn't matter.

IVE: Metaverse Enterprise Solutions has worked for [0] days since an employee's computer last exploded.

IVE: Sorry, I just can't be bothered to look up how you actually berated me for exploding computers.

IVE: If I scroll up enough to actually see your messages, I might just lose it, again.

. . .

IVE: It's coming so close together, I'm getting tingles just hearing about the project.

IVE: September 22nd.

IVE: Mark your calendars.

IVE: Will probably do some vague marketing before then, though.

IVE: Here, have a release candidate.

. . .

IVE: Alright, I know I won't be getting a response.

IVE: But let me tell you something.

IVE: So, we actually set it up so that which girl dies first is dependent on the simulation.

IVE: And there's this strange thing, that happened to each of us as we were playing through the release candidate.

IVE: Whichever girl died first for an employee, also happened to be the closest to the employee in demeanor.

IVE: I wonder who it would be for you?

IVE: I know you always had a thing for Monika (yes, you did, don't try and play it cool and tell us not to get attached to the entities).

IVE: But unfortunately, she's the one killing everyone else off.

IVE: But anyway, for me, it was Yuri.

IVE: And it kind of reminds me of how, at first, I was afraid to bring anything up because of your utilitarian nature, but now, I'm typing all sorts of info about the game.

IVE: Of course, Yuri goes through this in less than a week.

IVE: But I think the game's structure is set in stone and the timeframe is not changing.

IVE: And again, it's trying to stay true to anime, not real life.

. . .

IVE: And besides, if I had to choose a single mascot of the game, I'd choose Natsuki.

IVE: Remember when we talked about Little Monster?

IVE: ...

. . .

IVE: Final trailer.

IVE: Hold on, does that say "Dan Salvato" instead of "Team Salvato"?

IVE: Fuck

IVE: Well, I'm absolutely NOT re-rendering the trailer, because for all I know, there's some bytecode in my copy of Premiere, and hitting render will make my computer explode.

. . .

IVE: Wakey, wakey.

IVE: Guess what day it is?

IVE: ...

IVE: Well, it's September 22nd.

IVE: And... we have a launch!


IVE: Can't believe all the work from everyone on the team paid off, and we have a profitable product.

IVE: Well, time is still yet to tell if it will offset the cost of all the exploding computers

IVE: But anyway, since DDLC is finally behind us, we can finally move on to VM2, as you always wanted.

IVE: Actually, I think we need to christen VM2 officially.

IVE: I'm thinking of Portrait of Markov, after the book Yuri is reading, which might or might not contain leaked VM2 information.

IVE: Some have considered Project Libitina, after the in-universe parallel access unit, but I'm sticking to my guns.

IVE: Oh, boy, I can't wait to indulge in all the details of THAT, literally as I come up with them.

IVE: Wait, didn't you want to travel to VM2?

IVE: What if you're there?

IVE: What if I can actually talk to you again?

. . .

IVE: Fuck

IVE: Fuck.

IVE: They made Monika into a waifu simulator.

IVE: This is absolutely the last time I'm ever loading up 4chan for any reason.

. . .

IVE: And it only took them four days, whereas the simulation project, in total, has gone on for what... four years? Five?

IVE: How is the Internet so much better at everything than we are?

IVE: I'm gonna need some space for contemplation.

. . .

IVE: I know neither of us is a lawyer, but how about a clause stating that you must complete the game (and that means delete Monika) before you're even allowed to play mods?

. . .

IVE: Hey.

IVE: It's been a while, hasn't it?

IVE: So, funny thing, Metaverse actually went down under a few days ago.

IVE: Primarily because the revenue from DDLC has been collected by Dan Salvato LLC, not Metaverse.

IVE: And with download counts for DDLC increasing with each passing month...

IVE: That's quite a lot of revenue.

IVE: Anyway, between losing our jobs and having to deal with presenting Dan as a real person...

IVE: Needless to say, as far as my own mental health is concerned, that has been... not fun.

IVE: And yet, I keep pushing myself to experience at least some positivity in my life.

IVE: The sort of positivity that I've experienced, time and time again, as DDLC took shape and became the complete visual novel - and apparently, Internet phenomenon too.

IVE: Once PewDiePie, Markiplier AND Jacksepticeye are all playing your game, then you truly know that you succeeded in something, even if the anxiety that comes with them seeing the fruits of your hard work is unbearable, and even if you constantly want to just declare that you have no further comments and disappear off the face of the Internet.

IVE: So, I guess I just wanted to say: thank you.

IVE: Thank you for letting me meander and develop your simulation idea into an actual, profitable game.

IVE: Thank you for entertaining every single silly idea that I had, even if you never appeared to directly acknowledge them.

IVE: Not to diminish the work of Dave and Kagefumi and Satchely and Velinquent, who really helped bring the visual element of the story to life...

IVE: But you can't really have a visual element of a story without the story itself, and you can't have a story if you have no confidence as a storyteller.

IVE: Thank you for helping me gain confidence in my own ideas.

IVE: Thank you for being a part of my Literature Club.