Told from Ping's point of view
May 5, 2006 My first - and certainly not my last - time playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney;
Between 2007 and 2008 While waiting for Trials and Tribulations, I have some ideas for new cases, including a very early prototype of Turnabout Substitution. MechaBowser's casemaker catches my attention, but I have no real intention of actually making my cases at this point.
April 2008 Having completed Apollo Justice, I realize my cases would make more sense as a sequel to that game. I come up with ideas for a 5 case game to kill time during holiday. Scary as it may sound, the second case takes place on an airplane, with a flight attendant as the culprit, the scene of the crime in the third case is the haunted house of an amusement park, and the fourth case involves a flashback ; Ace Attorney Investigations has not been announced yet. The fifth case is a more advanced prototype of Turnabout Substitution, which already has most of the main elements found in the final game.
Early May 2008 I discover Ace Attorney Online and PWLib. I'm beginning to think I can actually bring my cases to life. I fiddle around with AAO a bit, and start creating a case where Klavier is accused of murdering Kristoph in his prison cell. The case will never be completed, and no parts will be released, as it will soon be replaced by Turnabout Substitution.
Mid to Late May 2008 Seeing several ambitious fangames get abandoned, and tired of the "tutorial case" genre exercise that is the norm in AAO, I decide to drop the idea of a full game. Instead, I choose to start directly with the long, epic finale I already thought would be the best episode of the game anyway. Even I am supposed to be studying for important final exams that will determine my future, I am putting all my efforts into creating this game. In two weeks, arguably the most productive in the whole production process, the concept behind Turnabout Substitution (then called "The substitute turnabout") gets refined ; by the end of the month, the plot, characters, and even scene-by-scene gameplay are fully fleshed out.
Late May - Early June 2008 Now armed with a solid script, I begin looking for a spriter. I create a topic on Court Records, but nothing comes out of it. However, when browsing through the "Sprites" section of the forums, I discover the works of a certain artist called Ceres. Lady Luck is on my side: it is obvious right from the start that Ceres is the best spriter Court Records has ever seen, but he is fairly new to the forums and isn't well-known or overbooked with requests yet. I send him a private message, and to my surprise, he accepts to help with the game. His incredibly well-made sprite of Paul Strings convinces me that my game is more than just a silly fantasy ; I promise myself to finish it, no matter what.
June 2008 I discover PyWright, which I find more powerful and easier to use than Ace Attorney Online. I start scripting the game. At this point, I am doing everything myself except spriting. The game is making slow but steady progress as I learn to work with the engine (everything that now seems obvious to creators who use PyWright, I had to figure out myself, with the help of saluk). Most of my time working on the game is spent focusing on the technical details of how to make an investigation, which, coupled with school work, is why only the first four scenes are finished at the end of the month.
July 2008 I am accepted at the prestigious school I wanted to get into on the results of my final exams alone (hadn't this been the case I would've had to go through summer school to prepare for a competitive exam) meaning I get a full two month holiday. By the end of the month, 10 scenes have been written.
August 2008 Turnabout Substitution is officially announced on Court Records. Few people care - at this stage, there is nothing tangible to differentiate Turnabout Substition from the countless "promising" projects who ended up being abandoned. August is more productive than July: at the end of the month, I have started writing the first day of trial. [Because the first demo was released in December, most people assume that the first day of investigation was completed then ; however, had I wanted to at the time I could have released it as early as August (with even more missing graphics). Back in August, though, I wanted the demo to include the first trial as well.]
September - December 2008 My university studies prevent me from making any progress on the game, leaving me frustrated and disillusioned. I seriously think of abandoning the project.
Late December 2008 Partly to convince myself to keep working on Turnabout Substitution, I quickly put together a demo of the first investigation. With the help of Greeny and Ceres, who are able to make the missing sprites and backgrounds in record time, I aim for a Christmas release, motivated by the prospect of a demo of Remnants of the Past (an extremely hyped project at the time), which would turn out to be the first of many false announcements.
December 26, 2008 A one hour long demo, which contains the full first day of investigation, is released. The first PyWright game to come out, Turnabout Substitution is well-received, but the release remains somewhat confidential. Still, the good reception convinces me there is no turning back: I must finish the game, no matter what.
January - February 2009 Still no progress as I have to study for term tests. It's been almost five months since I added a new scene. I am starting to get even more frustrated, when an idea comes to me: from now on, I will only write "detailed scripts" of the scenes, and recruit people to write the dialogue, which takes a lot of time for someone whose native tongue is French.
March 2009 I recruit Gerkuman (who would soon leave the project) and Bad Player (who would end up being one of the most important members of the team) as dialogue writers ; Percei sets up a private forum for Turnabout Substitution on Ace Fancase. Those two events radically change the nature of the project, which gradually becomes more professional : I am no longer just a creator, but I also have to manage a team.
May 2009 Bad Player finishes the dialogue of the first day of trial.
June 2009 As the end of the school year approaches, I am able to script the second day of trial on my own.
June 19, 2009 The second demo, which includes the first day of trial, is released. Though almost no progress has been made in the graphics department since the first release, this new version, which features approximately 2h30 of gameplay, is better received than the first. Over the months, Turnabout Substitution slowly establishes a reputation as one of the best fangames on Court Records.
August - September 2009 The detailed script for the second investigation is written, and YggdrasilsSword is recruited to write the dialogue for it. By September, the first half is fully written.
September - November 2009 No significant progress. No new scenes are written.
November 2009 Ceres miraculously reappears, with new sprites, and a "graphic team" is set up. Between his previous sprite and his comeback, few truly good graphics had been made - by suddenly showing up on Ace Fancase, Ceres is literally saving the day.
December 2009 Disappointed with where we are, I decide on a "schedule for completion" for the game. The goal is a Summer 2010 release, which we would achieve despite the odds. From this points on, the creation of the game starts going much more smoothly ; frequent progress is made as the team is continuously expanding.
December 2009 - January 2010 I write the end of the detailed script for the second investigation, as well as the one for the second trial.
January 2010 Though the second half of the second investigation is still not done, Bad Player is called to help write the dialogue for the second trial. In less than two weeks, BP finishes the whole thing, possibly the most heroic feat achieved in the production fo the game. Several people, including StBacchus, are recruited to script the second investigation.
March 11, 2010 After a long and painful beta testing process, the third demo (4h30 of gameplay) is released. Though it suffers from an infamous "Back button" bug, it is a major breakthrough for our project. Indeed, besides finally featuring animations and making Turnabout Substitution the longest fancase ever released up to this point, the second investigation fully reveals the extent of its complexity and ambition. The case is starting to attract a fair bit of attention.
April 2010 Travolta3335, creator of the Ace Idiot YouTube series, is recruited to make a trailer for the game based on artwork by MapleRose.
April - June 2010 Although the dialogue for the second trial has been finished for a while, coding turns out to be a nightmare: the second trial features gameplay innovations, and the coders have complicated schedules. I have to change the team and the assignments several times : in the end, the trial is scripted by Filip1236, StBacchus, Tap, and myself out of desperation.
Late June - July 2010 The game is now entirely coded. However, there are still a lot of missing graphics, not to mention the debugging process, left to do. Many spriters are recruited. As the release date we've announced is nearing, team members give their best effort. Changes are made until the last minute, including a brilliant improvisation by Ceres which has since become a signature moment of the game.
6 July, 2010 The trailer for Turnabout Substitution is released. The game suddenly becomes popular, as 10 000 views are reached in the first two months.
28 July, 2010 Hours before Turnabout Scapegoat, the full case is released ! In a few weeks, the case reaches a much wider audience than was ever expected, as well as an unprecedented level of acclaim.
August 2010 I start working on my new project, a completely original indie game with unique gameplay mechanics, quirky characters, and a moving story. This mysterious project, whose initials are "LTGGE!", could be revealed to the public soon...
November 2010 Turnabout Substitution is featured in NGamer, the most popular Nintendo magazine in the Netherlands.