A roleplaying Summer!

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In the screenshot above, Arianna in her “Queen Of Thieves” outfit, and a young Lysander

I am now scripting the Queen Of Thieves last main plot scenes, which include some flashbacks: the man you see above is Lysander when he was young. He stilll does have his beard though 🙂

I’m also using the new map of Aravorn that I had recently redone by a new artist. I must say that even zoomed in, it still looks good:gamemap

So now when there are flashback/main plot scenes I can show the time/date but also the place using the map. The scenes aren’t many, but there are 4 CGs, all featuring Arianna… and some are VERY spicy. OK, I think I have said already enough!! 😉

As I said in previous post I will take my time and not rush things to avoid burnout, also considering that I still have to officially release Heirs & Graces and PSCD free update. They’re in a very advanced state though, so that shouldn’t take much longer.

Back to the title of this post, even taking things easier, it’s quite likely that the Queen Of Thieves testing will take place this Summer, with just a disclaimer: if it will be hot like past year (one month and half, whole July and up to mid-August, with temperatures constantly over 38°C!) I will probably be able to work just a few hours in the morning! Anyway, even if I surely won’t be working/updating the game as I did with SOTW (that game was quite a marathon!!) I should still be able to do a few updates based on testing feedback.

All things considered, the beta COULD begin at end of June. In the worst case, it should be July.

But that’s not enough: for me will be a real “Summer RPG” because I’ll also start doing the design for Undead Lily. No coding, just planning on paper/flowchart, thinking about the combat, skills, etc. That’s what will keep me busy this Summer. What can I say, some people go on holiday in tropical islands and have fun, while others code and design RPGs! 😀

Undead Lily Ace romances sneak peek

Speaking of Undead Lily game, a few weeks ago I posted the Lily’s romance sneak peek. Now it’s Ace’s turn! As you can see even Ace has some interesting “romantic moments” in the game as well!

aceromances

Posted in beta demo, dating sims, development screenshot, game design, general, Heirs & Graces, indie life, queen of thieves, roleplay games, Undead Lily | Leave a comment

Avoid “Burnout” as indie

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My cat Mirtillo doesn’t look very burnedout…

Wikipedia defines “burnout” as: Burnout is a type of psychological stress. Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, and also may have the dimension of frustration or cynicism, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.

Now, I absolutely love my job. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t love it. However, even indies can suffer from burnout problems.

When you work for yourself, without a boss, it’s easy to forget that you still need to take breaks and relax. And that not necessarily working more will bring better results.

I noticed this myself in the recent years. Personally, I think I’m very resistant to burnout, but it still happened. I think the main issue is that you are so absorbed in your work, in what you love, that you “forget” to take breaks. When you work in a office doing a job you hate, or even just don’t like it particularly, you’re eager to take breaks and holidays!

It’s not only the work itself though: also the “release stress”. Whenever you release a new game, there’s a lot of stress involved. How it will do? Is there any bug left? etc. Talking with other indies, it’s well known that the release day/week is one of the most stressing periods in the life of an indie. Then, there’s also the normal stress when things aren’t going well, sales are low, or you’re struggling with the development for whatever reason.

All this stress can lead to burnout as well.

Possible solutions

So, now that we know even indies can suffer from burnout, what are the solutions? First of all: take things easier. Luckily for us, we’re not doing “critical mission” software. A nuclear plant won’t blow up if there’s a bug in our code! We won’t go bankrupt (hopefully) if a few people don’t like our game. As long as enough people like it, will be fine. It’s OK for some (or many!) people to say that our game is bad. It’s not OK to insult you, but they’re going to do it anyway, so why worry or get angry? 🙂

Another very important thing, not just for indies, but for any creative job, it’s to take “full breaks”. I mean, stop completely working, for a week or two (usually for me is never more than a week though).

Do other things: read, walk, bike, go out, watch movies, play other games, etc. Whatever you like to do, that is not related to your job.

It really helped me many times when I felt I had “no strength left”. It also helped me to regain “inspiration”. I suspect will be the same for artists/writers/designers/etc.

You might think that you “lose time”, when you take breaks. In some cases yes, but personally I found that in many cases it wasn’t lost time. Not at all! A lot of positive things happened: while playing other games, I got ideas on how to do some gameplay changes in my games. While watching movies/tv series, I got ideas for new games stories. And even when I didn’t get any “inspiration”, I was well rested and relaxed so when I resumed working I was going twice as fast as I would have if I didn’t take the break.

In conclusion

That’s why even if I’m at good point both with Heirs & Graces and PSCD DLC betas, once they’re done, I’ll take a short break before jumping back immediately to work on Queen Of Thieves RPG coding: I’m doing the new main plot scenes now, but that’s just basic scripting so really something easy compared to the RPG part.

Even if the “pressure” is high, even if a lot of people are eager to play it. I really need the break to do a better job later 🙂

Posted in development tricks, general, indie life | 20 Comments

PSCD DLC beta!

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In the image above you see a screenshot from the PSCD Free DLC currently in beta!

You need to download the beta version here to try it (on the site there’s still the older version): http://www.winterwolves.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=3856

You might need to re-register the game again to see the extra contents.

Beside the four extra romances: Galina, Kaden, Christophe, Lola, I have decided to do a “quick match” mode. In that mode you can play all the cards you have unlocked in the game (tier-based) and do a match with predefined enemy decks.

Using this “tiered unlock” it’s good, since will let me include the mode also in the demo, because players can try it (for example for practice), but without the high tier cards (which you can only get later in the game) will be hard (if not impossible) to win. So it’s a sort of “trial” that might make more people curious / interested about the full game.

If you beat the game once, you’ll also unlock the 5th tier, which is normally unaccessible from the base game, and it includes the most rare cards (legendary ones). Since I had already added them in the code, was a pity to “waste them”, so at least they can be used in the non-campaign mode.

This means that if you won the game already it’s enough to load a save before the end, to get access to all the cards in the quick match mode.

Heirs & Graces update

The beta testing continues, and luckily everything seems to be going smoothly, even if it was to be expected for a dating sim. I suspect Queen Of Thieves testing will be more troublesome 😉

Anyway I’m pleased so far by the game reception and how people liked the idea/writing/art/music.

I must say though that in future (except for the game already in the works) it’s a bit unlikely I’ll do again a game with only one playable gender or romance type. Making a game takes already so much effort that I think it’s best to at least try to cater to two audiences.

So for example in this game I could have added a female character to have yaoi+otome, or add 4 female romances to have yaoi+straight, and so on (probably I’d have reduced the amount of romanceable characters, or made some bisex).

Anyway, this game is done as it is: but for future games I’ll always try to have at least two genders or “romance combos” 🙂

Undead Lily romance previews

As you know from time to time I make some “romance sneak peeks” for my upcoming games, even months before they’re out, because I like to tease people! 😀 Here’s the Undead Lily’s Lily romances (so playing as Lily and romancing both male/female characters):

lilyromances

Some characters have two different ending CG, based on the concept of “dominant/submissive”. I can assure you that they’re very interesting!

Posted in card games, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, sneak peek, strategy games, Undead Lily, yaoi | 5 Comments