Seasons Of The Wolf soft release!

skull_lantern

First of all, happy Halloween :) The image above seemed appropriate for this occasion!

I’m proud to announce that I’ve put SOTW live on my site. Is still in “soft release” mode. What does it means? It’s a sort of soft-launch, not because is not complete (it has been complete since two weeks!) but because there might still be some small bug or gameplay tweak.

I want to be clear, the game is complete, you can play the full story and discover all its secrets. There are only some minor things like battle tweaking/balancing, we’re currently trying to make the battle shorter by lowering enemies HP in some scenes, but still trying to preserve the difficulty by increasing their attack/speed.

In one of the latest updates I even added a “tweak menu” that the user can invoke with the letter key o:

screenshot0001

Since I don’t have big testing team and limited resources I thought to try that, since is optional it means the base game is untouched, but if enough people play with it and share their experiences, I might “commit” the tweaks. I think the first one should be “safe”, but you never know. The latest option, +30% attack and +15% speed with -30% HP can lead to some funny results :D

Ideally I wanted to release the game next month, in mid-end of November, before the “Christmas madness” (in which a lot of titles and promotion take up all the people’s attention). However after spending a year on it, I definitely don’t want to rush things! That’s why I’ve added that menu, to get some final feedback from players.

The game price is currently at $24.99 but will increase to $29.99 once it’s officially out (not before mid-November in any case). Why? Because the game lasts longer than Loren+DLC put together! Really, is very long :) And also has a lo more features (isometric map, randomized items, lots of skills, better battles, more animation/characters/locations, etc etc).

Also, this isn’t an official announcement yet, but I’m talking with the writer about a possible DLC. I won’t go in details since would involve spoilers about the story :) But it should be an interesting setting/story, happening after the events of act4.

People asked me about mobile and/or Steam: the game definitely will come to mobile, even if I’m not sure how playable will be on small screen device (as always you’ll have a demo to play before deciding if is worth buying) and regarding Steam I’ve put the game on Greenlight here:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=314755751

I am not sure if I was supposed to put it there, but anyway getting more votes won’t hurt ;)

I have no time estimate for when it will be on Steam but as always if you buy direct you’ll get a free Steam key later, so not a big deal! As for mobile I first need to do some tweaks to the interface to adapt it to the touch devices, so that will take longer (at least a month).

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for news about the other games.

Posted in development screenshot, preorder, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf | 9 Comments

PSCD – Meet Rigel

rigel

Time to introduce another PSCD character. He’s the BxB romance, albeit not one of the heroes (he has no skills in battle).

Name:  Rigel A. Luvene
Nation of Origin:  Australia
Service Branch:  Mechanic/Imperial Vehicle Maintenance

Description:
Among the newest arrivals to the colony, Rigel is the assigned mechanic for the colony’s vehicle hangar.  Say what one might, Rigel is considered the best mechanic ever.

However, not everyone viewed Rigel’s arrival with pleasure, for Xavier saw the sable-haired man as a threat to his position.  They soon became good friends when Rigel showed Xavier how he could get a 11% acceleration boost in his hovercycle, and extend his jumps by 20 meters.  Soon, other people started to show up, making Rigel the goto person for modifying their vehicles and weapons.

Rigel is considered a bit aloof since he spends most of his time in the vehicle bay.  Despite Rigel’s obvious skills, reported mechanical mishaps have increased over 50% in the colony.  Some of the more cynical attribute this to owner sabotage, hoping Rigel will appear to repair the ‘broken’ vehicles.

When he can be pried away from vehicle bay, Rigel can be found avidly watching the hovercar races in the bar.  Some of the few arguments he’s gotten in have been over just who the greatest hovercar driver is; Rigel will go to his grave believing it is Candace Shatz, three time winner of the Death Valley Rally.

This doesn’t mean Rigel eats, breathes, and sleeps oil.  Rigel can often be found out among the dunes, the stark beauty reminding him of his earthly home.

Latest news about the other games

As you probably know, Seasons Of The Wolf is going the final testing stage, but is complete since a week. You can play it all and read all the story and unlock all the romances/achievements, even if is still in beta.
For how long will keep it in beta? I am not sure, but perhaps it could be released next Friday, the night of Halloween! That would be cool :)

However I’m not in a hurry at all, I want to test it well to make sure that when I officially put it live on my site will be (almost) bug free. Which for such a big game, isn’t an easy task ;)

C14 Dating is also going very well. Deji (main artist) is doing a great job drawing some animated chibis for the schedule activities. Below you can see a WIP of the game GUI done by Therese Yucamco (who did the GUI of Nicole as well):

Activities Window.f4v_snapshot_00.24_[2014.10.08_09.27.30]

Is taken from a gameplay video so the quality is not the best, but you can see already how cool it is! :)

I’m working also on other projects of course, but I don’t have any significant progress to show you this week. Stay tuned for next Friday!

Posted in beta demo, C14 dating, dating sims, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, strategy games | 1 Comment

PSCD – meet Mizuki

mizuki

Time to met a new PSCD character: the hot japanese hacker Mizuki!

Name:  Mizuki Tsukino
Nickname:  Null
Nation of Origin:  Japan
Service Branch: Imperial cyber Defense
Specialty:  Overclock

Description:
At one time, Mizuki was considered the greatest threat in cyberspace.  No target was safe when her avatar, a neon dragon, appeared wreaking havoc on corporate, criminal, or government networks.  Not bad for a woman yet to see seventeen summers.

However, despite her almost superhuman talent, she was eventually captured.  In a secret court, she was offered two choices:  either assist the Empire with her formidable computer skills, or spend the rest of her life in a primitive cell with nothing but rats for company.

It is in military service Mizuki encountered the challenge she craved.  Whether it was outwitting the Robobrains in their own cybernetic hives, or adapting to the Vauses’ fluidic thinking, Mizuki found her skills matching, or exceeding their own.  This earned her the nickname Null, since her presence was never detected, let alone suspected.

While she is the mistress of the digital world, Mizuki is less sure of herself in what she terms the meat world.  After all, how can you trust what you can’t control?  

This isn’t to say Mizuki isn’t loyal.  She’s had numerous opportunities to escape, covering her absence electronically, but when her comrades spilled blood for her, leaving was the last thought on her mind.

Seasons Of The Wolf last Act/Season coming soon!

endings
You can see a sneak preview of the ending CGs above

This week I’ve worked on the last act, though as you may know if you follow me on twitter, I had already finished the main coding last month. So I am just retesting everything, the battles, the enemies (there are some really tough boss fights!) and in general that all the endings unlocks the intended way.

Speaking of the endings I’ve commissioned new CG images for them, using a different artist, since the original one couldn’t make it in time. I’m rather happy about the result :)

I believe I will release this last act/season this weekend or maximum early next week, I’m just waiting to see if I get get some last missing images (but the game works already anyway). Keep an eye on the forums to know when is ready!
In any case, not much left to wait, to see the conclusion of the story. Do you remember the wolf pup in the first season? Well… ;)

Some general considerations: as I’m approaching the end of this project, I have learned several things:

  1. that doing such LONG (really, SOTW is the longest game I’ve EVER MADE!! lol) RPGs it was a real massacre. I’ve worked on it 1 year, of which almost 8-9 months full time which for me is a lot! Think that I was reusing Loren’s engine, so in theory I only had to do the story and stop, but instead I’ve added countless new features!!
    So, this game better sell well, MUCH more than Loren, because otherwise it really wasn’t worth it. I liked doing it, but since I run a business I need to take that into consideration as well.
  2. the longer the game, the quicker I lose interest. The last months of coding were really painful. Don’t get me wrong, I still put 100% of efforts like I always do (that’s how I am made). But sometimes it felt really a chore :D This is something personal of course, I know many other indies who prefer to work on a smaller amount of titles and take more time with them. For me, after a while, becomes frustrating since I keep having new ideas about new stories or gameplay :)
  3. I’m not sure if players really appreciated the efforts. Don’t get me wrong I got great support from fans as always. But it seems (might be just an impression) that players would have preferred less fights, less complexity and more story/scenes. Sort of the opposite direction I went with SOTW, so as you can imagine I’m a bit worried! But this only a theory for now, I’ll need to see once the game is out.

Because of such considerations, and based on how SOTW will do, will decide how to take the challenge to make the future RPGs. If  I see that all the insane effort I put to make the gameplay of SOTW so detailed didn’t make the game more appealing to players, I think will need to do things differently.

But in general, I might do things differently even if SOTW did well, just to rest a little :) Playing Banner Saga, and other indie RPGs, showed me that you don’t necessarily need to have 8+ characters with 15 skills each, huge battles 6 vs 6, and so on.

In summary there are other ways to make a story-based RPG interesting without the need to make it long, super complex or add a lot of features.

Also, I might for once do what basically most other indies do: reuse the same engine WITH SMALL CHANGES (not what I did with SOTW!!!) and make smaller games (of course, at lower prices as well). Not necessarily everyone wants to play huge epic RPGs, sometimes is refreshing to do something small. Small is beautiful! etc etc :)

OK better stop my ramblings here otherwise you think I went crazy while working on SOTW! …which actually is not completely wrong…! :D

Posted in beta demo, development screenshot, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek, strategy games | 12 Comments