Playing games is important & time optimization

Playing games is important!

Yes you heard me well: is important to play games! Especially if you are a game developer like me :)

I have less and less free time now (in particular in recent times with everything happening all at once, Steam, iOS ports, etc) and as you can imagine, when I have some I prefer to spend it with my wife, pets and doing outdoor activities.

However, I still try to find the time to play for a few hours a week the new games. Because that’s the equivalent of “research & development” of other industries.

Some practical examples and games that inspired me while I designed and coded my latest RPG ToA: Seasons Of the Wolf:

- Guild Wars 2: from this game I grabbed the ideas of “solve all quest in an area” and “discover all locations” and so on, to get bonus EXP. From this game I also wanted to implement the idea of stat-derived enemies (no matter your level, all enemies would be a challenge) but after a week of testing I realized that it wasn’t a good idea :D
Diablo 3: it’s nothing new, the random items I mean, but still while playing this game I thought that would have been cool to use random items with tiers even in my games, alongside manually created ones.
Everquest 2 and another MMORPG I can’t remember now, the idea of offering items as reward for quests. Again it was nothing new, but just playing those games reminded me of this feature.

chooseitem

And by playing Hearthstone I had the idea to change PSCD from a tower defense game to a collectible card game. So if you’re a game designer, try to find the time to play a few games. Your own games will benefit from it!

Time optimization

Speaking of SOTW, this week I made more progress on the DLC. I was a bit stuck with all the other titles for various reasons, so I thought that instead of waiting for the SOTW missing art, I could code all the remaining things using placeholder art, so I don’t waste time.

specialeventIn the image above, a special event in the “Rebuild Ninim” minigame

Another thing that many indies should learn is to optimize your time. You don’t necessarily need to do things in order. So like in my example above, you can finish coding something even if the art is not ready using placeholders. Or if you’re tired/burned you can do some trivial tasks. I often do that when I’m too tired to code. Trivial tasks could be:

- webpage design: sooner or later you’ll have to do it, right? so why not create the page already? you can always tweak/adjust the texts or images a few days before the release, but at least most of the work is already done!
product setup: doesn’t matter if you sell only through Steam, or direct, or mobile. There are a lot of steps to do to setup a new game. Screenshots, box-shots, icons, description texts, etc etc (every platform is different but you need to do them for all). This is another thing I do in advance.
testing: I now do open-betas to test, since 10-50 people testing are better than 1 or a small team of friends. However, I always do some preliminary testing to make sure that at least the most obvious bugs are fixed. Sometimes when I am too tired to code I just start the game and play a bit to see if there’s something that I missed.
create banner-ads: assuming you do some form of advertising, another thing you can do is designing the banners for the game ads (unless you outsource it to an artist).
write blog posts like this one or other marketing stuff: writing is easier than coding, so I always do the blog posts one week in advance. I think that never miss a blog helped overall, on each blog post I get several views and many comments. Other things you can do is forum polls to see what people think of your next crazy idea, or anything else really, an interview, a tumblr post, or other social marketing stuff.

So as you can see there are many things you can do, even when you’re tired from coding ;)

Posted in development tricks, game design, general, indie life, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf | 2 Comments

Summer In Trigue – Alex

alex

Time for another intriguing character from Summer in Trigue!! :D

Alex is a cheerful young singer from Trigue. She started singing while a very young child and kept at it, initially simply because she enjoyed it so much. It was only after much practice that she discovered she had an innate talent for it as well. She later partnered with a friend of hers who was a skilled song writer, and with his help she is now able to make a decent living off of her voice. She spends a fair amount of time singing in bars and clubs, and really enjoys the more personal atmosphere of singing in such places.

Alex is very confident in her abilities, her looks, and herself in general, though she is not particularly arrogant. She simply feels that people should properly recognize their own talents, and that when someone denies the abilities they have been clearly blessed with, it is very depressing and sometimes even a bit insulting. So she like to dress sexily and is never shy about pointing out what she feels are the strong points of others.

Alex likes kids a lot. Despite her fondness for them she doesn’t actually have much of a desire to ever have a child of her own one day, but she really enjoys spending time mentoring or tutoring other people’s kids. She wants to be an inspiration to others, and usually succeeds at that fairly well, though sometimes some embarrassing and unfortunate aspects of her past crop up. And sometimes she still acts against her better judgment and causes complications for herself.

Alex is playful, and can be a bit absent minded and forgetful at times. This, combined with some impulsiveness, has occasionally gotten her into trouble and often earns her some teasing from her friends. When spending time with her friends, Alex enjoys puzzles and games, but in general just loves to be with them regardless of what they’re doing. If she is with some friends who are having a good time, Alex will be having a good time as well.

Heirs & Graces romance sneak peek

As you might know, I’m also doing a yaoi-only dating sim, my first one ever (there was yaoi romances in my RPGs, but never a dating sim). I have made a sneak peek of the romance CG in the image below:

hgromances

Interesting, right? ;) Currently doing the backgrounds while writer finishes the various paths. Like all my games, no estimate release though I believe it could be out for this Summer!

Posted in dating sims, Heirs & Graces, sneak peek, Summer In Trigue | 7 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day

I know it’s tomorrow, but I want to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day with your beloved one :)

To celebrate I’ve done a bundle with (almost) all my games on Indiegala: https://www.indiegala.com/heart

Also, my game Roommates together with many other famous games is on the latest Humble: https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly

What a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? ;)

Meanwhile, we’re busy working on new games…

A busy week

This was a busy week, mostly planning future games. I’ve found two new writers, one of them is writing the Always Remember Me sequel (married/couple life!) and even if she finished only two scenes so far, I’m very happy of the results. There will be 10 scenes for each of the four love interests (Aaron, Hugh, Eddy and Lawrence) so 40 in total. Writer is trying to make one every 2-3 days, so it means that writing will take around 3 months (more or less). The good thing is that after that, I have already some art ready (I plan to add some more outfits to existing characters and some new secondary ones, but not much) so at least the art should be done quicker.

The other writer is working on a CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) style game, set in Aravorn. You’ll play as a single character (typical of those games) and it will be a “roleplay” game, in the strict term. You’ll face several situations that you’ll need to solve using your skills (there’ll be a character creation part) and there will be multiple ways to solve them. Also, skills/personality will influence the available options, and your choices will shape the character too. At least that’s the plan, but we’re still in the very early stages. No estimate release, however there’s a nice surprise… the game will feature romance, and one of the romance option (for all gender/sexual orientations) will be… Nagas!! :o

nagas
Once again I listened to customers/users feedback in forums, where they clearly expressed interest in a game with Nagas as romance option. So, here you go ;)

Now don’t get too excited since this game will probably take long time (beside the writing, it’s a kind of game I’ve never done before) so I don’t think will be out this year… though, you never know!

Posted in development screenshot, general, indie life, promo sales, sneak peek | 14 Comments