Amber’s Magic Shop: Introducing Vin & Haros

The latest blog post regarding Amber characters introduction talks about one of the hottest milf- ahem, one of the most skilled witch of Aravorn: Vin!

(Oh yes, there’s also Haros the master alchemist now that I look better at the picture)

I’m joking of course, but I really like Vin’s character design and I hope to have her as love interest or even main character in a possible future game 🙂

Vin found Amber as a baby in the woods surrounding her home. She chose to take in the child and raise her despite the obvious differences they had. As the years passed, she began to teach Amber about alchemy and potion brewing. Her adoptive daughter wanted to be a witch like her but Vin feared practicing Dark Magic might awaken the demon blood inside the girl so she refused.

When Amber turned sixteen, she decided it was time for Amber to focus on alchemy and remove the temptation of Dark Magic from her life. Although she would miss her daughter, Vin felt it was best that Amber moved to Icesilia and became Haros of Icesilia’s apprentice.

Famous throughout all of Aravorn, Haros of Icesilia is regarded as the third greatest alchemist in the world and an extremely accomplished magician. He takes on Amber as his apprentice at the request of his best friend Vin and brings the young Dark Elf into his home and laboratory. While not doing his own research, he spends much of his time teaching Amber or reproving his son for his pride.

When Amber becomes a full alchemist, he announces his retirement shortly after and moves into the Mage’s Guild to take up position as its leader. He is rarely seen after that, apparently too busy with his duties to see anyone but his son.

That was the latest introduction. I hope you liked the characters, and that you’ll enjoy the story of the game once it comes out 🙂

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Amber’s Magic Shop: Introducing Thomas & Manuel

Since all the main characters were introduced, now it’s time to look at some secondary ones. They will still play an important role in the story. And they have their own pin-up CG too! 😉

Thomas is Ruby’s brother and a vampire just like her. When Ruby was first turned, she could not bear to be parted from him so she turned him against his will. He resented her at first for it but eventually came to accept it. 

He always got on well with his sister and spending eternity with her did not sound too bad after he thought about. Unlike her, however, he does not completely reject his vampiric nature, although he tries his best not to feed on men and women so as not to upset his sister.

Few people in Icesilia have not heard of Manuel, mostly because he spends most of his time telling everyone about himself. He is an adventurer and prominent in the Adventurer’s Guild despite his apparent inability to complete tough missions without help from his friend, Bernard.  

What he might lack in strength, however, is more than made up with his quickness of wit, his limitless charm and political acumen. That is not to say he is physically weak by any means, he is more than a match for most skilled warriors, but he is no legendary warrior and he will admit that if pressed.

Work on the game itself continues, but there’s still quite some work to do (in particular regarding the gameplay part, since the shop builder it’s not a small addition!). Anyways, still aiming at a beta release before Q1 ends (so before end of March).

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Amber’s Magic Shop: Introducing Lynn

intro_lynnTime to resume with Amber’s characters introductions. Now it’s the turn of Lynn: a serious contender for “most cute character in a game”! 🙂

One of the many Elves that makes up a sizeable proportion of the population of Icesilia, Lynn spent most of her life away from Grandtree and her extended family.

Her mother took her north east during the Third Demon War and settled alongside many refugees from that conflict. She grew up in the premier herbalist establishment in Icesilia and that has afforded her a fairly comfortable life. Her mother is an ambitious woman who believes that every generation should be more successful than the last.

To aid her daughter in accomplishing this, she has raised her to be what would be regarded as the perfect bride for the noble Elves in the city. Lynn, on the other hand, just wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be an herbalist like them.

As an adult, Lynn is torn between running the shop now that her mother has retired and the arranged marriage she has with an older noble in the city. She is not necessarily against the marriage but she wants to be sure the person she marries loves her as much as she loves them.

Lynn is a kind person who tries her best not to judge others. She quickly becomes Amber’s best friend and frequently confides in her. Despite having no memories of Grandtree, she is very interested in her roots and dives into Elvish tradition when she has the chance between all of her other responsibilities.

Despite this interest, she does not hold to the traditional discrimination against Dark Elves and frequently defends Amber’s right to live in the city against those who seek to drive her away.

This is the last character intro, regarding the love interests. But I still have a couple more introductions for secondary characters! They will appear on the next blog posts!

Queen Of Thieves on Steam

At last, even Queen Of Thieves is available on Steam. You can get it at this page:

as usual those who purchased directly can redeem a free Steam key here:

If you liked the game, remember to leave a review on the store page since they might help others to enjoy the game as well 🙂

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The 2017 plan!

The character selection screen at beginning of Undead Lily game (work in progress)

As already said in other places (forums/social networks) this year I am not aiming at releasing 5 games again! 🙂 However, if that happens, of course I wouldn’t mind.

The thing is, that of the upcoming games, many are RPGs. And as you know, those kind of games need a lot of time to be properly designed, coded, balanced, etc. There are also a couple of “simpler games” in the works (luckily!), one of them is Love Bites and the other is <CURSED GAME> (to not be confused with “Cursed Lands” which is another RPG!).

There are a couple more games in the works but I’ve decided to never announce or show anything about a game publicly again, until it’s almost done (just a few months left).

So depending how things go, this year you could see some sudden releases of unannounced games. I am not sure it will happen since many are still behind, but who knows!

Talking only of the currently known games in progress, I would estimate this (I’m only talking about beta versions, not final releases):

  • First Quarter: Amber’s Magic Shop. Writing is done, art is done, all is left is scripting and coding. The crafting works, I’ve added over 250 recipes, but still all the remaining simulation part needs some tweaks. I also am doing the shop-builder minigame, which wasn’t planned but seems such a good idea that I think it will be worth the wait.
  • Second Quarter: Love Bites. The art is mostly done (we might commission a few extra artwork), the writing is at good point, the gameplay will be classic dating sim plus VN mode as usual.

Obviously it could happen that Love Bites is finished sooner than Amber. I’ll give the priority to the game mostly advanced. Anyway, both those two games should be out in the first part of the year. But what about the second part of the year?

Things get a bit more complex. Beside obviously finally releasing the <CURSED GAME>, I would like to work on both Planet Stronghold 2 and Undead Lily but of course not release both! (it would be slightly madness haha)

Also, PS2 will be written by Love Bites’ writer, and I imagine that she’ll want a break after finishing Love Bites 🙂 So I think Undead Lily it’s more likely to be out first. Also remember that for RPGs, I need to spend weeks if not months for the gameplay design and testing, it’s much harder to give an estimate. With a dating sim, once writing, music and art is done, you’ve basically everything and it’s easy to say when it will be out. For RPGs… no.

Another important factor, as you might know since I often talk about it, is the “burn-out”. I definitely don’t want to risk being burned out. Last year I released a card game (PSCD), 3 dating sims and a RPG (Queen Of Thieves). Most of PSCD work and a good amount of QoT RPG design/coding was already done in 2015, otherwise would have been impossible to make so many games in a single year.

This is also why I’ve decided to switch from “full RPG” (like Loren/SOTW) to… something easier to do.

The “select companion” screen has some sort of fighting game vibe and I like it 🙂

And it’s not because it’s less work, but because redoing another RPG design (classes, skills, etc) shortly after finishing QoT was really bad for my morale/motivation haha! Doing something new/fresh will be interesting for me, and hopefully will be also fun to play.

That’s all I can say for now. As time goes on, I’ll make more updates about what’s going to happen when I’m more sure 🙂 Happy New Year!

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2016 The year of… many games!


Reading last year’s blog post, and comparing the situation with this year is… funny 🙂 In a good way though! In that blog, I also made a sort of prediction (to be taken with a grain of salt) of what I expected 2016 to be.

It’s interesting for me to look back at it, and see how things REALLY went. Let’s see:

  • January (end of it) – PSCD base game:  The game really came out in January! Good start.
  • February/March – C14 Dating: once again, success! C14 Dating was released in March 🙂
  • March/April – PSCD DLC (which will be 1/3 of base game so not so small!) : in this case, the DLC came out in June. However I also decided to cut the story made for it, but added a free play mode. So yes, failed this deadline, albeit not by much.
  • May/June – Never Forget Me and/or Heirs & Graces: Successfully released Heirs & Graces in June! Never Forget Me as you know was released in November as well!
  • July/August – Queen Of Thieves (this depends mainly on testing so it’s hard to give an estimate, but I really hope will be out by next Summer!): Well, the game was basically done in July/August, but  decided to wait until September and was a good move since I polished it and fixed a lot of obscure bugs.
  • Fall – the CURSED GAME and/or Undead Lily: haha nope! The writer focused on Roger Steel first, while the cursed game… wait. I must not speak of it! It’s not canceled though 😉
  • Winter – Summer In Trigue: writer took a sort of “sabbatical year”. I honestly was so busy releasing the games that I couldn’t use my traditional electrified spiked whip to “motivate”…

In summary, it was great. I managed to met a LOT of deadlines and in my kind of work, it’s something really uncommon! 🙂

And now presenting the…

Winter Wolves 2016 awards!

Haha I did this a few years ago, and now I want to do this again, FOR FUN! All the writers, artists and musicians that worked for me did a spectacular job. But like everyone, I have my own preferences, so I want to do this again. Of course your opinion may (and should!) differ!

Basically will make a sort of ranking for my own games in five categories: writing, art, music and gameplay. Once again, it’s based only on my tastes, it’s not a ranking of popularity/success/WHATEVER. Just my personal opinion! And my opinion is not so important, since I tend to make games based on users feedback.

Best writing

  1. Heirs & Graces
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense
  4. C14 Dating
  5. Never Forget Me

This has never been tougher than this year! As always depends on tastes and interests. For example if you like archaeology, for sure you could put C14 Dating first! 🙂 Anyway for my specific tastes, I really liked Heirs & Graces, because of its “originality” and the bittersweet overall story. The happy/funny and the more serious/sad moments made the whole story really good.

Queen Of Thieves was worth playing just to read the scenes in which the sisters fight with each other. I never laughed so much reading a story before. Ah, and also Thalia. One of my favorite characters ever! Apart this, the rest of the story was also very well written I think.

PSCD was awesome, and my inner geek and sci-fi fan was very satisfied by the insane world building job. I liked in particular the tough choices and the consequences, and also the “political intrigue” parts. The romances were great – maybe not for everyone for the numerous sexual jokes, but personally I found them very funny.

C14 Dating is something you play when you want to relax. There are some moments of tension, more serious ones, but overall it’s a relaxing experience, one of those stories that you know will have an happy end, and I think in a moment like this, we need those 🙂

I put Never Forget Me as last, but only for a reason… since I wrote the storyboards myself, I didn’t want to seem presumptous by placing that one higher. I think the writer did a good job though, the scenes were a mix of funny but also touching moments. If  I hadn’t written the storyboards myself, probably I’d have placed this higher, because the married life is a topic that interests me.

Best artwork

  1. C14 Dating
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Never Forget Me
  4. Heirs & Graces
  5. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense

This was a tough call as well. I really love Queen Of Thieves art, in particular the character design. Those sisters are lovely. Oh and Arianna! Arianna… is totally hot, cute, sexy, awesome. However, Deji is really great. She is without doubts one of my favorite manga artist. The sprites are adorable, and Joan is a masterpiece. I’ve never seen a cutest character in a game! You just want to kiss and hug the screen whenever she shows up.
Never Forget Me art was the “usual”, I think perfect for an otome game. Heirs & Graces was well done too, the costumes in particular were really well done. For PSCD, yeah I know, the uncanny valley effect sometimes shows, but I liked it anyway. The alien art are the best ones I’ve seen in games!

Best music

  1. Queen Of Thieves
  2. C14 Dating
  3. Heirs & Graces
  4. Never Forget Me
  5. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense

I think Queen Of Thieves theme song is one of the best of all my games. The soundtrack is also very well done. C14 Dating comes second, and I really liked the unique feeling and instruments of Heirs & Graces. Never Forget Me soundtrack is really good, and the theme song it’s also perfect for this kind of game. PSCD is last, but just because the others are so good. Even its music and theme song were great 🙂

Best gameplay

  1. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Heirs & Graces
  4. C14 Dating
  5. Never Forget Me

Told you this depends mainly on tastes, right? Well, I love card games, so for me is natural to say that PSCD had the best gameplay! However, even reading various reviews, it seems that the gameplay was universally acclaimed, even by people who normally don’t play card games. That made me happy 🙂
Queen Of Thieves had many innovations in the battle system, and I think the catacombs were really fun. I probably wouldn’t redo a randomized missions again in future games though.
Heirs & Graces and C14 Dating are very close. I put Heirs & Graces first just because I like more the scheduler+skill checks approach than C14 Dating minigames, but I know many players really enjoyed those minigames, so once again depends on tastes.
Never Forget Me had some innovations in the scheduler, like the goal-based system, however it essentially was simpler than the others, so seems fair to place it last for gameplay.

In conclusion, I think this year I made very different games, games for all tastes! I don’t know if I’ll ever repeat a year like this (also because many games were in the work since a while, that’s why I managed to release so many).

Probably not. Also because the next games are almost all RPGs…!! and will of course take a while to finish each of them!

Next blog post will be my first of 2017, in which I’ll try to predict what will happen. One thing is sure: I won’t release 5 games in 2017!!

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