First of all, in case you don’t know, the game is now out! You can get more info at the official page here: http://www.winterwolves.com/theflowershop.htm
Then I want to give a brief background history on this game in case someone is interested. It all started shortly after I found out about Ren’Py engine and the visual novel / dating sim world. I got to know the LemmaSoft community (which has been very helpful for me in making those games since then) and several great people like Tom Rothamel, Ayu Sakata and M.Beatriz Garcia. Those two last people were later fully involved in the game.
Summer Session, a dating sim made together with Hanako games, was released in July 2008 and was very successful, with mentions on Gamasutra, Macworld, and so on. So I wanted to make another, but at same time go on with my other projects (Heileen, Spirited Heart would get released in the next months). While browsing Lemmasoft forums I found out Deji (Garcia nickname) and of course I was impressed by her skills, but also by the fact that at those times (if I remember correctly) no games (even freewares!) were ever released with her beautiful art.
I thought to ask her if she was interested, and I still remember after I sent her my initial game idea she wasn’t much motivated because of the “guy goes after girl” theme: but when I expanded it mentioning one of the main girls would be a Flower Shop owner, she immediately changed her mind! Also, in the beginning, the game was really like another Summer Session. But then (luckily I think) I decided to ask Ayu Sakata to write it completely on her own, just following my original plot idea, but leaving all the dialogues to her.
Was July 2009, she had just done some proofreading /editing for Bionic Heart and I really liked her work, so asked her if she wanted to take care of the project, and she did. She changed the player perspective from the classic male point of view (the one of Summer Session for example) to a more delicate, romantic view (I’d say definitely more female!).
Meanwhile Deji was going on with the pictures, but was a bit slow because had to do an internship. In late 2009 the plot was fully written but there was still several pictures left: I still remember Marian was the last girl to be added, and some of her poses were paused for over 3 months 😀 But then, the internship ended and I must say I was surprised to see Deji motivation and speed (quality was NEVER in discussion) ! She finished all the remaining art in December, and the main menu in early January.
The background art was done by other external contractors and the interface… is my fault in case you’re wondering 😉 In December 2009/January 2010 I had lot of fun programming the farming sim part: I wanted something casual, not very complex but not too easy either, and I think I made it. Once again I was pleased to work with Python which is without any doubt the best language ever to do … just anything, from games to any other kind of programming task!
So that’s it… basically the game from its original concept in October 2008, was finished more than 1 year later, in January 2010! Of course, there were lots of pauses and dead moments so isn’t like the game took 1 year of actual work to make!
And now, what’s next? I am already discussing with Deji and Ayu about a possible “girl side” version of the game. I agree, I think many girls would like to deal with nice guys like Jacob and Trent…!