Loren Amazon Princess is out and postmortem

In case you missed my newsletter or twitter announcement, the fantasy RPG game that kept me busy for the last six months is finally out!

You can download the demo from the game official page:

http://www.winterwolves.com/lorenamazonprincess.htm

The postmortem

Making such a big game like Loren was really a tough journey. Now that I have finished it, I can confess that several points during the development of the game, I thought to quit, to cancel it. Yes, I started thinking that perhaps I could reuse the art in a simple fantasy VN, or that I tried to make something beyond my capabilities and was the biggest mistake of my indie career.

If you tried the demo, or purchased the game (thank you!) you’ll quickly realize how complex the game is. It’s a full RPG, with classes, statistics, skill trees, several characters, a detailed turn-based battle with many tactical choices, quests, different endings, map,  and more.

Now that is finished I’m really really proud of it. I’m happy to have finished it, despite several problems I had to face developing it.

The bad

As I already wrote, the bad is that is a game that is quite hard for a small team to make. I want to thank again Aleema (the writer) and Anima (the coder) for their effort, but even with their help, “assembling” the game was still a real pain.

It was also my fault, because from the initial design, I added lots more skills and more complexity to the game. The result, as you’ll notice, is very good since there are lots of different strategies to win the game, lots of different character skills customizations. That’s a clear sign that I made a good job with the design, however implementing it was a real NIGHTMARE.

The problem with RPGs is that there are so many gameplay elements linked together, that is easy to break everything: when you fix a bug in a point of the game, there are good changes that you’re adding a new one in another point! Add to this that I didn’t have an autoupdater in place, and every time I had to reupload the whole game (100mb) I cried.

As you can see, “the bad side” is not really bad because I screwed up something, but because it’s just how hard those kind of games are to make. I’d say is the hardest kind of game you can make nowadays.

So, now I know that if I ever start a new one beside the already planned expansion, will need to restrain myself from adding too many features, because each new feature is extra pain to debug and extra weeks to test.

The good

I had a fantastic support from several people who pre-ordered the game as soon as it was out, and helped a lot during the beta testing phase. The beta testing lasted two months, during those I had lots of feedback: both bugs/typos report but also very good suggestions to improve the gameplay.

Of course I wasn’t able to implement all of them, but the ones I implemented really helped making the game even better than it was.

I think the final result is awesome – I usually am pretty modest with my games, but this time I’m breaking the rule, because I think Loren is the best game I’ve ever made and I’m not even sure if I’ll ever make a better one.

Yesterday I sent the game PR and a BIG site showed interest in reviewing it, even if I know from past experience that I must not get too much excited until I see the actual review.

Conclusion

Even if I sent it just yesterday, I can say that the press release was the usual disappointment, the game was mostly ignored (except that big site above that I won’t mention now) and people quickly labeled it as “just another bishoujo game” just looking at screenshots. But that’s something I am used to :)

I was however pleasantly surprised to see how much traffic I got from social network like Twitter, Facebook, etc. Seems really like that lots of people started talking about the game. Not journalists, not websites, but people who discovered the game through other friends, the infamous word of mouth!

In the end, is still too early to draw any conclusion. Anything can happen from now until the end of the month, and will most likely decide if I’m going to make more games like Loren in future or not. So if you’re reading this and enjoyed Loren, and want to see more games like this, you know what to do – spread the word about it. Contact the big websites and tell them to review it – maybe they’ll listen to you more than they listen to me ;)

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