Those interested only in news about my games, can skip the paragraphs below
Windows 8 and the Mayan prophecy!
In a recent talk at Casual Connect, Gabe Newell (the man behind Steam) said that the upcoming Windows8 will be a catastrophe. Literally. In particular he said:
“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality. But when you start thinking about a platform, you have to address it. “
Valve wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the PC. Id Software, Epic, Zynga, Facebook, and Google wouldn’t have existed without the openness of the platform. I think there’s a strong temptation to close the platform… That’s not how we got here, and I don’t think that’s a very attractive future. So we’re looking at the platform, and up until now we’ve been a free rider. We’ve been able to benefit from everything that’s gone into the PC and the Internet. Now we have to start finding ways that we can continue to make sure there are open platforms.”
Obviously, he is also worried since Steam currently “owns” the PC gaming space, and having an appstore built-in on Windows, is a very serious threats to his business
However, that point aside, I completely agree with him. There are several wrong things done in Windows8:
- the default touch interface. What? It makes sense if I use a tablet, but on a DESKTOP COMPUTER!? I want my old Windows back! Of course from what I know is possible to switch back to the classic desktop view, but still by default, you see the new touch interface every time the computer starts…!
- The walled-garden appstore. I’ve said before, I’m NOT a fan of appstores, especially if the trend is to make it (in a not far future) the EXCLUSIVE way to distribute apps for a particular platform. The new Mountain Lion MacOS is just out, and if you try any of my mac games by default they won’t run. For now you can still allow any app to be excecuted in the preferences screen, but is a first step towards censorship.
- Censorship. Yes, because when developers aren’t free anymore to make any game they want (of course within the limit of decency!) it starts to be a problem. The Apple appstore is famous for pulling apps from sale for various reasons, often really bizarre reasons. I can say that a game like Loren Amazon Princess, as it is, on iOS would never appear. I would need to make a “heavily censored version”, but from what I see, many people liked the game especially for its “sex appeal”. Not all of course, but why exclude a good part of the market? Even if I don’t play hentai games, why someone shouldn’t be allowed to? Who decides what people can do with THEIR PC, since they paid for it?
- The new locked bootloader features. It means that on several PCs, tablets, phones models you won’t be able to install Linux or any other operating system. This point is still a bit obscure since reading online I found sources saying that you can install linux as long as it’s “certified”. So it’s not terrible as it might seem, but again is a first step in the wrong direction. What will be next ?
- Certification. This seems a sort of “developer tax”. It’s not about the amount, which is small (around $100/year) but about the illusion that people running “certified app” will make them immune from virus/trojans..
- The $0.99 appstore flood. Big news! On the Windows8 the minimum price will be $1.49 ! Still, I don’t think this will be a real issue, even if there will be surely a flood of crappy $1.49 app but most games can still sell for higher amounts, it will just be tougher (but is always tougher, isn’t it?).
So I definitely don’t like all those signals (not just from Windows 8 but also from Apple). I want to say again that platform openess is essential for game developers and indies in particular, to be able to experiment with new gameplay ideas. Unless MS and Apple want us to make only HTML5/MMO games in future? (locking down “internet” will be a bit harder).
Status update about my games
July was a tough month to work for me, and for my write Aleema, since there was a heat wave that made almost impossible to stay in front of the computer. I have A/C in my computer room but I really hate using it because I get sore throat.
So let’s say I took some time to relax. But now things are back in motion! Also I’m really happy that a new build of Ren’Py has been released including an autoupdater, something that will really be useful during the beta testing phase.
Here’s what’s happening right now on each project:
Loren Amazon Princess expansion
This is probably the most awaited title right now It’s not missing that much, some writing and scripting. Coding-wise I believe I have made 99% of the work already, maybe some more balancing but for that there’s the beta testing stage, which I’ll do making good use of the new built-in autoupdater.
I also finally got an answer from the colorist, so the last missing new sprite will be ready before end of month. So while I don’t want to say any date, seems the release is approaching fast…!
I’ve been thinking recently if to just use Ren’Py even for this game, and do a later “port” to the new visual novel engine. This because I would be able to release it sooner, since I have everything needed to do the base game (not including the yuri version).
I haven’t decided yet, I think will wait until Loren’s expansion is out to make the final decision.
I’m missing only 2 CG images, all the backgrounds and Chandra latest scenes. However I’ve also asked one of the writer who applied for Amber Magic Shop to edit/check the text, since they could be improved in some areas. I am also going to add new scenes including more red herrings
Despite being one of the biggest games, is progressing really well. Writing is almost at Winter Break, which means 1/3 of the game! I got also a new bunch of art for it, and started the same artist that made the sprites on the backgrounds. Something unusual that only happened with Summer Session and Heileen2 before: a single artist doing all the work for the game!
The backgrounds list is quite impressive, with 27 different locations!
Planet Stronghold: Warzone
New enemies have been done. I also asked the artist to draw some character dialog poses, so that feels more natural. Like characters interacting with the environment: sitting on a chair, leaning on a wall, and so on. Still long way to go before the art is finished though, maybe this Fall.
Queen Of Thieves
Artist made some more sketches for new “pages”, cutscenes made like a comic page. Some are really funny, other romantic, and so on. I also should get the remaining texts soon.