PSCD – meet Galina

galina

Apparently last week’s character, Cristoph (which will be changed into Cristophe thanks to the suggestion of some French friends) has shocked some user because of his abundance of hair in the abdomen part of his body… :D

So this time here’s a nice and kind lady, Galina. Well, maybe not very kind. Read her introduction:

Name:  Galina Litvyak
Nickname:  Wraith
Nation of Origin:  Russia
Service Branch:  Imperial Intelligence Agency
Specialty: Bounty Hunter

Description:
Considered the most taciturn member of the squad, Galina wasn’t always so reserved.  In her civilian life, she was a successful bounty hunter.  While she started nabbing small-time crooks and thugs, Galina’s expertise had her catching bigger and bigger game.  So successful was she, she managed to bring in the head of a criminal syndicate, rupturing  his organization in the process.

Unfortunately, this success marked her for death, and in a move to save her life, she joined the military.  Not one to squander talent when they see it, her superiors use Galina’s to extract or eliminate personnel when other conventional means have failed.  

One incident stands out in Galina’s otherwise brilliant career.  While the particulars of the mission are considered top-secret, a whole noble house was brought low as a result, and Galina proudly wears the scar she earned in the course of her mission.  Though Imperial medicine is more than capable of healing this wound, Galina refused, since her marking, unlike the mission details, can’t be swept under the rug.

Galina earned the sobriquet of Wraith for her ability to go anywhere, no matter how heavily guarded and achieve her aims.  Adding a macabre twist, if her target must die, she will lay two old-time coins on the eyes of her victims, giving Death her due.

It would be wrong to say Galina never smiles, but her tastes runs to gallows’ humor and this is quiet acceptance of the end discomfits most of her teammates. 

 Short update

So…I’m again in a funny situation where several games are in the making, but each one has an aspect delaying it. One game is advanced for story/art, but behind with coding. Another is behind with art. Another with writing. And so on :)

For sure the essential part of (most) of my games is the writing, since without it there isn’t a story, and the game itself. What I’m going to do from now is: with the few very reliable writers, I’ll keep producing stories, so that only art/coding is missing. This way should speed up future games. One thing is to send an artist a clear list of what to do, and a deadline. Different is to commission first some things, then some other, and some other again. Also, seems that writing is the activity that takes more time for each game, so having already some plot ready it’s surely not a bad idea!

Anyways, I also realized that of the upcoming games, except for C14 Dating and Queen Of Thieves, all the others are yuri/yaoi only. It’s not bad of course, but I’ve been considering doing a sequel to my old (but still quite famous) otome game Always Remember Me :) It will be different from the others since will focus on the couple life, and the final goal will be to stay together and not break up with your current partner (in the beginning you’ll be able to select your partner from the four original boys of Always Remember Me). Done this way it won’t be required to having played the previous title at all.

And the best thing is that it would be something I could do on my own (the storyboard of course, writing would be done by a pro writer) so not delaying the other projects :)

I’m also working hard on SOTW DLC but now I am missing some art, even if I’ve already commissioned it. If all goes well should have it done by mid-April. By popular request, I’m also going to try adding a “visual novel” mode to SOTW, so that you can skip completely the battles or a least most of them :)

Posted in dating sims, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, strategy games | 26 Comments

PSCD – Meet Cristoph

christoph

After seeing all the romanceable characters (at least in the base game… who knows, maybe if the game does well, we’ll be able to do some future DLCs!) time for the other team members. They’ll be present in the story and the fights, and each one has his/her own specialty. Let’s start with Cristoph, a “dark” character!

Name:  Christoph Rousseau
Nickname:  Badger
Nation of Origin:  France
Service Branch:  Imperial Corps of Engineers
Specialty:  Mining

Description:
In almost every outfit, there usually is someone with ties to some rather unsavory people and organizations.   Christoph fills this role rather aptly.  If you need to get something, and can’t get it through legitimate channels, then Christoph can make it happen, for a price.

In fact, it was the search for personal wealth which led Christoph to join the military.  While he doesn’t particularly care for fighting and killing, Christoph’s current position affords him too many opportunities to enrich himself.  

This isn’t to say Christoph activities didn’t create some enemies, but assaulting an imperial squad is outright suicide.  Those few people who did press the issue…well, Christoph definitely knows where the bodies are buried.

Some might consider Christoph a coward, but this isn’t true.  He earned the nickname Badger when he was in the middle of his mining shift, when a hole appeared on the side of the passage, and an Apex warband emerged.   Thinking quickly, Christoph used his equipment to weaken the ceiling, burying aliens under a ton of rock.

If Christoph has a weakness, it would be gambling.  He always has a deck  of cards, or a set of dice on his person, and can be found starting a pick-up game when things go slow.

Meanwhile…

Work on the other games is going forward quite well. The SOTW DLC has been fully scripted, so now is my turn to add the battles and test. It’s still missing some art though, but depending how the artists/colorist go, the DLC might be out sooner than I thought :)

Here’s the intro scene…but what he is writing about?

jarielwrites

“…my terrible mistake that had almost sealed the fates of Althea and Shea”! Wow, Jariel, what did you do? Soon (well, this year, not very soon!) you’ll discover it ;)

Posted in Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek, strategy games | 9 Comments

A SOTW postmortem

rowindavolcano
Well, if nothing else, SOTW brought some new awesome characters like Rowinda in Aravorn’s world!

At the time of writing this, will be exactly one week after SOTW Steam release. How it went? ahem, let’s say it didn’t meet my expectations… :D

Don’t get me wrong: a lot of people liked the game. But it didn’t do as well as I hoped. In short, game sold, rather well to be honest, but compared to the amount of work I’ve personally put on it, I wouldn’t do it again. Now I’ll get into the details and try to find possible causes of this:

  • game length/price: this was my first mistake. The game, for the length, amount of work and resources put in it, should have been sold for $29.99 (is longer than Loren+DLC!). However, in nowadays market, is really not possible to offer a game at that price, it was better to split it in two, or do a DLC/expansion. So when I finished the game, I was “forced” to price it $25.
  • gameplay: I wanted to put more RPG gameplay on this game, more combat, skills etc than Loren. It wasn’t a bad choice on itself, but the main issue was to put too much REQUIRED combat in it. I’m not talking about the random battles, or grinding. That one was also present in Loren but was entirely optional. If I count the required battles (to advance the plot) of Loren and the ones of SOTW, there are 3 or 4 times more in SOTW!! and most people didn’t like it. Also, the clever AI resulted in longer battles after act2 because they could heal/resurrect. It’s a mechanics that is fun to play once in a while but on every battle (for most people at least, there are exceptions of course). The DLC I’m working on is much more similar to Loren under this aspect.
  • feature-creep disease: haha it is not a real disease, but it affects many game developers. The fight is nice, but why don’t you add custom battlefield conditions? the items are nice, but more variety? let’s add a random items generator! enemies AI is too dumb, let’s recode it completely! OK I’ll stop here, I think you got what I mean :) Adding features is not a bad thing in general, but adding too many, without thinking about all the extra work needed to test? yep.

In conclusion: I am NOT saying that SOTW was a failure, or is a bad game, or anything. I still think is a great game, sold well and without doubts the best RPG I’ve made so far. However, as you know, when running a business you need to consider the time/resources spent vs money earned. You remember when I said that the game sold more than Loren the first month? Now 3 months have passed and comparing the first 3 months of Loren, SOTW sold less (not by much, but less).

And if I take into consideration Steam? Loren outsold SOTW by ten times or more! :( this might not be about the game itself though, since even other very good games like Roommates didn’t do particularly well after they “opened the floodgates” and several new games are launched daily (Loren could stay in homepage for a whole week, SOTW for less than 8h). It seems you need to put a lot of fanservice to do well with manga games on Valve’s platform (this is a topic for another long post though).

And the problem is that this game budget was twice Loren’s, and the amount of time I’ve spent on it is longer by at least 50%… you do the math :)

So what happens now?

Well, I actually had FUN making SOTW. Not always (especially when fixing crazy bugs), but I had fun. However it doesn’t matter much really. If from now I was making always games like SOTW (taking me 10 months of hard work every time), I wouldn’t go out of business, but I would be in serious financial trouble in just 2-3 years… and probably I would be totally burned out (I still am, have problems coding for long hours now).

So I am sorry for those who loved SOTW, but I can say that for sure the upcoming RPGs will be:

  • more focused on the story. After all, all my games are story-based, so makes sense to stick with it.
  • with less required combat! I can leave grinding open as option. But those playing mainly for the story shouldn’t be forced to play 100 fights :)
  • more “casual”: an easier interface and rules, so that even non RPG experts can understand and play it. This has nothing to do with actual game difficulty, only with fewer rules, easier to understand. An example: if SOTW was Magic: The Gathering, upcoming games should be Hearthstone ;) Still very fun, but easy to learn and play.
  • better balanced for length/price. Wait, I am not going to make only cheap/short games, I am talking only about my internal management/budget. In practice I need to make sure that I don’t add too much content and spend again so much time/money on a product  that then can’t be sold at the price it should be sold!

Sadly my most precious resource now is my own time. To make an example, if I want to make a game more polished, is better to add 10 new CGs, even if artist takes 2 months to  draw them, than adding feature XYZ using 2 months of my time. Also because, when I do stuff myself, for obvious reasons I can’t multitask and follow other projects as I should.

Anyway, with everything I’ve said, I’m quite optimistic for SOTW DLC, because it’s like Loren: it focuses on story/romance, has a lot of character romantic interactions, a few battles, a lot of lore and “tough choices” and plot twists :) Hopefully will be out after the Summer!

Posted in loren the amazon princess, postmortem, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf | 45 Comments