2015 releases plan, and Loren vs Seasons Of The Wolf

amukikivsshea
This is a fun mockup image I made a while ago to promote SOTW :)

It’s the first post of the year! I imagine people’s main question will be: which games will be out next? since I don’t know myself, and after the big fail of last year (I announced like 5 games but I finished “just” 2), I’ll just say which ones should be definitely out this year (not tomorrow though! could be even Summer or Fall! but still technically 2015).

2015 Possible releases

- Nicole yuri: the game is at a good point. I don’t want to say “first quarter” officially, but it should be really out by April/May max!
C14 Dating: even this game is at good point, missing some extra outfits and CG scenes, but not much else. I don’t think will be done before Summer though.
Queen Of Thieves: much depends on the yuri routes writing. This game should be smaller than others (for story’s length) so I think could be out this year!
PSCD: story and art are at very good point. All depends on the gameplay. I have some ideas but need to make experiments first. I include this on the list even if might be out very late this year!

So that’s it. As always, remember there might be more, or different ones finished. For example, SOTW DLC could be out, depending how much extra art is needed (will be more focused on story-relationship than battles). But as I said I only wrote about those that should be really out this year.

Loren vs SOTW

Back to the title, those who follows me since long time might remember that when I finished Loren, I did a “Loren vs Planet Stronghold” post.

Here I want to try doing the same analyzing the various aspects of Loren and SOTW. Before I start I want to say that personally I don’t think one of the two games is better or worse than the other, simply they’re DIFFERENT :)

Story

Many people complained about Loren’s story to be clichè. I think 99% of stories ARE clichè nowadays :) Anyway, with SOTW you cannot really say the story is clichè. Still most people liked the first two chapters, there are many mixed feelings about the third (for some being too open is good, for others bad) and many felt the ending was a bit rushed (the DLC should fix this hopefully).

I still think that SOTW main story is better than Loren’s. SOTW 1 – Loren 0

Characters

Hehe this is quite an unfair comparison, simply because Loren has so much more characters! I read some reviews about SOTW saying that the “characters aren’t memorable”. What? Rowinda isn’t memorable!?! Chalassa? Krimm? Riley!?

Ok Jariel might be too much “classic good elf”. Althea and Shea’s personality aren’t well developed for gameplay/plot reason (since you can play as both). Still is true that Loren’s characters are awesome. Draco? Mesphit? Karen? I could go on… :)

So, I’m not going to argue on this. Loren’s big cast and characters is what made that game successful, so here Loren is a clear winner. Loren 1 – SOTW 1.

Gameplay

This is another not very fair comparison since basically SOTW is Loren’s engine but greatly updated. Random items, more advanced skills, custom battle cut scenes, etc etc. And the difficulty had much more meaning. Hard difficulty is hard, and Nightmare… a nightmare :D

But is not just that, there’s the isometric map, and several small or big improvements. SOTW is the clear winner here. The only thing some people didn’t like is the “prevent grinding” feature I added. I am not sure if I’ll keep it in future games, even if that means that the boss battles will never be balanced (because if you can grind unlimited time…). But if that’s what people want… who I am to argue? ;)

Loren 1 – SOTW 2

Soundtrack

This is a close one. I really like SOTW main menu music, and even the theme song is much better than Loren’s (hehe), but overall Loren’s soundtrack is awesome.

Listen to those Loren’s tracks:

 

 

Or those SOTW tracks:

 

 

I really don’t want to decide, but if I have, Loren’s is slightly superior in my opinion, but is a very close call! Loren 2 – SOTW 2

Artwork

Hard to say: Loren’s had a different coloring style, but more CGs. SOTW has a better (in my opinion) coloring, A LOT more variety of backgrounds, the isometric map art which I think is beautiful, but less CGs (even if the ending ones are nice, but the romance one can’t match Loren’s).

I think this one is really a draw – if you liked more romance/event CGs then Loren (obviously, since had more romances!) but if you liked more variety of backgrounds and isometric map, SOTW.

Loren 3 – SOTW 3

Longevity

Loren has shorter RPG gameplay, since has no maps and less battles, and most are optional (unlimited grinding). It has much more dialogues between characters though, even if the base game text is just slightly higher than SOTW (I’m not including the DLC).

If you like RPG combats, SOTW is a clear winner. If you like romance/camp talk, Loren is much better, again if only because of the bigger cast.

Another draw? yes, since this really depends on people’s tastes! Loren 4 – SOTW 4

Conclusion

What, the conclusion is a draw!? Really? Yes, really! And believe me is not a diplomatic solution. Even if SOTW took me a lot more time than Loren, I don’t think is vastly superior overall. It depends only on tastes. I have many people who were disappointed because SOTW was more a RPG than a “fantasy dating sim” ;) but also many who were pleased to see that the RPG gameplay was much deeper and the difficulty better balanced.

It’s like asking: is better apples, or oranges? :D

Of course, you might disagree with me. In this case feel free to post a comment with your opinion either here, or in the forums!

Posted in C14 dating, dating sims, game design, indie life, nicole, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, postmortem, queen of thieves, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, strategy games | 6 Comments

2014 the year… of change

happynewyear

Reading back the previous end of year post, I can’t stop thinking how things have changed so rapidly for me. This is probably the biggest “problem” of being indie: things change at lightning speed, for good but also for bad!

Last year I was happy because Loren Amazon Princess was accepted on Steam. Nowadays, I have 13 games there, with the 14th (Seasons Of The Wolf) to be released next month!

Last year I had zero games for iOS. This year I ported almost all of them on Apple’s platform, and I plan to do more next year, especially since Ren’Py will get its own porting system!

Last year beside my loyal long-time fans, I was mostly unknown to the general public. Now, while I’m still not *that known*, people talk about me. Some adore my games, others hate them, others are neutral, but at least people talk about me. The worst thing is being ignored/unknown :)

This year I made “only” two games, but two big ones: Roommates and Seasons Of The Wolf.

Roommates

Roommates is a title that totally exceeded my expectations. I’ve made “a few” dating sims before, but this one basically is of another league! I think probably is due to the fact that, like my RPGs, it is not focused on only a romance genre/combo, but all of them. Playing as male or female, straight or homosexual romances. It’s a game for everybody.

But also, great comedy writing. There’s nothing wrong with more serious/mature themes, but sometimes people just want to escape the mundane problems with funny stories :) So, thumbs up to Michael (Roommates’ writer) for his great job on the game!

The game soundtrack by Leetstreet Boys was also a very good move. I really can’t find an issue in that game, something that “if I could go back, I would have done differently” and it’s a good thing!

ToA: Seasons Of The Wolf

SOTW is officially out since just little more than a month. It was a challenge, a bet. I wanted to see if I could make “a real RPG” myself. With romance, with a story, with my usual artwork style, but… much more detailed, with a Nightmare difficult level that would actually make people go crazy with it, with a map system, secrets, randomized items, etc.

I won that bet. The game is doing VERY WELL, beating Loren’s first month sales. Of course, is not an entirely fair comparison since 2 years have passed from Loren’s release and now I have a much bigger following. But to be honest, I was fearing that it would be a flop :D So seeing that is doing well reassures me and was already worth it.

Still, I’m not going to do another insanely big game like this one anytime soon! It really “burned me”, because I worked on it 10 months straight, every day, fixing/tweaking stuff. I know it’s my job, but now I need a break from such big games. I’m going to make some smaller games (this time, FOR REAL!! LOL) like Queen Of Thieves. They’ll still be RPGs, but have limited party members/skills/items/and so on. They will also be easier to balance ;)

However, there could be something new related to SOTW, maybe next year. I just received this letter via a pigeon from a certain Jariel the bard from the green lands of Grandtree:

letter

End of year’s thoughts

Even if this year was good for me, the future is still very uncertain.

I personally know several indies who this year took a huge hit on their finances, some have abandoned the business to move elsewhere, others went back to contract work or looking for funding. And only a few years before, they were earning six figures! So, you never know what the future holds! Doesn’t matter how much you plan things ahead… because this business moves so fast, is easy to be caught by surprise.

I think the most important thing is to stay humble, never think to have “made it”, and keep working on what you love. At least, this is what I’m planning to do in 2015 :)

Happy New Year!

Posted in game design, general, indie life, iPhone & iPad, marketing tips, postmortem, queen of thieves, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, Steam, strategy games | 13 Comments

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!

skippernatale01
My dog Skipper wishes you Merry Christmas!

First of all, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Second, like every year, I’m running a promo sale with 50% discount on all games (except Seasons Of The Wolf) until the 2nd January 2015!

By buying direct you get the DRM-Free version + free Steam key :)

And now some quick random news:

  • The mobile port of SOTW is being harder than I thought. I also recently learned from Pytom (Ren’Py author) that he’s working on a new version of the framework which uses much advanced libraries (SDL2) that should be out Q1 next year. So I think I’m going to wait and try using that version which could improve the speed to an acceptable level :)
  • Queen Of Thieves and Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense writing and art production is going very well. Of course, all coding is still missing! And I also need to do some big design changes. But if things keep going at this pace, I’m confident that at least one if not both games could be out next year, which would be great.
  • Nicole Yuri is also making very good progresses. I don’t want to jinx it, but it really should be out early next year!!
  • All the other games are making progresses as well, but like always I cannot say exactly when they’ll be out. Stay tuned!

Once again, Happy Holidays to everyone! :)

Posted in general, indie life, promo sales | 8 Comments