SOTW act 2 should come soon!

Riley showing of an unexpected six-pack (for a Mage at least!)

Yes I know that I announced several times an estimate release date for SOTW Act 2… but this time, I am fairly confident that could happen at mid-July :)

I finished coding the main plot until end of act 2 while I was waiting for Dingirra’s tileset art to be finished. Now is only missing the banners of the four families that run the town, but even if artist doesn’t make in time I’ll just use temporary placeholders.

There will probably be also some temporary skills icons, but the important is the gameplay, right?

So what is left to do? In practice I coded the plot like if was a straight linear story, but of course like in Act 1 you’ll be able to visit several places (even if for plot reasons this time will be more linear). I now need to “connect” all the scenes in a way that works with the tileset map and the passing of days, like with the first act, define maximum number of quests/location to give the bonuses, and so on.

Luckily this part is already big enough that I won’t need to add any extra sidequests myself. I might add some short ones, like “defeat this champion one on one” but nothing more, since is already big. Is probably the biggest part of the game, that’s why took me so long to code (even if 2 months is honestly not that much, considering I also had to release 4 new games on Steam!!).

Shea is starting to learn how it works.. even if Krimm doesn’t seem particularly touched!

During Act 2 there’ll also be the first “camp talks” with the romanceable characters, and the infamous bathhouse scene (will be also in Act3, just a different location).

So in summary, SOTW Act 2 could be out the week from 14 to 20 July, if nothing else happens (both in my private life or indie business side). I’ll update next Friday on the progresses made :)

Posted in development screenshot, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek | 1 Comment

Roger Steel world: meet Ann


Above you see Ann in full color and some preliminary sketches done by the artist :) This week, a guest post by Roger Steel’s writer himself:

“Greetings, patient Roger Steel fans! Civilizations have fallen; continents have collided; the sun’s a little dimmer … or maybe it’s just my eyes. Yes, it’s been a while since my last appearance, I know, and for that I humbly apologize. But in the void, things are stirring. Progress is being made. The chronicling continues… but such is the nature of game development that, even as I write, Roger and the gang are being brought to life in another way – the artwork has begun!

It’s been a strange experience, the last few weeks, seeing characters that have only been resident in the musty confines of my imagination (believe me, there’s a lot of rubbish in there, and the light’s not too good…) for the last ‘few’ months being brought to life in another medium. A bit like the transition from book to film, seeing Ann emerge from words on a page to pixels into her full-colour glory has been an exercise in managing expectations. But the results are here, and they are great.

Ann is a complex character, and made more so by the need to have her develop over the course of her adventure with Roger Steel and the gang according to her player’s vision. (The same goes for Arthur, of course, but he will have his day in the sun another time.) Whether she develops as a tough-as-nails leader with a sarcastic streak or as an easy-going girl who is content to hang out as Roger Steel’s trusty lieutenant – whether you see Ann as your protégé or as your avatar – her portrait will have to resonate as true to your reading of her character.

In this respect, I think the artist has done a great job. The Ann he has brought to life shows just the right amount of resolution and vulnerability that players will recognize something of their Ann whatever particular conversational, skill, and plot choices they make when developing her character over the course of the adventure.

She is not the Ann that was in my head while writing her adventures, but in many ways it is a better realization of her than I could have hoped for. When I open her picture, she looks at me directly, her own woman: strong enough to tackle the perils that lie ahead, to open her heart to any of the people she will be traveling with, or simply get the job done without any romantic distractions at all – just rescue her idiot brother and hope none of this gets back to her parents before their return to India.

I hope you too, her potential player, will see aspects in her portrait of the character you envisage playing, and help define the memorable adventures you will experience together.”

I just want to add that, as you have noticed already, this time the characters use a “full rendering” technique. Something I’ve never tried in my other games before, but the results so far are great. Is time to experiment with new art styles, writing, and games! :) Stay tuned, the plan is to give a new character preview each week, though some week could talk also about SOTW and other stuff.

Posted in Roger Steel, roleplay games, sketches, sneak peek | 13 Comments

Summer Sale, and keeping track of my time

This is Merrow, a character NPC you’ll meet in the 3rd Act of Seasons Of The Wolf

First of all, in case you didn’t know yet, the Summer Sale has started! All my games on my own site are discounted by 50%. No need to enter any coupon code, the discount is automatic. On the site the full price are still displayed but when you add the products to the cart you’ll see the discount :)

Visit now!

Tracking time

I don’t use any time-tracking softwares, but yesterday was working on Steam’s Nicole build, and started to think how much time I spent so far this year on this and other tasks. Everything is approximate but should give you an idea:

  • writing blog posts like this one: usually I write them in advance since I don’t like to rush things (even blog posts!) and I’ve never missed a Friday post since a long time :) Sometimes posts are done fast, like this one (about 1,5 hour spent on it) while other times I need to think more. I’d say on average 2h each blog, so let’s say 25 weeks x 2h = 50h or 2 days
  • adding a game to Steam: this varies greatly too, some games like the RPGs with many achievements and cards took me 1-2 weeks, including testing, fixing bugs, preparing assets and so on. Also the first times I was more inexperienced and spent more time to figure out everything. Let’s say on average 1 week each x 10 games (last 2 will be live next month) = 10 weeks
  • managing people: this year was rather bad, since had to replace several writers, deal with delays, etc. Probably the worst since I’ve been indie :D Anyway, those things eat up time like crazy, because you need to explain everything again to the new people, and maybe previous ones wrote some stuff that you had to read, etc. I also need to check other aspects of the games like art & music, because even if rarely there are problems (small stuff, but finding out late that you are missing a certain asset is bad, so you need to be careful). Then there’s giving feedback to people, email exchange, etc etc.
    Considering that I’m always working on at least 5-6 projects at same time, I’d say that I spend minimum 14h a week on this. 25 weeks x 14h = 350h or 14 days / 2 weeks
  • support: unfortunately I need to do support :) I get several emails every day, most of them are quick, others take more time. I’d say in total I spend 1h a week on this, so 25 weeks x 1h = 25h or 1 day
  • forums: I read forums and answer people when I can. This could fall under support, but in some cases I discuss my design choices or talk with people to get new ideas and learn what they want. Probably I spend too much time there, even if recently I am reducing the amount and length of my posts ;) Because even when I don’t write, I check new posts and read them (they’re talking about my games!). Same thing for Steam and other sites / communities. I’d say I spend 1h a day on this on average, so 25 weeks x 7h = 175h or 7 days / 1 week
  • various marketing activities: sending newsletter (I need to make a web page every time), facebook, twitter, buying some banner ads, etc. Even in this case I spend for sure 1h/day, I still think is worth it because while the results aren’t quick, helps build up my “brand” or at least make people aware of my games. Again, is 25 weeks x 7h = 175h or 7 days / 1 week

So what is the total? Let’s see: 14 weeks and 3 days!  and since we’re about halfway in the 2014, 26 weeks passed (a year is made of 52 weeks). It means that I was able to actually work on the games only for about 11-12 weeks this year! :O

And yet I still managed to release 1 game (Roommates) and finish a beta of a RPG (SOTW) ? I think I’m working too much, really! ;)

Of course, some things like Steam were totally unexpected: thankfully (or not?) I’ve ran out of games to be approved, so is not like every year I’ll have to make so many Steam builds! But for example, I didn’t take into account also the time to make the mobile builds, since that thing is really hard to quantify, but still are precious hours that I can’t use to making new games.

Now you understand why is taking so long for me to finish SOTW? beside the fact that what was initially supposed to be a small game turned out to be a big game! ;)

I don’t want to lie, I will probably take a short break once SOTW is done, since jokes apart I’ve really been working too much lately, so need to enjoy life a bit too. But stay assured that every game I announced (like Undead Lily, or Queen Of Thieves) will be finished, sooner or later :)

Posted in development tricks, general, indie life, promo sales | Tagged | 15 Comments