Heirs & Graces – Marcel

As some of you know already, I’m developing a yaoi-only dating sim since a few months. It’s fantasy, based on Aravorn, but without a RPG part. The main character is Marcel, pictured below:

marcel

So let’s discover more about Marcel, with the introduction by the writer:

Marcel is the only son of Lord Sandor, an extremely wealthy and powerful noble. While that should theoretically mean that Marcel grew up in a lavish environment having his every desire attended to, the reality of his situation couldn’t be further from it. Marcel may be the son of a noble but he is also his mother’s son and, as it goes, her social status is far beneath Lord Sandor’s. To save himself from scandal, Lord Sandor cut ties with Marcel’s mother when she told him she was pregnant. To make matters worse for the young mother, Maura’s parents cast her out and she was forced to try her luck elsewhere. Her disgrace followed her, making it nearly impossible for her to hold down a respectable job and eventually she had to resort to smuggling and taking advantage of men to make ends meet. Though she tried to keep Marcel out of it, he eventually took up stealing. The situation wasn’t ideal, but it allowed them to live.

By working together, the two of them were eventually able to pull themselves out of poverty. Maura now works as a tailor’s assistant and Marcel has had a few short term jobs in the past. This has done wonders for their stability, but their rocky start has made Marcel a bit cynical. He knows that things can work out, but he also thinks it’s stupid to assume they will. Marcel is able to interact normally with others, but he’s careful not to expect too much from them. After all, if you never placed your faith in someone in the first place it’ll hurt less when they betray you. This line of thinking combined with what his mother went through has led Marcel to swear of romance all together. He refuses to put himself into a situation where he gives someone that much power over him.

While Marcel tends to be overly cautious, he does occasionally take a risk. The biggest one to date is applying to work as Lord Sandor’s servant. He knows it’s a bad idea and he knows he should just walk away, but curiosity has gotten the better of him. While he doesn’t want Lord Sandor to know anything about him, Marcel does want to see the old man for himself just once. Why? Well, even Marcel hasn’t quite figured that out.

I’ll keep posting about this game and the other characters in the next weeks. The game is still in development but is at good point (all the art is finished) so might even be out later this year :)

SOTW DLC “Bad Blood” progress update

fox

This week made very good progress: the coding is almost done, and I’m only missing a few art, including the new ending CGs, which should be finished by mid-April.

I’m currently thinking if to allow the preorders and testing towards end of month even if the ending CGs would still be missing (but just that). Anyway I will obviously announce it on the social networks, blog and newsletter when the game is ready :)

Posted in dating sims, Heirs & Graces, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek | 5 Comments

Playing games is important & time optimization

Playing games is important!

Yes you heard me well: is important to play games! Especially if you are a game developer like me :)

I have less and less free time now (in particular in recent times with everything happening all at once, Steam, iOS ports, etc) and as you can imagine, when I have some I prefer to spend it with my wife, pets and doing outdoor activities.

However, I still try to find the time to play for a few hours a week the new games. Because that’s the equivalent of “research & development” of other industries.

Some practical examples and games that inspired me while I designed and coded my latest RPG ToA: Seasons Of the Wolf:

- Guild Wars 2: from this game I grabbed the ideas of “solve all quest in an area” and “discover all locations” and so on, to get bonus EXP. From this game I also wanted to implement the idea of stat-derived enemies (no matter your level, all enemies would be a challenge) but after a week of testing I realized that it wasn’t a good idea :D
Diablo 3: it’s nothing new, the random items I mean, but still while playing this game I thought that would have been cool to use random items with tiers even in my games, alongside manually created ones.
Everquest 2 and another MMORPG I can’t remember now, the idea of offering items as reward for quests. Again it was nothing new, but just playing those games reminded me of this feature.

chooseitem

And by playing Hearthstone I had the idea to change PSCD from a tower defense game to a collectible card game. So if you’re a game designer, try to find the time to play a few games. Your own games will benefit from it!

Time optimization

Speaking of SOTW, this week I made more progress on the DLC. I was a bit stuck with all the other titles for various reasons, so I thought that instead of waiting for the SOTW missing art, I could code all the remaining things using placeholder art, so I don’t waste time.

specialeventIn the image above, a special event in the “Rebuild Ninim” minigame

Another thing that many indies should learn is to optimize your time. You don’t necessarily need to do things in order. So like in my example above, you can finish coding something even if the art is not ready using placeholders. Or if you’re tired/burned you can do some trivial tasks. I often do that when I’m too tired to code. Trivial tasks could be:

- webpage design: sooner or later you’ll have to do it, right? so why not create the page already? you can always tweak/adjust the texts or images a few days before the release, but at least most of the work is already done!
product setup: doesn’t matter if you sell only through Steam, or direct, or mobile. There are a lot of steps to do to setup a new game. Screenshots, box-shots, icons, description texts, etc etc (every platform is different but you need to do them for all). This is another thing I do in advance.
testing: I now do open-betas to test, since 10-50 people testing are better than 1 or a small team of friends. However, I always do some preliminary testing to make sure that at least the most obvious bugs are fixed. Sometimes when I am too tired to code I just start the game and play a bit to see if there’s something that I missed.
create banner-ads: assuming you do some form of advertising, another thing you can do is designing the banners for the game ads (unless you outsource it to an artist).
write blog posts like this one or other marketing stuff: writing is easier than coding, so I always do the blog posts one week in advance. I think that never miss a blog helped overall, on each blog post I get several views and many comments. Other things you can do is forum polls to see what people think of your next crazy idea, or anything else really, an interview, a tumblr post, or other social marketing stuff.

So as you can see there are many things you can do, even when you’re tired from coding ;)

Posted in development tricks, game design, general, indie life, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf | 4 Comments

Summer In Trigue – Alex

alex

Time for another intriguing character from Summer in Trigue!! :D

Alex is a cheerful young singer from Trigue. She started singing while a very young child and kept at it, initially simply because she enjoyed it so much. It was only after much practice that she discovered she had an innate talent for it as well. She later partnered with a friend of hers who was a skilled song writer, and with his help she is now able to make a decent living off of her voice. She spends a fair amount of time singing in bars and clubs, and really enjoys the more personal atmosphere of singing in such places.

Alex is very confident in her abilities, her looks, and herself in general, though she is not particularly arrogant. She simply feels that people should properly recognize their own talents, and that when someone denies the abilities they have been clearly blessed with, it is very depressing and sometimes even a bit insulting. So she like to dress sexily and is never shy about pointing out what she feels are the strong points of others.

Alex likes kids a lot. Despite her fondness for them she doesn’t actually have much of a desire to ever have a child of her own one day, but she really enjoys spending time mentoring or tutoring other people’s kids. She wants to be an inspiration to others, and usually succeeds at that fairly well, though sometimes some embarrassing and unfortunate aspects of her past crop up. And sometimes she still acts against her better judgment and causes complications for herself.

Alex is playful, and can be a bit absent minded and forgetful at times. This, combined with some impulsiveness, has occasionally gotten her into trouble and often earns her some teasing from her friends. When spending time with her friends, Alex enjoys puzzles and games, but in general just loves to be with them regardless of what they’re doing. If she is with some friends who are having a good time, Alex will be having a good time as well.

Heirs & Graces romance sneak peek

As you might know, I’m also doing a yaoi-only dating sim, my first one ever (there was yaoi romances in my RPGs, but never a dating sim). I have made a sneak peek of the romance CG in the image below:

hgromances

Interesting, right? ;) Currently doing the backgrounds while writer finishes the various paths. Like all my games, no estimate release though I believe it could be out for this Summer!

Posted in dating sims, Heirs & Graces, sneak peek, Summer In Trigue | 7 Comments