Corona Borealis: Lacey

This is my favorite character of the game… no particular reason 😉 Haha, once again Deji skills impressed me, I really like both the look and the outfits (because seriously, they’re just incredibly cute!)

In case you forgot, this game is more “tame” compared to my most recent titles, to be clear you can expect a yuri route similar to the “secret” one of C14 Dating, more on the cute/friendship/romantic side.

And now here’s Lacey character’s introduction directly from the writer:

The overly friendly cashier and dining room attendant. Incredibly optimistic, it seems nothing can put a damper on her good mood. She immediately takes an interest in June and goes out of her way to make her feel welcome. She loves to talk about her fiancé, Mason.

Update on other games

Good news: the Cursed Lands beta testing is proceeding very well, so much that I decided to put the game in “soft release mode”. It means that it’s feature complete, all the content of the final game it’s there, and I feel it’s reasonably stable! While there might be some bugs left, they’re very well hidden (this usually is when I get max 1-2 bug reports a week, instead of 10/day! lol).

Regarding Love Bites, the story is 99% done, the writer just finished both Nadia paths, so once the scripter sends the files to me, I’ll proceed with testing myself the final romance route of this game and then begin the public beta. I think should be towards end of month or early next month! 🙂

Posted in corona borealis, Cursed lands, dating sims, love bites, roleplay games | 6 Comments

Corona Borealis: Basil

The first character I’ll introduce is not a classic “love interest”, but there are other kind of love beside the one of a couple, right? in this case the love for/of a father. Here’s the introduction!

Basil intro

June’s doting father and the owner and head chef of the café. Passionate and driven, he can sometimes get a little too lost in his work. His and June’s relationship is shaky at best, but he hopes to change that over the course of the summer. He has an unhealthy love for coffee and the classic TV show “Star Journey”.

Other games progress!

Some very good news: the script of Cursed Lands it’s finished! The final wordcount is of 305,331 words! The biggest game I’ve ever done so far. I have uploaded a new beta with all the content (the full story, romances, quests). More info in my forums here:

I’ve also been in touch with Love Bites’ writer who has almost finished Nadia’s romance, so once it’s scripted, I can release the full beta demo of that game as well. Lol, a classic: two games, both in beta at same time! Though Love Bites will probably be out sooner since Cursed Lands being a RPG will need a longer testing period.

Posted in corona borealis, dating sims | 3 Comments

Corona Borealis: June

Let’s start the characters introductions for Corona Borealis! For each one I’ll show two outfits and an “older” version (in the game there are epilogues happening several years later).

But first I realized that in my previous post, I didn’t even write what this game is about! Oops. So here we go, directly from the writer:

“June Pinegar is forced to spend the summer working at her father’s quaint country café, far away from her urban home in New York City. Will romance spark with the dutiful barista or friendship form with the bubbly cashier? Or perhaps she’ll mend the strained relationship between her and her quirky father. One thing is certain: with each passing day, June is finding herself more and more charmed by the intoxicating mystique of the Southern town and its residents.

Corona Borealis is a heartwarming story that shows the lasting effects our lives are capable of having on others, as well as their effects on us. Rather than just providing the player with romance options, it aims to explore the depths of non-romantic relationships, too.”

And now the introduction of June herself:

“June is Basil’s daughter and the reluctant new employee at his café. At first, she prefers to keep her distance from the others, but she matures and opens up as the game progresses. Player’s choices will determine how hardworking or friendly she’ll be, which will in turn affect how other characters perceive and interact with her. However, she remains a sassypants throughout the game regardless of player decisions.” 

That’s all for now. Next time we’ll introduce a new character of the game!

Cursed Lands and Love Bites update

Everything is going well with those two games: for Cursed Lands, I’m at good point with act 3 (the last one), so much that I think I could do the final update with all the content next month. It’s still a beta and still a complex RPG so probably the final game will be out 2-3 months after the beta is out. I think June/July could be a good potential release date.

For Love Bites, same, I should have all the writing finished by end of this month, so depending how long it takes to get scripted, the beta might be out next month as well 🙂

Posted in corona borealis, dating sims, general | 2 Comments

Announcing Corona Borealis

First of all, a short PSA: Cursed Lands new beta is live. It contains the full act2, a lot of content ! For more info see my forums:

And now let’s talk about today’s announcement. Or better, re-announcement, since it’s a game originally ideated by Jill Harris, who gave voice to Myrth in Loren and helped me write Never Forget Me. A while ago she approached me asking my help to finish the game, so I accepted.

I accepted also because beside the cute story, Deji was doing the art for the game and she said she would gladly finish what she started time ago. It’s a “smaller game” compared to my crazy standards and to be honest will be a good distraction while I finish some huge games like Cursed Lands (which now broke the 275,000 words barrier already!).

Of course since the story was already largely written, I didn’t want to change anything. This means you won’t see any of the things I promised I’d do in future games (optional adult content, male/female protagonist, etc). I only wanted to clarify before someone complains 😉

The game reminds me closely the Fairbrook series, romance and friendship above everything. You play as June, and there are two otome routes, one yuri, and… not sure how to call it, maybe “father friendship route”? A path in which you make peace with your father, with which you have a shaky relationship.

In the next blog posts I’ll introduce (as usual) the various characters of the game. There isn’t a fixed release date yet, however the writing is basically all done (maybe some more events for the scheduler but nothing big) and the art is at good point too. This is one of the various “surprise projects” I mentioned in a previous blog post, stuff that was going on behind the scenes since long time (I was involved in this project starting from Summer 2016 but the game was in development since longer).

I’m sure some people will rejoice seeing a more cute/friendship-focused game, but for the others who like more sexy stuff, don’t worry, all the other games in production have that option!

Posted in corona borealis, dating sims, general | 9 Comments

The ‘vocal minority’, feature creep and keeping yourself sane

One of the many custom screens I added to Cursed Lands. Feature creep? yup

I always wanted to write a blog post about the topics in the title, so here I am. First let’s start with a premise: what makes a successful game? of course gameplay, art, music, etc. But if we want to analyze a game’s success there’s a simple formula: a popular/successful game is a game that matches tastes of as much people as possible.

I think the above statement is inconfutable: the more people like game X, the more copies will sell and more successful will be. Then of course if the company doing it spent too much time, or money, it could still be a financial failure for them, but it still would be a popular game.

OK now that this is clear, what is the so called ‘vocal minority’ and how can impact the development of a game? Nowadays is very common to have an open development, with alpha/beta demos, early access, etc. Almost everyone is doing it now, but the same principle works even if you’re doing a closed beta with only 20-30 testers.

Now let’s say that the 10% of your fans/betatesters want desperately feature A. They’ll start posting in forums, sending you emails, and so on. It’s like if they’re fans of a soccer team. “Really, you should implement feature A because the game will be SOOO much better!”. In some cases, they even know it will be easy, even if maybe they have no programming skills whatsoever “I could program it myself in an afternoon”. And so on, even with veiled threats “If you don’t implement feature A I’ll ask for a refund!” or “your game won’t sell a copy!” etc 🙂

If you’re a developer, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with all this, and if you’re a player or an user, trust me, this really happens (but probably you saw such posts too).

Note that I’m using a fun tone while writing this, but for the person on the other side, the developer, the situation is often dramatic: maybe they invested a lot of money, mortgaged their home, or simply spent already so many hours on their game. But for the player of course this doesn’t matter (it shouldn’t, since they’re judging the game and not how much the developer worked on it or how much money they spent).

Anyway, what happens now? The developer can either follow the suggestion, think about it, or refuse to implement the new feature. As you can imagine the last option will result in an uproar in forums and some insults to the developer. But even if developer agrees to do it, is in all cases a good choice? No, it depends.

Back to the starting point: if the feature A that the 10% of people want is something that once implemented even the remaining 90% will like (the so called “silent majority”) then, all good! But what if the new change is disliked or even worse, hated by the other 90% or part of it?

That’s the big issue that developers have to face on a daily basis. In some cases the suggested changes are obviously a good idea. In others, devs have no clue themselves: is making the RPG more complex a good thing or not? Is using randomized items a nice feature? better turn based or real-time? etc etc.

There is no clear answer in some cases. It’s a bit random, really. Unless your game is selling so well that you can afford to do changes on a new beta, gather new feedback and just in case revert to previous version, then it’s a minefield. You could implement the feature and risk losing players, or you could gain more fans. But in most cases developers aren’t sure themselves about what is going to happen, while one thing is sure: adding the new feature will cost time and money.

The devs are the only ones to know well how much time and money they’ve already spent, how much money and physical/mental energies have left. And they must not fall into the famous “feature creep” for which they keep adding feature after feature, thinking to make the game better, when maybe that’s not always the case. Or simply, it’s not worth all the extra time/money spent to add the features.

In summary, I’m not writing this blog to say that players’ suggestions are bad. I have added a lot of nice features in my RPGs exactly thanks to players’ feedback. What I’m saying is that as developer you need to learn when to say ‘no’. When you have no more money to spend. When you have no more time or energies (because adding a feature when you’re burned out it’s not a good idea, trust me). When to say “OK, I know I could probably keep working on this game for years, but I must release it now.”

And as player, you need to understand that (in most cases at least) when a developer tells you “sorry but can’t do this”, it’s not because he’s a bastard, he’s lazy, or he necessarily disagrees with your idea: it’s very likely for the reasons stated above.

I’ll end with an analogy because many players find odd that someone would want to stop working on a game, adding new features they suggest because it will likely make the game better. To make a comparison with a game developer, imagine if one day the boss at your daily job calls you and tells you that you should stay in office doing overtime every day for the next month. At the end of that month, and only at the end, you might get paid for the overtime, or not. You don’t know before, but the boss still asks you to do it, insisting saying that “yes, maybe I’ll pay you more”. What would you do?

Now maybe you understand why, sometimes, us developer don’t add all the new features you request, especially if they require a lot of time/money to implement them 🙂

Posted in development tricks, game design, general, indie life | 2 Comments