Monthly Archives: July 2012

Gabe doesn’t like Windows 8 and so do I

Those interested only in news about my games, can skip the paragraphs below 😉

Windows 8 and the Mayan prophecy!

In a recent talk at Casual Connect, Gabe Newell (the man behind Steam) said that the upcoming Windows8 will be a catastrophe. Literally. In particular he said:

“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality. But when you start thinking about a platform, you have to address it. “

Valve wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the PC. Id Software, Epic, Zynga, Facebook, and Google wouldn’t have existed without the openness of the platform. I think there’s a strong temptation to close the platform… That’s not how we got here, and I don’t think that’s a very attractive future. So we’re looking at the platform, and up until now we’ve been a free rider. We’ve been able to benefit from everything that’s gone into the PC and the Internet. Now we have to start finding ways that we can continue to make sure there are open platforms.”

Obviously, he is also worried since Steam currently “owns” the PC gaming space, and having an appstore built-in on Windows, is a very serious threats to his business 😉

However, that point aside, I completely agree with him. There are several wrong things done in Windows8:

  1. the default touch interface. What? It makes sense if I use a tablet, but on a DESKTOP COMPUTER!? I want my old Windows back! Of course from what I know is possible to switch back to the classic desktop view, but still by default, you see the new touch interface every time the computer starts…!
  2. The walled-garden appstore. I’ve said before, I’m NOT a fan of appstores, especially if the trend is to make it (in a not far future) the EXCLUSIVE way to distribute apps for a particular platform. The new Mountain Lion MacOS is just out, and if you try any of my mac games by default they won’t run. For now you can still allow any app to be excecuted in the preferences screen, but is a first step towards censorship.
  3. Censorship. Yes, because when developers aren’t free anymore to make any game they want (of course within the limit of decency!) it starts to be a problem. The Apple appstore is famous for pulling apps from sale for various reasons, often really bizarre reasons. I can say that a game like Loren Amazon Princess, as it is, on iOS would never appear. I would need to make a “heavily censored version”, but from what I see, many people liked the game especially for its “sex appeal”. Not all of course, but why exclude a good part of the market? Even if I don’t play hentai games, why someone shouldn’t be allowed to? Who decides what people can do with THEIR PC, since they paid for it?
  4. The new locked bootloader features. It means that on several PCs, tablets, phones models you won’t be able to install Linux or any other operating system. This point is still a bit obscure since reading online I found sources saying that you can install linux as long as it’s “certified”. So it’s not terrible as it might seem, but again is a first step in the wrong direction. What will be next ?
  5. Certification. This seems a sort of “developer tax”. It’s not about the amount, which is small (around $100/year) but about the illusion that people running “certified app” will make them immune from virus/trojans..
  6. The $0.99 appstore flood. Big news! On the Windows8 the minimum price will be $1.49 ! Still, I don’t think this will be a real issue, even if there will be surely a flood of crappy $1.49 app but most games can still sell for higher amounts, it will just be tougher (but is always tougher, isn’t it?).

So I definitely don’t like all those signals (not just from Windows 8 but also from Apple). I want to say again that platform openess is essential for game developers and indies in particular, to be able to experiment with new gameplay ideas. Unless MS and Apple want us to make only HTML5/MMO games in future? (locking down “internet” will be a bit harder).

Status update about my games

July was a tough month to work for me, and for my write Aleema, since there was a heat wave that made almost impossible to stay in front of the computer. I have A/C in my computer room but I really hate using it because I get sore throat.

So let’s say I took some time to relax. But now things are back in motion! Also I’m really happy that a new build of Ren’Py has been released including an autoupdater, something that will really be useful during the beta testing phase.

Here’s what’s happening right now on each project:

Loren Amazon Princess expansion

This is probably the most awaited title right now 🙂 It’s not missing that much, some writing and scripting. Coding-wise I believe I have made 99% of the work already, maybe some more balancing but for that there’s the beta testing stage, which I’ll do making good use of the new built-in autoupdater.

I also finally got an answer from the colorist, so the last missing new sprite will be ready before end of month. So while I don’t want to say any date, seems the release is approaching fast…!

Heileen 3

I’ve been thinking recently if to just use Ren’Py even for this game, and do a later “port” to the new visual novel engine. This because I would be able to release it sooner, since I have everything needed to do the base game (not including the yuri version).

I haven’t decided yet, I think will wait until Loren’s expansion is out to make the final decision.


I’m missing only 2 CG images, all the backgrounds and Chandra latest scenes. However I’ve also asked one of the writer who applied for Amber Magic Shop to edit/check the text, since they could be improved in some areas. I am also going to add new scenes including more red herrings 🙂


Despite being one of the biggest games, is progressing really well. Writing is almost at Winter Break, which means 1/3 of the game! I got also a new bunch of art for it, and started the same artist that made the sprites on the backgrounds. Something unusual that only happened with Summer Session and Heileen2 before: a single artist doing all the work for the game!

The backgrounds list is quite impressive, with 27 different locations!

Planet Stronghold: Warzone

New enemies have been done. I also asked the artist to draw some character dialog poses, so that feels more natural. Like characters interacting with the environment: sitting on a chair, leaning on a wall, and so on. Still long way to go before the art is finished though, maybe this Fall.

Queen Of Thieves

Artist made some more sketches for new “pages”, cutscenes made like a comic page. Some are really funny, other romantic, and so on. I also should get the remaining texts soon.

It’s time for a Spirited Heart 2

If you follow me since long time you might remember that I was talking about Spirited Heart 2 in past years. In my original idea, I wanted it to be some kind of online game, a free to play maybe or with some multiplayer gameplay elements.

And because of that, I was postponing it year by year, despite having all the background and art needed. I kept saying “well this year I don’t have enough knowledge or the right tech, but next year…”.

Result? After waiting for so long, I am still not ready to make a game like that. But most importantly, I don’t think I would even have fun doing it! So, after I got an overwhelming response for my “writers wanted” twitter message, I thought to ask one of the writers to take care of Spirited Heart sequel.

I think I was doing a mistake to postpone this game for so long. I was a bit brainwashed by the success stories of other people doing online/free to play games, but the reality is that I wouldn’t know where to start and very likely I wouldn’t enjoy doing it either 🙂

Anyway I decided to go for it. Of course won’t be ready this year, because even if I was get all the texts in the next months, I will still need to think about the gameplay, and is very likely that will try at least to get the game done with the new engine so it can be played on iOS. But at least something is moving.

Here’s a sneak peek/promo image featuring Ramas and Thofte, with the updated art:


(Ramas background is the graveyard by night in case you’re wondering. It’s one of the jobs of the game).

I also got the chance to hire again both the sprite and the background artist who did the image above to commission more art/content since I want the game to be a worthy successor to the original game.

About the other games, as I said found a new writer for Amber Magic Shop, got more art and totally hilarious scenes for Roommates, the latest images for Heileen3 yuri version (see image below)


And I think is all… ah no, actually there’s the Loren expansion! Well not many good news about that since Aleema had hard time with the heat wave that hit the US even if she’s trying to finish by end of month, and also I am still missing one colored sprite for the final scene of the expansion! 🙁

But with the help of another great writer I finally got the sequel’s plot fully outlined so I started commissioning the new images for the game. Here’s a lineart preview of one of the new playable characters, Breza, and an old acquaintance, Rei.


That’s all for now, see you next Friday!

Amber’s Magic Shop sneak peek

This week was really busy working on the monkeycoder VN engine, burocratic/financial stuff and webdesign. Yes it wasn’t really a great week even if togeter with a new writer (who seems really good) we managed to lay out the first draft of the main plot outline for Loren sequel – not the expansion, but the sequel that will be out not sooner than next year.

Why do that now? because the artist was free from previous tasks and also because making the art for the first game took almost 10 months, so better start in advance!! 🙂

Speaking of writers, and about the title of the post, unfortunately yesterday got an email from Lorelei, Amber’s writer, who told me that for personal reasons she can’t continue writing the game. I am sad but I wish her luck in her projects. They’re doing a very interesting BxB game called Break Chance Memento, check the official website.

I’ve already got several submission from writer, I’m going to decide very soon who’s going to write the game. Meanwhile check two juicy sneak peek (if you follow me on twitter you already saw them):

Amberromances Ambercast

In the first image you see the possible romances. From lef to right: Daniel The Wizard, Stan the Noble, Bernard the Bounty Hunter and Ruby…the vampiress! 🙂

In the second image, you see other secondary characters: Lynn the herbalist, Manuel the adventurer, Vin the witch, Amber with the new look, Haros the wizard, Roy the noble (Stan’s father) and Thomas who is Ruby’s little brother.

The game will be a life/dating sim with a potion-making gameplay element. I thought about turning this into a RPG too but… I need to breathe 😀 maybe will add a resource / ingredients gathering minigame, but in general will be a dating/life sim.

As you noticed there are 3 GxB and 1 GxG romances, but each one has four different endings! Yes, because the game is based on the concept of Light (Good) and Darkness (Evil). Based on your choices during the game, you’ll end up with one of the 4 possible “alignments”: True Light, Light, Dark, True Dark, and the game endings will reflect that.

It’s definitely a “serious” game with adult themes and some shocking scenes. The art for the game is almost all done, so I’m eager to have the plot fully written so I can code it 🙂

Nicole’s cast: Darren Beville

This week is the turn of the last character, Darren Beville, who is the typical shy guy. However I think he looks cute:


In the game, Nicole’s outgoing personality will help him to become more open about his problems and who knows, maybe he might help you solve the mystery, in a way or in another 😉

The first encounter with him is definitely not the best, and Chandra warns you about some rumors she heard (excerpt from the game):

    “I let out a sigh as I gathered all of my math books and shoved them into my bag. I looked over to the boy at the desk beside mine, who remained silent but looked equally tired.”
Nicole “Hey there. That any of that crap make sense to you?”
“I asked the question casually with a weary smile, but he only glanced at me for a moment before shaking his head and looking away.”
Nicole “I always did all my homework back in high school, but this is all pretty confusing. It’s such a big step up from what I studied in my last math class…even the notes look like a foreign language.”
“The young man shrugged as he finished putting his books away and stood up.”
“What’s up with this guy?”
“Even when I was younger, I didn’t meet guys who acted this quiet…”
Nicole “Uh…are you going to say anything to me? I was only trying to be friendly.”
“He only glanced at me again before his gaze fell to the floor.”
Nicole “Hey, did the cat get your tongue or something?”
“I smiled jovially while asking the question, but he still wouldn’t look up at me.”
Darren “That’s a rather old fashioned phrase.”
Nicole “It got you to speak up though! Old doesn’t necessarily mean useless.”
“He smiled slightly as he stood up from his desk.”
Darren “Just study extra, you’ll do fine in the class.”
Nicole “Why, thank you for imparting such profound and rare advice. I don’t think I ever would have thought of that in all my years of experience.”
“He didn’t laugh or frown at my sarcasm and simply walked away.”
“…Maybe I came off sounding rude?”
“Or he’s not the type to take a joke…”
“Either way, he seems kinda unfriendly…”
“After the class ended, I hurried to catch up with Chandra on the way back to my dorm.”
Nicole “Hey, Chandra!”
“She looked up and smiled cheerfully when she saw me.”
Chandra “What’s up?”
Nicole “I wanted to know if you knew anything about that guy who sits behind me in our math class…he’s so quiet, he seemed kinda unfriendly. I tried talking to him, but he barely said a thing to me then didn’t even bother saying goodbye.”
Chandra “Ah…I think I know who you’re talking about.”
Nicole “He’s pretty cute, just so…standoffish.”
Chandra “Yeah, that’s Darren. I don’t really know him since he’s so shy, but he doesn’t really talk to anyone.”
Nicole “That’s strange…especially for someone his age.”
Chandra “It is. Some people think he’s hiding something.”
Nicole “I suppose that’s possible…what kind of rumors are drifting around about him?”
“Chandra shrugged.”
Chandra “There aren’t a lot with facts behind them since he doesn’t really have any friends that I’ve seen. Some people think he was raised abroad or something and that English is his second language.”
Nicole “And what kind of factuality is behind that…?”
Chandra “None that I know of, it’s just a guess at why he’s so quiet. You should probably be careful around him though, you never know what someone like that is thinking about.”
Nicole “Yeah, you’re right…he seemed harmless enough though.”
Chandra “Still, there’s a line between shy and suspicious. I wouldn’t want to try finding it.”
Nicole “Mmm…”
Chandra “Anyway, I have to go get to cheerleading practice. I’ll see you tonight though.”
Nicole “’Kay, see you then!”

That’s it for this week, can’t reveal more about this character since would be spoilers 😉 The cast review for Nicole is now complete. Next week hope to give good news about Loren’s expansion and other stuff going on…!