2013 the year of challenges

Happy New 2013 to everyone!

Before making this post I’ve read what I wrote last year, calling 2012 the “year of relax”: https://www.winterwolves.net/blog/2012/01/2012-time-to-relax/

Well, definitely it wasn’t a relaxing year, even if I released only 3 games (I consider The Castle Of N’Mar, Loren’s expansion, as a separate game because of its size!).

It wasn’t a relaxing year because was worried that with Loren I tried to bite off more than I can chew, and I also had to make a real marathon to finish Heileen 3 in time for Christmas.

Looking back to that post, it’s a bit funny to observe how many titles that were already in progress at those times, from Planet Stronghold 2, to Nicole, to Roommates, are still in progress right now! But well, making games takes time! And in particular if there are problems. And as you can imagine, there are ALWAYS going to be problems! 😉

Good news

Anyway, I have some early good news for this year: Heileen 3 yuri version is at very good point, and I might start the beta testing even next week, since I’m aiming to release it around the mid-January.

More good news are that even Bionic Heart 2 is at good point, I’m only waiting for the proofreader to finish checking the script, and I have 90% of the art & music finished already.

The RPG challenge

As for the future games later this year, I’m really eager to start working on Planet Stronghold 2 even if will be a real challenge, because has much more features compared to the first title, and also compared to Loren. Some features include:

  • a small but detailed colony building simulation (think of it like a sort of Sim City on a very small scale) that will impact the gameplay (but I am thinking to make it optional so that you can skip it if you want)
  • lots of weapons that can be used with dual wield (like two pistols)
  • weapons with different ammo types (in the first game the ammo was unlimited). So the combo of possible weapons and ammo is very big!
  • more use of the non-combat skills in the various missions of the game
  • lots of more art, including some extra “talk poses”
  • full soundtrack of 10 songs

and so on, so as you can see is a very big project.

Being able to work on the RPG and at same time still follow the other projects will be a challenge as well, since differently from what happened with Loren, I don’t want to “abandon” completely all the other games while working on the RPG. It won’t be easy at all, but I will try!

The appstore challenge

The biggest challenge though will be to see what happens with the Windows/MacOS situation. It’s fun how some fellow indie devs who before ignored completely the question, are now starting to panic because they get emails from customers saying “the game doesn’t run on Mountain Lion, says the download is corrupted!” or they get big warning screens from Windows 8 when trying to open/install a game.

What’s going on? Well in practice, unless you were a bit prevident like me and codesigned all your game apps/installers, the end users are going to see scary messages from their favorite OSes (except Linux of course!) telling them that they’re trying to install the worst evil on Earth: an independently produced game!!! :O

And that’s not a good thing because this way small indies like me can continue to survive and rescue stray cats and dogs! Fools, you should help the already rich corporations to become even richer! They’re going to spend the money in a much better way, like buying a new Ferrari 😉

Ok, jokes apart (I was joking in case it wasn’t clear!!) the situation is definitely NOT good for indies like me who can’t get on Steam. The long term alternatives to retain our freedom exist, like using HTML5 engines, but that means that instead of seeing 3-4 games a year from me, you’d see 1 a year at most (they take much longer to make). I really hope the new appstores won’t become the only way to distribute apps on Windows/Mac computers, since that would mean no freedom to choose which language to use (python), which content to put in my games (no sexy stuff is allowed on appstores), and maybe have them rejected lots of times for silly reasons like happened to A LOT of friends on the various iOS/Win8 appstores.

Anyway, at least for now codesigning the executables will let you play all my games even on the new versions of the OSes. But I’m pretty sure that a big challenge for us indies lies ahead…! Better be ready for it 🙂

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5 Responses to 2013 the year of challenges

  1. Albert1 says:

    On portals: weren’t you selling your games also thru Reflexive Arcade, were you?
    …just curious – I can’t remember.
    Steam aside, did you try Gamer’sGate, IndieVania, IndieCity, etc? Lot of them accept games from unknown developers, it’s outrageous they don’t accept a developer-with-almost-10-year-track like you! You’re probably one of the oldest indies on the market.

  2. Spectre says:

    Happy New to you. Congratulations on your newest release. Had a look at it. I am certainly not in the demographic this is intended for – you deciscibe it somewhere quite rightly as geared more towards younger female audience- but I have to praise the design, it’s really neat and gorgeous. The writing seem to be bent on some classically overdramatic soap opera cliches. I am not sure about mouth to mouth being used in late 17th century. Sure, I think it was beginning to be discussed…in 18th century, and there are references to it in the Bbile but there were other methids which do not sound quite as anachronistic as mouth to mouth, which came to full light only in 1950s I believe. I don’t think physicians even, let alone oridnary people, would have been fully aware of how respiratory system works, so other methiods like the bellows method or blowing tobacco smoke to me sound more likely. I often wonder whether mouth to mouth is niot being overly taken for granted by the media, and I may be wrong but it seems so out of place…it;s mostly there just for dramatic or flitartious effect, while it does not necessarily have any reason to be there. Sorry if it sounds nitpicky. I am open to being proven wrong.

    But anyway, the game is an eye candy, so I’m sure it will be successful among it intended age demographic. I think it will pull in a lot of people in easily because you have made it very attractive. It’s cliched so I often feel the writing barely slides on the surface of things without offering something very substantial (except maybe for Bionic Hearts, that story I feel had a lot of potential, the dark mood,setting and the plot were all pretty well set, the character something of a marauder quite believable too), but it works for these games I suppose. It does help a little to have the story told in 1st person, any lack of depth can be more easily looked over thanks to thins because it will be easier to identify with the story, so my opinion may be rathe runpopular but I hope you can catch my drift here. I would say, however, that this heileen 3 looks better than Spirited Heart.

    And the design is really pretty and well done. Your rpgs are not bad, either but your strength really lies incoming up with mechanics of these games.

    What I like about your games is that you sure know how to pack a game with attractive features which amje them if only a little replayable. If you know of games like harvest moon, which I really liked, I think if you ever wanted to expand on the farming aspects of some of your games, Harvest moon could give you some very good ideas. And I really liked Winter in Fairbrook because the characters well quite well-rounded, it had a good overall feel to it like a little development story and it was well written. Plus the gardening aspect adds to the fun so it could be made into something more complex. Console catridsges can only hold so much memory. These ideas like the harvest moon series had, can be taken so much further in a PC game but in a sense you;ve already had some of such features across your various games. Another strength is definitely the interface and design, you really do put a lot of effort into polishing those games and it’s really fun to see something done with so much enthusiasm and effort.

    I think your games are filling some much craved and needed niches, there is a market for your ideas most definitely and you’re doing overall a wonderful job, so good luck in 2013! I do follow your games and I find you tob e a fun game designer to follow, your ideas are fun, but sometimes all of these other things are more fun that the games themselves haha.

    Best of luck and much success! I hope you will contiue to please many people woith your ideas in 2013 and beyond.

  3. Spectre says:

    sorry, to make myself clear: I meant the writing in general tends to seem to slide on the surface of things, except for in bionic hearts perhaps, but I can’t judge heileen in particular since I have only reached a certain endpoint and do not intend to continue. I also only played bionic up to a certain point. As I say I also found no fault in writing in winter in fairbrook. I hope I am making myself clear here. Personally I look forward to planet stronghold 2, the setting was nice and the whole factions things which determined the choice in the first game was a clever idea. You ARE getting better all the time, too and I am sure you can achieve much more!

    • admin says:

      Thanks 🙂 Well I can assure you that Bionic Heart 2 will be worth playing 😉
      You’re right about Heileen, some games NEED to be done in a specific way for the target audience. Are like TV series. There are series like Lost, and others like Big Bang Theory. The main purpose of Heileen 3 is making people laugh, add some romance, but is a very different world from Bionic Heart or Loren.
      In the next games you’ll see a big improvement on writing though, since I don’t write them myself anymore. Loren writing already was praised by a lots of users, and even the next games will be better under that aspect. Will try also to improve the other aspects of course, like art and music.

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