Monthly Archives: April 2013

Experimenting is fun

If you follow me from the early days you already know that I like to experiment. I like to mix game genres, or at least try new things/features in existing genres.

That’s what for example pushed me to add the Social Boss Fights in Bionic Heart 2. By the way the official video is now on youtube, see it below:

And is why I’m trying to add a simplified (it won’t be Sim City of course!) colony simulation metagame in Planet Stronghold 2:

Planet Stronghold 2 colony sim

As always they’re early work in progress screenshots, but you can get the idea of what we’re trying to do. I think will be interesting to integrate the colony sim with the RPG gameplay. While we’re still working on the details, there will be some influence of the RPG part to the colony sim and vice versa.  Of course playing in Easy mode will reduce the overall difficulty, while playing in Hard mode might be interesting since you’ll have to balance both the RPG and colony building simulation aspects.

Many quests will be directly linked to the colony expansion (like acquiring new blueprints to build new building), so it will also work plot-wise.  You can see now why Planet Stronghold 2 is taking so long, it’s definitely an ambitious game! 😉

At same time, I’m trying a new GUI/gameplay system on the dating sim Nicole:


instead of the game map like Always Remember Me, I’m going to try using a simplified interface, showing “pictures” that are places you can visit. Then each place will offer a variety of actions that change based on the plot, time of day, day of week, like Always Remember Me.

I’m going to try to experiment also on the plot: I thought today that rather than having a “alone ending” if you fail to romance anyone, the game will end in a different way… since there’s an abductor in the campus, the final scene will see our poor Nicole being kidnapped (of course without revealing who it is, so doesn’t spoil the fun).

More scary than the usual otome games? well for sure, but I think will be very interesting…mouhahaha 😉

Bionic Heart 2 officially out and more news

Bionic Heart 2 is done!

First of all the big news everyone (myself in particular, since was getting burned out!) was waiting for: Bionic Heart 2 is finally finished!

You can get more info and download the free demo at this page:

I am working on a small update that will enable a “HINT MODE” so that you’ll get some hints before each boss battle, though to be honest most of them are easy enough, but there are a couple of harder ones towards the end of the game (Tom/Luke and in particular Julia/Tanya last boss fight). Meanwhile, please visit my forums to get some tips and a full walkthrough.

The official game video isn’t ready yet, I had it done already by the end of March but decided to change a few things, I hope to be able to upload it next week, along with the official PR and newsletter.

Roger Steel is back

After some delays, the sneak peek of the steampunk RPG Roger Steel are back in my forums! Check here:

More RPGs in the near future…

Even if the next games to be released will likely be the dating sims Roommates and Nicole, rest assured that I’m not going to stop making RPGs! Planet Stronghold 2 still needs more time, but meanwhile I am planning some surprises, including an unannounced RPG and resuming the work on Undead Lily, which was put on hiatus early last year, and while is a more light/casual RPG it should still be fun to play. More news about those projects after the Summer though!

iOS madness

A not-so-good news instead is that I’m having insane troubles trying to validate/upload the Heileen port to iOS appstore. I’ve been talking with 5-6 different people, all expert of iOS, showed them a lot of screenshots, and everyone said that “it should work” (last famous words).

But as a matter of fact, after ONE WEEK spent on it, I still couldn’t validate/upload Heileen. Now before you think I’m a dumb newbie, I really tried EVERYTHING, and I suspect is something really screwed up at Mac OS/Xcode level (wouldn’t be the first time I heard of such problems). Maybe will just hire someone to do the submission, I can’t afford to waste one week of my time just for that! 😀

So for now, I am not sure IF/WHEN I’ll be able to publish any games on iOS. Meanwhile, Bionic Heart 2 is already available on Google Play:

Week full of good news

After some rather sad/grim posts in the past, today I’m pleased to make a very happy one 🙂

Bionic Heart 2 update

First of all: Bionic Heart 2 beta testing is basically over, I’m waiting a bit more but if you waited until now to try it because you were afraid of bugs, don’t wait any longer! Check the official forum thread here with the new download links.

Lots of things have changed from last week, I had a sort of enlightening when I completely changed the game logic code. Before, the logic jumps were scattered all around the 100,000 words script, making very hard to understand the game flow. So I tried another approach: I concentrated all the logic code in 10-15 lines, calling each scene from it. It was the decisive move, since all the remaining bugs could be fixed very easily after that!

I wonder why I didn’t think about this before. Probably was a bit burned after all ^_^;

Nicole update

nicole WIP
A work in progress screenshot from the game

I am making good progress with Nicole too. Main menu track is finished, Darren’s script is done, and I’m testing / adding the various sprites right now to the game. In the screenshot above you also see one of the new chibis representing Nicole’s status (like in Always Remember Me).

Of course everything is work in progress but I like the direction so far 🙂 If the writer can finish all the otome routes by end of May/mid-June the game might be out in early July for sure!

Planet Stronghold 2

Progress are being made too, now that I’m done with other projects I’m starting to discuss with Aleema some interesting plot twists 😉 At same time artist should be able to finish the enemies and start with the camp talk poses during this month.


The script is almost done, and the theme song preview is great, I like it 🙂 There’s still some delays because of background images and some extra CG scenes to be added to the spring break event in the game, so for now I don’t want to say any deadline since I’m not sure myself either.

Heileen on iOS!

Since yesterday was my 39th birthday, I gifted myself a iPad mini. Why? to test the first Heileen build for iOS:Heileen iOS

it was ported using Monkeycoder by a developer friend, and so far seems to work well. I still need to test it and submit the game, so will probably take another month before appears on the appstore.

The plan is to keep porting the other games, except for the RPGs that would require much more time/effort. Also, because of Apple’s policies will probably need to censor somehow the more “steamy” games, since I don’t want to risk to see my apps removed or worse.

As always if you want to make sure to not miss anything, the only way is to get the games directly from my site 😉

Biting off more than can chew

Gilda & Grillo sleeping together, pic from a few years ago

I would like to be able to sleep peacefully as my two cats above! The reality is that in the past month it has been quite stressful, for various reasons, personal and job related.

In particular, I recently had to drop the idea of making the “two independent parallel plots” feature of Bionic Heart 2. It was definitely too much. I tried to fix the numerous plot bugs, with the help of some people but we failed. Then asked Aleema, my trusted Loren writer, thinking that maybe it was my faul, that I was just “burned” by all the recent work. But even her gave up! So at least it means it wasn’t just me.

Thinking back about it I don’t even know how I thought I could make that work. It’s a total nightmare since the game is already super complex even played as “normal” visual novel, with lots of path/branching and variables to take care of.

By coincidence, this week appeared on a games site the flow chart of the Walking Dead game by Telltale, which I enjoyed a lot last year. Immediately, I noticed how simple it was. Yet, playing the game I had the sensation of much more freedom of choices!

So in practice, to the end users doesn’t matter much if there are really 150 parallel plots. Nobody except a few people are going to replay the game from beginning to see them all. I remember when I did a survey a few years ago, only 10% of people said that they try to unlock all the endings.

I think that for all future games, I’d rather make the story longer, and use other gameplay/narrative “tricks” to give the illusion of freedom (because even in the multiple path games, you still don’t have complete freedom, is just an illusion).

Anyway, what does it means in practice for Bionic Heart 2? I thought that by removing the parallel plot thing, all problems would be solved but I was wrong again. Testers in forums were finding lots of new plot bugs! The game logic is still to complex, with too many branching points, jumps, and so on. For every problem fixed, two new ones would show up. This was going to be a neverending story…

The solution is something that I should have done from the beginning: I’m going to reorganize all the scenes in a simpler way, still providing choices like in all my games, but with a more simple logic behind it.

Nothing is going to be missing from the original script (maybe a few parts of some scenes, but I’ll try to keep as much as I can) but simply I will make it so that behind the scenes doesn’t become the huge, complex mess that made me (and two other people) lose 2 months of time (the game should have been out last month).

I think I should be able to finish it in 2 weeks max, maybe sooner. I really want to get out this game as soon as possible! 🙂