Attempting something different

First of all, the first Heileen game is now out on Steam for only $5.99. Go get it now:

Existing customers can redeem a Steam key as always on this site:

Something different

One of the best advices I could give to new indies that are just starting would be: try to do something different. I generally don’t innovate too much myself, but only because I have already an established following and in general I prefer to improve my games step by step. Innovating can lead to successes but also flops, and having already spent months/years in the past trying to experiment new ideas without success I’m always very prudent 🙂

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot recently, and while of course story-based games will always remain my main focus, I was thinking also about doing other non-story based games, or games where the story has a secondary importance.

This has nothing to do with the difficulties I’ve been having recently managing writers, but more about myself and my personal/professional growth. I want to try something different 🙂

No real plans yet, but know that sometimes in future (not sooner than next year) you might see different kind of games too. Of course not FPS or platformers, but maybe something like strategy / wargame or simulations / management. For now is just an idea though. I might do also some smaller games first to test the waters.

Seasons Of The Wolf update

Meanwhile, coding on SOTW is still going steadily. I am currently at chapter 10, and the second Act lasts until chapter 13 included, so about halfway coding it.

The second act has many cool arena battles like the “Beastmasters Challenge”

I think the second Act is rather fun to play, introduces all the remaining characters (though some will join the party only at the end of it) and has some interesting personal quests: Riley, Krimm and Chalassa’s ones. The personal quest were particularly fun to design for me because they are a sort of flashback, so I strip the character of their current possessions (to be regained later) and “downgrade” him/her to a lower level, but I let the player pick the skills before the quest and give a predefined pseudo-random equipment. Is a sort of puzzle RPG, and I’m sure Nightmare players will curse me several times playing it 😉

I had some small delays on artwork, so at this point I won’t be able to meet my self-imposed deadline of mid-June. But even without those delays, I think I underestimated the amount of work I had to do on the battles, so I think I won’t be finished with Act2 before the end of the month!

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10 Responses to Attempting something different

  1. Svan says:

    A strategy / wargame would be really fun! Especially if it takes ideas from games like Fire Emblem Awakening, where you can marry your character with another unit and then have children that recieves stats and some skills from his/her parents :3 (Maybe have the story split in two where the first act is with the mother/father and the second act is years later where you play as your son/daughter that gets new companions and romances.)
    Also, a whodunit romance mystery type of game like would be quite awesome.

    It’s so much fun to brainstorm ideas for stories and games! I hope some good games comes out of it~
    I just hope that I won’t love any of the premises of the yuri and yaoi games too much because I’m not into it at all unfortunately. :<)

    • admin says:

      Yes that game (Fire Emblem) has very good mechanics, I need to find the time to play it sometimes 🙂
      As for the yuri/yaoi, after so many straight only games I felt the need to make something to please that public. But the biggest games (RPGs, etc) will always have the gender choice.
      And who knows maybe if one of those two is popular I might do a straight version later! (the opposite of what I did so far with most of my other games).

  2. Troyen says:

    “Try to do something different”

    So, you are making that yuri zombie dating game? 😉

    In all seriousness, some kind of simulation/wargame game would be fun to play. There aren’t too many “Western” games of that type with the kind of artwork you usually have in your games. Though, I think developing it would be even more complicated than balancing combat mechanics in your RPGs.

    One way you might try out ideas before making a full-blown game is by including a simplified, small-scale version as a “minigame” inside one of your other games. Something that isn’t completely crucial for the main plot, but a way to help contribute to the story and maybe gain some additional rewards for your characters. For example, perhaps in Loren chapter 3, while everyone was romping around questing, you also had to manage raising an army and fending off demon attacks. (I don’t know if this would be a good idea in game, just using it as an example.) The upside is it’s a change of pace halfway through a long game, but the downside is people might not enjoy the different content when they were expecting to be playing the same RPG they were in Acts 1/2.

    • admin says:

      Yes that’s what I am planning to do, try it as minigame. I can even scrap it or leave optional.
      The hardest thing of a simulation/wargame would be the AI. Of course I could still do like the early Civilization games and just have the computer cheat at higher levels 😀

  3. Albert1 says:

    In the past you stressed the importance of making many small games, instead of large projects – at least, you said it worked well for you.
    I don’t recall that well how the situarion in our country – Italy – was at the time you started WinterWolves, but these days I doubt the “crumbs approach” would work.
    Taxes are so high that you simply cannot start with something simpler, maybe with some rough edges, and polish it along the way. Either you have a (potential) hit that makes it big within the first year (or less) of activity, or the state is gonna having you for breakfast!
    I’m working on my first commercial game and it’s definitely ambitious. I too, would have preferred to publish something simpler – publishing smaller games, to begin with.
    This is a major advantage indies working in countries with lower taxes have – they can build their business in smaller steps. After all, it’s even natural: a business, especially a small one, isn’t supposed to be a gold mine since day 1.
    Well, here in Italy that common sense doesn’t apply – al least, in my humble opinion.
    By the way: what about a MagicStones with dungeoncrawlerish aspects?

    • admin says:

      I mean smaller games only to test the waters 🙂 But on mobile those could work, though I’m not sure/not an expert !
      I have in mind several mixes between card games and dungeon/tower defense/wargame, but I think I’ll have to wait next year before making any serious tests, no time now 🙁

  4. Jaeger says:

    Have you considered real-time games or are you sticking to turn-based?

    • admin says:

      Yes I’ve considered them, but need to do some tests with Ren’Py, since is not really made for that. But I think is possible to do something like that (for example Final Fantasy combat with progress bar before next move, and pause).

  5. Lindsey says:

    I LOVE war/strategy/simulation/resource management games! Add that to my love of RPG’s and Visual Novels and I’m pretty much guaranteed to buy whatever you decide to make (assuming I’m not broke of course).

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