PSCD – meet Mizuki


Time to met a new PSCD character: the hot japanese hacker Mizuki!

Name:  Mizuki Tsukino
Nickname:  Null
Nation of Origin:  Japan
Service Branch: Imperial cyber Defense
Specialty:  Overclock

At one time, Mizuki was considered the greatest threat in cyberspace.  No target was safe when her avatar, a neon dragon, appeared wreaking havoc on corporate, criminal, or government networks.  Not bad for a woman yet to see seventeen summers.

However, despite her almost superhuman talent, she was eventually captured.  In a secret court, she was offered two choices:  either assist the Empire with her formidable computer skills, or spend the rest of her life in a primitive cell with nothing but rats for company.

It is in military service Mizuki encountered the challenge she craved.  Whether it was outwitting the Robobrains in their own cybernetic hives, or adapting to the Vauses’ fluidic thinking, Mizuki found her skills matching, or exceeding their own.  This earned her the nickname Null, since her presence was never detected, let alone suspected.

While she is the mistress of the digital world, Mizuki is less sure of herself in what she terms the meat world.  After all, how can you trust what you can’t control?  

This isn’t to say Mizuki isn’t loyal.  She’s had numerous opportunities to escape, covering her absence electronically, but when her comrades spilled blood for her, leaving was the last thought on her mind.

Seasons Of The Wolf last Act/Season coming soon!

You can see a sneak preview of the ending CGs above

This week I’ve worked on the last act, though as you may know if you follow me on twitter, I had already finished the main coding last month. So I am just retesting everything, the battles, the enemies (there are some really tough boss fights!) and in general that all the endings unlocks the intended way.

Speaking of the endings I’ve commissioned new CG images for them, using a different artist, since the original one couldn’t make it in time. I’m rather happy about the result 🙂

I believe I will release this last act/season this weekend or maximum early next week, I’m just waiting to see if I get get some last missing images (but the game works already anyway). Keep an eye on the forums to know when is ready!
In any case, not much left to wait, to see the conclusion of the story. Do you remember the wolf pup in the first season? Well… 😉

Some general considerations: as I’m approaching the end of this project, I have learned several things:

  1. that doing such LONG (really, SOTW is the longest game I’ve EVER MADE!! lol) RPGs it was a real massacre. I’ve worked on it 1 year, of which almost 8-9 months full time which for me is a lot! Think that I was reusing Loren’s engine, so in theory I only had to do the story and stop, but instead I’ve added countless new features!!
    So, this game better sell well, MUCH more than Loren, because otherwise it really wasn’t worth it. I liked doing it, but since I run a business I need to take that into consideration as well.
  2. the longer the game, the quicker I lose interest. The last months of coding were really painful. Don’t get me wrong, I still put 100% of efforts like I always do (that’s how I am made). But sometimes it felt really a chore 😀 This is something personal of course, I know many other indies who prefer to work on a smaller amount of titles and take more time with them. For me, after a while, becomes frustrating since I keep having new ideas about new stories or gameplay 🙂
  3. I’m not sure if players really appreciated the efforts. Don’t get me wrong I got great support from fans as always. But it seems (might be just an impression) that players would have preferred less fights, less complexity and more story/scenes. Sort of the opposite direction I went with SOTW, so as you can imagine I’m a bit worried! But this only a theory for now, I’ll need to see once the game is out.

Because of such considerations, and based on how SOTW will do, will decide how to take the challenge to make the future RPGs. If  I see that all the insane effort I put to make the gameplay of SOTW so detailed didn’t make the game more appealing to players, I think will need to do things differently.

But in general, I might do things differently even if SOTW did well, just to rest a little 🙂 Playing Banner Saga, and other indie RPGs, showed me that you don’t necessarily need to have 8+ characters with 15 skills each, huge battles 6 vs 6, and so on.

In summary there are other ways to make a story-based RPG interesting without the need to make it long, super complex or add a lot of features.

Also, I might for once do what basically most other indies do: reuse the same engine WITH SMALL CHANGES (not what I did with SOTW!!!) and make smaller games (of course, at lower prices as well). Not necessarily everyone wants to play huge epic RPGs, sometimes is refreshing to do something small. Small is beautiful! etc etc 🙂

OK better stop my ramblings here otherwise you think I went crazy while working on SOTW! …which actually is not completely wrong…! 😀

This entry was posted in beta demo, development screenshot, Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek, strategy games. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to PSCD – meet Mizuki

  1. Fruitsyrup says:

    Your efforts are great! However, I think at minimum, it would be good for a game size to be somewhere along the lines of Spirited Heart Deluxe, Heileen 3 and Roommates. These game sizes are a nice touch. Because if it’s too small, it’d be hard for the story to be worth it. Unless it’s a pure strategy game like TV Station Manager or something. 🙂

    • admin says:

      By small I was talking mostly of the RPGs or games with more gameplay. Adding more writing is fine since I use the external writers and in general doesn’t take much time, compared to the LONG testing stages of the RPGs! For SOTW was over 2 months just for the first act for example! :O

  2. Entertainer13 says:

    I’ll be buying it regardless. I hope Seasons works out well for you, though. Will it be on Steam right away?

    • admin says:

      I don’t think, I have submitted it on Greenlight, but to be honest I didn’t ask them if now I can skip it (having 14 games on Steam already!). In any case even if I finish the 4th act, will still need to test it for another month probably ^_^

  3. Lindsey S. says:

    I, for one, will be buying this as soon as it’s for sale and pushing it mercilessly on all of my friends. I don’t comment much, mostly because I forgot both my password and username almost immediately after registering, but I’ve been lurking around the forums a lot for the past year and I know how much effort you’ve put into this so I hope it pays off.

  4. BunnyGypsy says:

    Wow, sounds like you worked really hard on this one!

    I wish you much success on this title, guys. 🙂

    For me, I’ve enjoyed several of your other titles (Roommates, Nicole, Loren, Planet Stronghold, Flower Shop, Heileen series, Remember Me, etc)…. but unfortunately, I am not sure about this particular game because I’m one of those who prefer my visual novels to have much more story than gameplay. 🙁 (And I love romances, too, so the love interests are a big part of my interest.)

    It seems this game may have more challenging, or at least, more complex gameplay. Is it possible to put it on easier difficulties?

    I tend to put the RPG game elements on easy mode for JRPGs, so I can get skim the gameplay aspects in order to get to the story parts. (Then again, I’m not much of a turn-based RPG player. I prefer Action-RPGs or Action/Adventure games.)

    It’s a shame, because I really love the artwork, and I’ve loved your games and the variety of love interests and great writing in the past, as well as your willingness to accept feedback. 🙂

    There also seems to be less love interests in this game than your other games in the past (especially Loren and its sequels)?

    I am currently excited about the Loren and Planet Stronghold sequels, and the GxG (if that’s still going) for Nicole. 🙂

    • admin says:

      Yes no worries you can still play in Easy mode, and it’s *really easy* 🙂
      As for romances of course, but Loren and its sequels is going to be the exception – I mean I think I’ve added even TOO MANY, and as consequence the game is taking a long time before is going to be out. I think probably 2 romances for each combo is a good solution, more than that and there’s the risk that the game will take 2-3 years just to write it lol

  5. Franka says:

    There are some issues with having a long game with a lot of fights. You really need the fights to be different from each other, and your combat system needs to be entertaining enough for fight #1354 to be (almost) as interesting as fight #3.

    For me at least the combat system in SotW is not robust enough to reach that goal. I know you’ve talked about doing isometric maps and that kind of thing some time in the future, and that would certainly change things, but it’s not what we have right now.

    Right now, the combat system works for simulating fights, but it’s limited to 2 sides standing there, beating on each other. It’s cool to have 8 characters with 15 skills or whatever, but you won’t end up using all that. Once you’ve got all your characters and have found an effective way to beat that other side, you can win the next 1000 fights almost the exact same way. Thus, more fights or longer fights simply become an exercise in repeating the same clicks over and over. This is why fatigue sets in at some point in the game.

    It’s not about the variety in enemies, I know there are a LOT of different ones, but no matter how they look, you basically beat them the same way once you’ve figured out what’s effective and what’s not.

    I applaud what you’ve done with flashback quests featuring fewer characters and forced setups, these are the times when combat at least has a good chance of becoming interesting, but in the main game I had to play on Easy difficulty because the fights were simply too repetitive, and I quickly got bored with them. I can clearly feel the lack of such things as advanced positioning and facing, alternate victory conditions, terrain effects, movement ranges, areas of effect and what have you.

    This battle system is a good enough framework for combat that supplements a visual novel, but I don’t find it good enough for a fight heavy RPG with a story to support it. If you see the difference.

    Now it’s not that this isn’t a good game. I’ve enjoyed it a lot (!), but I think that the focus on having many fights is not the best way to go with this particular battle system.

    I’m sure someone will feel completely differently about this though. 🙂

    • admin says:

      Hehe yes some players definitely loved as it is (since you visit the forums you know who I’m talking about).
      As a player I feel the same as you, but in general, EVERY game in the long run becomes tiring. Even masterpieces like XCOM, with a tactical map, after you play the 100th battle, become a bit “boring” (of course it’s a much better game than mine, was just an example).
      So I think there’s the need of less battles in future RPGs, or even less party members, I think 6 vs 6 battles is too much. Or as you said have more battlefield conditions, combos, etc that make the battle more varied. There are many in SOTW, much more than Loren, but also many “normal” battles. I honestly think the biggest problem of SOTW (for those who think like us of course) is that there was simply too many battles 😀

  6. Jaeger says:

    Having played a number of RPGs with frequent random encounters, the number of battles isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. The battles are little on the long side, which may turn off people who are not that interested in the combat.

    • admin says:

      Yes in the prototypes I’m working on now, I’m testing interesting stuff like no-heal, few HP/SP (by few I mean smaller number overall). Still need to test more, but I think battles should be like little puzzles to be solved quickly 🙂

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