Monthly Archives: March 2016

The wind of change

Need to give credit to my wife for the nice photo above!

And now after writing this title, I have the good old Scorpions’ song stuck in my mind!

“Listening to the wind of change” or better listening to the critiques, to suggestions by other more experienced indie, and listening to my heart 😉

Between this and last year I have learned a lot, and I’ve decided that (after the current “batch” of games is done) it’s time to change:

  • no more “insanely huge epic games”. I know, I know. Everyone would like very big, long games (even if honestly I haven’t finished yet some AAA titles because… they were too long!). Anyway, I’ve realized it’s not possible anymore, with the exception of a few titles like could be Loren 2 and Roger Steel (big RPGs) to make games too big. I’m talking from the story point of view. I want to have a good story, but also add more gameplay. When I talk with more successful indies doing the same kind of games, I’m often surprised to see that their wordcount is always not even half of my most recent titles!
  • story based on the gameplay, and not vice versa. When I will make more “hybrid games”, apart of course the usual VN/Dating sims/RPGs, I will first decide the gameplay and then craft the story around it, or at least design them at same time. This is even more important for “experimental games” like PSCD was. In that case it was a mess (because of first coder quitting) but in general for my own games it’s not wise to have a story written and then have to code the gameplay around it. The result can’t be good. So, first design the gameplay, and then have a story to complement it.
  • much clear separation of genres. One of the strong points of my games (based on what OTHER people say, so it’s not my opinion) has always been the mix with visual novel and other gameplay genres. Well, there will still be this. But if the two genres don’t work well together (like visual novel and card games) doesn’t make sense to mix them, better have two separate games. Or if I still want to have story and gameplay, the story cannot be 200k word long, 10+ romances, etc. It’s just not possible to do that in the current climate, to have a huge story AND good gameplay. I should price the games over $30, and that’s honestly not going to work anymore right now, so it’s not really my choice! So instead of that, a card game for $9.99 and a story-based game for $19.99 for example (just a simple example of what I mean).
  • less grinding, more fun. For the dating/raising sim, one of the major complaints of my past games was the grinding. I’m definitely going to address that. For the record, I don’t consider grinding using a scheduler like Roommates. More like the various activities in Nicole to reach the required stats. Love Bites should be a good example of a dating sim with stat raising but not grinding. For the RPGs instead, I’m going to leave it. Since many RPG players like to grind! 😉
  • gameplay-only games. I had already announced this, and it’s also related to future card games. I’ll make more (not just card games, even other genres) games like this to be sold at cheaper price, since I think is good to have a bit of variety over the dating sims/RPGs/VNs.
  • shorter but full of branching story-games. As you know I want to make a CYOA/old gamebook style game in future, illustrated with pictures. Well, that one won’t be 100k words, but even if it’s only 50k words will have a lot of branching. After all Bionic Heart has one of the highest review rating on Steam of all my games, and it’s just a little more than 50k words! Of course, I won’t write the games myself, only the storyboards.

OK I think I’ve explained enough! For many games that will be out (even next year) the things above won’t apply since I started them time ago, so they will still have maybe some grinding or be really “too big” (but of course since the text has been already written, it’s not like I’ll cut it down!).

But in future, doing the things above, I should be able to release games more regularly, and some of them cheaper than usual (which in the current climate seems very important) and even if the word count might be lower, the overall fun (and critic/players reception) will probably be higher. At least that’s what I hope, we’ll see!

For those wondering about the progress on games, I made a sort of estimate release schedule in my forums, which I copy paste here:

– launch C14 Dating on my site “soft release”. Probably on Steam towards end of April or early May
– finish all the QoT romance coding (not much left)

– Forsaken and artist should finish the last scenes/CG for QoT
– I will take a look on Heirs & Graces and probably code the gameplay and start the beta maybe (though could be delayed to May)
– decide what to do with Undead Lily gameplay, possibly a RPG. Make a detailed storyboard this time :)
– probably do the PSCD extra romances free add-on (though could slip into May)

– Heirs & Graces beta
– Queen Of Thieves beta

– hopefully release of both Heirs & Graces and Queen Of Thieves, but this last one could be delayed to July

– it’s likely that will be too hot to work as usual, plus I might want to take a break considering the insane amount of releases this year! I might do a few prototypes for new games though

– Love Bites beta (though it’s just too early to say it now)

That’s all for now! Happy Easter by the way 🙂

Love Bites – Introducing Nadia

This will make many male players happy! Nadia is a COUGAR romance option!

If you played my older games like Heileen or the famous Loren Amazon Princess, you already know about Lora and Karen, two cougar romance options: but only for female players. So this is officially the first time that there’s a cougar romance for males! Hurrah!

Her name is Nadia. Now, let’s introduce her properly:

Nadia Murphy
Age:  38

A vivacious woman, Nadia is a professor of Mythology and Occult Studies at the local university.  Nadia is a favorite among her students.  Her classes are as likely to do hands-on fieldwork such as investigating supposed haunted houses as they are to regurgitate facts from a textbook.

This isn’t to say Nadia doesn’t have her detractors.  Some of this comes from academics who suggest it tarnishes the university’s reputation when some of their faculty participate in pseudo-science at best, and utter lies at worst.  

These complaints usually go nowhere, though.  For one thing, Nadia’s scholarship is impeccable in her formal papers.  For another, the more ‘fannish’ books she writes bring a level of fame and revenue that the university definitely desires.

This state of affairs amuses Nadia, though, for as she personally knows, magic is real and a source of real power for those with the will and knowledge to wield it.  This isn’t to say Nadia has no use for science, far from it.  After all, if you must defend yourself, a gun is much easier, and less taxing to use than setting someone on fire…and much easier to explain if you come down to it.

However, with great power comes the chance of temptation and corruption and magic is no exception.  Nadia’s spirit guide indicated she had to come to town, and safeguard it as beast she can.  Sometimes this means taking a book out of circulation which could summon an actual demon, to finding a cure for some fool whose curse backfired.

Despite her seeming popularity, Nadia can be rather lonely.  After all, it’s one thing to show an interest in New Age nonsense, but if you actually prove it…well, people have a low tolerance for anything out of their understanding.  Of course, the sort of person who’d go dancing skyclad doesn’t often make for the best company.

Lately, Nadia’s been feeling greatly disturbed as she’s found evidence of someone working illicit magic, but she can’t figure out who.  Whoever this person is, though, has to be a person of power to keep themselves hidden from her investigations.

Nadia is keeping a special eye out since all her predictions seem to focus on one of her former students, a red-haired individual she found rather charming if otherwise unremarkable.  However, just because someone doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, this won’t stop fate from slapping them around.

Progress update

For those who don’t read regularly my forums, I’m making very good progress scripting the romances of Queen Of Thieves. Some funny screenshots below:




I should be finished with the yuri romances by the end of month. That doesn’t mean the game is ready, but a very big part of it yes. It’s just missing some extra CGs/scenes, and the coding of the final battles.

Heirs & Graces is being coded too right now and looks like it could be out in the next 2-3 months 🙂

Love Bites – Introducing Viktor


First of all, PSCD is now out on Steam, so if you bought direct you can redeem the key as usual from this site:

And now, let’s introduce another character of Love Bites:

Viktor Hammond
Age:  21

Viktor is among the rarest of people, those who are aware of the supernatural, but remain essentially human.  Often such individuals transcend their human self, whether by becoming something decidedly non-human, or else pick up torches and pitchforks to hunt it down.

Viktor is neither; instead, he is a scientist, documenting all that he notices until he can reveal it at a later date.  

Initially, he was one of those skeptics who would laugh at someone if they mentioned believing in ghosts, or having seen a UFO.  

However, his certainty suffered its first crack when he went on a ghost-hunt and encountered a real ghost.  At first, he assumed he was the butt of some elaborate practical joke, but his fellow classmates were just as astonished with what they witnessed.  In fact, the only person who didn’t seem surprised was his teacher at the time, Nadia.

Viktor eventually wrote the incident off…until, one night at a bar, he noticed something strange with the bouncer.  Whenever he greeted people at the door, the peoples’ breath would coalesce in the warmth, but not the bouncer.  Ever observant, Viktor couldn’t help but notice the reflection of the customers in the window…but the bouncer didn’t have it.

Remembering the ghost incident from earlier, Viktor realized there was more going on around him, and decided to dedicate his life to the paranormal.  While retaining his major in physics, his grades are starting to flag…and irritating his family in the process.  Considering they were covering his college tuition, they figured he was throwing away his future…and their money.

This was a blessing in its own way.  Before, Viktor was quite reclusive, but if he wanted to continue his studies, he would have to interact with the rest of the world.  He enjoyed the independence this fostered, and he wouldn’t go back.

It’s not that Viktor is a party animal, but if he wants to learn more about those who aren’t quite human, then its best to study them in their natural environment, as it were.

With the widening of his world-view, Viktor has come to reconsider just what is science.  After all, it isn’t like the two realms have to be divorced; chemistry arose from alchemy, and astronomy from astrology.  Perhaps those who thought they could reanimate the dead might not have been as wrong as they thought…

Other games

I’m making good progress in all the other games: Heirs & Graces scripting is going at good pace, same for Queen Of Thieves (I’m reviewing all the scenes/choices and adding relationship changes and other stuff). Writing is going well on the other games like Undead Lily, Roger Steel and more.

And in case you didn’t know, C14 Dating beta is at a very good point. It’s already completely playable without errors, people are only finding minor stuff and typos, so if you want to check:

Trying “something different”


Love Bites character introduction will continue in next weeks, don’t worry 🙂 Today instead I wanted to talk about the current status and my future plans.

But first a short announcement! C14 Dating is now officially in beta! Which means you can preorder the game and play immediately using the beta link on my forums. Check the official page now:
If all goes well the game should be out of beta at end of the month or early April 🙂

All is well!

First of all, despite what I’m going to say I want to reassure everyone that all is well for me, despite the lack of releases last year, and the delays I had. I have now found a good group of people to work with, and unless some of them quit, I think I should be able to keep producing my current kind of games for years to come (as long as people keep buying them! :D).

However, I feel the need to try doing “something different”. As I posted in forums a few days ago, I will still keep doing my usual visual novel/dating sim/RPGs. That will never  change. But a bit for my “indie growth” and also to have games that I can develop more independently, I will TRY (since I am quite rusty and not sure what I’ll actually manage to do) to make different games.

So it will be like: I’ll release my usual 2-3 games a year (this year might be more, but it’s really a rare occasion and not sure when this will happen again!) and maybe 1 “different game” every 2 years or so.

I will always keep as priority my current game types, but in the past often I had some “dead periods”, where every writer/artist/musician had a task to finish, and my job was simply to manage everything, since I couldn’t go on with the game(s) until I had the new assets (art, writing, etc).

Before, I used to start new games since I don’t like staying idle (I love doing games but in general as a person I really hate doing nothing, I must always keep myself busy!). The problem is that in the past year I found this has several downsides:

  • first of all, it adds yet another game to manage, with the usual problems
  • it also adds more expenses! art, music, writing
  • can slow me down MORE, if all people start sending me art/writing/music to check at same time! (it’s also very stressful)

As you can imagine, it’s not like adding a new game in progress brings me more revenues, until it’s done. In the immediate, brings only more work and management. So uh, yeah, you cannot start new games continuously as a solution to fix the “wait problem”! Because then if you do that a lot, it can happen like now, when I am overwhelmed by people sending me stuff all at once and (rightfully) asking to be paid for their work 😀

What is the solution then?

That’s the question that I’ve been asking myself in the past weeks. And I think, at least I want to try, that the solution might be to have a game in which writing is not needed, or the scope must not be “Epic RPG with 150 different battles, over 112 unique enemies, 90+ skills, random item generator, improvedAI, isometric map” (yes, I’m talking about you, SOTW!).

Now you might be wondering: “weren’t you burned by the coding? didn’t you said you wanted to make simpler games?”. Indeed, I am. I believe (I could be wrong of course, but I think not) that the main problem of games like SOTW was that there was just too much work, too many skills, battles, custom conditions, etc. and all of this, on top of the story part!

I believe that it should be possible to pick different game types and plan cleverly the design, to actually have to do less work. I have already some vague ideas, which of course will need to be developed and tested more.

It might be a different game style, or an art style. Rogue lite/like (however you want to call it!), strategy/wargames, pokemon-battles style, life sim, match3/RPG combo etc but even pixel art games (I’m not trying 3D, too hard for me). I’m leaning towards games without a story, but even a pixel-art adventure: it would still have much less text than a visual novel for sure! 🙂

The main advantage is that I need to commission only the game art/music, and then I could code those games in full autonomy without need to wait for text, or if it’s still a story based game, the reduced length wouldn’t make me wait for months to get the writing done (and it’s not a problem of slow writers, to write a good story simply takes time).

The big disadvantage of course is that my current public is probably not interested much in games without romance/story, so promoting it would probably happen mainly on Steam.

Anyway I want to make a few attempts and see how it goes. After all, I wouldn’t have made Planet Stronghold and then Loren if I never tried to make something new, besides my usual VN/Dating sims!

In summary: nothing changes vs now, I’ll still do the current game types, but will stop starting new games continuously whenever I have a moment of “free time”, and work on those “other games” instead, hoping that they’ll bring some extra revenue on the side (instead of adding another project to manage and to pay writer, artists, etc).