Monthly Archives: December 2017

2017 and you never stop learning from your mistakes

I’m writing the naga storylines now and yes, I’m having fun!

I decided to break my “a new post every 2 weeks” rule today, and will also do another the 5th of January to make the usual two posts where I review the year and I write my goals for upcoming year. It’s a tradition and I don’t want to stop doing it ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s start from what I posted earlier this year, my goals for 2017.

What went bad

Well, I did release Amber’s Magic Shop. I didn’t finish Love Bites, but at least it’s half done. And even if it’s not finished, Cursed Lands it’s at good point and I’ve personally invested at least six months of time on it (only the character creation phase with the custom portrait generator took me over a month to code). So even if I haven’t anything else finished doesn’t mean that it was a unproductive year, not at all!

Regarding my only release, Amber’s Magic Shop. The game didn’t do bad, and to be honest in current climate where you’re lucky to break even, it did much better than the average, but still… I have the feeling of a missing opportunity, that it could have been something much bigger.

I know the game got several complaints about the writing (especially on Steam) but I don’t want to talk about the writing quality itself but my own mistakes. First of all, doing a new game genre like a crafing/sim game, and having the story written BEFORE the gameplay. That was a totally stupid move and I am banging my head on the wall every time I think about it. Second and related to this, if I do a dating sim or a visual novel, there’s no problem in using external writers, but if I do a game where the gameplay is so interwoven with the story, I HAVE to write at least the storyboard myself. Otherwise, as many people pointed out, the story feels too detached from the gameplay.

Still, as I said it could have been much worse. Many people loved it, maybe I’m being nit-picking, not sure ๐Ÿ™‚

What went well

Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense manga version. I was unsure if to do it or not (investing a non trivial sum of money to redo almost all the art of an already released game was risky) but the reception was amazing, and the sales increased by 300% (so now are in line with my other games more or less). I’ve said it many times: you won’t ever see me do a game with non-manga art again! ๐Ÿ˜€ I also felt relieved because I thought both the gameplay and writing of that game were good, and the results of the manga version just confirmed that the main/only issue was the art style.

Roommates extra nudity/sexy patch. This time was a smart move since the costs were much smaller (the original CGs were just edited and not redone from scratch, so much less work involved) and people obviously liked the possibility to (re)play the game with optional sexy content. I might try it again with other games but depends how quickly/cheaply it can be done.

Cursed Lands. As very often happens, some projects remains are there, unnoticed, slowly making progress in silence, I even forget about them, until one day I check all the writing already done and I’m like “DOH! this game could be finished relatively soon!” and then I start working on it full-speed (also because I don’t like to stay idle as you guessed). The game is in beta and so far people seems to love it, even if of course it’s still early days. I know for sure that we put a lot of effort in it ๐Ÿ™‚

Volleyball Heaven. Yes the game is not even in beta yet, and there’s still all the CGs to do, but I was particularly happy how the new writer finished all the story in basically 3-4 months! It’s also a very different game from my usual ones, so I’m curious to see how people will react to it. An experiment, but personally I like it. Hopefully you’ll like it too.

In Summary

Things didn’t go as planned, and I’ve learned a lot of things which should prevent me from doing the same mistakes in the next years. The main thing will be to get back writing one game a year myself with help of an editor.

This will also help me reduce considerably the amount of games I’m working on at once, because I noticed in the last months that I’m being too much stressed and health comes first.

It’s also “fun” for me to see how there’s a sort of pattern for my work which repeats almost every two years, alternating a good/lucky/productive year with a bad/unlucky/unproductive one:

2012 Loren+DLC, good
2013 Nicole, bad (not for the game, but because I just released one simple dating sim and it’s not much in a whole year)
2014 Roommates and SOTW, good (probably my best year ever since both games did great)
2015 No games, very bad!
2016 Five games!, very good
2017 One game, bad

The good news is: based on that “magic pattern”, 2018 should be a good year!! Let’s hope it is. Happy New Year to everyone!

Merry Christmas

First of all, Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays to you all! ๐Ÿ™‚ Like every year I’m doing a promo sale for the holidays, on and on Steam.

Planet Stronghold 2

In the past weeks I also made very good progress on this game. As you know, I am currently focusingย  on the rules first, and I decided to use a random items generation system (plus probably some fixed “Legendaryย  Items”) like I did in SOTW. The results so far are good:

As you can see, the item stats on bottom-right should be familiar to anyone who played SOTW. I decided though, thanks to my time spent playing-ahem, doing research with Destiny 2, to display in the inventory a big number for the item “power”, and the damage type/rarity and finally level. This way players can find the desired weapon more quickly and with less clicks than my other RPGs!

With the armors I do something similar, I display the overall item power, the higher resistance (like in the first game there will be energy, explosive, armor piercing, acid and psionic damage), the quality and level.

For the armors and determining the damage, I have decided to use a system derived from the Cursed Lands’ one, which at least judging from beta-tester feedback seems good. I already posted in details in forums, so if you want to know more you can visit them, but in summary the defense value will deteriorate through the course of the fight, while the resistances are percentage based and determine the amount of damage absorbed (depending on the weapon attack type obviously).

In the next weeks I’ll go on with my tests, though of course as soon as I get new content for Cursed Lands or Love Bites, I’m going to work on them since they have the priority.

Speaking of Cursed Lands and Love Bites

To speed things up, in agreement with the writer, I am working on the nagas storyline for Cursed Lands myself with the help of Heirs & Graces writer, and Love Bites writer just finished the last “solo player” scenes: like in other dating sims, you can choose to not romance anyone if you want. But since in this game the goal is to survive/find the cure for your curse, we needed to give the players the possibility to find it even if they don’t romance anyone ๐Ÿ™‚

Expect an update for both games in the next weeks (in particular for Love Bites I should be able to have half of the whole game content in beta next month for sure).

See you next week for the end of year/summary post (I’m going to break my a post every 2 weeks rule to do that). And again, Happy Holidays!

Some good news + future plans

Last time I said I was hoping to bring some good news, and here they are! Let’s proceed in order.

Cursed Lands

If you missed my announcement in the social media, a beta version featuring the full first chapter except the Nagas rescue mission (until the end of first full moon) is now available on here:

All the usual disclaimers apply when talking about a beta: savegames “should” be compatible, there WILL be bugs (but if you tell me about them I’ll fix them), I might tweak things (not story-related though). As of now I haven’t added a “visual novel mode” yet, though you can always try playing in Easy mode.

Meanwhile I finished coding some more stuff for the second chapter, including an epic boss fight against the Kraken! It’s optional, so you don’t need to do it, but it’s very hard and has probably the best loot reward of the whole game:

So might be worth trying, don’t you think? Especially if you like to use the two nagas characters (two items are exclusively for them).

Currently I’m waiting for the writer to send me the new texts necessary for the second chapter, however as you see from the images above, I have already coded a LOT of things: all the rescue missions, the kraken fight, a tomb exploration sidequest, etc etc. It has the biggest amount of content of all the three chapters probably. Of course being an “open world” rpg, you don’t necessarily NEED to do all those quests in the second chapter, some can be completed also in the third.

As soon as writer sends me the missing scenes I’ll update the beta again, unlocking the whole second chapter. For now, have fun with the first ๐Ÿ™‚

Love Bites

Things are progressing well for this game too. The “half-game” beta shouldn’t be much away from now! Not sure about the exact release date yet, but should be out before Christmas, with the final/full game out first quarter of 2018.

…and Planet Stronghold 2

Haha yes you read it well! Since I am now waiting for Cursed Lands’ remaining writing, what there is better to do than start working on another RPG!? Jokes apart, yes, I think it’s a good idea for two reasons: first, I’m in “RPG design mode”, I am working with the RPG framework code, so I’m fresh / familiar with it, and second because it’s about time to finish that game (I announced it back in 2011-2012!).

As I posted in forums, I’m going to plan the ruleset, gameplay etc, still using the good old framework but once again, it will play differently from the previous RPGs. I’m planning to try having randomized items again (like in Seasons Of The Wolf, since it seems players liked it) but still have only 2-3 equipment slots each character to reduce micro-management. Anyways it’s still early days but managed to update the old character creation code with the new GUI and I think the result it’s very good:

The soldier class info screen

Choose your side at start of the story

As announced at beginning of the story you’ll be able to choose who you sided with (Empire/Rebellion) and who you romanced (if any) in the previous game.

This will inevitably require a lot of branching in writing the story so I’m doing this part myself, but of course will ask the help of Miakoda (who wrote PSCD) for editing/proofread and writing the new romance scenes. I’m only writing this first part myself since it’s going to be a pain with all the gameplay and multiple beginning/branching!

Obviously there’s no estimate release date, I’ll just work on it whenever I’m waiting for the other two games currently in active development above. But at least I’m not wasting time ๐Ÿ™‚