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 🙂
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 🙂
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! 😀 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 🙂
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.
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!