Monthly Archives: December 2019

Happy Holidays (Planet Stronghold 2 is content complete!)

Lisa Nelson from Planet Stronghold 2 wishes you Happy Holidays!

First of all, like in past years my games are discounted for the holidays:

Current Planet Stronghold 2 status

It was a long journey, and it’s not over yet (after all this is just the beta) but I’m pleased to announce that at least the game is content complete! This doesn’t mean the beta is ready yet, though.

Yes, because the game final word-count turned out to be the crazy amount of over 350,000 words! And even if the editor is doing her best, and even if over half of those texts have already been checked, there’s still a lot of work left to do.

I don’t know how long this will take, but I suppose in a month it should be ready. As you imagine, I’m not rushing things because I want it to be done well. I’m sure that there’ll still be typos and errors left in any case, with such huge amount of texts! But luckily testers will catch them as it always happened in the past.

This year

This year was a hard one for me. Probably the hardest after 2011, when I lost many pets and my beloved uncle (who was the one to fuel my creativity more than anyone else). It was hard for personal reasons and for business reasons – after all, even if I always tried to minimize it, losing all the Google Play money from a month to the next was a hard blow too.

Yet, despite everything, things business-wise didn’t go too badly. I released only a game this year, Corona Borealis, and it was even a small one. So I expected that my sales would drop considerably. They dropped, but after hearing the experiences from other fellow indies, I definitely cannot complain! Many of my games on Steam went into the magic 80% positive reviews, and I still managed to do well selling directly on

There are also some deals which I can’t talk yet, but that hopefully will bring my games in other platforms, where I think they could do pretty well.

Development-wise, most of this year was spent on Planet Stronghold 2. I think I did a very good job but of course the real test will be when it’s released and when people decide if it will be worth their time or not. Just know that I put 100% of myself in it.

I also spent a good amount of time this year to do some tests/experiments, but for this you can read the previous blog post 🙂

The future

I will do a “new year goals” post as usual, but for now I want to talk about what are my future plans in general. As I’m writing this, I’ve already started planning Undead Lily. Yes because this is how you stay in business for 15 years – whenver you finish a game, you already start planning the next.

Of course, it’s holiday season so I’m not working like crazy, but I am still working, despite having just finished the biggest game of my indie career!

I have already in mind how to do Undead Lily from the main flow/writing side, while I will need to do a lot of experiments for the gameplay. The main issue will be adding enough cards to make it fun, and maybe also add some major features (like the heroes being able to use skills, a bit like what happens in Hearthstone). We’ll see how that goes, but I’m excited to be working on a card game again 🙂

Regarding the other games, I still plan to do them of course. The ideal thing would be: a “big game” each year, like PS2, Undead Lily, etc. A big/complex game like a RPG, and then manage to release at least 1 or 2 other “regular” (and easier to code) dating sims. Basically what I did back in 2014 when I released Roommates and Seasons Of The Wolf. That would be the ideal situation. This will be my goal from now on in future.


This was a tough but also kind of enlightening year. I lost my most favorite pet ever. When you spend 14 years with a little furry ball always looking for you, always staying on your side or on your lap when you work, it’s hard to do without. My mom survived a cancer. Many other bad things happened this year, but I always tried to not show it much in public.

However this year I also realized what I want to do next, where I want to go (creatively speaking!) and what I hope to achieve in my life. Because even if I’m only 45 years old, you realize that you might not have the strength to do what you do in 15 years, or you might not be around for much long in this business. I know this sounds a bit pessimistic/extreme, but when you experience deaths or other traumatic events, you realize that while you need to stay positive, big changes can happen overnight. So, I’m not pessimistic, I’m only realistic: I want to make certain games before it’s too late and for any reason I can’t do them anymore.

It’s not a small thing to have cleared my mind. So while 2019 won’t be remembered as one of my favorite years, it will still be remembered for something at least: when I decided what I want to do for the rest of my career.

Happy holidays! And let’s hope 2020 will be a good year for everyone!

Switching genres and creative struggles

This year has been a particular year for me. Many things happened behind the scenes, and most of them weren’t good things at all! But I’m not here to talk about this in general, but about one thing in particular.

The “other games” dilemma

I hope one day one of my games is featured on Vapor!

One of the main things I’ve doing this year was to review what I’ve done so far as indie, and what else I could do. I’ve already discussed in past blog posts the possibility to do other kind of games. They say that to make a good game you should be passionate about it yourself first. And I think there’s definitely some truth in it. However, it’s not so simple, because even if you like a particular genre, then you also need to be able to develop a decent game (for indie standards at least) in said genre!

For example, as player, I always liked tower defense games. But making one, it’s not so easy as it seems. I’d also love to do a realtime 3D game, nothing complex as a FPS, but something like an adventure, or even a story-based game like those walking simulators.

So during this year I did various experiments, and while I can’t say that I would never be able to do one, the real question is if I would be able to do a good/decent one! And, after some experiments, I think the answer is: maybe, but it’s hard.

Of course, many things are hard to make, not just games! But there’s more: as I was doing those tests, obviously I couldn’t use the engine I love, Ren’Py, to do them. I briefly looked at Gamemaker, Unity and even Unreal tutorials and examples.

I even had some fun prototypes working, but the process was painful. If you ask any indie, they’ll all tell you the same thing: that switching engine/system once you learn it, is really hard! And even doing the same things becomes harder. I know I have personally spoken with some people that moved from Ren’Py to Unity, and they said that to make the same GUI screen (for example an inventory, level up, skilltree screen) it takes you x3 the amount of time in Unity.

Does this mean that Unity is bad, is worse than Ren’Py? Haha of course not! But once you’re used to something, you can get much faster results. Switching engines means switching not just languages, interface, etc but also mentality and losing a series of things you’re used to.

Leaving a “legacy”

Another thing I also considered when I encountered those difficulties is: why I want to make different kind of games? For personal growth, sure. To break the monotony, yes. But it’s because I’m tired of making story-based games? No, definitely not.

Amber’s Magic Shop gameplay could have been better but I still liked doing it

I realized that I can still do things differently even if I stick to story based games, and I stick to Ren’Py. The RPG/VN I’m making, like Planet Stronghold 2 (by the way, it’s going to be content complete soon! I hope to be celebrating it the next blog post) or even various experiments (more or less successful) like PSCD, Amber’s Magic Shop and so on.

And even when doing “simpler” games like VN/dating sims, I can still do things that I enjoy making: comedy games like Roommates, mystery games like Nicole, and so on.

The “secret yuri game” I have been working since last Summer it’s like this. While I can’t reveal too much yet, the game has probably the most diverse cast of all my games: a disabled young lady, a latina MMA female fighter and a MILF 😛

But I have already some ideas about games that mix VN with other form of gameplay, an idea in particular that I think is very original (of course this doesn’t mean that will be surely good).

At the same time, during the recent months, I got a lot of positive feedback and supportive messages! On the social media, by email, as comments to my blog, etc. Thank you, thank you all! It was really enlightening: it was like “what you’re doing now is good, please keep at it!

In summary, people expect me to deliver story-based games and I think I should keep doing this in future. Maybe mix the VN with other forms of gameplay as I always do (and not necessarily RPGs) but keep doing this kind of games. Switching genres completely probably is not the answer to my creative struggles 🙂