Monthly Archives: December 2022

Happy holidays and a few postmortems

Lol the title sounds funny, doesn’t it? Since recently I released many games, this year instead of the usual “end of year thoughts”, I’m going to make a sort of quick postmortem for each of them. I’ll talk about the difficulties I had, the ROI (Return of Investment, in other word how much profitable the game was) and so on.

But first of all, my games are discounted on Steam and itchio:

TFTU: Hazel

A very Happy Holidays from Hazel

This game really saved my mental health. I was recovering after Planet Stronghold 2 burn-out, and the realization that big games are no longer viable (at least for me) and I was unsure what to do. Then I wrote this game’s first draft almost all at once, in 2 months (about 60k words, more were added later). I went for a cheaper game, even if of course I had the usual “is too expensive” complaints (when in reality there are other VN with not even half of the wordcount and shallow characters sold for same amount lol).

But it went very well. Very good KS, good sales, had a lot of fun doing it. So far one of my best experiences of the last few years.

At Your Feet

Lucy wishing you Happy Holidays

Every time I talk about this game, a smile forms on my face lol. However, I was really pleased by how it did. Despite an average KS, the game itself on Steam did well. And the ROI was good. Most importantly, I laughed a lot while doing it from start to finish. Something that not always happens with all my games. I like writing deep serious stories, political intrigue, fantasy stuff but… sometimes you just want to try something crazy!

Love Notes

A more manga version of Rachel wishing you happy holidays

A game that went OK both on Kickstarter and sales, and fans of the first title seems to really have liked it. From my experience though, nowadays on Steam if you don’t have at least nudity (not erotic stuff, but at least some scenes with tasteful nudity) you can’t possibly hope to get any good sales, and unfortunately this game was no exception.

I don’t think will do any other games that don’t offer at least some optional spicy content, and this of course will limit the number of artists I can use (not many are OK with that).

The Curse Of Mantras

I like this pinup version of Gambaron

Despite the average Steam reviews, this game did well. Not exceptional, but good. However I clearly see some mistakes I did. Premise: I’m already happy that I managed to finish it, considering the super mess that it was. As I posted before, this game wasn’t really planned well, I acted on impulse (started it 8 years ago!) riding the wave of enthusiasm of forum people who kept screaming “add more romances! add male protagonist!” and so on 🙂 My fault of course, but that happened.

It’s one of those games that in today’s market, either are a hit (for my standards of course), or average sellers and in general, give bad ROI. As you can imagine such a big game took a lot of time, money, efforts. And the result … well, since for once I dared to focus not on romance but mainly on the mystery and the various characters backstories, a few people didn’t like the game for that, leaving negative reviews on Steam. Also, many people playing in VN Mode quickly finished it and said there wasn’t enough content. Of course, if you skip the whole card gameplay which can offer at least 25-30h of playtime…!! Perhaps allowing people to skip the card game wasn’t a good move, even if it’s hard to say (I can imagine if I didn’t make the optional VN Mode I’d have complaints anyway).

I had fun during some parts of the development, creating all the cards and so on, but I had to take a lot of breaks to avoid burn-out, and it felt like a chore during the final stages of testing (making sure all the plot worked, testing battles for the 10th time, etc).

Don’t misunderstand thinking it sold badly: it has the highest Kickstarter funding for me so far, and even direct and Steam sales were pretty good. It’s only the same old story repeating, what happened for Planet Stronghold 2: if a game takes 10-12 months of hard work, the ROI needs to be much higher. Otherwise, it’s better to do 2-3 smaller games, and in case of pure VN I don’t even have to go nuts with coding (which of course also add more long-term support because you can find bugs even months after the release!).

I’m not including TFTU: After Midnight of course since it’s too early, but so far impression seems very positive, could be one of the best games I released in last 2-3 years!


Luckily for me, I had fun doing all the games mentioned. For some I had tougher moments, but I think it’s still related to the burn-out I had back in 2020. It’s really bad – is like a disease that I got, and it can resurface anytime I try to do something too complex. When others told me about that I wouldn’t believe it – now that I’ve experienced it myself first-hand I realize that it’s real and is bad.

As I posted earlier this month, I have some eye issues too so it adds to everything.

Anyway, I still plan to finish The Beastmaster Princess and ToA: An Elven Marriage next year, then maybe a couple of smaller and simpler titles, then the next ToA game and so on, until I’ve finished all the four spin-offs! Then I really think might not do RPGs anymore, since they are too time-consuming, unless somehow the next one sells 2-3 times Planet Stronghold 2. But there’s still plenty of time to take that decision.

That’s all for this year. Happy holidays and happy new year!

The Beastmaster Princess update

If you follow me on social networks, you already know that recently I had some serious eye issues. Luckily it seems nothing irreversible, but I should do a surgery to go back seeing well, so for now I’m thinking what to do. I can still work, but it’s becoming rather difficult.

Anyways, this is not an excuse, and indeed I’m happy to report that I’m making good progress on The Beastmaster Princess. The editor finished the third chapter (there are five in total) and we’ll also be able to put a harem ending (which seems one of the most requested feature recently lol).

Script so far is around 90,000 words (probably final count will be close to 100k), thus the game won’t be as big as ToA: An Elven Marriage, also because in the end there won’t be any RPG part. However it has plenty of romances, cool scenes and some cameos. For example below:

Myrth is hot as usual, but even our protagonist isn’t joking

The events of this game take place before Loren’s events, and since in the story the nomads will need to travel to Grandtree, there’ll be Rei and Myrth cameos.

I kept the story simple, with choices that changes the scenes, in particular if you unlock certain CGs or not, but if you play to get a romance you won’t need any guide. Instead if you want to maximize ALL the romances, get the harem ending, and also solve a little detective minigame (see below) then yes, will require more efforts!

During chapter 3 there’ll be a sort of detective minigame (my apologies for the typo)

In summary, I’m making this game so that the casual player will be able to see most of the content and get most of the achievements, with only a few things that will be more difficult (but not as difficult as to get some of the After Midnight endings, for example).

The game CG are also being finished as I’m writing this post, hopefully for the end of the months I’ll have them all. So, in summary:

  • 100k words long plot (estimate)
  • male/female protagonists
  • 4 romances + bonus harem ending
  • 4 pin-up CG (love interest alone) + 4 love CG x 2 (male/female protagonists) + 4 ending CG x 2 (male/female protagonists) + 2 harem CG x 2 = 22 CGs in total!
  • each of those 22 CGs will also have a censored version for those who don’t want to see any nudity

I think that’s not bad at all for a $15 game!

Estimate release

Now that’s the big question. I think if I can keep working like this, despite everything, the game beta should be out around February, and the final game March/April at the latest. With all happening lately, I’ve given up the possibility to have a combat/RPG part (need to minimize the amount of time spent in front of the monitor), so that should speed things up.

That’s all for now, towards the end of the month I’ll do my usual “end of year” post and give you my best wishes!