Monthly Archives: July 2023

Are there any “real indies” left?

Before getting into this blog post topic, I want to thank everyone who supported my Kickstarter campaign for ToA: An Elven Marriage. If you haven’t and are just waiting for the game to come out on Steam, please wishlist it now!

I know this is a provoking title, but listen to my reasoning first! The term indie means independent. When first started doing this, was also called “Shareware games” back in 2003-04.

TV Station Manager, a game I made back in 2007. I was still using 800×600 resolution!

Back then, you’d make your own game for a few months, release it on some websites, and see if people liked it or not. You had full control over your creative vision.

But things have changed a lot in the last 20 years, from 2003 to 2023. I have many friends in this industry and I know some insider stories. Nowadays, most indie teams create prototypes or “vertical slices” of their games, showing different gameplay elements and stages, and then pitch them to publishers. If a publisher is interested, they fund the development, and there are different types of deals, from upfront payments to milestones and so on.

The details of the deals vary, but that’s not my main point. My main point is that without a publisher’s support, many of those indie teams wouldn’t make their games.

How is this different from being a hired developer? Sure, there is still some degree of independence, but not much. And it’s not just your idea anymore, but also the publisher’s money and influence. Sometimes, publishers even ask for changes in gameplay, characters, art-style, etc.

How is this “artistic”? It seems more like working for someone else to me, someone who can also stop funding you, cancel your project or interfere with your vision (I’ve heard many horror stories about that).

If you consider that, on average, 9 out of 10 indie games on Steam top10 ranking are published by a publisher, you realize how little “independence” is left. Not much, in my opinion.

I’m not saying this business model is bad, obviously it works. Many of those teams are making much more money than I do doing this. And in a way, I do something similar with my crowdfunding campaigns, where I present my idea for a new game to an audience and see if they think it’s worth making. But it’s mostly my fans who support me, and I still have a lot of freedom in making it (how else could I come up with a game like “At Your Feet”??? LOL).

despite what you might think, this game has some nice romantic scenes and varied love interests

In conclusion, I’m just wondering if you can still call yourself indie in this scenario, and if this was a real progress or a regression. In 2003-04 we got rid of the middle-men. Now, 20 years later, they are back. For now I’m still indie, and I hope to stay that way until I retire.

Half-year point of situation

Sometimes when I’m about halfway through a year, like now, I make a sort of “point of the situation”. This is one of those times! I know it’s not the first Friday of the month, but I wanted to write this post now because there are only 48 hours left until the An Elven Marriage Kickstarter campaign ends! Unfortunately, I couldn’t make a fancy cinematic trailer, so I made a simple one where I explain some of the cool features of the game.

The most interesting surprise so far is the “fashion designer” reward (by which you can design your custom outfit for Elenor or Saren). At first, Elenor was leading with 4 against 2, but guess what? Saren is catching up and now it’s a close race with 6 against 5! We have 8 spots available for this reward (both for Elenor and Saren), so don’t miss out!

If you haven’t already you can take a look at the Kickstarter page now!

And now back to this blog topic, but first, a short reminder that all my games are on sale both on itchio: and on Steam: , so if you want to complete the collection or you’re thinking about trying one, now it’s a good moment to do it!

This year’s goals

My goals this year were to finish The Beastmaster Princess (and I did, this Spring), then ToA: An Elven Marriage (Kickstarter is about to end and I’ll be working hard on this one from now on) and I also said that maybe if I had some free time, I’d also try releasing a shorter game, Black Mirror-style (and I did, that game was Save The World).

So you might think that I’m at good point. And well, I am! But in today’s competitive market, you must never rest for a moment. And in the little free time I have, I’m taking the opportunity to plan the next and last Tales From The Under-Realm, which I’ll likely call it “Lilith”, the name of the half-demoness protagonist.

The next Tales From The Under-Realm game

I don’t want to tease too much, also because right now I’m only brainstorming the story. I think it will be the most dark of all my games with… some really terrible stuff happening. But also with possible good endings. This time won’t be a murder mystery, but more like a journey together. Beside Lilith and Evelyn (one of the two love interests) there’ll also be another cute lady, a disciple of Irijo, sort of fallen paladin. There’ll be references to the first game, Hazel and of course to the second (Evelyn was one of the main characters of that game).

I am also planning it in a way that will be possible to have a very detailed threesome story (will probably be a stretch goal). So not something added later but one of the main plot arcs.

Anyway, it’s still very early stages but hope this answers the questions of some people who wondered if I was going to make another game in this series. The answer is yes, of course not this year, but it will happen.

ToA: An Elven Marriage plan

Back to my next big RPG in the works: I don’t have a fixed deadline in mind, but since the editor just sent me the first part of the story fully edited (about 20% of total script) I believe I could have a beta version already this Fall, and my goal would be to finish it this year.

I might delay the Steam release to early next year because you know, there’s the “cursed period” from November to December, in which 150 million games come out so I’d probably avoid that. But aside this, you should definitely be able to play the full game this year or max early next year!

Once this is out, I’ll need a bit of time to recharge but I plan to do the next one in a reasonable amount of time. My ideal goal would be to have the other three remaining spin-off games out every 2 years, which means: Reign of War 2025, Reign of Peace 2027 and Witches Of Unforgiving Swamp 2029… really far away I know, maybe if some of those games won’t be full RPG it could happen sooner, but I need to be careful to not get burned out!

That’s all for now, and thank you for your support!