Burn-out… again?

First of all: House of Chavez is making good progress. I got new scenes for Dolores, which turned out very nice. You can see it for yourself:

Nice sunset. Really, look close, there’s a sunset in the image above! 😉

So for that project, everything is going smoothly. I’ve just finished the whole story with Silke’s romance and sent it to editor, but of course I need to test it and fix typos and minor bugs. Then, I need to wait for a few Dolores CGs and complete her path too. Each love interest has a sort of “escape the room” final scene which takes a while to design and code.

Differently from my other games, the love interests interact a lot thorough the whole story, so “adding Dolores” means to actually re-check a lot of main plot events to make sure they work fine, there are no plotholes and all that.

In addition to this, being a psychological horror game, if you make bad choices, the love interest might die… so I need also to test the last few days of the main story as if she wasn’t present!

Are you sure there isn’t no one here at night, Silke ?

In short: while the content is all there, I need to test this game much more carefully than if it was a simple visual novel.

I really think I should have the game beta out this month though, mid-March or maybe end of the month. I’ve spent a lot of time and money on it, polishing a lot, and I hope it will be apparent when you get to play it.

And if you haven’t backed the game but you’re interested in it, you can wishlist it now on Steam!

What is the burn-out I’m talking about in the blog post title then? Well, my next project will be “Thieves Of Dingirra”. I will talk about that game more in details next month, but the burn-out is linked to some preliminary tests I was doing for that game.

What are “preliminary tests”?

Whenever I start a new project, especially one that I’ll crowdfund, if it involves some form of gameplay, I always make some preliminary tests. I mean, for a simple VN, there isn’t much to test, just the ability to write the story (and I think I can do that!).

But already for a more complex game like House of Chavez, several months before the Kickstarter launched, I made some tests for the new adventure gameplay elements. Why? Because I want to know beforehand if I can fullfill the promises made with a crowdfunding campaign. Too many times, I see projects that promise the moon and then deliver (when and if they actually deliver!) something that it’s not even remotely close to those promises!

That’s not how I do things. Of course, unexpected things can happen. That’s normal. But I want to be reasonably sure that I can deliver something that’s very close to what I have promised.

What caused the burn-out?

This is always hard to explain, especially to those who haven’t experienced real burn-out. I myself, whenever I heard someone talking about it, quickly dismissed the whole thing as “bah, lazy people”. Until I got it myself and realized how bad it can be.

You can’t romance the NPCs, sorry

Anyway, all was good, I managed to code a NPC class, generate random NPCs, etc. and display it nicely (see picture above). The trouble started when I wanted to code the map, and each building should have variables, generate money, etc etc.

Then my brain refused to collaborate lol Burn out works like this: you know perfectly how to do it, you’re not doing something outside your skills, and yet, you get clouded vision, can’t concentrate, etc. In short, brain refuses to work! It’s really strange, and until I experienced it myself I thought wasn’t possible.

What happens now?

The Dingirra arena! So many memories…

Well, I made more tests after I started writing this blog post and I actually managed to get the map loading and working in Ren’Py. Victory? Wait, it’s still a bit too early!

Because displaying the scrolling map, adding zoom, making some houses clickable it’s just the beginning… I need to check that the game doesn’t slow down too much, that the gameplay loop works, and so on.

Anyways, worse case I think I could simply split the map in “sectors” and load them separately, without a big scrolling map. This way it should speed up things considerably. In short, I’m still making tests, in my spare time while I finish my current project.

Of course when I made my mind, I’ll write clearly what kind of gameplay to expect for this game in the crowdfunding page. The story/visual novel mode will obviously always be available no matter what.

See you next month, where I hope to have more news about this game and maybe even launch the Kickstarter (but at this point I think might be May). Meanwhile if you want to bookmark it, this is the KS page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/winterwolves/thieves-of-dingirra

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