Category Archives: heileen

SOTW act 2 beta and Heileen 3 on Steam

chalassaromance
A dialogue in the infamous “bathhouse scene” between Althea and Chalassa, the yuri romance

Two big news this week, though as always if you follow me on the social networks you likely already know about them 🙂

Seasons Of The Wolf beta

First of all ToA: Seasons Of The Wolf ACT 2 is now ready to play/test. I can’t provide a direct link to the download since changes continuously (because of the updates!) but you can always find the latest news/link in my forums here:
http://winterwolves.net/viewforum.php?f=40

It was released the 12th July, so even early than my own set deadline of mid-July! During this week I’ve fixed and improved the game greatly, even if now I’m taking a break and I don’t plan to add any new features, because this game, gameplay wise, is already a HUGE LEAP FORWARD compared to Loren’s system 😉

I plan to resume working on ACT3 towards the end of month though, to have it ready for end of August or September. The final game very likely will be done around October/November (just a guess estimate though!).

Heileen 3 on Steam

The second news is that Heileen 3 is now available on Steam too. Like for Spirited Heart is the “complete version” so both male/female romances.

Previous customers that bought both versions can get a Steam key here as usual:
http://bestanimegames.com/steam/

That’s all for now, stay tuned for more news next week! 🙂

Heileen 2 on Steam, and SOTW update

First of all, the second Heileen game is now out on Steam. Go get it now:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/305480/

Existing customers can redeem a Steam key as always on this site:
http://www.bestanimegames.com/steam/

The third title will come later in July, since needs more careful testing (and I’m reserving some time to work on SOTW!). Nicole was Greenlit too, so expect to see it on Steam too sometimes (maybe next month too). Talking about the otome version only obviously, since the yuri isn’t even ready on my own site 😀

Speaking of Seasons Of The Wolf

I made some progresses on SOTW this week, coded whole Krimm backstory and started chapter 11 also known as “Dingirra Adventures pt.2”. The first quest of that chapter let me implement the new dungeon tileset, you can see the result below:

dungeonmap
the new dungeon tileset of Seasons Of The Wolf

Differently from the “open map” of the first act, in this second act there are dungeons like this that have limitation to simulate the fact that the party doesn’t know what lies behind each door. So for example you must open a door to move in a new room, and every time you move your available options change based on the room contents. I am not sure if I’ll need to put also some sort of visual indicator to show the current party room/position, I’ll see during testing.

cyoa
one of the choices available in certain key point of the exploration

Now that the party is bigger, I have also implemented some small “choose who will perform the action” menu, similar to what I have on my game Planet Stronghold. There are no skills involved this time, but in practice they’ll force you to pick a character who can’t be available on the next battle, so that players will be required to rotate the party member a bit 😉

And if behind a door lies a surprise like this one…

niceguy
a really nice encounter, isn’t it?

That’s all for now! Lots of more stuff going on but I’ll talk about it when I have something to show 😉

Attempting something different

First of all, the first Heileen game is now out on Steam for only $5.99. Go get it now:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/302950/

Existing customers can redeem a Steam key as always on this site:
http://www.bestanimegames.com/steam/

Something different

One of the best advices I could give to new indies that are just starting would be: try to do something different. I generally don’t innovate too much myself, but only because I have already an established following and in general I prefer to improve my games step by step. Innovating can lead to successes but also flops, and having already spent months/years in the past trying to experiment new ideas without success I’m always very prudent 🙂

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot recently, and while of course story-based games will always remain my main focus, I was thinking also about doing other non-story based games, or games where the story has a secondary importance.

This has nothing to do with the difficulties I’ve been having recently managing writers, but more about myself and my personal/professional growth. I want to try something different 🙂

No real plans yet, but know that sometimes in future (not sooner than next year) you might see different kind of games too. Of course not FPS or platformers, but maybe something like strategy / wargame or simulations / management. For now is just an idea though. I might do also some smaller games first to test the waters.

Seasons Of The Wolf update

Meanwhile, coding on SOTW is still going steadily. I am currently at chapter 10, and the second Act lasts until chapter 13 included, so about halfway coding it.

beastmasters
The second act has many cool arena battles like the “Beastmasters Challenge”

I think the second Act is rather fun to play, introduces all the remaining characters (though some will join the party only at the end of it) and has some interesting personal quests: Riley, Krimm and Chalassa’s ones. The personal quest were particularly fun to design for me because they are a sort of flashback, so I strip the character of their current possessions (to be regained later) and “downgrade” him/her to a lower level, but I let the player pick the skills before the quest and give a predefined pseudo-random equipment. Is a sort of puzzle RPG, and I’m sure Nightmare players will curse me several times playing it 😉

I had some small delays on artwork, so at this point I won’t be able to meet my self-imposed deadline of mid-June. But even without those delays, I think I underestimated the amount of work I had to do on the battles, so I think I won’t be finished with Act2 before the end of the month!

Spirited Heart is out on Steam

Another weekend, another Steam release. This time is my fantasy raising/dating sim Spirited Heart. You can get it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/293920/

The whole Heileen series was also Greenlit, however I have to keep working on SOTW and also I found new writer(s) for Nicole yuri so I’ll need to take some time to manage her. I can still guarantee that the first Heileen game will be out next month, but probably Heileen 2 and 3 will be postponed to July (they take a bit more time to test!).

The curse of Nicole yuri

As you probably know, I’m having a lot of troubles completing this version of Nicole. I decided to replace the second writer because of communication problems (she had connectivity issues) but I’m quite confident on the new one. Is still early days, but she seems very motivated, so this time I have hope 🙂

It’s crazy thinking that the game was out October last year, and to compensate the yuri fans, I am now talking with other writers who applied for the position but weren’t picked. I thought that since they are quite good (my main criteria this time beside quality was the speed) I thought: why not start some yuri/yaoi exclusive games ? After all, I promised it to my fans and I always try to keep promises 😉

Yuri and yaoi power!

In the next week, between all the crazy mess that is my daily job (Steam release, SOTW testing, etc… madness! lol), I’ll try to find the time to talk with them and get them started. Two of them already replied and are interested. No official announcements yet (I am now waiting until the whole script of a game is almost finished before announcing anything, like I did for C14 dating) but I’m working on it.

Now excuse me, must get back to work! 🙂

Heileen 3 postmortem

Oopsie

With the official release of Heileen 3: Sea Maidens, the development of Heileen 3 ends. As always, both the otome (GxB) and the yuri (GxG) versions are merged in one single download and then you can choose what version to buy and play (or both!).

More info on the official page: http://www.winterwolves.com/heileen3.htm

I just did an update this morning to address a problem playing in Hard mode (getting a profession ending was really too difficult) but the rest of the game was unchanged and has been in testing since over two weeks, so decided to release it officially.

Heileen postmortem

The Heileen series ends with this third chapter, and I’m overall satisfied by it. Without doubts it’s the best game of the series under several aspects: the longest, the most funny, the one with more variety of romances, the one with more artwork, the first one with a custom soundtrack and theme song, and the list goes on.

Of course, it’s still not comparable with my bigger budget RPG games in terms of gameplay, complexity or mechanics. I did it mostly because I wanted to make it – I knew already beforehand that probably it wouldn’t have been a big success, but even as indie sometimes you make games only because you want to do them for yourself 🙂

Ideally, the games you enjoy making for yourself are also a commercial success, but very often that’s not the case…

Anyway I don’t regret making it, but for sure I have no plans to make any more games in Heileen world, also because I feel I wouldn’t have anything else to add, and I don’t want to drag it too long, like happens in some TV series, where you think “why they didn’t end the story in this season? Making another one makes no sense.”. That’s what I think about Heileen 3 too.

The development

The game development started in Summer 2011, I wrote the full storyboard of it between July and September of that year. Then I started commissioning the new artwork, and the original writer started with the story. In the course of 2012, several things happened:

  • the original idea was to have four male romance options, and two females. But talking with people in forums I agreed that didn’t make much sense, so I decided to divide the game in a otome and a yuri version, adding two extra female romances (Ebele and by popular demand, Juliet)
  • writer had to quit about mid-way, so I found another one, Sarah, to replace her and finish the game, in particular the new yuri romances and several extra scenes. I was really lucky to find her, since she worked hard and without her help I wouldn’t have met the deadline for sure!
  • the last months of development were really frantic, with some extra art needed, background artists that quit, and the usual mess associated with developing a game when you have a deadline: finish the otome version before Christmas 🙂

In the end I didn’t had to make many compromises, maybe I would have added more sprite poses if had more time, but in the end as I said I’m happy enough of the final result, considering the kind of game (light comedy) and the primary target market (teens/young adult).

Now, the next challege is to finish Bionic Heart 2 before March… 🙂