Category Archives: development screenshot

Where your money goes: PSCD manga version!

A long time ago (wow, 4 years have passed already!) I made a blog post explaining a bit what I do with the money I earn, and also about the power consumers have and how everyone should try to give back in any way they can. It was called “Where your money goes“.

Now, as I wrote already in that blog, I know I’m not special. I think what I do should be “the norm”, even if sadly it isn’t. I think when you’re so lucky that you do a job you love (and I love it, even if occasionally I get very grumpy especially during beta testing! :D) you should really feel blessed and try to give back to others (animals, people, doesn’t matter, you choose).

I recently setup a Patreon page. It really helped me in the past months due to a sort of mini-crash of the indie market (things are very tough now!) also known as “the indieapocalypse”. But beside funding my living expenses and new games, I always said I was going to use that money also to do “extra stuff”. Things that maybe would have been too risky to do them myself without any support, but that I believe would be appreciated by my fans.

So I’m here to officially announce that I used a good amount of that Patreon money for… the Manga version of PSCD!!!

For those who don’t know it, PSCD (Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense) is a game I released last year, and while the gameplay and story was well received, let’s say that the art style… wasn’t! Or better, most people didn’t like it (I know well that a minority liked it).

A while ago I contacted Undead Lily’s artist (who did a very good job with that game and I can’t wait to release it) and asked her to redo all the images of the game in manga style. But it’s not just that! As I mentioned in another recent blog post, the vast majority of people seem to want more… spicy stuff 🙂 And who am I to say no?

Because of this, I decided to have the romance CG redone so that the censored version would show underwears, while the uncensored version… you can imagine 😉 I’ll need to change the game rating because of this but I suspect people won’t mind (judging from the early reactions in Patreon they were rather happy about this!).

In summary the game will feature manga art for the characters and hotter romance CGs (for the manga version only obviously). The rest will remain the same. Since I did this with Patreon money I don’t want to charge anything extra (even if some people suggested this, doesn’t feel right to me). This means that once it’s ready, it will be a free update. There will be a button in the game options screen and you’ll be able to switch between the two art-styles instantly!

I don’t know yet exactly when it will be available since the last romance CGs are still being colored, but I guess in the next 2-3 months should be finished.

That’s it for now, next time I’ll publicly announce a secret yuri only game I’ve been working on in the recent months and that’s in a good status. Stay tuned!

Amber beta and rest of the year plans

Amber’s beta officially started a few hours after the latest blog post 2 weeks ago, and I’ve made good progress in fixing bugs and adding features, thanks to the usual great testers in my forums. Special thanks in particular to “Franka” for the help in testing the crafting framework so accurately! (it takes a long time lol)

For those who want to try the game, here’s the official page: http://winterwolves.com/ambersmagicshop.htm

The beta is in a very advanced state: the story is finished, and at the time of writing this post no known bugs are left 🙂

Rest of the year plans!

And now, time to talk about the upcoming release of 5 new RPGs this year!!! Haha obviously I am joking 😀

Having a game I started officially so long ago like Amber in beta is very satisfying, but unfortunately for many of the others there’ll be more to wait because are either RPGs, have an insane amount of romances, or both. Three games in particular, Undead Lily, Planet Stronghold 2 and Loren 2 have all those “problems” 🙂

Anyways, if you remember in the first months of this year I was working on Undead Lily. I asked my coder to do some changes to the card framework and the “good old” RPG framework used in Loren, SOTW, etc.

The first change, on the card framework, would allow the cards to have “skills”. So in practice it would become quite similar to a RPG system, but with the usual easy to understand rock/paper/scissor mechanics typical of a card game.

The second change instead would consist of adding a delay based system with a fixed turn on the RPG framework. Currently the framework has action cost/time (as you know if you played those RPGs) but we cannot measure “a turn”, since it’s all relative to each creature’s speed. So if a party had super-quick creatures, for them the “turn” would pass faster than the others.

Changing it to a fixed timer would allow me to use fixed turns, so have events happening each turn (which would be the same for both the factions involved in the battle) and also some more cool things like having actions that cost less time, so your unit could attack and use a potion in same turn, etc. I would use it mainly to do my Undead Lily experiments but also in future games 🙂 I think it could even allow the implementation of a system similar to Fallout 1-2 or Wasteland 2 “AP points”, in which each action has an AP cost. This last feature though isn’t officially approved by my coder, so might just be my dream 😀

Regarding which games will come out next this year: I’m currently aiming at releasing at least a dating sim or maybe two. One is Love Bites, while I won’t say what is the other, also because it could be a “cursed game” or a game still unannounced 😉

Amber’s update


Ehm, maybe I won’t keep the messagebox above in the final game, however…

As you know well if you follow me on twitter or read my forums, I’m currently working at fullspeed to get my next game, Amber’s Magic Shop, out.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a much bigger game than I originally thought. But on the other hand I think will be worth the wait! The plot is almost entirely scripted (it was already written long time ago, but I needed to script it), and the gameplay coding is progressing well too, but it’s really much more detailed/complex than I originally planned. Hopefully means it’s also more fun to play 🙂

For example, above you see one of the various screens I coded this week, the “Unfinished Tasks”. Tasks will be like quests for the RPGs: you’ll have a limited amount of time to craft amount X of item Y, and of a minimum quality Z (in the game depending on the ingredients you mix, you’ll obtain different item quality). Rewards will be variable, money (obviously) but also “Reputation points” or new items/recipes.

I am also planning to leave a lot of freedom, especially during the “adult age”. In the young age, since Amber is an apprentice in Haros’ shop, she won’t be able to take many decisions, but once she gets to run her own shop (in the adult age indeed) she will have a much bigger variety of available actions in each game location, and will also be able to build her own magic shop.

I honestly hoped to have the beta out by the time I wrote this post: however, the last thing I want to do is hurry the game now, after all the efforts that have been put in it. Hmm, the next blog post will be the 31st March… maybe that will be a good day to announce the game in beta! 😉

While you wait, listen to a preview of one of the tracks from the game, “Gothic Doll”. Talk to you soon!

The last famous 10%

weaponroomIn the development screenshot above, one of the scenes of the main plot missions

What is this “famous last 10%”? In indie development, it’s usually how you refer to the last finishing touches, the polishing, the last bits of coding/art/music/etc you need to add to the game before you call it “finished”.

You could argue that nowadays a game is rarely finished, especially a complex one as a RPG, since new bugs always come out  even months after the “official release”. Or simply the developer makes patches and updates.

But anyway, in my case I am referring to the beta version, so not even the release. And I’m obviously talking about the game Queen Of Thieves.

Yes, I know that I said I would take it easy after all the games I released already this year (PSCD, C14 Dating, Heirs and Graces and the PSCD DLC just last week!) but… if you have the inspiration and especially if the weather is incredibly mild this year so far, why wait? 😉

I must admit that while normally I hate this “last 10%”, what they say it’s true: it’s one of the most important part of indie development. In case of a RPG, it can turn an average/mediocre RPG into a good/fun one.

For example, I’ve been tweaking the battles a lot recently. I even made a video!

In the video (the battles are speed up by 50% otherwise was too long) I show how the same battle can have very different outcomes. Obviously already having different skills will lead to different outcomes. But in this case, I wanted to see if I could beat this main plot boss fight without using any potion and without using the guard skill of Kira. I am playing in Normal difficulty, I leave the Hard/Nightmare one to crazy-ahem, “veteran” RPG players 😉

In the first attempt I do what was a good strategy in many cases: concentrate fire on the boss enemy to take him down first. But in this case, it’s not a good move. Instead, spreading the attack to weaken multiple targets it’s the winning strategy, together with paralyze on the boss.

Paralyze is very powerful spell, that’s why some bosses have high resistance to it (but they can be paralyzed for one turn anyway). I like how Kira’s strikes to lower the defense/armor value, combined with Thalia’s poison, can basically slowly weaken/kill multiple targets at once.

I am not sure how the beta testing will go yet, but being able to beat the bosses with different strategies surely it’s a good thing for any RPG!

Testing/tweaking battles apart, I’m adding a lot of minor details, including:

  • small background animations (for example in the forest during the day there’s a flying buterfly)
  • tweaking the amount of gold required to advance in the story, and the money you can earn. Yes, because as the story progresses, you’ll also earn more money running the shop or doing the robberies. This way even if the money required is every time higher, it shouldn’t take too long to reach the next goal.
  • possibility to sell gems to the shops, to earn more money quickly. Also increased the values of many gems
  • adding visual indicators on the map, so portraits of the love interests present in each location will be immediately visible
  • adding a step by step tutorial for first time players (something I didn’t have in my other games)
  • adding more backgrounds and unique sound effects

and the list goes on. It’s a bit frustrating to be honest, because it seems you’re working, but not making many progress really! This because they are all small details, hard to notice if taken singularly. But hopefully when you put all of them together, the effort I’m putting into this game will be apparent!

If all goes well, a beta at end of June seems a realistic goal 🙂

A roleplaying Summer!

qot
In the screenshot above, Arianna in her “Queen Of Thieves” outfit, and a young Lysander

I am now scripting the Queen Of Thieves last main plot scenes, which include some flashbacks: the man you see above is Lysander when he was young. He stilll does have his beard though 🙂

I’m also using the new map of Aravorn that I had recently redone by a new artist. I must say that even zoomed in, it still looks good:gamemap

So now when there are flashback/main plot scenes I can show the time/date but also the place using the map. The scenes aren’t many, but there are 4 CGs, all featuring Arianna… and some are VERY spicy. OK, I think I have said already enough!! 😉

As I said in previous post I will take my time and not rush things to avoid burnout, also considering that I still have to officially release Heirs & Graces and PSCD free update. They’re in a very advanced state though, so that shouldn’t take much longer.

Back to the title of this post, even taking things easier, it’s quite likely that the Queen Of Thieves testing will take place this Summer, with just a disclaimer: if it will be hot like past year (one month and half, whole July and up to mid-August, with temperatures constantly over 38°C!) I will probably be able to work just a few hours in the morning! Anyway, even if I surely won’t be working/updating the game as I did with SOTW (that game was quite a marathon!!) I should still be able to do a few updates based on testing feedback.

All things considered, the beta COULD begin at end of June. In the worst case, it should be July.

But that’s not enough: for me will be a real “Summer RPG” because I’ll also start doing the design for Undead Lily. No coding, just planning on paper/flowchart, thinking about the combat, skills, etc. That’s what will keep me busy this Summer. What can I say, some people go on holiday in tropical islands and have fun, while others code and design RPGs! 😀

Undead Lily Ace romances sneak peek

Speaking of Undead Lily game, a few weeks ago I posted the Lily’s romance sneak peek. Now it’s Ace’s turn! As you can see even Ace has some interesting “romantic moments” in the game as well!

aceromances