Category Archives: spirited heart

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! 🙂

It’s time for a Spirited Heart 2

If you follow me since long time you might remember that I was talking about Spirited Heart 2 in past years. In my original idea, I wanted it to be some kind of online game, a free to play maybe or with some multiplayer gameplay elements.

And because of that, I was postponing it year by year, despite having all the background and art needed. I kept saying “well this year I don’t have enough knowledge or the right tech, but next year…”.

Result? After waiting for so long, I am still not ready to make a game like that. But most importantly, I don’t think I would even have fun doing it! So, after I got an overwhelming response for my “writers wanted” twitter message, I thought to ask one of the writers to take care of Spirited Heart sequel.

I think I was doing a mistake to postpone this game for so long. I was a bit brainwashed by the success stories of other people doing online/free to play games, but the reality is that I wouldn’t know where to start and very likely I wouldn’t enjoy doing it either 🙂

Anyway I decided to go for it. Of course won’t be ready this year, because even if I was get all the texts in the next months, I will still need to think about the gameplay, and is very likely that will try at least to get the game done with the new engine so it can be played on iOS. But at least something is moving.

Here’s a sneak peek/promo image featuring Ramas and Thofte, with the updated art:

Sh2promo

(Ramas background is the graveyard by night in case you’re wondering. It’s one of the jobs of the game).

I also got the chance to hire again both the sprite and the background artist who did the image above to commission more art/content since I want the game to be a worthy successor to the original game.

About the other games, as I said found a new writer for Amber Magic Shop, got more art and totally hilarious scenes for Roommates, the latest images for Heileen3 yuri version (see image below)

Heileen3female

And I think is all… ah no, actually there’s the Loren expansion! Well not many good news about that since Aleema had hard time with the heat wave that hit the US even if she’s trying to finish by end of month, and also I am still missing one colored sprite for the final scene of the expansion! 🙁

But with the help of another great writer I finally got the sequel’s plot fully outlined so I started commissioning the new images for the game. Here’s a lineart preview of one of the new playable characters, Breza, and an old acquaintance, Rei.

Hotcouple

That’s all for now, see you next Friday!

Summer Sneak Peek

Recently my blog posts were all focused on my upcoming otome game Flower Shop: Winter In Fairbrook. However, people that follows me knows I’m working also on several other projects (I’d dare to say “too many” lol). Most of them are new RPGs, though there are also more dating sim and otome games in the works, but they might be done after the summer.

Loren Amazon Princess

After a moment of hiatus, because had to decide what kind of art style to use, I finally found a new artist and I’m going to use manga art for it too. Though will be more “adult” manga art as you can see from the images below:

This is Loren, the main character of the game (which won’t be directly controllable by the player though)

Loren_color

Next two ones are Saren and Elenor, the two playable characters that you can pick at the beginning of the game. Like I already did with Planet Stronghold, the gender you pick at the start of the game will influence which romance options will be available to you during the game.

Saren_copy
Elenor

lastly, this is Dora, a female dwarf scout that will be one of the various characters that will join you during the game story. In total there are 12 playable characters.

Dwarfdora

There is also a male dwarf in the game though is really not cute as her 😀 He’s the classical muscular, axe wielding angry warrior with long beard.

As I posted before, for indies is really hard to find reliable artists, so you cannot really know when the art for your next game will all be finished. Though I must say that if things keep going at this pace, I could have all art needed for Loren finished before end of June, which means I can start working on it at full pace. No estimate release yet, since also depends which system I’ll use for the battles, and the story is only 30% or so done , so there’s still much left to do.

Spirited Heart “yuri” expansion

This is one of the other projects I’m working on, with the help of Aleema from Lemmasoft who is writing the yuri scenes. For those unfamiliar with the japanese term, “yuri” means girl love. I’m going to add 6 new dateable female characters to the base game, each one with her own romance subplot and personality/secrets to discover, and is going to cost $9.99. I believe is a small price to pay for the upgrade since there are lots of new characters and some are *really* interesting.

This expansion is very likely to be out in July/August since things are going well with it.

Planet Stronghold “Warzone” expansion

This mainly depends on the artist speed. So far only a few new characters from the original game have been “redrawn” to reflect the fact that in the story the time has advanced of some years. This will be an add-on, featuring new monsters, items, weapons, but also I hope to introduce a few minor gameplay enhancement, like the possibility to have a strategic map and control resources, so that you can build new stuff with it. Adding some strategy element should make the game even more replayable than the original was. Also, there will be two extra romance option, Prince Cliff – Lisa (got sooo many requests for this!) and Shiler – Joshua (this is interesting).

I really cannot know about this, however I believe in June artist should be free of conventions and in theory, I could finish this one by September or so (I hope!).

Undead Lily and The Elemental Avengers

This is also going well – though is a very ambitious game and has lots of animations/character poses (there are already 12 basic character pose with eye/mouth animations and 10 battle poses done). So while I cannot complain about artist speed, it is still going to take a while because is a big game. I really hope to have this done by next Christmas, though I’m not sure, really!

Undeadlily Magmateaser

I have a few more games I’m working on in parallel, but I want to keep those “secret” for now 😉

new otome game release and plans for the future

Extrabonus

Good news: Always Remember Me is out of pre-order phase and now the difficulty problem has been solved. The game now on start-up will offer your two playing mode: the Hard mode is the previous one, with some minor adjustments, and is the right choice for dating sims experts. The Normal mode instead is aimed at casual players who I’m sure will appreciate the much reduced failure rate when trying the actions inside the life simulation part!

Of course you will still need to find the right actions to do, and the correct “path” for each character. Some scenes are very well hidden requiring you to be at a specific day/time on a specific place. I will probably write a sort of walkthrough on my forums later next week (since the game is just out I don’t want to spoil the fun!!).

In case you haven’t tried the game demo yet, check it now: http://www.winterwolves.com/rememberme.htm

(and yes, I changed only slightly the name adding “Always”, to differentiate the game title from the movie).

Imgp0325

In this week cats picture, Gilda and Grillo are sleeping peacefully together.

As indie developer instead, I can never sleep so peacefully! Numerous dangers lurk in the night… portals lowering price so much that soon they’ll start paying people to play games, your server that goes down after hackers attack at midnight, some mysterious new bug appear in your latest released game and so on! But… the most feared of all is surely this: artists that disappear in the middle of development process! 😀

Almost every indie I know had this problem, exception for those that use professional teams (but I’ve heard some problems even in those cases). Also most games don’t really need much art like visual novels/dating sims, or even better just need 3d models: in this case you can commission them even from different people, since in 3d is much harder to notice a difference in style (while in 2d is immediately evident).

Anyway I’m not here to complain, but I find myself in a fun situation, where I have lots of story texts and game design ready for 3-4 games, but they’re all on hold because of artists. Not everyone disappeared, some of them just took a break, others are busy doing commissions for other people (this is last time I give away my artists contacts!) , other moved full-time into comics and so on. That’s why I start so many projects at once, unless you’re making a game where you just need a few portraits (thinking about the RPGMaker XP games haha) is really hard to be sure that the person you hired for 2-3 months of will finish everything as planned.

I just finished 3 games this year so now I’m taking a break to see what I can do next. I think I could probably start working on the sequel of Spirited Heart. It has all the art done, but I wanted to wait until I was skilled enough to do a online game using Monkey (a new language that allows people to code games for HTML5/Flash without knowing JS/AS3). Problem is… I’m too used to Ren’Py now, and any other language looks too slow to develop with! 🙂

I really cannot imagine myself coding in something where I cannot immediately test the changes I just made with a keystroke to reload all the script, like I do with Ren’Py. That’s just too much time-saving! The only other thing I know that can do that is VisualC, the system I was using before, but that would mean to leave out Linux from the target platforms and I don’t like that, since I’d like to support my “penguin friends” 🙂

Speaking about that, a friend of mine, Neil (who runs a successful zombie-MMO) told me an interesting thing:

the question is, if you were to use Flash for example, would the result be anywhere near as good as with python? How much longer would it take? If it’s going to take 2x longer then I’d say stick with what you know since I doubt the difference in conversions between web player and download will be more than 50%.

sometimes you really need an external point of view to fuly realize the situation, the pro and cons. That’s why I always ask for advice and feedback for my games and my choices in general, because it really helps. My friend is basically right, it’s not use to me to try making a game using another language if takes me x2-3 time more than just using Ren’Py and python (even if that means I need to have that damn auto-updater done!).

For now I’m still thinking how to design the game – probably there will be a normal offline part, and then a big online integration, though since I’m new to all of this I have to see how it works, and if I can actually make it without going mad 🙂

Meanwhile, the other projects like Loren RPG are on hold (even if the story is about 30% finished), while Planet Stronghold’s add-on should  (not completely sure yet) see the light around July/August, since the artist said she would take time to finish the new images, even if she is quite busy with convention and school. Undead Lily game is also slowly progressing, but there’s still a lot of art to be done, so probably won’t be done quickly.

The only thing that’s 100% sure to come out is Flower Shop: Winter In Fairbrook, since all the art is done, and will be released before the summer. More info about the game coming soon in the next weeks!

Friday catblogging – Happy New Year


Gilda in a basket in the bathroom of my old home. Because we have so many cats, we never had a decorated Christmas Tree, otherwise would be instantly destroyed… 🙂

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone! I have released Planet Stronghold alpha 0.8, which features lot of new content! If you’re interested in trying the demo or buying the game please visit the game website.

Then, a quick update on what you can expect in the next months:

Role Playing Games

Beside Planet Stronghold, which will be finished at end of January 2011, I plan to start 2-3 more RPGs. I love RPGs and I always wanted to make them, but in the past I was lacking proper funds and/or technical knowledge to make decent ones. Now, using Planet Stronghold RPG framework I can expand it and create new RPGs. Most of them will be in fantasy setting though, since it’s the most common/popular one (unless Planet Stronghold is so successful that convinces me to make add-on/sequels). I have already a good collaborator of mine who is starting creating the main game plot, character sketches, and so on. Another one should start hopefully in next months, and I want to do another myself as well. So the 2011 will be surely full of RPGs!

Adventure Games

I am still in love with my character of Vera Blanc, despite the first two episodes not being really topsellers. As I posted several times if I make a third episode, it will be an adventure (first person) and not a visual novel, since the adventure style integrates better with that kind of game. I have already a plot for the story, but since it requires lot of money, it’s still a risky decision, so if I make it, won’t be before next summer, or even later during Fall/Winter of 2011.

Visual Novels / Dating Sims

Of course I’ll keep making them! Flower Shop 2 release is really close, is just a matter of few months. But since is tied to external factors (artists finishing some pieces) I won’t dare to name a date for it. Instead I can already say that very likely the otome game “Remember Me” will be ready around February/March 2011, since the plot is completely written and need only to code the “simulation part” of it and do testing/balancing. Depending how my other projects go, I could make more VN/Dating Sims, but they’ll be mixed with simulation games.

Strategy / Simulation Games

In 2011 perhaps I will finally release the sequel of Spirited Heart. I have yet to start coding it though, so is probably more accurate to say that in 2011 I’ll begin coding it, which is a bit different. It won’t be ready probably before 2012, also because I have in mind some online-features (probably optional) that could improve the gameplay a lot, so I am not sure yet I’ll use Ren’Py to code this one.
There will be for sure more strategy/simulation games coming in 2011 though. A remake of my game Universal Boxing Manager, this time with the fights completlely in 3d realtime, is under production! Is made in partnership with a good 3d coder who is going to use Unity3d to power the 3d simulation. It’s probably my biggest/most ambitious game to date and the 2011 will be mainly focused on it. I hope will do well since I’d like to port more of my old games into 3d or start new ones.
As I said I might also find the time to do a sort of light-strategy/time management game based on Heileen settings. In particular, Heileen 2 settings (pirates, the caribbean). The game could be played as normal strategy game or with visual novel cut-scenes (they’ll be optional). This will be a sort of experiment since I am not sure if/when I’ll finish it. Let’s say I’ll work on it on my spare time and when it’s done, is done 🙂

Online Games

Almost every year I say “next year I’ll make one”. So, this time I won’t say it! But, I would like to try making one, even if I am not sure I’ll find the time…or better, if I’ll find the right person, since I’m probably going to outsource the coding (will be most likely done in Flash or HTML5). Or if the new interesting BRL:monkey project from Mark Sibly (creator of Blitzmax) gets released, I might use that and do everything myself.

So in conclusion, looks like the 2011 will be a year full of new releases! Happy New Year again!!