Category Archives: strategy games

Release plan and older games

First of all, PSA: I released a collection of my older games (really old, some of them date back to 2004!!!) on itch.io and Steam for the low price of $4.99! The collection includes some of my early sports sims and the two Vera Blanc games. I only put the games I was 100% sure would work under Windows 10 (no Mac or Linux, sorry).

I decided to to it since some people asked for it, and besides at such low price I think could be a good value for money (especially Universal Boxing Manager or TV Station Manager).

Also as you probably saw already, there’s the usual Halloween Steam sale with my various games discounted 🙂

Release plan

We’re almost at the end of October, so time to look back at what happened this year so far and what to expect. As usual in this business, was a year of quick changes. As I wrote in previous blog post, for this year I won’t probably be able to finish any other game, even if I currently have 3 games at very good point: Cursed Lands, Volleyball Heaven and Love Bites.

If things go as planned, I will probably release Love Bites first. Half game is basically ready, so I could even try to do a pre-order/beta version with that relatively soon. I’m only waiting for the main trailer and some endings scenes: if I put the beta out with Sabrina and Viktor routes I’d like to have the ending CGs and the epilogues, so people experience the “full path” for each character at least.

For Volleyball Heaven, once the artist finishes the remaining CGs, everything else is pretty much ready, but scripting it will take a couple of months I think, also because (as usual lol) what originally started as 75k words max game became almost double that… 😀

Cursed Lands should be the last one to be released simply because, being a RPG with several innovations like the talent system and boss battles with dialogues/choices, it requires much more testing and coding than a simple dating sim. So even if I had all finished texts by end of year, I would probably need 3-4 months more to do the coding/testing/balancing.

A new way of working

Once I finish the 3 games above, with some exceptions for a few games already written/started but that I haven’t publicly announced yet, I am going to change how I work in future. In practice I’ll still be using a few selected external writers who have proven to be reliable and also skilled, but mostly I’ll be back writing the games myself and use editors only. I am already experimenting with this for Cursed Lands, adding some more camp talk scenes, and I think honestly the end result is good and progress are fast.

Fast, because I write them myself, and I always wrote things fast. And this doesn’t mean that what I write is set in stone, but I noticed that the writer while editing/reviewing the scene, often get ideas for more dialogues or even future scenes. It’s weird to explain but it’s a sort of brainstorming and exchange of ideas. I think this system works much better than an isolated writer writing on his/her own, no matter how good is.

Also after all those years, I know well what my players want, how much important is for them romance, relationships, sexy elements, jokes, etc.  And since I’d write the game as I’m coding it, the game story will feel much more integrated with the gameplay (a problem that some of my recent games like Amber or Queen Of Thieves had).

I believe that with a good editor/writer reviewing all the scenes, tweaking what I wrote, or even reworking/rewriting completely whole sentences, the ending result should also be of a decent level regarding grammar and writing quality! And most importantly with this system I shouldn’t have anymore delays of YEARS since I announced a game and its release. Yes, I know that’s a very common thing in the game development business, but honestly I don’t like it (and for sure my players don’t like it either).

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!

PSCD free DLC is now out!

toughchoices
As you can see from the screenshot above, there will be some very “tough choices” in the free DLC! 😉

Jokes apart, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve updated the PSCD live version on my site, which you can download from this page: http://winterwolves.com/pscd.htm with the promised free DLC update contents.

Note: If you have already bought and activated the base game with email/serial, you’ll need to do it again in the game main menu to access the new content!

For those who still don’t know, the free update (which was supposed to be a paid DLC) adds the possibility to romance Kaden, Galina, Lola and Christophe. All four characters are bisex, so in practice this adds EIGHT new romance routes. For free. Yeah, don’t get used to get free stuff like this, since it won’t ever happen again! 🙂

It also adds the “Quick Play” mode, which lets you do quick matches against ten predefined enemy decks. You can also tweak the AI resources, so you can tailor the game’s difficulty to your skills.

Other platforms

The update will come shortly to the Steam version (maybe even next week), since if you bought it only there and not also on my site, you won’t be able to get the extra content yet. I still want to promote it as a DLC (but of course a free one) on Steam, hoping to get some extra visibility for the game, something that it didn’t get on launch.

As for mobile, I wanted to wait for all the content to be ready so I could do the port in a single step (since updating on mobile is a bit of a pain). I am also waiting for an update on Ren’Py libraries (that’s why C14 Dating is not out on mobile too).

Anyway all things considered I think it should be available on Android/iOS/Kindle maybe next month, for sure during this Summer.

Why a free update?

It was a mistake on my part – I was so sure that the game would have been a hit, that I planned a DLC already. Something that you should never do until the game is out 😉

Now I know the game will never be a hit, but not a bad seller either. It’s just that has been much harder to make money as indie in general, vs a few years ago.

Anyway since I had already the romance CGs and all the romance routes written, I didn’t want to throw it away. But of course, I didn’t bother to code all the DLC story (yes, a sort of mini-story of 11 missions was also planned to go along this DLC) even if I still managed to add the Quick Play mode.

As I already posted in my forums, even if I enjoyed a lot working on this card game, unfortunately I couldn’t justify spending more time on this than I already have. My revenues from the game so far (divided by the months I spent working on it) are way below the minimum wage here in my country 😀

But I’m still happy, since now I have a card framework which I can reuse in future games, and I’ve learned a things or two about what people want in term of artwork (hint: cute manga art, avoid uncanny valley effect, etc). I’m an optimist by nature, so even for the projects that didn’t come out well, I think they still provided me valuable info and I’ve always learned something.

As some wise man said (Confucius): “He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

PSCD DLC beta!

quickbattle

In the image above you see a screenshot from the PSCD Free DLC currently in beta!

You need to download the beta version here to try it (on the site there’s still the older version): http://www.winterwolves.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=3856

You might need to re-register the game again to see the extra contents.

Beside the four extra romances: Galina, Kaden, Christophe, Lola, I have decided to do a “quick match” mode. In that mode you can play all the cards you have unlocked in the game (tier-based) and do a match with predefined enemy decks.

Using this “tiered unlock” it’s good, since will let me include the mode also in the demo, because players can try it (for example for practice), but without the high tier cards (which you can only get later in the game) will be hard (if not impossible) to win. So it’s a sort of “trial” that might make more people curious / interested about the full game.

If you beat the game once, you’ll also unlock the 5th tier, which is normally unaccessible from the base game, and it includes the most rare cards (legendary ones). Since I had already added them in the code, was a pity to “waste them”, so at least they can be used in the non-campaign mode.

This means that if you won the game already it’s enough to load a save before the end, to get access to all the cards in the quick match mode.

Heirs & Graces update

The beta testing continues, and luckily everything seems to be going smoothly, even if it was to be expected for a dating sim. I suspect Queen Of Thieves testing will be more troublesome 😉

Anyway I’m pleased so far by the game reception and how people liked the idea/writing/art/music.

I must say though that in future (except for the game already in the works) it’s a bit unlikely I’ll do again a game with only one playable gender or romance type. Making a game takes already so much effort that I think it’s best to at least try to cater to two audiences.

So for example in this game I could have added a female character to have yaoi+otome, or add 4 female romances to have yaoi+straight, and so on (probably I’d have reduced the amount of romanceable characters, or made some bisex).

Anyway, this game is done as it is: but for future games I’ll always try to have at least two genders or “romance combos” 🙂

Undead Lily romance previews

As you know from time to time I make some “romance sneak peeks” for my upcoming games, even months before they’re out, because I like to tease people! 😀 Here’s the Undead Lily’s Lily romances (so playing as Lily and romancing both male/female characters):

lilyromances

Some characters have two different ending CG, based on the concept of “dominant/submissive”. I can assure you that they’re very interesting!

Heirs & Graces beta

drama2
In the screenshot above, one of the various jealousy scenes

Well, last week I’ve told you that this would be the next game to come out, though I admit I didn’t expect to finish it so soon! 🙂 Obviously I’m talking about the beta version, however I think the official release should happen before the end of month.

Anyway, you can head to this page to try the game beta demo and pre-purchase it:
http://winterwolves.com/heirsandgraces.htm

There’s a beta demo download in forums in this thread: http://winterwolves.net/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=3851

Like always, since it’s a beta version it might still contain bugs. However any help testing it will be greatly appreciated!

I really hope that even non-yaoi fans will try the game, since I believe it has a very nice art, GUI, music and writing. I’m also interested to know what people think of the scheduler/stat raising system. It’s a bit similar to Roommates, but it has also some “skill checks” to do, so you need to plan and think more what to do next.

Playing in Easy mode, you won’t have any problems though 😉

What’s Next?

While doing a beta, I usually try to go on with other games. Unless the beta is for a RPG, in that case I’m usually busy fixing bugs/adding features, so I have no time for anything else!

Anyway, while Heirs & Graces beta goes on, alongside it will finally decide what to do with PSCD and the extra romances. I’ll start first by adding all of them to the base game, and then if there’s enough time (and I’m not burned out too much!) I’ll also see if I can add some sort of “free play mode” or something like that. This way I could even add the extra cards who were planned for the DLC.

Once the PSCD DLC is finished, I’ll finally resume working on Queen Of Thieves. First I’ll take a small break though 🙂