Miele

Miele 2001-2019

Not even a month after my beloved Nina passed away, and I’m here writing about another cat, Miele, who died due to renal failure. Unfortunately having so many old cats, it’s not something entirely unexpected.

In this case at least he lived a long life for a cat, he is the pet of mine that lived most, 18 years! Though we’re not sure about the exact birth date, since we rescued him in 2002 and he was already no longer a kitty.

He was a shy, a bit crazy cat – he would never stand still inside our house. Always exploring the surroundings, but finding time to go back and show his affection, especially in the evening when I was watching the TV.

It’s sad for me for two reasons: the first one obviously that I lost him. The second because he was the first pet my wife and I adopted together, and that’s also when I really fell in love with her beautiful soul.

Goodbye Miele, it has been a good and long ride!

Posted in general | 12 Comments

Planet Stronghold 2 Cast: Avae

Avae, another mysterious alien living in a cave

Avae

The last character introduction for Planet Stronghold 2 is Avae!  I was unsure whether to talk about him or not since he is a bit of a spoiler, and was supposed to be a secret romance! But I figured out that once the game was out, the news would spread out anyways, so…!

Nelson finds Avae in a cave, hiding from something or someone (I can’t go into more details, sorry) and asks for Nelson’s help.  While Avae isn’t a proper spy, he is very skilled in the art of camouflage and information gathering. When they first met, Nelson is unsure whether they can rely on Avae, but as time goes by, Nelson will learn to trust him and thanks to his knowledge they will learn a lot of new, interesting things. He will provide a lot of background information about the planet’s races and some unexpected mysteries that will change Nelson’s opinion on several things.

He can be romanced playing as Lisa.

Status update

one of the new game backgrounds

I’m at very good point on Planet Stronghold 2: with all my RPGs, the hardest and longest part is to build up the “foundations”. That is, code all the different gameplay changes vs previous RPGs, define the skills, the items, and all the sort of tweaks I need to do for the battles, inventory management, resources and in this specific game also crafting, salvaging, etc.

Coding them is the first step – then there’s also all the testing involved and believe me some bugs can pop-out even months after you coded the feature.

Anyway, I’m now at a good point where I mostly need to write the missions, main plot and camp talk scenes. I’d say about 70-80% of the gameplay part is done, so now I only need to decide which aliens are in which scene, which skills will use to do the skill check, and so on. So basically no new coding (or very small) but mostly writing and making sure everything makes sense from the story point of view.

Unfortunately this is also the most complex game I’ve ever made from this point ! Yes because for each scene I need to consider a lot of conditions/variables:
– was the player a loyalist of the Empire, or Rebel?
– was in a previous romance with that character?
– what is player’s alignment? (you can be Forceful or Friendly)
– what was the outcome of past missions? I play dialogues differently if you were successful or not

And that’s just one part of the things I need to check! Since in this game you can fail the quests (except some key plot scenes, you can fail many quests without a game over) the NPC will react differently. For example I just wrote a scene in which your team gathers around you, and then different things happens: if you failed all the missions, Tom will scold you (maybe even punch you lol). If you were successful in all, Tom will praise you and shake your hand (but if you’re in a romance with him, extra lines will play).

As you can see, I’m writing this game myself using an editor also because such level of complexity was really too hard for an external writer to consider (this is more close to ‘coding’ than simply ‘writing a story’!).

Hopefully all the time spent on this will show up in the final game 🙂 I hope to have a playable beta of the first two chapter fully edited by end of April!

Posted in general | 2 Comments

Planet Stronghold 2 Cast: Lakadema

Lakadema is the cutest alien ever made! Though Shiler might disagree

Lakadema

In the game’s second chapter, Joshua/Lisa will meet a mysterious alien named Lakadema. She’s part of a race never seen before on Planet Stronghold, and also the source of great power.  She has a connection with the whole planet, like she could speak to it as if it was a living being. Her powers were exploited by others, so the player decided to intervene and protect her.  I won’t go into to many details because it’s a plot spoiler, but she will be a romance option for both Lisa and Joshua.

Some might think that Lakadema is very shy, but in reality she is very reserved and bears a big burden.  Sometimes she speaks in riddles, but in the end everything she says will make sense.

The other party member will react differently to having a powerful alien inside the colony or in the case of Rebel alignment, yet ANOTHER powerful alien beside Shiler. Lakadema is like a wild animal: both scary and beautiful at the same time.  Scary because you know how deadly she can be, beautiful because of her uniqueness.

Lakadema will play a key role through the whole game, and will hep Nelson achieve their goals, and earning their trust.

Progress update

Earlier this month I passed the 100,000 words goal on Planet Stronghold 2 script. I am still writing the second chapter out of four (chapters have variable length). I am not sure yet but it’s likely even this game will end up around the 250,000 words range! Another small game ™ !

exploring a sector in the second chapter of the game

However, I’ve been working not only on the story but also on the gameplay. I don’t want to get cocky but I personally think this is the best RPG I made for gameplay, even better than SOTW (if you forgive me the missing front/back rows…)

And it’s interesting how new ideas to balance the gameplay (or make it more fun/realistic) comes at unexpected times. For example, in the screenshot above, I was playtesting the second chapter maps and I noticed something for the first time: as you explore the map, it gets revealed, and you can stumble into enemies.

Like the first game, you can avoid the random encounters, but avoiding them injures slightly your party. I did this to avoid the player skipping all the fights, making them meaningless.

But I didn’t take into account one thing: even if you stumbled into all the possible random encounters, and you decided to avoid them all, losing all your party health, the game would still let you navigate through the maps with your hovercraft!! lol

Basically, you could spend the first day on each chapter to unveil all the maps at the cost of lowering your party health to zero. Not a problem, since you could just go back to the colony and advance time by one day to get full health again!

So now I changed it so that you can’t explore the map anymore if your overall health goes below the 20%. A very simple, small change, but that has a big impact on gameplay, making everything more realistic, and for the hardcore RPGs players, more fun.

Posted in general | 6 Comments

Nina

my cat Nina 2005-2019

Tonight, two hours past midnight, my beloved cat Nina passed away. She had a lymphoma, so we knew this day would have arrived.

She was for sure my favorite pet ever. I didn’t choose her, it was she who choose me. She was always following me everywhere, almost never leaving me alone. I am going to miss her so much!

Yesterday morning was clearly not feeling right. However, she already had episodes like that before, then she recovered. This time, she didn’t.

She was on the bed with my wife (who goes in bed much earlier than me) yesterday evening. She looked at me, and I went to pet her. Then I left, to go watch some TV. My wife politely scolded me saying that she was still looking at me when I left the room, and to come back to pet her some more. And I did it, she was purring, that was the last time I saw her alive.

I never though that it would have been the last time, but I guess the morale is, value every minute you spend with someone (human or animal, doesn’t matter) you love, because it could be your last moment.

Posted in general | 4 Comments

Planet Stronghold 2 Cast: Queen Shiler

Queen Shiler in her throne in an unknown place in the jungle

In the last blog post I almost forgot that there was indeed another character I should introduce (or better, re-introduce) that is Queen Shiler.

It was one of the main characters of the first game and in this sequel you can romance her as Joshua. I know many asked for the possibility to romance her as Lisa too, but the game had already too many romances and besides the artist no longer works for me (so I couldn’t have made a proper romance CG anyway).

Let’s introduce Queen Shiler now.

Queen Shiler

Shiler is the Queen of the Marada, race which has a very peculiar quality: they have a ‘hive mind’, similar to that of bees. Shiler can see anything that happens on the planet through the eyes of those she calls “her daughters,” other Marada soldiers. Apparently, while the other Marada can act independently, they all follow the guidance of Shiler, the mechanics of which are still unclear to the humans so far…

In this sequel, you’ll learn that the Marada have other classes/roles besides soldiers like Shaman, Healer, etc. There is certainly more to the Marada, but I don’t want to spoil the story too much since depending on your choices, you’ll need to fight against them sooner or later.

Shiler is seen as a manipulative character, which she honestly is. However, she is also very mysterious since her reasons aren’t immediately clear, leading to Joshua/Lisa thinking that she is hiding many things.

If you sided as a Rebel in the first game, you’ll start with her ruling the colony Zero-One with Prince Cliff. If you were a Loyalist, you though you killed her during the first game, but that might not be entirely true…

As already mentioned, you can romance her playing as Joshua and it will be a weird relationship, leading to some interesting outcomes (which of course I can’t write here!)

Other games update

Jill has been testing a lot Corona Borealis in the past weeks and we’ve fixed several bugs already, we’re at very good point. At the same time, we started with the game trailer production.

Volleyball Heaven keeps going steady, and since some people recently asked, I also replaced Summer In Trigue writer (who sadly couldn’t keep working for some personal issues) to speed things up since that game is also on hiatus since too much time! There’s also a poll in my forums where I’m asking for feedback about the game art, check it here: https://winterwolves.net/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=4173

Posted in general | Tagged | Leave a comment