Friday, June 29, 2012

Nicole's cast: Kurt Madry

It's the turn of another character introduction from my upcoming otome/mystery dating sim Nicole. His name is Kurt Madry and is a very popular player of the college football team.

You can see a few images of him below:


About his personality, he's quite arrogant and spoiled, and very successful with women.

Unfortunately for him, his grades at school aren't as good as his skills on the other fields. But for that, Nicole will be able to help him ;) An excerpt from the game story:

    "All the students in the classroom were getting ready to go when I heard someone sigh heavily. I looked over to see who it was and spotted Kurt."
    "I wonder what’s wrong..."
    "We did get our test scores back today though."
    "Maybe it has something to do with that."
    "I gathered up my supplies before walking over to his seat."
    Nicole "Hey there! Is something wrong?"
    "He glanced up to see me as he irritably shoved his books and supplies into his bag."
    Kurt "Everything sucks today."
    Nicole "Aw, I’m sure it’s not so bad. What happened?"
    Kurt "I failed the damn math test."
    "He cast the paper another dark look before roughly tossing it into his bag."
    Nicole "Ouch...I’m sorry to hear that."
    "I suppose it’s better not to mention that I thought it was the easiest one we’ve had so far..."
    Kurt "You don’t know how bad it really is."
    Nicole "They won’t make you repeat the class, will they?"
    Kurt "It’s even worse than that!"
    "He slung his bag over his shoulder and started stomping over to the door. I followed him quickly."
    Nicole "But what other repercussions are there?"
    Kurt "I can get suspended or even kicked off of the football team if I don’t keep my grades at an acceptable level."
    Nicole "That’s so extreme..."
    Kurt "It is! They don’t give a crap about how important I am to the team if my grades start to slip."
    Nicole "It’s not too late to get things turned around though, right?"
    Kurt "That’s a hell of a lot easier said than done."
    Nicole "Not necessarily..."
    Kurt "If you have a point you’re trying to get to, then spit it out."
    Nicole "Maybe I could help you out and tutor you in math."
    "He was already angry but looked at me skeptically."
    Kurt "I don’t really want to get a tutor."
    Nicole "It could help a lot though! Sometimes having someone other than the professor to explain everything is really beneficial. Their explanations practically need translations."
    Kurt "I don’t know..."
    Nicole "I’m sure I can help you."
    Kurt "But you’re so new."
    Nicole "So what? We’re in the same math class."
    Kurt "Are you really the best tutor I can get? If I’m going to deal with having a tutor, I need the absolute best."
    "He certainly sounds spoiled...

Later in the game, Nicole will also discover some traits of his personality that will seriously make her think... but you'll have to play the game to discover what I'm talking about ;)

That's all for this week! Progresses on all the other games (including Loren's expansion) are being made but I want first to finish Nicole's characters introduction before talking about something else :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nicole's cast: Jeff Ryan

Second post about Nicole dating sim, and this time will talk about one of the other 3 boys. If you follow me on twitter you'll remember that, somehow, I thought there were 3 boys and 1 girl to romance but I was wrong, the boys are actually 4! (but that's a good news for otome fans).

This also means that probably shouldn't work so much if I even forget how many characters there are in my games :D

Anyway, let's start with the introductions: the name is Jeff Ryan, he's a medicine student, slightly older than Nicole (he attends the 2nd year). Below you see him in various outfits and with normal and slightly cut hairs:


He's friendly, single, and you met him after attending your first class (excerpt from the game):

    "Getting to class had been a fairly simple task, but getting back to my dorm room afterward wasn’t nearly as easy. I stopped to check one of the maps, but it didn’t help very much."
    "I found myself wandering around a portion of campus I hadn’t seen when looking around previously. It was in a quiet area of the campus, so I assumed it was fairly far away from the dorms."
    "Which means it’s pretty far away from where I wanted to go..."
    "Oh well! I’ll just think of it as the scenic route."
    "I had stopped in the pathway to admire one of the buildings and all of the large glass windows it sported when someone walked up to me. I looked over at him and smiled politely."
    Nicole "Hello."
    Jeff "Hey there. Are you new here?"
    "I laughed and nodded."
    Nicole "I am, was it that obvious?"
    Jeff "Most of the students who have been here for a while don’t seem very concerned with the buildings...some of them are quietly extravagant though, don’t you think?"
    Nicole "They are! This is the medical building, right?"
    Jeff "That’s right."
    "We both paused for a moment to look at the medical facility again before he continued."
    Jeff "So what’s your name?"
    "I blinked, feeling a bit silly for not introducing myself sooner."
    Nicole "Oh, it’s Nicole."
    Jeff "Nice to meet you. My name is Jeff Ryan."

Like all the other characters of the game, you'll get to know him better and... maybe discover something! ;)

I haven't made my mind yet about doing a separate yuri version of this game, but since the main game won't be out before this fall in any case, there's no hurry after all! Yesterday also finished Queen Of Thieves storyboard and got new sketches for the final cutscenes. Loren's expansion and Roommates also made good progress with new texts for the story, so all seems to be going well!

See you next week for a new update and a new boy of Nicole dating sim!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let's talk about Nicole

Who is Nicole? is the main character of my new mystery otome game that will be out... "soon" (probably after the summer though).

I know that during the past... 6 months? Loren has monopolized my blog and forums, and even if I wasn't able to advance the other projects as I hoped, some of them made good progresses, such as Nicole (the game will be very likely called just that "Nicole").

How Nicole looks like? she's pretty cute I think, check below:


As you can see, this time I decided to have lots of options, both in hair style and clothes. She has more clothes and hair styles than those showed above.

Nicole studies law and she just entered college. However, as soon as she arrives, she discovers something. An excerpt from the game story will explain better than my words:

    "This is going to be wonderful...exactly what I needed! A prestigious university like this will be perfect for me to study at."
    "I sat down on the bed and reached for the bag that contained my netbook. It didn’t take long to get it connected to the college’s internet and I clicked around to see what kind of local websites I would want to have bookmarked."
    "I clicked a link to the local newspaper, humming cheerfully as I saved the page. I scrolled down, my eyes zipping across the headlines quickly. One in particular caught my attention."
    Nicole "Multiple disappearances...? Could it just be some kind of rumor?"
    "I frowned slightly when I saw it and leaned forward as I clicked to read the full article."
    "My eyes widened when I read more of the article. Some of the worries I carried with me onto the campus lurked around in the back of my mind as I continued reading, my frown deepening with each line. The writer of the article looked credible, as did the information it contained."
    "Three disappearances...why would so many students just want to leave so suddenly? Or is there more to it than that...?  I’m surprised I hadn’t heard about it before...but I suppose they do their best to keep this sort of thing quiet."
    "And these journalists all try to use scare tactics. If it was too bad, they wouldn’t be able to conduct the classes normally like they do now."
    "Still...this isn’t a very reassuring thing to read on my first day..."
    "While simply learning that there had been numerous disappearances was an unpleasant thought, the chilling closing of the article was what stuck with me the most."
    Nicole "And they were never found..."
    "I pushed my netbook aside and wrapped my arms around myself as I shook my head quickly."
    Nicole "Well, it shouldn’t be anything that I have to worry about...I’m here to learn. I just have to be careful...people disappear all the time."
    "It’ll all be alright. I just have to find my ways to the classes and everything will run smoothly from there."
    "Maybe the people here won’t be exactly what I was hoping for..."

So, while it won't be a horror game, it will have a bit of suspense. It will still be a family friendly game though!

What about the other characters? Here's Chandra, Nicole's roommate:


She is friendly, and she's one of the best cheerleader. Her goal is to dual major in education and athletics so she can become a cheer leading coach. But perhaps she's hiding something...

Lastly, there are 3 more male characters that you can meet and date. However for now I'll introduce only Ted:


He works in a convenience store near the campus. His father is a police officer, and wanted him to major in law, but he is also working to raise money for his studies. Later in the game, thanks to Chandra you'll discover some rumours about him and his father...

Being a mystery game, I cannot go too much in details, so will keep the characters introductions quite short, since there are many hidden secrets beyond the surface ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Inspiration is everywhere

Being indie is a creative job (obviously) assuming you're trying to make your own games and not cloning others :)

The last weeks finishing Loren Amazon Princess have been quite stressful, and it's fun because in theory there wasn't any deadline set in stone except for the one self-imposed by me - but I always do that :)

Anyway, it was stressing! So while I'm working on the expansion, I decided to take it easier and work only half day on that, and in the other half day do more creative tasks like writing the storyboard of the new scenes for the other games, or "monkey" tasks like creating the icons, banners, preparing the HTML pages of the future games.

This is something I always do, even if the game in question will be out maybe next year - in the moments where I am too tired to code or write I do such tasks that still needs to be done anyway, but require no brain work. So when the time comes, I have them done already.

Also, last week I went to IKEA shopping with my girlfriend and curiously, I got the inspiration for Bionic Heart 2 main menu image! I know, inspiration is really bizarre and comes when you less expect it.

You might wonder "what the frak" IKEA has to do with the sequel of my sci-fi horror/romance game Bionic Heart? Nothing, but there was an image that inspired me, the one in the SOLMYRA picture, which you can see below, and on the right the sketch made by the artist for the main menu image following my indications:


of course, the copyright of the left image belongs to IKEA and the artist who made that image, Deborah Azzopardi. On the right you see my vision - the beautiful and deadly Tanya who seems to say "silence", with her robotic finger covered in blood (once the image is finalized and colored, it will be more evident!).

Speaking of Bionic Heart 2, I'm getting the various characters remade with the new art style. I made an interesting comparison of the old vs new version of the same character, except for Luke since he never appeared on the first game:

I particularly like the new Helen and Tina, but to be honest I like all the new versions of the old characters :) Maybe the only one that looks worse, or at least different, is Tom. But he'll have a very different role in this sequel!

On the other games front, I made progresses on Queen Of Thieves, Heileen 3, Roommates and Nicole. For this last one I'm probably going to rework the plot adding more scenes and also more characters, since is a mystery otome game and I want to add more variety and red herrings to the story ;)

About RPGs, beside Loren's expansion, I'm getting lots of art done for Planet Stronghold 2 and starting to think how to implement the famous steampunk / horror rpg I've been talking about lately on Twitter...

Friday, June 1, 2012

BecauseWeMay has ended, some figures

Today the BecauseWeMay initiative has ended. I participated with Spirited Heart + GIrl's Love and the Android version. Overall I got a lot of traffic (over 8k uniques between 24th May - 1st June) and sold 116 copies of Spirited Heart and 127 of Girl's Love for desktop, while the Android sales have been 123.

Because of the low price of $0.99, Android sales total was about $110-120, while because of the "higher" price of $9.99, the desktop sales were a nice total of $1347. Not Earth-shattering numbers of course, but remember that those were direct sales only, not Steam or iOS! :)

Overall I'm very happy about the result and the initiative and hope that distributors/portals took notice, the few that still don't let developer choose their own prices. Luckily, there aren't many, mostly are the casual portals.

Loren Expansion update

I'm going to focus during this month on finishing Loren's expansion. I have already scripted a good amount of quests/battles, even if I still have to decide some part of the plot (alas a very important one, and I'm a bit stuck). I also have decided to add a pet, a nice hellhound called Trouble. You can see the inventory image below:


I decided to add it because I realized that the total amount of characters with the expansion was 13... and in the new level up screen, there was an empty space! As you can see below:

...that was unacceptable! So I've added this extra character/pet, which has some nice unique skills (already implemented and tested).

What you can expect in the expansion? Let's make a list:

  • 4 new recruitable characters: Sauzer, Trouble, Chambara and Mesphit
  • 2 new "bisex" romances: you can date with male/female playing character both Mesphit and Chambara
  • several new zones, including the Tomb Of Twilight, The Cyclops tribe, The catacombs and of course, The Castle Of N'Mar
  • new interesting NPCs that will offer multiple-solution quests, Fallout-style. You'll be able to do their quest, or change your mind and kill them! (they're evil, so no regrets!)
  • each character will have a specific quest with unique reward item: you'll discover more about the backgrounds of the base-game characters. Help Rei and retrieve his special Crossbow, help Draco and discover more about his past (and get a cool cloak) and so on.
  • new storyline about demons that will change the game ending and establish a new starting point for future possible games/sequels

So as you can see, there's lots of interesting stuff in the expansion. The current goal is trying to have a beta by the end of this month! Stay tuned for more updates, and if you haven't already, go check the original game!