Friday, September 28, 2012

Loren Amazon Princess expansion is out and postmortem

First of all, I want to announce officially that Castle Of N'Mar, Loren's expansion, is finally out after a long testing stage. It features three new characters, four new romance combos, new zones to explore, non-linear quests, different endings and much more.

You can get more info at the official page:

If you preordered the game, to register it just redownload the game demo from the website to get the latest version which now includes the base game+expansion.

Making of and postmortem

I had the idea of making an expansion to the main game since beginning of the year. Including all the content in the base game wouldn't have been viable for me - since the game+expansion is now 230k words and has really a LOT of content, almost 3 times the length of Planet Stronghold!

So for obvious financial reasons I couldn't include everything in the base game, but I decided to split it in the base + expansion.

The expansion was well received and sold well. However, I made a big mistake when I planned it: making an expansion that adds new content to the existing storyline is... A TOTAL PAIN!! :D

Why? For several reasons, in no particular order:

  • Because you had to check every possible change that could happen in the main story, based on the new content you added
  • Because the new content was visible only before a specific point of the story, causing some confusion on players
  • Because it would also change the final endings! So, sometimes you had to play it to the end to find out any plot holes
  • Because not happy about the difficulty, I even decided to add non-linear quests which added extra problems!

So as you can see it wasn't definitely a smooth release. Consider also that this summer when we worked on it was insanely hot, and... yeah, it was really hard to finish it, but finally is out and I'm quite happy about the result :)

But if I had to do it again, for sure the story would take place after the base game, continuing the plot, rather than adding extra content in the middle of it. A mistake to not repeat again.

Also, while some people liked the non-linear quests, I am not sure they're really worth the extra efforts. I think players would prefer a longer game anyway, rather than having non-linear quests.

The manga bundle

As you know, in the past weeks I also ran a promotion called "Manga Bundle". It ended with 1374 bundles sold and while I don't know the final gross revenues yet, but even if it doesn't seem as good as the other bundles, I don't mind too much since I did it mainly for the charity aspect and to let more people know about my games.

It didn't do so well also probably because it wasn't a very good moment to do it. Too many good, top AAA games coming out (Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, XCOM, etc) and also several bundles including the big Humble Bundle launched about at the same time. I think things might have gone differently under different circumstances.

Also to be fair, the games I offered were the oldest ones and plain visual novels. When Spirited Heart was unlocked 2 days ago, the bundles sold had a big spike - obviously, that game for $1 was a great deal. I have the feeling that perhaps in a different moment and with different games, it might have done much better.

So will I do more bundles in future? I don't know yet, but for sure not soon :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Behind the scenes

There's lots of stuff going on right now behind the scenes at Winter Wolves HQ! ;)

Unfortunately most of it regards games that will be released the next year, so I cannot really post much info about it. I have already posted enough sneak peeks for the upcoming games, that if I post more would be almost spoilers.

So we're in that planning stage in which writers write new awesome stories, artists draw great new images and I go mad doing game design, a bit of coding, marketing and trying to organize everything so that *something* gets released relatively soon... :D

Heileen 3 delayed

Speaking of "coming soon", I can officially say that Heileen 3 won't be out in October as I hoped :(

The fact that I had yet another artist who should have done the missing backgrounds disappear doesn't matter that much, because I am used to see that happening. So I should have planned more in advance. Well, beside that, there are 60 scenes to code only for the "otome version" (adding the images, variables for gameplay, etc) and I have yet to start coding the simulation part, so simply it's not possible to finish the game in 1 month only.

Right now, IF I find a faster/more reliable background artist I can hope to release the game by Christmas. I think I already found someone but... you never know.

Manga Bundle extended by one week and Spirited Heart included

The Manga Bundle I'm doing was extended by one week, and if the total number of bundles sold reaches 1,000, everyone (even those who paid $1) will get Spirited Heart! I don't think you'll see that game on sale for such a low price for... years (if ever at all). So, spread the word if you can even if you already have the game ;)

Remember that is only the base game, so it doesn't include the Girl's Love expansion (including also that would have been too much).

Future RPGs

About the RPGs, we're still in planning stages for Planet Stronghold 2, while Loren's sequel art is being made. As I said several times in my forums though, I don't plan to release more than 1 RPG each year since they're quite complex to make and time consuming. But rest assured that you'll see more RPGs from me in future.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bundles, expansions and new faces

The Manga Bundle

First of all, I'm doing a Manga Bundle which includes many of my games at a very minimum price (pay extra to get more/newer games) made in collaboration with Groupees.

You can find more info here:

It started yesterday and will last for one week.

The Castle Of N'Mar

Second, the Loren expansion is officially released:

I still didn't do any press release because I want to have a small promo video ready before I do it, but you can already buy it since is out of the beta testing stage. Just remember that to play the extra content, is preferred if you load an old savegame in chapter 2, or start a new game. If you resume an old game from chapter3, you won't see the extra content.

New Faces

I'm working on several project now that Loren's expansion is finished. The biggest one is Planet Stronghold 2, but I'm also actively working on Heileen 3. For Heileen 3, I'm waiting for new backgrounds, and this will surely delay the game release. I hoped that would be ready by October but for several reasons (Loren that absorbed me completely first, and then two months of african heat that made me KO) I didn't plan it carefully as I should have.

But is still going to be the next game I release!

Above you can see some images from the scenes I've already finished coding.

More new faces will come to Planet Stronghold sequel as well. We've decided to add a few more secondary characters to the story, and also to let the player continue any previous romance, so it means that Rumi & Michelle will be romanceable in the sequel as well.

We're also thinking to add a simple but interesting colony-building sim to Planet Stronghold sequel, a sort of metagame which will influence the main roleplay part. I think should be quite interesting to play and offer more variety of situations. Those who don't like those simulations don't worry, playing at easy level will be a piece of cake ;)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Loren Amazon Princess expansion beta ending soon!

In case you missed it, during the past weeks the beta expansion for Loren Amazon Princess was released and available to play as pre-order.

Of course I want to thank all the people who played it and found many bugs, but I think we're almost at the end of the testing. My idea was to release the expanion officially this weekend and start promoting it next week. We reached version 1.1q so for sure it has been tested well! :)

Please remember that to play the game with expansion you need to visit my forums and download the .zip file containing the beta version. More info on my forums:

Once the game is officially out of course the game will come as 3 separate downloads for each platform, with a full .exe installer for Windows as usual (I noticed many people were confused as how to use the .zip). Also don't forget that the price will go up to $9.99 from $7.99 so the special offer will end very soon, very likely this Sunday.

Loren sequel is now official

I realized that I never announced it officially except in my forums, so here it goes: we're working on Loren's sequel which won't be out before next summer (maybe later...). This is official, unless something really bad happens to me, my writer or my artists. I hope nothing happens! :D

I said I wouldn't post any preview because is too early, but one thing I want to post: a sneak peek of the new Saren / Elenor armors.

Now they look like real warriors, right? One of the major complaints I got for the first game was how unrealistic the armor looked, and even if I clearly did it to add some sexyness to the game I agreed it was too much. The armors above are actually the sexy versions of them, so there are even more strong/covering armors!

I won't say much about the plot, except that will be more original and less clichè than the first game, and that the main theme will be if the Demons can cohexist peacefully with the other races. Jul will be a playable character alongside with many new cool ones. All the first game character will be present too, though some won't be playable.

But I've already said enough, there will be time to talk about it!

Heileen 3

The work on Heileen 3 continues, even if needed to find another background artist to finish some missing backgrounds. Meanwhile, Loren's interface artist will work on the game GUI too. Here's a nice work in progress of the sin/virtues and skills system:

I know, it seems almost a RPG! ;) but don't worry, it won't be so complex, it will only be a dating sim with some statistics and jobs, a bit like Spirited Heart.

Finally I have a surprise coming next week. I can't say much about it yet, but I think many people will be pleased to see it. Follow me on Twitter / Facebook to know when it will go live!