Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 the year of challenges

Happy New 2013 to everyone!

Before making this post I've read what I wrote last year, calling 2012 the "year of relax":

Well, definitely it wasn't a relaxing year, even if I released only 3 games (I consider The Castle Of N'Mar, Loren's expansion, as a separate game because of its size!).

It wasn't a relaxing year because was worried that with Loren I tried to bite off more than I can chew, and I also had to make a real marathon to finish Heileen 3 in time for Christmas.

Looking back to that post, it's a bit funny to observe how many titles that were already in progress at those times, from Planet Stronghold 2, to Nicole, to Roommates, are still in progress right now! But well, making games takes time! And in particular if there are problems. And as you can imagine, there are ALWAYS going to be problems! ;)

Good news

Anyway, I have some early good news for this year: Heileen 3 yuri version is at very good point, and I might start the beta testing even next week, since I'm aiming to release it around the mid-January.

More good news are that even Bionic Heart 2 is at good point, I'm only waiting for the proofreader to finish checking the script, and I have 90% of the art & music finished already.

The RPG challenge

As for the future games later this year, I'm really eager to start working on Planet Stronghold 2 even if will be a real challenge, because has much more features compared to the first title, and also compared to Loren. Some features include:

  • a small but detailed colony building simulation (think of it like a sort of Sim City on a very small scale) that will impact the gameplay (but I am thinking to make it optional so that you can skip it if you want)
  • lots of weapons that can be used with dual wield (like two pistols)
  • weapons with different ammo types (in the first game the ammo was unlimited). So the combo of possible weapons and ammo is very big!
  • more use of the non-combat skills in the various missions of the game
  • lots of more art, including some extra "talk poses"
  • full soundtrack of 10 songs

and so on, so as you can see is a very big project.

Being able to work on the RPG and at same time still follow the other projects will be a challenge as well, since differently from what happened with Loren, I don't want to "abandon" completely all the other games while working on the RPG. It won't be easy at all, but I will try!

The appstore challenge

The biggest challenge though will be to see what happens with the Windows/MacOS situation. It's fun how some fellow indie devs who before ignored completely the question, are now starting to panic because they get emails from customers saying "the game doesn't run on Mountain Lion, says the download is corrupted!" or they get big warning screens from Windows 8 when trying to open/install a game.

What's going on? Well in practice, unless you were a bit prevident like me and codesigned all your game apps/installers, the end users are going to see scary messages from their favorite OSes (except Linux of course!) telling them that they're trying to install the worst evil on Earth: an independently produced game!!! :O

And that's not a good thing because this way small indies like me can continue to survive and rescue stray cats and dogs! Fools, you should help the already rich corporations to become even richer! They're going to spend the money in a much better way, like buying a new Ferrari ;)

Ok, jokes apart (I was joking in case it wasn't clear!!) the situation is definitely NOT good for indies like me who can't get on Steam. The long term alternatives to retain our freedom exist, like using HTML5 engines, but that means that instead of seeing 3-4 games a year from me, you'd see 1 a year at most (they take much longer to make). I really hope the new appstores won't become the only way to distribute apps on Windows/Mac computers, since that would mean no freedom to choose which language to use (python), which content to put in my games (no sexy stuff is allowed on appstores), and maybe have them rejected lots of times for silly reasons like happened to A LOT of friends on the various iOS/Win8 appstores.

Anyway, at least for now codesigning the executables will let you play all my games even on the new versions of the OSes. But I'm pretty sure that a big challenge for us indies lies ahead...! Better be ready for it :)

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