Friday, January 25, 2013

Heileen 3 postmortem


With the official release of Heileen 3: Sea Maidens, the development of Heileen 3 ends. As always, both the otome (GxB) and the yuri (GxG) versions are merged in one single download and then you can choose what version to buy and play (or both!).

More info on the official page:

I just did an update this morning to address a problem playing in Hard mode (getting a profession ending was really too difficult) but the rest of the game was unchanged and has been in testing since over two weeks, so decided to release it officially.

Heileen postmortem

The Heileen series ends with this third chapter, and I'm overall satisfied by it. Without doubts it's the best game of the series under several aspects: the longest, the most funny, the one with more variety of romances, the one with more artwork, the first one with a custom soundtrack and theme song, and the list goes on.

Of course, it's still not comparable with my bigger budget RPG games in terms of gameplay, complexity or mechanics. I did it mostly because I wanted to make it - I knew already beforehand that probably it wouldn't have been a big success, but even as indie sometimes you make games only because you want to do them for yourself :)

Ideally, the games you enjoy making for yourself are also a commercial success, but very often that's not the case...

Anyway I don't regret making it, but for sure I have no plans to make any more games in Heileen world, also because I feel I wouldn't have anything else to add, and I don't want to drag it too long, like happens in some TV series, where you think "why they didn't end the story in this season? Making another one makes no sense.". That's what I think about Heileen 3 too.

The development

The game development started in Summer 2011, I wrote the full storyboard of it between July and September of that year. Then I started commissioning the new artwork, and the original writer started with the story. In the course of 2012, several things happened:

  • the original idea was to have four male romance options, and two females. But talking with people in forums I agreed that didn't make much sense, so I decided to divide the game in a otome and a yuri version, adding two extra female romances (Ebele and by popular demand, Juliet)
  • writer had to quit about mid-way, so I found another one, Sarah, to replace her and finish the game, in particular the new yuri romances and several extra scenes. I was really lucky to find her, since she worked hard and without her help I wouldn't have met the deadline for sure!
  • the last months of development were really frantic, with some extra art needed, background artists that quit, and the usual mess associated with developing a game when you have a deadline: finish the otome version before Christmas :)

In the end I didn't had to make many compromises, maybe I would have added more sprite poses if had more time, but in the end as I said I'm happy enough of the final result, considering the kind of game (light comedy) and the primary target market (teens/young adult).

Now, the next challege is to finish Bionic Heart 2 before March... :)

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