Dev Blog #8

Coming to you live from that holiday we kept promising ourselves 😀

Well, to be honest, it has only been a holiday in some ways. We keep working hard as always. But we’ve made a lot of progress. James has reached 75,000 words for his Tirenia campaign setting, and is taking a break from that to make a Quick Start Guide in time for Armageddon Expo Auckland.

This week I got my Bitsy finished, as you can see in the last blog post. Then I spent three days working hard on new scenes for Prince of Cats. This is to address one piece of feedback I got on a Steam review, saying they wished there was more to the romance plots. So I’ve added more depth into each of the minor marriageable options.

Also happening this week with Prince of Cats… I’ve got voice actors recording away! Exciting times. Everyone who owns the game already can look forward to getting these new romance plots and voice acting in a free update. But there is still more to come… watch this space!

Today I’ll start rework on the code of the demo of Her Jentle Hi-ness. I’ve got more plots to add in, and more depth to add to the mechanics. Later tonight we’ll record our podcast episode. Since we’re on holiday we’re going to make it easy on ourselves and just talk about something we know already and don’t need to do too much research into, and that is the Ravenloft campaign setting: its history, its different domains, and then a deep dive into Curse of Strahd. See you there!

Dev blog #7

Tomorrow cannot come quickly enough…

Tomorrow James and I go on our working holiday. So we’re taking a week off our full time jobs, but we’re going to do a bunch of work on our projects (I dunno though… as parents of a one year old we also feel like we deserve an actual holiday too, at least for the first few days….)

James has reached 70,000 words! He’s also reached the point where he’s decided 100% that the name Dragon Princes is not going to fly. Why? Because ‘The Dragon Prince’, a cartoon, is getting an RPG release. It’s a little annoying, since he came up with Dragon Princes in 2014. But hey, Dragon and Prince are two super generic words, so no wonder they got copyrighted before we got in there. So watch this space, but it seems like the title might be Dragons of Tirenia or something?

So what am I (Claire) up to? Well, I still can’t get into too much detail until things are signed, but let’s just say… there is a lot of revisiting being paid to Prince of Cats right now. Like A LOT. Not just me coding. There are several people working on several things! Hopefully I will also get time to work on Her Jentle Hi-ness, as was the original plan. But Prince of Cats is actually super important right now.

Next time I write here, I’ll be on holiday!!! 😀

Dev blog #6

Hey team, so:

  • James hit 66,667 words the other day – 2/3rds of the way through his arbitrary 100,000 word goal for writing the Dragon Princes sourcebook. Will he have enough topics to cover to hit that goal? Probably! The dude knows a lot about history and roleplaying, so this is the perfect amalgamation of that.
  • Recording the next podcast episode tomorrow! You can probably expect it to be all edited and finished by Tuesday.
  • The next Bitsy jam starts tonight at 7pm, and the theme is frog. Will Ratto be spending the entire episode in frog form? I dunno, maybe 😀
  • Our first major episode finished on our roleplay server, and we’re slowing getting into the next one. If you roll up a character now, you can join us! Here: https://discord.gg/bWauN2t . Also, here is the log of the first adventure! (very unformatted sorry)
  • I can’t wait for our creativity holiday starting next Friday… in which I will hopefully finish Her Jentle Hi-ness code-wise, and then it will just be a matter of testing, refining and getting all the art from Sean.

See you… well, sooner than next week, I’ll be letting you know once Street Rat VII is done, and the next episode of the podcast, whichever comes first!

Dev blog #5

Not a lot of movement this week, but I promised a weekly update so here goes.

THE PODCAST: This week’s podcast came out on Tuesday and you can find it here for audio, or here on YouTube. Our main topic is how to create a great RPG character.

ROLEPLAY: We have been greatly enjoying our heist plotline on the Discord this week. Come join us for the next plotline!

OTHER: James is still working away on his manuscript for the Dragon Princes/Tirenia sourcebook. Test art is coming through at a steady pace. I’m taking a break from Android dev as another opportunity may have come up. Can’t talk about this chicken before it hatches though! Cross fingers for me!

Dev blog #4: Taking it slow

Hi team, back at you with another weekly update.

DRAGON PRINCES

James has hit 60,000 words! He’s at about 75 out of 131 topics covered, and that’s a growing list as he thinks of more and more things that ought to go in the book.

The RP over on the Discord is going strong! A second scenario is about to start up, so hop over there and join us: https://discord.gg/bWauN2t

ANDROIDIFYING THE BACK CATALOGUE

I’m working on it! The struggle is real though, this is a completely new area for me, so I have no ETA for you.

THE PODCAST

So tomorrow night we record, and our episode should come out Tuesday-ish. We turned segments of the show into youtube clips, which you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv-uX03VmexIo-0_nvAl62cstdRDGWXfw

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about creating good RP characters, doing some reviews, and a follow-up on our topics of racism in respect to D&D. Our first episode started some interesting conversations on our Discord, and we wanted to cover some new information that was brought to our attention thanks to a patron of ours.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NEXT PC GAME?

I know I have been a little quiet on this one. Don’t worry, it’s coming! I’ve planned to do a major dev and testing push from the 1st to the 8th of August, even taking all that time off work to do so. Sean has injured himself too, so he’s just taking some time to recover before coming back to it.

That’s enough for now. Keep gaming!

Dev blog #3: Lots of new stuff!

We have been getting very busy indeed this week! Hmm… what shall I start with?

JOIN US ON OUR DISCORD

We’ve started a Discord with text roleplaying. Now that can mean a lot of things, so let me be precise: it is D&D based, set in the Dragon Princes Tirenia world, with play-by-post for major plotlines, and open free-for-all roleplaying in the taverna at any time. You can earn experience points as in a typical D&D session for taking part in the major plotlines, and for all roleplay you can earn RP Points which get you unique rewards such as bonus points in your stats, special items, whatever you can imagine! If that sort of roleplay appeals to you, come and join us! https://discord.gg/bWauN2t

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST

That’s right, James and I have managed to make our first episode of the podcast. I’m actually super proud of it, I think it sounds pretty good and I’m really happy how it turned out. This time we talked about ourselves, about the gameosphere’s response to Black Lives Matter and police violence, and did some quick reviews of things we’ve been playing lately. In the future you can expect more news and opinion about gaming, philosophical explorations of gaming, and discussions about various gaming mechanics and best practices. You can check it out here: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-sky-bear-games-podcast

BACK US ON PATREON

We have finally launched a patreon after many years of thinking about it. But now that we are putting out so much free content, we feel like it is time. We have only the one tier, as at the moment we’re not putting any of our usually free content behind a paywall. You can visit us here: https://www.patreon.com/skybeargames

AS FOR THE REST…

Besides all that, we continue as usual. James is working very hard at Dragon Princes. I completed the latest bitsy jam with another episode of Street Rat, and you can find that to play here: https://skybeargames.itch.io/street-rat-vi

Right, back to the grindstone!

Dev Blog #2

Hope the new week has been good to you in these crazy times!

What have we been up to this week? Slowly making our way forward:

  • Art continues to come in for the next PC game release, Her Jentle Hi-ness. See below!
  • James continues blogging at http://tirenia.blogspot.com/. He passed 50,000 words this week in the gathered document which will eventually become his D&D setting book!
  • We’re developing our podcast, hopefully to come out next week
  • We’re also developing our Discord channel, which will feature several Dragon Princes roleplay channels alongside general gaming discussions
  • I’m working on my next Bitsy jam episode of Dragon Princes: Street Rat https://skybeargames.itch.io/

Dev Blog #1: State of the SBG

So here’s the thing. I am so crap at self-promotion. Seeing the abysmal sales of White Rabbit, a project I poured so many hours of heart and soul into, I’ve spent the last few days scrambling around trying to get some traction somewhere, anywhere! Someone on one marketing website was like, you’ve got to have a dev blog and always be writing about what you’re doing next. That cuts so against the grain for me. I prefer to only talk about projects that are 90+% done, so I don’t look like I’m tooting my own horn and then not delivering. I see so many people talk big and then… nothing. I don’t want to be that person.

But ok, fine. Dev blogs work? They build up hype? Ok fine, let’s see then. I’ll do a dev blog every Thursday and we’ll see how it goes.

This is probably an appropriate time to start this right now, because we’ve reached the natural finishing point of some things, and other things are about to jump off. Let’s talk about them, project by project.

Released projects: White Rabbit and Prince of Cats

So I’ve built a small following through successful Kickstarter campaigns and two good quality major releases. I also have been taking part in game jams on itch.io, specifically the Bitsy monthlies and Nanoreno. I’m not sure where to take it next, except for mobile. Yep, White Rabbit and Prince of Cats are going to come out on Android at the very least, and iOS if I can borrow some equipment to do that too. My goal for this is asap, but particularly before the end of October. Why? I’ll explain soon. (And I think if I do that, I really need to probably pay someone to give me a slick advert to promote those releases!)

Also, I would like to add more art and possibly a few other features to White Rabbit. I’d love to put voice acting in both White Rabbit and Prince of Cats. But we’ll see on that. It may be a while. That’s going to require significant financial outlay.

Some positive news on Prince of Cats. Even though I’ve made no money off it, the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality on itch.io sold brilliantly, and 1000+ people have downloaded Prince of Cats from it. It was nice to be a part of that. I love the itch.io community.

Future projects (Claire)

My immediate current project is my deluxe remake of my Nanoreno project from earlier this year, Her Jentle Hi-ness. It’s going to have full colour art by local artist Sean Miller. It’s going to have a soundtrack by me and my brother. It is going to have more plotlines and better mechanics than the demo version (here). It is NOT going to have a Kickstarter, because it is a much smaller project which is basically done, and the art budget is manageable without funding this time. And it is going to be out on Steam and hopefully mobile too before the end of October. Why? Read on…

My mid-term goal is my next project, working title Super High. I’ll be working with my high school best friend (appropriately) Law Baker for the art. It will likely be my first non-Renpy based major release! I’m still deciding for sure on the engine. I am very slowly working on this, writing the script a bit at a time every day. I’ll pepper more details in future posts, but this time I will say my major influences for this one are Persona (game series), Twin Peaks (TV series), and The Luminaries (book/TV series). How on earth do those all fit together? You’ll have to wait and see.

What’s James up to?

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but James has a major project going on too. You can find his main Dragon Princes blog here: http://tirenia.blogspot.com/ . He is going to turn all of this into a D&D setting and Kickstart it at… you guessed it… the end of October. Why?! I’ll tell you soon!

To get to this point, and drum up more publicity, he’s going to start posting regular D&D vlogs to our dried-up husk of a Youtube channel. Look out for that in the next couple of weeks!

What, pray tell, is at the end of October?!

I’m so glad you asked. Sky Bear Games is going to have a stall at the Auckland Armageddon Expo. James will be demoing scenarios and mechanics from Tirenia, I’ll be selling my two/hopefully three games at special expo prices along with merch, and Julia from Cheeky Parrot Games will be with us selling Cat Capers and other titles from her collection. Hopefully an artist or two from my games will come along and sign prints. We’ll see.

We’ve set ourselves this challenging deadline to, well, challenge us! I love love to be able to do this full time one day, and you know what? Not to toot my own horn too much, but I think I am worth it! I think my games are pretty fun and unique, and I think there is a bigger audience out there I just haven’t reached yet. All I need is a leg up from someone big, just a day on someone’s front page or something, for people to hear about Sky Bear Games! It is hard to get noticed these days. But delusional or not, I am going to try, and I want to do it honestly, ethically, and for the sake of art and entertainment. For the love of gaming itself.

Geez, sincerity sure whiffs, huh? 😀