Dev blog #19 – White Rabbit’s Diary Released!

Hi all. What a week! Let’s start with an announcement…

Wonderland Nights is now re-released with full voice acting, new art, and quality updates. Check out our instagram and facebook as we profile each of the actors in the game.

WHAT ELSE…

New podcast episode out – just a short one, about our favourite games, here: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/41519578 . This weekend at Armageddon we’ll see what the sound quality is like in the hall, but we’re thinking of recording some content there. It also depends on how busy we are and if we run into any interesting people there (certainly, we’ll be sitting with one, our board game publisher Julia from Cheeky Parrot Games! We’ll see if she wants to talk 🙂 )

Our third episode of Apprentices of Tirenia went well, you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv-uX03VmexJxjHebLgo-tCNDKtGX3vuQ

How is the Armageddon prep going? Well… it’s actually almost done! After freaking out at how large the list still was one week ago, it turns out there were a lot of little tasks, and doing them was faster than I thought! James is still perfecting his characters and adventures that he’s running on the four days, but he said to me this morning he could run it now if he had to. So there we go. Besides a bit of shopping and picking stuff up tomorrow… we’re actually ready!

I also really only just remembered in the last 48 hours that we’re selling stuff tomorrow. Like, I’ve been so head down in the work that I forgot about how we might be making back some of the literally hundreds of dollars we spent on this. Cross fingers… to be honest I don’t expect to make a profit, but breaking even or near about would be awesome. We’ve got my two PC games for sale together at $15, the Dragons of Tirenia Introductory Guide at $10 physical or $5 digital copy, and our board game Cat Capers at $25. All of this is cheaper than you’ll find anywhere else. Hopefully the pledge and get a sticker campaign is going to get a bit of buzz going around our stall.

Oh and by the way, you can check out our new website at www.skybeargames.com , designed by our niece Lauren, and also www.dragonsoftirenia.com which I just finished up today.

Finally, I expect to be wrapping up The Nine Lives of Nim by 12th November. Fingers crossed for me! I’m pretty sure I’ll get it done, after seeing how Wonderland Nights went.

All right… tomorrow, into the breach! Wish us luck! Next time I write you, it will all be in the past!!

Dev Blog #18 – Super busy!!!

Tomorrow it’s a week until Armageddon Expo. AHHHHHHHH! How much of the last week can I remember to write this blog entry…

Tonight is our third episode of our Apprentices of Tirenia livestream. It’s going really well. Last week was great. I ended up dropping way more of the metaplot than I thought I would. But that’s ok! I have plenty more of the metaplot to go. This campaign might last maybe 6 sessions in total. We’ll see. Join us over on www.twitch.tv/skybeargames at 7.30pm NZ time tonight!

We’ll record our podcast tonight too, and because we’re so busy it’s just going to be a short and easy topic this time. Hardly any research needed, because it is our personal all time greats!

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA – My work is mostly done on this for now, except for daily advertising on Instagram and preparing everything we physically need at our stall. Meanwhile, James is slaving away on the expo campaign and the pre-gen characters for it.

THE NINE LIVES OF NIM – So I am dropping a mini-update THIS WEEKEND. Why? I’m running out of time to implement the voice acting for this before the expo, so I am testing the art changes, additional content and the quality upgrades, and then releasing this update, with the promise that the voice acting update is coming in November.

WONDERLAND NIGHTS – I am halfway through importing the voice acting for this, and then I have to test it, but this is going to be fully updated in time for the expo. Yippee!!

What’s next? What’s the big thing I am not talking about? Well, there is something else HUGE in our gaming world right now that I don’t want to talk about in case it comes to nothing. Unless you are a Patron! In which case I will dish over on the Patreon page later today. So come on over if you want some secret gossip.

Next week will be go time… if there ever was any other kind of time!!

Dev blog #17 – New Bitsy, Livestream tonight!

Hi all!

Just a quick update between uploading the latest Bitsy episode (found here: https://skybeargames.itch.io/street-rat-ix ) and getting on camera for our livestream of Dragons of Tirenia ( https://www.twitch.tv/skybeargames/ , we start at 7.30pm NZ time tonight.)

It has been a busy busy week! So when I wrote to you last, I didn’t even know I would be doing our first Tirenia livestream that very night. But my Mum decided to babysit Arthur for us on a whim, so we took advantage of the opportunity and started our game. We had a lot of fun, and I hope you’ll find the time to check it out if you like D&D live plays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uVMqMA548&t=9117s

In more exciting news, the booklets and posters have arrived, and they have printed perfectly. Cannot wait to start selling these beautiful booklets in just over two weeks!

James has started putting his ideas (that he’s had for months now) on paper for the weekend campaign, and drawing up the character sheets people can choose from at the expo.

We had a lovely time podcasting with our friend Ben last Friday! Check out the episode here https://www.spreaker.com/episode/41297436 , where we talk about Asian representation in gaming, and all about his podcast Dumplings and Dragons https://dumplingsndragons.podbean.com/

Meanwhile I have continued improving the PC games, and both Jade and Rose have finished all the art for the games! So it’s just voice acting to go, and that’s all coming along quick smart. There’s going to need to be a big testing effort in the next couple of weekends. Hoo boy! At least I still have my test plans from last time. Wow… I’m regression testing my own product, I never thought I’d be doing that!

Like I said, it’s been such a busy week, I’m trying to think what else there is to say. Well, I shouldn’t muck around, so I’ll just drop one more reveal. We’re going to announce on the stream tonight that we’re doing the Gaming for Charity event in November. Very excited to play some video games for once! https://gamingforcharity.nz/

Dev blog #16 – Refactor Yesterday

A lot has happened this week!

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA

Gosh, where do I start? I’ve been shilling on instagram like mad every day to promote our stand at Armageddon. I was proofreading and editing the introductory guide at least twice a day every day last week, until finally, yesterday, I sent off the booklet for printing, along with the posters for the stand. And the stickers! Those were the subject of a instagram campaign, as seen below. You’ll get to know the outcome all in good time 🙂

So what’s next? Well, there are lots of little things that we need to do over the next three weeks. Get more materials for the stand (e.g. dice, pens), sort out the weekend campaign, pre-generated characters etc…. but it’s not nearly as stressful as the printing prep. So I am switching focus to our next promotional venture: a livestreamed actual play. James is going to be the player, and I am going to GM for him, in Apprentices of Tirenia! I’ll post a link up when that’s a thing.

PC GAMES

Lots of work here too. Translators are working hard on the games, and I had to struggle with some unexpected problems:

  1. The built-in dialogue extractor missed a bunch of special custom screens I wrote
  2. Because it sorted alphabetically by file, the dialogue was sorted in a non-narrative way, which is not great when you’re translating, and context is a big piece of the puzzle!
  3. Because I was a noob, there was one major code file which was basically backwards. I need to refactor… like yesterday! Thankfully that one was in Prince of Cats (or should I say The Nine Lives of Nim, as I announced the renaming recently on Steam and Itch) and the code hasn’t been sent yet, so I have time to tidy it up before any other devs have to see it. Thank goodness. Like the meme I posted a while ago… don’t even look at my garbage!!!

PODCAST

All things going well, we’ll have an interesting interview tomorrow! I look forward to it!

I’m beginning to feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel now that the printing prep is over. Here’s hoping I am right!

Dev blog #15 – Busy busy!

Hi team!

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA

We’ve been spending every spare moment of our days on this, between work and baby, so we were thinking about going out to a restaurant tonight to finally have some time to relax and be together 😀

But it is going well. The Introductory Guide is nearly complete, but for a few extra details we want to add and the formatting at the art. I believe by the time I write to you next week, it will be with the printers!

Last week’s playtest went really well. It proved again that our notes for the adventure are really robust, and we’re happy to charge money for it now. (Though like, in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to, but hey, capitalism!)

And we’re not going to spoil the art. Well, unless you want to go over to our Patreon, then we’ll spoil the art for you 😉

PC GAMES

These are continuing as usual. The art is coming along for both games, and the voice acting gets closer and closer to being done. Last weekend I finished all the planned code changes to Prince of Cast, AND I came up with something pretty cool and new. Way back in the day, Jade and I talked about a graphical representation of the humours, but we ran out of time and I ran out of effort to implement it. But now we’ve done it! And in reality it didn’t take very long at all. But obviously I have grown as a programmer since then, so what seemed hard back then is now totally easy.

What’s that star up in the left? 🙂

PODCAST

Our episode this week was supposed to be a shortie but it ran a bit long. We touch on some controversial news items in the gameosphere, and then talk about some failures we have learned from in our tabletop games. Good times! Next week we’ll hopefully be recording with a friend on another controversial topic XD

IT IS NOW… less than one month until Armageddon Expo! It’s a bit daunting but also I am so excited to see all the things we are prepping out there with the eager public. At the same time, I am looking forward to just relaxing the week after Armageddon -_-

See you next week!

Dev blog #14 – Playtests and updates and voiceovers, oh my!

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA

So the playtest! The playtest, that is, for the adventure that we are going to be selling in our Quick Start Guide at Armageddon (and online as a PDF thereafter, watch this space). Well, one half of it happened last week. The second half is tonight. We had LOTS of fun. I was the dungeon master, to give James a break for once. It has been a long time since I’ve GMed anything (except online text-based) and I realised pretty quickly that I had forgotten how much fun I have when I do it! So that was a happy revelation. The first session revealed to us a lot of minor bits of detail that might need to go in, but for the most part the structure and characters we have are very supportive to a GM, and allowed me plenty of freedom to go with the players, while at the same time always knowing the motivations of the NPCs and what would happen next logically with them.

I’m feeling very proud of this adventure James has written, and am really excited to be selling it in a month’s time. Also, we hashed out a system to run a chase scene in the climax the other night, after realising that D&D can’t really sustain a cinematic vehicular chase scene rules as written. So that part is getting tested out more fully tonight, we’ll see how it goes!

Art for the book and posters on the expo stand is all coming along nicely. Can’t wait to be able to share some of this stuff online closer to the time. There’s going to be a big print order going in next week for all the books and posters… it’s pretty daunting but still very exciting. Part of me just wants time to hurry up so I can see what our experience of the expo will be like. I hope we are popular. Not going to lie, I will be slightly devastated if we don’t find our audience there. We have contingency plans for if we fail there though, so at least there is that. It won’t end up being a big waste of money (I hope…)

PC GAMES

So voice acting carries on for Prince of Cats and White Rabbit. It’s a long process but we are getting there.

I did a lot of work on the code of Prince of Cats in the weekend. Mostly minor fixes, adjusting the positions of things to fit 16:9 ratio better, etc. But it just occurred to me this morning, there is a major feature I wanted once upon a time that I completely forgot about… and I think I know just how I can do it! I’m going to try and put in a visual depiction of the humours changing. Like a little gauge, with the humours’ colours and stuff. I think it’ll going to be easier than I think! But I reckon at the end of this weekend, I will have finally finished all the code updates to Prince of Cats, and I’ll just be waiting on the final pieces of reworked art and all the voice work to come in.

Speaking of art, Sean has actually finished all of Her Jentle Hiness, and caught me on the back foot! I am regretting not having the code for the game ready by now, otherwise who knows, I could have potentially released this year! Oh well… realistically, I don’t see how I could have fit it in with everything else. And I still have to get the music, voice acting, proofreading, and also I’m going to trial a testing firm for the first time (but Claire, you’re a tester, I hear you cry. Well, it’s always a good idea to get someone else to test, second set of eyes and all that). So I’m thinking vaguely in a February direction for the release of HJH. This will also be the first one I’m doing without a Kickstarter! I’m happy that means less admin for me, but I will miss the sense of community that it brings with it. Perhaps I can create that in some other way.

PODCAST

We’re recording this tomorrow, just a small interlude episode after our big political one last week… but also because the one after will likely be big and political again hahaha…

Well, here I was thinking this would be a small update. Oh well. Busy busy busy. Better get back to it!

Dev blog #13 – Another week goes by

Feeling optimistic!

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA

Things are coming together nicely for the Armageddon Expo. As I busy myself with preparing for the physical stall itself, sourcing power, posters, and ETFPOS amongst other things, James is constantly chipping away at the Quick Start Guide which will be available to purchase for $10 at our stall. Tonight I will be GMing a playtest of the adventure which will be in the guidebook! I’m pretty confident in James’s writing, and I reckon things will go fairly smoothly even once we meet the players.

PC GAMES

Everything going well here. The two companies I am working with for porting and translation seem happy, or at least no complaints so far! Lauren and I are working hard on the voice acting files (her harder than me, I’ve had to take a break from computer work because of a crick in my neck). I’ve had three actors around to my house for recording, and that was a lot of fun. Some of these people I had in mind for the voices when I wrote the characters. But not all – and those were pleasant surprises, to see what the actors came up with!

Really looking forward to focusing on Her Jentle Hi-ness again after Armageddon is over! And possibly going back to the theoretical Android releases.

WHAT ELSE…

The most recent podcast episode has been getting some good feedback from people who were touched by the subject matter. Hopefully in the future we can bring some more interesting topics like this out, with interviews!

Meanwhile on the Discord, we’re at the very start of an exciting heist event! Let’s see what happens over at https://discord.gg/rQbSkMZ

Dev blog #12 – A pile-on

Feeling a little overwhelmed this week, but we’re doing ok.

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA

James is back at work now with lockdown over, so less time to work on the material for Armageddon, but he’s still cracking along. Everything looks to be on schedule!

PC GAMES

I have another company interested in translating and distributing my two games to a further market not covered by the first company. So having confirmed there is no conflict between them, now I have two companies working on my games! Exciting times, but there is a lot of paperwork involved…

The previously released games are coming along nicely in terms of extra art and voice acting. Not worried about meeting the deadlines there. It is A LOT of work though. I’ll have to focus on the code fixes this weekend when I have some time to myself. I am so grateful to my two lovely artists, my voice actors, and my sound engineer. I really couldn’t be doing this alone.

Meanwhile, Sean is cracking along with the art for Her Jentle Hi-ness! I’ll include some below. I’ll have to get back to the code of that one once Armageddon is over!

PODCAST

We’ve got an exciting interview on the next episode, coming out next Monday. I won’t say too much about it yet, I’ll let the interview speak for itself!