Dev blog #23 – Quiet before the storm

Hi all,

Taking it easy because James and I are sick. Don’t worry, tests came back and it’s not covid. Hopefully we are well enough to do our board games event on Sunday. We’re definitely not well enough to do our livestream tonight. I need to keep this short so my headache doesn’t get worse looking at a screen for too long.

Whether we are there or not, Julia from Cheeky Parrot Games and the team from Retrospace will be at the board game day on Sunday, so if you’re in Auckland please come and enjoy some chill board games in sunny Takapuna.

James will hopefully resume Dragons of Tirenia next week. Meanwhile, I am lying in wait to pounce next week, when the Chinese translations for Wonderland Nights arrive and then I have to implement them all. I have set up the framework for toggling between Chinese and English, and now I am just waiting for the finalised translations before I continue. Exciting times!

I hear word that the Nine Lives voices are getting closer to completion. I expect to have that out by the end of the year. And then I guess I am getting back to Jentle Hi-ness, finally! My brother even hinted he might have time to work on the music with me. That really fills me with joy. I love his music. I was listening to the music he wrote for my play Dracula yesterday and I just sat there and smiled to hear it all again.

I hope I recover quickly so I am ready to leap into action once those translations are here!

Podcast Episode 11: Spotlight on the Forgotten Realms

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/41997510

Today we cover the ubiquitous Forgotten Realms. Often considered the generic kitchen sink of settings, we go into why it isn’t just that, covering its history, recommending some books and games to get into, and doing a retrospective of our most Forgotten Realms campaign experience, Storm King’s Thunder.

Dev Blog #22 – Join us in a good cause!

Before I get started on how our week has been, let me first point out that tonight, for 24 hours straight, James and I will be livestreaming kid-friendly games as a part of Gaming for Charity. If you donate at www.gamingforcharity.nz/skybeargames , that donation will go to Heart Kids NZ, supporting Kiwi kids with heart conditions and their families in their time of need. You can also suggest a game for us to play, and if you take part yourself, we will donate to your cause too!

So, what has been up all week?

Well, James is feeling like he’ll get back to work on the Kickstarter drafts not this week coming, but the next, because he feels like he needs more of a break (I agree). As for me, I am actually on a little bit of a break too, and that’s only because I am waiting for the last few things I need to finish implementing and testing for the re-release of Nine Lives. I can’t do anything while I’m waiting. And I have pledged to myself to do no more work on Her Jentle Hi-ness until December!

Is that pledge going to last the month? We’ll see. I’m going a little bit crazy without any major project to work on. There are three things I am waiting on other people from. Nine Lives is one, and the other two I can’t speak about just yet. But I am champing at the bit to know about those ones so I can tell you what’s up, and so I can know what my month is going to look like!

There’s really not a lot else to talk about, sorry. Hurry up and wait, that’s the current status! We are continuing on with our livestream D&D for potentially 3 more weeks, as I have at a minimum 3 more cities I need the characters to visit. We’ll see if we get around to a podcast this week, because we are a little busy with the livestream. I would really like to. I really enjoy doing the podcast, especially when the conversation is on a roll and people really know what they are talking about.

Anyway, that’s enough dithering. I hope to see you at the stream tonight!

Dev blog #21: Some rest for the weary

We’ve had a little bit of a break after Armageddon. James has discovered the joys of the Pauper format of Magic: the Gathering, and I’ve gotten back to video games, finally finishing the main story of Final Fantasy XV after 10 months of playing, and getting back to Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey after… good god, I started it two years ago XD

We have not be completely idle though. We’ve been:

  • Looking into avenues to sell the leftover copies of Double Cross
  • Planning a little event in Takapuna, more on that when it is official
  • Tinkering away at the website www.skybeargames.com and keeping the social media up to date daily
  • Planning a future release schedule for Dragons of Tirenia and at this stage just talking big ideas, not actively working on it
  • Getting everything set up for our charity stream next week (donate to HeartKidsNZ at www.gamingforcharity.nz/skybeargames )
  • Preparing a test build of Her Jentle Hi-ness (basically just the demo on itch.io, but with the new art and a few usability improvements) to send to a testing company to get an estimate from them – a first for me, as I am pretty happy to test my own games, but if the price is reasonable, it could be worth it

Livestream tonight 7.30pm NZT, wrapping up season one of Apprentices of Tirenia so we can take a little break. There’s still more story to go, but we need to look at our scheduling for it, as Thursday nights might actually be better spent with James getting out to local games stores and networking over cards and/or roleplaying. Also with the big charity stream next week, we need to take a break anyway.

So ah… yeah! Weird to not have as much to say as usual. But we really are trying to take a break, honest!

Dev blog #20 – It’s finally over…

Well, it feels weird to finally be able to say it, but Armageddon is over, and we came out the other end. I’ll do a bit of a recap here, but if you want to hear how the weekend campaign went storywise, you’ll want to tune into our livestream tonight on www.twitch.tv/skybeargames or after that on YouTube. If you want to know what went on behind the scenes in the campaign e.g. mechanics, cause and effect etc, then stay tuned for our podcast episode which will be released on Monday. And if you want to know the inside baseball, besides just the little bit I am going to say below, then sign up to our Patreon for the real goss.

What I will say here is this:

  • It was utterly exhausting and we ate waaaaaay too much fried food and spent more money on merch than we should have
  • The weekend campaign went really well and James delighted players all weekend long
  • The viral marketing idea with the stickers and the voting was all right. Many people found it more confusing than it should have been, but some people got addicted to it and would drag people over to us to vote. So mixed result there.
  • It was lovely to spend the whole weekend with our board game publisher Julia from Cheeky Parrot Games. Pretty rare for me to be able to spend a weekend with someone in a high-pressure situation like that and not get a bit annoyed by them, but I never felt annoyed at Julia, she was a perfect stall-mate.

I think that’s all I’ll say for now, here, and for free 😀 If you want to know the more brutally honest reflection, you can find our inside baseball episode on our Patreon in a day or two.

So what’s next?

The next three things on my plate are: make a Bitsy game for the jam which is due on Monday; add in all the voice acting, do a regression test and re-release The Nine Lives of Nim; and do the charity stream. Not sure I’ve mentioned that before, so check out this little ad below, or www.gamingforcharity.nz/skybeargames

For James, he is taking a break, and when he is ready he will get back to developing the campaign setting guide for the Kickstarter. He has some really exciting ideas of how to publish it. More on that closer to the time.

There’s more planned, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself for now. Maybe next week, we’ll see.

Anyway, I hope you’ll pop over to our livestream or podcast to see what happened on the weekend campaign. It was epic. James will break it all down for you so you can understand what happened. See you there!

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/