Dev blog #10 – Big developments

It’s been a really big week, and I’ve got a lot of plates spinning at once. Let’s take a look.

White Rabbit: Royal Scheduler is undergoing a name change (to secure an absolutely unique trademark, rather than the very generic ‘White Rabbit’), getting extra art done, and getting voice acting added in! All my team are working very hard to get it done asap so we can hand over to the company who will do translations and porting. When I say all my team, I mostly mean Rose who is back at it again with new pieces of ending artwork and a few other bits and pieces, and my friend Lauren who is doing all the sound engineering and a great deal of the coordination with the actors for me. Then I have a bunch of voice actors working on individual characters, and it is so exciting to hear everyone coming to life!

Prince of Cats is also undergoing a name change (for the same reasons), but is going to be done second for the porting and translation, so it’s not as much of a rush. I can’t remember if I’ve said this anywhere before, but Jade’s working hard away at turning all the backgrounds into 16:9 and other bits and pieces, and Lauren is also engineering and coordinating the voice acting with this one. Many more characters but smaller roles mean that the voice actors for this one have several roles, so they get to try lots of different voices. James and I have had a lot of fun recording our voices to add to this one 😀

Meanwhile, even with all that going on, we still have our grand Armageddon plans (it looks like the expo is going ahead! cross fingers!). As I mentioned last week, James has shifted focus to working on a small sample world guide to sell at Armageddon, so I’m working on formatting that, and we’re working with some new artists with more sort of typical Dungeons and Dragons styles for art and maps for that. But the other big plan is to run a massive drop-in campaign all weekend, where the players can affect the fate of a city under siege by siding either with the home side of silver dragons, or the bronze dragon invaders. Not only that but we’ll let people walk up and ‘pledge’ for either side – that’s all it takes, just saying ‘I pledge for the silver/the bronze’ – and you’ll get a faction sticker for doing that. I’m hoping we can sorta ‘go viral’ in a way, become something that people have to see at the convention. We’re still brainstorming whether we do some sort of giveaway e.g. recruit people to come and pledge and you earn points towards some actual personal reward. Marketing stuff like this does not come naturally to me but I am actually really excited about this.

I don’t see how things can get bigger over the next week but seeing how busy things got over the last week… who knows. I know I would like to streamline things into working on less at one time though, hahaha… I feel like all these three projects right now have hard deadlines or ends so at least there is that. One project at a time after that 😉

… yeah, I’ll keep telling myself that…

Image from page 266 of “Science and literature in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance” (1878)

Dev blog #9

So in the end, between the podcast and the extra work for Prince of Cats, I didn’t get very much done at all on Jentle Hi-ness before returning from holiday. Add in the fact that my artist has been unwell and so his work is delayed, and the result is… I’m just going to see what happens! I’m just going to take it as it comes, work on getting Prince of Cats and White Rabbit as best as I can get them for porting to console in the meantime, and once we’re all quiet on that front again, I’ll pick up Jentle Hi-ness again and see how it goes.

The resumption of lockdown here in Auckland means James and I have some time to reconfigure and set new goals. On holiday, we realised he should probably be working towards a small publication we can either sell or hand out at Armageddon, which is a Quick Start Guide for the Tirenia setting. This means he needs to put the main guide on hold for now (but he reached 75,000 words out of his 100,000 goal, so not a bad place to take a breather!). But I think that making a QSG is a good way to reexamine his work and figure out if anything is missing or lacking in the first place. Also completing a smaller goal like that and having something physical like that will be a nice boost to him I reckon.

As for me, I am spending so much of my (very little) spare time editing code for the previous two releases to include new art and voice acting and other small fixes. The code stuff is not the most rewarding work in and of itself, but receiving the new art and the voice clips is really fun, and the ultimate goal of releasing in multiple languages and consoles is the thing I really have to look forward to.

After the seemingly insurmountable mountain of work is done for those two (I can’t even see a light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I know it’s there…), I think instead of working on Jentle Hi-ness, I’ll focus my efforts on helping James get everything perfect. It will be nice to trim down all these multiple streams of activity too!

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/