Livestreaming LEGO Lord of the Rings tomorrow!

To celebrate the birthday of JRR Tolkien and raise funds for Project Northmoor, James and I will be playing LEGO Lord of the Rings from start to finish (probably just story mode finish, not 100% collectables completion) on our Twitch channel starting from 10am NZT on Sunday 3rd January. It could go from as little as ten hours, to seventeen, or even longer… So come and join us! We’ll be counting up any swears for the swear jar, and if you challenge resident Middle Earth expert James to a trivia challenge, if he gets it wrong we pay $1, and if he answers then you pay $1 to Project Northwood. Can’t wait to see you there!

Also here are the videos we made to promote this over the last week, if you want to see them 😀

Dev blog #29 – Resolutions

I’ll try not to double up on information that I gave on the podcast the other day, but it is time to reflect and think about what the next year holds in store for Sky Bear Games.

DRAGONS OF TIRENIA – James will continue to work on this, as will I where needed. I have a bit of a goal to get it on Kickstarter by at the very latest October 2021. But I also am flexible on that. No point just creating stress for myself and James.

WONDERLAND NIGHTS is wrapped for now! I might need to lend additional help for the further translation releases of course, but until I hear more from the company I’m working with in Europe, nothing is happening there. And of course I may need to make small corrections on the Chinese version when asked, but I have done that so many times now that it’s easy.

NINE LIVES OF NIM however is back in full swing, or at least back in full swing for me, because it has been playing second fiddle to Wonderland for a while now. I’m doing additional coding and helping with voices and translation, Lauren’s on the voices side of things, and Britney is translating. I expect to be able to release the voice acting update in Jan/Feb. I would estimate a second quarter release for the Chinese version but that’s pure speculation based on how fast Wonderland Nights was.

HER JENTLE HI-NESS will sadly not get focus until Nine Lives is thoroughly out the door, let’s just be honest. I have been doing bits and pieces for it here and there but there is only so much time in the day! But a major question I had for it is now solved, thanks to Lauren, and if you want to hear what she came up with for the problem of what to do with the voices, you can hear that on the most recent episode of the podcast.

SPEAKING OF THE MOST RECENT PODCAST, if you haven’t listened to it, we are running a competition there. On the episode, we cover 7 different game ideas for what I could do next after Her Jentle Hi-ness. If you would like to win our back catalogue (Nine Lives, White Rabbit and the Dragons of Tirenia intro guide) then write to us here or on any of our social accounts before 8th January with what you’d like to see next out of those options, and you’ll be in the draw!

SMALLER PROJECTS, HOME CAMPAIGNS etc. – I am about to finish and release the final chapter of Street Rat. That’s the game/s I have been making since January as part of the monthly Bitsy Game Jam. I have learnt a lot from working with a limited platform and engaging with other people’s creations on the same platform, but now is the time, at the end of the 12-part story, to call it quits. The monthly jams have been fun but they have also been a source of stress as other things in my life have often lead to me leaving it to the last minute and working until the wee hours of the night/morning to get them done. Speaking of other things being a source of stress, James has made a resolution to stop starting new RPG campaigns (haha, good luck!) but rather to finish the ones he has started. I for one am looking forward to getting back to Dirwin, now that baby is sleeping better at night. We won’t be streaming that, but I will be keeping up the Dirwin blog as I always have since the start of it, right here!

PODCAST, STREAMING AND OTHER PERIPHERAL MEDIA – we’ll see how this all goes. James and I have been having fun doing the podcast, but if it becomes a hassle, we might drop it after reaching the one year mark. We’ll see, because he’s got a lot of RPG content he can talk about (we’ll be doing Dark Sun sooner or later!). We have vague plans to do more streaming, especially bi-monthly charity streams. But we do sort of want to wait a bit to improve our production quality a bit before we do any additional dedicated streaming. I dunno, it’s a chicken/egg problem, because what’s the point of expending time on money on improving the stream when there are few viewers, but then also there are few viewers because of the low quality of the stream… But basically the end of that train of thought for me is always that James and I are more interested in doing creative work first and foremost, rather than streaming for the hell of it. If I was able to work on Sky Bear Games full time, perhaps we would become a lot more serious about streaming.

I think that about covers it? But basically we are keeping on keeping on, and hoping that 2021 brings us a little relief from some of the stressors of this year. What were those, and how can we avoid them? Well, I have spoken already about shedding some of the extra commitments, so that will help. Sinking a bunch of money into Armageddon was a rookie mistake, but we have learnt that the hard way. I feel like finally we are starting to bounce back from that both emotionally and financially. I think for both of us, we need to be a bit more serious and say no to each other, especially when whatever grand scheme we come up with involves too much money or time used. We are both waaaaaaaay too good at coming up with exciting new ideas, but I hope that the negative lessons we learnt this year will help us to mature a little past the drive to immediately launch into weak or ill-conceived projects.

But make no mistake, or enthusiasm to get our projects out there for your enjoyment has not diminished. Hopefully we have just improved our ability and capacity to do these things and do them well!

Many blessings for the new year from us!

Dev Blog #27 – Half a year gone!

Hey, it’s been half a year since I started doing this whole weekly blog thing. Has it been helping? Well, not yet, seems to be my feeling. There’s a little bit of awareness of who we are and what we do, we get a little bit of love from followers/supporters every week, and I appreciate that. Thank you! Like I say to James, I believe that if we just keep being ourselves and posting our blogs, podcasts, and livestreams, our audience will find us one day. If we can have a proven track record behind us of regular content, then new audience members coming in will see that they can have a certain level of trust that we won’t just vanish next week. It might seem pointless at times, but in time I think we’ll thank ourselves.

Well, there are important things coming up which are going to expand our audience. Obviously, Wonderland Nights: White Rabbit’s Diary coming out in less than two weeks in China is going to be potentially quite big. I’ve never done anything remotely like that before, so we’ll see how it goes! I have high hopes, but perhaps I need to tone those hopes down a little so they don’t get dashed. But the latest update with White Rabbit is that I have finished my testing 100%, so now it’s up to the Grand Vision team to finish their testing, and then we are good to go!

The translator I am working with there has gone straight into The Nine Lives of Nim, and I need to go straight into that too now that White Rabbit is well underway. I need to do a bit of sound editing, pop the finished sound files into the game, and I need to make a few fixes and improvements. I need to hurry up and do that so I can give my translator any new strings I come up with!

Meanwhile, James continues with Dragons of Tirenia (17,000 words until he hits 100k!) and I am continuing with adding slowly to the new Jentle Hi-ness storylines. We’ve got a new podcast episode out: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42497198 , in which we dissect James’s childhood nostalgia for Dragonlance. It’s a good time!

What else is going on… we’re almost wrapped on the Discord, and have an announcement about what is happening next there coming up once that is done. We are wrapping Apprentices of Tirenia tomorrow in a daytime livestream! The final Bitsy jam I will take part in will be very soon, if not this weekend then the next presumably. And I think that about does it for this week. Thanks for reading!

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 #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/