The game only sold 130 copies during the launch week. I made maybe 1000€. It's an abysmal financial failure, no matter how you look at it.
Making the game cost over 26000€ in the course of 3 years, minus various mishaps and time wasted on two game jams and all the side jobs needed to fund development. I funded the game with a 8600€ startup grant from the government, 14000€ from side jobs and the rest from my personal savings.
The rest of this article is the long version: What happened during development, what I did before and after the launch, what was good and what was bad, what went wrong and how I intend to continue from here.
Dismantling your own games can be useful if you want to learn to make better ones, I think, so here goes. What do I regret about Rose Seed Replica? What would I do differently and what would I keep the same?
Being a solo game developer has its ups, but why did I really become one? Being solo is pretty rare, after all. Most indies at least subcontract some of the work because doing everything yourself is really hard. And doing everything well is even harder.
I'd like to make the world a better, kinder place, but I fail to find the words when they're most needed. Actually, here's a secret about me...
Looking for beta testers for Rose Seed Replica! If you'd like to give me a hand and help make the game a happy lesbian utopia, then continue reading!
8 months ago I wondered how to fit work, side jobs, hobbies and dating together. It has been harder than I thought, but progress has been made regardless. So, let's take a look at how those things are working together currently.
2018 felt like it was starting well for me, but it turned into quite a disaster in the end. So, I'm going to tell a bit more here's what happened and what I'm going to do about it.
tl;dr To be expected in 2019: designing easier to develop games, less deadlines, less blaming myself over delays, better time management, living cheap.
tl;dr Some more or less unexpected things came up, so Rose Seed Replica won't release on time. Sorry! Hopefully it'll be out by September or something.
The longer version is that I kind of underestimated some development things and also hit some real life issues and such. And the real life stuff messed up my schedule really bad, so I didn't know for the longest time how much things would be delayed exactly. Hence the, uh, delayed delay announcement.
Anyway, it now looks like the release won't be until August or September at this rate, so there we go. It sucks, but sometimes things just don't go as planned, and when you're working solo, there's only so much you can do to compensate for the blunders and unexpected troubles. But what happened exactly? Well, here come the lousy excuses...
About 75% of the development of Rose Seed Replica is done now, so I guess it's about time for another progress report.
For starters, here's the usual estimate about how each area of development is progressing:
After lots of intense writing, Rose Seed Replica is now about 50% done. Steady progress and no surprises.
Since I haven't done anything but writing since the last report, changes basically boil down to writing just going from 35% done to 75%. Also, since there's no good way to showcase plain writing, I haven't been posting screenshots and such in a while, but expect more of those in January when I'm done with writing.
Rose Seed Replica should be about 33% done now. At this rate, the release date would be sometime in May, 2018.
Well, I have some doubts about the accuracy of my progress tracking spreadsheet, and something unexpected could always mess up the schedule too. Regardless, if nothing too surprising happens, the release date being sometime in May sounds realistic at this point.
Some experiences and lessons learned by a newbie writer who has now written 30% of the dialogue of her first game.
First off, I'm not a real author or anything. I took, like, one writing class in the university and then toyed with a personal visual novel project for a few months. That's pretty much my whole writing experience before starting on Rose Seed Replica, my game that is intended to reach the word count of about 100k.
So, don't expect any tips on how to write quality stuff because I don't think I could give those. Instead, I'm going to talk about how to get work done as a newbie and how to commit to your project and persist until the job is, well, at least 30% done.
I'd like to include tame sex scenes to Rose Seed Replica, but Steam no doubt has issues with it. How to solve that?
Alright, so first off, the reason for the sex scenes is that I think that they actually add a lot to the romance of the main couple. Not so much in the lewd sense but in showing how the two can tease and mess up with each other without restraints. It just fits way too well to not be used in the game.
Of course, if I add those scenes, there'll no doubt be a problem with Steam not approving of the idea as is, and there's no other real option but to somehow make it work for Steam. So, I looked up the web for problems that developers have had with Steam's explicit content policy and tried to come up with solutions for my case:
After some counting and guessing on how Rose Seed Replica might be progressing, here's the rough estimate: 15% done.
Progress is pretty good right now. I have been mainly focusing on writing because it's the most time-consuming part, but I might actually get most of it done by the end of the year at this rate. I have also been doing graphics at the same time, and the development speed is looking pretty good there too.
So, the game will have a ton of choices, the reason being that the romance and the story adapt to how you treat the NPCs.
For example, certain choices can make Sophie very strong and assertive in the romance, whereas others can push her to the opposite direction. Choices also affect how conflicts occur in the romance, how the two spend their time together and so on. So, you can have many kinds of fair, balanced and serious relationships with different character dynamics.
I'm feeling really excited about seeing the characters come to life after just two weeks of active development on the game.
Seeing the code, scripts and graphics do their thing and, as the result, seeing the characters banter, grin and blush together is so great. Or maybe it's just the yuri fangirl in me finding everything about girls grinning and blushing at each other great.
LezLiz is my little indie game studio that makes LGBT-themed games specifically for LGBT people and like-minded friends.
My first game, a lesbian-themed one, is already under development, but it will take me a bit longer until I can announce more about it. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook if you're interested in learning more about the game in the near future.