Happy holidays to all of our readers! To end 2015 on a high note, here’s a review of everything that happened this year, as well as our plans for the upcoming year.
If you remember correctly, 2014 was a crazy year: we released no less than four games, made goodies, including remakes of our oldest games, ran a booth at Japan Expo and completely renewed the devblog (by adding a website). I promised myself to slow down a bit to avoid exploding. Was 2015 calmer?
2015: keep on working
The beginning of the year turned out more or less quiet. After a new recruitment phase, Kinect joined the team and accepted to be the accomplice in my April Fools prank. We announced a happy sequel to Ambre where she would be a magical girl.
Thanks to her help, we were able to release Milk Episode 4 in mid-April. Insofar as it included lots of CGs and action scene, it was a big chunk of work and I was happy to see the end of it!
While we were at it, we took part in Ludum Dare 32 and produced Wounded by Words, a small VN in which I tried to offer more choices. If the result wasn’t necessarily what I had in mind, I’m still proud of what we did. It was especially a big challenge for me to write 20 000 words in a mere weekend and the experience was painful enough to put me off game jams until a while.
Shortly after, I opened a Patreon to help me be able to pay some bills while continuing to work for the team. Since then, I frequently post there sneak peeks, wallpapers, tutorials and various extra (like games). For more transparency, I chose to describe what my work consist in through weekly reports. They’re available for everyone and posted on social networks, therefore it’s the best way to know how the team is doing, step by step ;).
The Träumendes Mädchen team also wanted to be at Japan Expo again, which implied all sorts of preparations. We were selling new goodies, including our very first artbook and a new compilation as a hard copy. Since the latter included an extended version of Wounded by Words released barely a few days ago, it was really tight to manage to stay on schedule: the last scenes were literally written the week before packing to go to Paris.
Backed with the experience we got during Japan Expo 2014, we chose to run a bigger and better decorated booth, complete with a lottery that seemingly made some people happy. Unfortunately, we also had to deal with various issues (heatwave, theft, hardship of the convention and the life in Paris in general) that, added, turned Japan Expo into an extreme convention. We likely won’t come back next year because the planets aren’t aligned.
As soon as summer ended, we decided to highlight our various short projects. After changing service (from Gumroad to itchio), we published a new version of Being Beauteous that included some new translations, and each game was ported on Android (not without some difficulties along the way). It seemed important to me to move towards making your work available on every platform possible and visual novel lend itself well to mobile. It was a good opportunity to make Garden of Oblivion available in French for free (the translation was only on the hardcopy up until that point) and Wounded by Words should follow the same path, only a few month later.
The OST from the Between Heaven and Hell compilation, that includes those two games, was incidentally published for free on Bandcamp for Halloween. Don’t hesitate to support Roganis if you like his music ;).
Finally, we hurried to release Milk Episode 5 in a record development time (around 3 months). This Episode ends Khzi’s adventures that started with Episode 2. Insofar as the rest won’t be available until a while, I advise you to start up reading again if you’ve stopped at some point. The whole content is around ten hours worth of reading, so you have plenty for now ;).
In the end, 2015 wasn’t that calm. 2014 was completely crazy anyway, and it would have been impossible to do as much. Even so, this year wasn’t half-bad either: three games released, we took part in Japan Expo again and we ported our games to Android. So it’s necessary to keep on slowing down slightly. Given the new configuration of the team, it’s an obligation anyway!
2016 will be…different
So, what do we plan to do in 2016? Since it’ll be the first year of Träumendes Mädchen as a company, the working is bound to be different. Instead of releasing many small visual novel per year, we’ll instead focus on one or two projects at a time to offer more content. As it happens, Chronotopia and Milk’s Remake. At the same time, we’re finally going to open our online store and I hope to be able to write more about game development. I think it’ll be interested for everyone who wonders what’s going on behind the scenes ^^.
A new era is upon us, which makes me the subject of scrutinizing, and it’s normal. Since I now manage a company, the stakes are higher and I must not make mistakes. That puts me under a heck of pressure and I hope my work will be worthy of your expectations!