i love this game the characters the gameplay the choices so awesome i wish you good luck with making a part 2.
Steam version and possible sequel
Thanks you all for viewing my game here on itch.io. With all the generous donations from here and patreon I've applied to put the visual novel on steam! I can't thank everyone enough. I feel like this game could really become something neat! I'm hoping to release the game there as well in a month or so.
But that's not the only thing I have to say. I have a small announcement to make and that is that I'd really like to make a sequel to this game. And to do so I feel like a steam release of this game is the first step. I'll explain.
If I make a sequel, I don’t want to do everything alone again. I’m going to try to raise the funds to hire an artist, and a writer for the massive job it will be. The first couple steps for this are to try and raise awareness of the current game to draw in people who might want to support a second one. So a steam release would really boost this first step and give me an indication if a funded sequel is possible. Another part of the first step is to conceptualize the sequel, so I’ve been gathering ideas for characters, story, and settings, and how much it will realistically cost. Since the programming for the first game is done, programming the second game will go much quicker, and if I’ve got a writer and artist then everything will hopefully be a faster and smoother transition.
With all that being said, my main focus right now is still adding more bonus scenes and content to the first game and hopefully a steam launch will be a fun success. I’m working with Ruga to add a bunch of neat new content that I’m super excited about. The conceptualizing step of a possible sequel is something I’m mostly thinking about while bored at work. But if it’s possible to get enough eyes on the first game where people would be interested in a sequel, I’d love to make one and have things ready. With the programming done, an artist, and a writer, the game won’t be a 3.5 year project like this one was. Maybe it’d be able to be completed in just one. Either way I think it’d be super fun.
Thank you all again. A steam release is now a definite thing, and a sequel I never thought about is something I'm taking serious now ^^
Get Chasing Tail
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I'm excited to hear things are going well for you! I've played this game several times and enjoyed it every time I did. I think I've found most of the content, though there are a few pieces of art I couldn't get. I really enjoyed the art and story for this game. You are immensely talented, and I know your next project will be just as good as this one.
Running a game company is tough. I was the business manager for the fiction publishing arm of a PnP RPG company and I also ran my own publishing company for a while. Keeping a team motivated on a long project is a major challenge, but when it's done, the feeling is the best in the world.
When you said you weren't taking things seriously my eyes went wide. I'm very interested in seeing what you can produce when you've got a team working with you.
Your game reinspired me to start writing again. I don't get to do it as much as I want to. I keep having silly things like my job get in the way, can you imagine (joke)? But I’m still doing it. Maybe if I can build up my confidence back up, I’ll start publishing again.
Out of curiosity, how much does it cost to run a small video game company? I’ve thought about funding a project similar to yours, but I don’t know what to expect. I’ve done some research, but I can’t really get a concrete answer. I guess it depends on the scope.
Anyway, you’ve got a lot of fans in your corner and all of us are excited to see what the future brings for you! Keep up the amazing work.
Utopia fans unite!
Thank you for the super kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed the game and played through it so much! It's always a big boost of confidence when I hear that from folks such as yourself.
It sounds like you know the struggles of working with a group very well. Something I might encounter as well if another project with a team starts up. But hopefully I can reach a successful end and feel that satisfaction like you describe. Only time will tell. This currently is just a big hobby of mine. I work on it as much as I can after my day job but if possible I'd love to turn it into something more serious. Making games is my biggest passion, and I have a lot to learn, but I'm willing to put in the work to do so.
I think it's a great idea if you started writing. Anything that you have passion for I feel like it's almost a waste not to because it's like a treat to yourself. To me it's something I'm drawn towards and even when nobody played anything I made, I still did it for me. I can't quite describe why but it's fulfilling. And I think it's important for people to have something like that in their lives too. If writing does it for you, go for it!
As for costs, that's a good question. And something I'll need to figure out. This game I did most of the art and writing myself with some hired help here and there. After all the expenses I think out of pocket it was around 800$-1200$. I hired a few people to help consult on the story, write a few small sections, and help with art direction. The biggest expense was the artwork for the lewd scenes as I'm not good enough to draw these. Then there's the music licensing as well. All these are optional and if I really did the entire game 100% myself with royalty free music too costs would be less than 100$. For the second game, if I were to hire just a writer at around $0.05 to $0.05 per word and 300k words that's a big chunk of change already. Drawing character sprites for an artist would probably be 50$-150$ per character. This game has around 30ish (i cant remember the exact number) of characters. I'll try to get away with just those two helpers for the next game but there's always custom music composition, play testers, and proofreaders I'd love to get involved as well. So as you put it, it all depends on the scope and how much help you'll need. I think I can make a good estimate for the next visual novel after doing this one but for other projects I'd have no idea.
Thank you for the support though! I'm really overjoyed that people like this game and write awesome messages like this. I'm living the dream now because I never imagined people playing the things I make.
Thank you for such a nice reply! Just as you feel great from messages from fans, it feels amazing to receive replies from artists I enjoy. I remember back when I wrote professionally. When I received an email from a fan I was over the moon. I never thought anyone would read what I wrote. Those were the days.
As a funny aside, I used to write erotic fiction. I never told anyone I knew about it. Well, I made an error when trying to hide my identity and of all people, one of my grandmothers (a hyper religious woman) found one of them. She called me and said she found an "interesting book" and asked me if I'd read it. Of course I denied it but she pressed me on the issue. I got angry and said, "Yes I did and I also wrote..." and I listed them out for her. At that point I think I had about 150 short stories. When I finished she just laughed and said "I always knew you were a pervert, now you're a professional pervert. I'm proud of you son." After that I told the rest of my family and the reception was warm. Heck my close friends even bought some of my books. My best friend at the time was upset to hear about what I did. I was supposed to be his best man at his wedding, but he removed me from the guest list. Such is life.
My apologies for the long aside. The main reason I'm writing this is because I think you're writing budget is too high. Writing is very important, but for a startup you need to do what you can to keep your costs low. That is, until you turn a profit, then you should jack them up. When I started my publishing company I started writers at "token" rates, and when I started turning a nice profit I bumped up the pay. I paid seven cents a word at the end, but that was after a long time of showing profits.
Your projected art budget looks good. If you take the time to search you can find a lot of younger artists who would take lower rates for exposure. Take some time (ie a few hours) to browse (please don't hate me for listing a few of these) e621, furaffinity, Weasyl, FurryNetwork, and sofurry. I found an artist on Furaffinity to do cover art for me in the past. The pay was low at first but like the writers I drastically upped the pay over time.
Anyway, sorry for the long message. Please keep up the amazing work. I'm going to play your rendition of Utopia again. Your AI in that game is good and I feel like I'm playing someone who knows what they are doing.
That's a pretty heartwarming story :3 I'm glad things turned out like this for you aside from your friend's wedding. But having a warm reception from your family and acceptance is great to hear. It's a shame sometimes when talented writers and artists don't show their wonderful work or are reluctant to do so because of negativity. It was probably such a relief to be able to show your work as well finally after it was discovered.
But it seems I missed a zero in my estimate for writing budget. I wrote $0.05 to $0.05 per word but what I meant to write is $0.005 to $0.05 per word. I'd really like to not go over that amount because that would be a bit pricey for me. I've asked for writing help before from a few places and in some 0.05 is the minimum but to me that's a lot to ask. I think realistically I could find someone willing to do quality work for $0.01 per word. I don't want to be cheap or rip anyone off, but if I want to have a realistic budget then the honest truth is I'll need to shop around and find the best quality for the lowest price. If I want to fund this new project then that's important because I don't want anyone's funds to go to waste. At the same time I don't want to pay someone what they should earn, but I can also only pay what I can pay. I'm not looking to rip anyone off, just a fair deal ^^
I think finding both an artist and a writer would be much easier if not for the erotic part since, as you know, it's a bit taboo. Not only that but it's furry erotica so that narrows the field quite a bit. Same with art. I don't think I'd have a problem finding an affordable artist at all if I could use services such as upwork, however, wanting nsfw version of all the character artwork puts a bit of a damper on that. It is possible I'm sure. And the artists I've found before were mostly through FA. I've spent, just like you describe, a number of hours browsing art for artists with a good style and a price I can afford, and I've had success doing so in the past. It's just time consuming but I can get it done. I guess I'm a bit of a perv, but I'm unyielding in that the project needs some nsfw aspects. I want these games to have a good story that can stand on it's own without the nsfw bits, but also the nsfw additions are a must for me as well.
Thanks for the well wishes! And it's fun to hear you're enjoying utopia XD that's such an obscure game I don't think many people play or find it interesting (and I can't blame them) but I have such fond memories of it I like to play every now and then myself.