Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

A dark sci-fi visual novel: http://winterwolves.com/bionicheart.htm
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jack1974
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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by jack1974 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:51 am

Yes actually I checked a bit the forums and several emails I got from a guy, and indeed the only two endings that didn't work are those 2. So maybe I can only remove those two and voilà, working game! :mrgreen:

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Lonestar51
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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by Lonestar51 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:22 am

I took a look at the code. All the if statements made my eyes go very wide. :shock: That and the endings with descriptive names like "earth_ending_7". Better use names like "earth_ending_7_nanotech_destroyed_tanya_survives_tina_alone" which tell better what happens. This alone will not magically fix bugs, but it would help in the process. (Though my example may be a bit too long). At least the variables have names which give a hint. :-)

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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by OtterFace » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:15 pm

jack1974 wrote:The units doesn't really matter, depends on the expenses - if I spend $100,000 on a game, even if sells 10,000 units at $10 is still a flop because I earned $0 :lol:
Let's say this: I recovered THE COSTS of the game (not including my own time) in SIX MONTHS. Games like Nicole or Rommates recovered the costs in 30 DAYS :shock: (and Bionic Heart 2 was less expensive than those 2, so should have recovered earlier, not later!) So that gives you a good idea of how much bad it sold.
I don't know honestly why sold so bat either. Sometimes games are just cursed! The same writer wrote SOTW, and I think turned out very well and I'm very confident about the game in general (with the tilesets and everything).

Anyway yes, I think will do a quick fix removing some of the endings since is pointless to keep them there if they cannot be unlocked.
Seasons of the Wolf looks great so far, so best of luck with it! Considering the success of Loren, I imagine it will do well.
I'm really happy we'll be seeing more of the BH2 writer as well -I think he's one of the best. :)

Again, shame for BH2. So much lost potential...

If I was to take a guess, I don't think the sales struggle had much or anything to do with it being a pure VN. Stats raising often feels like a bulking agent -just something to artificially inflate playing time. RPG's have pretty substantial gameplay, but the number crunching could be easily removed from a lot of your games without any consequences to the story. In fact, it might even improve the pacing in some of them.

In BH2's case, I think it might be that your established fanbase is not exactly the audience for a dark and mature sci-fi story. Loren had its dark moments, but nothing compared to the death and tragedy of BH2. The fact that it's a sequel might be a deterrent to some people as well. I know it stopped me from buying it, until I could afford both games (50% off, yay! :mrgreen: ). Heavier promotion might have helped as well. I'm not a marketing expert, but I noticed WW games often go a bit under the radar. Hiring someone for this kind of role (promotion and marketing)...I don't know if you can afford this on an indie budget, but it might be something to try?

Since the game has already made its costs, it might be an idea to heavily discount it and see if you can push a few more copies out. Maybe on a co-promotion with another VN developer whose fanbase is closer to BH2's intended audience. Just throwing ideas around.

Either way, it's all a learning experience. Hopefully all development for future games will be smooth and you won't have to deal with something like this again :)

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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by Lonestar51 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:27 pm

OtterFace wrote:In BH2's case, I think it might be that your established fanbase is not exactly the audience for a dark and mature sci-fi story. Loren had its dark moments, but nothing compared to the death and tragedy of BH2. The fact that it's a sequel might be a deterrent to some people as well.
The reason for the bad sales ... we have been speculating since day 1. :-( Your assumption that the darkness of the story has something to do with it may very well be true. My guess, a while back, was "not enough romances and too much serious topics" which is in a way quite near to your guess. Much as I love the game, fact is that the game and especially the tone is nothing like any other WW-game. Which puts off the part of the WW-fans which are here for the romances, while it does not reach those who would love such a game. Unfortunately I don't know where they would gather... which is where your marketing guru would come into play. But I suspect jack1974 would not want to invest lots of money into the game any more.

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OtterFace
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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by OtterFace » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:05 pm

Aside from Moacube and maybe SakeVisual, I can't think of another VN developer with games of a similar tone (dark and mature). VN's are generally synonymous with lighthearted romantic fun. Even Cinders had a heavy focus on the pursuit of romance and the Jisei series was still pretty light for a murder mystery. :?

The only other platform for this type of game would be Steam, but from the comments on Greenlight, it doesn't seem to be doing too well. BH2 just seems to be sitting in this uncomfortable space where VN fans would expect more lightheartedness and romance, and Sci-Fi fans would expect less anime undertones and possibly more gameplay. It's like game limbo. :(

The trailer was really good, the art and soundtrack are attractive. I can't think how else this could get promoted for what it is. It might be just a lesson for the future to be more bold and commit to either anime tropes OR hard storytelling, instead of trying to make a compromise between the two.

Maybe an RPG remake of both games? (dream on otter...) :lol:

Regardless of what happens with the likes of BH2, hiring a marketing expert might be a good investment for later games. Steam offers good exposure, but I always had a feeling WW games could do a lot better with more exposure. After all, this is how super-mediocre AAA games get by. In an indie setting, a person with a good social network skills and good business sense could do a lot to promote the games on the likes of Tumblr, Twitter, etc. with tons of promo material and generate hype, while the creative people can work undisturbed.

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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by jack1974 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:04 pm

All your points are valid, but I think the main reason is the medium. The same story (well maybe with less parallel plots :lol:) done as a point'n'click adventure probably COULD have done much better (I don't know for sure of course). If you check around, how many other VISUAL NOVELS with dark themes are popular? and by popular I mean that got on Steam.
I can't think of any, if you exclude C.Love games, since I think anything she does would be popular anyway :)
While there are many RPG/adventures. I really think the problem is the kind of game in this case.
OtterFace wrote: Maybe an RPG remake of both games? (dream on otter...) :lol:
Actually I thought about this a lot of times, and probably will do it since the kind of setting is perfect (well, if you like Deus Ex setting, dark future, implants, robots, etc). Of course, WHEN, I don't know, have "a few" games to finish first :mrgreen:
OtterFace wrote: Regardless of what happens with the likes of BH2, hiring a marketing expert might be a good investment for later games. Steam offers good exposure, but I always had a feeling WW games could do a lot better with more exposure. After all, this is how super-mediocre AAA games get by. In an indie setting, a person with a good social network skills and good business sense could do a lot to promote the games on the likes of Tumblr, Twitter, etc. with tons of promo material and generate hype, while the creative people can work undisturbed.
I had a marketing guy in the early stages, but honestly didn't help much. Speaking with other indies in general, there are so many games out every day, that even hiring a PR guy won't give me a big boost.
What would work is going to the conventions. But I really cannot go for personal reasons (and probably I wouldn't enjoy them much anyway).
I regularly update the social networks myself, and doesn't take me much time, and besides sometimes I like to break from working to post stuff in forums or blog, etc :)

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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by Taleweaver » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:00 pm

I still can't believe one of the reviews BH2 got was "it's like a Michael Bay movie" - and that was supposed to be a negative review.

If only it had made the profit ratio of an average Michael Bay movie, that would have been something...

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jack1974
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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by jack1974 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:01 pm

Hehe well that was the ONLY negative review the game got, so... :wink:

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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by OtterFace » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:26 pm

Actually I thought about this a lot of times, and probably will do it since the kind of setting is perfect (well, if you like Deus Ex setting, dark future, implants, robots, etc). Of course, WHEN, I don't know, have "a few" games to finish first :mrgreen:
:o :shock: :P 8) :mrgreen:

Take your time! This is going to be soo worth it if it actually gets done!

*sits and waits*

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anita
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Re: Bionic Heart 2 - version 1.0

Post by anita » Mon May 19, 2014 7:19 am

Oooh I like the idea :)

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