As In Blood is edging closer to the finish line we’ve been reflecting a lot on the past and present Jaime Scribbles Games, and how we progress into future endeavors. Follow us on this small journey through some of our setbacks and successes.
Some time in 2016 I began making visual novels. In 2017, on my birthday, I released Pinewood Island, my very first completed project.
I didn’t expect it to sell more than a few copies, but it went on to sell roughly 800 copies in its very first year! Using the money I’d made from Pinewood Island, I started making As We Know It.
At that same time I tried, in my hermit-y introverted way, to make more friends within the VN community.
I ended up making a post on Lemmasoft Forums looking for fellow writer friends, and had wonderful conversations with several people! One the those people were Elan, or PMscenarios.
We became best friends, and they were excited about As We Know It, so ended up giving me lots of advice on world building and general story concepts. Eventually they took on more and more of a role until, by the end of the development, they became a full member of the “team”. (Previously just me, and now me and Elan!)
As We Know It, unfortunately, did not sell well. I believe there are several reasons for this – ranging from an unpopular genre, to not having any CGs. The writing is also somewhat weak in places, mainly due to outside issues that were going on at the time in my personal life. I’ve included it in some bundles and it has found a wonderful audience who have now played and enjoyed it, but the flaws stand out more and more to us as we look back on it. It’s something we’re both determined to improve on going forward.
Once As We Know It was almost done I began to draft the concepts for In Blood. We planned for the second Kickstarter, and started working on it in earnest once As We Know It was released.
Going From Solo Towards Something Bigger
The more we became aware of the weaknesses in As We Know It, the more determined we became not to repeat the previous mistakes. The biggest thing we’ve started doing to help development, is weekly meetings to keep us both on the same page. We discuss the writing and editing, and then other general development and management issues. This cuts down on miscommunication, and keeps things from getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It has really helped us feel like a proper indie studio.
We’re planning to continue this kind of meeting format for our next games, and hope to do the same with our contracted people. Being able to clear up misunderstandings in the moment has been vital for our current progress.
We’re pouring our hearts into In Blood and we’re really happy with how it’s shaping up. However, we’re running into some major road blocks. Neither of us is an artist, which means we continually have to search for artists for any art-related assets. This has been fine for a long time, but it’s starting to become an issue.
It limits us with marketing, and with game development in general. When we commission outside of the team it often causes all number of problems: The artist is trying to create something for us with little to no context. It’s impossible to give the artist full context, since they’d need to be aware of the entire game concept, all the characters, the setting, and more.
Sometimes miscommunications are funny. Like the difference between “American” pants (trousers), and “British” pants (underwear).
Other times the communication gap can feel frustrating for both parties without anyone being at fault. We’re just at a point where we want an artist on the team vs working strictly as a freelancer.
Finding Our Niche
With In Blood we’ve really discovered our niche. I’m very comfortable working within horror, and delight in adding romance to the genre. We want to offer mature content for an older audience, and with that comes morally gray characters, sexual content, and a good helping of Jaime-Brand chaos.
We’re planning future projects around that idea and have some exciting (and scary!) things in the pipeline. Not only can you count on us for diverse casts, but for all your spooky kissing needs!
We’ve got some great things planned so stay tuned!
After In Blood wraps up we’re going to be looking to add a third person to our team as an artist, who’s part of the game creation from the ground up. Someone who can participate in regular meetings about the progression and planning of the game. To find someone we think will be a good fit we’ll probably try to do a small game jam project to test team chemistry before moving on to our much more ambitious next super secret project.
One of our biggest priorities is to be able to keep showcasing a diverse cast, whether it is gender, skin color, body shape or disability. That requires an artist comfortable with drawing a wide variety of humans. As well as someone who can draw character art and illustrations and some marketing related character pieces.
As a tiny company we’re still very unsure how to progress with this search and how to bring aboard another full-time member of our team, but it is something we very much want and need for Jaime Scribbles Games to keep growing and representing our unique blend of romance and dark drama/horror.
Keep an eye on us, we’ll be sharing more information and eventually we will be posting a proper recruitment announcement. We’re going to be doing some research, asking other developers for advice, and looking at how our company grows with In Blood’s release.