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Dreamnoid FAQ

Who makes those games?

It's just me.

I'm a programmer by trade, though I learnt the mystic ways of code to make games, so I guess you can say I'm a game developer first and foremost and programming is merely my specialty. I also make art, but with less success, so I'm learning what my strengths and weaknesses are and how to take advantage or work around them. Sadly, I can't write music to save my life, so I usually leverage public domain tracks.

To get there, I take inspiration from smaller companies that work smart or reuse extensively. Some of the pixel art sprites in my games are actually 3D renders in disguise! I reuse assets across games and use offline procedural generation techniques when I can. It may look like I'm "cheating" or cutting corners, but it's both The Programmer Way and the price to pay to achieve my oversized ambitions with my undersized lonesome self.

Why don't you team up with others?

I used to, but it never worked out. Granted, last time it happened I was a well-intentioned but ill-advised teenager... but I still feel bad about "wasting" someone else's time, 20 years later. I do realize I'm treading a weird path, even by gamedev standards, and I don't want to rope anyone in my madness.

I did consider commissioning other creators, like artists and composers. But it's costly (and rightly so!) and I'm not ready yet to invest serious money in games that I release for free. Also, it's super interesting to see how far I can go on my own. Still, it could happen in the future.

Your games are... free? Completely free?

You may have noticed that I put a lot of effort in those games. At least I hope it's noticeable, because it sure is hard work! And yet, I release them for free, not even pay what you want, no donation button in sight. So you may be thinking... what's wrong with this guy? Does he hate money? Does he not eat? Or is he already loaded with cash? Why can't I throw him a buck?

And the answer is... there's not much money to be made for most indie developers anyway. I've been there, toiling for months to get a meager paycheck, and I don't think it's worth it. I have a day job to pay the bills. A big AAA company is already paying for the roof above my head and the food in my plate. Selling my own games would not add much to that.

What it would add is complexity and stress. Money changes the game: the moment you pay for my games, you become a customer and I have some obligation to you. For someone like me who's working on what little spare time he can get, that's a big responsibility. It could very easily eat all the time and energy that I have and would rather spend on making more games. That doesn't mean I throw my games into the void without a care in the world, quite the contrary. I pride myself in responding quickly, fixing bugs and helping people. But if for some reason I can't... well you haven't lost any money.

Now, if I felt like I could make a living purely from my artistic endeavors, I would totally charge for it. But I would only make that move if I felt I had a real shot at this goal, and right now I don't. And that's fine! I organized my life so I can keep being an Adult With a Job™ and still make cool shit on the side.

How can I support you then?

By spreading the word! I do all this because I want to share those games and stories with people, so any word of mouth is really helpful. Even a single tweet is greatly appreciated! You can also support my games by rating them and leaving comments on the Itch's page. I read all reviews and comments, and the nice ones really keep me going. It can be very demotivating to spend so much effort only to feel like you're shouting into the void, so when the void echoes back something like "Hey, I liked your game!", it means the world.

Are your games also on Steam?

No, for a few reasons. The first is money: publishing on Steam costs a hundred bucks per game. Considering I don't charge for my games, that would be a net loss every time I publish something there. Sure, I could take the hit, but that brings me to the second reason: I feel like Itch's community is better suited to what I'm trying to make anyway. Steam is where you go to find AAA or high-end indie games (the so-called "Triple-I"), which sets expectations that I have no interest in matching. And the third reason is that any additional platform is also additional work for me. I would rather spend my time working on a new game than on yet another set of promotional thumbnails.

This may all change in the future, but right now I would rather focus on Itch (that I like a lot!). Also, it seems like you can add Itch games to your Steam library anyway, for those who want to keep only one launcher. ;)

What engine do you use?

I've built and use my own engine. Because I'm used to working that way, I like it, and also because it makes sense for me. All my recent games, no matter how different they are, share the same code base and tools. When I published The Trespasser with input remapping, I could also update Aereven: Lunar Wake to add the same feature. The goal is that improvements should benefit all my games. It's also tailored for my needs and the way I make games, another way to reach my ambitions with my limited manpower.

I talk about my engine, its architecture and tools in the following devlogs:

Can I use your engine/your tools?

The "Dream Engine" as I call it is not available publicly, and neither are the tools made for it.

The biggest reason is that's it's really not a general-purpose engine. While it's not restricted to a single genre, it's made for a single developer: me. It works the way I like it, focusing on my strengths and my workflow. It's a solution to a very precise problem. The more users you add to the equation, the more general the problem becomes, the more generic the solutions need to be. Soon enough you end-up with something that looks like Unity, Godot or Unreal, but worst. What would be the point?

Making an engine suitable for a large audience requires a tremendous amount of effort. Keeping it running and users happy is a fulltime job. And ultimately it's not what Dreamnoid is about. I want to make games and the tech is only a means to that end.

On the other hand, I try to write about it's architecture when I have the chance. My intent is that other developers in a similar situation can learn from my experiments and make their own engine that suits their own needs. That's my way of sharing.

Will you ever make more visual novels?

Maaaaybe? I really like telling stories, and for some reason, I feel like visual novels are the digital equivalent of a beautiful book, with a nice cover and binding. So that part of it, at the very least, appeals to me. But they're hard to make, at least for someone who's not much of an artist. So that's issue #1: how can I make visual novels without spending ~3 years on the art like I did with Last (K)night? I've been experimenting over the years, and I'm starting to feel like I may have reached a few answers that would work for me, a mix of a specific art-style supported by custom-made tools. But there's another issue, and it's that I'm not big on writing branching narratives, which is arguably the defining trait of the medium. But then again, there may be a sweat spot to find, with enough interactivity to be meaningful without feeling like every story I tell is about the multiverse.

So yeah, maybe. But more story-driven games, in general, are definitely on the horizon.

You're not a native English speaker, are you?

Nope. I'm French.

I do my best to write in good English, but some mistakes are bound to escape my attention. Beyond grammar issues, I may mix up dialects and accents without knowing it. I may hear or read a cool turn of phrase and reuse it without understanding the regional implications. If you notice such a thing, I only ask you to bear with me and notify me so I can fix it.

Also, keep in mind that most of my games do not take place in the United States. Things are slightly different this side of the Atlantic and people have different life experiences and sensibilities. And yes, that includes using the metric system and Celsius temperatures. ;)

Can I do Let's Play or stream your games?

You can! I only require that you clearly mention the name of the game, who made it, and add a link to download it here on itch. I would also greatly appreciate it if you sent me the link to the video or VOD for me to enjoy!

You can also use the game's promotional art in your video's thumbnails, again as long as it's properly labelled.

If you want to monetize your videos of my games using Twitch or YouTube's monetization programs, they have to feature some original commentary on your part. For any monetization more involved than that, please contact me first.

What about fanarts/fanfiction/other fanstuff?

Same. As long as you clearly label them as fan-made, with a link to the original work, we're good. Don't forget to show them to me, because I would love to see them! ;)

If you want to sell them, it's fine as long as it's on a low scale. Being commissioned for an artwork once in a while is fine, so does getting tips for it. If you want to sell prints during a convention, or if they feature prominently on your Patreon or anything more involved, please contact me first.

Also, please try to keep the fanart/fiction/whatever in the spirit of the original. You're allowed your headcannons and pairings of course, but no illegal content or hate speech, etc.

Can I use your art/writing/games to train Generative AI? Or to make NFTs?

Absolutely not.

How can I reach you?

You can find me on my Discord server, on Twitter and Mastodon. You can also find my email address at the bottom of my website, though I check this inbox infrequently.

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