Casual Games and even games in general are not known for engaging its audience with with heart felt emotion. Gold Sun Games newest title hopes to put an end to that with the first Romance casual game Broken Hearts: A Soldier’s Duty. Help our madly in love heroine Maria Lopez restore her memories in this heart breaking romantic tale of love, romance, deception, and tragedy.

Broken Hearts: A Soldiers Duty

My name is James Bernard (Lead Designer and Producer at Gold Sun Games) and I am very pleased to present to you a sneak peak of our upcoming game in the form of this Developer’s Diary. I’d like to take this opportunity to give an inside look at the development and creative process starting from the very first day of the original concept.

To give you a better understanding of our development process, first let me explain that we are a relatively small development studio which gives us a great advantage in creative freedom. You could almost say that we are only limited by our own imaginations, budget, and time constraints. Though we are not so foolish as to develop every wild idea that we think of. We try to be very conscience of our target market, industry trends, and what casual gamers would absolutely love to play.

Our process usually involves talking about the latest and greatest games in the casual space and discussing what they did well compared to other games which may have had a better art style, theme, story, or ingenious game-play but ultimately failed to reach mass success. This gives us a good base of knowledge to quickly assess the pros and cons of the many game concepts we pitch to ourselves internally.

The concept idea for Broken Hearts was struck in one of our brain storming sessions in early 2009. Nearing the end an unfruitful game design meeting, the one person in the room who hadn’t said a word (but rather listened to everyones comments) spoke up and said "Why don’t we make a romance game?" "It’d be perfect for our audience, and I don’t think anyone else has done it." BLING! The light bulbs all popped above our heads.

Snapshot of Maria and David’s honeymoon.

The next step was to find a suitable game play mechanic that would work well with the romance theme, something simple and familiar, and fun and innovative all at the same time. The most obvious choice to allow us to do this plus display high quality art, sound, and story with a romantic style was a hidden object game. But I would only commit to doing a hidden object game if we could come up with something that would add to the genre and be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of players from beginner to advanced.

Having already played most HO games out there I went about separating them into different categories. Basic HO games with a list, Inventory Adventure HO games, HO games with a focus on mini games, and HO games with twists like finding objects by their description or by solving riddles. So using this knowledge my goal was to create a unique twist on a hidden object game that was brand new, so it could be a challenge for veteran fans of HO games. But at the same time I wanted to make sure I wouldnt’ create a game that would be too difficult for first time and casual players.

Now in October with many months of design and testing long gone I can say with confidence that current builds of Broken Hearts: A Soldiers Duty delivers in hitting or surpassing all of my original goals. I’m hoping beginners and hidden object veterans alike will really enjoy our new HO mechanic combined with an engaging romantic story and theme.

Day at the beach / honeymoon playable level.

Look for another developer diary coming soon with its focus on "the absence of romance in games" and where my inspirations for this game came from. Until then I look forward to hearing what you think of our upcoming game Broken Hearts: A Soldier’s Duty.

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