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Over a year

First things first: I cut the price down to $5 permanently.



May 2019 I released Cope Island: Adrift. It was a very hard time of my life. I was not mentally prepared for the intensity of commercial marketing. But I did what I could. I was not as successful as I hoped, but it wasn't a total failure.

What is important is I am happy with the game, and that I will never be ashamed to sell it. The development went through many stages of my personal life's chaos. But in the end, I finished it, was happy with it, and let it go.

It's been out over a year now and I think it is a good time to price cut.

I learned many lessons with the whole process. On how to make a game faster, on how to market one better.

Degica coming to me asking me to release a version of it commercially, to ghosting me, to me having insane high standards from myself and freezing, to me letting go and just let myself make the game I wanted to make.

My life is entering new and fun stages, and I am still slaving away at my next game. I won't announce anything there yet until some concrete stuff is ready to show.

I do also plan on releasing this game's ost on youtube/sound cloud/whatever else works.

I just got to walk through the current one step at a time. Often it is easy to be swept away, but I accepted a long time ago that I need to make games. It's all my brain thinks about.

I hope you all enjoyed Cope Island. And if you didn't play yet, I hope one day you give it a chance.


Cope Island: Secrets Guide

Cope Island: Adrift is still 60% off on steam and itch!

Today I finally finished the Cope Island: Adrift Secret Guide! The game has a lengthy amount of secret content you can unlock. Not everyone wants to figure that out on their own. So hope y'all enjoy it!


Going forward, I think I will start writing a Story page that answers some questions or clarifies what answers are up in the air even for me. Believe it or not, I made sense of the whole game's story in my head.

A decent amount of the conclusions of the story are hidden within the secrets. And a lot of it I was purposely vague. But there is a stable story within it all.

I also want to start trying to figure out how to fix some of the really annoying limitations the vx ace battle has. I think I need to find a good way to do a skill confirm question at the end of the turn. And I want to get rid of the annoying "you do not have enough weapon points" for when you can't do standby.

Thanks for reading!


Holiday 2019 Sale

Hello folks! zDS here. I'm happy to let y'all know that Cope Island: Adrift is





From today until the 2nd of January.

Now is the best time to take a holiday vacation to my island.


I've been making plans to make a guide page for the many secrets of Cope Island. I also want to upload the game's soundtrack somewhere. Maybe YouTube and Soundcloud? I want to try to get those done as soon as I have time.

Happy Holiday folks. Hope you have great ones!


Afterword - Part II

If you have no read Part I yet, I strongly suggest reading it first here.

50% off Cope Island: Adrift during the Steam Summer Sale!

The response for the first part has been wonderful. Thank you all so much. It really means the world to me. I was worried about people thinking less of me, honestly. The world isn’t such a bad place after all.

There has been no major boost or anything since the first Afterword, but that’s okay. I did however get a positive review from Powerup Gaming and I believe that was the first professional review I received for my games!

I also got some closure on the whole Degica situation! Huge weight lifted off my chest, to be honest.

Part I was honestly the tip of the iceberg. So much has happened since and all of it greatly impacted the development of Cope Island: Adrift. Bonds strengthened. Bonds broken. Family feuds. Tragedies. Let's do this!

(A lot of this may be sloppily written, it's just that after I wrote it it's kinda hard to go back and fix it due to the emotional nature of it all.)

(to the only brother I actually like who will likely read this, I'M SORRY IF I SAID TOO MUCH, I REALLY TRIED TO KEEP MOST IT VAGUE. IF I CROSSED ANY LINES, I'M SORRY.)

Commercial Game Dev

I went from never releasing a game before into the public to suddenly signing a contract with Degica. After all the people who told me I would never amount to anything, people who had zero faith in my game dev hobby/dream. After all that, it felt surreal to be honest. People liked to tell me I knew nothing of how game dev worked and that my approach would be foolish. I felt like for once, I had an excuse to be confident. I had earned a significant victory and for once in my life I would allow myself to truly believe in myself. I was also fully aware I had tons to learn.

I had years of game dev experience prior. With music. With pixel art. With the overall game design thing. Yet, I had yet to reach that 'next level' but I felt so close. Before Cope Island it was like I developed everything through a painful grinder. I had a vision but I couldn't form it and it was incredibly painful.

I felt extremely lucky and honored that Cope Island got the opportunities. I felt like I owed it to myself to reach that next level and make the game I wanted to release. Degica would have been fine with me just prettying up the maps a bit with a few pre-made resources. I did not want to do that. I really wanted to make it all myself. To take my pixel art to that next level.

Looking back, that was a mistake. I should have swiftly prettied up the game and released it. It would have established commercial history and possible income. Then I could have made Cope Island: Adrift as the sequel. I didn't do that. I didn't consider it. Yet, while my course of action was not the wisest… I don't regret it at all.

The upcoming months I establish a communication with Degica and talks go very promising. I tell them my plan and they seem chill about it and on board. I told them I needed some script help to have a hub for the game. That hub was so important for my vision. I needed help for ui stuff as well. So I get in contact with someone and everything seems positive.

Yet nothing really gets done. I continue to work at it when I can, but the process is the most aggressive grinder I went through yet. The commercial thing made me incredibly stiff while developing. I would stare at a blank map and just struggle to make it work in my head. The second version of Cope Island, everything just felt awkward looking back. I wasn’t ready to make it yet. The idea was not as fully fleshed out in my head as I thought.

First map of the second version of Cope Island, everything about it feels so awkward for me. Very glad I scrapped this version.

So while I am making a slow and painful progress, Degica just kinda ghosts me. The person who was asked to help me with scripts, I will say, was VERY kind to me throughout the process but admitted to have been very tied up. I have nothing but kind things to say about the scripter. That said, the others designated to help me utterly ghosted me eventually. I was positive and patient. I just kept going forward and doing what I could.

The year of 2015 started off positive. I got my license finally. I got my job, which I still love to do. I finally made that major shift from doing nothing into being a functional adult. I still live at home, but I am cool with that for a little bit so I can save up and actually have some money in my account. Things are changing for the better, finally.

Halfway through the year was when the granddaddy of all shitstorms began. Honestly? It feels like the shitstorm JUST ended late last year and now I’m just a pile of goop slowly recovering from it all.

Summer of 2015

The summer of 2015 was intense, quite frankly. The changes began bouldering down a steep hill. I found it quite hard to develop for Cope Island during that summer, for many reasons. I had to stand up and put my foot down to my oldest brother, who was also my childhood tormenter. Doing that caused a ton of drama with my parents, especially my mom.

It was a hot summer day in the midwest. I had work at noon. I was making breakfast in the kitchen. I remember toasting a bagel to cream cheese and devour. My childhood house’s a/c just broke down. My dad was desperately trying to fix it in the basement as my mom took a barrage of verbal abuse from my oldest brother. He was having one of his villainous monologues in the kitchen, berating my mom in just about every way he could. Right in front of me, like I do not even exist. This was considered a norm in my house, but it ate at me every single time.

Why was he verbally attacking my mom? She made the tragic mistake of asking my oldest a favor. See, my oldest was buddies with a guy who fixed a/cs for a living. So she casually brought up if it was possible for my oldest to ask him to come over and check it out. My oldest instantly started screaming and berating. Saying how he doesn’t want his friend to be exposed to how dirty and scumbaggrous his family was. (wow, is that actually a word?)

Before I go further, let me describe what my oldest brother actually is. The man walks around like he is a gift from god. That we should appreciate to be in his presence and how he has this infinite wisdom. In reality, he is a momma’s boy who cannot drive or do anything without my mom helping him. He is very overweight, violent, an alcoholic, and has very extreme opinions about everything. He practically tormented me and my brothers throughout my childhood and into adulthood. When we wasn’t beating the shit out of me or my brothers, he was punching hole through walls and threatening to murder us. My parents never stopped him. They always let him run loose and had no courage to ever do what they needed to do to stop him.

Accurate art from my famous and much acclaimed game, Tragic Childhood.

My oldest liked to call my family hillbillies and scumbags and any degrading thing you can think of. Which I find funny, because my family is mostly well behaved and whatnot while he was always the person doing shady ass stuff. Like stealing, drug dealing, etc etc etc.

I was 22 at this point. Getting ready for work. And just being forced to witness my brother berate my mom without a pause. It was 22 years of this. I told my parents many times that I cannot handle this for much longer and that I will stand up to him. They begged me not to and said they would deal with it. I finally had enough.

I tell him if he is going to keep talking that he, he needs to leave the kitchen and go to his room as I just want to make my breakfast without witnessing my mom be verbally slaughtered. He was standing there is his dirty beer stained wife beater, face red and covered in sweat. He looked at my mom and said “You are going to let this scumbag tell me to leave my kitchen?”

My oldest brother and I did have a temporary truce for a few years before this day. It has been years since I let him directly talk that way to me. He was crossing line after line and it finally built up to this. I lose my cool instantly and reply with “You’re going to let this dirty alcoholic call ME a scumbag?”

He can say whatever he wants. I had to stomach so much vile shit from his mouth. And guess what, he WAS and still IS an alcoholic. He would demand booze money as allowance from my parents, even when he had a full time job (which he did then and still does). This man is also 8 years older than me. So at the time he was already 30. But the fact I dared call him anything set him off into an explosion of fury.

My gf at the time was in Norway, thankfully, and missed out on this horrible debacle. Yet, one of the first things my brother did was bring her into it. He called her a whore. He also threatened to murder me and my family. He would say incredibly hurtful things to my mom then look at me after and be like “YOU MADE ME DO THAT TO HER”

The wrap this up, I stood up to him and did not stand down. He didn’t lay a finger on me, only because he was afraid of me calling the cops. Which I was more than willing to do and everyone knew it. He did try to break my fingers at one point during this, thankfully he wasn’t strong enough. I stood up and told him that he was not do be doing this shit anymore. I kind of won because he stopped doing it openly, but the cost was pretty dear. My mom has never quite forgiven me for this and even blamed my gf/future wife on the events… Despite her having nothing to do with it, at all.

The fight more or less lasted two days. On the first day I had to go to work. I remember being shaken up really bad. I mentally was not there. I was not hungry. My skin felt tingly. I told my parents that I really could not live in this toxic environment anymore. Yet they gave me the same old false reassurances that thing will change. I remember while I was at work that day, my dad kept texting me “It’s okay” spelled exactly like that over and over again. It WASN’T okay. It was never okay. And spoilers, it won’t be okay until I moved out for good two years later.

Believe it or not, that day when I calmed down I made a song on Cope Island. The song did not make it in, but I named the song “It’s okay” because of my dad’s texting. I did not have an idea of how to end the game yet at that point, so I just kind of used my general feel to make a song hoping it would give me ideas. It didn’t, not yet at least. But the song title “It’s okay” I used again later as I thought it was important to capture my complex emotions during that day in some way shape or form. The song title is now used for the Bath Trial, and is one of my favorite songs. It took a few years after this fight for me to figure certain things out, but time really did help me paint the vision I imagined.

This section kind of felt like airing dirty laundry, yet I find it important to tell as I did use Cope Island as sort of a beacon through this time. It helped me almost meditate and focus on something more positive. And that remains true for what comes next in my life. More dirty laundry, but it also leads to impacting what Cope Island became.

Summer of 2015 PART 2

My childhood house was a nightmare, to be honest. I will not go into details. But it was a miserable place full of bad vibes and memories, filled with trash and practically falling apart. I finally helped convince my parents it was time to cut the losses and move.

The house itself was really bad. It was always humiliating to bring people over. Honestly it gave me a huge complex about having anything nice. I truly feel I deserve my childhood house and anything nice, clean, and working was something not meant for me to ever have. So FINALLY being able to move from that was promising to be very life changing.

The big elephant in the room was my oldest brother. He and I deathly hated each other. I was not willing to move into a new house with him. The arrangement would have been that me, my parents, and my brother and his wife would split the costs of the place so we can all afford it. I refused to pay for my oldest brother.

My mom eventually convinced me to agree to let him come with us. He had a full time job, he could afford his own place. But he walked around preaching about how poor he was because he had a student loan he utterly failed with. I can go on and on about his failures, but this is not the time or place. My parents did not tell him it was a done deal yet, that we were literally moving. They kept that from him. Though they told him they were ‘highly considering’ moving and the plan of everyone sharing income. My oldest brother told her he was not going to pay a dime, or that if he does it will be drastically less than everyone else.

That’s when I put my foot down. I refused to let him come to the new house. I told my parents I would not come and I would not pay. LOOKING BACK, I should have just moved out then. It would have avoided so much heartbreak. But I didn’t. I was the one who covered the down payment. I was the one that people needed at that time. I did not want to let my family down.

So my mom tells him we are moving and he is not coming with. For the first time in my life, I saw my oldest brother break down in the most pathetic way you can imagine. I won't go into much details, but he tried to pretend like he was a changed man and I did not buy it. I stared into his eyes and told him I did not believe him. It took very little for him to completely change his expression. It was like the Ace Attorney games, where the villains are finally defeated and break down. Those games have some of the most accurate breakdowns, because I’ve seen just about all of them. The early Ace Attrorneys I mean. With foam in his mouth, he kind of gives me this evil smile and starts laughing and saying the most vile things to me you can imagine. I had to pack the rest of my stuff , but I had my phone out and thumb over the recording button as he spat and threatened me, but scared to act because of the threat of me recording and showing to the police. My mom literally BEGGED me to leave, saying that she thought he was going to literally murder me. I pack my stuff and leave him behind.

The new house was honestly nice. We got a good deal on it to rent. It had a lot of space. My gf at the time was a few weeks away from visiting for a few months. Things were going very well. My family got along better than ever. I was getting used to living in a nice house for once. That summer we had no a/c so it was deathly hot every day in the childhood house. The life change was drastic. That lasted for three weeks.

Maintenance had to fix the gas stove, because the burners weren’t quite working right. My brother and I leave for work, and we kinda notice a gas smell, but did not think anything of it because the guy was working on the stove or had just finished. We never had a house with gas stove before, so we didn’t quite get how much of a red flag that smell was.

Literally like 5 minutes into my shift, I get a phone call from my mom. “The house burned down. It’s a total loss. Your dad is in the ambulance to the hospital. I have to go.” I didn’t even have time to ask what happened. My COWORKER of all people walks in right after I get off the phone and tells me my house burned down. My brother and I worked at the same place at the time and he had already contacted my boss. (my dad was fine, he just had very high blood pressure and was not hurt. Took me a hot minute to learn that though, based off how my mom worded it lol)

My brother and I go there and it’s a fucking war zone. Firemen everywhere. Police preventing people from the street. The nice house we just rented just totally burned down. Everything I ever owned, gone just like that. Besides my 3ds and my pc, which I broke my work rules and brought with me that day.

Firemen were still working at it, I believe. I think the fire was stopped, but they were trying to recover stuff that could be saved. One of my brother’s cats was still in there. Firemen told me that there was literally no chance for her to have lived that. (Thankfully, he came out a few minutes literally holding the cat. She miraculously came out of that alive, hid under the smoke in the basement.)

What happened was, my dad turned on the stove after the maintenance guy worked on it and it exploded in my dad’s face. It seared his beard off but missed his skin thankfully. It burned FAST. He got the car out of the driveway. My sister in law got one of the cats out. Everyone made it out safely. I had not unpacked anything yet and, well, total loss for me. Everything was gone. The love letters from my gf. The souvenirs I had from Norway. My life time of Pokemon collection. Lifetime of game files and collection in general. At the blink of an eye, all gone.

So the first thing we have to do is drop off my brothers cats at the childhood home, where my oldest still resides. The first thing he does when we arrive is come out come out and pretend to care about my dad and ask about him. I told him now is not the time to start shit and he looks at me and says “Shut the fuck up, you Motherfucker. I’m asking about my dad.” Drama ensues, as me and the older brother I actually like were not in the mood for his bullshit. My other little brother, one who didn’t move with us, came out after the oldest went back in. This guy never spoke to anyone anymore, Very antisocial. Didn’t like anyone. He told me, my older brother, and his wife that the oldest was LAUGHING about the fire and saying how we all deserved it. That night we were literally homeless and living in a hotel room. I saw my mom get a text from my oldest saying that if he says me or my other older brother again, he will put us through a “living nightmare” and promise that we will be hospitalized and that he was willing to spend a night in jail for that. I still have a picture of that text, just in case I might have needed it one day.

Long story short, we somehow manage to find another place to rent in a short time. But we have like no furniture, no clothes, we have to start all over again. During that frenzied week of trying to recover, my mom tells me that the fire was karma for me not preventing my oldest brother from moving in. She literally looked at me and blamed me for the fucking fire. Honestly, I felt cursed. I finally had a nice place. Clean. Things were finally seemingly good. And it felt like it was life’s way of telling me fuck off. Everyone suffered much loss that day. Yet my stuff was totally destroyed. Nothing saved. It really felt like the universe was angry at me.

Thankfully, my oldest brother was not allowed to come with us because of my interventions. However everyone is in low morale, though less than a week after the fire my gf was finally able to visit for another three months. My god I really needed her during that time. The chaos did not end after that. A lot more drama from my parents, who treated me and my gf like utter garbage. Eventually some apologies were made and things got temporarily better. Yet my mom clearly despised my gf and blamed her for my oldest brother situation, for no fucking reason really.

That new house I lived in for three weeks before the fire, I still have vivid memories of it. I only did a little work on Cope Island during those weeks, all I did was I made a song called 'here'. I intended for it to be the ending song, but it turned out way more intense than I intended so I made it the end boss song instead. For the longest time, when I heard that song it would punch me in the face with my memories of my temporary room and I would smell it vividly. It honestly disturbed me a lot. That's why I kept it in. It only plays briefly in Cope Island: Adrift at the end boss. (most people haven't found it yet as it's pretty secret) The song plays before the fight really 'begins'. But it's the only song I ever made to provoke powerful feelings from within myself. The fact I named it 'here' and it was so intense. It's a slow and mostly ambient song with heavy tremolo string use, but it always felt powerful to me. For the longest time it WAS the end boss fight music, I changed that rather last minute because I didn't want it to seem too pretentious haha.

I know there's a lot of information here that seemingly does not have much to do with the development of Cope Island. The whole situation with my oldest brother and my house burning down. It feels important for me to tell that. It's part of the Cope Island development story. Really.

After all that chaos, I continue development. Around December I finish the second version of Cope Island, though I'm still waiting for Degica's side of the work. They are still utterly ghosting me. It's around this time I finally find my way to rmn and join the community, thanks to Liberty suggesting I believe after she gave me my judge scores. (Took me a while to actually join after.) I play some rmn games (looking at you Brave Hero Yuusha!) and seeing something as simple as a text blip made me really want to remake an old game of mine.

The new year begins and I decide to take a break from Cope Island dev as Degica is still not responding. I decided to learn Luna Engine Script and start Three Ghostly Roses. I hoped to finish that in a couple of months then focus more on Cope Island again. That only took about 10 months effort! I felt bad while making it, that I should be focusing on my commercial game instead. But I was tired of waiting for Degica and this was a good chance for me to learn. Turns out making Three Ghostly Roses was the BEST thing I ever did for making Cope Island. It taught me so much and got me through so many mental blocks.

I thought I could finish this Afterword thing on Part 2, but I have a lot to go. 2016, 2017, and 2018 were years of practically non-stop shitstorms. 2019 has been much better, but honestly much lonelier. That's not a bad thing though. It took me a long time to get to this point of peace, but I had to go through a lot to get here. I live a life of mostly solitude these days, but the turmoil is non-existent. Cope Island was finished pretty much at the end of all these shitstorms. It's funny how that worked out. I've been to very dark places mentally, but the idea of never finishing Cope Island was just the saddest thing to me. I really wanted to finish it. Very happy that I did. And now I slowly put the pieces of me back together, hopefully building a self esteem at all. Writing these have been difficult, but it's been really therapeutic.

I had to make Cope Island during so many difficult times throughout the years. As bad as 2015 was. 2017 was way worse. And 2018 was the low point of my life. The constant brightness in my life was this project and I sincerely mean that.

Until next time. See ya all in Part 3!


Afterword - Part I

Okay, this is a long one, where I likely reveal too much information about myself. I do want to start this off with a mega thanks to rmn for featuring me! This place is my internet home and I take this honor seriously and with pride.

I have rambled bits and pieces about the process of making Cope Island. Yet, now I think is time to tell the road I took to get here. I have felt the low and high points of my life while making this game. Cope Island: Adrift is not the longest game to complete. In the time I took making this, I could have made a long 20 hour epic. Yet it’s not. It’s not short, but it’s not long. I hammered this thing not to have you lose into something for a day, but to give an experience that resonated with who I am, in some small way.

I have preached this before. What gives my game flavor is honesty. Honesty of what I felt. Of what I wanted to be expressed. It’s my own form of a painting. My song composed my way. The right to share with you a portion of my mind is something that honestly helps keep me going, day by day.

So perhaps it is fair I be honest about my road getting here. This turned out WAY longer than I thought, so I decided to break this blog post into parts.


For many years, game dev was all I had. It was something that I was actually proud of. I never really had talent in anything. I never did any activities outside of playing games. People tried to take this away from me. Laughing at me for being proud of creating with RPG Maker. Saying it’s a silly tool to play around with and that I should only be proud of doing something that actually takes skill.

I had a friend online that I admired. He was 6 years older than me. He was 21 at this time. I was 15. He was in college to be a programmer. He wanted to be this mega successful game developer. I looked up to him, thought he was cool guy. I respected what he had to say. He had this whole community of friends he invited me to be a part of. I had legit no friends otherwise. They all had roles in his grand game dev team ambition. I was kind of an outsider.

He once started teaching me programming basics. He was an awful teacher, it went utterly nowhere. I always used RPG Maker, though. I was doing some eventing. It reminded me a bit of the stuff he tried to teach me with programming. I made a joke. I legit thought it was a joke and told him it was a joke. It went along the lines of “hey, this is kind of like programming!” and showed a screenshot. I forget what it even was. The hours that followed was him literally verbally assaulting me, making me feel like a piece of shit in every way shape or form he could imagine. Just because I insulted his pride. He was a REAL programmer, and to even JOKE about that was insulting.

I had no other friends at that point. I had legit no social life. I was already a school drop out at that point. I didn’t even talk to my brothers (I only had one brother that treated me like a human being anyway) I lived my life mostly in the middle of the night. And he did this in a group chat with his other fully grown adult friends, and they either ignored it or laughed about it, agreeing at how much of a failure piece of shit I was. I truly believed what he said. I truly felt like trash. If you’re still reading, you might ask yourself. Why is this relevant to Cope Island?

That took place in 2008. Let’s fast forward to 2014. I stuck around this person throughout the years. I always tried to be a part of his grand game dev ambitions. I wanted to be his music guy, but he said I was trash at music and should give up. So I tried to be a pixel artist, which I sucked bad at the time. Attempts at making a game with him happened a few times, all ended in pretty much failure.

An old image concept I made long before Cope Island. In game it was butchered beyond belief, but ah well.

IGMC 2014 comes around and he wants to give it a go. I had dabbled in RPG Maker plenty at this point, and he wanted to make a game in RPG Maker. So he actually came to me for some advice. He asked me if a mechanic was possible in RPG Maker and asked how to do it. It was only required simple eventing. So I did it and showed him the screenshot. His response: “Oh, that’s a lot like programming!”

It was many years later. People grow. (this guy surely didn’t grow much I tell you hwat) Yet, I remembered that night all those years prior. Being psychology shattered because I offended his pride. I was afraid to even bring up RPG Maker for years to him after. (to most people, actually, for different reasons perhaps?) I brought up to him that years earlier, he went batshit on me for JOKING about the same thing he had said. He didn’t remember. Maybe I was overreacting? Maybe it was just teenage silliness? No. That shit hurt me. It stung. It stuck with me. And it was like one of HUNDREDS of similar incidents with this person. I remembered most of them, if not all. It’s hard to forget stuff that leaves a mark on you. He forgot it all, because it didn’t matter to him.

He did not enter IGMC 2014. In fact, I actually showed him Cope Island before I submitted. He said it sucked. Told me to get help from someone who can write. (Cope Island is mine and I would never have someone write it for me) He had a total lack of faith in me.

After I won the third place of the RPG section, he came to me and demanded I give him the credit of “Expert Game Design Consultant.” saying that it would help him be accepted into a college program that would let him travel to Japan to study. He didn’t do shit to help. I was furious and had choice words with him. Yet, being the pushover I am. I did give him that credit and he used it. Since, I have took him out. Removed his stain from my game. I gave that credit jokingly to an actual friend of mine, because we make fun of it so much. (he has no idea I gave him that credit yet, lol)

I do not talk to this person any longer. It took me a couple of years after IGMC 2014 to finally rip that bandaid off, but he is completely out of my life. Years upon years of being wrapped up into this person’s bullshit, with him constantly telling me I was not good enough, that I was a failure, that I would never succeed or even get a job. That I would end up homeless under the bridge. That I should join the army and be fodder because that’s all I’d be good for.

This guy is just a mere example. I could write a novel alone on my experience with him. But that’s not the point of this blog. I had MANY different weights that held me down, he was just one of them. The point of this blog is what this game means to me and how I got to the finish line.

IGMC 2014

The story of making this game is not a revenge story. Actually, it’s about me finding good in my life WITH RPG Maker and accomplishing something that I never expected to happen.

I was in a long distance relation at the time. I had no job. No driver’s license. I lived in my parents house. I had no education. But this girl loved me. I loved her. We were dating long distance for a couple of years and at the start of 2014, she managed to get me a plane ticket to Norway to visit her for a few months.

From February to May, I stayed in Norway. I went from living in my parents house, barely leaving it, having no social life… To across the world, finally seeing the girl I loved in person. I had never flown in a plane before. I had never even been apart from my parents more than a few days before that. When I was stepping onto the plane, I felt nauseous. I thought I was going to die. Because I had no right do be happy. But I stepped on anyway, and went on to live the most magical three months of my life.

I’ve had so many lows in my life since. So many. None beat returning to Illinois after those three months in Norway. That was the most brutal pain I ever experienced. That was worse than my house burning down. Worse than my little brother dying. Worse than helping my wife through her brain surgery. Returning home that first time was the most pain I ever felt, as there has been nothing that compared to the high of being there those first three months.

Back in my parents house. Back with no job. Back with no driver’s license. Apart from the girl I loved, who spent everyday crying because she missed me so much. It was a truly awful time. Then this IGMC contest thing begins, and I decide to just, well, go for it. I had been dabbling with RPG Maker for many years before that, and finished projects. But I never released anything. I decided it was time to finally put my skills to the test.

I ran through my mind a tornado of ideas. How could I make an rpg feel DONE in 30 minutes? RPGs require a LOT of build up and pacing to feel complete. So I thought of tons of ideas. Struggling to choose one, almost panicking. I wanted to make a “castle” game. One dungeon. Multiple sections. Though I didn’t want just a normal castle. So I thought, hey, maybe an island would be fun! I made a song afterwards, and it was somber. I guess that was what I wanted to express at the time. An island sounded nice. I wanted to go to an island and just spend time with my girlfriend (later wife) at the time. Magically pulled away to it. Though that was impossible.

As cheesy as it was, making Cope Island was how I coped with the pain. The name Cope Island, I wanted to change it so much. But I’ve had various people tell me do NOT change it. It is what it is.

I like playing games and getting good at them. The idea of Cope Island is escaping somewhere, getting better, and going back to where you left of. That’s kind of my relationship with games as a whole.

So I make the game in a couple of weeks pretty much. The first week was mostly planning. I was already like a week late. I redid the game the last couple of days because I wasn’t happy with the results. I decided to make everything even faster paced, maps even smaller. I press submit and enter the agonizing wait to be judged.

Wow, look at this old thing.

New version of that, pretty much!

During the wait, I went to Norway again for a month, then brought her back to my home for the first time for three months. My home, well, it’s not Norway. She had to stomach a lot of unpleasant. She was shocked, to be honest. I tried to warn her, but, well… So being in Illinois with her, was very hard on me.

I checked anxiously every day for judging to be done. I had zero hope. I even found an error in my game. It was rare to get, but it gave me massive anxiety. I felt I lost my only chance. I also played a lot of other entrees and lost total hope. Remnants of Isolation, I played and thought “if any game beats me, I hope it’s this” Still happy it won. I also played One Shot a bit and felt “this is COMPLETELY out of my league.

Finally, the results were in. I clicked and saw Remnants of Isolation. I was super happy for them. I scrolled down to finally get rid of the anxiety. I was really considering quitting game dev because it just weighed on me too much and I felt I wasn’t that good. I saw “Cope Island” and was like “WHAT???????” My gf, later wife, was startled. I showed her and she was so happy she legit picked me up and spun me around. She has viking strength.

Degica emailed me, saying I need a bank account to get the money and offered me a commercial contract. All those years of using RPG Maker, feeling proud of doing what I did, having so many people tell me it was a useless waste of time and not a skill to feel proud of… After all that, I accomplished something with it. I didn’t earn a bunch of money, but that was my first $500 I earned in my life. Now that I have a job, that’s nothing. Yet, at the time, it was so much. I had a contract with an actual game company too.

I decided I wanted to make the game I wanted to make. Not let down the minor success I had. I wanted to release the best version of the game I could make. No time limits. No settling for less. I wanted to make my own pixel art and to show those who said it was ugly that I CAN map.

The next four years, well, a lot happened. The contract more or less vanished as Degica ghosted me. I finished the game on my own, but while waiting for them to respond, I made Three Ghostly Roses. Then I scrapped the second version of Cope Island and made a third version. I have a lot to say about these 4 years. So much that, well, I should break these in parts as not to drown y’all in a wall of text at once. I’m sure this is long enough already, haha.

That’s Part I of the Afterword. I’ll write Part II soon, and express the struggles of MAKING Cope Island: Adrift. The highs. The lows. The lessons I’ve learned. How my life greatly impacted each second of dev time. How my life drastically changed during that time as well. So many major changes. Some fresh and hard to talk about. All of it affected the final product, hopefully in a positive way.

Until next time, while I die from embarrassment from revealing a lot about myself. I feel like my story should be, you know, told? Maybe some people can relate to it. Maybe it can help others understand people like the younger version of myself who had nothing.


Post Release - Marketing Struggle

Cope Island: Adrift has been out for a few weeks now.

The reception has been almost non existent as of yet, as the indie game market is quite bloated. Yet, I'm okay with that. All of my games so far had a slow start in that regard. I have a lot to learn with marketing and next time I will do a better job at making an impact from the get go.

I have been emailing let's players keys and review sites. I don't think anyone has bitten yet, but that means I just have to keep trying.

I know I made a game good enough to make an impact if played. I just got to get people playing.

If anyone knows of any communities, even better if not game dev, that might like a zDS like turn based rpg? I am going to try and start giving out some keys to various of communities. Hopefully find people who will enjoy what I have to offer.

And for those who have played my game, reviews on steam would help immensely. If anyone is on the fence, I do have a few spare keys to give.

I plan on writing an afterword blog within next couple of weeks, explaining the ups and downs the 4ish year long journey making this game has been. For now, getting people to play is my goal.

Thank you all for reading!



Cope Island: Adrift has been released.



So many words I thought I wanted to say are escaping my grasp. I don't see them clearly anymore.

I hope you all have as much fun playing this as I had making it. It is a huge part of me. A burden. Yet a huge part of me that I love. It is no longer mine. It is yours now.


Demo is out now! Play the first pilgrimage for free. Once you're finished you can easily add the save file to the full version and continue where you left off.


May 1st 2019

4 and a half years. And then...

Insert picture of King Kong dead here.

Assuming the build stuff goes well with steam, I will release the game May 1st 2019. I plan on making a release date trailer and an itch page in the upcoming weeks. Steam achievements have already been implemented.

Exclusively to rmn, I plan on releasing a demo on the same day as Commercial release. The demo will let you play the remade versions of the original 3 trials but it will stop you before you unlock the remaining 80% of the game. I will make sure save files transfer properly to commercial version and that those who played the demo will get the achivement unlocked upon playing.

Cope Island is finally done. Just gotta get it released. Your turn, George R.R. Martin.

Progress Report


What I value in all forms of art is honesty. I do not mean airing dirty laundry. Not the words that fill your head, but the landscapes that fill your heart.

I started this journey in hopes to be honest in the best way I could possibly muster. I lost all sights of good or bad along the way.

The one thing I have full confidence is: You will get me in this game. Cope Island is me. No one else could be me. It is mine.

Connecting with others in my life is like playing a game of extreme Operation and constantly touching the edges. Like I see the goal and I get an aggressive shock as the result.

When I released the original version of this game, I was ready to give up game dev. My personal life was difficult enough. I was going through a really hard time. I checked everyday for results expecting not to see my game listed.

The shock I felt when I saw "Cope Island" on third place of the RPG section is something I cannot describe. I felt like for once, I did not get the jolt as a response of my honesty.

The response was more amazing than I ever expected. I saw it impact so many people. I would have been happy if one person even played my game. Yet it was successful in my own mild way.

All these years passed since. Sometimes it feels like a blink of an eye. Yet so much has happened since. So much good times. So much traumas. Bridges burnt. Bridges repaired. Bridges shattered beyond repair.

I have reached heights I thought I never thought I would since I released the original version. I have also fallen from those heights and hit the ground far below since I released the original.

I'm not sure if I would have the same impact now as I did in 2014 when I release this. Yet I stand tall, knowing I am honest to everyone who gives me the honor to play my game.

I had to rush the original game into oblivion for the contest. I had so many ideas for what I wanted to do, ideas for the landscapes I wished to paint. I will release this without regret. Without the desire to do more.

Cope Island: Adrift is very near that point. Development will cease in next few days. I will be ready to finally end this 4+ year journey. It is time to push this bird out of its nest and move on to bigger and better things.

I do not have a release date yet. Once I finish production, I'll release it as soon as steam lets me after. It could be really soon. I sure hope so.

Here's the new version of one of my game's areas!

Progress Report

Steam Page Up


I'm aiming for a mid January release! I'm close to finishing the changes of my first playtester runs. That way I can send it to the second round of playtesters.


I'll be adding stuff to the store page in the next month as well and perhaps creating an itch page too.

Thanks for reading!
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