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Date, create, and share!

Assuming the role of a male high school student in Japan, the player will meet, interact with, and date a number of female characters with the goal of winding up with one of them at the end of a 101-day calendar. Yeah, you've seen this all before...or have you?

In other romance sims, there's little reason to replay the game again once you've pursued all the characters you're interested in. But Heartache 101 allows for a variable female cast. The number of characters in the game is completely open-ended!

You can create new characters and add them to the game, share them with other users, and add characters created by other users. You can create the images for custom characters from a template, or use images you created yourself, or images from any source. (only "standing" images of characters can be imported; there is no event CG in the game) A simple scripting language is provided for writing story events. You can also customize some of the music.

The game system itself is in part a visual novel interface with gameplay that include conversational decision-making, board game-like mechanics, stat management, financial management, and more.

Latest Blog

New game forthcoming, some might like to know

Since I've been asked many times if I would ever make a sequel to Heartache....

Well this is not a sequel. In very many ways it's radically different. But some might find that it partially retains a bit of the same feel?

So I'm posting the first public screenshot here, and whoever is interested, look for a game page up in the next week or two with the title "Where One Citizen". Game is not complete yet, but after 10 years of development it's about time to start showing it!


Ah, user-defined variables? I can see the merit in that.

What if, instead of the user defining them, a set number of stock variables are provided? For instance VAR1, VAR2, VAR3, etc. Those variables would be unique within a sub-directory. So if User A creates a story that fiddles with VAR1 and User B also creates a story that fiddles with VAR1, as long as the two story files are in different directories it will be okay because they are actually considered different variables. That's the implementation I would lean towards.

Yeah, something like that would work. Just some random names for the variable or a few specific and a few generic names would do it. I didn't mean to suggest an option for the user to define the name of the variable themselves, because that would only cause more work for you and it has little advantage.

What if I slipped in frequent links leading back to the table of contents

That might make it easier for people. I'm just saying it because when I started writing a story I noticed I kept scrolling back and forth because I wasn't sure where in this big list I could find the explanation I was looking for. But it's up to you. I already divided the help file into 7 separate files to make it more convenient for myself.

On a completely different topic: Too bad I came across this game about 6 months after it went public, seems some of the initial participants are gone. Although I'm convinced there are still a lot of people out there who would be interested in the game if they knew about it.
Guardian of the Description Thread
Perhaps cut the help-file into several files? Because right now it's just one long page. The index on top is convenient, but you still have to scroll back and forth quite a bit.

I dunno about anybody else, but the only problems I've had with the help file is being tripped up when looking at the possible body commands, expecting a listing of locations for the PLACE command, only to find a link to "Types of Stories". I don't know how much time I, or anyone else, would save by having the location reference at the PLACE command definition, though.
I only announced this game in one other community and it didn't get a big response there. I suck at advertising.

I suppose there's no reason not to list the place names in Header commands.
A very saddening ending when the person is only on 'Love'. Great game :>

Do you ever plan on making a sequel?
You get the generic ending with Lovesick, too, if you haven't completed a character route.

Sequel...I'd like to make one, but only if I can figure a way to attract more users to create content.
Guardian of the Description Thread
A very saddening ending when the person is only on 'Love'.

Just out of curiosity, who with?

Sequel...I'd like to make one, but only if I can figure a way to attract more users to create content.

There was a bunch of people that posted that they'd make custom content for this game, but how many of them made that content public? Or followed through with the creation of said content, for that matter?

Of course, if you find more people like me, who have ideas floating about, you might be in business.
Oh, it's totally understandable that not everyone finishes their content or even cares about making it public. (Also, I made several dozen stepfiles for Stepmania and never bothered to publicly release a single one!)

I was thinking more of the challenge of reaching the target audience. Datesims are just so incredibly niche that there is no obvious place you can go to find the fans of this genre, excepting perhaps Flash games. I mean, Rpgmaker.net is practically the only community where the game is even known, and the game isn't even an RPG!

I think that datesim enthusiasts are out there, but until I have a better idea how to reach them I'm hesitant to make another game like this.

(Well, I do think including GxB support would grow the audience somewhat, but there prob'ly wouldn't be much overlap between those interested in male chars and those interested in female chars)
I think a big piece of the target audience are the fans of VN's. So people who hang around the forums of renai(forum of the Ren'Py VN engine). The biggest similarities would be that both aim to provide a nice story.
If I compare the two of them, this game and the ren'py engine, I come to the following conclusions: The ren'py engine is not that hard to use and provides more custom options in terms of image placement, event sequence, etc. Of course comparing 1 game to a game engine is a bit unfair, but I do think this game has 2 advantages. Because it uses the rpgmaker engine, it opens all kinds of options that are impossible or near impossible with ren'py. And the 2nd one is that instead of people having to make a whole new story/game from scratch, they already have an existing universe of characters, plots, images, locations and such.

I think the challenge is not only to reach the people who are interested in this and just haven't found this site yet. Like me, I found this place by searching this game's name after following a dead link in a readme of this game, which I stumbled upon on a game-download-blog(yeah, a long way).
But also to encourage the making of custom content. One way to do that is to provide people with more tools. So like the original psd that was used for the tachi, but not only translated, but also with more items added. Or encourage people who add new items to their tachi, like the "21 Ways"-character who has a new hat and guitar, to upload their changes too. That way there will be more ways for people to easily customize their character. Same thing with the backgrounds, a dozen more can be added to accommodate people.
Now this would make it more convenient for people to write their own story, because they can already create something unique without too much effort, so the only thing left is to write a story.

That brings me two the second point, writing a story. That is a big hurdle to take. I think a lot of people who played this game have thought of the idea to write a story. But once you start writing, it can often lead to a disappointment. Not because the tools are bad, but a lot of people are not used to writing, or in my case, my ambitions are too high(still hoping I'll finish it one day). A good way to tackle this is to promote and facilitate shorter stories. Now I must admit that's easier said than done, because I don't really have a good idea about that either.
But if people would get the feeling that writing a story that consists of only 10 stories(in the editor) could already be nice and meaningful, it will motivate them to do so. This could be achieved by several people working together on 1 story, so divided one character. Or something else, where a short story still feels worthy enough to be released, but it leaves room for adding more later.

Just as a disclaimer:
I think the game is great, and I really like the fact that it allows for customization. Especially since it's not possible in most games or a real pain in the ass. I'm writing this, and look at things critically , because I think the idea has potential and I hope it will become a huge success.

Or maybe a way to convince the hentai fans to focus their attention to a non 18+ game like this, which offers more story and challenge:p.
A very saddening ending when the person is only on 'Love'.
Just out of curiosity, who with?

I believe her name is Riho?
You bring up a lot of points worth thinking about.

It's true that the audience for this game has some overlap with audiences of VNs, although I do think that the romance sim genre is niche even compared to the VN (which is rather niche itself) and that fans of one aren't necessarily fans of the other. Given the absence of any other community to draw upon, I suppose the VN communities could be appealed to, I dunno....

Speaking of the one you mentioned, that was the community where I first asked for beta-testing help, but didn't get it. I got the impression there wasn't much interest in my project there. (Ren'py itself, however, is an outstanding tool and to anyone making an original VN, I would certainly recommend it over anything I can offer!)

I like your idea of encouraging people to share graphical resources. Do you think perhaps if another upload/download section were added to the website for that purpose, it would get used? Maybe more links to where resources can be found could be added as well; I actually know of lots, but it didn't occur to me to add links for them.

I also tend to agree that more content would get finished if authors don't feel they need to create something grand. Actually, that was the reason for the addition of "hyper" affection build types; how can we encourage their usage? I'm open to further ideas if they're practical.

The way I see it this game draws from both the general rpg world, in the form of the rpg maker board navigation and the stat leveling, and the date sim/vn. I think in general it leans more towards the VN-part, because the story is the most important part in the game.
I'm not sure why they didn't help you much with game, especially since there was quite an interest on those forums about idolcraft.
I for one found it refreshing the first time I played this because instead of 'merely' making the right choices, I also had to work for it(as in, raise stats). So not sure why the lack of interest from their side.

About the custom content, obviously sharing the big word. So for example you bundle the original tachi file with the game. People will mostly use that, because it allows them to easily make an original characters. Some may add some news items or whatnot. If they would upload that to the website, other people can just it. But we could also add those items to the original tachi that gets bundled with the game. Then in the end you would have a psd file that acts like the character-creation-process when you play an (mmo)rpg. You can choose hair, hair color, lips and so on. Like the tachie sets you made before. You could add the different hair combos to the psd and expand the different possibilities.

Same could be done about backgrounds, although more restrictive(because it requires to change the game itself). If people find a background that is suitable for the game(size, style, looks), they could upload it to the site. And once every * weeks you could add them to the game and instead of 66, people could choose from even more places their stories happen.

As for the 3rd part, the story, that's a tough one. The 'hyper' option creates the possibility of having a short, but complete story. Now the challenge is to encourage/facilitate people writing a detailed but incomplete story, maybe like an 'episode'. But still the question remains, how?>.< I don't have a good idea of how to do that. Enabling stories to be short but still very much rewarding and leaving room for more to build on.

One thing that I must applaud you on, is the manual. When I first read it, I was surprised how much was about the custom content(at that time I was playing, so I was just looking for hints and such). It's quite thorough in explaining and teaching how to make custom content. Most commercial games that offer customization either are 1: difficult to master or 2: only give you the tools without teaching how to use them.
Guardian of the Description Thread
My two cents: If you're going to package material_m.psd with the game, you may as well package the Notepad++ stuff too.

Side note: Emiko has 25 instances of STORY in her file and she's possibly the only character out there who's HYPER. Not that I really noticed any real differences between her and a non-HYPER character, though...
I don't think I should be packaging material_m.psd with the game. It's somebody else's work. But as for as making things convenient for everyone, certainly bundling a character template makes a whole lot of sense. If I ever make a sequel I'll seriously consider that.

It's probably best to avoid bundling anything and everything with the game. Don't want the file size to be much larger than it already is. I can look into adding a new upload section to the website, tho. I think I'll make it general-use so that authors can use it to promote content they're working on as well as to share content that others can use.

About the Lemmasoft board...well, one thing is that Idolcraft was posted in the completed games section and had a public download!

Thanks for the feedback about the manual.
This may seem like a n00b question, but what's material_m.psd?
Guardian of the Description Thread
@Keiron: It's a file that people have used to make custom characters. It has a reference waaaay on the bottom of the on the main content area (not sure what else to call it) of this page. Or, maybe, a more direct link to the file would help. Does that answer your question at all?
I think I've finished all the girls' path except that first year girl (was it Hinami?) Also, I've saw a short, pink-haired girl in the files, is she the 'extra' one? How do you get her ending?
Guardian of the Description Thread
I don't really know myself. Though, at the very least, I would think that you'd probably have to find all of her "notices".
Are they random? Coz I've only found 2 of those 'paper' or 'poems', one at the arcade and the other at the greenhouse.
Guardian of the Description Thread
No, I'm pretty sure they can be found only at specific places, and not a randomly generated location. I think it also has to do with the day of the week, but I'm not 100% sure on this.

I do know that knowing something about Japanese culture would help in getting her. Not sure how much that helps, but there you have it.
can someone explain something to me Im trying to make a brunette custom character Im using gimp and the model file and I her look like I wanted but I cant figure out how to change the hair color from red