Posted by: T51bwinterized 12 February 2017
Akabur, the ecclectic creator of Princess Trainer and Star Channel 34, joined us to talk about his games, including Chapter 5 of Broken Heart Bordello.
If you’ve played a game by Akabur before, you will likely know the name. The games he’s been producing are unique in terms of art style, game play mechanics, and their own consist manic energy. His largest work to date, of course, was Princess Trainer, but he’s also gained notoriety from projects like Witch Trainer and his new Star Channel 34. We sat down with the developer to talk about his increased notoriety, what he’s working on at the moment, and the way he views the industry. Along the way, he even revealed for the first time here some of the other girls he plans to make trainable in Star Channel 34.
LewdGamer: Hello, Akabur. Thanks for speaking with us today.
Akabur: Hello, LewdGamer. Thank you for reaching out!
LewdGamer: Let’s jump right in. Your first project with Ren’py was a game called Magic Shop, correct? Can you tell us what it was about?
Akabur: Yeah, it was my first attempt at working with Ren’Py. But, you should probably know that before I decided to switch to Ren’Py, Magic Shop was a Macromedia FLASH game. As for the game itself, it is an assortment for random stories. Some of them are short, others not so much. Some of them involve Princess Jasmine and Genie, others don’t.
LewdGamer: Had you worked on any H-games before that?
Akabur: Yes, I did. There was The Butler’s Bitch, Wonder Slut and that little Cinderella’s Ball game… All were created in FLASH and all were relatively small games.
LewdGamer: Why did you decide to move to Ren’py?
Akabur: Well, I don’t know first thing about programming, so working with FLASH was a pain. Ren’Py is perfect for guys like me, it already has all the basic features like the “Save game” feature and main menu and all that. So it allowed me to spend more time on actually creating content instead of trying to figure out what string of my clumsy code crashed the game this time.
LewdGamer: And that functionality helped you when you moved on to larger projects like Witch Trainer, correct?
Akabur: Absolutely. All my FLASH games had no “Save” feature, so any big project would be completely out of question… Plus, Ren’Py is perfect for “visual novel” type of games, and that is exactly the type of games I was always interested in creating.
LewdGamer: Can you tell us about Witch Trainer?
Akabur: It’s the best game EVAR! Heh… What would you like to know about it?
LewdGamer: Well just describe the game a bit. What’s the premise, how it plays, anything like that.
Akabur: Well, it’s a game about true male friendship blossoming between a Masked Figure and Professor Snape. It also has a side story about some girl named Hermione. And a bird. It has a bird that you can feed everyday for the duration of the game. Yeah, that’s about it…
LewdGamer: It’s not about anything else? Something more lewd perhaps?
Akabur: Alright, Alright… Heh… Well, it’s essentially this small game where you have a girl that you need to train from being an annoying know-it-all into a somewhat obedient girl that you supposed to care for closer to the end of the game. It all has quite a few jokes and plenty of “adults only” stuff. It is set in my version of Harry Potter universe… It has two endings… It has a piece of my soul… Really don’t know what else can I say.
LewdGamer: Fair enough. Your largest and most complete game so far is Princess Trainer. In it the player takes the role of a mysterious hooded figure tasked with turning Princess Jasmine from Aladdin into a sex slave. Why’d you pick Aladdin to do a parody of?
Akabur: Well, the truth is, all of my games were spawned by Magic Shop. Originally Witch Trainer or “Hermione Trainer” was supposed to be just another part of Magic Shop. The same is true for Princess Trainer. And by now it’s sort of become this ongoing joke where the main character of my games is always the same hooded man.
Also, I grew up watching Aladdin.
LewdGamer: How much help did you get from other creators on Princess Trainer?
Akabur: Xaljio helped me a lot with Princess Trainer. I remember bothering him quite often with Ren’Py related questions back in the day. Programming is not something that I am good at, so it really takes effort and time for me to learn new things. Xaljio was always patient with me while explaining very rudimentary and basic things to me. I still did all the programming myself though, because I wanted to have full control. Also DAHR, he helped me A LOT with the graphical part of Princess Trainer. All the in-game characters, apart from the main character, Lola and Princess Jasmine, are his doing. I still had to draw all the CGs myself though.
So yes, Xaljio and DAHR, if not for those guys Princess Trainer would never be as good of a game as it is now.
LewdGamer: That’s interesting, because Xaljio and DAHR have announced They’re working on a spin-off Princess Trainer that you’re not directly involved with entitled Iris Quest, correct?
Akabur: Yes, that is very correct.
LewdGamer: Princess Trainer is considered by many to have been a fairly innovative entry into the “Slave training” sim genre. You’d been developing the mechanics in prior games, but what games did you draw inspiration from when designing the mechanics?
Akabur: Well to be honest with you I wasn’t even aware I am creating a “slave training” game. At least not until it was released and labeled so. I just wanted to create a game set in Agrabah where you get to do naughty things to Princess Jasmine. That is all I was doing, really.
Lewdgamer: If not other slave trainer sims, what games were you using as an inspiration?
Akabur: Hm… I honestly could’t tell you. I know that I was playing Persona 3 and Persona 4 GOLDEN at the time, and also Yakuza 3. For example the whole Iris-training part came into being after I got to manage a host-club in Yakuza 3. And whole night-time working out training in Princess Trainer is from Persona 3. Oh, and reading books in Witch Trainer is straight from Persona 4 GOLDEN…
LewdGamer: So then, would it be fair to say that you basically happened to stumble on an innovative approach to an entire style of hentai game that you hadn’t even known about before?
AKabur: Yes, it would be fair to say so. But I think it is important to keep in mind that, for example, you could create a good game about racing or a bad game about racing. And at the same time you could create good “slave trainer” game or a bad one. The game will be good or bad not because it’s a racing game or a slave training game or whatever. The game is good because behind it is an individual or a group of individuals who worked their ass off to make a GOOD game. I think what I really stumbled upon is a realization that people desperately need well-made games that cater exclusively to grown ups.
LewdGamer: Do you try not to define your games based on genre?
Akabur: Sorta… I don’t like labels. I see them as limitations. I demand a new genre: “Akabur’s Games”. Heh…
LewdGamer: Well, speaking of “Akabur’s Games”, your newest game, Star Channel 34 just had it’s first public release. What’s Star Channel 34 about?
Akabur: Star Channel is an epic story about humans taking a last stand in a war for survival that they have no chance of winning. Or it could be about managing a space-strip-club, I haven’t decided yet. Heh, alright, jokes aside, Star Channel is a new type of game for me, because I tried to design in in such a way so that I could constantly update it with new content but no new features. It is like adding new chapters to a book without forcing the player to read the said book from the beginning every time a new update released.
LewdGamer: How does the game’s structure encourage that style chapter of update?
Akabur: Well, the way I see it at the moment, the game will have different girls from different universes, cartoons and TV-shows, games and comics that you will be collecting like freaking Pokémon. I will be adding new girls and every girl will have unique story-lines, and dancing and striping animations and all that. You also have an ability to send girl back to their original home-worlds to perform different tasks to help in their training. In a way it’s a slave-trainer game on a smaller scale but with a whole bunch for girls you can train…
LewdGamer: The public build of the game contains Princess Jasmine, The Ship’s AI L.O.L.A., and Ashelin Praxis from Jak and Daxter. Further references indicate that Laura Croft of Tomb Raider and Hermoine Granger will also be trainable. Do you know how many characters you want to include?
Akabur: Not at this point, no. I have a list in my mind of girls that I definitely WANT to add, and a list of girls I WOULD LIKE to add. But I am also open for suggestions…
LewdGamer: Well, on that note, would you be willing to give players a hint into what others characters you plan to have trainable in the game?
Akabur: Sure. Here is a list of girls that will be on the roster for sure: Hermione Granger, Lara Croft, April O’Neil, Wonder Woman… And I think I will leave it at that for now. Many things could change during the development, so at this point this is just my ideas, basically nothing but words. All I can say is I will be adding new characters that many a familiar with and will be putting my own spin on them…
Lewd Gamer: How soon can players expect the next release of Star Channel 34?
Akabur: Hopefully soon enough. But, I am only starting to work on the next update. Safe to say it is going to take some time…
LewdGamer: Have you been working on anything else in the meantime?
Akabur: Yeah, for the past month I have been doing some artworks for a project of a friend of mine called “Broken Heart Bordello.”
Lewd Gamer: This is Chapter 5 of Broken Heart Bordello, correct? How did you start working on BHB originally?
Akabur: That’s right. Heh… That’s a rather long story… Too keep it short, many years ago I thought it could be fun to have a blog on blogspot.com where me and my good buddy Smersh could write an epic story that would revolve around building a brothel. So that was what we did. He wrote the story I illustrated it, we gave readers a chance to vote on plot twists and we updated it weekly with new contend. We had no idea what we were doing though and it became overwhelming rather quickly. But, I believe the blog is still up: http://brokenheartbordello.blogspot.ru/ Years later when I got into developing games using Ren’Py we decided to bring BHB back to life but in a visual novel form.
Lewd Gamer: How long have you known Smersh for?
Akabur: He is one of a very few childhood friends that I am still friends with.
LewdGamer: What can we expect from Chapter 5 of the game?
Akabur: I actually only finished playing it yesterday since I am always the one who gets the honor to play it first and enjoy all the bugs and typos. Chapter 5 is a bit different from the previous installments. The story revolves around main character participating in a handball tournament and that I all I am going to say. It was fun though, many familiar faces doing unexpected things…
Lewdgamer: Changing gears, your games have proven quite popular with the hentai game playing public at large. How do you feel about the reaction from fans to your works?
Akabur: I was very surprised by the amount of positive feedback the first version of Princess Trainer received. Never have I created a game with so much text in it. And never having created a game that would take so long to beat. And I did not share any development info so people were really getting antsy about me not releasing any new content for a long period of time. I was sure that people will not like it much, and the will be skipping most of the text and such. But the release changed everything, the amount of positive feedback I got was a big surprise to me, but it encouraged me to keep on working in the same direction.
LewdGamer: And that’s come with financial successes as well. You get more then $6000 a month on Patreon, but the most interesting part is that this is despite your Patreon only serving as a tip jar, no rewards. Why did you decide to run your Patreon that way?
Akabur: I really like the idea behind Patreon. I never had any interest in Kickstarter for example. But I signed up to Patreon the moment I knew it existed. On Patreon I can work hard on my games and not think about anything else. That rather precious to me, and of course it’s only possible because I have so many awesome people who support me and share my passion for what I do.
LewdGamer: Despite the fact that English is not your first language, your games are mostly free of many of the errors one finds in some games made by non-native speakers. Do you consider your fluency a major asset for you in making games?
Akabur: Heh… My main asset is my attention to the detail. Language is my second language, but I strongly believe that typos and grammar errors in a game ruin the experience. Autocorrect helped, but I had a feeling that half of my characters would still sound like drunk Russians every now and then, so I needed help. That is when I found Lyk (Patreon). He was my main and only proofreader and editor ever since. If not for his hard work, my texts would be way less enjoyable to read, I assure you.
LewdGamer: We talked about it briefly before, but your games have inspired a number of other projects. Some directly like The Dark Lord Rises and Iris Quest, but a number of others such as Pyorgara’s Soldier’s Life as well. How do you feel about having inspired so many follow up games?
Akabur: To be honest I don’t sure how I feel about it… There are just so many people who get inspired, try to create something and give up… There are a lot of them… A LOT. I still get emails from random dudes saying “Check out this game I created in two days”… I know it should flatter me, but it doesn’t… Just makes me sad for some reason…
LewdGamer: And some of those interactions aren’t so polite, correct?
Akabur: Heh… Yeah. There are haters out there, if that is what you mean. It’s a funny thing actually I personally did witness some people who adored my work when it was not very well known starting to hate on it after it gained some popularity…
LewdGamer: But, it’s not just impoliteness. There’s been a recent controversy about another developer who you’ve accused of stealing your work?
Akabur: Heh… Yeah. I believe they go by “Best Mult Club”. They weren’t the first ones to do that and they weren’t the first ones to try and make money at my expense by confusing people into thinking that I support what they do. But “BMC” is the worst offender by far… I hear I myself even pop up in some of those games. Like my “Akabur-avatar” shows up and speaks to the player the way I do it in my games. That’s just weird…
Lewdgamer: Have you considered some kind of legal action?
Akabur: Not really… I don’t think I am in any position to take any such actions… I may be old-fashioned but this is just common sense to me.
LewdGamer: Makes sense. Something else we wanted to ask you was about your preference for fandom projects. Is there a reason that you tend to do parody porn over material based on original characters?
Akabur: I don’t know what to tell you… I was always interested in parody… Since I was a kid I was drawing Aladdin characters and TMNT characters… As I got older they turned into naughty drawings of the same characters. I know I could work with original characters if I have to, but parody is just way more fun for me to work with.
LewdGamer: Do you have any final message for your fans?
Akabur: Well, I take writing in my games very personally so I often feel that I talk to my fan-base through my work. But, if I had to say one thing that would be:
“Thank you for giving a damn about my work and giving me a chance to live my life on my terms. Your support means the world to me. I feel like I never be able to thank you enough. All I can do is keep working my ass of for your entertainment. And I plan to keep on doing just that. Thank you for your support guys, you changed my life.”
LewdGamer: And thank you for joining us today, Akabur.
Akabur: Thank you for having me, LewdGamer. You guys are doing an important work, please keep at it!
Akabur has a Patreon site, here, if you want to donate to him. The majority of his games can be downloaded at his website, which can be found here. All five chapters of Broken Heart Bordello are available to download on Smersh’s Patreon.