Spankers and Spankees,
Things are finally starting to calm down, school wise. I have a weekend all but fully available for the first time in 2 months! So I’ll be starting the next episode of Etrian Odyssey this weekend, hopefully for posting next weekend (but we’ll see).
However, I’m still a little bit burned out from all the school-related craziness, so I won’t be doing a lot of hardcore work on Potion Wars until mid-May or so. Mostly fiddling with behind the scenes stuff. For example, I’ve been working on an overhaul of my plans for the overall story here and there, and I’m about ready to type those up and send them to Emily for her perusal. I’ll probably also work on setting up stubs of the conversation nodes for the second act of episode 2, which I can then allocate to writers (mostly myself). I’ve also got a scene written by Bonemouth that I need to incorporate into the current content, maybe I’ll see if I can do that next weekend, so that I can have a small update along with the Etrian Odyssey episode. Furthermore, Flash the Flamingo has offered to crunch some numbers for me, so that we can try to predict what mid and end-game stats will look like. This should help me determine whether the current rate of stat/health/mana growth will sustain the kind of fast-paced, and challenging gameplay that I want. I’ll probably be trying to work up the energy to get my growth equations out to him over the next week.
There is however, one thing I’d like to know from you (yes YOU). I’m rapidly approaching the point where I will once again have time to write two Etrian Odyssey episodes a month, rather than the 0-1 that I’ve been pulling the past few months. However, at the same time, I’m trying to decide which RPG I should immerse myself in over the next few weeks to recover from the end of the semester. So I’d like to know which option you would prefer:
1. I stick to 2 Etrian Odyssey Episodes a month.
2. I start another Let’s Spank, and write one Etrian Odyssey episode a month, and one episode of the second Let’s Spank a month, with the Etrian Odyssey episode taking priority (so if things get busy again, and I can’t sustain 2 episodes a month, I delay the other game rather than Etrian Odyssey). Here’s the shortlist of games that I’m interested in playing (in no particular order):
- Lords of Xulima – 1 plot character, create the remaining 5. Plot character is a man, but I have plans for him. Game tends to encourage spamming a small number of skills over and over again. Combat system is very neat, I may steal ideas from them. Claims to be open world, but it isn’t. Rather than having broken bridges, it has absurdly powerful monsters that you can’t hope to beat until you’ve gained a few levels. Story is rather thick for a dungeon crawl, but it’s not so thick that I can’t take it my own way.
- Icewind Dale – Create 6 characters. Standard fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halfings, half-elves). Standard fantasy classes. Hybrid classes are just as powerful as specialists. Pretty linear dungeon crawl, with minimal story. Gives me lots of wiggle room. Butt-tons of fun to play. Also has the best theme in the history of video games. First of a duology.
- Baldur’s Gate II – One of the best RPG’s in the history of the genre. Excellent gameplay, excellent story. Hybrid classes are just as powerful as pure classes. Create 1 character, find and recruit up to 5 more. Due to roleplaying constraints you guys would only be able to choose between 3 characters to fill 2 slots (the rest taken up by characters who are personally invested in the story, and that would not be kicked out by the kind of person I roleplay), and have some input on the PC’s class. However many of the characters are very spankable, and there are quite a few very spankable situations. Rather dark. May or may not transcribe game text directly, depends on how quickly I get tired of it. I may just take the basic events of the story and put them in my own words.
- Wizardry 6 Holy crap the party building options! 10 races (standard fantasy races plus faeries, cat people, dog people, lizard people, dragon people, wookies)! 15 classes! One of the few games I’ve seen that does the skill system right. Not only do you increase skills at level up, but you also increase skills by using them in combat. Hybrid classes are very powerful, and the game includes a powerful class change feature, so you can start as a specialist and transition to hybrid when the specialist starts to lose steam. The fact that Etrian Odyssey tries to claim the legacy of these games is part of why I’m so disappointed in their level up system. Faerie ninjas are possible, and are as powerful as they are absurd. Very thin story, very linear dungeon crawl, similar to Icewind Dale, though the story is even thinner. Gives me lots and lots of wiggle room. Game can get a little bit silly sometimes, but can also be more than a little dark. First of a trilogy.
- Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny – An interesting gem of a game. A little bit tedious, but does the best job I’ve ever seen of capturing the feel of being a dirt poor adventure scraping for enough money to buy food for tomorrow. Standard fantasy races, but races (except humans) also count as a “class.” For example, dwarves are essentially fighter/thief hybrids, while elves (two kinds)! are archer/mage hybrids. Lots of interesting party building options: can give your characters phobias (i.e. claustrophobia). Furthermore, your characters can learn how to dance or sing, allowing them to sing and dance for money in taverns all over the game world. Has an awesome travel system, where random events will occur while travelling (i.e. stumbling across a dungeon, having to cross a small rope bridge). First of a trilogy. Open world done right.
Keep in mind that all of these are PC games, so unlike Etrian Odyssey, I can record my gameplay sessions. My thoughts with this would be that I record my gameplay session, write a story using that video as a reference, then post a video to Youtube that highlights parts of the gameplay session that inspired events in the story.
My personal vote is for Wizardry 6 because of all the party building options, Icewind Dale because it’s atmospheric, and there are still some pretty emotional (for me) parts, despite the relative thinness, or Baldur’s Gate II because trying to write other people’s characters would be an interesting exercise in giving my characters unique voices. And I could use the exercise. So if you’re interested in option two, let me know which of game(s) you’re most interested in above. If most people are interested in option 2, and there’s a consensus around one of the games, we’ll start the party-building process. Otherwise, I’ll provide some more details about the two games that people are most interested in.
Or I could stick to writing 2 episodes of EO a month, depending on what people want.
Spankers and Spankees,
The latest update includes fixes for bugs pointed out by an anonymous fan in e-mail:
1. Saving immediately after the episode 1 dungeon dropped you back in the dungeon.
2. Carrie’s conversation at the end of episode 1 crashed on the male path.
3. If you’re fighting N opponents, pressing the N+1 number key crashed the game.
4. If you went down to the bottom floor of the guild, fought the pair of Vengadores at the beginning, then went back upstairs to fight the pair bullying Paloma, then lost, then tried to start the battle over, the game crashed.
Also, I’ve added a new option when you start the game: Now, you have the option of turning off enemy spankings. Basically, you can choose to make it so that enemies never try to spank you, nor will they ever reverse your spanking. I’d been planning to add this option after episode 2, when I overhaul the GUI, however the person who pointed out the above bugs really really doesn’t want to be spanked in combat (they are an exclusive top). So as a thank you, I implemented a simple choice at the beginning. Unfortunately, you cannot change this option during the game. After I overhaul the GUI, you will have the ability to change that (and other options, like difficulty) during the game instead of only at the beginning. The reason you can’t do it now is because I would need to design a whole new screen, and I don’t really want to do that much GUI work when I’ll be ripping it out and rewriting it in a few months anyway.
Something I want to emphasize: If you send me bug reports, or constructive criticism I will be happy. If you make me happy, then I am even more receptive to your suggestions. What this means is that:
1. If you’d like to see something that I was planning on implementing anyway, I may implement it sooner (like I did for Anonymous).
2. If it’s something that I can tolerate, but I’m not a big fan of, and it doesn’t clash too badly with the rest of the game, I may implement it. For example, I’m not a big fan of tentacle monsters. However, Bonemouth would like to see a spanking scene involving tentacle monsters, so I am carefully considering including a tentacle monster scene in episode 3 (which will take place in the forest surrounding Avaricum). Similarly, I’m not into age regression. However, Emily likes age regression so I included a few light AR scenes (it’s just shoving the PC into childish clothing, but it’s something) as a thank you for her help in editing.
So if you want to see something in my game, be it a gameplay feature, or a spanking scene, or what, send me bug reports. It will significantly increase the chances that I will include it.
Fixed the latest round of bugs pointed out by SSM, including the one where Carol wasn’t paying you for the swag you sold her. Also, I fixed a few other bugs I stumbled across in the shop interface, and a bug where Ildri’s spanking-for-indecency wasn’t displaying the right outfit for the player.
Spankers and Spankees,
Latest update fixes (hopefully…) all of the bugs pointed out by SSM in the previous post except for the problem with sold items not increasing your money. Life is pretty insane right now, and so I only have time to look at game breaking bugs. Since your money pile doesn’t matter right now, I’m holding off on fixing that problem.
So, don’t sell anything yet. Sorry about all of these problems, and thank you for your patience. A combination of being overwhelmed in school, having really really bad legacy code, and a non-existent testing framework means that the early releases are going to be unstable. I’m trying to improve on that testing framework, but some things are harder than others, and again I don’t have much time right now.
So thank you to those of you who are playing the game and reporting all the bugs (SSM, KingKruul, and cmfunk, to say nothing of Bonemouth and Ken). I really, really appreciate it. And I’m sure those who download the later versions will appreciate it as well.
Fixed a bug where the game crashes if you try to load a save from the end of the game’s content. Note that now you cannot save after the first act of episode 2. Once I add the next act, you’ll have to load a save file from before you agree to help Ildri repair the guild.
Spankers and Spankees,
New version, 2.04, posted to the downloads section. I’ve made two changes:
1. First, I fixed a bug pointed out in an e-mail from a player that caused the game to crash if the player attempted to inflict multiple statuses on enemies.
2. Second, I’ve made it so that the player can’t spank an already-humiliated enemy. Previously, spankings could be used to keep an opponent in grapple-lock indefinitely. While that doesn’t matter now, when there is only one PC, once you get a party that could become very overpowered.
Spankers and Spankees,
First, a new release has been uploaded. Get it at Downloads. It fixes a few crashes that I found, as well as some typos and the like pointed out by some of my beta testers.
As I’m sure you’ve all noticed (much to your annoyance), releases tend to be crashy and buggy as hell. Naturally, this is unacceptable. So lately I’ve started incorporating unit tests. I know, any of you with programming experience are exclaiming “You’re writing something as complicated as a game and you don’t have unit tests? What is wrong with you? Test driven development dumbass!” In my defense (sort of), this is the first program that I’ve ever written which is complicated enough to require unit tests. In school you’ll have one class that might briefly touch on unit tests, you do them for that one homework that requires them, and then you never touch them again because all your assignments are only a few hundred lines in one or two files. When programs are that small, it’s just as easy to throw in a bunch of print statements (I’m also forcing myself to use a proper debugger).
So far, I have tests that test attacking, grappling, breaking a grapple, and throwing. These tests make sure that my damage formulas are correct. I also have tests that run through and execute each enemy’s in-combat spanking text, and a test that iterates through each conversation node and builds the text that is meant to be displayed. While these two tests don’t try to make sure the displayed text is correct (that would essentially require me to write my text in Python, which ruins the point of LaTeX->Python!), it does minimize the chances of stupid crashes from undefined functions, trying to add a string and an integer, etc. Admittedly, a crash might still slip through if there’s an error in the branch of an if-statement that isn’t followed. However, I try to keep inline if-statements small and simple. Anything complex gets pushed into another node, so these tests should catch upwards of 90% of all the dialogue-related crashes.
Over the next few months, I plan on introducing some tests for the other combat actions, and tests for any new code I add, or code that I modify. These should make the code a lot more stable. However, these tests are by no means exhaustive. So if you come across a bug or a crash, I almost certainly don’t know about it. So please let me know. To paraphrase alt cor, bugs feed my soul.
Another thing I want to talk about is my plan for future releases. I’d rather not go 9 months between the release of new content. But at the same time, I also don’t want the game to gradually become more and more railroaded because I skip branches in a desire to release faster. I also want to release enough content for people to get meaningful enjoyment out of it. So I’d like to release enough content to provide a coherent part of the story (this was the original intent of the episode structure incidentally). To balance these, my plan is the following:
1. Write, edit and release the “spine” of a particular act. These are the scenes that drive the plot forward.
2. Write and release the scenes that aren’t strictly necessary for the plot, but provide some useful insight into it, or that aren’t immediately important, but lay the groundwork for future events.
3. Write and release the scenes that contribute nothing but fap material.
4. On to the next act.
Note that scenes in the second and third category are the ones that will typically be written by the writers who are helping me.
Alternatively we could do:
1. Write and edit the spine of act 1, then act 2, then act 3.
2. Write and release scenes that aren’t strictly necessary to the plot, but enhance it for act 1, then act 2, then act 3.
3. Write and release miscellaneous scenes for act 1, then act 2, then act 3.
So for example…
———————-EPISODE 1 SPOILERS!!——————————————
If I were to have followed the first approach in episode 1, then the scenes would have been released as follows:
1. Conversation with the guard -> conersation with Maria -> conversation with Adrian
2. Conversation with Elise, conversation with Peter, conversation with Carol (employee of the taylors).
1. Conflict with the Young Vengador -> Encounter with Cosima -> Encounter with Mai -> Boss fight
2. Paloma, Dining Room
2. Ildri, Morey, Airell
1. Scene with guards -> bar scene -> conversation with Catalin.
2. Pre-bar scene with Elise and Carrie, conversation with Peter
If I took the alternative approach, the scenes would have been released as follows:
1. Conversation with the guard -> conersation with Maria -> conversation with Adrian
2. Conflict with the Young Vengador -> Encounter with Cosima -> Encounter with Mai -> Boss fight
3. Scene with guards -> bar scene -> conversation with Catalin.
And then fill in the extra scenes starting from Act 1 on.
If you have a preference, let me know. Keep in mind that this only controls the order in which I write scenes. Obviously I’ll add scenes as others write them, so even if I write the basics of the entire episode first, I may add additional scenes before I’ve finished the spine, as others finish them up.
So if I’d bothered to wait another 24 hours, one of my beta testers (thanks Ken!) would have unleashed a slew of bug finds at me before I released the previous version and embarrassed myself. Anyway, this fix has all of those bugs fixed (hopefully…) including some that were downright game breaking.
Get it at the download section.
Spankers and Spankees,
At long last (9 months! Holy hell. I really need to pick things up!) we have new content for Potion Wars. The first act of Episode 2 : Back Alleys. We’re just going to ignore the fact that my dream is to produce multiple episodes per year. Ah well, I’m still doing a lot of coding, and almost all of this was written by yours truly. Hopefully I’ll eventually hit a point where I’m just maintaining the code, rather than actively modifying it and I’ll have more people helping me write. You can find it under the Download tab as always.
There are a lot of changes in this version, as is to be expected since four months have passed since the last version. However, before we get to that, some updates on the project. First, welcome Bonemouth the Boxfish and Ken the Kookaburra (I don’t know what that is, but I’ll bet it makes a mean burrito) to the team. Both will be helping me with writing scenes. For now, Bonemouth is working on in-combat spanking text, and spanking scenes that don’t really contribute to the plot. Ken is working on in-combat spankings. Both have also joined the beta testing team, and Bonemouth in particular has been a major champ. Guy’s a bug-finding machine. So hopefully this version won’t crash on too many of you. Don’t get me wrong, it will crash. It’s software. Crashes are inevitable. But hopefully it’s more stable than the first release last summer. I’d also like to thank Emily. She’s been invaluable in helping me figure out the layout for the first act. Hopefully with Bonemouth’s and Ken’s help I’ll be able to increase my throughput.
Now, on to the game itself.
First a few known bugs/unpleasantness:
1. I’ve removed the ability to skip multiple pages of text. I know that sucks, but that feature was pretty flaky to begin with, and it was giving my beta testers lots of problems. The code for displaying text is a tower of hacks and I do not understand it at all. So, since I’ll be completely rewriting the GUI code using a proper toolkit between episodes 2 and 3, for now I figured it’d be easier to just remove that feature.
2. Some scenes will have a blank page before the text. This will happen whenever the music changes. Just hit enter and you’ll get the text you’re supposed to, and the music will change. Again, this is a side-effect of gross limitations in how music is displayed and how I ensure that music plays when it’s supposed to. This problem will vanish when I overhaul the GUI (to be replaced by a hundred other problems, but such is software).
3. I’m going to shelve indefinitely my plans to make the combat top-down. That would require a tremendous amount of work, both initially and throughout the game. If I do topdown combat, movement will become complex enough that I’ll need to write custom AI for each enemy because each enemy would have a different movement style based on their strengths. While this would be awesome to play if done well, it would drastically increase development time. And I imagine most of you would rather play a decent spanking game, then read endless posts about how hard I’m working on an amazingtastic spanking game that you’ll totally get to play sometime in the next century.
1. Content for Act 1 of Episode 2. There’s no dungeon crawling. Just running around talking to people, and getting your butt smacked. I’m sure you’ll blaze through it in like an hour. 7 months of work for an hour of enjoyment -_- This is why we can’t have nice things.
2. Although I didn’t go the topdown route, I did overhaul the combat mechanics to eliminate some of the randomness. Highlights:
a. Everything hits successfully (attacks, status spells, grapple attempts, etc.). The only thing that’s random is spanking. Every time you try to spank an opponent there’s a 20% chance that you’ll get reversed.
b. The multi-turn spanking content has been implemented, mostly as I wrote a few months back. I’ve deviated a few times from my proposal, but not in any significant way.
c. New Initiative. The combat order is: grappled characters > spells > spear attacks > sword attacks > dagger attacks > grapple attempts > other. It doesn’t matter how much faster Alice is than Bob. If Bob is casting a spell and Alice is attacking with her spear, Bob will always go first. However, if both are casting spells, then Alice will go first. If Alice and Bob are grappled, and Bob is casting a spell while Alice is attacking, then whoever goes first will depend on their initiative.
d. Weapons no longer have damage associated with them. Instead, damage is calculated solely based on warfare (the formula of which has also been changed). However, weapons do provide bonuses or penalties depending on whether you’re grappling or at armslength.
e. Grappling now lasts a certain number of turns based on your grapple skill. Attempting to break a grapple reduces the grapple duration by your grapple divided by 2. You cannot throw an enemy until grapple duration is less than half of your grapple (in other words, you can’t throw until you’re one break grapple away from ending the grapple).
f. Grappled characters cannot be targeted by armslength combatants with attacks that do damage. So if Alice and Claire are grappling, Bob can’t attack Claire, nor can he cast firebolt on Claire. He can however cast Heal on Alice, or Weaken on Claire. He can also attempt to break Alice’s and Claire’s grapple. This applies to spankings as well. The basic idea is that the chances of friendly fire is too high, so characters won’t even try.
g. The rate of health increase has been drastically reduced. Before, after a single health increase your character was pretty much set. Now fights will hopefully remain a bit more tense.
h. The Spectral Spanking spells have the same multi-turn mechanic as physical spankings, with a few differences. First, characters who are involved in a spectral spanking are NOT immune to attack if the spell was cast at armslength. Second, each round of spanking costs the caster 1 mana. Third, the initial casting cost is helluva expensive. This is to counteract the fact that you a) don’t need to be grappling to initiate a spectral spanking and b) since it’s a spell, you’re going to go before your enemy the vast majority of the time. Furthermore, at the end of the spell you do damage in addition to keeping one of your opponents locked up for a few turns and humiliating them, and they can be attacked with impunity by your allies while being spanked (granted this last one won’t affect you in episode 1 because you don’t have any allies, but it sure as hell will in future episodes when you do). It’s a powerful spell if used well, and its cost reflects that.
Hopefully this will make combat more of a puzzle, and less of a SPAM ATTACK AND HOPE YOU GET LUCKY! Yes, you can win every battle without grinding (I’ve done it). Just gotta figure out the right combination of attacks and spells to use. 😉
3. When you load from an old save, you’ll be given a few messages about changes. If you had the leather breastplate, then it will be replaced with 20 coins (renamed to matrons), which is enough to buy a new outfit of your choice at the Tailors. You’re also given a tunic and trousers so you’re not naked. If you had the quality dagger that will be removed, and if you sold the family weapon, you’ll be given the option of choosing a new family weapon. You’ll also be given an enhancement gem, which provide the means of improving your equipment. This will ONLY happen with old saves. The code for enhancing your equipment hasn’t been implemented yet, but Peter will be providing that service once it is. You can ask him about it, and he’ll tell you he needs to do some research to refresh his memory.
4. If you defeat the episode 1 boss, you’ll get your first enhancement gem, an attack gem. This will improve your warfare when attacking by 1 if you put it on your weapon, and your warfare by between 1 and 3 (haven’t decided yet. A single point of warfare tends to give you a bigger damage boost than it does a defense boost, so I may need to give you a bigger defense boost to make the defense choice worthwhile) when being attacked if you put it on your clothing.
5. I’ve tweaked some of the text in the first episode. Not much, but some. Also, casting Distort Magic and Spectral Spanking in the mage room of episode 1 will give you a point in the respective spell counters.
Finally, I’ve also released the transcript for all the content currently in episode 2 (you can find a link to the PDF and LaTeX at the bottom of the Downloads page). The transcripts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Basically, this means you are free to take my transcripts, the content in them (and the ideas they represent) do whatever you want with them, then release your modifications/new content/whatever you did. Just so long as you don’t try to make money off of it, and you give me proper credit for my work. See the link for more details.
I think that’s everything. Enjoy!