Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),
I’ve just posted the next version of Scarlet Moon, 1.0.5. We finally have some new content! Included in this release is the entire second (and last) day of episode 1. Episode 1 is now complete. Get it in the Downloads section!
It’s not perfect (I think the beach scene could stand to be trimmed down a little bit, and the heroics at the end expanded upon), but I think it’s good enough to be released. And I’m kind of sick of working on this first episode, so I figure now’s a good time to release.
As for what I’m working on right now, there are two big priorities:
- Refactoring combat.
2. Working out the details of episode 2 (I know what villain I want to introduce, and rough idea of the major scenes, I just need to flesh them out).
I’ll talk a little bit more about my combat refactors once they’re done, but the basic gist is that every action in combat will be reduced to 1 or more of the following atomic actions:
- Do damage to a character (healing is negative damage).
- Inflict a status on a character for some duration (inflicting a status with negative duration attempts to cure the status).
- Move a character to a different position.
This should simplify the combat logic some (which will be nice. Combat is the most complicated part of the system). However, I’m doing this primarily because this will allow me to easily implement all sorts of interesting powers. For example, you could have a power that redirects the first X positive damage actions targeting you to a random target. Or you could attack the first X enemies that move. The villain in Episode 2 will be primarily using these kinds of powers, so it’s a little bit important to get this refactor done now. This will open the door for all sorts of interesting powers and synergies between powers that will hopefully make the combat compelling and fun.
Spankers, Spankees, and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),
Sorry about missing the November update. I was preoccupied.
Anyway, it turns out that when you do a massive rewrite of your system, you end up with a fair number of bugs. So my beta testers have spent the past month dutifully documenting the many, many, _many_ bugs they’ve found in the latest update, and I’ve been squashing them.
It’s been like 5 whole days since I sent my beta testers the latest version, and they haven’t sent back any bugs (which is a record I think). So hopefully we’ll have the full first episode ready for your avid consumption. I’m honestly a little bit disappointed with it. I think I spend too much time catering to my thong-bikini-beach-spanking fetish and not enough to my thong-superheroine-spanking-fetish. So the superheroing part is a little bit more railroaded than I would have liked.
But I’m kind of sick of this episode, and ready to get the hell on with it, so whatever.
Anyway, now I’m going to talk about my plans for the rest of the game. Here were my original plans:
The first episode would be a little bit unique in that it would be a CYOA tree of choices in which we introduce the majority of the main cast and try to tell a superhero origin story that has less “normal person is normal” and more “superhero-just-punched-that-guy-through-a-wall-holy-fuck-this-is-awesome.”
All subsequent episodes would be in a style similar to the Spanking Adventures by Robin Pierce: a loosely connected set of CYOA-style vinettes, with a hub screen where you choose which to do when. The idea was that each day would have the following choices: study, patrol, sleep, work, and go out.
To add a bit of gameplay to these events, there would be three additional statistics: stress, fatigue, and GPA. The various vignettes would have different choices that could increase or decreaes these three stats. Furthermore, for every 5 points of stress you would receive a 1 point penalty to your primary stats. Meanwhile, every point of fatigue would subtract a point from your maximum energy. Meanwhile, GPA would serve as a multiplier on your stress: the higher your GPA the slower your stress increases.
Furthermore, there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to do all the events, so you’d have to make decisions: should I study, or take a nap? Go to work or go and party? The idea was to add some tension to the game, because you’d have to carefully balance your priorities to make sure you have high enough stats and energy to defeat the villain of the episode, but also leave you in a good place for the next episode.
However, I think I’m going to do away with this approach, and make every episode more like the first, for a couple of reasons both story and gameplay related.
My biggest problem with the gameplay is that you have no idea how powerful you need to be to defeat the villain. As a result, you don’t have enough information to make good choices when deciding which events you want to do for a given day. You could very easily find yourself in an unwinnable situation because you made sub-optimal choices three in-game days ago. I’ve played games that pull this, and it always frustrates me to no end. Keep in mind that I do want the game to have some challenge, but this feels too much like fake difficulty.
One thing I’ve learned from the playing through the first episode is that energy is _precious_. It’s even more precious than I expected it to be. It is a non-renewable resource that leaks away with every round of combat. Every power you use brings you a little bit closer to defeat, and you’re hoping that the advantage you get from the power offsets that. This introduces more than enough tension. Trying to stack on any more will turn tense gameplay into frustrating gameplay.
The problems with the gameplay could be solved easily enough by simply doing away with stress, fatigue, and GPA. However, I also think that this format would make it harder to tell a good story. The original plan had been that each choice would star a particular supporting character. For example, the patrol choice would feature Juliana in a starring role. This makes sense because it makes it easier to manage a large cast: by having subplots that focus on one character at a time, the player has time to learn about each character without being overwhelmed.
However, the player has a choice of which events to partake in each day. As a result, you can’t really build on previous events (the complexity would rapidly spin out of control). Furthermore, we can’t really incorporate key character development into these events because we have no idea if the player will see them or not. As a result, each subplot has to be a standalone vignette that doesn’t really contribute anything significant to the story, and doesn’t significantly develop the character. It would also be very difficult to weave these vignettes into the main plot.
In other words, it’d be filler. I don’t want any filler. One of my main goals is to make every scene contribute in some way to the story, either by advancing the plot or shedding some light on a character, or world-building.
Instead, I think we would get more mileage if we structure our episodes a lot like in X-Men: Evolution. In X-Men: Evolution you often had a main plot that focused on a handful of the cast (two to three characters typically), and a more light-hearted subplot that focused on other members of the cast. The subplot allowed them to inject some comic relief into the episodes, as well as give screen time to more characters without affecting the pacing of the main story. So my current plan is to have a main plot that will focus on Juliana, the player and the villain-of-the-week’s shenanigans. Meanwhile, we’ll have a subplot that stars one of the support cast. Essentially, these subplots will be the vignettes that we had originally planned to be separate events. Except we’ll be able to weave them into the main plot, and we can guarantee that the player will see some form of them (of course, we intend to give the player choices that effect how each plot plays out).
This also means that I don’t have to add any new features to the codebase (like I would if I wanted to do the original plan), which will be a huge timesavings. There is still a fair amount of coding that I want to do for the next episode (I need to refactor combat to better support some of the more interesting powers that I have in mind). So I’m not done with major development just yet.
Those of you who have kindly volunteered to help me write will be primarily helping me with the subplots, and possibly enriching the main plot with additional choices.