April Update

Spankers, Spankees and Switches of All Ages (18 and above),

**Insert obligatory crappy April Fool’s joke here**

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m getting very close to having a playable beta. I have everything implemented that I need for the first episode except for the combat code, which I’m working on now. As far as combat goes, I need to implement the following:

  1. Functionality for selecting skills.
  2. The logic to actually execute a round of combat.

That’s pretty much it. I already have the AI implemented, as well as the code that actually executes each action. I just need to glue all that together, and I’ll be good to go.

So I’m expecting to have all that done by the end of the month at the latest. What’s the next step after that? The next step is to pass the game along to my beta testers. I’ll consider it ready for release when I’ve gotten four approvals from my beta testers (or it’s early June, and I haven’t heard anything at all from my testers, depends on how responsive my testers are).

So we’re on track for a release in early June. My view and controller code still isn’t particularly pretty, but at least it works (far as I can tell anyway), and I have some understanding of how it works (though not complete. JavaFX has some infuriating and unintuitive bits around event processing that I haven’t fully grokked just yet).

So, to taunt you all, here are a few screenshots!

First, we have a screenshot of character creation

Character creation provides just as many options as Potion Wars, only thanks to the magic of libraries (instead of rolling it my own stupid self), it’s arranged very pretty in something approximating a real UI. Character options will include:

  1. gender: male, female
  2. bodytype: slim, average, voluptuous, heavyset
  3. eyecolor: blue, brown, green, hazel, grey
  4. haircolor: blonde, brown, red, black, rainbow
  5. hairstyle: down, pig tails, ponytail, single braid (something like this), buns, mohawk
  6. height: short (5′ – 5’3″), average(5’4″ – 5′ 7″), tall (5′ 8″ – 5′ 11″, gargantuan (6′ and up)
  7. musculature: soft, fit, muscular
  8. skincolor: ivory, peach, tanned, brown, caramel, black
  9. clothing: There are a ton of clothing options (mostly female-oriented, I’m kind of biased, alas) and all are available from the beginning, so that you have a high degree of control over the civilian appearance of your character. More clothing options may be added over time as people request them (clothing is very easy to add).

Next we have the options.

Crimson Glow provides the same and more options as Potion Wars:

  1. You can control whether or not your player can be spanked in battle. This will also affect supervillain story spankings. If the player is not allowed to be spanked in battle, then neither will the player be spanked after losing to a supervillain. Other in-story spanking scenes are possible, but since all of those will be avoidable by selecting the right dialogue option, rather than winning a challenging battle, those are not disabled.
  2. Artificial Intelligence controls how smart enemies are. Dumb enemies pick targets and actions at random. Average enemies pick their skills based on what they’re good at, but pick targets at random. Smart enemies pick their skills based on what they’re good at, and are more likely to pick targets who will be weakest against those skills.
  3. This game takes full advantage of the fact that both genders have an ass, and disciplinary spankings (which make up 99+% of the game’s spankings) focus exclusively on the bottom and thighs. “Spanker Gender” sets the gender of all characters who are tops (almost always administering rather than receiving). If the gender is UNKNOWN, then you will be given the opportunity to pick the gender of each top individually when you first meet them. The same for the spankee gender. All supervillains are considered spankees. If the genders for both top and bottom are the same, then all generic enemies will also have the selected gender.
  4. Energy Lost Per Round of Combat controls how much energy all characters lose at the end of battle (note: You cannot go below 1 energy through attrition). NONE means allies don’t lose any energy, and enemies lose a lot. MODERATE means enemies and allies lose at the same rate. SEVERE means allies lose a lot of energy, but enemies don’t lose very much (though they do lose some).

Next, an event screen.

This is the first event of the game. There is one, very important improvement over Potion Wars: Even text is now displayed with a scrolling bar. So no more multiple pages. The text of an event is now displayed all at once on the screen, and allows players to scroll through it (though moving on to the next event clears the view).

Finally, combat!

The first thing that should be obvious is that I’ve expanded significantly on the positioning system. Rather than having spanking/grappling/armslength, we now have spanking/grappling/armslength/distant. Different characters will be able to attack at different ranges, and will have different skills that work at different ranges. Positions are also displayed in a simple visual view. The top rows are enemies, the bottom rows are allies. The combat log is also a scrollbar, like events, and will display all feedback on user commands. The —-Character Name— tells you which character you’re selecting commands for, and will be displayed after the feedback of every command.

This view relies a bit too heavily on the combat log for feedback, but this damn thing is being complex enough to program. I may improve it in the future, but this should be enough to make the game playable.

One very important differences from Potion Wars:

There are no longer dungeons with mazes. It was decided that those really weren’t worth the effort of designing, and implementing. Furthermore, I don’t think they always work well for superheroes (which tend to focus on small-scale battles between heroes and villains). Not all villains have a billions minions at their beck and call, after all. Instead “dungeons” will be a sequence of events, like CYOA. In these events, the player will be able to make choices, many of which may involve using skills to get by obstacles, or gain the upper hand in battle. Furthermore, the player _does not_ get better through combat. Instead, in most dungeon events, the player will have a range of choices. Each choice will increment at least one skill by one point. For example, you may be faced with a thick fence. You could choose to ram through it (which improves strength), jump over it (improve speed), or find the guardhouse and convince the guard to let you through the gate (improve willpower). Of course, you might fail (bounce off the fence, land on the fence, get spanked by the guard) if your stat isn’t high enough, but you’ll still get the stat gain.

In short, unlike Potion Wars, battles are very painful (even easy ones will drain precious energy), and should be avoided when necessary. Of course, that doesn’t mean you might not get bonuses for charging into some battles, especially if it involves saving people.

This might seem like an odd decision, but there are a few reasons for it:

  1. This allows us to do much more interesting things. For example, the “dungeon” could consist of playing cat and mouse with a single villain, in which you try to find them, or manipulate the environment in a way to give you an advantage, occasionally having skirmishes with the villain if you fail an event, or get the upper hand.
  2. It provides more opportunity to roleplay. The time I would have previously spent designing dungeons, and getting them to display can now be spent writing up events.
  3. It removes a rather frustrating balancing act. If combat made you stronger, then on the one hand you’d want to get involved in combat as much as possible to become stronger, but on the other save your precious energy for the boss. While in theory this might be fun, I think it would mostly be frustrating, because you don’t know how strong you need to be later in the game, or how much energy you’ll need to fight the boss. So I think removing the built-in incentive structure from combat will make for a much more interesting gameplay experience. It will now be about “How do I efficiently get to the supervillain and defeat them?” rather than “RAAGH HULK SMASH!”

 

As an added note: One of my writers has written up a few short scenes to get a handle on some of the characters. He’s given me permission to post them, so you’ll see a few short snippets coming up in the next few days. Think of them as sneak peeks (though they take place around the midway point of the game, so they’re a little bit spoilery, but the only thing they really spoil are the superhero names of some of Crimson Glow’s allies).

 

5 thoughts on “April Update

  1. Very nice, that went faster than expected! Good job.

    Your decision regarding the combat system is definitely interesting to say the least. It really depends on how the system is implemented, it might be really rewarding to focus on the non-combat role play – or it might become incredibly frustrating. Especially since it goes against player expectation.

    > “It’s a bold move Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.”

    1. I can understand that. But I think this style better capture the feel of superheroes. Besides, it’s always bugged me a bit, how in RL fighting is something to be avoided as much as possible, but in RPGs you’re encouraged to get into every fight you can. So this approach is my attempt at building a game system that is still fun and challenging, but doesn’t require constant combat.

  2. I like the idea of a CYOA style dungeon system. Sacrificing mazes for more dialogue is perfectly acceptable, in my humble opinion. The writing and story were the highlights of your last game.

    Will you be posting the beta publicly?

    1. No. Considering how unstable my previous releases of Potion Wars were, I want to iron out the worst of the bugs before I release it. Perhaps in future updates, I will be willing to have a shorter closed beta, but there is a _lot_ of new code that’s going to be getting put through the wringer. So I expect there to be a lot of game breaking bugs.

      I’d rather take a bit longer and release something that’s at least playable, rather than rush it and just disappoint people.

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