December Update

Spankers and Spankees,

Hope all the Americans in the audience had a good Thanksgiving. Mine could have gone better. Could have gone worse too. On the bright side, I managed to get down to the 7th or 8th floor in Etrian Odyssey, and I’ve got enough material to keep us busy for a couple of months. I’m shooting to have the first gameplay-inspired-story written for next Sunday. The dream is to have an update schedule like the following:

First week of the month: Pandemonium Cycle updates

Second week of the month: Etrian Odyssey

Third week of the month: Nothing!!! You schmucks aren’t worth it!

Fourth week of the month: Etrian Odyssey

Anyway, on to Pandemonium Cycle updates.

Anyway, before we get started: I’ve added two new pages to my blog: Contributors and Helping. Contributors contains a list of people who are helping me in some official capacity in developing the game. Helping contains a few blanket requests for help, if people are so interested. I have more details on the one I consider most important further in this post. 

First, the latest version has had 78 downloads, which is a few downloads shy of the record (version 1.10 with 82 downloads). That’s pretty cool that my code has infected been executed on about 70 machines or so when you account for the occasional repeat download. It’s hard to gauge, though since most versions have only been minor tweaks so I wouldn’t be surprised if some people skip versions. It’ll be interesting to see what the download count is when we (eventually) release 2.0 (i.e. episode 2).

I’ve uploaded a new version. It has hardly any changes at all. A few tweaks to a few of the conversations with Elise (I removed the ability to refuse the option of going to the bar, because I was too lazy to write a path for skipping the bar in the second episode, and then put it back in when an interesting subplot that only shows up if you skip the bar occurred to me). I also fixed a typo or two.  Don’t feel like you have to download this version, unless the typo in the combat spanking is really getting to you.

Speaking of the combat spankings, I’m really not satisfied with it. It feels so…gimmicky. In fact, I originally had a combat spanking mechanic, but then removed it before releasing it, only to put a watered down version in when Emily started whining sagely suggested that some in-combat spanking would be nice. My original conception had been that each enemy would have three different spanking positions available, say OTK, underarm, and over-one-knee. Each position would have different bonuses and penalties across three numbers: humiliation, difficulty, and length (which affects how many smacks you get off). For example, OTK would be a balance of humiliation, difficulty and length. Underarm would last a while, but wouldn’t be particularly humiliating, and relatively difficult to pull off. Something like neck-between-the-legs would be very long, and very humiliating, but very difficult. The severity of the humiliation status, and how long it lasts would then depend on how humiliating the position is, and how long you held it. However, the higher the difficulty, the higher the chance of failure, or reversal.

I really want to put that back in, just to make the spankings less gimmicky. However, writing six different spanking scenes (two for each position: a successful spanking, and a reversal), plus some failure text was really really tedious. It was also rather difficult. It turns out writing spanking scenes without much context is rather difficult. So I removed it, and now I’m stuck with this gimmicky non-mechanic that contributes almost nothing to gameplay, and since the text is the same for every enemy, really isn’t that sexy.

So, I’m looking for anyone who would be willing to volunteer their time to write some generic, in-combat spankings. It wouldn’t require that much of your time. I’m thinking about having roughly ten spankable enemies for the second episode, including bosses. Either I or Emily or Jeffrey will probably write the boss scenes to minimize spoilers, so you’d only have to worry about generic enemies. Furthermore, I’d start sending you details about the enemies who need scenes right away, so we can spread the writing across the entirety of the episode, so it will never be too overwhelming. 
If I can get a couple of volunteers then we can spread it out further, and the volunteers will still be pleasantly surprised by other people’s combat spankings.

Furthermore, this will give you a chance to get some inkling of the work involved in creating a game, in case you’re interested in writing your own. It will also give me a chance to gauge your writing skill and dependability. If I’m sufficiently impressed by both, I may in the future ask you to write a full spanking scene complete with interaction between characters. And the more people I have helping me write this thing, the faster I put out each episode, and the more content I can have in each episode. Finally, the more people involved, the lower the chances that this game will die. I’m still freakishly dedicated to crafting this game, but life happens. I might die in a car crash and vanish off the Internet, or suffer a family tragedy that keeps me from writing for a few months. Or meet a woman, get married, and have children, drastically reducing my free time. If others are involved, then maybe they can keep pushing the project forward with me serving an advisory/occasional coding role if life gets in the way.

If you’re interested, send me an e-mail at my gmail account sprpgs. As a little carrot, I already have the spanking scenes for the episode 1 enemies written, from back when I first conceived of the spanking system. If I get enough people interested, then in my next game update I’ll unleash the more in-depth combat spanking mechanic upon you. And then watch it wreck game balance. But such is life when writing an rpg.

If you have any thoughts of writing your own game, I would highly recommend helping me first. There are a few reasons for this. First, it will give you a chance to test how dedicated you are to writing a spanking game (or any large project, really). It turns out that a spanking game becomes a lot less sexy when you’re the one implementing it. Trust me on this. Second, if after writing a few scenes for me, you decide that you just don’t have time to develop a game, then you’ll still have contributed to a living game, rather than just leaving another abandoned project on the Internet to tease people for all time with what-might-have-been. Also, I’m a selfish bastard who doesn’t want to deal with the competition.

Important: You will NOT be expected to write your stuff in LaTeX, or write any Python code. You will only be expected to write some plain text, and I’ll put it in the program.

Anyway, on to updates about episode 2 progress. I’ve written over 100 pages of content, only for Emily and I to decide that it’s garbage. Well, the content itself isn’t garbage, but rather the organization. Basically, in my old system, I only planned out down to the scene level. So I have a rough idea of the main plot for each episode, subplots for each season, and character arcs for most of the main cast. I also have a pretty good idea of what I want to happen in each scene for episode 2. However, I used to stop there. I wouldn’t plan out the scenes themselves. Instead I’d sit down, and just let my muse floooow like the river.
Well, it turns out that my muse sucks at giving different paths a balanced treatment, and making sure I’m actually making progress. So after about six weeks of furious writing I ended up with 115 pages of content before you even get out of the guild/Maria’s home, and most of it was found in obscure paths that you’d only find if you:

a. tried everything imaginable. Even things you didn’t know would matter (i.e. wearing a thong and no pants when you go into the kitchen for the first time)

b. Asked me about alternative paths and I remembered the path when I responded.

c. Happened to pick just the write sequence of choices scattered across different unrelated conversations.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love having scenes showing up in obscure little corners you wouldn’t think to look in (or even knew existed). Nothing gets the sex juices flowing like getting surprised on your sixth playthrough (assuming you guys play that often. In which case, you’re not playing enough I’m flattered.). However a single easter-egg scene really shouldn’t take up 30+ pages. Unless I outsource it to someone else. In which case, sure, whatever.

In light of these problems, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks recharging and reflecting. Based on those reflections, I’ve decided to make a few changes to my writing process. From now on before I write up a scene, I’m going to work out an outline of how the scene should go, all the way down to the nodes of the conversation trees. Then, I’ll write up a brief outline of the scene, with one or two sentences describing how I think  each node should go, and send it off to Emily. That way, if there are any glaring omissions, or I’m putting too much emphasis on one path, but not on another, we’ll be able to catch it before I’ve churned out a novella’s worth of material.

From there, it’s a “simple” manner of filling in each node, and making sure I don’t add more than one or two nodes to a particular path. Hopefully, that way I’ll be able to give each path a more balanced treatment, and make sure I don’t have one path with 20 nodes, one with 7, and one with 2.

I’ve written up an outline for the opening of episode 2 and sent it off to Emily for her perusal. Fortunately, I should be able to rework most of what I already have written into the new structure, and the rest I’ll push into a might-come-in-handy-later pile. So I should be able to get back to where I was before Thanksgiving relatively quickly.

However, for now I’m going to use my simple outline as sample input for my LaTeX-to-Python translator. I want to get that damned thing written and (mostly) working before I dive back into the writing.

I’m so sorry that things are taking this long. I promise that I’m working hard on it. It’s just that I’m still new at this, and haven’t worked out a good system. Plus, there is still a lot of coding involved, and coding takes time. Hopefully, once we hit episode 4 or 5 I’ll have hit my stride (and have finished the bulk of coding) and I’ll be able to bust out episodes at a more reasonable pace. Plus I might be able to recruit some additional help to get this thing moving that must faster.

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