Spankers and Spankees,
At last, the second half of episode 4 is complete and has been released. You can get it in the Downloads section. This completes the fourth, count it, fourth! episode of Scarlet Moon. We finally resolve the cliff hanger I so evilly left you with last time.
There are a *lot* of changes in this most recent version beyond just the release of the next set of content. The highlights:
0. A new Loveless version of the game is now available for all three major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). There have been a small number of users who haven’t been able to play the game because of a bug in Love that affects old computers. Their plight filled me with sadness, so I decided to create a version that doesn’t use Love at all. More details below.
1. Speed now gives you a full point of defense, and half a point of offense.
2. Scarlet Feet has been removed, and now Scarlet Fists reduces power by x and increases both strength and speed by x/2. I found that those two tended to clash with each other, so I felt it best to roll them together and simplify Scarlet Moon’s powers a bit.
3. Small story retcon: You and Juliana are adoptive siblings. This doesn’t change much, but earlier episodes have been tweaked in places where it
was unnatural for siblings to talk (typically references to “your mother” vs. “our mother”).
4. A new heroine is introduced: Anklyana! You know those people who say “The best offense is a good defense?” well, Anklyana would slap them upside the head, except she’s too busy defending her allies with her awesome defensive powers.
5. In a *totally* unrelated note (totally unrelated), you can also start romancing a certain submissive young lady who may or may not be really good at defense. You only get the option to do so if you aren’t already attracted to David. Sorry, no bisexual threesomes. You will get the option regardless of which path you chose at the end of episode 4 day 1, it just shows up at different times. That being said, the climax is a bit chaotic (as climaxes tend to be when superheroes are involved), so I’ll also give the ability to start romancing the sexy lady at the start of episode 5 in case people somehow miss it.
6. The character screen has been reworked. Now, when changing clothing or character attributes instead of slogging one at a time through a sluggish list, you go to a separate screen. This screen displays a list of all the options you can pick from. You select one by either typing a number into the text box and pressing enter *or searching for the item you want*. For example, suppose you want to equip some shorts. Then you can go to the character screen, select lower clothing, and type “shorts.” The list will be filtered down to just items that contain the string “shorts.” From there, you can add additional words to narrow it down to just the item you want, or arrow key to beginning and type the number you want, or delete your search and type the number. A little bit awkward (it’s better in the console version) but it is still an improvement over the awful thing we had before.
7. A *lot* of ascetic choices have been added. This is mostly because the console version automatically scrolls to the bottom, and I found that to be a less than ideal user interaction. So I split up long events so that each event fits in a single screen in the Loveless version. Most of these choices follow a Snarky, Serious, Stoic pattern. Typically there will be a snarky option, a serious option, and a stoic option. Basically, it’s a next page functionality like we had in Potion Wars, except it grants roleplaying options. This should hopefully also address a criticism from the guy at puddinggames.blogspot.com a while back that my game just went too damn long without player feedback sometimes.
8. Hairstyle and clothing can now be changed from the story screen. Just press F1 to change hairstyle, F2 to change your upper clothing and so on. Saves you a keypress!
9. You can choose between an emoji bum status (in which your status is ^_^, >_<, etc depending on the state of your bottom) and the original short sentences.
This version doesn’t use Love at all. Instead, it bundles a lua executable, and includes an executable script you execute to play the game. It’s basically the same as starting the Love version, except instead of double-clicking ScarletMoon.exe (in Windows) or ScarletMoon.app (in Mac), you double-click ScarletMoon.bat (in Windows) and scarletmoon-mac.sh (in Mac).
Get it in the Downloads section!
Once things stabilize, my next plan is to overhaul combat. Something I discovered working on this episode is that the combat code is quite complicated, and it’s also hard to follow the combat. The first one is a problem for me (especially since my life is only getting busier), and the second is a problem for players.
In particular, I have all this complexity to support damage redirection. However, the ability to redirect damage is really hard to balance in a game like this, and it’s not even the most interesting thing in my system. The most interesting parts of my combat system is the rich action economy (i.e. the fact that your character can do any combination of their actions each turn, instead of having to pick one), and the ridiculous number of statuses. So I want to double down on these, and simplify everything else.
My plan is to simplify things significantly by adding some more secondary statistics (attack, defense, shield, etc), remove the ability to redirect, and focus instead on giving the player more tools to control the action economy and buffs. For example, instead of Wind Tunnel, Tempestas may have a skill that lets her throw a character at another character and scramble their statuses. Similarly, she might get a power (Wind Switches!) that removes *everyone*’s statuses. Plus, not everything necessarily needs to be a status. For example, Scarlet Fists and Scarlet Eyes don’t necessarily need to be statuses. So you could potentially wipe the board of everyone’s statuses, and still leave your characters more built than your opponents.
While doing so, I’ll be chewing on the next step in the story and start working on that once I’ve got combat where I want it.