Sundry bug fixes and a question

Spankers and Spankees,

As promised, here is my first weekend of the month update.

I’ve uploaded a new version with some bug fixes:

1. Fixed a bug where Spectral Spanking/Strapping weren’t inflicting the Humiliated status properly.

2. Fixed a bug where the game claimed you couldn’t find Maria’s home, even when you add directions.

3. Fixed a bug where if you try to argue with Adrian about the price of guild membership, and then leave the game crashes.

4. Fixed a bug where the player was getting access to tier 1 spells at a Talent of 5 rather than 10.

5. Fixed a small typo in one of the in-combat spanking messages.

6. Fixed a bug where the spankings administered by the Warslinger’s Companion, and the caning administered by Adrian weren’t being registered by the game (while this doesn’t affect gameplay, it did mean that your character’s bum was magically not being affected by their spankings).

I’ve also made a few small tweaks to some of the episode text. Nothing major that would make it worth replaying. I decided that Alondra’s siblings would NOT move into the Guild because as I started working on Episode 2, I realized that having a bunch of kids move into a building filled with dangerous objects, occupied by rough adventurers who probably don’t have children themselves just didn’t make any sense. I also threw in some text making it clear that Alondra and the player share a room, if the player decides to live in the guild.

Note that you can expect similar small tweaks in the future. I won’t make any fundamental changes to any of the episodes, but if there’s some throwaway line that I later decide doesn’t work (either it doesn’t many sense for the character to say/do that, or it contradicts something that’s pivotal to a future episode), I will go back and remove it.

Finally, I have a question. One of the things I plan to add is a minimap to make it easier for players to navigate (while building your own maps is fun for direhard RPGers, the number of direhard spanko RPGers who are willing to play a hard-core RPG when they just want to enjoy some spanking porn can probably be counted on one hand).

Then, it occurred to me that it would be really convenient if players could input a route into the minimap, hit enter, and then have their character automatically take that route. It would make it very easy and convenient for the player to enter and leave the dungeons when they need to heal (of course, the player would still have the same chance of having a random encounter when executing a pre-planned route, so it wouldn’t make the game any easier).

Then, I realized that if the player is just going to be selecting a route on the minimap, why not cut out the middleman and replace the first person dungeon view with a topdown view?

So my question is, which of the following three options would people prefer:

1. The current status. A first-person view without an automap, so for complicated dungeons the player has to either create their own maps, borrow maps from other people, or resign themselves to getting hopelessly lost.

2. First person dungeon navigation, but with an automap and the ability to give the game a preplanned route through areas already explored, allowing them to quickly reach the frontier.

3. Replace the current first person view with a top-town view. Note that you would no longer have the ability to provide a preplanned route. Using the arrow keys would move you around just like they do now in the first person view.

Attached is a rough idea of what the topdown map would look like on the first floor of the first dungeon, after the player has explored the first two rooms, but hasn’t yet walked down to the end of the hallway:

http://www.mediafire.com/view/t7tjing2x8kc2b2/sample_topdown.pdf

Let me know in the comments which one you would prefer. It should be noted that I’ve written the code to make it fairly easy to change how the dungeon is displayed, so 2 and 3 would constitute roughly the same amount of work (in fact, 3 would require less work than 2, because I don’t have to implement any of the route planning).

14 thoughts on “Sundry bug fixes and a question

  1. I would prefer the automap, as its a pain traversing areas you’ve already cleared. If you go for automap, be sure to include a random encounter function if the player is moving in a combat zone.

  2. Automap here too. Whilst it’s easy enough to memorize dungeons at the moment, I can see how it’d be a lot harder later. Excessive random fights can be annoying if you go around the wrong corner. The first person view has a certain charm to it which I’d like to see staying.

    Good work on the bug fixes and editing. Any news on the next episode? How many are you planning in all? Can’t wait for more, clearly.

    1. I’m working on writing the next episode right now. Currently I’ve written about 35 nodes.

      Roughly, each node represents a branching point. So consider the following exchange (the player’s possible response, and Ildri’s response to each response is indented beneath the player’s response):

      Ildri: “Hi Juliana.”

      1. “Hi Ildri.”
      Ildri: “Here’s some breakfast. Eat up.”

      2. “Feed me!”
      Ildri: “Jeez, what you are eleven? Hold your horses I’ll have breakfast ready in a moment.”

      3. “I never liked you.”
      Ildri: “That’s a paddling!” Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!

      Then we have four nodes: Ildri’s original greeting, and each of Ildri’s responses to the player.

      For context, there are about 350-400 nodes in episode 1 (not all nodes in episode 1 are represented as Node objects. Some, especially in the dungeons, are just functions printing text, so I don’t have a precise count). So far, I’ve written about a 1000 lines of LaTeX (episode 1 has about 13,000 lines of Python) including empty lines.

      As for the number of episodes, well that’s for me to know and you to find out (eventually).

  3. Top down navigation all the way! I’m afraid I really hate the current style which would only be marginally improved by auto-mapping. It took me over an hour of running around to work out that the weird green X was a set of stairs. Working my way around all the other rooms and maze was also a painful experience.

    Given the current size of the game, auto-navigation is totally unecessary. It would also only function in a reasonable way if we were revisiting “dungeon” areas in the future… There is also no reason it couldn’t be added to top-down navigation XD

    1. First, thank you for your feedback! It’s much appreciated.

      Anyway, yeah, I need to make it more obvious that the green X’s are stairs. That’s not the fault of the first-person view however, that’s a (pretty significant) weakness of the command interface. I should probably either:

      1. Bring up an alert box that says something along the lines of “You’ve found a set of stairs! (D)own (Esc)Cancel” when you step on the X, or
      2. Make the (U)p/(D)own commands the same color as the X, to make it more obvious that they exist.

      I am personally lean towards changing the colors of the Up/Down commands. Having bright green text in a place that usually has light grey text should be pretty freaking obvious, it should be easier to implement, and it’s more easily ignored by people who are used to the interface, and who step on the stairs but don’t want to take them just yet. But we’ll have to see.

      As for the auto-navigation, I won’t be adding that until the next episode, which will have a significantly bigger dungeon. I fully expect that it will take multiple forays in order to fully explore the Episode 2 dungeon, in which case auto-navigation will be very useful for quickly leaving the dungeon, and returning to the frontier.

      One concern I have with having both top-down and auto-navigate is what would be the best way to make it *blatantly* obvious that the player is in top-down navigation, vs. auto-navigate? This is important, because both interfaces would look the same, but they’d have very different behavior: standard navigation would result in your movement command executing immediately, while auto-navigation would allow you to appear to be moving (when in actuality you’re just choosing a route), but you don’t actually move when you hit enter. This could make it very easy for people to get frustrated: “Argh! Why can’t I explore past the edges of the dungeon! Why aren’t I encountering any enemies?”

      “This is so inconsistent! Sometimes I hit an arrow key and I move, other times when I hit the key, the arrow moves, but nothing else seems to be happening. WTF????”

      Modes are only a good idea when
      a) the modes fit naturally into the conceptual model of the program (combat vs. maze navigation) and
      b) the different modes look very very different.

      Also, can you give a few more details about what makes dungeon navigation painful? Maybe if we can better nail down those problems, and I can fix them, then I can make both you and Terry happy.

    2. (Same Anon as above btw) OK, here’s why it’s painful at the moment: Mostly it’s hard to work out where you are and where you need to be within a room. One step to the left or right in a larger room can leave you lost only seeing one square in either direction. It also feels cumbersome for some reason, althuogh I can’t put my finger directly on why. Battles are frustrating if you don’t one hit kill everything as the results take a few seconds to appear making you hit space or enter again (I forget which now since it’s been a few weeks) as you get impatient – I’d prefer it to be a much sleeker experience perhaps with the results of the previous round displayed instantly with the options for the next round below instead of having multiple screens. On the topic of alerts and navigation – do we really need those blue boxes to create an alert every time we hit them? Going back and fourth to the healer got really annoying triggering the full alert each time! Perhaps we should have it as an optional “press ‘D’ to read the description” the second time onwards or similar? It might sounds like I’m doing nothing but moaning here but this game shows great potential and with Emily (someone I’ve known for years) on board as an editor I think there will be great things to come as long as the storyline doesn’t get too depressing! (No rape of girls or random unecessary deaths etc please!) Personally I still vote for top down navigation with auto-map, but if future dungeons will be as big as you think then being able to set waypoints in them might be an idea – hit a certain key to return to waypoint 3 (having set up this waypoint earlier in a specific place in the dungeon) and while moving there go through all the random fights etc. That would be an acceptable alternative to auto-navigation.

    3. This is great! Thank you so much for the feedback. These are exactly the kinds of criticisms that I’m looking for.

      Now, as for your concerns. First, your character’s “vision” (i.e. how much of the dungeon you can see) is a little bit bugged right now. Your vision is supposed to be a cone, so the farther out you see, the more squares to the left and right that you can see. Unfortunately, that isn’t working right now. I haven’t fixed that yet, because I’ve been busy with other more urgent bugs, and for a bug like that, I really need like a 12 hour block where I can sit down and immerse myself in the problem. So fixing that is on my todo list, but I probably won’t get to that until I’ve sent something off to Emily.

      As for the combat results, I considered displaying everything at once, but my concern is that once combat gets bigger, the number of actions will be quite large, and a bit overwhelming to take in all at once. However, one thing I’ve been planning on doing is creating an Options menu, where you can do things like change the difficulty. I can also have an option for controlling how fast the combat messages scroll, where the fastest option is prints all of the combat messages instantaneously.
      They messages will still be on their own screen, because if we incorporate the combat messages into the main combat interface then

      1. It will very quickly become the case that the combat messages will scroll off the screen. In that case, you’ll have to hit a key to scroll through the messages anyway, so it won’t really save you any key strokes except at the very beginning of the game.

      2. I am assuming that most people are more interested in the current status of their characters (number of hitpoints left, what status ailments they have, who they’re grappling, etc.) when selecting combat rounds than the nitty gritty details of each action. If there’s anyone reading this for which that assumption doesn’t hold, let me know.

      For the alerts, I will consider the D option for the future. However, all of the “this event is done” messages really are rather useless. So probably the best thing to do is what I did for Mai’s Maize: once you’ve completed the main event in that room, just don’t display anything at all. Those lingering full alerts are actually a holdover from when I was writing this in Inform, before porting it to Python. There, a message would be printed each time you entered a room, and then a prompt is immediately given, so having a bit of filler “nothing special here” text wasn’t as intrusive as it is now.

      As for tone, I can assure you that I’m not interested in writing Game of Thrones + The Wire + spanking. Of course, that doesn’t stop my muse from wandering down some dark paths, but that’s part of why I asked Emily to help. She’ll keep things from getting too dark (in fact, she’s already done that).

      Now, as for top-down vs. first-person, I’ve been thinking more and more that as part of the Options menu I would give people the option. Since top-down will be very similar to auto-navigate, and I need to give people an Options menu anyway, it really won’t be that much more work.

      Finally, I think waypoints are a good idea, in the long run. The tricky thing with waypoints is that then I need to implement a path-finding algorithm, and path-finding is non-trivial. So I’ll probably start with auto-navigate, where the player manually selects their route. Then, in some future version (after Episode 2) I can replace the auto-navigation with waypoints.

  4. I kind of like the current style of dungeon navigation, but I have to say a minimap would be extremely useful. I’m not too sure about the autonavigaion thing, but it’s up to you.

    1. I’d just rather go through each area myself. Especially in a new dungeon, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I could also see if there are any branching paths that I would rather go down. I would mind if it was in the game, but I probably wouldn’t use it that much if it was optional.

    2. Two things:

      1. Auto-navigate will of course be completely optional. It’s meant to be a convenience function, that’s all.

      2. The auto-navigate will only be used to go from parts of the dungeon you’ve already visited, to parts of the dungeon you’ve already visited. You’ll have to do all of the actual exploration yourself. The primary use-case of auto-navigate is to allow you to quickly get from the “frontier” of the dungeon, back to the start, and from the start back to the “frontier.” That way, if you want to return to the main town to rest or buy new equipment, you can do that without a lot of manual backtracking (which is only exciting if you draw your own maps, because there’s always the possibility that your map is wrong. Having an always-correct auto-map, however, just makes backtracking tedious).

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