Direction in the New Year

Oh, wow, I didn’t realize I haven’t updated the blog since before Christmas. I hope you all managed to have a good holiday, nonetheless. I had a pretty good time, I think- Nekochan seemed to enjoy her gifts, and I received some nifty things. As you might recall from earlier posts, my mother in law is very sick, and so doing the holidays with her was very challenging. My mental health still has not super improved from the fall, but I’m trying to focus more on using my time effectively when I am in a fit state to work. Like everything else, it’s a process.

But, that’s enough about me. What you’d like to know is, what’s the plan now? Last year, Conash and I made a big push towards getting story progress done and spinning a more cohesive narrative from the scattered plot strands in Harem Collector. It was a huge success, and because of that I feel that we’re going to be taking it slow (in terms of plot development) for the first quarter this year.

Our January update will be the BROS update, featuring the final relationship quests for Kevin the blacksmith and Gargan. Kevin, a longtime supporter of the Hero, finally comes asking a favour, in order to earn a little adventuring cred with which to impress his childhood friend. As for Gargan, they find out about a witch rumoured to specialize in curses, and the removal thereof… and of course, a witch living in the middle of nowhere doesn’t trade in money.

And what could possible follow the BROS update? Why, only the HO… RTICULTURE update! March’s update will feature primarily new content for Doll and Chimei, the harem’s resident nature-themed slaves. Doll’s Love Quest will revolve around her origins, figuring out who she really is and how she ended up becoming a slave. As for Chimei, her Love Quest will… revolve around her origins, figuring out who she really is and how she ended up becoming a slave! Ooo, mysterious….

Seriously though, one of these quests will involve crossing swords with a pair of powerful dryads, and the other will involve dealing with a cult of assassins seeking to bring about a terrible prophecy using your harem girl… so please look forward to this new content coming soon!

And for those of you who are backers may remember, now that we’re done with most of Princess Quinta’s scenes, we will be moving on to all new art assets for Doll. Originally, we were going to do Chimei next in the art asset queue, but Nekochan wants to focus on getting her summer cosplay done, so we’re going to put that off until summer. Thus why I ran that poll where backers got to vote on which girl who has already had a redesign will get focused down on next. And the winner was Doll, which is great because I was planning on doing her love quest anyway!

So her art queue will include her introductory scene, her gangbang during the Manor Invasion, and her love quest sex scene. Unfortunately, her random scene, being that foursome with Chimei and Lilac, is going to have to wait just a scootch longer. And, following that, there are two very important and long requested scenes I want to get done before we resume….

Anyway, those are my plans, at least, for winter through to early spring 2020. I’ll see you all in just a few more weeks for the BROS update, and check back here every Wednesday for bloggo goodness!

My Favourite Things I Made This Year

I was going to use this week’s blog to moan some more about my depression, explain why the update to Quinta’s second sex scene took so long, and in general beg for forgiveness. While I do feel bad about those things, and I do ask for your forgiveness, I’m worried about this sort of thing becoming dull and rote. So, rather than that, I’m going to talk about some of the things I am most happy made it into Harem Collector this year.

These are presented in roughly chronological order, and just numbered for my convenience, but nonetheless please enjoy this semi-listicle.

#1- Officially Announced ILTSDK
I know it’s not the biggest, most exciting thing, but finally announcing I Live To Serve, Dungeon King!! to the public felt pretty good, like it was making the leap from theory into practice. I’m still slaving away at the pre-production, though, so it’ll be awhile yet before we have a functional build to show off.

#2- Introduced New Scenes and Dialogue for Lilac and Violet
The new content for the twin maids was very well received and I’m pretty proud of it, to be honest. Definitely looking forward to these two coming up in the art queue. Mission accomplished on helping define their divergent personalities more.

#3- Set Up A New Forum
I learned how to do a MySQL and now we have a fancy new forum we rarely use. But, hey, it’s there and I really feel it’s a worthwhile supplement to the Discord community, as a home for content like my erotic writing and the Iron Waifu contest.

#4- Epic April Fool’s Prank
The 90’s-style April Fools website update was a lot of fun to make, and I have no idea how I’m going to match it next year. 😀

#5- The Actual New Website Launch
It was a massive headache at the time, but it feels really good to have gotten rid of our amateurish, outdated old website designed by a certain someone I don’t particularly like, and replace it with our new, slick website filled with all sorts of art representative of what Harem Collector is all about!

#6- Kaguya
Solving the ominously growing PC issue here at the home office without having to impact the Patreon or art progress was a really huge boon. I know it had a lot to do with a random windfall I received from a relative, but still, very happy about that.

#7- Victory Barks
Time to tout something that Conash did! I am very pleased now that victory barks are implemented and in a final form that makes it so people can enjoy them without it disrupting the established flow of the game. Conash did a lot of great work this year but I really think the end of battle update from PRINCESS is among his slickest and nicest looking UI changes.

#8- Miri
Getting a new harem girl in the game is always something worthy of celebration

#9- The End of Demon Cult and Kellos Invasion Stories
Sort of partnered with #8, having Bell and Quinta get implemented and finally finishing off the Demon Cult and Kellos Invasion plotlines was a huge win this year! It finally feels like we’re getting close to the end of the game.

#10- Pandemonium Fortress
My personal winner for Dungeon of the Year is the Pandemonium Fortress from Hell to Pay. It’s a really big, meaty dungeon with it’s own story to tell, a lot of really unique looking areas, homages to multiple games on my all-time favourites list (including Resident Evil, Super Mario RPG and Silent Hill 3), and just really felt like an epic way to send off the Demon Cult questline in style. And then, while we were working on it, the whole lootbox scandal happened, inspiring a whole extra section of dungeon, with it’s own mechanics and stuff going on. Sometimes our chaotic, inefficient, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants style of game design really gets to pay off dividends.

Anyway, those were my favourites bits of the year. Please feel free to share your own highlights as a comment, Discord message, forum post- whatever form of interact floats your boat!

Harem Collector v0.43.1 PRINCESS Public Release

You can find it in the usual place.

Changes in 43.1 include:
-Princess Quinta’s Love Quest is now available for your playing enjoyment. If you need to cheat your way into enjoying it, use the code “Ojou-Sama” to set Quinta’s affection to 101.
-The fourth tournament is now available for your solo run dueling pleasure!
-Several new vacation events: Meet Yeon’s dad, go seashell hunting with Quinta and Ino, and go drinking with Gargan and the boys!
-Quinta’s post-recruitment sex scene is fully implemented. Her love quest sex scene will be out around this time tomorrow due to a (small) further delay in art assets.
-New text-only vacation sex scenes for Yeon, Gargan and Quinta.
-Hard mode has been implement with stronger enemies, less experience, limited grinding, and some more difficult puzzles and challenges. However, progress in hard mode will occasionally unlock some new goodies in the Replay Menu under the new “Unlockables” heading.
-Easy mode has been updated with a new item that lets you change your party at any time and weaker enemies.
-Yamamaya has seen some revisions- she is now partially controllable during rages, all her rages and techniques have been rebalanced,, and Meiriona will begin teachiung her new skills earlier.
-“Dual” elements have been added- it is now possible to combine the effects of the “Anti-creature” damage types with regular elemental damage. Magic using party members who have natural “Anti-creature” element types built into their weapons will now have that damage type modify their spells (ie, when Larelle is equipped with the Black Truth, all her spells will do additional damage to Angels).
-“Collectible” quests now have their own category in the Quest Log, and quests have been colour coded based on their current status.
-The Victory screen at the end of every battle has been give a general quality of life update.

A Difficult Discussion

So Conash and I had a little discussion about this “difficulty menu” idea he had, and we’ve started to give it some serious discussion.

My original vision for Harem Collector was to have the dungeon exploration to relatively streamlined, but for combat itself to be reasonably challenging. I don’t really enjoy the sorts of RPGs where you have to grind for hours to proceed, or get certain items or skills. I much prefer games where enemies are limited in supply, or there is some other constraint meaning you have to balance grinding with something else. If I were to pick some of my favourite RPGs, I would select the latter SMT: Persona games, where grinding comes at the expense of time in the game’s very limited calendar, or the early-mid Bioware games where enmy encounters don’t respawn. This is also why I prefer to play Pokemon games Nuzlocke-style– grinding becomes a pretty dangerous prospect when an unlucky crit can kill one of your “party members” forever.

Not everyone is like that, however. Some people prefer to grind, they find the process to be relaxing or even soothing in a way. Others prefer the simple knowledge that if they encounter a challenge that they can’t overcome, they can just keep at it and eventually grow powerful enough to steamroll whatever is in their way. Still others might not care to grind, but they’re just playing Harem Collector for the sweet, sweet pornography, which I totally understand. Others don’t mind the combat, but don’t care for the economy side of the game. My policy for a long time has been to stick to the original vision, but I’ve come to see the wisdom of having various, multi-faceted difficulty levels.

If you’ve been paying attention you may have been able to suss out that I’m a huge horror fan and one of the greatest horror game franchises of all time, Silent Hill, is well known for having separate combat and puzzle difficulty levels. I am totally cool with this idea, and honestly a little disappointed with myself that I didn’t think of it sooner.

The idea, for now, is to divide difficulty between economy and combat, with independent easy-medium-hard levels for each. As Conash mentioned last week, we’re cooking up a “hard” difficulty for combat right now, and we intend to re-examine “easy” mode to make it something more than just “permanent stat growth potions are everywhere and you start with a huge amount of cash”. For economy, I think we’re mainly looking at playing with the return on investment of the various investment opportunities, and dialing down the amount of money that selling items (including vendor trash) gets you. We’re also looking at a third option, to replace the existence of the Timeturner, for whether or not you want to advance a day whenever you like.

Well, there’s a lot to do before the backer release next week, so I’d better get going. See you all later!

Wiki Wiki Wow Wiki Wow Wiki Wiki Wiki

If you pay attention to the Patreon feed, Discord announcements, or my Twitter, you probably already know all this, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a record archived here on the ol’ bloggo, and also to let anyone who for whatever reason follows only the blog in on what’s going on.

Got a nasty surprise on Monday. In case you haven’t heard, Wikia, the free public service where was back in the day someone created the original Harem Collector Wiki, has decided that hosting wikis for erotic games is no good, even if all adult content is left off of those wikis. Thankfully, they at least gave us two weeks’ notice to remove all information contained on said wiki so we can implement another solution.

That other solution ended up being hosting our own wiki on our own website. You can find it here and it’s also linked on the website’s main navigation bar. As of this writing, it’s very rough- almost all the pages are up, but transferring images and other important files is going to take some time, and it’s probably going to be a long ass time before we get around to making it pretty- but most of the information had been rescued and is newly available.

I would like to extend a massive thank you to the volunteers who have stepped up and generously donated their time and effort to rescuing the Harem Collector Wiki- RomeroPapa, lostone, TheSevenSins, and S05Z. If you see these guys on Discord and you appreciate their hard work, please give them a heartfelt “thanks”.

Anyway, that’s it for this week. Happy fapping, and I’ll talk to you again next Wednesday!

A Dungeon King Update

So, it’s been awhile for one of these, huh? We’ve been focusing heavily on Harem Collector most of this year, finishing up multiple plot arcs and getting lots done (though, as usual, less than I’d like). But I’ve also been nibbling away at the design documents for Dungeon King, and have been making some progress.

We have a full list of twenty-six adventurer classes we’re going with for the enemies in the game. Some of these might change, particularly classes which are based on buffing a familiar/construct/animal companion. I’d like to include classes like “Beast Tamer”, “Dragon Tamer” and “Doll Mage”, primarily inspired by the same classes from the Ogre Battle series, who come with companion enemies who are functionally separate enemies but lack the normal enemy priorities and just follow their “master” around. If getting this mechanic to work proves problematic, since the behaviour of the adventurers is so important to the gameplay, I’d rather just cut the classes.

Still filling out the list of monster girls. The main trio of starting harem members- the succubus Mephy, the slime girl Kalene, and the ratling Nezi- are fairly fleshed out, and I’m looking forward to sharing profiles for them later on when they have some concept art to do with it. A minor antagonist from the early game which you will get to recruit later on is going to be a magma elemental loosely based on the Vulcan enemies from Odin Sphere. As backers may remember from a few months ago, I also intend on including some kind of female werewolf or beast-girl, who desperately wants to consider herself a knight despite being a monster girl, playing with the idea that I originally wanted a wolf-girl knight as a corrupted adventurer until backers voted otherwise. I have firm plans for about seven monster girls for the harem at this point, meaning there are still about eighteen monster girls still to include.

I don’t expect to have a full roster of harem characters by the time we begin development in earnest, by the way. I feel that making things more or less on the fly is an important part of my methods, and I want to keep that freedom when we’re actually working our way through the game.

Conash hopes to have an early alpha with stand-in art assets done by early 2020. This would be mostly a tech demo, so we can work on the core systems like the enemy behaviour and other basics while finishing up Harem Collector. This will be distributed to backers for them to enjoy and offer feedback on, although it will be some time before story or hentai get added to the game.

Hope this short update proves interesting. Until next time!