Still lots to do….

I’m still pushing through the various fixes and new content. Lilac and Violet now can receive gifts and chat, though they don’t have much to say at the moment. Also, with Lilac at least, you can choose to have sex with her at any time. There is no benefit for doing so, other than a short scene and a single CG image.

You can no longer swap party characters in and out at will, and the Formation option has been removed from the menu. I needed to do this in order to control the game’s difficulty better. I’ve installed Yanfly’s Party System script, and now whenever you leave your manor the formation menu will open up for you to get the slave girls you think you’ll require.

The party chat feature works… sort of. The entire process is there, I just have to do the writing for it now.

As I said before, the extended opening is done, but I removed the credits from it because it was pretty tedious. For now, the credits monument will remain until I think of something else.

Unfortunately, something I did while applying mods to 3DCG causes it to have a critical failure when I open the program, but the error message is in Japanese and I have no idea what it’s saying. So I must re-install the game and start over, and hopefully not lose any of my already-complete characters.

Other than that, the Lumberhill stuff might not be completed, but I don’t know. There have been a couple setbacks already this week- on top of the 3DCG thing it took me the better part of Monday to figure out a not-retardedly-complex way of doing the party chat feature. I hope to meet all my content goals, but we’ll see.

Lore about Slavery

Hello, all. Game development progresses at a steady rate, and I’m knocking down June release goals pretty regularly. Yesterday, for example, I managed to re-jigger the skill list as well as solve the whole “slave collar” issue. You now have to do occasional tasks for the slaver’s guild in order to refresh your supply of slave collars, and can’t progress on certain quests until you have slave collars to spare.

So I thought today I’d discuss part of the lore/fluff of the game, dealing with the legality of slavery. It’s pretty clear to me that sooner or later this will need to be said in-game, because a lot of you are confused as to what role legalized slavery plays in the setting. But until then, you get this lecture.

Slavery is legal in the Middle Kingdom. Obviously, considering that the Slaver’s Guild’s market is a central fixture in one of the towns. The majority of slaves in the Middle Kingdom come from cases of bankruptcy and debt. Middle Kingdom law allows a person to sell themselves or a family member into slavery as a means of cancelling debt. For a person without assets, this might be the only option they have for debt repayment. The Slaver’s Guild has sole right to accept slaves in exchange for debt cancellation this way.

Because of these factors, it’s not unheard of to extort someone into debt, until they must sell a family member (or themselves) into slavery, and then purchasing the resulting slave. This was probably the end goal of the gang that kidnaps Alina and her little brother. Poor Alina gets taken for a slave anyway, though.

It’s also possible to sell yourself into slavery, if you’d genuinely prefer that lifestyle. This is, effectively, what Meline and Florine do.

While the Slaver’s Guild has sole right to take new slaves, they don’t have a monopoly on the slave market. There exist a number of slave merchants who deal in the buying and selling of existing slaves. This is what Alim, the guy you get Doll from, allegedly does for a living- he’s just bad at it, there is money to made there.

The Slaver’s Guild also has the ability to import slaves from other countries. Of course, those other countries have different laws and practices regarding slavery. Kellos, the Middle Kingdom’s military rival to the east, does not allow slaves to be collected because of debt but does use slavery as a punishment for crimes. Kellos slaves therefore tend to have an entirely different skillset, and are more frequently used as slave soldiers and bodyguards than as household servants. Because there is no central government for the lands across the northern mountain range, the Slaver’s Guild conducts raids on nomad villages to forcibly collect slaves. This is what happens to Yamamaya.

Because these different practices result in slaves having very different skillsets, there does exist a global trade in slaves. Middle Kingdom slaves as prized as household servants, and as such are in demand in other countries. The Slaver’s Guild is an international organization with a great deal of power and influence, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on new slaves in every country either, and there do exist rival slave trading organizations.

So, what does this mean in terms of the hero? Well, he’s not necessarily wrong for collecting slaves the way he does. It could be construed that he is an agent of the Slaver’s Guild because he was given slave collars for the express purpose of getting himself some slaves. In that case, several of the slave girls he collects are willing or could be viewed as being collected in the repayment of a debt. The only slaves he acquires illegally are Randi, the item shop girl and Larelle (if he collars her without breaking her first). Now this doesn’t mean he’s a nice guy- in Larelle’s case, he’s guilty of kidnapping even if she accepts the collar eventually.

Anyway, that’s that. Last week ended up being kind of crazy for me, so I never got around to replying to emails and message boards. This week will be different though, and I’ll have lots of time to do that. You see, last week I lost my job. Don’t worry about me, I’m in a pretty good place for it financially and it wasn’t unexpected. This is not a call for more donations, I don’t use those funds for myself anyway, but I said I’d keep you all abreast of any changes in my life that could affect game develop. The upshot is, I’ll actually have a lot more spare time to work on the game than I used to. This could change very soon, depending on a couple of factors, but for now I’m happy to take advantage and get lots of work done on HC.

Talk to you again next week.

Character Inspirations

Good evening, gentlemen. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for you, Nekochan and I were out of town most of the last week. Therefore, not a whole lot of work got done on HC. I’m most of the way done updating the game after changing the item list, with only the dungeons left to do. One of the things I decided to change was to rip out the current shop process in exchange for the built-in traditional-style shop menu. Implementing the multi-buy system was just too much work for too little gain, and as some of you have pointed out it also means you can’t compare your armour against the shop’s offerings. I realized that I was doing extra work for no real purpose other than being stubborn, so I stopped.

Ditto the party train- next version of the game will lack the visible train of characters following you around. I was playing Breath of Fire II the other day and realized that the reason why that game uses a party train is so that you know what puzzle-solving tools you have available. In contrast, Chrono Trigger uses a party train because that game is one of the most gorgeous, visually impressive games ever created and they want to show that off, dammit. HC has neither feature, and I’m kind of sick of the “sprite X walks into party train” bug reports anyway.

I guess those changes make HC a little less unique, but I’ll have more time to work on stuff like dialogue and battle design- stuff immeasurably more important than shopping.

Moving on, this week I thought I’d talk a bit about the inspirations for the various characters in the game. Spoilers ahead!

The Hero: I’ve been pretty transparent about this one. The hero is basically a stand-in for popular H-game hero Rance, who shares a similar moral outlook and goals as the hero. The hero is a little different in that he can be polite and well-mannered if it suits his purposes. In early drafts of the game’s story, I was going to include story sequences to imply that the hero is in fact the child of Rance by Sill that she gets pregnant with at the end of the Isoroku Route in Sengoku Rance, and that the two universes are ultimately shared. Also, it wouldn’t be a very funny joke.

Therese: Therese started out mostly as a bog-standard Lawful Stupid Paladin, mostly to contrast against the hero. Initially, the plan was to have her be a partner to the Hero, who you could either have as a party member you couldn’t touch or you could choose to rape and enslave her but she would refuse to cooperate with you. As the game world developed though, that scenario became impossible due to the magical slave collars, but lives on in spirit with the whole dungeon mechanic. I also had the idea for a cute subplot involving Therese falling for the hero’s charms, giving in to her carnal desires, and believing that the angels revoked her powers, only to find out that the angels did no such thing at all and actually approve of her helping the hero for some reason.

Meline: I’ve gone into Meline’s development is detail before, so I won’t repeat myself. Her class, Invoker, in based of the 4e D&D class of the same name, mostly because I already had an idea in mind for a cleric-type character and wanted Meline’s power gain to be a literal deus ex machina.

Lilac and Violet: You’d think that “maids who are also identical twins” wouldn’t have involved a lot of development, but it did. One maid didn’t feel like enough to care for the entire manor, and I couldn’t think of any other logical reason for a pair of maid slaves to be sold as a set. Then, the maids were a set of sisters (twins and an older one) based entirely off of the Crescent Sisters from the maid collecting card game Tanto Cuore, until I dropped the third maid because three sprites made that little pen in the slave market look awfully crowded. Lilac and Violet being named after shades of purple is the remaining nod to the Crescent sisters (who are named Azure, Viola and Rouge).

Alina: Alina was always meant to be sort of a girl-next-door type in looks with a tsundere attitude (because tsundere is both really cute and easy as hell to write). Her skill set and general reaction to being enslaved is based off of a Saiyonara Zetsubou-Sensei doujin I read once where Zetsubou-sensei makes his entire class a harem and Chiri-chan decides that if that’s going to happen, she’ll be “head girl” and make sure everything “gets done right”. Unfortunately I don’t know the title of that doujin because it was in Japanese so my English-speaking brain kind of just glossed over it.

Elaiya: She was actually originally supposed to be a bow-quipped ranger, but I eventually changed her to a gun-equipped bounty hunter because I didn’t want people to expect her to have nature powers. She’s almost like a refugee from an entirely different game- her subplot is mostly serious and involves her trying to find the man who killed her husband. Her husband was an adventurer, and the only member of his party who didn’t turn bad over time. Godfrey was one of the party members, but Elaiya was just a waitress, but when her husband died she picked up his guns for revenge. She’s based a little off of a Scion character I played once, who was a daughter of Isis who became a vigilante in order to find the man who killed her husband and cut him into thirteen pieces.

…Yeah, very occasionally I play female characters in tabletop role-playing games.

Larelle: Not a lot really interesting here, but she’s loosely based on Celes from the mystery game Dangan Ronpa. It comes out more in her visual style than anything.

Doll: Doll’s low self esteem comes from one of my perverse little fetishes, where it kind of turns me on to hear girls put themselves down and want to be treated as objects. Her side plot is heavily influenced by the anime Trigun.

Yamamaya: Her opening animation (where she beats up the slavers) is inspired by the teahouse fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her character is kind of based on Chie from Persona 4 (being a tough female character who likes being complimented for femininity). In her tribe, a warrior can have as many wives (or husbands) as that warrior can justify with their strength in battle, and the submissive wives/husbands in this case find pride in being chosen by capable warriors who have large harems already. This was determined entirely by my desire to have a character that was not only happy to a part of the hero’s harem, but had an active interest in helping him acquire more slaves. Oh, and she’s named after Sakaki’s cat in Azumanga Daioh.

Randi: Randi is named after the woman from World’s Worst Tenants, solely because that was what Nekochan was watching when I needed to name her. A pretty sharp contrast to Cypress_Z’s naming scheme, right? Her habit of leaving erotic novels lying around everywhere is based on a roommate I had in college.

Well, I think that’s it for now. It’s more than enough, I suppose. I’m going to take some time this week to catch up on emails and forum threads and such,  so if you haven’t heard from me lately, I’ll be getting to you. Also, something is happening this week in my personal life that might give me a lot more time to work on game. I’ll let you know how it goes as the situation develops.

Design Goals for June Release

It’s that time of the month, gentlemen. Here are my design goals and objectives for the next release. (We didn’t do this last month because May’s goals were all the shit I didn’t get done in April)

Last Friday I took an hour and made the last bit of the satisfaction book context sensitive. So, now that’s done, and demonstrates what the theme of the next update will be: going back and fixing/finishing all the little stuff that I’ve been ignoring in favour of big, meaty chunks of content.

So, what else is getting done?

-Items and skills are getting re-organized and re-jiggered in general. Not a big deal for you guys, but for me it’ll make designing new content infinitely easier. Your old saves won’t be good anymore though, but that’s sort of okay, because…

-Extended opening with credits has been written and planned and just needs to be made in the game

-Relationship and chat interactions for Lilac, Violet, Randi, the item shop girl,  and Larelle

-The quest tracking function will be removed from Alina and put in an adventure log item you can use from the inventory.

-There will be a “chat anywhere” function implemented in the game, letting you speak to party members and have they comment on your current mission.

-Continue doing character makeovers- next up will be Alina, Randi and Therese.

-Continue implementing CG for older sex scenes.

-Implement the various consequences for having buildings destroyed during the zombie assault on Lumberhill.

-Continue to squash bugs, etc.

If there are any new quests or content, it’ll be something small, more like the package delivery quest than any of the larger missions.

Next release is June 19th for donors and June 26th for the public.

May 2013 Release

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a monthly update without at least one fatal bug in it. Here’s the updated version with (hopefully) the technical errors corrected.

Changes:
-There are several new music tracks from Kain’s Combo Pack and the Cinematic  Soundtrack Pack off the RPG Maker website. This has significantly increased the game’s size.

-The Night of the Raping Dead quest is finally complete! Not all the outcomes of saving/failing to save the village have been implemented, but the body of the quest is intact and ready to go. Due to time constraints, however, all the dungeon material for the new character has yet to be finished- you can give her gifts and collar her though.
-Special Thanks goes out to dedicated fan Mickele- the forest segment was his idea, for which he earned his cameo as the sole surviving lumberjack who offers helpful hints.
-Hentai CGs have been added to Penelope’s blowjob scenes as well as a single scene (with two variations) at the end of the undead quest.
-Heavy armor now increases that character’s threat, and general armor (ie, normal clothes) now decreases threat. Uh, that was actually in the April 2013 release, I just forgot to mention it.
-Magical tomes now add temporary magic spells when they’re equipped.
-Luck now adds a small bonus to damage with most attacks.
-Unity Force now also heals HP based on the number of harem girls you’ve collected.
-Running has been changed. You may now tap the shift key to toggle between three different speeds.
-Doll now has a secondary weapon available in the weapon shop.
-Churches now feature priests who dispense lore on the local religion, and who are also capable of providing a blessing to your party (for a fee).
-The shovels should now return some kind of message whenever you use them, regardless of terrain.
-Penelope’s look (sprite and face) have been overhauled.
-A horde of squashed bugs, and new names on the bug finder monument
On, and here’s the RTP you’ll need to play the game: http://www.rpgmakerweb.com/download/run-time-package

Update Tonight!

Just wanted to keep everyone updated- the new release will be delayed a bit, hopefully no later than tonight, due to the stupid zombie attack sequence hating my life.

Received “Sexy Software”!

Hey all, just thought I’d drop a little teaser here.

Check out Penelope, sporting her new look that will be in the May release:

Everyone’s first or third favourite maid, Randi:

And Larelle, who will be introduced to you in the new update:

See you next week!

Mailbag #2

Game Update

The undead quest is divided into about three sections. Part one involves repelling a zombie invasion from Lumberhill. Part two involves a more or less normal dungeon crawl. Part three is a logic puzzle right before the boss fight. I’m almost finished part one, which probably represents 60-70% of the total work.

Seriously. The zombie attack is probably the single most programming-intensive series of events I’ve put in the game yet. I hope after all that effort that it ends up being fun and challenging rather than frustrating, but at the very least it should be unique. And if it turns out that there aren’t any bugs, it will be some kind of hentai gaming miracle.

Of course it doesn’t help that I worked on it all week, realized that there was a far easier way to do it, and then re-doing it all last night. Of the thirteen combats, it took me all week to do four of them, then I managed to re-do those four and finish it off just last night in probably about four hours’ work.

The logic puzzle is about 50% finished, and dungeons are pretty easy. I’ll probably polish those off tonight, and then take the week to do internal testing (ie, getting Nekochan to do it) and adding more widgets, like shops and things. I haven’t added the bulk purchase option to all the stores yet, so I’ll probably do a lot of that too.

So, in other words, things are on time, even a little ahead. If I’m fortunate enough to receive 3DCG soon, I’ll have lots of time to figure it out and plug some CGs in for the release next week.

Something donors should note- your week-in-advance downloads won’t actually kick in until the June release. I promised everyone that the May release will be available next week, and I’m going to hold to that. The Player’s Guide is coming along nicely, though, and of course you’ll get the in-game credit.

Hmm… I think that’s basically it. Now, I’ve been posed a lot of questions deserving of more extended answers, so that’s why I’m doing another mailbag so soon after the first one. Also, it’s easier than making up content by myself. On with the mail!

Q: Is the game going to have a definitive ending? As in “The End”, game over? Or is it going to remain playable after all the content is finished? -Rose Flutterby

Probably not. There might be some kind of scene upon getting all 151 harem girls, but beyond that, no. There might even be some kind of post-game content, depending on how I feel once it’s all done. However, I have mentioned before that there will be questlines, and each of those will basically constitute a plot arc unto themselves.
There might even be more than one “ending”. I’ve been tossing around the idea of breaking up the game into six episodes, one for each continent, since they’re so self-contained. This would have the additional advantage of letting Nekochan and I do other projects between each episode. For instance, there are several other franchises I would love to do hentai parodies of. I also figured out how to use a numeric code to pass important information between each game, so you can carry over certain decisions between each game. It would also let me trim the cast between episodes. But, I originally started this project to be a single game, and there are many unexplored possibilities for each continent’s content to “mix”.

Q: Is there a reason the towns are so big? -Idan Erlichman

The technical term is called “design space”, but that basically means, I want room to drop things in when I need them. If I run out of things to need space for, I’ll just shrink the maps. But I’m always thinking of little bits to drop in, like the drug dealer in Eastfort or the sausage seller in Northmarket. Besides, not every dungeon can take place in a cave or a sewer, and towns provide a lot of opportunity for interesting things to happen.

Q: What ages are the characters? -paraphrased from Lamekill

Here is my official CYA statement on the current characters who have sex scenes:
The Hero- 22
Meline- 18
Therese- 24
Elaiya- 27
Doll- Unknown, but over 18
Yamamaya- 21
Larelle- 19
Alina- 21
Florine- 20
Violet and Lilac- 19
Randi- 23
Penelope- 18
The Item Shop Girl- 31

Anyway, see you next week for the release!

GOAL!

Thank you very much to everyone who donated! We did it!

I’m amazed at how quickly you guys pulled together. It’s been less than a week since I put up the donation button!

Because I was able to buy 3DCG entirely from donations, I went ahead and paid the express shipping myself, and went and bought some extra music packs for RPG Maker. The software should arrive within the week. If everything proceeds smoothly over the next ten days, the May update should be pretty exciting for everyone.

Again, thank you all very much. I’ll work hard and do my best so that your trust and generosity is rightfully rewarded.

Oh, and in case some of you still wanted to donate to the project and get the donator-exclusive Player’s Guide and the early downloads, I left the donation button up. I’m not 100% sure what I’d use the extra funds for, but all donated funds will go to either Harem Collector or future projects.

Donations, Updates, Sorrow

Well, okay, that poll was a dismal failure. Never doing that again. I have no idea why it kept resetting, but that was terrible. So I have no idea what ended up winning, so instead here’s a regular no-bullshit update post.

First of all, there is now a donations button on the side column. I didn’t want to do this, but it seems that 3D Custom Girl is impossible to find a reliable download for, I now have a fuckton of adware on the PC I share with my wife, and I’m not really comfortable with pirating software that people worked so hard on anyway. The cost to purchase and ship it to my country is about $120, which is outside my “money I can afford to spend on porn” budget. So I’m hoping to raise that much so that way I can finally implement hentai in the game. If for some reason, people get really excited and donate waaaaay more than I need for that, I’ll look into getting some of the DLC for RPG Maker VX Ace and using it in the game as well. If less than 2% of the people who downloaded the March update each give $1, we can reach this goal and improve the game for everyone.

What was donating get you, other than porn and a warm fuzzy feeling? Well, you’ll have access to new versions of the game one week earlier than everyone else. You’ll get a donator credit. And, you will also get a .pdf Player’s Guide, detailing all the little secrets, fun facts and such in the game, updated with each new release. This will contain every secret in the game- even the stuff I only tease at in forum posts.

Actual Game Stuff

The most exciting thing I’ve implemented all week: You can now tap the shift key to toggle between three speeds in game. Basically, RPG Maker uses six speed settings. Setting 4 is the default for player movement, and you can hold down the shift key to “dash” at speed 5. In the March Update, I set the player’s default speed to 5 and removed the ability to dash, and I planned to add the ability to “walk” at speed 4 by holding the shift key, for greater precision during puzzles where movement is necessary. And yet, people still complained about the player not moving fast enough.

So now, you can use the shift key to toggle between three speeds- setting 5, which is default for Harem Collector, setting 6, for fast travel, and setting 4 for when you need precision.

Other than hammering away at the undead quest and squashing bugs, I’ve also added in two other things. One, using the shovel now returns a message no matter where you use it. You’ll be notified if you’re digging on a valid square and there isn’t anything there, and the hero will complain if you try to shovel on cobblestone paths or indoors.

The other new thing is that there is now a reason to visit the world’s churches- within, a priest (or nun) will offer to Bless your party in exchange for a donation (cost is linked to your level). Bless is an extremely powerful buff that lasts for awhile, but because it’s only available via churches there is some preparation and strategy required to get the most out of it.

Anyway, happy playing, and hopefully soon I’ll have good news regarding the 3D Custom Girl situation.