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.

darkdeamon Saves the Day!

Thanks to dedicated fan darkdeamon providing the critical clue I needed for my Dr. House-type realization, the To Catch a Predator event has been fixed and now should function as intended (I hope).

In other news, I’m very pleased to hear that some people are trying out the shovel and looking for buried treasure. Nobody mentioned it at all, so I was wondering if it was wasted effort.

Anyway, link: http://www.mediafire.com/?h13e181zm0ocq2e

Well, Fuck

April 2013 Release, version 3

In the version above, the problems with the bounty hunter quest should be fixed. I haven’t found the source of the bug concerning the “To Catch a Predator” event, but I’m done a quick fix that should stop the event from appearing for people who import their save to the new version.

I’m actually really concerned about the “To Catch a Predator” bug, because if the bug that’s causing the game over to cue up is a repeating event, then anyone’s game can become completely unplayable at any time. All information on what you were doing before the problem occurred is helpful- there’s no such thing as too much detail here.

Bug testing is ongoing, and as always I’ll keep all y’all updated as I figure things out.

Harem Collector April 2013 Release

New Link (7:50PM)

Ugh, I got nowhere near enough done for this release. But, you guys have been really supportive of all this, so here I bring you the changes:

-The hero’s default name now picks out of a random list. “Ferdinand” was never meant to be the guy’s actual name, and was just a shout out to the most awesome Heartache 101 which is well worth your time to check out even if it doesn’t have any H.

-Certain names you can apply to the hero and Doll now have in-game effects. Good luck finding them all.

-A chest near the starting point lets you “test for content” or “test for balance”. Testing for content gives you a huge pile of money in the form of vendor trash, as well as items that let you advance time at will and full restore your party between battles.

-Certain location and character names have been changed. Amelia has been changed to Meline, so as to avoid confusion with Alina. The cities have been changed to Northmarket, Eastfort, Westcastle, Lumberhill and Southport, because I’m creative.

-While the Undead Assault quest remains unfinished, you can now visit the city in quest and see the pre-zombie assault version of it.

-There are two new harem girls to enslave, with ensuing sex scenes.

-Doll and Yamamaya now have completed relationship tracks.

-In Eastfort you can now purchase a condo for yourself to stay in while adventuring on the eastern side of the map. Also, the stables are now fully implemented and you can enjoy fast-traveling at need between Eastfort and Northmarket. And I just realized I forgot to remove that feature when doing the clock shop quest, so now you can cheat on that in case you’re allergic to XP.

-You can also purchase an additional storefront in Eastfort for Florine to expand her enterprise into.

-A whole pile of other, little things that you may or may not discover.

A number of things from my to-do list are incomplete. There is no hidden dungeon yet, by the way, so don’t bother looking.

Using the time turner will let you see the ragged edges of the game, which I have yet to expand into. So be aware there might be any number of strange bugs that come from advancing time so much.

Oh yeah, and if you don’t have it already, you’ll want to grab the run time package for RPG Maker VX Ace

The next update is scheduled for May 15th, so please be patient and stay tuned for more quests, girls, and goodness.

Mailbag #1: “Naze Nani Harem Collector”

Hey all, thank you for your patience this last week. I hope you enjoyed the post this Tuesday from Neko Chan. I’ve also given her private profile access to this blog as an author, so expect to here from her time to time when I’m otherwise indisposed.

Regarding everyone’s supportive comments on the delayed release… I appreciate that you guys are willing to be patient, but I personally find holding myself to a regular release schedule to be helpful in keeping focused. So, in general, expect blog updates every Tuesday (either from me or the missus) and game updates once a month (usually a Wednesday near the middle of the month).

Of course, because I found a little extra free time, this week you get a special bonus update on Friday. So, as I’ve previously threatened, here is mailbag post #1, where I answer your questions about Harem Collector.

Q: Why isn’t the blacksmith a girl? -paraphrased from Cypress_Z, Mickele, and others

A: The blacksmith (who probably deserves a name at some point…) isn’t a girl for a couple reasons. The biggest one is that he provides me with a male buttmonkey that isn’t the hero to be the butt of jokes. I mean, come on, he’s kind of a loser already. He also sets up some really great humiliation play scenes that happen towards the end of a certain harem girl’s relationship track. No, not her, but someone else. It’ll make sense when you get there.
Also also, him hanging around means there’s a dude available in case I want to throw in mmf, gangbang, and group bukkake scenes later. I don’t know if I will or not, it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s not an outright “no” like the stuff I mentioned in the “What Won’t Happen” post below.
Also also also, he outright insults the hero in a couple of the upgrade conversations, and I don’t think the hero would put up with that from anyone other than Alina, who is his designated source of tsundere.
Honestly guys, I’ve gotten this question (or had the gender switch recommended) a lot.  Is there some kind of female blacksmith fetish I’m not aware of? Don’t hold out on me now.

Q: Would it be possible to get some kind of web page or wiki listing all the stuff in the game? -paraphrased from armegetton

I’ve mentioned it before, but I personally take a sort of sadistic glee in watching you guys flail around trying to figure stuff out. And it’s gratifying to see someone go “EUREKA!” to a puzzle or mystery that you implemented. This is something that my tabletop RPG players are pretty familiar with already, that extends now to you.

However, if a dedicated fan wants to start a wiki, or fansite, or even just a forum thread listing all the content and hidden bits of the game, I’ll gladly link to that from this blog.

Q: What’s your stance on how players play? Specifically, I’m talking about gold/sil, experience points, satisfaction points, relationship point, etc. -also from armegetton

In terms of the game’s economy, I’m placing a premium on xp.  I don’t like grinding myself, so I’m taking steps to carefully control the amount of xp in the game.
Money should be easy, once the game gets more filled out. They are at more of a premium right now than I’d like, because it’s impossible to make all your money back on an investment. Smaller investments pay a 10% dividend, larger ones pay back 5%, so to make your money back you are required to complete 10 and 20 quests, respectively. But once you pass that threshold, it’s free money you don’t have to work for. So I guess the moral is, invest early and invest often… once there are enough events in the game to make time pass that far.
It just occurred to me that it might be possible to make money on some investments earlier by liquidating your investment “gifts” through Florine. Uh, if so, good job for exploring options.
I’m not sure what the satisfaction economy is going to be like. Every continent will have it’s own satisfaction book, though, and it’s my intention for there to be just a little bit more satisfaction in the game than things to spend it on. A situation where you don’t have to do everything to max out, but there’s enough incentive to try different things.
Relationship points are going to be pretty easy. After all, there are 151 girls, if you need 14 relationship points on average to max them out, and never find their favourite gift, that’s going to be 31,710 sil worth of flowers. Or 528,500 sil worth of “clockworke amusementes”. Or you’d have to fight 25,368 enemies on average to get that many monster drop gift items. Just remember to give your girls a gift each and every “day”, because it will eventually be possible to hit a hard limit and run out of quests in a given continent.

Q: I’m curious to see what you do with the house through the woods. -Shadowsong

The house he’s referring to is the mysterious village hidden away in wooden valley somewhere on the Middle Kingdom map. That will eventually become a hidden elf village. The way it’ll work is something like this:
-Elves, including those at the village, will have their own language that the hero can’t speak (though this will be some form of legit language or cipher, allowing appropriately obsessive fans to figure it out and see hidden content)
-You will have an event somewhere were you save an elf NPC from something terrible. In return, this NPC will teach you the elf language, and point you towards his village if you ever need his help.
-Traveling to the village at this point will allow you to talk to the NPCs there and discover the elves’ plight- their species is slowly disappearing due to breeding problems.
-Agree to help, and thus begins a chain of quests where the hero tries to help save the elves from extinction. Over the course of this quest, you’ll earn a place of respect among the elves, get a household within their village, be given elven maidens in your harem for you to “experiment” breeding solutions on, and be joined by at least one new party character.
-Eventually, this will culminate in you finding one of multiple solutions to the problem. I’m considering various outcomes. For example, one option will be to teach the tribe to embrace half-elves that they formerly used to cast out, and encourage them to interbreed with humans in the name of saving their culture. Another option will involve using magic to mutate the hero’s cum into “elf sperm” and siring the next generation of elves personally. There may be be other options as I think of them.

Well that’s it for now. Please feel free to email me questions for next time on the hows and whys of the game. I won’t reveal any mysteries or spoilers, but if you want you know why a given decision has been made, want hints of content to come, or just want to know a bit of the process, please ask away.

That Wifey thing and other Randomness

Hello! I hope it becomes apparent as you read this that I am not NoMoshing. If it doesn’t well…shit. I am Mrs. NoMoshing though online I tend to go by the handle Nekochan. (very original, I know.)
Because NoMoshing hates you has an exam to prepare for, he made the monumentally stupid decision to allow me to make a weekly blog update in his place with next to no direction. I mean he told me to keep it videogamey, but I mean I could just rant about symbolism in Persona for several paragraphs and call it a day. *sigh* I suppose I should behave though, or I’ll just get put in the box again.
A disclaimer: The first hentai game I have played is Harem Collector. While NoMoshing has loved them as long as we’ve been together, I haven’t really taken to them. However, I am slowly becoming a fan of dating sims. Persona got me hooked on Social Links and I could spend the whole day diving into Reyvateils in Ar Tonelico. (side note: I spelt Reyvateil correctly on the first try ^_^)
A second disclaimer: While NoMoshing may bounce the occasional mechanic idea off me, he never discusses plot. If I spoil something about the plot that has yet to be released, it was precognition, not foreknowledge.
Something I’m curious about – how many people are renaming Ferdinand? When I stumbled upon the game, I started calling him Dumbass. Mostly because I found it funny. I keep doing it because it continues to bother NoMoshing. At the very least it’s a quick way for NoMoshing to tell which save files are mine.
This renaming habit actually lead to a permanent default name change. For those that have done the Blacksmith quest line know that you get a new party member whose name you can pick – Doll. Originally NoMoshing wanted Dumbass to call her Slut as the default option. While I don’t mind calling sluts as I see them, Doll didn’t strike me as one, and given the bit of personality info I had to work with at the time, I picked Doll instead. When NoMoshing saw it, he ended up making Doll the new default.
Other habits I have with things – character themes. I love to pick songs I associate with the character. I do it all the time with my RP characters (yes NoMoshing and I are tabletop nerds). So without further ado, songs I have picked so far for Harem Collector!
Alina: Garbage – I hate love (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOcVhBu0YjE)
Meline: Imogen Heap – Sweet Religion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYpupIFgtSw)
Therese: Florence and the Machine – Seven Devils (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJNnZy9yTJ0)
Doll: Marina and the Diamonds – Valley of the Dolls (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOpoJna72dc)
Elaiya: honeyhoney – Little Toy Gun (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3YmaADISlo)
I haven’t picked one for Dumbass, though I’m kinda tempted to say Fuck Machine by Mindless Self Indulgence (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khBLA4zTOy8) and call it a day. No one cares about him anyways, he’s just a vehicle to pick up chicks.
Anyone check out the graveyard in the Eroge? Wondering who the hell those people are? They are all characters who died in games NoMoshing has run/played in. Two of them are my characters he got killed! *sniff*
Anyway to end this, to the first people who responded to him and to those who continue to send emails, leave comments or just lurk and think positive thoughts, thank you.

April Release Delayed

The next release of Harem Collector will be delayed until the 24th. IRL has been running roughshod on me right now, as I’m sure the college students among you will understand. As I mentioned before, I attend college part-time on top of a full-time job, and all my free time has been spent on preparing for my exam and finishing my last course. The last straw was having my exam scheduled on the day I initially wanted to release- there was no way I could put the polish on a new release while studying.

However, this won’t mean that the May release will be pushed back- so hopefully from here on I’ll be able to stick with my “first Wednesday after the 15th” release plan.

TMy primary focus when I have has time to work on the game as been the Undead Assault quest. This quest will be far more involved than the Clock Shop quest, and I’m considering increasing the quest reward money. Expect an experience more on par with the Blacksmith Quest in terms of pure content.

The Undead Assault quest will also have the hero use his dungeon for the first time ever. Which, I’m happy to say, is much more interesting writing than the more vanilla sex scenes I’ve done so far.

Each dungeon character will present a choice, one of three options. The slave collars are 100% effective (on humans, at least), but how much of a given slave’s mind remains their own is inversely proportional to the resistance they offer to being a slave. Basically, a character who very strongly doesn’t want to be your slave and offers a great deal of resistance will be completely broken by the collars, becoming something just above a mindless drone, completely obedient but unable to make decisions for themselves.

When you encounter such a character, you have three options on how to deal with them. One is to pop the slave collar on anyway and assuming total control of the character in question. This offers unique scenes and lets you benefit from the character immediately, but locks off the relationship track and any associated sidequests. Option two is to break them the old-fashioned away, sexually torturing them until they ask to be collared. With this option the character in question keeps their individuality and volition, the relationship track is available, but it takes awhile to torture a character until they break. Each character will also have preferences when it comes to torture- some respond better to humiliation, others to pain, and on top of that there are Satisfaction bonuses to be had by trying different options each time.

As a distant third option, you may still give gifts to your prisoners and earn their affection that way, but come on- if you wanted to play one of those squishy feeling hentai games, you wouldn’t be here.

Game Design Rant: Player Psychographics

Quick update on the game: I haven’t actually been able to do all that much work on it. Between crunch time at school, a full time job, Bioshock Infinite, and a wicked head cold, I’ve lost about a week of work. I still want to do a release in time for 4/17.

One of the things that has bogged me down- name changes. I changed Amelia’s name to Meline, simply because a lot of people were confusing her and Alina. The names were just too similar. The other name change was in the names of the towns- I was not happy with the weird names and the gag of “Hey, all the towns sound like h-game companies!” wasn’t worth keeping around.

So, this week’s topic: Player Psychographics! I wanted to elaborate on something I posted to the HentaiHighSchool forums.

What is a psychographic? Well, in as simple a way as possible, it’s a way of dividing players by what they like to experience in a game, boiled down to the very basics. It’s not enough to say “immersive visuals” or “engaging gameplay”, because you really want to get into a player’s head- what visual elements help this player become immersed in the game or what gameplay elements does this player find engaging are what you want to find out with a psychographic analysis.

Final boss blues has an article on the same topic, which takes the “Timmy, Johnny, Spike” psychographics from Magic: the Gathering and applies it to the game world. But, there are another set of psychographics that are specifically applied to video games, using the four suits of cards.

“Heart” players are tuned into the emotional side of games. These are the players who get into games for the story, the connection to the game’s characters, and the feel of the game’s setting. Traditionally, Heart-types were almost always RPG players, but as technology improves and the games increase their ability to add emotional depth without relying solely on dialogue, the Heart-type has expanded into other genres. If you’re a Heart-type player, you probably enjoy games like Mass Effect 2, Silent Hill 2, and Spec Ops: The Line.

I court the Heart-type player by trying to make the various characters interesting, that you want to find out more about them and want to advance down their relationship tracks. There is more to every harem girl than meets the eye, and your reward for patience and diligence in romancing them is a “day in the spotlight” style quest which goes deeper into their story.

“Club” players want a challenge. These guys are stereotypically the FPSers, twitch gamers who like bullet hell shooters or ridiculous classic-style platformers. But, of course there are different kinds of challenge, and in RPGs this comes down to the dungeon exploration followed by boss fight structure. If you’re a Club-type player, chances are you’d enjoy things like Super Meat Boy, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, or Castle Shikigami 2.

This is why I try really hard to make the boss fights in HC challenging. It’s hard to hit that sweet spot where things are “challenging” without being “frustrating”, but I try to take something the
Extra Credits crew said once to heart. RPG boss battles are, fundamentally, puzzles, where the solution is usually “figure out how to do x damage to the bad guy before the bad guy does y damage to you”. I try to work that into every boss fight, which is why the Gang Leader’s max hp was dropped in the last release- by the time his two buddies are dead, you’ve basically got the fight figured out and just need to whittle him down, but he had so much hp that it took quite some time to finally get the fight over with even once he’s effectively finished.

“Spade” players want to explore the game mechanics and figure things out. They enjoy not only puzzle games, but any game where strategy is an element. Bioshock is probably the best example of a strategy-oriented Spade game I can think of- you have a number of different powers and weapons, and while some are straightforward (antipersonnel ammo is for splicers, armor piercing ammo for Big Daddies and turrets) some aren’t. It’s up for the player to evaluate the situation, and decide what to employ- maybe there’s an oil slick you can ignite with Incinerate! or a pool of water to amplify your Electroshock. There are other ways of encouraging Spades too, like Sengoku Rance which can open new tactics and scenes to you depending on who you have on side and what order you capture enemy countries in.

Spade-types also appreciate the puzzle-solving aspects of boss battles, but that’s not all I do to appeal to Spades. Some of you who were feeling experimental, might have noticed that tripping on shrooms also lets you regenerate Mana, or that being drunk gives your basic attacks a chance to stun. There are situations where losing control of your character might be worth these benefits. That’s the reason why there’s a multitude of items in the game, to let Spade-types explore and see if they can find a use for their stack of fifteen Slime Fluids or to find out exactly what the limits of the Contained Singularity are.

“Diamond”-type players like to collect stuff. And if there is an in-game purpose to collecting all that stuff, well, then that’s icing. Obviously, games like Pokemon appeal to Diamonds, but any game that features regions to explore and collectibles to earn- games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas– hold appeal for Diamonds.

Of course, in a game that’s about collecting women for a harem it’s pretty easy to implement Diamond-oriented stuff. But that’s not the only thing I’m doing. There are businesses to invest in, quests to find, and crafting materials to upgrade your weapons with. Finding all 151 harem girls will require you to do a fair bit of exploring. Finding every scene, dungeon, quest, item and place will require you to look behind every rock and talk to every person and… well, that would be telling.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated as always. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this little lecture.

Porn!

That’s right friends- the big news or next update is that there will be actual porn in the game. I’ve found a solution that I’m satisfied with, and there may be new h content as early as the April release. I’m going to be using a third party 3-d engine to do poses and models. Of course, that depends on a few things- among them my ability to alter existing models while keeping attractive faces, and another being my ability to match clothes and other characteristics to the sprites used in game. We’ll see how it goes, and details will be forthcoming as they are available.

However, this does mean I’ll probably have to abandon Mediafire as a hosting service. If anyone can provide suggestions as to a hosting service that doesn’t mind adult material, please do so.

However the bad news is that might be the only significant change for the April update. Fixing the aesthetics of play is hard, going through each and every event to check sound effects, change sprite movement speeds for cutscenes,  deal with message positions…. Because of this and various other things, the next update might just be a general “polishing up” of the game, with the new h scenes, but we’ll see.

As always, stay tuned for more information.

What Won’t Happen

So, one question I’ve gotten a lot of is, “When am I going to be able to nail Reccette and Tear?”

Well… you’re not. It’s best to think of the gift shop as just a nod to one of my favourite games and leave it at that. Don’t expect there to be any sex scenes with borrowed or parodied characters, even if they do appear in the game.

The biggest reason I have for doing this is simply that I have more than enough original content I want to put in the game- I also don’t want to deal with the requests that that sort of thing would draw. I don’t want to wake up one afternoon and find a couple hundred requests for adding everyone’s favourite Final Fantasy character, for example.

The other reason is that, well, Reccette is eleven. I wouldn’t mind seeing hentai of her being sufficiently advanced in age (that actually sounds pretty awesome), but I’m not interested in loli. Adding to that is the legality issue. The country I’m in is considering some fairly invasive laws where that sort of thing and the internet are concerned, and it’s just not worth the risk.

Other things I can almost guarantee won’t see in the game: furries*, vore, water sports, guro, gay sex**, hermaphrodites, bestiality. Not because I hate on those things, but just a general lack of interest and a disinclination for other people to write for Harem Collector. It hasn’t come up, but if you do want to request something like that, it probably won’t happen.

To end on a positive note, I’m working very hard to ensure that the girls you meet are all of different types and varieties. If you have a moe or personality-type fetsih, that may very well come up. Monster girls are also going to happen. On the to-do list is: yandere, preggo (hell, I have an entire quest line in mind that’s preggo-themed) , spectrophilia,  aphrodisiac use, dominant female, S&M torture, mother-daughter incest, vampire girls, nuns, kidnapping, humiliation games, and much much more. So, if you’re a fan of any of that stuff, well, it’s coming, sooner or later.

I don’t really want to be a killjoy, but I figured if you’re following this game because you think Amelia is actually ten years old and you’re waiting for the pics, or you really want to have Tifa show up as an enslave-able character, you should know that it won’t be happening.

*Kemonomimi is a go, obviously. I feel bad for furries sometimes, because of the much wider acceptance of kemonomimi. I can imagine a lot of furry fans being like, “Oh come on, why are you stopping there?” But, there it is.

**Beyond, of course, the occasional “And let us never speak of it again” joke like already exists in the game.