A Little Break

This past week I took a bit of a surprise break from work- thanks to everyone who was affected, particularly those of you who watch the silent streaming on weekdays. I really appreciate your patience as I go about sorting my shit out.

It was just a case that between all the cross-promotions, building the website, taking care of Nekochan with her twisted ankle, helping Nekochan take care of her sick mother, and everything, I was getting tense and angry all the time, and Conash finally convinced me to take some time off to relax and get my feet back under myself.

So I spent some time just kind of chilling out, playing lots of Breath of Fire 2 (thanks, people at the Devstream last Saturday!), picking up the Switch release of Wasteland 2, and fussing over the Song of Ice and Fire RPG campaign I’m currently playing in. It was nice, I got over (most of) my stress, and I think I’m ready to tqckle the challenges coming up ahead.

First of all- the Crystalline Village some of you may have seen me working on during the afternoon devstreaming- that might have to rest for a bit. I have a detailed idea in mind for a series of puzzles for that dungeon, and they require an intricate series of tiles from Kumiho- probably the biggest single bag of assets I’ve ever ordered from her.

For now, I’m moving on to the other quest we had planned for this cycle- the first real showdown between the military forces of the Middle Kingdom and the might of Kellos! The Hero will be bravely wading into battle on a special mission to seek out and destroy the Kellosian leadership and help turn the tide in the Middle Kingdom’s favour. If he successfully blunts the Kellosian’s forward advance, the way will be open to take back Eastfort… but what if Barst intervenes?

Well, you’ll just have to play and find out!

Website Done, What Next?

Ah, so the website is finally finished and out there, and the old website safely packed away where it can do longer hurt anyone. And, as a bonus, there were no problems or bugs in how the site was put together- well, I suppose I should say, at least none that came back to me. I hope this new site will last us for many years.

Redesigning the website has been a major time sink for me in the last month and a half. While standalone WordPress is pretty easy to use, there was terminology to learn, visual deisgn to mull over, plugins to negotiate into cooperating. The last time I put together my own website, it was on Angelfire of all fucking things, so there was quite a bit to learn for myself, and I am also old enough that a lot of software isn’t intuitive for me anymore.

So, now that the new website isn’t taking up so much of my time, what’s next?

A high priority right now is working more on ILTSDK!! There is lots of writing to do, characters to make, mechanics to plan. While Harem Collector is the focus of my attention, I want to make good progress on ILTSDK so that when it comes time for primary production, the team and I can put in our full effort and work efficiently. The way that Harem Collector has gone, with me making things up as I go, hasn’t been the best and I’d like to do better.

The other thing I want to do is investigate how best to market Harem Collector and offer great incentives for existing backers to switch to higher tiers, without increasing the prices for the tiers that currently exist. I want to be able to afford a good composer to make more proprietary music for the game, I want to be able to get an animator for doing new battle animations and make all the special skills and spells really pop. I also want more and faster sex scene art. And, well, if I’m being honest, I’ve been feeling the pinch more and more at home and making a little more money for myself would be nice.

To that end, I’m going to be doing some more formal polls a bit later this month, but please let me know your own thoughts in the comments. If you’re a backer, let me know what sort of rewards you would find valuable, and don’t be afraid to show me ideas from other projects you support. If you’re not a backer, let me know what I could offer that might stoke your interest. Or just tell me that I’m a sell out or saint, or whatever else, I suppose.

Next week is the public release of v0.39, so please look forward to it!

Artist Situation

Jeez, we’re just full of situations lately.

So I’ve been keeping it pretty low key, for various reasons, but just to let you all know, once the last few Larelle and Shally pics are done, SacB0y will no longer be contributing art to Harem Collector. He had encountered time management problems, which those of you who have been paying close attention probably picked up on, and has chosen to focus on his work for Outbreak Games and the occasional contractor

However, I’ve already been in talks with several artists. Next month we should be able to recover from the jumble and carry on with the Therese artwork without falling much further behind. For now, I am continuing to work with Hilent, the artist who did the Miri pics and face set that some of your have already seen in the backer mini-release.

I’m sorry for not being more transparent about this, but I didn’t want to say anything while SacB0y was still finishing up the last of his piecework. But with the public release just around the corner, it didn’t feel right to continue leaving Hilent off the credits list, and I didn’t want to go changing the credits list without some explanation as to why for our awesome supporters. It is by no means a dire situation.

As for the backer release! We’re looking good for it coming out by midnight, or just a shade after. Unfortunately, I was very depressed yesterday, and lost a lot of time as a result, and we’re paying for it now. I do feel as though this is a pretty strong update, though, so please look forward to it!

Forum Situation

So, the forum is still down. We’re getting pretty close to being finished on that end, and if the new, revamped forum with spinners and undercar lights is not up later tonight it will be before the end of the week. Getting the style and visual design of the forum might take a bit, but we’ll have all the functionality there- the progress trackers, wallpapers, short stories and everything will be ported over.

The reason why we’ve put all this fuss into a new forum is because we want a long-form space where the Bad Kitty Games can discuss the games and everything that we love in detail. Discord is great, but it’s ultimately a chat room, and all things there are transient. Patreon is a great way for me to communicate with you about discussions I lead, but it’s not ideal for back-and-forth dialogue.

But that said, especially with the advent of our Discord channel, the old forum ended up underutilized. We used it for weekly discussions, Iron Waifu and collecting bug reports, and that was basically it. Ultimately, this is a place for you, the fans and supporters of Harem Collector and Bad Kitty Games, to come together, discuss things, play, share and communicate. So we’d like input from you for determining what things we can use the new forum for.

If there are any features, events, discussions, bots, anything at all you’d like us to use in the new forum, please let us know here in the comments!

Despite all of this, we’re still looking on track for the backer release next week, so get hyped to meet your newest harem girl and go on even more awesome adventures with your favourite harem slaves!

It’s A-Maid-Zing What Good Writing Can Do

So earlier this month, I was dismayed to find that after all this time, some people still treat Violet and Lilac as being basically interchangeable.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Since they were first created very early in the development of Harem Collector, I haven’t added very much new content for the twin maids, other than keeping them updated with group events such as the Manor Invasion and the various rank-up parties.

I had always imagined them to be two very different characters. Violet is the more quiet, responsible, and refined of the two, who takes her duties as a maid seriously. Lilac is more energetic and outgoing, and while she doesn’t skimp on her duties, she doesn’t live for them in the same way Violet does. I even picked out their hairstyles based on this- Violet has a sensible-yet-elegant shoulder-length haircut, while Lilac just pulls her hair back into a ponytail and is off for the day.

But…. if this isn’t getting communicated to players properly, that’s on me. So while we’re technically meandering through the last of Larelle’s hentai content, while also racing for the end of the Demon Cult plotline… I took some time and wrote additional dialogue for Larelle and Violet, as well as a pair of new (text-only, for now) sex scenes that I feel show off different parts of their personalities.

Hopefully this will help make our twin maids a little stronger for Iron Waifu this year! I’ll try to make time to fatten up their content a little more before the release rolls around, but we’re getting down to the wire soon and the newest quest takes precedence, of course.

Only two more weeks until the backer release! Hope to see you then!

So, General Update

Wow, what a month. I’m not going to lie, a lot of crap went down in my person life so far this past month. Yet, with the help of the team and a little bit of hard work and focus, not only did the public release go down alright, we’re making great progress on the next update.

One quest is already largely in the can (saying that now in case I’ve forgotten something), a new harem girl is on the way, and I have a good start on Violet and Lilac’s chat menus. Not entirely sure yet what specifically we’re going to be working on for the next four weeks, but we’ve tossed around a few ideas, including adding some random scenes as text-only and a few other things.

I am behind on the website redesign, which I am not happy about, but I do not regret prioritizing game development over that. Web design is something I’m sort of learning as I go (the current version of the website was designed by a previous staff member), so please excuse the final product if it looks very derivative of a template. I’m still hoping to have it ready for spring though.

Sorry that this is not much of an update, I just wanted to give a general idea of where Harem Collector is at for the next update. Please return next week as we’ll be doing the second monthly I Live To Serve, Dungeon King!! update. Until then, please continue enjoying the new content!

Harem Collector v0.38 Public Release!

Download it here: http://www.badkittygames.net/games/hc/

Changes in this version:
-A new quest in the Demon Cult questline, accessible by searching the Northmarket guild for clues after Dude, Where’s My Sword?
-A new quest in the Kellos Invasion questline, given by the man himself, Barst the Lion!
-A collection sidequest, given by a certain pair of merchants found wandering about the Middle Kingdom!
-New art for Larelle’s “A Taste of Death” sex scene!
-New art assets from Kumiho, including a new placeable piece of furniture available at the Tin Dog Tavern!
-Two new text-only sex scenes!   
-A lot of new dialogue for Larelle’s “Chat” menu! Almost everything is in there, so check it out!

Art Transparency

So, things are going to be weird with regard to new art assets for the next few months, and I think you all are owed an explanation as to why and what we’re doing about the situation. The TL;DR, if you’re not interested in my long-winded loquaciousness, is that SacB0y is severely behind on art, so while he catches up this month we’re taken on an additional artist to keep up momentum. There are various delays associated with this.

So, due to various reasons, SacB0y’s productivity has been severely affected since about December. If you’ve been paying very close attention to work on the game, you may have noticed. He needs time to get caught up and finish the last of the solo artwork for Larelle, especially considering that it’s all the sex on demand and dungeon scene stuff, which means that none of the images are variations on each other, which tends to make the process quite a bit faster.

While SacB0y is getting caught up on that stuff, I’m searching for an artist to hire in the meantime, to make up for the lost productivity. This artist (whoever they are, I haven’t made a final decision yet) will be handling the first scene of the new harem girl coming out in v0.39. You might recall that I was extremely reluctant to bring on additional artists, but more and more I’m feeling that having a bunch of different art styles in the CGs is acceptable losses at this point.

So the rough plan right now is that this February, SacB0y finishes the Larelle artwork, while guest-artist-chan introduces the new character. Next month, if SacB0y is back on track, we do the accelerated Shally artwork and get started on Therese. Unfortunately, “accelerated” at this point means in the sense of “we’re getting thirteen months of work this year” rather than a significant increase in speed, but I’ve spoken to the guy who donated for that and he’s cool with it and even offered to accelerate EVEN MORE once we’re in a better position, so may we’ll get the Alina x Therese scene even earlier, who knows?

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you are an artist or you know an artist and would like to apply, please feel free to DM me on Patreon, Discord, Twitter, whatevs. But otherwise, I’m getting back to work. Have a great week!

A word from Conash

Hey everyone, hope everyone’s been doing well! It’s been awhile since my last blog post so I’ll just talk a bit about a few things on my mind.

First of all, why don’t we talk about enemy balance a bit. I’ve noticed a few times that players have talked about how the later levels of HC are difficult, though usually I wasn’t too sure how to take that since I have seen a comparable, though fewer, comments about some of the earlier levels in the game as well, leaving me without a strong understanding on how the enemies that I had been putting together the stats and AI compared to say the ones that NM put together when you consider that the player is supposed to be having an increase in stats and resources in general as the game progresses, but during the recent testing release it became very apparent as both me and NoMoshing picked out the original stats for the enemies for the two quests that we’ll be adding, both quests share the same recommended level, and when we got initial feedback from testers, it seemed that we had both missed that recommended level mark but in opposite directions. I cut down the stats on my enemies far more than I boosted NoMoshing’s, but it did help highlight that I do need to work on rethinking my approach for calculating how to determine the stats for enemies going forward, hopefully I’ll be able to work on having enemies better keep place with a player who’s at level going forward, and I will welcome feedback in regards to the difficulty on quests since I definitely lean a lot more on the ‘difficulty’ side of things (Though when it comes to Super-bosses, once tester’s have given me the okay that it’s possible I am going to be very stubborn, Super-bosses are the one place that I can ramp up the difficulty as much as I want without worrying about breaking the game. One tip for those struggling with the newest super-boss, Wiki-tan is probably the worst match-up against him and runs a risk of making him downright impossible if she’s in your active team, she can be useful for him, but just be warned that depending on what you’ve done with her she can make the fight impossible for you).

Now let’s talk about code some shall we? NoMoshing has talked to me about adding in a new little script that would run at the end of battles, it’ll take a bit of finagling but I’m hoping to have it ready for the 0.39 release and it should help add a bit more fun to some of the general ‘crawl’ that tends to take place in dungeons, so look forward to it! I promise to do my best to not break the game… This time… Speaking of breaking the game, for those of you who’ve run into various furniture or other events teleporting around in either your Eastfort condo or your Westcastle manor, I have fixed the problems and you won’t need to mess with save files or anything. It’s an issue with the events of the game, so testers and the rest of you with access that event stuff (you know who you are) please keep in mind that completely deleting events can result in this little visual bug. Now, the final script thing that I want to talk about is in regards to AoE attacks from enemies, as I’m sure many of you know enemy tanks can take hits from your AoEs but you can’t have your tanks do the same from enemy AoEs, which can often lead to AoEs making tanks a lot less useful as the most important attacks to block you have no effective means of dealing with. Well I’ve got a few ideas (and even some formulas that I’m happy with) that I think will go a long way to help give players tools to help deal with enemy AoEs without going too far. I’ve still got a lot of stuff to test and look into in regards to this so I don’t want to be making promises that I can’t keep, but I will say that I’ve heard the complaints about how AoEs don’t have an effective counter-strategy if you would, and I am looking into ways to help expand the battle system to add in some options there.

Finally, there’s one more thing I want to talk about though it’s a bit more personal. I don’t know if any of you have noticed but I haven’t exactly been as active with the blog posts, scripting, or a few other things over the past year, and I just feel that I owe a bit of an explanation for that. Lately in my life there’s been a few more things vying for my time and energy, but more importantly a lot of that’s been piling up some anxiety issues with me. I’ve worked out various ways to help keep it a lot more manageable but I’d be lying if I said it was fully under control. It gets a bit personal and goes against a lot of what I believe in to really delve too into it, so I’ll just leave it at emotions are irrational and sorry that I wasn’t really able to bring my A game for 2018, which I am hoping to change. I do intend to stick with HC though and plan to pay back the support that NoMoshing has given me so feel free to take that as you will. If you excuse me, I’ve got more code to write.

*makes farting noises with his cheeks*

As much as I like writing, there are some things that are very difficult to get across. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of times I’ve wanted to put emphasis on something, or make a play on words, and haven’t been able to effectively do so because of the nature of text. I think my skill at writing has increased over time- I encounter these problems less and less, I think- but it still crops up. It’s annoying.

That’s part of why the chat system has not been a priority. It takes a really long time to write so much dialogue. Trying to find something insightful or at least funny to say about this or that character is pretty hard. And I can only call the Hero a jerk so much before it becomes old.

But now, I’m just complaining. I had intended this blog to be about my writing process, since I’m going to be grinding away at chat menu stuff while the testers have their way with the new content.

Now that I think of it, though, I just find writing characters to be intuitive. Maybe it’s all the roleplaying I do- I have a regular table I go to every Thursday, where we generally have two campaigns that switch every week. So even if I happen to be running a campaign (like right now) I still get in a bit of roleplaying every other week.

I guess that’s not really helpful, now, is it? Writing sure is tough.

The backer release is in one week, and it’s going to have writing in it! And some other stuff, too! Two characters from long ago return, and you get to fuck at least one of them in the ass! It’ll be great!

Edit: I realize I bitched about writing last week too but the lead-in to a backer release is usually pretty slow, since I can’t start working on anything new, so it was either this or talk about my figma or video game collection.