The Epic Conclusion

If you’ve been following the Patreon and/or the forums really closely, you’ll know that this has been a dramatic half-week for Harem Collector artwork. Let me break it down for you. Please read until the end, as this story has some plot twists and turns and you’re not going to be able to fully appreciate the context for everything until you get to the bottom

Back in February, SacB0y said he was getting better job offers and had to move on from working on Harem Collector because he couldn’t fit it into his schedule. Fair enough, but at this point SacB0y had been paid for most of Larelle’s sex a la carte and dungeon scenes, eight images in total, and been paid for half of Shally’s sex scene which had been especially sponsored by a fan. SacB0y told me not to worry about it, Jingzy would finish the rest of the images and he’s do lineart for the Shally scene and have Jingzy finish it off with colour and background, at which point I’d pay Jingzy the remainder of the cost of the scene. I wasn’t super happy about this turn of events at the time, but this was acceptable. If it had to happen, I’d at least have my bases covered and be able to deliver to fans and patrons.

Over the next three months, things end up being tense and awkward. I find a new artist and start working with him, SacB0y and Jingzy occasionally send me roughs and lineart to approve, but both of them blow through multiple deadlines. I try to be patient, though, keeping in mind that playing nice is the best chance I have at getting my patrons their money’s worth and trying to be professional. To Jingzy’s credit, he did eventually produce some results- the three finished images that backers got to see a couple weeks back- and he was progressing fairly well on some other images and would occasionally update me.

Cue the start of June. I’m figuring out the art budget for the month, getting pricing from Hilent for the big Therese-and-nuns foursome scene, and also giving Sac and Jing their monthly prodding. SacB0y sends me the final linearts for the Shally scene, Jing says he’s out of the house but does have completed art to send me. Awesome!

When Jingzy gets home, though, he claims that his computer isn’t starting up. He even sends me a video of him trying and showing the computer plugged in and all. This is when I start losing my temper. This art has been four months in the making, and multiple times I had been promised “Oh just one more week”. Whether or not Jingzy’s computer was actually broken was totally immaterial to me- I wouldn’t be in this situation if the artwork had just been done months earlier, as promised. So, I told Jingzy to stop worrying about it, I’d get the art from elsewhere, and ended up in a fairly bitter conversation with SacB0y where I got to express my frustration. SacB0y promises to make it up to me someday, and I truthfully tell him that I can’t believe that at this point and just ask for all the completed work to date.

Now, image my surprise when I wake up the following morning and find that SacB0y pulled a pretty damn heroic all-nighter to get the Shally scene completed as a means of making it up to me.

So now, I’ve had a chance to calm down over the situation, do some math, and figure things out. SacB0y finished the Shally scene, without me having to hand over the other half of the payment, too, which did a lot towards mollifying me. I have four mostly completed Larelle images from Jingzy (an example heads this entire post) and I’ve spoken to an artist I trust about getting them finished. When you do the math on all the costs, the value of everything so far lands somewhere between the price SacB0y originally charged me and what it would cost to get replacement art from Hilent.

Considering how the cost of lewd art has risen between when SacB0y and I first struck our agreement almost two years ago, I am pretty satisfied with this outcome. I respect SacB0y a lot more now than I did a few weeks ago- he took responsibility for the situation and did what could to immediately resolve it. More importantly, the guy who sponsored the Shally scene was very happy with the outcome, and immediately offered to sponsor more art from Hilent.

As for Jingzy, in hindsight the impression that I got was that he had a lot of work dumped on him at a very inconvenient time, while he was realatively inexperienced at working for commission. He did apologize and give his blessing to have his work get finished elsewhere, and while I probably wouldn’t hire him again at this point, I don’t bear him any ill will.

So hopefully you read through all of this. It’s been a bit of a trip, with various up and downs. Again, I’d like to reiterate that I’m satisfied with how things wound up, so please don’t go making trouble for either Jingzy or SacB0y. The remaining Larelle art I’ll have to get done by someone else, in due time, but I’ll take that over the increasingly bitter situation we had before.

Anyway, if you have any questions on how things turned out, please feel free to ask away in the comments. Look forward to the backer stream this Saturday and the public release is on schedule for next week. I’ll see you then!

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!

Orange Kid, Pandora, Motivation

Aw, man, I’ve felt such a writer’s block over the last few days. Well, here goes.

Orange Kid’s solo stuff is coming along, with her Love Quest happening this month. Still at the concept stage at this point, but we should have it done for the backer mini-release, even if the art/sex scene comes a little bit later. Also on deck for this month is the Orange Kid wallpaper… which also means that Alina’s wallpaper if going to become publicly available! So, look forward to that!

The following month will be the intro scene for Pandora, so unlocking the Southport manor and getting everything placed within it will be a significant chunk of content for the next release, though it’s a secondary priority to Orange Kid’s LQ.

Following that… We’re going to try to move into the next leg of the “Harem Drama” plotline, and it should be a doozy. Both in terms of work and in entertainment value.

I’ve felt really motivated lately to get work done on HC, and ironically enough it came in the form of someone being critical of the game. Someone somewhere said, “this game is dead, don’t fund it, it’s a failure”, and I was able to successfully transmute the resulting outrage into energy that I poured into Harem Collector. This isn’t an invitation for additional abuse, by the way- I’m more just commenting on the funny way things work sometimes.

By the way, thank you very much to all our supporters on Patreon. July 2018 was our strongest month ever, and because of that I can get an additional image done this month and can serious look at doing seven images a month permanently. Your continued support and patronage is very appreciated, and I hope you’ll continue enjoying the benefits as we go forward!

Update on Mind Control Situation

Hey everyone. The game dev gnomes are hard at work getting a testable version of the dungeon for “Blow Job” up and running- you may recognize that as being the quest that unlocks when you get Gargan up to “Trust” rating- so while that’s going on I figured I’d update you all on how the Mind Control content situation is going.

Last we left off, Patrons of Harem Collector’s development have decided to have the harshest mind control content removed from the game. Since then, the determination was that the replacement scene (more on that in a second) would be from the “Others” group- not a new harem girl, old harem girl, anything like that.

Now, after having a sober second look at the schedule, it looks like we’re only to be able to squeeze in an additional month of work, with the rest of the time saved going towards moving up Iron Waifu 2019 (whoever that ends up being) into a reasonable time frame.

I may post a third poll to do with what scene it should be in particular, but as of right now what I’m looking at is:

A Private Drink (featuring Shally)
Getting What You Wish For (featuring the Genie)
Not So Chaste After All (featuring Mitzi)
Poor Maid (featuring Evanie’s Maid)
Set Fire to the Rain (featuring the River Nymph)
Spreading the Space-Time Continuum (the schoolgirl + succubus orgy from “Sacrifices for Algernon”)
The Wolf Below Us (featuring the werewolf girl from All’s Were That Ends Were)

The question I have right now is, is it worth making another poll, or should I just dictate it?
Decisions, decisions.

Well, I’ve got to get back to the code mines, I’ll see you all again next week for the backer release and all!

Patreon, Schmatreon

So I *was* planning on writing about the mind control poll, what changes are going to be implemented, and go over the new art/sex scene schedule, but recently Patreon has chosen to place the Bad Kitty Games patreon page under review. The reason: the censored preview images on the front page.

I’m a little exasperated at the moment. I don’t mind playing by the rules to get the funding we need to make Harem Collector all that it can be, but I am not pleased by this “takedown first, review later” way of managing policy. Further, at this point, the porno mag section at my local convenience store is racier than the Patreon page for a adult game that already has an 18+ wrapper over it….

Blah, regardless, I have every confidence that use of our Patreon page will be restored soon, what is beginning to get questionable to me is how useful the page will be for selling the game to new patrons.

At this point, I’m ready for any alternative that doesn’t involve handing your money to nazis, which is the only alternative right now.

Regardless, we should be back up soon, and look forward to more awesome HC content soon!

Did Not Expect That To Happen…

In case you’re also a follower of the Patreon page as well as a follower of the devblog, note that today the same information from this post was posted on the Patreon feed, so you really only need to read one.

Yesterday, a voice from Harem Collector’s past actually got in touch with me- Clara Middleton, formerly credited as PeaSea, who made most of the unique music tracks in HC, basically all the tracks you can collect on CD.

She didn’t come with her hat out or anything like that, but rather to make amends and explain why she worked so sporadically and then vanished way back when.

Turns out, back when Clara was operating as PeaSea, Clara was a man. And not just a man, but a married man. Whatever you may think about transgendered people or PeaSea specifically, I’m sure you’d agree that going through such a fundamental change in your life and then finding out that your wife isn’t suddenly going to be gay for you and then having what I’m sure was a spectacularly messy divorce isn’t exactly great for getting your largely self-motivated contract work done. For the simple reason that Clara doesn’t actually know me, was going through an obviously stressful period, and couldn’t handle it if I actually turned out to be a massive douchebag, she never worked up the nerve to actually contact me about it until most of the dust had settled.

So, for now, the only thing that this changes for now is how her work is going to be credited- she’s using her new meatspace name because all the people that would have have a problem with her working on a hentai game have already had a problem with her transitioning.

Clara might end up doing some work that ends up in the game. I know that having an official composer is a far-off Patreon goal, but for now, I’m giving her a wishlist of a few things I think HC ought to have, and if she produces something I like it’ll get put in the game and she’ll receive fair compensation for it. I’m under no obligation to pay her up front this way, so if things get hectic again and she can’t get things done for whatever reason, it’s not going to disrupt progress on the game.

Music acquired in this way is probably going to end up as some kind of tier preview but will probably be sporadic. It also will be low-key enough that it’s not going to disrupt other aspects of the art budget- if I don’t have the dosh at the time to buy a music track I’ll just wait until I do, eating only into my personal end of the Patreon take. This is all assuming she even produces anything, and while I’m hoping for the best I’m still planning for the worst.

Still, I’m feeling kind of optimistic. I was hoping to get another track or two like “Rescue Me” for the game’s opening and closing, and some of Clara’s other work like “To The Victor” and “Hard Like Diamonds” really help set the tone for the game. Hopefully this will all work out.

Let me know what you think, especially if you’re a patron- if you’ve got skin in the game I’m always happy to hear from you. If you have any good wishes to give, comment away and I’ll pass then on the Clara. I hope everyone’ enjoying Iron Waifu so far, and I’ll talk to you all later!

Patreon Situation Update

First off, I’d like to remind everyone of the Public Devstream this weekend (which you can catch here) and just let all our Patrons know that, due to a very inconvenient bug we discovered today, we’re going to be taking another couple days and will get the mini-release out on Friday. Sorry for the trouble, but if you’re a $10+ patron there’s a little bonus up there to hold you over til the weekend.
Anyway, I just received an email from Jack Conte, one of the founders of Patreon. And, well, here’s what he had to say:

“Hey folks – there have been a few articles, some talk on social, and even an open letter about Patreon’s recent content policy updates. Last week, the Trust and Safety team explained in a blog post the updates we made to the Community Guidelines.

I really, really hope you take the time to read the blog and Community Guidelines for yourself. Most of all, I hope you understand that nothing has changed except our stance on four areas of content: bestiality, incest, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence.

It breaks my heart that folks who contributed to OpenLetterToPatreon.com expressed fear for their pages. Patreon is not that kind of company. I want you to disagree with us. I want you to make your voices heard. I want you to request features and policy changes. I want you to rally the community. That kind of pushing is not only good for the community, but my opinion is that it’s ultimately good for Patreon, too, because it helps our team viscerally feel the voice of our creators. I want Patreon to be the most creator-first company in the world, and that requires you to speak up and tell us what’s on your mind. Patreon will not always be able to do what you want – but at the very least we can make sure we hear you.

As a creator, it’s always bugged me when tech companies and CEOs stay quiet as changes are rolled out in the background and the community feels left in the dark. It really bugs me, because content policy is one of the most important and tough problems that modern tech platforms face. It’s complicated and nuanced and critical to get right. So, I’d like to personally clarify our update – and I realize that this doesn’t mean everyone will agree with it – but again at the very least I don’t want to be silent. So here we go:

The way that the Trust and Safety team is evaluating content has not changed. Yes, the public guidelines got longer because our creators asked for extra specificity. So in response, we’re sharing more detail with you about how we evaluate content. It does not represent a change to our content policy – it’s added detail to educate the community.
We did update four (and only four) areas of our actual content policy: incest, bestiality, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence. If you’re just reading the headlines, you’ll be under the impression that we’re “cracking down on adult content.” Again, this is not what’s actually happening. We only updated the above four areas of our policy.
Patreon’s stance on pornography has not changed. We have never allowed pornography or sexual services on Patreon and that stance has been clear in our guidelines since they were first published a few years ago. We used to say we allowed “R-rated” content, but that description was ineffective at clearly explaining our policy to the community. It didn’t give you the specificity you needed to understand what’s allowed, and what isn’t. Our updated Community Guidelines explain in way more detail what we mean when it comes to adult content. I also realize that “pornography” is difficult to define, and “you know it when you see it” is a totally inadequate policy. So we’ve added additional detail to the pornography section of our content policy, and the team will be spending even more time clarifying our guidelines in the future. As of this morning, the guidelines state that we don’t allow “real people engaging in sexual acts, such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera.”
Very few creators are affected by any of these updates. Again, the only actual changes to our policy were around bestiality, incest, sexual depiction of minors, and suggestive sexual violence. Most folks – literally *most* creators by multiple factors of ten – even in the adult communities – have nothing to be concerned about
Patreon won’t pull the rug out from a creator’s income, even in the case of a policy violation. The team actually built a new system, a suspension tool, over the last few weeks, to avoid sudden removals. Suspension may still seem harsh – I totally understand that perspective – but in the case of a policy violation, it gives the creator a chance to talk with a team member and get their page back up and running. Creators now have time, personal connections with an advocate inside Patreon, and a team of Trust and Safety reps to help them update their pages instead of simply being removed from the platform.
Every creator is unique, and every content evaluation is unique. We don’t believe in making sweeping generalizations or decisions about creators’ livelihoods. We avoid broad questions like “Is this OK, or is that ok?” A rep will look at each case and its context one-by-one. For anyone who has any questions or concerns about their page, you can speak to a human being (literally, you can always talk to a human) who will work with you to figure out how to update your page so it works with the guidelines.
The team made these updates now as a follow-up to the Trust and Safety commitments I made this past summer. We’ve spent the past few months operationalizing the commitments, and several updates were ready (we were especially relieved to launch the suspension tool as an alternative to removing pages). We’ve heard a bit of speculation about whether these updates are related to the recent Series C fundraising and that is not true.

This update to our Community Guidelines is part of a broader effort to educate our community and give folks more clarity about what specifically we allow, or what we don’t. Our previous external-facing community guidelines were 795 words. The new guidelines are 2,802 words. Hopefully, the added detail offers you more clarity, makes for less guessing, and gives you the specificity you need.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – I personally take content policy issues with the utmost seriousness. My personal belief is that online content policy is in its infancy right now – most of tech doesn’t do content policy well. In fact, I think tech on the whole under-invests in content policy. Especially for payments products. We’re talking about a person’s income here – we’re talking about a person’s livelihood. We have to be clear, rigorous, and caring. It’s what’s best for Patreon, it’s what’s best for our creators, and it’s also just the right thing to do.

Thanks,
Jack”

So it seems to me that a) Patreon is extremely reluctant to ask artists of any variety to censor or change their work in any, which is why they’ve only asked people to change the text and visible content on their actual Patreon pages, and that b) they’re specifically getting rid of “live-action” porn, probably for legal reasons. Either way, I am very pleased and mollified by this email.
Anyway, see you all later!

The Patreon Situation

First off, the story so far: Earlier this week Patreon suddenly changed it’s Terms of Service with regard to erotic/pornographic content, and that same day took down a number of campaign pages, including several H-game developers’ pages. Some of those pages have been restored after the creators of those pages made changes to how their projects are advertised, others remain in limbo. You can find more details on the relevant Lewdgamer article.

There is a lot of speculation on why exactly these changes are happening now. While I have my own suspicions as to why, the fact of the matter is I don’t know anything for certain, and I have no desire to call attention to Bad Kitty Games’ potential violations of the new terms of service by asking for clarification.

It is also true is that, as it stands, Harem Collector is in violation of the new terms of service. Harem Collector depicts sexual violence and incest, two subjects specifically pointed out in ToS.

However, it is not so simple in practice. It seems that at least part of Patreon’s new terms of service is a “save your ass” move meant to appease some group or legal entity, as multiple Patreon pages have been reinstated so long as Patreon itself does not host or directly link to the content identified as objectionable. These are projects that, by any reasonable measure, flagrantly stand in violation of the new ToS, but have been reapproved after removing particular posts, links, and images.

This kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell”-style content policing personally leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. If it were as simple as having to pack up and find a new service, then fine. Don’t get me wrong, it would suck, but tough cookies. Freedom of expression also means that Patreon has the freedom to choose what kind of content they condone through their service, and I don’t blame them for wanting to maintain a welcoming, family-friendly image. But for the life of our crowdfunding efforts to hinge on the opinion of Patreon’s moderators…. I don’t like it.

For now, we are going to continue operating via Patreon. our campaign has yet to come under review, and our specific posting practices should keep us safe for the foreseeable future. You can rest assured, however, that over the next few weeks Nekochan, Conash and I will be reviewing our options, to make sure that an “escape plan” is prepared in case the worst should come to pass. As always, you can follow this space for any updates, and you can speak to Conash or myself directly via the Bad Kitty Games Discord Channel.

As always, thank you very much for your support and good wishes.
Your brother-in-arms,
NoMoshing

Stay on Target… Stay on Target!

Everything is on track for Alina’s love quest to be finished in time for the backer mini-release, although it probably won’t have a lot of testing done on by then. Still, if you want to access the love quest early, please consider supporting our Patreon to get in!

Other than that, there isn’t a lot to say this week. We’re all working hard to get more content done for HC, but most of what we’re getting done is pretty boring. No new mechanics, the art is still top secret, etc. So… have a great week!

Art for Patrons!

Been stressed all week, and it kind of feels like things are getting away from me despite my best efforts. It’s not affecting the game overmuch, but I’m going into my tabletop game tonight with no notes beyond unused material from last week….

Anyway, the first art preview is out for $25+ patrons, so please check it out when you have time!