When I first started working at a restaurant under a real, honest-to-goodness chef, he told me “Treat everything you make as being representative of yourself.” And I try, I really do. But with disastrous releases like last week’s and October’s, I can’t help but examine if what I’m producing is a what I want people associating with me.
I’m not talking content, here- while I agonize over what I’m eventually going to tell my mother, if the rest of the world doesn’t like what I do they can blow me- but quality. The number of bugs and problems in HC releases seems to be getting worse and worse, and every month of development time seems to end in a pell-mell hail mary rush to finish content, with a minimum of testing and, well, craft.
Part of this is that the complexity of the game has increased. At the very beginning of HC’s development, it was relatively easy to add a new character- design the character, her class, make some cool skills, place her in the manor, done. Nowadays the process of making a new character also involves art assets (sprite + face set), writing dialogue for and then coding the gift process, on-demand sex scene CGs, adding them to the scene replay script, adding them to the manor assault quest (if applicable), making unique(ish) relationship rewards, etc. And this is just an example of how the game has gotten bigger and more complicated and more time consuming to create.
On top of that, there are a ton of orphaned features in the game that need finishing. Lumberhill, party banter, the Seeker’s Stone, and others that I’ve been neglecting in a rush to just get more new stuff done. Things that I decided to get to when I could, and just hasn’t risen back to the top of the stack because the current design cycle prioritizes new content.
Now, I’m not complaining- I love working on Harem Collector and I don’t mind working hard to create a great game- but I do want to explain, publicly, the decisions I make. Because of all this, I’m making the difficult decision to lengthen the design cycle. From now on, updates will be done every two months instead of every month, with the next update being February 12th for backers and February 19th for the public. I’m hoping that the longer design cycle will be enough so that I can deliver on content, fix up orphaned features in the game, have no more new orphaned features, and do a decent level of QC and bug hunting before you receive the game.
That’s it. I hope we’re all in for a better and more exciting new year than the last.