Important Stuff

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.

8 Replies to “Important Stuff”

    1. Meline’s love quest is a priority, because it’s so easy to max out her relationship rating. Ino is even easier, but considering that you can get her right away without even doing a dungeon I’m considering a hidden secondary requirement for Ino’s love quest just to give her character arc more “arc”.

    2. Sounds good, those characters who are hard to get to trust (Like Larelle) you get to appreciate them more than those who don’t make it too hard to complete.

      BTW, I don’t know if other people reported it, but if you use the Christmas code, you’ll find Yamamaya’s love quest quite easy, since the bonus stays on those combats.

  1. One major thing to consider with this is that part of the way things were going was more of a running testing of the game alongside development.

    While I’ve recently had less time to actually play through the game, it’s often been minor things that seem to have been missed in the process that create issues. Longer gaps in test releases also means that you may end up with larger problems and a lot more backtracking when problems are found.

    In the end, it isn’t as much these releases that reflect on you, but the final stage will be representative of you.

    Just a bit more to consider.

  2. you know, i was literally coming here to say this.

    I was gonna start playing it again but then i read the hongfire thread and some blog posts stating how it can dead end you pretty easily and bug out other quests if you do certain things and i was going to ask you to devote your next release to bug squashing with no new content, just.. bug fixes.

    so, you have my support at the least. it kills the interest in a game when i have to stop halfway and wait for a new release to fix it so i can proceed.

  3. In regards to bugs and lack of testing… well isn’t the whole idea of public beta is to have people volunteering to help you test to save you the time and effort of testing it yourself? You could go so far as separating it into an experimental and a stable version.

    Also, since you have made it open source I noticed often DK2 posts specific bugfix details on the wiki, why not put it on a github and give him access as a second developer to implement such bugfixes directly while you focus on the new content? AFAIK you could have code changes require a review by you anyways.

    I don’t mind the 2 month dev cycle btw.

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