NoMoshing Sabbatical

CW: Depression, suicide. Please skip to the heading “What Now?” if these things are a problem for you but you still want the gist.

When talking about my depression, I’ve found it useful to talk about it like a net, suspended across a river that represents your experiences. For most people, the net isn’t there, and so when things flow down the river, they’re temporary- dealt with and allowed to move on. But when you have depression, things get caught in the net. Sometimes they’re big things and it’s obvious when they get caught, and you know what you have to do is go and dredge that shit out of the river so your net stays clear. But there s a lot of things that seems small at first, innocuous, but eventually they build up. And by the time you notice they’re building up, by the time it becomes a problem, you struggle to keep up with clearing that net because you can only deal with one or two things at a time and, well, your net is already groaning under the strain. Eventually things are going to snap.

I’ve had things to deal with since the beginning of the pandemic that most of you can relate to, I’m sure. The worries about keeping safe and not getting sick, the frustration of yet another lockdown because your neighbours can’t seem to take the pandemic seriously, the death of family either due to COVID-19 itself or the neglect brought about by an overburdened medical system. I’ve been fortunate enough to be spared the financial difficulties many of you have been struggling with, but on the other hand, I wasn’t entering this situation with the best of mental health to begin with. One of the things that’s been on my mind recently is the suicide of my father, who I have now officially outlived as of this year. Add to that the ever growing spectre of climate grief and I have no shortage of subjects that keep me awake at night, thinking bleak thoughts and struggling to sleep.

Then on April 26th, following yet another missed deadline in a string of missed deadlines for HC, doing a job I have been dreaming of since childhood but that I increasingly struggle to accomplish, I received an alert from my password manager, indicating that someone was attempting to steal my identity. This pushed me over the edge, and in a frenzy I changed every password for every account, everywhere, that I own. When she came to check on me, I ended up saying things to Nekochan that hurt her and I deeply regret.

Following that debacle, I left home with the intent to end my life. All I wanted was for the frustration, anxiety, sadness and pain to go away.

Thankfully, for my sake, the place where I intended to kill myself was crowded with pandemic-irresponsible people enjoying the good weather. This gave me enough hesitation that Nekochan was able to call me and convince me to come home. When things had settled, we came to the obvious conclusion- that there is something very, deeply wrong with me and unfortunately, it’s getting worse.

What Now?

I am taking the month of May off entirely from work on Harem Collector, leaving Conash in charge of things at the company until my return. My intention is seek treatment for my mental health, not just to cope. I am approaching this situation from as many avenues as possible, exploring options with regard to therapy, psychiatry, anything in order to arrest my mental decline. Because of this, work on Harem Collector is by necessity stopped for the time being. I can’t even promise that I will resume in June because if I need more time, I am going to take it.

Fortunately for us all, I am not in Bad Kitty Games alone. Even as you read this, Conash, Nekochan, Hilent, Kumiho and Moomabelle are hard at work completing art assets for Harem Collector and laying the groundwork for I Live to Serve, Dungeon King!! While my writing and leadership is a necessary element of the chemistry that makes HC great, for now things are able to click on without by supervision. To that end, I am forgoing most of the Patreon “take” that I reserve for my own use in bonuses so that the team can manage things in my absence. Fortunately, Nekochan and I are well off enough that I can do this without creating undue financial hardship for us- remember to put money away in savings if you can, kids.

As to the end result of all this, I don’t know when I will be able to grind out a new Harem Collector release, but work is ongoing. If this turn of events causes you to end your patronage, I understand completely, and you can do so free in the knowledge that you’re not sending me falling into poverty as a result. While we will still be ending the Megafan merch program at the end of the month as intended, the rollout of the Bad Kitty Games store will be impacted as well

And with that, wish me luck. I sincerely hope that you are in better health than myself, and that in time I can return to work healthier and stronger than ever. Thank you, as always, for your time, support, and patience.

-NoMoshing

Harem Collector v0.50.3 RELIC Public Release

Get it here!

Changes in v0.50:
-The final Ancient Mysteries quest is in and mostly complete! Hit up the save point before accessing the temple portion if you’re super interested in lore tidbits but otherwise it’s completable!
-…Which means you can finally recruit Hanelore, who has new artwork and a completed face set!
-The Alina + Therese threesome in now in the game as a random sex scene and Kyrie now has a sex on demand menu!
-Meiriona also has a new face set, and several other new bits of artwork are in the game
-There has been a massive update of new sprites. Orcs, elves, Kellosians, and Middle Kingdom soldiers have all have a broad update of new sprites by Kumiho.
-Undead-themed dungeons have new dungeon music, as well as the Southport Docks.

Status Report

Okay, so with the way things are I’ve decided to put off releasing the RELIC update until the end of the month. That’s the big news you’re all waiting to hear. If you want more more details, keep reading, but I also want to say that if this frustrates you, I understand completely. I don’t think anyone is happy with the situation as it’s unfolded. The schedule will be updated later today to reflect the new release date.

So, what went wrong? Last Tuesday evening I somehow injured my back and shoulder. Not sure exactly how it happened, but it did and it was so painful it’s been difficult to even think let alone type for more than a half hour or so at a time. I’ve been more or less couch-bound ever since. Not just the pain, but my ability to move around in general was severely impacted. Because of COVID restrictions, I was only able to get medical attention yesterday. I am feeling a lot better today, thankfully.

On top of that, sapping what little time I could stand to sit in front of a computer and type has been this issue with Patreon over Merch. When it comes to the Megafan tier collectibles, the posters that were supposed to sent in February, but as far as I know they still haven’t been shipped. I’ve managed to get to the bottom of why, though. Apparently, instead of just having the cost of the collectibles deducted from my Patreon total on the first of the month like they have every other time, they’ve since started a policy of waiting a few days and didn’t tell me. And when they did tell me what day it was supposed to happen, they made a mistake, so when I paid out the Patreon total so I could pay Conash, Hilent and Kumiho, it delayed the merch even further.

Adding to the utter nonsense of the situation, Patreon refused to entertain any other way of my resolving the situation. I offered to pay for the outstanding cost of the merch with Visa, Paypal, Venmo, anything and it was all refused. Nothing would work for them except for having a Patreon balance on the mystery day they choose to take money out of the Patreon account for this. I’ve since given money to a fan I trust for the express purpose of them increasing their donation so that I have a balance for whenever the merch people decide to finally do this thing, but I have no fucking idea when that will be.

If you can’t tell, I am fucking livid over this merch situation. It has absorbed way too much of my energy this past week.

Onto more important matters- with the game so heavily delayed, we’re doing our best to cram in every drop of content we can for the RELIC update. Kyrie’s last few scenes are being worked on, including her vacation and Sex a la Carte scenes. We’ve implemented all of the new Kellosian sprites and Kumiho is working on new sprites for the armed forces of the Middle Kingdom. Clara has produced a little something that I think will add some fun polish to the game- special leitmotifs for some of the characters in the game for when they level up their relationship. On top of that, I think we will be able to fit in the sequence that starts the endgame, so you’ll be able to get a little taste of what Harem Collector’s finale will be like.

Anyway, I hope this all serves to mollify you all about what’s going on with Harem Collector. Until next time, adios.

I Live To Serve Dungeon King, Development Go!

Hey everyone! Conash here to bring you an update as to the biggest change we’ve got going on among our team at the moment. After years of being in pre-production, I Live To Serve Dungeon King, our next project, has officially been moved into being in full development! We haven’t forgotten about Harem Collector, and while there may be a few months where we’re less productive on it as a result, given the amount of up front work that ILTSDK requires to really get going, working on it while we’re working on closing out the story of HC just makes the most sense. So, as the guy in charge of a lot of the more technical and mechanical aspects of things, I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you all a bit about the stuff that we’ve discussed as a team about the project!

The first thing that I should answer is a question that we’ve gotten asked a lot over the years in regards to this project: what engine we’re going to use. I’ve given a different answer on this subject in the past, but over the past few months I was given more concrete information as to why some people at least were apprehensive about our original choice of Unity, and have since looked into things. Due to a variety of development concerns, from ease of use, to licensing pricing structures, to support available, we’re currently deciding to go with Godot, keeping Unity as a backup if we run into any catastrophic issues during these early stages.

This isn’t to say that Godot is just ‘better’ than Unity, as Unity has several advantages, however, everything that I’ve found suggests that Godot wouldn’t be as much as a resource hog as Unity would be for our 2D game, the open source nature will also allow us a bit more freedom to fix issues with the engine, while getting Unity’s tech support would require that we spend a pretty significant chunk of our budget each month on licensing. Some of my research also indicated that Unity has been allowing some pretty big bugs in their engine to stay around for a long time, and fosters development practices that are difficult to take to any other engine, both of which just push me into feeling that Godot is a better long-term pick. Those aren’t all of the factors that come into play in this decision, but for those wondering we did look into about a dozen different engines before we got to this choice.

Onto actual development goals. The BKG staff has been coordinating a lot of things over the past week, since ILTSDK is going to have a very different development cycle than HC. We’re very excited to get working on the game, and I’ve got to say I do not envy NoMoshing having to coordinate all of us while still doing what he can to help develop two games and manage his own life!

Right now, our goals are to work on getting out both a trailer and a tech demo out later this year, to show what sort of things we have planned for the game. My focus, as our programmer/technical guy, is mostly on the tech demo, so I’ll leave talking about the trailer to others. I’m hoping to be able to get the tech demo into a state where you can play the game and get a good sense for what to expect from it, maybe even add in more substantial gameplay if we can manage it, but it’s very much going to be bare bones compared to the main game as we’re looking to more show off the very foundational elements of things. Don’t expect a full 20+ hours out of the tech demo.

What we are currently hoping for is to have a decent slice of all three aspects of gameplay, the dungeon building, the dungeon defence, and the story sequences. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew right out of the gate, but it is important to be able to at least give the basics of what we’re hoping for the full experience. While the demo will probably be rather bare bones, there should be some level of depth to the gameplay here as I’ve already got plans on how to make use of the elements we do have planned in ways that should give some depth of options. When combined with some adaptive difficulty that we want to implement, this should help give an enjoyable experience to you, the players.

While our intention is to capture a piece of what hallowed, older management sims like Dunegon Keeper 2 were like, and seeing a hentai parody of that concept fully realized. We do intend to make things a bit easier to approach, trying to push towards more ‘macro’ or ‘mid’ level managements at best since a micro heavy gameplay loop is not something we really feel enthused to make.

Another consideration that will be coming into play with the gameplay is that we want players to be able to more easily approach things at their own pace, to not have any sort of ‘traditional’ game-overs. Instead, we’re focusing on having it so that poor gameplay or choices result in a loss of resources instead of a full on game-over, adding in adaptive difficulty to allow players to be able to recover from situations they end up in.

Before I go, I’d like to talk about the design motivations that are going into ILTSDK. I can’t go too deep into specifics as almost everything still very much is up in the air, if you’re reading this then you’re probably a fan of Harem Collector, so I do think it is important to mention some things. ILTSDK will not feature several of the fetishes that are explored in HC, due in large part to it running contrary to the general themes and character motivations that we’re hoping to hit on with the game. Not just in gameplay, but in terms of theme and story, I Live to Serve, Dungeon King!! will be a very different experience to HC.

To be clear, while we know how certain subjects would create trouble with our current funding model, their lack of inclusion has more or less been something that we’ve planned to do from the start for this project, as we have Harem Collector and perhaps some future projects that will handle those subjects already, and these topics are just not going to be a part of Dungeon King’s theme and style.

We are not abandoning everything that featured in HC, however. As Dungeon King will continue being a harem game, there will still no no single romance “routes” and we already have plans for incorporating harem relationship progress into gameplay, so that developing relationships gives you benefits instead of costing resources. To say much more would probably get a bit spoilery, but I’ll say that many of us on staff are very excited about various characters and the choices or motivations about them being made, so look forward to all of that!

That’s about all that I have to say on the matter, hopefully we’ll have more to update you all on over the next few months, but I hope this much was enough to at least whet your appetites a bit in regards to a project that we here at BKG are very excited to be working on!

Harem Collector v0.49 ARCANE Release!

Download it here!

Changes in v0.49:
-A new ancient mysteries quest, where a terrible spirits stalks Professor Hanelore’s students. Can you make Hanelore and Antimbits work together long enough to find a solution?
-Kyrie’s Love Quest is now available! Join her, Gui and Silas as they hit the town for a drinking party of epic proportions!
-Jalila, the elf village shopgirl, is now partially implemented.
-Four new music tracks, the Undead combat theme “Heterovania”, the Criminal combat theme “Criminal Scummies”, the new Mountain dungeon theme “Call of the Mound” and the new boss fight theme “Chaotic Whatever, Bitch”!
-Some new NPC sprites were added to the Elf Village.
-A whole ton of new “harem” chats!
-The first version of the new opening menu screen is now implemented!

Well that was a dumpster fire….

So 2020 was like a whole thing.

But, for Harem Collector, it wasn’t as bad as it could be. My depression and the general malaise of just… everything… did affect development to a degree, but I think despite everything we managed to get some good work done, and I’m looking forward to story-complete Harem Collector in 2021. We accomplished a lot last year- more new CG, more quests, pages and pages of new dialogue, as well as the promised cosplay photoshoot, and of the triumphant return of Clara Middleton to the team as our composer, cranking awesome new music again and again.

Unfortunately, that also came with a lot of hardships. Nekochan and I lost a member of our family in November, and it’s been busy settling their affairs ever since. Still, we’ve struggled on, and it looks like we’re on track to close out the main story of Harem Collector this summer!

So how does this look going forward? Well…

Quests: This upcoming update, which we’re naming RELIC, is going to cover the last two quests of the final plotline, Ancient Mysteries. Finally get to the bottom of the mystery of who left all these ruins dotting the Middle Kingdom, and what secrets they might be hiding. Following that will come the real end game content, so get ready. The end of the game is going to change the map to such a degree that we’ll be cooking up a separate instance of the world map to account for all the changes that are going to flying at you.

Hentai: Porn gnome Hilent is currently working on the new stuff for Kyrie, and when she is done we’re doing the once scene with the dark elf antagonist of Save the Elves, then Florine (as determined by backers), then it’s on to the end game orgy involving all 34 eligible harem girls!

Sprites: While it’s perhaps not as flashy as straight up porn, Kumiho has done some incredible sprite work this year, really giving her special something to a lot of the characters you know and love. As you can tell if you’ve seen the ARCANE update, we’ve started the process of adding NPC sprites to the game. I’m not sure to what degree we’re going to end up revising the NPC sprites in the game, but at the bare minimum we’re going to finish new sprites for all the major harem girls and named characters in the game, as well as make NPC sprites for all the elves, orcs, the Sunnyshore Islanders, the Kellosians, and a new suite of unit looking adventurers that fit in with the kind of people you’d expect to be doing that kind of work. As well, we’re going to get some enemy sprites done that better fit the different enemy themes.

Music: Clara’s still trucking along, focused mainly on dungeon tracks. In terms of BGM, we’re about halfway done in total, and I’m hoping that by the end of 2021 the BGM will be completely done. Clara’s also exploring the idea of doing different leitmotifs for each of the harem girls for when they level up their relationships.

Other Stuff: This May will be the final Iron Waifu for Harem Collector, so it will be your last chance to get your favourite character to win the coveted crown. Also, we have an exciting, and mysterious new way of connecting with fans of HC coming this February. What will it be…?

I think that’s it for now. Obviously, there’s a lot of specifics still to be determined, but we hope you’ll agree that 2021 will be the best year yet for Harem Collector. See you again soon!