Game Design Rant: Player Psychographics

Quick update on the game: I haven’t actually been able to do all that much work on it. Between crunch time at school, a full time job, Bioshock Infinite, and a wicked head cold, I’ve lost about a week of work. I still want to do a release in time for 4/17.

One of the things that has bogged me down- name changes. I changed Amelia’s name to Meline, simply because a lot of people were confusing her and Alina. The names were just too similar. The other name change was in the names of the towns- I was not happy with the weird names and the gag of “Hey, all the towns sound like h-game companies!” wasn’t worth keeping around.

So, this week’s topic: Player Psychographics! I wanted to elaborate on something I posted to the HentaiHighSchool forums.

What is a psychographic? Well, in as simple a way as possible, it’s a way of dividing players by what they like to experience in a game, boiled down to the very basics. It’s not enough to say “immersive visuals” or “engaging gameplay”, because you really want to get into a player’s head- what visual elements help this player become immersed in the game or what gameplay elements does this player find engaging are what you want to find out with a psychographic analysis.

Final boss blues has an article on the same topic, which takes the “Timmy, Johnny, Spike” psychographics from Magic: the Gathering and applies it to the game world. But, there are another set of psychographics that are specifically applied to video games, using the four suits of cards.

“Heart” players are tuned into the emotional side of games. These are the players who get into games for the story, the connection to the game’s characters, and the feel of the game’s setting. Traditionally, Heart-types were almost always RPG players, but as technology improves and the games increase their ability to add emotional depth without relying solely on dialogue, the Heart-type has expanded into other genres. If you’re a Heart-type player, you probably enjoy games like Mass Effect 2, Silent Hill 2, and Spec Ops: The Line.

I court the Heart-type player by trying to make the various characters interesting, that you want to find out more about them and want to advance down their relationship tracks. There is more to every harem girl than meets the eye, and your reward for patience and diligence in romancing them is a “day in the spotlight” style quest which goes deeper into their story.

“Club” players want a challenge. These guys are stereotypically the FPSers, twitch gamers who like bullet hell shooters or ridiculous classic-style platformers. But, of course there are different kinds of challenge, and in RPGs this comes down to the dungeon exploration followed by boss fight structure. If you’re a Club-type player, chances are you’d enjoy things like Super Meat Boy, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, or Castle Shikigami 2.

This is why I try really hard to make the boss fights in HC challenging. It’s hard to hit that sweet spot where things are “challenging” without being “frustrating”, but I try to take something the
Extra Credits crew said once to heart. RPG boss battles are, fundamentally, puzzles, where the solution is usually “figure out how to do x damage to the bad guy before the bad guy does y damage to you”. I try to work that into every boss fight, which is why the Gang Leader’s max hp was dropped in the last release- by the time his two buddies are dead, you’ve basically got the fight figured out and just need to whittle him down, but he had so much hp that it took quite some time to finally get the fight over with even once he’s effectively finished.

“Spade” players want to explore the game mechanics and figure things out. They enjoy not only puzzle games, but any game where strategy is an element. Bioshock is probably the best example of a strategy-oriented Spade game I can think of- you have a number of different powers and weapons, and while some are straightforward (antipersonnel ammo is for splicers, armor piercing ammo for Big Daddies and turrets) some aren’t. It’s up for the player to evaluate the situation, and decide what to employ- maybe there’s an oil slick you can ignite with Incinerate! or a pool of water to amplify your Electroshock. There are other ways of encouraging Spades too, like Sengoku Rance which can open new tactics and scenes to you depending on who you have on side and what order you capture enemy countries in.

Spade-types also appreciate the puzzle-solving aspects of boss battles, but that’s not all I do to appeal to Spades. Some of you who were feeling experimental, might have noticed that tripping on shrooms also lets you regenerate Mana, or that being drunk gives your basic attacks a chance to stun. There are situations where losing control of your character might be worth these benefits. That’s the reason why there’s a multitude of items in the game, to let Spade-types explore and see if they can find a use for their stack of fifteen Slime Fluids or to find out exactly what the limits of the Contained Singularity are.

“Diamond”-type players like to collect stuff. And if there is an in-game purpose to collecting all that stuff, well, then that’s icing. Obviously, games like Pokemon appeal to Diamonds, but any game that features regions to explore and collectibles to earn- games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas– hold appeal for Diamonds.

Of course, in a game that’s about collecting women for a harem it’s pretty easy to implement Diamond-oriented stuff. But that’s not the only thing I’m doing. There are businesses to invest in, quests to find, and crafting materials to upgrade your weapons with. Finding all 151 harem girls will require you to do a fair bit of exploring. Finding every scene, dungeon, quest, item and place will require you to look behind every rock and talk to every person and… well, that would be telling.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated as always. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this little lecture.


That’s right friends- the big news or next update is that there will be actual porn in the game. I’ve found a solution that I’m satisfied with, and there may be new h content as early as the April release. I’m going to be using a third party 3-d engine to do poses and models. Of course, that depends on a few things- among them my ability to alter existing models while keeping attractive faces, and another being my ability to match clothes and other characteristics to the sprites used in game. We’ll see how it goes, and details will be forthcoming as they are available.

However, this does mean I’ll probably have to abandon Mediafire as a hosting service. If anyone can provide suggestions as to a hosting service that doesn’t mind adult material, please do so.

However the bad news is that might be the only significant change for the April update. Fixing the aesthetics of play is hard, going through each and every event to check sound effects, change sprite movement speeds for cutscenes,  deal with message positions…. Because of this and various other things, the next update might just be a general “polishing up” of the game, with the new h scenes, but we’ll see.

As always, stay tuned for more information.

What Won’t Happen

So, one question I’ve gotten a lot of is, “When am I going to be able to nail Reccette and Tear?”

Well… you’re not. It’s best to think of the gift shop as just a nod to one of my favourite games and leave it at that. Don’t expect there to be any sex scenes with borrowed or parodied characters, even if they do appear in the game.

The biggest reason I have for doing this is simply that I have more than enough original content I want to put in the game- I also don’t want to deal with the requests that that sort of thing would draw. I don’t want to wake up one afternoon and find a couple hundred requests for adding everyone’s favourite Final Fantasy character, for example.

The other reason is that, well, Reccette is eleven. I wouldn’t mind seeing hentai of her being sufficiently advanced in age (that actually sounds pretty awesome), but I’m not interested in loli. Adding to that is the legality issue. The country I’m in is considering some fairly invasive laws where that sort of thing and the internet are concerned, and it’s just not worth the risk.

Other things I can almost guarantee won’t see in the game: furries*, vore, water sports, guro, gay sex**, hermaphrodites, bestiality. Not because I hate on those things, but just a general lack of interest and a disinclination for other people to write for Harem Collector. It hasn’t come up, but if you do want to request something like that, it probably won’t happen.

To end on a positive note, I’m working very hard to ensure that the girls you meet are all of different types and varieties. If you have a moe or personality-type fetsih, that may very well come up. Monster girls are also going to happen. On the to-do list is: yandere, preggo (hell, I have an entire quest line in mind that’s preggo-themed) , spectrophilia,  aphrodisiac use, dominant female, S&M torture, mother-daughter incest, vampire girls, nuns, kidnapping, humiliation games, and much much more. So, if you’re a fan of any of that stuff, well, it’s coming, sooner or later.

I don’t really want to be a killjoy, but I figured if you’re following this game because you think Amelia is actually ten years old and you’re waiting for the pics, or you really want to have Tifa show up as an enslave-able character, you should know that it won’t be happening.

*Kemonomimi is a go, obviously. I feel bad for furries sometimes, because of the much wider acceptance of kemonomimi. I can imagine a lot of furry fans being like, “Oh come on, why are you stopping there?” But, there it is.

**Beyond, of course, the occasional “And let us never speak of it again” joke like already exists in the game.

April Release Goals

In case you missed it, here’s the latest version with the fixed starting position

Okay, so what’s going to be new in the April version? Here are a few of my goals:

-The Undead Assault quest should be complete. That’s my #1 priority when it comes to quest building.

-There will be a new quest available in the Thriex Adventurer’s Guild

-The final quest that you receive when romancing Penelope

-A funny little quest that will automatically be activated based on your household income, if I have time.

-Continue filling out empty town space

-Finish the relationship tracks for Yamamaya, Lilac, Violet and Doll.

-Finally implement Therese’s return

-Fix the aesthetics of play. What I mean by this, is to go back and ensure that for all similar sort of events, the sound effects and positioning and such is the same. For example, making all Tutorial dialogue boxes appear in the middle of the screen, making sure all shops display your current Sil when you go to purchase something, etc.

-Add a multiple purchase interface to all the shops. I know the way I’m doing shops is weird and that only using the default shop interface would be easier, but I like the way I’m doing it,  and I think it has a lot more character. A few people have requested an option to buy multiples of things that you would want to buy in bulk, like potions, and so I’m making it a goal to provide exactly that.

-Add a hidden dungeon I concepted a few weeks ago. It would just be a fun little challenge dungeon, not attached to any quests, but with some kind of sweet reward at the bottom.

-Add a monument or something to credit all the amazingly patient bugfinders who have contributed to making Harem Collector the best it can be.

-Maybe I’ll bow to public pressure and segment the city maps.

Just thought you’d all like to know where I’m at in terms of design. There will be more time between the March and April releases than there will the first release and March, so I intend to make the most of the time and deliver an exciting new release on the 17th.

Harem Collector March 2013 Release <- Latest version with the start square in the right place.

BTW: It’s highly recommended that you don’t import saves from the old version to this one. Too many fundamental things have changed in the game’s archive.

So, what’s new? Well…

-Bitch’s Sixth Tit microbrewery investment is fixed

-A new party NPC

-Three new sex scenes

-The blacksmith-related “A Forge Too Far” quest is fully complete

-The Adventurer’s Guild quest “Check Out My Package” quest is fully complete

-Grab your shovels because now you can dig for buried treasure!

-Fingers feeling cramped? Not anymore! Dashing has been disabled in favour of raising the main character’s walk speed.

-Satisfaction Book is about 95% complete. The only thing left to do is make the Instant Gratification menu context sensitive.

-A ton of new shops and investment opportunities

-A heaping pile of squashed bugs

Oh yeah, and if you don’t have it already, you’ll want to grab the run time package for RPG Maker VX Ace

The next update is scheduled for April 17th, so stay tuned for more Harem Collector goodness.

Blacksmith Implemented!

I just finished the blacksmith quest! Spent about two hours last night implementing a five-minute long love letter to one of my favourite games as part of that quest… it’s awesome, you’ll find out on Friday, etc.

Yeah, things look like they’re on track for Friday. the blacksmith quest is done, the weapon upgrade process is implemented, and that’s all done and set to go. I’m going to spend most of tonight putting together the Thriex delivery quest, which is fairly straightforward compared to the blacksmith thing.

However, there are two big jobs I need to complete that are going to drive me crazy. One is the relationship systems. Each girl requires a lot of writing to get this done, and it’s a pain to have to write for like five girls at once. Hopefully, it’ll be easier when I’m implementing one or two girls at a time.

The other thing is that I realized I want is that there should be a sound effect when you get the relationship up message when you give a girl a gift. It’s just copy and pasting a sound effect step into every girl’s gift process, but I have to go and do this twelve times for every girl I’ve already completed. So, yeah, that’ll be a good hour of work.

Anyway, keep in touch guys. I kind of want to do a “mail bag” Q&A type entry at some point, so please email me at, post a comment, or drop me a line on the Hentai High forums, so I can answer your questions!

March Release Possibly Delayed

Hey there, friends and neighbors. Unfortunately it looks like the March release might be delayed a few days, from this Friday to the following Tuesday or Wednesday.

Due to various reasons, I straight up lost the ability to work on the project for the last four days, and I very much want to release more new content than just the finished blacksmith quest. A lot of this depends on what happens over the next couple days in terms of progress. I have other priorities right now (important stuff, I promise) that are competing for my attention, so the only time I really have to sit down and plow through content is on my days off from work- Monday and Tuesday.

In the long term, though, I intend for the middle of the month to be a hard deadline for me, putting out a new release on the fifteenth (or whatever schedule ends up working out). I prefer to work under that kind of deadline, plus it’s good for you guys too.

I’ll post again in a couple days to let you know on the status of the release, and when you can expect it.

Game Progress

Welcome to the No Moshing’s Games blog. Please enjoy my discussion about the games I’m working on.

So, the current build of Harem Collector. I’m racing towards towards the March 15th update, everything’s clicking along. Tonight, my focus has been the dungeon associated with the Smith quest, which has actually been a lot of fun. I love playing mind games with players, whether in video games or tabletop games, and there is a lot of that to be had.

My to do list is currently as follows:

-Finish the relationship track and gifting process for all the girls available. Right now, that means Elaiya, Yamamaya, the new character, Violet and Lilac. Penelope, Amelia, Alina and Florine are all done as of right now, except for the sidequest that caps off each relationship subplot. I’m putting that off because you can only give each girl one gift a day and, well, even the shortest relationship track will still take at least four “days” within the game.

-Finish the “A Forge Too Far” quest. That’s coming along really smoothly, actually, now that I’ve dealt with all the basic system stuff that needed finishing.

-Implement the blacksmith character. That won’t be nearly as difficult as some of the other systems I’ve finished in the past couple weeks, but I still expect it to eat a solid day of game work time.

-Start and finish the “Package to Thriex” quest. This is going to be a weird kind of funny side quest, but it’s not really priority right now.

-Edit all the dungeons so you can’t save in them. I’m doing this because I want to cut down on the possibility of people having “zombie games”, where they are literally just stuck. I think the dungeons themselves are small enough that you should be able to just one-shot them, and going through the dungeons actually takes planning and resource management.

-Implement Therese’s return. This is the first thing that’s probably going to be cut if I lack time.

What is done:

-All the farms in the Eroge region are now accessible and explorable. Right now they’re not very interesting, although future quests might take you to them.

-The Bitch’s Sixth Tit microbrewery investment actually works now.

-There are a number of new shops and such that you can choose to invest in.

-Each character now has new skills they learn at levels 4 and 7.

-The item shop upgrades, personal skill upgrades, and most of instant gratification menu in the satisfaction book actually do stuff now. Most of it involves context-sensitive menus that take a really long time to program- it took me three days just to fill out all the possibilities for the skill upgrades alone.

-A bunch of little fixes and stuff. You can’t access the Abandoned Fort after recruiting Elaiya. You can’t leave immediately around Eroge during the introductory quest. When you awaken Amelia’s true power, you can’t access the menu until the end of the event, etc.

I’m really amazed at the response to the February release, and I hope people enjoy the new stuff to come!