Mailbag #2

Game Update

The undead quest is divided into about three sections. Part one involves repelling a zombie invasion from Lumberhill. Part two involves a more or less normal dungeon crawl. Part three is a logic puzzle right before the boss fight. I’m almost finished part one, which probably represents 60-70% of the total work.

Seriously. The zombie attack is probably the single most programming-intensive series of events I’ve put in the game yet. I hope after all that effort that it ends up being fun and challenging rather than frustrating, but at the very least it should be unique. And if it turns out that there aren’t any bugs, it will be some kind of hentai gaming miracle.

Of course it doesn’t help that I worked on it all week, realized that there was a far easier way to do it, and then re-doing it all last night. Of the thirteen combats, it took me all week to do four of them, then I managed to re-do those four and finish it off just last night in probably about four hours’ work.

The logic puzzle is about 50% finished, and dungeons are pretty easy. I’ll probably polish those off tonight, and then take the week to do internal testing (ie, getting Nekochan to do it) and adding more widgets, like shops and things. I haven’t added the bulk purchase option to all the stores yet, so I’ll probably do a lot of that too.

So, in other words, things are on time, even a little ahead. If I’m fortunate enough to receive 3DCG soon, I’ll have lots of time to figure it out and plug some CGs in for the release next week.

Something donors should note- your week-in-advance downloads won’t actually kick in until the June release. I promised everyone that the May release will be available next week, and I’m going to hold to that. The Player’s Guide is coming along nicely, though, and of course you’ll get the in-game credit.

Hmm… I think that’s basically it. Now, I’ve been posed a lot of questions deserving of more extended answers, so that’s why I’m doing another mailbag so soon after the first one. Also, it’s easier than making up content by myself. On with the mail!

Q: Is the game going to have a definitive ending? As in “The End”, game over? Or is it going to remain playable after all the content is finished? -Rose Flutterby

Probably not. There might be some kind of scene upon getting all 151 harem girls, but beyond that, no. There might even be some kind of post-game content, depending on how I feel once it’s all done. However, I have mentioned before that there will be questlines, and each of those will basically constitute a plot arc unto themselves.
There might even be more than one “ending”. I’ve been tossing around the idea of breaking up the game into six episodes, one for each continent, since they’re so self-contained. This would have the additional advantage of letting Nekochan and I do other projects between each episode. For instance, there are several other franchises I would love to do hentai parodies of. I also figured out how to use a numeric code to pass important information between each game, so you can carry over certain decisions between each game. It would also let me trim the cast between episodes. But, I originally started this project to be a single game, and there are many unexplored possibilities for each continent’s content to “mix”.

Q: Is there a reason the towns are so big? -Idan Erlichman

The technical term is called “design space”, but that basically means, I want room to drop things in when I need them. If I run out of things to need space for, I’ll just shrink the maps. But I’m always thinking of little bits to drop in, like the drug dealer in Eastfort or the sausage seller in Northmarket. Besides, not every dungeon can take place in a cave or a sewer, and towns provide a lot of opportunity for interesting things to happen.

Q: What ages are the characters? -paraphrased from Lamekill

Here is my official CYA statement on the current characters who have sex scenes:
The Hero- 22
Meline- 18
Therese- 24
Elaiya- 27
Doll- Unknown, but over 18
Yamamaya- 21
Larelle- 19
Alina- 21
Florine- 20
Violet and Lilac- 19
Randi- 23
Penelope- 18
The Item Shop Girl- 31

Anyway, see you next week for the release!

Mailbag #1: “Naze Nani Harem Collector”

Hey all, thank you for your patience this last week. I hope you enjoyed the post this Tuesday from Neko Chan. I’ve also given her private profile access to this blog as an author, so expect to here from her time to time when I’m otherwise indisposed.

Regarding everyone’s supportive comments on the delayed release… I appreciate that you guys are willing to be patient, but I personally find holding myself to a regular release schedule to be helpful in keeping focused. So, in general, expect blog updates every Tuesday (either from me or the missus) and game updates once a month (usually a Wednesday near the middle of the month).

Of course, because I found a little extra free time, this week you get a special bonus update on Friday. So, as I’ve previously threatened, here is mailbag post #1, where I answer your questions about Harem Collector.

Q: Why isn’t the blacksmith a girl? -paraphrased from Cypress_Z, Mickele, and others

A: The blacksmith (who probably deserves a name at some point…) isn’t a girl for a couple reasons. The biggest one is that he provides me with a male buttmonkey that isn’t the hero to be the butt of jokes. I mean, come on, he’s kind of a loser already. He also sets up some really great humiliation play scenes that happen towards the end of a certain harem girl’s relationship track. No, not her, but someone else. It’ll make sense when you get there.
Also also, him hanging around means there’s a dude available in case I want to throw in mmf, gangbang, and group bukkake scenes later. I don’t know if I will or not, it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s not an outright “no” like the stuff I mentioned in the “What Won’t Happen” post below.
Also also also, he outright insults the hero in a couple of the upgrade conversations, and I don’t think the hero would put up with that from anyone other than Alina, who is his designated source of tsundere.
Honestly guys, I’ve gotten this question (or had the gender switch recommended) a lot.  Is there some kind of female blacksmith fetish I’m not aware of? Don’t hold out on me now.

Q: Would it be possible to get some kind of web page or wiki listing all the stuff in the game? -paraphrased from armegetton

I’ve mentioned it before, but I personally take a sort of sadistic glee in watching you guys flail around trying to figure stuff out. And it’s gratifying to see someone go “EUREKA!” to a puzzle or mystery that you implemented. This is something that my tabletop RPG players are pretty familiar with already, that extends now to you.

However, if a dedicated fan wants to start a wiki, or fansite, or even just a forum thread listing all the content and hidden bits of the game, I’ll gladly link to that from this blog.

Q: What’s your stance on how players play? Specifically, I’m talking about gold/sil, experience points, satisfaction points, relationship point, etc. -also from armegetton

In terms of the game’s economy, I’m placing a premium on xp.  I don’t like grinding myself, so I’m taking steps to carefully control the amount of xp in the game.
Money should be easy, once the game gets more filled out. They are at more of a premium right now than I’d like, because it’s impossible to make all your money back on an investment. Smaller investments pay a 10% dividend, larger ones pay back 5%, so to make your money back you are required to complete 10 and 20 quests, respectively. But once you pass that threshold, it’s free money you don’t have to work for. So I guess the moral is, invest early and invest often… once there are enough events in the game to make time pass that far.
It just occurred to me that it might be possible to make money on some investments earlier by liquidating your investment “gifts” through Florine. Uh, if so, good job for exploring options.
I’m not sure what the satisfaction economy is going to be like. Every continent will have it’s own satisfaction book, though, and it’s my intention for there to be just a little bit more satisfaction in the game than things to spend it on. A situation where you don’t have to do everything to max out, but there’s enough incentive to try different things.
Relationship points are going to be pretty easy. After all, there are 151 girls, if you need 14 relationship points on average to max them out, and never find their favourite gift, that’s going to be 31,710 sil worth of flowers. Or 528,500 sil worth of “clockworke amusementes”. Or you’d have to fight 25,368 enemies on average to get that many monster drop gift items. Just remember to give your girls a gift each and every “day”, because it will eventually be possible to hit a hard limit and run out of quests in a given continent.

Q: I’m curious to see what you do with the house through the woods. -Shadowsong

The house he’s referring to is the mysterious village hidden away in wooden valley somewhere on the Middle Kingdom map. That will eventually become a hidden elf village. The way it’ll work is something like this:
-Elves, including those at the village, will have their own language that the hero can’t speak (though this will be some form of legit language or cipher, allowing appropriately obsessive fans to figure it out and see hidden content)
-You will have an event somewhere were you save an elf NPC from something terrible. In return, this NPC will teach you the elf language, and point you towards his village if you ever need his help.
-Traveling to the village at this point will allow you to talk to the NPCs there and discover the elves’ plight- their species is slowly disappearing due to breeding problems.
-Agree to help, and thus begins a chain of quests where the hero tries to help save the elves from extinction. Over the course of this quest, you’ll earn a place of respect among the elves, get a household within their village, be given elven maidens in your harem for you to “experiment” breeding solutions on, and be joined by at least one new party character.
-Eventually, this will culminate in you finding one of multiple solutions to the problem. I’m considering various outcomes. For example, one option will be to teach the tribe to embrace half-elves that they formerly used to cast out, and encourage them to interbreed with humans in the name of saving their culture. Another option will involve using magic to mutate the hero’s cum into “elf sperm” and siring the next generation of elves personally. There may be be other options as I think of them.

Well that’s it for now. Please feel free to email me questions for next time on the hows and whys of the game. I won’t reveal any mysteries or spoilers, but if you want you know why a given decision has been made, want hints of content to come, or just want to know a bit of the process, please ask away.