Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Balancing, Falling over.

Well, the demo is at a stage where it could be played mostly normally, with the exception of a few areas being blocked off. However I still don't think it's ready yet.

Honestly I think this will be the last time I plan on releasing a demo before the game is done.

Part of the problem is that areas...overlap.. in games like this. When you explore around, you want the player to see elements of what they'll be doing later, or be able to explore other areas before they can get through them completely (mostly to find more items). But when you plan around a demo, you have significantly less to work with. Quite often, you can't put in that kind of stuff because it either doesn't exist yet, or you haven't planned it out completely. You can plan it out from the beginning (which I do), but generally things tend to change for the better throughout projects. As it stands, I think the demo is too sparse, not to mention there are no CGs or the boss yet.

I'm considering just forgoing the early demo and just proceeding with the rest of the game until it's done, because making a polished area only to have to redo parts of it later is a pretty big waste of time.

I know it's disappointing, and I know some of you are thinking "fucking typical, excuses", but honestly, I need to stop caring about that sort of thing. I don't think it helps me at all. I need to just focus on finishing the game as best I can. Perhaps it wouldn't be so frustrating if there were other action H-games to play, and trust me, I wish there were. (I wish a game like Unholy Sanctuary came out every other week..)

That said the following is not a promised schedule, but here are my current plans, and what I want to accomplish in the short-term. Including what I'll be doing after I finish the game.

1. Finish this game. Sell it for $4 if it remains simple and takes less than half the upcoming month, $5 if it becomes more complicated and takes longer. I don't want it to extend beyond the end of the month.

2. After finishing the game, immediately start another game, working on a template to be used for all future games (I STILL havn't done this, but I can, and need to). Hire an artist to work on enemies so I don't procrastinate, and make a game in around 2-3 months.

3.With profits from that game, go back to the other game I was working on. Have artist do remaining enemies and backgrounds while I focus on events, story, music, etc. Finish it in 2 months.

4. Work on new game. Don't know which. 

Now that I've annoyed a bunch of people again, I need to get back to work. There might not be any animations for a while, because I need to focus all my time on working on the game.

Edit: Also just to clarify, there's still going to be a demo, just not an early one. I'm going to wait until I've finished more of the map so that I have a better idea of what I can section off as a demo. I do the layout first, so applying tilesets to what may not even make the final game is more or less a waste of time.

Hell, I know most people wouldn't really mind if the demo was just a room with an enemy in it. I know I wouldn't, if I was playing someone else's game. But your perspective is pretty different when that game is something you want to be proud of.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Daily Animation 3

This will be the last time I do an animation in Flash, I think. Someone suggested TVpaint in the comments, and since I hadn't used it in a while, I gave it another shot. It's much better than Flash for my purposes. The drawing tools are less laggy, and they lack the annoying line correction that holds back Flash. Though it is slightly more confusing.

In other news, for the heck of it, I thought I'd talk about a game concept I've been thinking about.

Rogue-Lite H-Game

I think a genre that would work really well for H-games are Rogue-lite's, or rather, game's with elements of Rogue-likes. Specifically perma-death.

One of the problems in games where you have a choice like "resist/don't resist", is that you're essentially just choosing if you want to see an H-scene or not. You're not choosing "don't resist" because of a threat, your choosing it because you want to see an H-scene. Your motives don't really line up with the character's.

The benefit to a game with perma-death, is that such situations might actually pose legitimate threats. Sure you could fight off 5 guys at once, but it would be tough. Do you risk it? Or do you do what they say and escape in the night? Well, perhaps you  do what they say, and now your purity stat went down. That angel-girl familiar you found a while back won't be following you anymore....

I think it would create a lot of possibilities both in terms of gameplay, and in terms of H-content.

However, like most rogue-lites these days, this kind of game would require randomization. A long, linear game doesn't work with this concept, because starting over all the time and going through the same sections multiple times would be frustrating.. The game needs to be what I tend to refer to as "session" based. That is, you're generally expected to lose. Not always because you did poorly, but because the circumstances of that run just weren't in your favour. Sometimes,the opposite happens, you find a bunch of good items early on, and feel more of a connection to the "session", and you don't want to lose. The beauty of this kind of gameplay is that if done well, the player will look forward to starting over even if they lose, because it means a fresh start with new opportunities. Of course, there might be some sort of sustained progress, but that's only if there's a spefic end-game. Otherwise, multiple endings would work better, I think. (perhaps with each ending bringing more events into the next run? Hmm)


Really, this kind of game isn't much more difficult to make than anything else. But it is very different. Less thought needs to be put into level design, and more needs to be put into emergent gameplay, and random generation. It's certainly something I want to do at some point.

Daily animation 2

The voice actress finished recording the sounds, now I just need to sort through them all.

I'll have to make any necessary edits, and then export them individually. There are around 80+ to go through. Then I need to load them into GM, etc. Once that's done, the demo will be ready.

Don't ask what today's animation is. I have no idea.

Friday, April 25, 2014

daily animation

I did my first "daily" animation practice today. I just rushed through a lot of the details that would normally take up a lot of time, otherwise it would be a time sink to do these every day. Even simple poses like this take a while if you're making sure everything (like the arms) are moving correctly down to the line.

Though really, that's the point of these. Ideally once I start animating more I'll be able to do finished pieces in the time it takes me to rough it out now.

Though, I'll probably focus on the motion more next time, since I sort of messed it up with this one -__-

Also, if you're wondering about the line quality, the brush tool in Flash is awful, so I just animate with the pencil tool since it has the least line smoothing/correction. I don't need pressure sensitivity, since in a finished animation I'd be doing the lines in something else, like so,

I'll be animating every day, but I don't know if I'll be posting it every every time. It depends what I end  up with that day. I'm assuming nobody wants to see faceless  guidelines having sex -__-

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Just waiting to get the voice clips for the main character now. Once I get those I'll be ready to release the first demo.

In other news, I was drawing a lot today and trying some animation, and in doing so I finally found a method of drawing the body that I'm comfortable with. Part of my problem when it comes to art is that I'll spend a bunch of time trying new methods to draw correct anatomy, find one I like, and then not draw for weeks, bringing me back to square one. This time I want to remember and practice this method, so I might start uploading some quick animation doodles every now and then. Developing it while getting more comfortable with certain kinds of animation. (It'll mostly be H stuff, since I can loop it)

Perhaps if I start doing it daily, I'll start taking requests for pairings. Could be fun.

In other-other news, I'll be getting a medical problem checked out in a couple days. It's something that's been happening for the past year, but I've only identified it as a problem recently since it's been slowly effecting me more over time. I won't go into details, but let's just say I'm amazed I ever get any work done at all. I don't think it's anything life threatening (unlike last time), but it certainly wastes more of my time and focus.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Well, got the whole GM thing sorted out. Sort of. But at least I can work -__-

Progress is going okay. If I can get in another good week like the first week of development, then the game will be finished before the month is up. However, I doubt that I'll meet that pace.

At the very least, I'm glad I started this game. Looking at the way things are going, the other game would have taken too long, and I'd have been in a bit of a tough spot eventually. I'll be much more confident to pick it up again once this is finished.

For now, to release the demo I need to put in the save function, place the savepoints, and place health.

The way I make games, I have unlimited health when I test them early on. Then, after the areas are put together, I do a run through and see where I tend lose health, and I make assumptions about where people are likely to have trouble. Then, I go through and add health where needed, try again, and get some people to play test. I also tend to make the difficulty I come up with for myself the hard difficulty, since I represent someone who is familiar with the game.

With checkpoints I used to think that I needed to have them before any area with new enemies. When some players see a new enemy they want to see what it's H-animation looks like, but if it's in the middle of a long section then they may not want to risk losing progress to see it. However, that sort of limits the level design, so I'm trying to work around it. One option is "unlocking" it for a gallery as soon as you see it or defeat it, but that assumes the player knows that the gallery/area even exists, so I need to make it clear early on.

Also, I may do one CG for the demo, but I don't know. I might just release it before then.

Anyhow, back to work. I may look into hiring a voice actor today, so I've gotta get that done.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Working on the game,
GM crashes.
Can't use it, can't fix it.

Formatted my computer.

GM works!
Working on the game,
GM crashes,
Can't use it, can't fix it.

Submit my license and get a Steam code for the Steam version
Code is invalid.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Digital painting practice.

Was practising some digital painting today, trying to establish a sharp look.

Sure would be a lot easier to be proud of myself if not for...


I'm sure that after that game's release, artist suicides went through the roof.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another animation test

Thank god that H animations will only be short loops, because I get the feeling I'd spend too much time on details like the hair. Even doing this test, I had to stop myself from making everything "bounce" when it returns to the initial position -__-

Animation test

Did a quick sketch and rig to test animation for CGs. Looks silly, but it's just something I threw together in 40 minutes or so.

When I do actual CGs, I'd spend more time on the picture and rigging, obviously. In the above picture, only her hair and breasts are on different layers (which is why her face distorts), whereas in an actual CG, her head and features would be separate, along with any clothing. Hair would also be done individually.

I'll also spend more time on the breasts. With the nipples on different layers, you can make it appear as though the angle is changing. Same with facial features.

To be honest, I'm actually looking forward to making a couple animations for the game, I find rigging to be pretty fun. For CGs, at least, I think any animation will be better than nothing. Personally, static CGs don't really do it for me anymore. With an animated CG you can have sound effects, and vibration, and stages, and...well, it's much more interesting.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Inspiring? Well..

I took a break from working on the game earlier today to play some Castlevania. I hadn't played any of the metroidvanias for a while, so I figured I'd play through the first area of one of them for some inspiration. Of all of them, I've played  Ecclesia the least, so I went with that.

What did I learn? Well..

First off, the tilesets in this game are absolutely beautiful. Even in enclosed areas, they tend to use larger parallax backgrounds, and they all look awesome. They basically have at least 2-3 different backgrounds for both horizontal and vertical type rooms, with vertical layouts having tower-esque backgrounds, making the environments feel very natural.

Other than that? 

At least in the first area, the level design is... practically non-existent. More so than I remembered. The rooms all felt the same, with very few of them being anything more than a hallway with enemies randomly scattered everywhere. You'd be hard pressed to distinguish one room from the others if not for different combinations of enemies.

I mean, maybe it was just to ease players into combat, and there's more complicated layouts later? Because otherwise it's just..a bad first area. In most games, the first level is what most people remember the most. But usually that memory isn't "big flat surface".

I'll have to play the rest of it, and see how it changes throughout the rest of the game.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Difficulty settings

While I was making areas today, I started thinking about difficulty in games, specifically platformers.

When it comes down to it, some people just flat out hate platforming sections. They're in it for the combat, or exploration, or whatever. Next time I start a new game, rather than a single unified difficulty, I think I'll start having separate settings for combat and platforming that are independent of each other.

An example of something it would effect would be things like the delay between disappearing platforms, or other traps. Stuff like that would make a big difference without taking much work. I suppose another example would be removing knockback from traps at certain difficulties.

Of course, I want players to challenge themselves to get better, so I might have to think of ways to reward higher difficulties that don't involve depriving some players of content that everyone else would see. Perhaps a way around it would be having rewards for beating higher difficulties, but having New Game+ options so that players could still get to that content without being amazing at the game.

As for my current progress, I've done all but one of the 6 H-animations. I still need to put together the last section of the demo, make the boss, and a few other misc things. I might just release the demo without the boss, once I get to that point, and add it once it's finished.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What slows me down.

This short game has sort of been an accelerated view of what my development cycle always ends up looking like, and what I need to fix.

First, I decide to make a simple game.
In the first few days, I finish a huge amount of work. I'm doing everything involving the player, so I'm doing what I enjoy the most, and I can do it all without unforeseen problems. In the following day or two, I ride the enthusiasm and animate a bunch of enemies (not H animations) and other stuff, and implement almost all of the basic gameplay functions.

Then, I decide that the simple game isn't good enough. In this case, it went from an arcade style game with single screen levels to a simple metroidvania.

Still enthusiastic, I continue to work on enemies, and other graphics. I implement a bunch of necessary elements, running into a problem here and there and trying new things, but eventually the core of the game comes together. I can play through a fleshed out area within a week. This is where the problems start,

The same thought always occurs to me, "Something is missing"

It usually comes down to a lack of enemies. I can make a new enemy in half an hour to an hour, but I always feel like if I add an enemy, I'll need to do an H-animation for it otherwise people would be disappointed. So I have this running through my mind,

-The gameplay doesn't feel deep enough, because there aren't enough enemies with different patterns.
-But this is supposed to be a short game and I have 3 enemies with H animations per area, if I do any more it will take too long to do animations.
-How can I make this work?

That last question is what gets me. I think too hard about how I can make the game work without more enemies. This slows down level design because I feel like I can't design levels until I have everything to work with, and yet I put off adding those new elements, because I know it will entail a ton of work in the form of H animations, which are tedious to animate well.

This essentially slows down everything, because it also tanks my enthusiasm. I've already gotten passed this point in the short game, and have regained my enthusiasm, but it has showed me exactly how I can avoid this next time.

1. Just add enemies when I need them, and don't hinder progress.
2. Either make enemies that won't have animations, or hire someone to do H animations.

20 H-animations at 3 hours each and $20 per hour would only be around $1200. For something that would speed up development to such a degree, that much is nothing.

So, that's what I'm going to do next time, probably. I may hire an artist to do some other stuff, but priority #1 is making H animations a non-issue. As for now, I'm grinding through them as we speak -__-

Now to go find something good to listen to while I animate. Stand up comedy or something.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


What's left to do before a demo,

-Program one more enemy (takes about half an hour or more)
-Make a few more tiles (1-2 hours)
-Sounds (1-2 hours)
-Boss theme (1-5 hours)
-Another area theme (1-5 hours)
-Apply tilesets to layouts (1 hour)
-Do 6 H animations (3-8 hours)
-Create the boss (3 hours)
-Implement hud (20 minutes)
-Add one weapon (half hour-hour and a half)
-Hud expressions, H animation integration (2 hours)
-One game mechanic (1-2 hours)
-Carry over save function (half hour-1 hour)
-Menus (hour)
-Design remaining map sections for the first area (will take around 2-3 hours with testing)

You'll notice that there's a wide range of times, there. This is mostly because sometimes I'll do something like an H-animation, and finish it in an hour. Other times, I'll spend more time trying to get something right, or adding in additional animation that isn't really necessary, but raises the quality (like mounting animations or "cool down" animations)

I've got a timer app on my, phone, so I'll be timing myself for the heck of it. It will be interesting to see how far off my predictions will end up being -__-

As for the boss poll, I'll probably be doing another poll soon that will be voting between combinations of the highest voted elements.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the game is like, it's a metroidvania, but with controls similar to the nes/snes castlevania games and a future setting. Health is increased by leveling up, but all other stats and attributes are raised through finding items. There are also some other mechanics involving stats that I won't mention here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

First boss poll

For those of you who haven't read my last post, you might want to read that before reading this.


For the fun of it, I've decided to do a poll to decide what the first boss of the game will be. This would be the boss you'll face at the end of the demo.

The options are on the right, you can choose multiple options if you want a combination of certain elements. You can also expand on your choice in the comments, if you'd like.