Friday, June 13, 2014

Progress report

Still actively working on the game..

I've mostly been doing tileset related stuff over the past few days. I wasn't really satisfied with what I had done initially early on in development, so I expanded on it a bit. At this point I'm more or less done with tilesets.


I may end up doing a couple more parallax backgrounds, however. They take quite a few hours each, but they make a big difference to how a game feels. Honestly, if I hire a pixel artist I may end up making them a higher priority than enemy sprites, simply because of how much of a difference they make. I can do great enemy sprites when I put the time into it, but my backgrounds just end up looking passable, with the same effort. 

As for progress...

How far am I into the game? It's hard to say, honestly. Last month I was around 75% done, but now I'm 75% done again, because rather than moving closer to the end of the game I keep changing or adding to the mid-game content. In addition to that, I've still got to do the CGs, which will be animated, and all the music, which I'm having trouble with.

I've tried quite a few times in the past few weeks to create some music, but thus far I've yet to do anything I'm satisfied with. It's frustrating, because unlike pixel art I can work on songs for 10+ hours over the course of a couple days, and still end up with nothing to show for it. I could pull songs from abandoned projects, but I feel like the result wouldn't be very cohesive, and I doubt I'd be satisfied.

So all in all..things are going... okay. If had to describe my current state, it would be "tired". I usually end up getting sick of "mid-development", and I've been mid-development for the past year, with all the games I've worked on. It sort of creates a constant feeling of not having time for anything, which can become very tiring. More than anything, I'm just looking forward to that magical day when I can release the damn thing and sigh in relief. 


  1. I'm not sure if it was just me but in the CGs of Eroico (maybe Kurovadis too, I can't remember) the nipples you did for the girls looked a bit out of place?

    I don't mean to sound critical if I am but you have a great drawing style yet it didn't look like they were drawn by you. I know this is something really odd to talk about but it really stood out to me.

    Also, if you're doing the CGs last in this game, take all the time you need to perfect them. It hasn't really been the case with you but I've seen a lot in other games were it looks like they took about 5 minutes to try and polish things and it just looked weird.

    1. Hmm..perhaps it's because they were soft-shaded, but the rest of the style is cel-shaded? Unless you mean the placement.

      Regardless, you don't need to worry about sounding critical, because you're free to BE critical. My work is far from perfect. I'd take well thought out and constructive criticism over a pat on the back any day.

      Though I will say, if anything, looking back at Eroico's art make's me feel pretty confident. I've been sketching quite a bit in my free time, and I think my anatomy in general has improved a lot since then. I can see a lot more glaring mistakes now than I could see then.

  2. Thanks for the update. What do you use to make your music if you don't mind me asking?

    1. FL Studio, numerous VSTs and soundfonts, and sometimes electric guitar.

  3. He's not in that much of a money squeeze at all.

    1. - My living costs are around $1000 per month.
      - I make around $800 per month from previous games, and I have around $1200 in the bank.
      - I've yet to pay last year's income tax, which will be over $8000.

      Afraid so.

    2. I don't know if you have a second job, or if this is your only source of income, if it is, these games are important to you. The fact that you've made technically no progress at all, just improving what was already done is disheartening. At least there will be a large Project X update later this month... Between you and Erogi, you guys are killing me.

    3. I'd love to give up my day job and go full time into indie game development. I would have to beat myself with a stupid stick though, if I did that. Day job pays too well to just throw away. Not to mention I don't exactly have a game out yet, and I'm still learning various skills.

      I hate the income tax more than anyone. It's not that I hate paying my share for the services of society. What I hate about it is it's really unfriendly and complex "interface". This system should have been modernized a long time ago. We pay so much just to keep this failed system running that the government could save a mint in legal costs alone by reforming it. The CRA has proven to be infinitive in getting money out of the big fry's so they bully the weak. On top of it, the system has been compromised so many times it's down right maddening. They even gave a nearly 400 thousand cheque to a convicted mob boss that had an outstanding tax balance owed.

      Just realized I went on another rant -_-;

    4. Meant to say ineffective not infinitive.

  4. Thanks for the update! Keep at it, we're all behind you!

  5. "I'd take well thought out and constructive criticism over a pat on the back any day."

    Gonna hold you to that, now that I know you care and are open to communication. Give me some time to come up with constructive things to discuss and highlight for attention.

    1. Sure, I don't mind.

      Although, the more it pertains to recent work, to the more relevant it will be. There's already a lot of my previous work that really makes me cringe. For instance, I looked at Crimson Brave's player sprites the other day, and certain elements of it look waaay worse than I remember -__-

    2. That's not to say it can't be feedback regarding old work, however, since there will always be things I miss, and even if I've solved a problem already, that doesn't mean that there are no alternative solutions that would be informative.

  6. There's a reason we call it the 90-90 rule, you know. Anyway, hang in there.

    1. Actually, for me it's sort of the opposite. 25%-50% is the hardest for me, because it's where you have to start making final decisions before doing the rest of the work. The last 10% tends to go faster because seeing the end makes me enthusiastic.

  7. Keep up the good works. Commercially-focused scheduled release be damned (e.g. what EA've done to C&C)!

    I rue that I can't donate, for I have not much money :(!

    1. I agree, having been burned a few times recently on games that were clearly rushed out before they were done, I'm actually glad to see a game get delayed for the sake of quality.

  8. Nice to hear from your progress, keep it up! :)

  9. It's good to know about your progress and that you're putting effort into making things look good, but how are your money problems? Isn't taking a lot of time in this project dangerous for you?

  10. Whenever working on a project, I always feel very unsatisfied with my work. Though, a second opinion other than my own seems to help me feel way more confident.

    Before deciding that you hate something, mayhaps fish for opinions? Flat approval from your peers can work wonders for building your confidence in your own work.

  11. Do you mind me asking what "parallax background" mean?

    1. Layers scrolling at different speeds from the one the character sprite is on. It gives a very nice sense of depth to 2d games while moving.
      Not limited to a single layer, either - you can make the foreground move faster than the character's layer, and 2-3 bg layers with lower and lower speed.

    2. Pretty much.

      Parallax backgrounds tend to take a while, because they're usually the size of the screen, or bigger. Which with with pixel-art means a lot of work.

  12. Hey, Kyrieru? Something peculiar happened while I was playing Kurovadis.

    You know those large turrets that shoot fire and electricity in the first area? I accidentally pressed the space bar while fighting them and this weird green circle highlighted over it for some reason and faded away. I tested this out even further, and it seems to pick up the closest turret in relation to the player.

    What's up with that? Abandoned idea?

    1. Yup. that's exactly what it is, actually. It was originally going to be a away of identifying which attacks could be rolled through.

  13. I've decided to focus on Eroico since you expressed an interest in criticisms of more recent work. I'm not an artist, so this won't be about art. I will be highlighting things using my knowledge of game design in general and this genre in specific.

    Having to save edit for sprite animations. It's a big draw of your game and it's mostly inaccessible. I have to edit saves for stage checkpoints to accomplish what should have been bundled with the CG unlocks or just made a generic test room. As evidence of this not being a hollow complaint, 3, 31, 34, 33, 49, 63, 58, 60.

    Long aquiring upgrade animations. Speedrunners have to avoid upgrade pedastals because of the length of the animation. It's cool and it adds to immersion to watch it happen, but make it a choice. Add the ability to press an action key to truncate the animation, perhaps with another fluid animation of expelling all of the experience specks simultaneously. The time saved in killing mandatory enemies faster may actually make stopping for upgrades the superior path for a speedrun, but the time spent watching it happen spoils it. Just for that player group, however.

    The goo-girl's ranged attack leaves a large animated impact that is unnecessary and confusing to a learning player. It is not dangerous to walk over, and it's not animated specially, the hero just phases through it. It is visually noisy and doesn't contribute anything in either gameplay or mood. To keep this one constructive, I have to suggest an alternative. Change the nature of the attack to a reaching, thin goo-arm with a hardened ball at the end that strikes and then perhaps dissolves or returns to the goo-girl.

    Homogeneity in items of interest in the game leads to confusion about the use of those items, i.e. experience specks looking similar to blue boost pad crystals looking similar to the contents of bubbles that hold magic restore. There are more specks contained in vases that add experience. My specific suggestion here is to differentiate the bubble that restores magic power from it's peers to avoid misunderstanding it for more experience. This issue would actually be worsened by taking it too far and changing everything, however. Achieving a balance between consistency in stage elements and keeping them unique is ideal.

    I believe Eroico needed to allow the enemies to be hurt by the environmental traps as well. It currently feels like a gauntlet where everything was set up to challenge the player...which, of course, it is. Embracing the restriction of having to plan enemy placement around the stage hazards can maintain suspension of disbelief for players and improve both the gameplay and the erotic content. I understand that you may have had to program some enemies to respect the traps and that's complicated, but I believe you could have circumvented the additional workload that would include with clever hazard/enemy management. I think that effort would also have reflected positively on the gameplay and atmosphere.

    (continued in one more post. 4k character limit, 6.5k character post.)

    1. (last segment, two topics)

      The cat girls in the first stage that emerge from the brush as you walk past are so imperceptible as to nearly be sorcery. I believe at least a slight audio cue such as a rustling noise would have been a huge aid.
      In an attempt to convey the importance of minor cues like that, I will try and illustrate the potential development power a small cue can carry. If you had intended to draw the player's attention to it, you may have created the exciting feeling of being stalked. If you nurtured this idea, you could possibly have even cultivated the feeling of cutting a swath through the unexplored countryside, making such a fuss that monsters are drawn from great distances to find what's causing the disruption. I think this would have been very fun for players and would have made them feel powerful and purposeful, adding significantly to the atmosphere you had already laid the groundwork for with your fantastic art, foreground effects, effectively consistent theme, and stellar music.

      The blue, boosting crystal pads should require the player to press the attack button to use.
      This one is really hard to explain.
      The red pads feel very responsive, fun, and powerful, where the blue pads feel like an annoyance to be avoided, until you understand how they work and stop being propelled around by them in unintended ways. To illustrate this, please imagine the red pads automatically triggering and see how that changes gameplay.
      Additionally, try to notice how much your eye is drawn towards the ping-like circle that emits from each pad when they are used. The blue pad's activation effect is substantially less noticable than the red pad's effect. That's mostly due to the circle serving primarily as player feedback, an indicator of activation that highlights what caused the change in the player's movement. The blue crystal pad lacks player input to begin with.
      This issue might be rectified by changing all red pads to automatically activate, but that would probably break the design for stages that use them in abundance.

      Finally, I would like to discuss the enemy design. Not their appearance(which i would also love to rave about, they're very fun), but their use as obstacles.

      Your use of enemies as obstacles is occasionally inconsistent with their design. Each enemy has an attack that is effective at turning certain terrain against the player. In the first stage alone, jumping segments have the airspace controlled by goo girls, low ceiling areas are packed with catgirls that players might have tried jumping over to avoid, and areas with tricky footing have flying enemies that shoot projectiles which threaten to knock you into hazards.

      I understand that the amount of enemies you design is woefully limited by the genre you're making games for. The work involved with setting up each kind of enemy with normal programming such as attacks and behaviors and then adding H-content makes having many enemies very difficult. This is mostly a flaw of the genre. However, there may be steps you can take in designing a stage or player abilities to help stretch your enemy placement by allowing them to be powerful in multiple situations without adding more work to the enemy design portion of the game. My suggestion for this issue is to create stronger connections in design between enemies and their complementary elements, the stage and the player.

      That's all I have to say for now! I spent some time editing this for readability, so I hope you enjoy it and learn from it. Thank you for being open to constructive criticism.

    2. Cheats: Honestly, in the next game I'm probably going to just going to have a cheat code that can be used.

      Long upgrade animations: True enough. I'll keep that in mind. Generally it's a good idea to make anything like that skippable.

      Goo-girl's attack: I think animating the puddle to dissolve quickly would solve this problem. As for changing the attack, a stretching arm would change the nature of the attack, and it's impact on the levels a bit too much.

      Items: Yeah, the experience should have looked different from the bubble magic. Even just making it an orb probably would have made it more obvious. Though I don't really think it looks much like
      the boost pad crystals. (Honestly, kind of surprised that you didn't bring up the fact that there's a powerup to shoot waves, yet I forgot to put it in any other places -__-

      Enemies unaffected by traps: In Eroico, there were a few cases early on in testing where enemies could be used as platforms once they were on spikes, however this was never really reflected in the final levels, so I should have just made them die, like in Kurovadis. It doesn't really take that long.

      Cat Girls in bushes: Honestly, this was more or less a result of feeling rushed at the time. I was trying to meet a deadline for a demo, and it was a sort of "good enough, move on" kind of moment. I had initially planned on animating the full effect, but there were other things that were a higher priority at the time, and I just never went back to it.

      Boost pads: Yeah, I think the blue pads should have at least required an attack to start the string of boosts.

      Enemies: Varying enemy behaviour is easier with certain kinds of enemies. For example, in the previous game I was working on there were hopping enemies. The benefit of such a simple pattern is that you can alter each individual's behaviour via creation code to match the situation. For instance, you can put the enemy in a big room and make it jump in a large arc, while in another room it could jump quickly, but very low to the ground. On the other hand, doing the same thing with normal enemies requires more animation or code, and adding behaviour can hinder the player's ability to learn patterns. Unless of course, the context is very specific, such as an enemy standing next to a pile of bombs, implying that the enemy may interact with them. In the end, though, it more or less just comes down to an issue of time. There's only so much time I can spend on any given enemy. This is something I'm looking to fix by working with artists, since at that point I'll be able to focus more on unique encounters and behaviour.

      Anyhow, thanks for all the feedback I appreciate it.

      It's sort of tough with games in general, because for the most part I would have chosen to do everything differently myself, even after I had just finished the game. Since things are taken a step at a time, there are times when I need to settle for something in order to move forward, sometimes I go back and fix it, and sometimes I don't. Not to mention, when the design or focus of the game changes part way through, sometimes it's too much to go back and make sure everything is working in unison. It's more or less a down-side to working alone, and not being able to focus entirely on design.

      For example, in Kurovadis the final boss was actually made early on in development, including the way you had to jump on platforms to get to his head. Problem is, I raised the jump height of the player afterwards, which meant that the final boss just didn't work any more. So, when it came time to make the final level, I just added in the effect that lowered the player's jump height a couple screens before the boss, simply because it would be less work than going back and altering the boss. It's a good example of a situation where something was done to work with a mid-development change, rather than working towards it from the beginning, with the entire game's design in mind.

    3. I would enjoy writing more and trying to help, your games are fun to examine as there is usually an abundance of potential and plenty of small things to polish that would make the game better. I can think of more for Eroico but I didn't want to go too far right out the gate, you know? Just in case you took it the wrong way and got angry. If you would like me going further on a game, let me know please.

    4. Well, criticism is somewhat difficult when it comes to games.

      Since I work alone, I generally can't focus on any one element as much as I'd like to, and as a result it's difficult for a critic to know whether or not a flaw was an intentional short-cut, a compromise, or something I was actually unaware of. This can result in a lot of obvious feedback, and as a developer it can make feedback feel a bit redundant sometimes, simply because if I were to point out flaws myself I'd be here all day.

      However, that's one of my flaws, and one I need to get over. While Eroico is by no means a result of my best efforts, nor a result of ideal circumstances, that doesn't mean that it's pointless for someone to point out it's flaws. Even I think a game I made is all wrong, that doesn't mean that everyone's solutions to it's problems would be the same as mine, and it would be childish of me to turn down feedback, just because I feel as though I know the game inside-out.

      So, in short. "go nuts". Though, limiting the feedback to stuff that wasn't a result of compromise tends to be more helpful.

      Also, don't worry about feedback making me angry -__-
      There are only a few things in this world that make me angry, and someone going out of their way to help me isn't one of them lol.

    5. Sorry for the long winded answers lol.

    6. The thing with criticism, which is a creative process itself, is you're generally working in hypotheticals. Even if something sounds good you can't know it is until it's been tested, a burden which is usually left to the one being critiqued. That's why I always feel a little cheeky when I critique something.

      Anyways, here are some critiques.


      - It seemed a long way between checkpoints so you'd lose so much progress dying, it really wore me out. And you can't add more checkpoints because that'd make the game too easy. So I wonder if the game would have been better with a lives system. That is, dying would respawn you on that screen until you ran out of lives, then you'd have to start the level over.

      - I don't like the genie boss. It feels like a mess, mostly because of the level layout. It seems so haphazard.

      - The final boss is a little tiresome too. My problem being that two of her moves (the beam and the dash) are so easy to dodge that they end up being time sinks until the next game of Pong. They might work better if the moves were shuffled so you didn't know which order she'd do them in.

      - I really like the dryaid boss, it's visually interesting and has some neat moves although I wish the second form didn't just do the same attack over and over again.

      - I also wanted to say that the red blocks were, for me, the funnest part of the game. Even though you did a lot with them I kind of wish you'd done even more. I'm surprised you didn't use them in any of the boss battles.

      Kurovadis: Not much to say here, just curious if you had any kind of overarching narrative in mind because thematically the game seems all over the place.

    7. Long way between checkpoints: Honestly, I'd have to think about this more to come up with a good solution. I think if someone is having enough trouble with a level that they can't get to the next checkpoint, chances are some of them would be even more frustrated at the idea of restarting all over again.

      Final Boss: Yeah, I don't plan on doing a boss where you have to wait for something like that ever again. Any time I fight a boss like that in a game, I just find it annoying. I did it because I was short on time (Like a day before the game was released), but I should have done better.

      -Dryad: This was an instance of me just being too lazy. The second form was a bit shallow because I re-used the basic enemy AI.

      -Kurovadis story: There is, sort of. However a lot of things are still uncertain because I plan on making Kurovadis 2, and I don't know what direction I want to go with it yet.

      Basically, there's a virus that warps people's minds, causing irrational behaviour and mutation. Kuro, along with a select few other civilians, were conscripted into the military because they were either partially, or entirely immune to the virus. These individuals are referred in the military by their level of immunity, with Kuro being referred to as a "Tier-0", because her immunity is minimal. Because of this, she can still be infected through prolonged contact, which is why her eyes are red in the CGs.

      Kurovadis takes place inside a city, sometime after an attack. Because Kuro was only a Tier-0, she was never deployed during the attack, and as a result she remained in stasis until long after the attack had ended. How much time has passed as well as the sate of the world is uncertain.

      Kuro awakens with no clear recollection of her formal self, and is driven by her modifications to destroy all traces of the virus, despite it clearly being impossible by this point, given the state of the area. By the end of Kurovadis, Kuro destroys a creature that had been spreading the virus. During the battle her head-gear is either damaged, or destroyed, causing her to regain some of her memory. My excus-...reason for why she's in different clothing at the end, is that she was recalling who she was before she became a Tier.

      With Kurovadis 2, I have some options. I could focus on Kuro trying to find a place in the new world, with some mutants being friendly, and some factions of humans remaining. Kuro's sort of "half immunity" could mean that she's capable of being infected, and mutating (abilities), without losing her humanity. It may also be relevant to the story, and pose an alternative to destroying all traces of the virus, which by then will have manifested itself in what are essentially new creatures, that aren't all evil. Alternatively, the story could focus on one of the other two Tiers, given that there are two empty ones next to Kuro's, meaning Kuro could even be an antagonist, or something else.

    8. ^This is the difference with H-Games when it comes to Kyrieru.
      "It's a sex game. There's no plot or anything else, it's just that. I don't know why there's a reason for it, just enjoy the gameplay and yourself for all I care."

      "It's a sex game, BUT, there's this cool looming plot that makes sense! The characters are not just objects either. It's more than sex, I swear!"

  14. Please excuse me for putting my two cents on the table.

    Long checkpoints foster tension that enhance the game, but risk frustrating the player and resulting in the real game over: not playing anymore. My proposal would to leave the choice to the player, as any compromise would likely fail to satisfy one end of the spectrum. Leave it as an elective at the beginning of stages, at checkpoints, or at the beginning of the game through difficulty selection.

    Eroico's final boss rehashed/tributed a famous and loved boss fight. The original use had innovation on it's side, you had novelty on your side. Doing it again would obviously be a tiresome mistake.

    Dryad was my least liked boss fight. Easily the best atmosphere, a lot of effort went into presenting it, but the mechanics weren't enjoyable for me. For the record, my favorite fight was the genie, but likely due to perverted reasons.

    Your visualizing of Kuro's story is excellent. I don't want to pull the curtain or ruin excitement for the sequel by discussing theme, but most people should care about the end result more. Your primary themes are corruption and vulnerability, and their opposites, purity and protection. Working those flexible topics into situations full of submission, temptation, compromise or despair is going to create a large and satisfying emotional payout, if you chose to design around them.

    Other science-fiction related media that have used these themes usually include sexual tension. For video games, books, and TV shows, good examples are Resident Evil, (George Orwell's) 1984, and Code Geass, Studying material like that for ideas would be very helpful, if you were stuck for ideas. You should browse topics like mind control in popular culture, or trans-humanism. Actually, the story you outlined has a great opportunity to take advantage of many rich philosophies, including transcendentalism.

    I'm not trying to use big or fancy words to look special, it fits the theme of corruption and one being able to accomplish what many could not. I am encouraging you to give a wiki page a glance just as an earnest attempt to be helpful with story inspiration.

    Anyway, thanks again for allowing me to contribute advice and criticism. I look forward to sharing ideas and reading responses.

  15. I really like the sound of your Kurovadis 2 game. Do you think that if you make it, it will be in higher resolution just like your new game or better?

    I really enjoyed Kurovadis but the sprite sex was a bit small for me to properly enjoy. Never the less I still got a kick if that isn't too much information. (I know you make H Games but not sure if you wanna hear about the more personal details lol)

    1. The sprites would be at least the size of Megaman-X sprites or higher, I think.