Hello everyone, let's get this update started!
For this update, I'm going to share some of the results of the last survey and respond to some of the comments that stood out to me. Before that though, I thought I'd give you a brief peek at some of the things we've been working on. Besty has mostly been working on resolving reported bugs but has also set up the map for the resort at Lake Clitea. I got a little sidetracked by the realization that despite having pregnancy in the game, there was no description of belly size yet. After fixing that omission, I went on to add pregnancy accelerants, elasticity mods, other fertility-related drugs, the potential for a belly-burst bad end, and set up some new Fecundate Division events. Then when I went to make them available for the player, I was reminded how much of a mess the medical district was in, so I did a lot of cleaning up there.
So now you can properly visit Gestique and other medical clinics to get treatment. The whole area is a lot better organized and more clear. You can also get treated with some fun things like:
Altogether there are 11 different drugs/treatments you can take related to pregnancy, along with a 'fetal health sauna' and abortion procedure. The medical district now has all the treatments separated into the planned clinics--complete with graphics--such as Gestique, Dollmaker, and Proliferant. Additionally several of the medical treatments originally created by Besty have been edited and/or got partial or full re-writes by me. It should make handling medical issues and getting body transformations a more enjoyable process.
|Gestique Fertility Clinic and Spa Waiting Room Location Image|
Overall a little bit different than what I was strictly planning, but based on the survey results you guys will probably appreciate it. To be honest focusing on things I find more enjoyable or fun (like pregnancy content) has been easier with all the stuff going on in my personal life. Thankfully my daughter is out of the hospital and seems to be doing better, but at the same time, my wife hasn't been doing that well. The doctors say that it's very likely that she will be needing surgery soon, and that the cause may be cancer. She has some more tests coming up and hopefully, we'll find out more about what's going on.
Besty Reading Survey!
I love being able to do these sorts of things when I can spare the time because it's really useful to be able to gauge what you guys want, and what we can improve on. I think I've learned some really important things with this survey, such as determining that cereal, is not, in fact, soup.
I do want to take a moment to say that the vote on PC body portraits hasn't disappeared into the aether, which is something that got a couple questions. While it may seem simple, creating the portraits and the system to display them will take a lot of effort. One of the reasons I've had it as a funding goal is to allow paying for help with the process, though it'll happen regardless eventually. I suspect an initial implementation will take me a month of work, so I won't be able to work on other goals (it's difficult to work on piecemeal). I'd like to get some of the other main objectives (content) done first before taking the time to get that done. :D
The results of this question were pretty close to what I expected, though the popularity of the self-employed option surprised me. I expected the non-job money-making options to have some fans, but not be the second most popular. I kind of wish I had split out the main methods of self-employment into their own options. All three have their own planned expansions/content, but it would be good to know where to start.
Milking income will see some love at the same time the Farm Coop job is written, so the two jobs that'll see new content most immediately are Progenerate and SPERM.
This item was pretty informative. Obviously, the schools with more content in them do seem to be more popular, but what I've really noticed is the number of people who don't really bother with the skill-improving schools. Thanks to you guys, I've realized that a big part of that is likely that the schools are just too much of a pain to go to while working one of the standard daytime jobs. It's difficult to make it to lessons on time, or there simply aren't lessons available for the period while you're off work.
When initially setting the times for lessons, I wasn't focused enough on making the lesson times line up with what the player is able to attend. Fortunately, adjusting the times should be fairly straightforward to do.
I'm happy that the male start seems to be fairly well regarded!
You guys generally seem to view the female start positively, though not to the extent of the male start. This makes sense to me, because I wanted to take the female start in a different direction rather than just have a slight variation of the male start. Of course, because there's not the same TG element, it also makes sense that more people would feel neutral about it.
For me, I look at both of these stories as pieces of the same story. I think that'll start to become more apparent as the female start character starts interacting more with Lily, making the relationship between female-start and male-start PCs more apparent. I'll do my best to keep them both fun and interesting :D
Sadly, this isn't an unexpected result. We are committed to squashing bugs, however. I've maintained a constant policy of examining and fixing any bug that gets reported by the next release if possible (bugs that are reported right before release, or that are particularly tricky sometimes take an extra release to get fixed). We got a few comments about AW's general bugginess, and there are some reasons why it can seem that way.
a) A bug isn't reported. We actually got a suggestion in this survey to add a bug tracker and/or bug submission method. We've had those for ages, lol, it's a good suggestion. A lot of people don't bother to report minor bugs, which is something I totally understand. Who wants to stop playing in order to report something minor? But without someone telling us, there's way too much to look at for us to find those on our own. Often we get bug reports from people playing the public release (I appreciate all bug reports, so it's a good thing). But the public release is 6 weeks behind, so it's likely that the bug they report has been in 2 to 3 releases.
b) some of the bug reports we get are really vague or hard to figure out what they mean. I usually try to figure out what a vague report may mean, but Besty tends to be really literal with bugs (it's more time-efficient for the person who coded something to fix the bugs in it). So sometimes we get a report and either can't replicate it, or think we fixed it but in fact, fixed the wrong thing altogether. This means the bug stays in. I'm going to do some more talking with Besty though, because I can think of a few bugs that were "fixed" multiple times before actually getting fixed ;)
c) AW is really complex. A good example of how this can manifest is with game saves. We had been getting the occasional report of saves taking too long, and in particular, autosaves not working properly. So we fixed the hell out of that stuff. I did a pretty significant rework of SugarCube's save system and tried several things to ensure a slow autosave in the sleep screen wouldn't mess things up. Eventually, we even moved the autosave to before the sleep system starts so that it couldn't cause issues. But it turned out that the whole time there wasn't a problem with saves or autosaves themselves... there was a problem with game data getting bloated. Basically, a reversed sign in the NPC suicide system caused more and more NPCs to be generated each night until the data became so massive that it started causing problems with saving after playing long enough. If we had some info with those reports like "after playing long enough X happens" we could have found it sooner, but it wasn't something obvious.
d) It's hard to test everything. AW is pretty huge now, so we're forced to focus on testing new content/changes. We haven't had many volunteers lately that are willing to do testing and report bugs before a release. If you're interested in seeing the newest stuff before everyone else... come be a build tester! It'll also help us make the game better!
Fortunately, we're mostly done with the framework and system integration, so most new bugs should be pretty limited in scope. We've got suggestions for unit testing, and let me just say that's a whole giant issue. We've got thousands of functions and a very complex data structure to deal with. This would be manageable--if painful--if it wasn't for twine/twee. Twee is very difficult to test or integrate into tests. On the bright side, we may get a little volunteer help from someone who's pretty skilled at that sort of thing.
I'm pretty confident in our development speed, especially when compared to similar games out there. I'm glad most of you guys don't think we're dragging our heels. If you do think that we're on the slow side, I'd love to hear what we could do to change that perception (honestly!). I know that content was coming in smaller chunks as we coded the game's framework and main systems, but now that focus has shifted toward content I'm hopeful progress will be more visible as it was the last release.
One thing I have to caution you guys on is that we can't work on adding content to everything at once. It'd be brain-melting, but it's also way less efficient than focusing on adding content to certain things. Like adding a bunch of content to one or two jobs, rather than adding a little content to all the jobs. So, if you don't check the changelog, and in-game dev note popup, it might not always be obvious where all the new stuff is.
As I mentioned above, forgetting to add belly size into was a pretty big oversight. (You can now read a description of your belly size ranging from being barely pregnant to having a hyper-pregnancy. You can also find the size of your unborn children as well compared to fruit and vegetables.) There were some good ideas here, some that will be easier than others to implement. There were a couple suggestions that didn't really make sense... but I think I can understand the intent. Expanding the range of sizes on most of the mentioned items is pretty straight forward, so I'll look into that soon. I'm glad that most of you are happy with the current level of character detail though!
This question had a pretty wide range of responses, and the second most popular item was to keep to the current schedule, so it's difficult to say we should really change our short-term plans. I was a bit surprised by the popularity of the "focus on fetish content" option though! Thankfully we asked a followup question for that response asking "which fetish?"
I know it's a bit shameless, but it's fun to see my fav in the lead here :D
The problem with fetish content is that it's really variable as to how it fits into the game. Pregnancy of course has it's own fertility system and all the stuff that goes along with that. Bimbo and Corruption are very strange because they both modify other content and have unique content, while things like bondage mostly fit into unique scenes and events. And all of these things will be able to make adjustments to the way generic sex scenes are described.
Some of these things you'll start to see more of as other content areas are added to. An example would be lactation, bimbo, and preg content that will be happening at the Farm Coop. Similarly, there's other fetish content planned with different jobs and schools.
I'll be taking some more time to go back over the various suggestions a second time. I'm usually pretty happy to "borrow" a fun suggestion as well. Thanks to Luke we have a fun type of fertility drug that increases the rate of zygote splitting. (think increasing the odds of identical twins).
I'm going to look into answering the fun Q&A questions over the weekend as well.
For now though... it's time to get back to work!
Thanks for your support, and thanks for taking the survey