Hello everyone, it's time for another dev blog post!
Despite the delay to fix a certain bug where you could pass out while at work, we felt pretty good about the v29 release. This seems to be a sign of bad things because we've ended up getting plenty of bug reports over the last few days (thanks for those, btw). Luckily most of them have been pretty simple to fix so far, though we've gotten some reports related to mental stats that have been tough to track down.
This has led me to the realization that because there are so many different things going on in any single AW day, it can be too difficult for the player to recognize what's going on with their character. When something isn't working properly, the player generally doesn't know what's going on. So, for example, we get a report about vigor not recovering during sleep. When I try to replicate it by playing through several days with multiple newly-created characters, focused on sleep... I find nothing wrong.
Something is obviously going on in that case, most likely a bug... but there are also problems that happen simply because a player doesn't realize. For a while, we had a problem where players were ripping their character's orifices apart, causing a host of negative mental statuses and health issues... but it wasn't clear that that was what was happening. We 'fixed' that by dialing back the penalties and preventing penalty stacking, but that still feels more like a workaround.
Anyway, what this rambling means, is that I've decided that it'd be good to have a simple reporting system that tracks the most recent (10?) changes to different status variables. I've already figured out how to implement it, and I'll be doing that this month. It's pretty simple and straight-forward, so it should only take a couple days. In practice, you will be able to click on the different stat buttons in the character menu to see the last 10 changes to that stat. You'll see a basic label for the cause of the change, for example, "torn vagina" or "working at job". In addition, you'll see the amount of the change, and probably color-coding to make it easier to interpret at a glance.
This change should give three benefits:
- The player will be able to see more information about what is affecting their character if they wish.
- When some bug is causing incorrect/overblown status changes, it'll be easier for the player to see the cause, and for us to track it down and eliminate it.
- Balancing the game will be easier, as player feedback will be more valuable/actionable by being related to a specific mechanic.
We're also looking into some other balance and general issues this month, with the goal of making the version 0.30 release as playable and bug-free as possible.
Aside from that mechanical work, we're still looking at adding new fun stuff as well. One of the bigger items is character body portraits. We had a poll back at the end of summer, and you all decided that you'd like to use Koikatsu-generated portraits. It's about time to get those into the game.
While generating the body portraits is simplified by using software to create them, there are still some technical challenges I'll need to conquer for the best results. Things like ensuring consistency of pose/position/shading are important, and I think I'm pretty close to getting that solved. The most challenging issue, however, is what I call the multiplicative problem. The variables we choose to represent in the portrait are multiplicative rather than additive. Each variation has to be taken together with all the other variations.
To show how this becomes a problem, consider a very basic character representation:
- 4 different skin tones.
- 3 different shoulder widths.
- 2 different waist widths.
- 4 different hip widths.
- 8 different breast sizes.
- 3 different weights
4 * 3 * 2 * 4 * 8 * 3 = 2,304 different images!
To work around this, I am hoping to use a layered approach to cut down on the number of images required by isolating different segments of the body portrait, as well as creating different "overlay" pieces. This will require a decent amount of photoshop work, but the total amount of work should be considerably less.
I'm not certain how much detail I'll be able to get into the body portraits during this month, but we should at least have some basic body representations finally :)
That's all for now, it's time to get back to work! :D