Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-4 Bubble Bother

Jackson meets the dragon.  The scenario does not go as expected...

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-4 Bubble Bother

"There you are," a feminine voice called out.

Jackson turned around.

He'd found the dragon.

The dragon was not the dinosaur-proportioned fire-breathing monster he expected.  She was a hottie of a different kind.  He watched her descend a curved staircase at the far end of the room.  She was naked and actually kind of fit.  Well, if you ignored the scales...and the thick tail...and the leathery wings folded behind her back...or the long quills she had instead of hair.

To be honest, Jackson thought, she was a bit of a babe even with those.  It was the face.  Aside from a few scales and the hair that wasn’t actually hair, you could almost trick yourself into thinking she was human.  A very cute human, even if her pink skin tended more to lilac than fleshy tones.  The vivid skin tone only added to her exoticism.

Nice pair of boobs as well.  Big, round, totally naked...not really a surprise they caught his eye.  It was her face that held his attention, though.  She had big bright eyes and a wide, expressive smile.  It was the face of a girl that was both beautiful and fun to be with.  Jackson could really fancy a girl with a face like that.

Which made it all the more soul-crushing she was obviously the dragon.

"I've come to rescue the...princess."  Jackson tailed off.  An uncomfortable suspicion was settling in his gut like a bad balti.

“Oh, that’s so sweet,” the naked dragon girl said.  “You battled all the way up here for that.  I don’t really need the help,” she partially extended her wings to show the top of a mountain didn’t exactly qualify as a prison for her, “but the thought is very touching.”

"You're the princess," he said.

The dragon girl nodded, a wide smile on her full lips.

"Princess Babelixiafukiona the forty-eighth.  Seventh in line to the throne of Tay-e-tow."

That suspicion slithering through his guts had been proved right.  Dragon royalty.  What was he supposed to do now—bow to her or slay her?  Slaying might be problem, he thought, looking down at the jagged half-inch of metal sticking out of the hilt that was all that remained of his sword.

“But I’d prefer it if you called me Bab.  Much less formal.”

As was her smile.  And the glint in her eyes as she looked at him.  He didn’t think the shiny spanner twirling around in her left hand was part of the standard distressed damsel wardrobe either.

“Ian,” he replied.  Dragon royalty, would you effing Adam and Eve it.  “I’m a little confused.  The villagers told me there was a princess needing rescuing from a dragon.”

“Oh, I told them to say that,” Bab said.  “Well, ordered really, on pain of crispy-fried barbequed death.

“I didn’t mean it!” she added, seeing Jackson’s shocked expression.  “You know how it is.  Good folk, but not the sharpest knives in the drawer.  They need focus.”

“Why tell them that at all?” Jackson asked.

It was Bab’s turn to grimace.  She sighed.

“Stupid family tradition,” she said.  “We’re not morons like you humans.  We don’t force royal blood to marry royal blood until everyone’s everybody else’s second cousin and the blood is as thin as peasant’s broth.  That’s not the way to maintain a royal line.  Good blood needs fresh infusions of prime genetic stock and what better source than heroes.  Strong, quick, clever, resourceful heroes.

“This,” her hand swung around to encompass the room and the hundred levels below them, “is tradition for the womenfolk of the Mitsuji-Doraga line.  We build a dungeon and mate with the heroes strong enough to make it through to the end.  That’s the path to strong hatchlings, as my mama used to say.”

“This is dragon dating?”  It sounded so crazy it was probably true.

Bab nodded and smiled.

“Well it used to be,” she said.  “None of you idiots play this type of game anymore.  Whatever happened to patience and backbone?  Lose a couple of credits and most of you are gone in a huff before even getting as far as the twelfth level.”

She twirled the spanner around in her hand.

“Maybe it’s my own fault.  Mama did say I was too smart for my own good.  And designing and building these things can get a little addictive.  I must have ramped the difficulty up too high.”

“That’s why the umbrella,” Jackson said.  His ‘heroism’ didn’t seem quite so heroic now.

“It gets lonely up here,” Bab said.  “Sometimes a girl fancies a quick screw.”

Quick screw?  Had he heard that right?

“But with protection.”  Bab held up a finger.  “You’re not a suitable mate.  You failed to spot the significance of the bubblegum at the base of the tower.”


“A pity.  I think you’d look cute in scales.”

Jackson didn’t have a clue what she was talking about.  To be fair, he was still thinking about that ‘quick screw’ comment.

“So you mean, you...and me?”  He pushed a finger through the hoop of his forefinger and thumb for emphasis.

Could he?  Even with the scales, wings and tail?

Bab smiled coquettishly.  Her eyelids fluttered.  She uncrossed her legs, better exposing the hairless folds of her sex.

Fuck it.  She had a really cute face.

And breasts as big as ripe melons.

The girl not being human hadn’t stopped him before.  Admittedly, those had been situations where the girl hadn’t taken ‘no’ for an answer, or let him run away.

At least Bab was different.  She hadn’t tried to beat him up first.

Jackson beamed at her.  He dropped his trousers and took off his tunic.  Naked, he took a step towards her.

“Oh,” Bab said.  “We have to fight first.”

Jackson’s smile fell off his face and shattered on the floor.

“Really?  Why?”

Bab gave him an apologetic smile.  “Rules of the game universe.  If we don’t the game might crash.”

Jackson sighed.  “Does it have to be a proper ‘fight’ fight,” he said.  “What if I just tap you and you fall over and pretend it’s a mortal wound?  Would that fool the game?”

Bab tilted her head.  Her bright eyes sparkled.  “Ooh, that’s a good idea.  Yes, that might work.”

“Okay, let’s give it a go,” Jackson said.  He ambled up to her.  A gentle prod to the shoulder should do it.

Bab blew a big red bubble from her mouth.  More bubblegum?  Jackson expected it to pop, but it kept growing and growing.  Before he had a chance to move it expanded into him like a stretchy airbag.  The bubble kept growing and then Jackson was inside it.  He wasn’t sure how that happened.  One moment he’d felt an elastic membrane pushing against the front of his body, and then the next it had melted around him and Jackson was standing inside a giant circular balloon.  His weight provided no impediment as the elastic sphere floated up into the air with him inside it.

He pushed ineffectually at the elastic walls.  Through the translucent membrane he saw Bab looking up at him with an impish smile on her full lips.

You really walked into this one, Jackson thought.

to be continued...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Violated Hero 2, in English (+ other translation sites)

I spotted this question on an old post about Violated Hero 2:

TerraMastero: "Is this game in English?"


I wonder what she has in mind...

It has been translated by Dargoth and the English translation can be found here:

Checking out some scenes (which may or may not have involved a certain bouncy empress of slime) made me realise my poor little AutoTranslator had got a little confused first time around, which is pretty much to be expected with machine translation.

Fans of Japanese Monster Girl eroges are now fortunate to have a couple of people working on translations.

RogueTranslator is the person to thank for the English version of the Monster Girl Quest games.

Dargoth also has a website devoted to their translations.  They also post information about new and forthcoming monster girl games every so often, so well worth checking out.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-3 Bubble Bother

See, I said I wasn't done with him yet...

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-3 Bubble Bother

Jackson dropped down on top of the marching head.  The clockwork head did not squish.  Instead Jackson's foot slipped out sideways, twisting his ankle.  He fell off and landed in an ungainly heap right in front of the advancing clockwork metal head.  It did not stop.  Heavy metal feet crunched down on Jackson, first breaking his legs, then crushing his vertebrae to powder, before finally shattering his skull like an egg.

It was as painful as it sounded.

* * * *

The unseen figure slapped a scaly hand against its forehead.

"Oh my, you really are stupid," it said.  "Looks like you're going to need some help."

It rummaged through a collection of items in a bowl on the table to the right of the cabinet and plucked out a small cross made out of bright red metal.  It pulled out a tray beneath the screen and dropped the cross inside.

* * * *

Jackson had just rematerialized back at the starting point, thankfully with his bones fully intact, when an object appeared in the air above him and bonked him on the top of his head.


He looked down and picked up a metal gothic cross about a foot high.  The metal was black everywhere apart from the edges, where the cross appeared to be picked out with a flame-red outline.  Jackson wondered what he was supposed to do with it.

Oh crap, one of those clanking clockwork heads was already bearing down on him.  More in hope than anything, he thrust out the cross as if warding off a vampire.

A fireball erupted from the centre of the cross and blasted the oncoming head into a shower of bolts, springs and shards of twisted metal.  They faded away leaving behind a ruby as big as Jackson's fist.


The jewel was a piece of abstract treasure.  Jackson couldn't even pick it up.  The moment he reached down, the giant ruby vanished and 700 floated up from where it had been.  A bonus to his score, although he had no idea what that score represented in real terms.

The other two heads dropped down from the level above.  Jackson pointed the metal cross at them and blasted them into glowing shards.

All right!

Following a pause after the last monster had faded away, Jackson was hit by a sudden bout of disorientation.  It felt like he had been snipped out of the world.  The room fell away like the turn of a fruit machine reel while Jackson stayed in place.  Another room moved down to take its place.  Jackson saw a pyramid structure with four of the clockwork metal heads sitting at the top.  And then he was in the room and the clanking monsters were marching down towards him.

Jackson lifted up the cross and blasted them into showers of cogs and springs.

He did the same for the next three levels and was beginning to think the game might be a little too easy when the cross suddenly crumbled away in his hand.

Oh shit.  What now, Jackson thought as he was forced to take hasty evasive action.

* * * *

The unseen onlooker watched Jackson's antics on screen with mounting irritation.

"Okay, that's enough.  I'm not watching you fumble your way through another ninety-five levels.  It's been too fucking long."

They reached into the bowl sitting next to the cabinet and pulled out a vividly patterned umbrella.  It was about the same size as a cocktail umbrella, but far more detailed, like a doll's house miniature.  They opened the tray and dropped it in.

* * * *

Jackson saw an umbrella appear on the top platform.

An umbrella?  What kind of a weapon was that?

He wouldn’t have expected a cross to spit out fireballs either.

He jumped up and put his hand around the handle of the umbrella.  The umbrella opened and the world froze.  He felt that strange dislocation again as if he’d been snipped out of reality.  The room fell away and was replaced by another.  Jackson saw a new type of monster, creepy little hooded spooks, had joined the clockwork heads.  He didn't get a chance to observe them for long.  He'd barely stepped back into the game before he was plucked out again and the world was moving up to the next level.

This happened for the next level, and the one after.

The umbrella was a shortcut, he realised, a level skip.  But how many?  Ten rooms went by, twenty, fifty...  He was halfway up the tower now, floating up on the open umbrella like a regular Mary Poppins.  Floating wasn't the right word.  All his senses told him he was stationary and it was the world around him that was moving.


Was he supposed to let go or something?  What kind of game dropped a bonus that skipped the entire game?  It didn't make any sense.

It was what happened.  The world finally stopped moving as the umbrella deposited him in a much larger room near the top of the tower.  His feet touched the ground and the umbrella closed before vanishing with a poof.

Jackson glanced around.  The third dimension had returned; he was standing in a room rather than a rectangle.  What type of room though?  Judging from the walls and fittings it looked like a fancy waiting room in a posh mansion or palace.  At least originally.  Now it more resembled a workshop.  The centre of the room was turned over to a large workbench covered in wires, springs, nuts, bolts, cogs, metal plates...

Jackson jumped as he saw another of the clockwork heads.  He needn't have worried.  The thing was upside down and inert.  Its jaw had been removed.  Lying on the floor next to it was a large ball of purple fur with a wide mouth and blank eyes.  It was inert too.  A hatch was opened up in the top of its head and wires trailed out to dangling green circuit boards.  Overall, it looked like someone had taken a sumptuous palace lounge and turned it into a grease monkey's paradise.

"There you are," a feminine voice called out.

Jackson turned around.

He'd found the dragon.

to be continued...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hero (Monster Girl Quest 3D) - It's the constraints and realistic expectations, stupid!

So after comprehensively stomping all over someone’s puppy I should try and say something positive about the whole 3D Monster Girl Quest (probable) trainwreck.

To be fair, the dude seems pretty good at modelling.  The new Alice model looks pretty good.

But again there’s the time and expectation issue.  How long did it take to make?  What are the range of facial expressions?  What movement animation does she have?  Is she just going to sit there and wag her tail a little, because if that’s the case what is the point of using 3D over Kenkou Cross’s already expressive artwork? 

And remember, there are another 150 monster girls to go after this...

It’s constraints and realistic expectations.  Small game companies and indie developers make very good games because they’re fully aware of their limitations and work within those constraints.

A good example of using 3D graphics to good effect is Pretty Warrior May Cry.  It’s an eroge Dungeon Keeper.  Obviously they didn’t have the budget or team to make full eroge Dungeon Keeper that wouldn’t suck to play, so they abstracted the gameplay to what they could do and stuffed the eroge elements into 3D H-scenes showing exactly how their minions slow down the marauding heroes.  (The lilith animation is available in the trial).

The original MGQ does the same thing.  It’s a RPG with exploration and branching paths replaced with a linear Visual Novel.  This frees them up to concentrate on other things like the story and puzzle(ish) battles (and of course the sexy bad ends).  Violated Hero constrains the player to a Dungeon Master-style Grid.  Desire Dungeon does the same but makes the map a straight line and throws in a chest/loot mechanic.  All the RPG-Maker clones already have most of the RPG mechanics provided by the game maker they’re using.

Hero, Monster Girl Quest 3D, has no constraints.  It’s trying to build everything from the ground up.  In the original MGQ the Succubus Village is abstracted away to a few background pics.  Hero built the town in 3D.  Cool.  But what are they going to do for the Plansect Village, the Harpy Town, the Slime Cave, the cities, the underwater segments, the Demon Lord Castle...?  We’re in George Broussard and Duke Nukem Forever territory here.

No abstraction = too much work = vapourware (or seriously shitty end product that leaves players feeling like someone took a dump in their mouth after eating a foul homemade vindaloo)

Where 3D could really shine is if combined with the combat and Bad Ends.  A Monster Girl Quest with the sex battles/Bad Ends depicted in a similar way to the animations in Pretty Warrior May Cry could work really well.  Aside from the obvious being-ridden-by-a-succubus scenes, various different struggle scenes as Luka is dragged deeper into a slime girl, plant girl or similar enemy would add a lot more to the game than the simple bound/unbound pictures that are used now.  I think a game like this would pick up a lot of interest and have no problems getting indie funding (although it might mean going through offbeatr and smaller dlsites).  It's the difference between going for a niche audience that will definitely come, or jumping for a mainstream audience and falling flat on your face when they don't show.

Again the marketing adage applies: Don't bother trying to appease people that aren't interested in your product anyway.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hero. Monster Girl 3D!

3D Monster Girl Quest, sounds interesting, right?  When I found out an indie developer had picked up permission to make a 3D version of Monster Girl Quest in English I had to check their site out.  3D Monster Girl Quest, got to be awesome, right?


What I read left me with misgivings.  Major misgivings.

First off is the plan to take all the sex out of the game.  I can see how this might be forced as they want to try and raise funding off Kickstarter.  The problem is Monster Girl Quest is a sex game.  I’ve seen raging fights break out on various parts of the internet (including TVTropes’s shameless decision to redirect the MGQ page to something completely unrelated rather than delete it and lose the inbounds) where people have tried to defend the game along the lines of: “Yes, it’s a porn game, but it’s not bad, really.  It has an actual plot, real characters and it’s funny!”  All of which is true, but...

Here is a simple truth.  Some people are prudish.  They are extremely uncomfortable around any kind of media featuring graphic depictions of sex.  But the thing is, no one actually ever wants to own up to being prudish because prudes are seen as a bit repressed and totally uncool.  Instead they’ll get all haughty and critical.  “It’s boring.”  “It’s shit.”  (You will have read many many movie reviews along these lines – there’s a reason why talented filmmakers like Ken Russell, Paul Verhoeven and Jess Franco end up stuck making tiny indie films in the latter half of their careers)  And to be fair, most things with graphic depictions of sex are shit, because the creators know sex sells and get lazy.  Monster Girl Quest is not one of these things, but it won’t matter because it’s a sex game and they’ve already made up their mind.  It doesn’t matter if you take the sex out, they’re still not going to be interested because they know it was based off a filthy sex game.

Marketing 101: Don’t waste time appeasing people who aren’t going to buy your product anyway.

Another simple truth.  People that say “I’m here for the funny plot and well-written characters.”  Lying.  They’re there for the sex, they just don’t want to admit they’re there for the sex.  MGQ is a sex game.  Taking out the Bad End H-scenes will not stop it from being a sex game.  It’s a world where all the monsters are female and want to hold down the main character and suck out all his cum.  Yes, there’s plenty of funny dialogue between Luka and the others, but most of that is about sex, because—you guessed it—MGQ is a sex game.  Sanitising MGQ by taking out all the sex is not going to leave much behind and certainly not much of what attracted people to the game in the first place.

There is the mention of putting the sex back in for DLC, but that’s even worse as it guarantees the mainstream markets they’re aiming for will banhammer it for being a sex game.  This is a bad start.  In trying for a mainstream audience they’re going to leave themselves in limbo with a game that isn’t a sex game to the people expecting and wanting a sex game, while still being dismissed as a sex game by the people that weren’t that interested in the first place.  For the small funding they’re trying to raise they could have gone straight to offbeatr with the adult version and raised five times that amount in half the time.

Maybe.  It wasn’t the only concern I had.

Graphics come up next.  The reason for 3D seemed very much to be “2D, that’s so last century.  3D modelling is far superior!”  Not really.  Basic 3D artwork usually looks far worse than 2D artwork.  It only starts to get the edge if you want to show complex animations from multiple camera angles.  And you’d only want to do that if you were planning to make a more open world game, which brings me to the next point of concern...

Hydra, just picture it, Monster Girl Quest in a fully open 3D world like Skyrim, wouldn’t that be totally awesome?

Yeah, it would, but we’re in la-la land.  A game like Skyrim has hundreds of developers and a budget of squillions of dollars.  This is a tiny indie developer trying to raise a few thousand on Kickstarter.

And then there’s the demo.  Whoa boy the demo.

If you’re thinking of funding this, please do yourself a favour and play the demo first so you’ll at least know what you’re buying.

The succubus village looks nice, but to be perfectly blunt it’s a horrorshow to play.  It doesn’t look like much thought has been put in to translating the turn-based RPG combat of MGQ into a 3D game.  Press button to swipe at oncoming succubi, die if you’re slightly facing the wrong angle. Brainless button-mashing for the roaming sections wouldn’t be so bad except the controls are horrifically fiddly.  The special skill wheel, while looking like a good idea in the video, plays very poorly in execution.  Then there’s the odd choice to switch back to turn-based for the boss battles.  The mechanics are a mess.

But it’s only a demo, you might say.  Yeah, but this is supposed to show the game off and get the punters excited enough to break out their credit cards.  They’re supposed to play the demo and think, “Yeah, I want some more of this.”  All it did for me was raise the alarm bells to deafening levels.

I don’t know what to make of this.  They have a slick promotional video, but not much in the way of a game.  The cynic in me thinks this is a scam.  They’re using the name and a 3D model of Alice to drum up interest before crapping out a turd and running off with the cash.  The more charitable part of me (a very small part floating around in a sea of corrupt black brain cells) wants to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Their heart’s in the right place, but they’ve pledged to deliver something they have no realistic chance of building.

To be honest I don’t really like putting on the steel toecaps and putting the boot into someone’s pet project (unless they are a filthy scam artist!).  Especially as they seem to be a small developer with limited resources.  But there has to be a some common sense.  If you’re a single developer with a four figure budget, don’t try and make Dark Souls, because the results are not going to be pretty.

Here are some cold hard facts.  MGQ as a game is really just a linear visual novel with some simple RPG combat bolted on over the top.  It still took Torotoro Resistance and multiple artists many months to get part two out.  They haven’t even finished part 3 and it’s been over a year.  This is for a simple linear game.  I don’t want to imagine how much work it would take to remake it as a 3D game with open roaming sections.  There are nearly 150 different monster types in the two chapters.  Most commercial big-budget RPGs don’t have that many!

I wish the developer well and I hope they prove me wrong, but I don't think they have a prayer of pulling this off with the resources available to them.

This was was where I was going to try and counter all the Donny Doom negativity with some helpful suggestions on how this could work.  This post has already run on far too long though.  I'll see if I can get a follow-up post out before the weekend.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-2 Bubble Bother

Oh great, Jackson thought as he stepped through the vagina-shaped opening and into the mountain, more of the stupid organ-grinder music playing in the background.  Another damn earworm that was going to be stuck in his head for the next week.  Other games had moved on to atmospheric doom chords and blasts of heavy metal.  JRPGs were still stuck in the land of rainbows and unicorn farts.

And whoa.

Okay, so that was impressive.  The mountain was hollow inside.  A cross section was revealed to him like the glass wall of an ant farm.  Or termite farm, he supposed, given the shape of the mountain.  It was a complex mass of scaffolding arranged in a stack of blocky rooms that extended up the inside of the mountain.  They went up a long way, too far for Jackson to see the top.  Each ‘room’ was illuminated with different coloured lamps.  They all teemed with monsters.

Fuck.  That was a shit load of levels, Jackson thought.  Do not be another fucking Blighttown.  Once through there was enough.

He spotted a stone archway at the base of the tower.  Looked as good an entrance as any, he thought, walking towards it.  To the right of the archway was a small pedestal.  Sitting on top, under a glass dome, was a giant bubblegum sweet in a garish, stripy wrapper.  On top of the dome was a folded note with the words ‘Eat Me’ written on it in large letters.

Yeah right, did they really think he was that gullible? Jackson thought.

He ignored it and walked through the stone archway.  There followed a strange feeling of dislocation, as if the universe had been turned sideways and passed through a funhouse mirror.  The world on the other side looked different.  Jackson thought one of his eyes might be playing up, but a hand over each revealed both were working fine.

Which was more than could be said for the world around him.  Three slabs of coloured concrete floated in the centre of the room.  They formed three floors, each separated by a height of around seven feet.  Nothing appeared to be holding them in place.  Or maybe they were attached to the back...side wall.  Jackson shook his head in an attempt to fix his screwed up vision.  Nothing appeared to have any width.  Not even the outcroppings above his head.  There were three of them, all on the same level as the platforms in the centre of the room.  That Jackson could currently see all three of them despite standing under the lower one said a lot for how the perspectives were all fucked up in here.

A trapdoor in the far ceiling opened and three unusual monsters dropped onto the top platform and started running towards him.  They looked like giant wind-up toys—nothing more than metal heads on oversize clown feet.  They had a chin a boxer would be proud of and their metallic jaws clanked up and down as they marched across the top platform.

Typical JRPG, Jackson thought.  Commonplace orcs and goblins were clearly too passé.  Let’s throw cutesy giant clockwork robot heads at the player instead.  They even had bow-shaped keys turning in their sides as they walked.

The lead monster dropped down off the top platform and landed on the same level as Jackson.  Despite a three-floor fall the thing didn’t break apart or—more likely given it seemed to be made out of solid metal—bust a hole through the floor.  It landed smoothly on the floor and continued marching towards Jackson.

Okay, come and get it, Jackson said, drawing his sword.  He took up a fighting stance and waited for the battle music to announce the beginning of turn-based combat.

The lead clockwork head didn't instigate turn-base combat.  It carried on marching forward and trampled Jackson into the floor.  Then it rebounded off the far wall and trampled him again on the way back.

* * * *

Far above, the unseen figure watched events on a dusty screen.  It watched Jackson get trampled into the floor and let off an imaginative and probably anatomically impossible curse.

"Do they always have to be so stupid?"

* * * *

Jackson stood back up.

Okay, so this game was a little more active in the combat department than the other games.  There wasn't much time to think about it as the third one was already right on top of him.

Jackson swung his sword at it, which was obviously really stupid in hindsight—what was a sword going to do against a giant metal head?  Or would have been stupid had the sword not passed straight through it.  Jackson was still pondering that oddity when the clockwork head marched through him and he didn't feel a thing.

Like it was a ghost or hologram, Jackson thought.

No, he was the ghost, he realised.  He looked at his arms and saw they were flickering.

The third clockwork head rebounded off the back wall and marched back through Jackson's flickering form.  He stopped flickering after the thing had passed and watched the clanking metal head walk away from him.

Solid now and the thing had its back to him.  Jackson looked at his sword.

Fuck honour and fair play and all of that shit.

He charged forwards and swung the sword down with all his strength.  It rebounded off the metal head with bone-jarring force.  The blade broke off, leaving Jackson with a hilt and about half an inch of broken blade.

Well, d'uh.  What did you expect was going to happen?

And now the first one was coming back for him.  Jackson panicked and jumped upwards, hoping to maybe catch hold of the ledge above him.  He was surprised when his jump catapulted him far higher than he expected.  Crap, he was going to bang his head on the platform above.

It didn't happen.  Somehow he passed straight by it.  And then landed perfectly on it as he came back down.  Which made absolutely no topological sense at all.


He bent his knees and jumped again.  It was like being on the moon.  He sprang upwards through the second platform, which mysteriously returned to being solid the moment he came back down to land on it.

Of course.  It made sense now.  No wonder all the perspectives seemed screwed up, like the world had lost a dimension.  He was such a moron.

This wasn't a RPG; it was an old arcade-style 2D platformer.

Jackson hated old arcade-style 2D platformers.

He looked down and watched the clockwork head crouch and then jump up to the level below him.  He ran to the end of the outcropping and bounded across to the central platform.  The monsters followed him.

It had been years since he'd played a game like this.  How did they work again?

Jackson watched one of the clockwork heads pass by on the lowest level.

Oh yeah, that was right.  You had to jump on top of them.  He waited for the monster to rebound off the far wall and come back.


Jackson dropped down on top of the marching head.  The clockwork head did not squish.  Instead Jackson's foot slipped out sideways, twisting his ankle.  He fell off and landed in an ungainly heap right in front of the advancing clockwork metal head.  It did not stop.  Heavy metal feet crunched down on Jackson, first breaking his legs, then crushing his vertebrae to powder, before finally shattering his skull like an egg.

It was as painful as it sounded.

to be continued...

Ouch.  Don't worry, he'll be okay.  I think...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some Monster Girl Roguelikes in Development: Seduction Quest and Noxico

By and large Western Audiences aren't well-served when it comes to sexy hentai games because depicting two adults graphically having sex in any form of a media is usually a one-way ticket to career suicide.  Unless you're insane (me), don't have a career to lose (me), don't give a fuck (again, me) or E.L. James (not me.  I'd be living the high-life in the Caribbean, knee-deep in hookers, if I had that much wonga.  Hmm, wait a moment...)  Anyway, with fenoxo's Corruption of Champions and also Fleshcult, things are getting a little better for English-speaking fans of sexy monster girls.  And here are a couple of roguelike's in development that might be of interest.

So, what's a roguelike?  Roguelikes are super-stripped down RPGs.  The GUIs are about as basic as you get, where your main character might be represented by a '@' and that 'O' running at you could be an Orc or Ogre depending on the colour.  This means some (a lot) of imagination is required.  There aren't going to be a lot of pretty (dirty) pictures, but it also means a small development team or even a single person can put a game together without bankrupting themselves on artist commissions, and they can also make the world huge and random.  If you've ever played NetHack or Dwarf Fortress you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

The first game is Seduction Quest.  The game's programmer, Codex, brought it to my attention a couple of days ago.  They're only at the alpha stage at the moment.  You can check out the demo at their site to get an idea of where they're going.  It's a roguelike in a large procedurally generated world with wandering succubi and other monster girls out for the player's...juices.  The demo is fairly rudimentary and the player can't die currently, but it gives a good impression of the game mechanics.  Their plan is to boost the battle strategy and obviously make the various attacks more descriptive and naughty.  They also have some interesting ideas to get around the 'Euww! What's that fetish doing there!?' problem by giving the player some choice in how the world is set up before starting a game (all female monsters, all male monsters, etc).

Seduction Quest - Yuki-Onna Alraune sandwich
Currently they're running an Offbeatr campaign to raise some funding for the game.  You can check out the details and maybe give them a vote here.  Also, if you have any suggestions or questions, you can get a hold of Codex at

One of the links on their site pointed to another roguelike that's a little further along in development: Noxico.  This one is a little more like Corruption of Champions with both sexes present, furries, and possibly a whole load of weird sexual shit going on.

Noxico - Starting Village. All those letters are people.
I say possibly, because I haven't got that far into it.  Mainly because I'm quite possibly the worst player of roguelikes on the planet.  Each of my characters is born with YASD tattooed on their forehead and has a life expectancy of maybe five minutes if I happen to get lucky and find one of the less monster-infested regions of the map.

Actually, reconciling the Bad Ends of MGQ with the permadeath ethos of roguelikes will be an interesting design challenge for the developers.  The fun part of MGQ is deliberately making Luka lose to see what the monster girl does to him afterwards.  In a roguelike the penalties for dying are often brutal as it means you lose everything and have to start again.  Maybe a sexy Bad End scene is exactly what's needed to sweeten the pill.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-1 Bubble Bother

Time to continue Jackson's (mis)adventures.  I'm going old skool for the inspirations this time.  And hoping this section doesn't balloon out of control like the last one.

Jackson in HRPG-World: 4-1 Bubble Bother

“You need to go to the Mountain of Monsters.  The princess is being held on the hundredth floor by a...”  The barkeep paused for dramatic effect.  “...dragon.”

“A dragon, huh?” Ian Jackson said.

The barkeep nodded, his expression grave.

He must have fallen into a really old game, Jackson thought.  Everything around him seemed a little blocky, as if the resolution had been turned down low.  It was too bright and colourful.  He was standing in what should be a dingy pub and it was so bright he practically needed shades.  No realism at all.

Which was to be expected, given that this was a computer game and all that.  Jackson couldn’t remember how it had happened, but he’d been sucked into his computer.  Now he was trapped, forced to play out one random game after another in a futile hope of finding the exit to the real world.

If Jeff Bridges showed up he was so bottling that fucker.

“You’d think they’d come up with something more original,” Jackson said.

The barkeep stared at him and blinked round, owlish eyes as he took a sip of his beer.  He immediately regretted it.  Whatever was in the mug wasn’t beer, or even vaguely alcoholic.  It tasted like someone had melted a toffee apple into a glass and thrown in a few spoonfuls of sugar for good measure.

“I mean, dragon.  Come on,” Jackson said.

“It is a fearsome beast,” the barkeep said.

“I don’t doubt it is,” Jackson said.  “At least until it comes back later in the game with a dye job and new role of generic wandering mook.”

The barkeep looked at him blankly.

It did seem a little early to throw a dragon at him.  He’d only just arrived in this game world.  Big critters like dragons didn’t normally show up until later.  That was assuming this was an RPG.  The game did seem a little primitive.

Slay the dragon, rescue the princess.  Maybe that was the whole game.

“So this princess, where is she princess of?” Jackson asked.

The barkeep looked at him blankly.

“I mean she has to be princess of somewhere.”

The barkeep blinked.  He said nothing.

“Country?” Jackson asked.  “Which country is she princess of?  Who’s the king...queen?  Where’s their palace?”

“She is a princess,” the barkeep stated as if that was answer enough.

And it probably was.  The princess might as well have been an inanimate chest of treasure for all the difference she made to the plot.

“Okay, so where is this...” he sighed, “...Mountain of Monsters.”

“It’s right outside the village,” the barkeep said, clearly happy to be on more familiar ground.  “To the south.”

Yeah, right, because when settling a new village the perfect place to locate it was right next to somewhere called the ‘Mountain of Monsters’, Jackson thought as he left the sorry collection of huts behind.

Hi, welcome to the village of Dullasshit.  To the north, east and west are miles of lovely rolling countryside.  To the south is the Mountain of Monsters, complete with terrifying fire-breathing dragon.

It was not like they’d bothered to put any distance between them and the mountain either.  Straight out of the back gate and—wham!—there is was: ugly great spike rising up out of the ground like a rusty nail sticking out of a quilt.

What was it with the ludicrously overly dramatic names in these games anyway.  The Bridge of Stolen Sighs, the Mire of Misery, the Dark Forest of Doomy Doom...  Who came up with these names?  What was wrong with something simple like Firetop Mountain?

And what was the betting the entrance was a cave that looked like a giant mouth with two scary eyeholes above it.  Never any damn originality.  Slay the dragon.  Rescue the princess.  Enter the creepy cave that looked like a screaming mouth.  They could at least vary the orifice.  How about a cave entrance that looked like a nostril.  Or—if they were especially daring—a vagina.  Haha, a cave entrance that looked like a vagina, that would be sure to wind up the moral guardians.

He was smiling at that thought when something fell out of the sky and smashed into the ground a couple of metres away with a sound like shattering glass.  It was followed by a screaming person waving their arms in the desperate manner of someone hoping it would enable them to fly.  Jackson caught a glimpse of a rotund boy in Lederhosen before the falling figure hit the ground with a sickening thump.

What.  The.  Fuck.

Jackson saw right away there was nothing he could do.  The figure lay face down and unmoving.  A steady trickle of blood formed pools beneath shards of brightly coloured glass.  A rainbow, Jackson thought.  A glass rainbow and a fat kid had fallen out of the sky.

He looked up.  Nothing but blue skies and white fluffy clouds.  The poor kid really had fallen out of nowhere.

Jackson turned his gaze to the mountain.  There were objects floating around the fang-like peak.  They looked like large, brightly coloured balloons.

You’d better not go all Half-Life with some shitty platform levels near the top, Jackson thought.  He hated platform games.

He left the fallen boy and continued on.  The entrance was on the other side of the mountain.  It did not look like a giant screaming mouth with scary eyeholes.

Jackson paused in stunned surprise.  Then he laughed.

Damn thing looked like a giant stone vagina.

* * * *

An unseen figure brushed away the layer of dust covering the glass screen with a scaly hand.  Revealed beneath was the image of a tiny figure standing before a slit-like opening in the side of a mountain.  The unseen observer turned a dial on the side of the wooden cabinet.  The picture zoomed in until Jackson’s face expanded to fill the whole screen.

“Oh yes, you’ll do just fine.”

to be continued...