After talking about game ideas I can't build, let's have one I think I can build. I'm excited about this one and currently bashing the code together in Twine.
(x-posted from my patreon)
I mentioned it at the end of the last post, so here's a bit more on how the "House of Hellish Harlots" brainstorming is going.
The original idea has changed a few times. I plotted out the intro thinking it would be the start to a gamebook along similar lines to Fighting Fantasy's "House of Hell". When I implemented it in Twine I was thinking it would be the introduction to a framing device to hold the "Escape the [monster girl]" scenarios.
The idea was this:
The player would find themselves in a supernatural brothel. Every round the madam would give the player the choice of three succubus harlots. Each succubus would have her own "Escape" scenario and the player would have to survive several rounds without being Bad Ended to win the game. Various NPCs in the brothel would give the player hints on how to survive these scenarios.
I don't have a problem with coming up with sexy Bad Ends, but I was struggling to think up good puzzles, and the ones I had were starting to get too complicated. I also didn't have any kind of progression system. It was just a series of puzzles with no real link between them.
Playing "Lobotomy Corporation" was the lightbulb moment. Inspired by the SCP Foundation, that game has a large bestiary of weird objects/entities. These entities have relatively simple triggering conditions to determine whether they play nice, kill the employee studying them, or even break containment and rampage through your complex. The difficulty comes from those triggering conditions being hidden from the player.
Which gets me back to my current ideas for "House of Hellish Harlots".
The background is the same. The player arrives at the mysterious brothel. They have an array of physical (strength, etc) and personality (confidence, etc) attributes.
Each round the player is presented with three harlots.
They then have a short phase where they can consult NPCs or buy items within the club.
After that phase they must pick a harlot. (There will be options to 'mulligan' and pick from 3 new harlots, but these will be rare.)
After picking a harlot, the harlot will then go to her room. Before the player follows, he has to select a gift to take up to her room. Outside the door the player will have to decide on what attitude they will have on entering the room (dominant, submissive, funny, charming…).
Then they enter the room and the 'fun' stuff happens. Depending on various factors, the harlot will give the player a good time, a very good time, a terminally lethal time, a bad time, or just eat them. Sometimes there will be a puzzle option and choices (but not to the complexity of previous scenarios), but mostly it will be dependent on various factors.
Examples of these are the player's stats, the gift, the attitude they bring to the room, some decisions made in the room, certain items (charms) they might be carrying, player's semen level, girls they've visited previously… A lot, in other words. The game will also not be telling you why you get a particular scene. The player will have to try and work it out for themselves.
On its own, this would be a little harsh, and likely involve the player being snu-snu'ed to death by various succubi over and over (like that's a bad thing!) until they figure out why they're being erotically extinguished. This is where the phase between the three harlots being presented to the player and when they have to make a choice comes in. The player will use this to ask around and find out information on the harlots.
They will also have time to find out general information about the house and its inhabitants, buy charms, alter stats through pills and potions, remove negative statuses, and also buy special drinks to replenish their semen counter (run out of semen in the room and the player gets a Bad End regardless of how nice the harlot is). This time is fairly limited, so the player will have to make some tough choices on what to prioritise.
I did have a couple of sticking points. The player would need some currency to buy things and I wasn't sure how to give it to them. It should be related to the player's performance with the harlot, but the house is a brothel, so it wouldn't make sense for either the harlot or the madam to give money to the player. The other problem was progression. There needed to be a grand overall puzzle for the player to solve in order to escape the house.
Then both those things just dropped into place, also giving me a good chunk of background lore in the process. I'm not going to reveal anything right now, because figuring out how the house works is going to be a major part of the game.
This also forced a change. The stat checks had to go. The reason being is that the hidden info part with all the possible variables is going to make figuring out what is important for each harlot difficult. Making hidden stat checks and not disclosing the result to the player would probably make it impossible. For that reason, the RNG part will mostly be restricted to which harlots are offered to the player each round (with options to mulligan acting as a safety valve in case the player is presented with 3 'certain death' harlots in the same round).
I'm quite excited about this. The game loop and surrounding framework feels like it works. The building blocks are also fairly simple, so it shouldn't be too hard to code.
The main thing is the extensibility. Once I've built the skeleton, I can just keep adding more and more monster girl scenes as I come up with them, which is what I've wanted from a monster girl eroge idea since I first started trying to design them.
While, I'm currently very excited about this, I should probably step in to dampen down YOUR excitement. This is very very early days. I think I have a pretty good core design that shouldn't be too difficult to implement.
Shouldn't is a word that has buried many code projects…
I'm currently building the skeleton in Twine. I suspect at some point I might break Twine, or the project may grow too big and unwieldy to maintain in Twine. At that point I'll probably switch to something like C# (and maybe even something like Unity).
The next question mark is over the game loop. While the idea sounds and feels good to me, there's always a chance it might not translate to a compelling and fun play experience. At that point we'll probably be shit out of luck – just an idea that wasn't as good as it first seemed – but even in the worst-case scenario you'll still have a lot of sexy monster girl/succubi Bad End scenarios to read.
It's put me in an odd position. I wanted to get back to writing some CYOA scenarios, but I didn't expect the whole game idea to drop neatly into place as it has done. Now that it has, I want to work on it like a mad thing while everything is still hot and fresh in my mind.
Give me your thoughts below anyway.