Showing posts with label game design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label game design. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

4 New Harlots for the House of Hellish Harlots

First update of the year.  I've added 4 new harlots to the game project I'm working on, "The House of Hellish Harlots."  Their names are Pix Decipula, Couchelaxa, Vête Piège, and Suffocatrix Mamilla, and they're waiting for you to "play" with them right here:

It's still a Patreon exclusive, I'm afraid.  Got bills to pay, succubi to feed and all that.

If you would like to contribute, but won't or can't deal with Patreon, and have an alternative site that you would be okay with using, let me know and I'll try to mirror things up on there.  I'm still not the world's biggest fan of Patreon.  They seem to have been quiet lately, but it's always worth having a backup in place in case Patreon gets a touch of the Orwells again.

As for a full public release: yes, I want to be doing this at some point to attract a bigger audience.

Currently I have the main game loop implemented, 3 NPCs and 11 sexy(ish) harlots.  As it stands, that's almost the same content as a small DLsite game (in text and code - I'm still lacking such luxuries as art and sound).  Unfortunately, I've been influenced too much by Torotoro resistance and Monster Girl Quest, so I'm a mad bastard that wants to make something awesome and unforgettable.

What I want in place before I start throwing it open to the public is the intro and the game loop all fully written, all major NPCs in place, and enough harlots to be able to play through for a few rounds.  That will then be the rough equivalent of an early access demo.  I'm still about 4-7 months off from that.

In the meantime I'll keep posting the early demos to my Patreon.  I'm only working in text, so I don't charge more than a $1 per month for access.  (If you feel I deserve more, I'm not going to turn it down!)

Monday, December 16, 2019

House of Hellish Harlots demo (ver0.007 - The Portly Gentleman) out now

xposted from my Patreon:

Okay, now I've had a chance to get some sleep (and get some other morning tasks out of the way), let's go over this release properly.

First up, it's a mechanics-focused release, which means it's more games-type stuff rather than sexy scenario-type stuff.  Because of how complex the new scoring system (and the code refactor) turned out to be, I decided to split the planned release into two.  Now this is out, I'll be switching back to finishing off 5 or so harlot scenarios for the second half.  Hopefully to be done by around the end of December depending on how much I can dodge the usual holidays stuff.

Now onto the new additions:

The Portly Gentleman.
This NPC will be the player's main source of money while in the House.  He is only encountered in the post-room phase and will "score" players on their encounters with the harlots.  For more background on him, you can talk to The Elegant Woman.

The Scoring System.
Originally, this was just a single numerical value, then I realised I wanted to make repeat visits to harlots a feature, and because of this, needed to keep track of what had already been scored.  I didn't want players picking up easy coins by playing the same scenario over and over, and it also wouldn't make sense for The Portly Gentleman to pay out again for information he'd already paid for.  This also opened up the option to have The Portly Gentleman give custom feedback depending on the harlot (you should notice this with Suka).  It was a bit more work, but I think it will be rewarding in the long term for the options it gives me.

More Dummy Harlots.
This one might be more annoying than useful at this stage.  Because this is a mechanics-focused release, I wanted players to be able to play through more rounds before the selection algorithm 'breaks'.  It will dilute the 'real' harlots, but is only a temporary thing as I start to replace them with 'real' scenarios.  If you like the names of some of the dummies, let me know and I'll attach them to future scenarios.

Code Refactor.
For some reason, I was all over the place with implementing NPCs to start with.  The Elegant Woman was a little buggy in the last release because the way I'd implemented her was... not great.  With The Portly Gentleman I finally found a cleaner way to implement the NPCs and upgraded both The Madam and The Elegant Woman accordingly.  The other change is a little more technical and related to how Twine handles objects.  I'm not going to go into it in too much depth as it probably isn't that interesting.  One bit of advice I can give to anyone working with Twine - be very careful with object references, they don't always work the way you think they might and a lot of times you'll end up modifying the property of a copy rather than the original.

Repeat Visits.
Some back story.  I had the four features above pretty much done (minus testing) around Wednesday last week.  So, in a moment of madness, I thought I'd tack on Repeat Visits as an additional feature.  Oh boy, was that a bad idea.  The idea behind Repeat Visits is a player would get the option to revisit some harlots as future selections and the harlot would remember the player from the first time.  This could open up options for side quests, maybe additional bonus scenes, or maybe even necessary to 'perfect' some harlot scenarios.  I updated the scoring system with this in mind.  I picked Suka no-Hirudo as a test case as she has multiple options for sex scenes and future visits would allow players to pick a different option.  And... it was a little more complex to implement than I thought.  That plus a dental appointment on Friday was the reason this release went out at midnight on Sunday rather than a sensible time on Friday.

Despite that, I'm still glad I did it now rather than later as I now know roughly what's required and can build it into future scenarios.  Not all harlots will have this option, but it will add a bit extra to some.  As always, I have to be careful not to make the harlot scenarios too complex, otherwise they will take too long to write and implement.

And now something I should have added and will be working on later today:

Choosing Harlots Directly.
After Smith's comment on the original post, I did check to make sure I'd flipped the right flag on Suka's properties to enable her to show up for repeat visits.  That was set correctly.  Then I did a quick back-of-an-envelope calculation on the probability of Suka showing up twice... and grimaced.  The endgame plan is to have a lot of harlots so that each play through - the order the harlots are presented, etc - will be fairly unique.  Unfortunately, this doesn't work so well in the early phases of development where around 4/5ths of the harlots are dummies and it takes a lot of random playthroughs to get a specific harlot to show up.  I have an idea on how to get around this.

I did leave a stub in The Madam options for a 'gallery mode' where a player selects a harlot directly.  This was meant to be outside of the regular game.  Gallery mode will come (likely near the end of development), but I think I can add an option similar to it.  It will work like this - The Madam gives the player a list of harlots, they pick one, and that harlot will automatically be added to the next selection.  That should make it easier to pick out specific scenarios rather than running the game loop over and over, trying to get RNG to throw up the scenario you want.

I did a fair bit of testing, but the project is now getting big enough that it's easy to miss some pathways and corner cases.  If, while playing the demo, you spot something that shouldn't be there, or a point where the game outright breaks, please let me know in the comments below.  I'd like to ensure everything is running smoothly by the time I add the next batch of harlots.

And that's that for now.

ver0.008 will be that tweak to The Madam's options plus any bugfixes I've missed (and maybe repeat visit options for Arana Solfugis and Anna Boa).

ver0.009 will be 5+ new harlot scenarios depending on how many I can finish before the end of the month.

Now back here.  The House of Hellish Harlots project is going well.  I don't think I've been as focused as this for a while.  It is going to continue to devour a lot of my time while I put together what I hope will be a very enjoyable succubus/monster girl eroge.  I haven't abandoned fiction completely.  Once I get House of Hellish Harlots to a more advanced demo state (all the major game pieces in place and a decent number of harlot scenarios added), I'll look to start sneaking out short stories again.  It will be a preventative measure against burnout on the game project.  Until then, sorry to the people not currently able to access Patreon.

Friday, November 15, 2019

New demo of "House of Hellish Harlots" (ver 0.006) out now

I guess it might not be much consolation to people that can't access Patreon, but the last month or so might be the most I've been fired up for a project in a long time (if only I'd been like this for some of those novel ideas a couple of years back, sigh...).

If you've been following the previous posts here, or me on twitter, you'll have heard me talking a lot about the "House of Hellish Harlots".  This is where I not only came up with an idea for a sexy monster girl/succubus game, but a sexy monster girl/succubus game I could feasibly develop rather than just talk about.  And that's what I've been doing for the past couple of months.

For now it's a text-only game built in Twine.  At some point, if it really takes off and proves popular I might migrate it to Unity and hire artists, etc.  For now it's still at proof-of-concept stage, so I'm still not sure whether what seems like a good idea in abstract translates to a fun (and more importantly, sexy!) game to play.

The last couple of releases featured a skeleton showing what the main game loop would be, followed by an example sexy scenario with Sapoonismenos Nerei.  Since then I've been adding more content and come up with another playable demo.

This demo adds 2 NPCs, The Madam and The Elegant Woman.  Both can be used to obtain information on the various harlots (and other things).

More importantly, I've added 5 new harlot scenarios for the player to play through.  These are of varying degrees of lethality.  The harlots have a wide range of different triggering events to determine whether the player gets their brains fucked out or... less pleasant things.

For now, the demo is a Patreon exclusive (you can find details on it here).  I'm still looking into ways to get it out to other people (to make it a timed exclusive rather than just plain old exclusive) as I want to try and build up as big an audience as possible.

More on that when it's sorted.

As for now, the demo is up on Patreon and can be unlocked for the low price of $1.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

1st Harlot in the House - Sapoonismenos Nerei

"The House of Hellish Harlots" has progressed a little further than the brainstorming stage.  I've prototyped the main game loop in Twine and now added the first harlot scenario.

She is the lovely Sapoonismenos Nerei.  She loves giving out soapy massages (but handle with care!).

So far I'm pretty happy with how things are going.  The idea dropped neatly into place.  And now the code looks like it's doing the same.

I'll probably hit some fuck-off iceberg somewhere, because there's always some big fuck-off iceberg somewhere in game development.  For now things look promising.  At least for the initial text-only version.

For now, regular updates are only on patreon.  I know not everyone can subscribe there, so I'll try to get those demos out to everyone else at some point.  Not sure how yet, but I'll figure something out.

I'm still fairly excited about this.  If it pans out the way I'm hoping it will pan out, it will be a nice framework to continually add new monster girls and succubi to.  (And somewhere to park the more interesting monster girls and succubi ideas until I have a proper story/novel for them.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"House of Hellish Harlots" brainstorming

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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ideas for a Darkest Dungeon-esque H-game - Being the Succubus Bait in H-space

Okay, after a brief pause while I actually put some new stories out, it's time to finish my random ramblings on hypothetical Darkest Dungeon-style games with monster girls.

Also, after another pause.  I didn't like how rambling the last piece was, and how this one was turning out, so I decided to rewrite it, hence it's a bit later than I planned.

And yes, I know these posts aren't to everyone's taste, and some of you would rather I binned this wannabe game dev stuff and got back to writing.  I hear ya, and I don't blame ya.  This is something I do to give the writing brain a bit of a break.  It also puts these notes somewhere where I can find them later.  (And for anyone else to use as inspiration.)

After talking about the Iratus approach, where the player controls a harem of lovely succubi, I thought I'd get back closer to Darkest Dungeon with the player-as-succubus-bait approach.

For this one I have setting and plot, unlike the generic warlock waffling I did last time (although, that's probably still the easiest and most likely to be successful way of implementing this sub-genre).

We're in H-space.  The player is a scientist-type leader of a military/research group.  That unit has been isolated deep in H-space because of a weird phenomenon and the goal is to get back home with as many people as possible.

H-space has weird physics that render most human tech, including guns, unreliable.  The main purpose of this is so we can upgrade the various conventional fantasy RPG classes (melee, tank, ranged, etc) to present-day equivalents forced to use improvised weaponry (basically, provide a plausible reason for a fantasy-RPG-esque battle system rather than marines running around with machine guns and blasting succubi Doom-style).

We'll want a good mix of front-line and back-line classes so the player can experiment with finding synergistic combinations (one of the strengths of Darkest Dungeon, and a weakness of Iratus, which doesn't quite get that right).  Tanks will be especially important as the main combat theme will likely be the succubi pulling party members out of formation to fuck their brains (and soul) out.  Instead of Darkest Dungeon's stress mechanic, our equivalent will be based around seduction and willpower.  This means we can play around with what constitutes a 'tank'.  Sometimes you'll want the frontline to be muscled marines to fend off physical attacks.  Sometimes you'll need it to be that skinny, iron-willed chaplain.

We'll need to be fair about what enemies the player faces.  It's no good hitting them with an all-physical-restraint party of lamias and then following it up with a party full of seductive, willpower-sapping succubi.  One thing we'll want to copy from Darkest Dungeon is multiple regions with their own enemies and flavour.  In our case it will likely be an excuse to pool similar monster girls together (a jungle region for plant girls, a desert region for lamias, etc).

The main gameplay loop for Darkest Dungeon is send a party into various dungeons to plunder cash and items required to build up the base camp (the hamlet).  This allows the player to increase the strength of their characters, plunder harder dungeons, and then finally challenge the darkest dungeon itself.

It's also very grindy.  Personally, I think 'grind' and hentai games don't go together very well.  Regular RPGs can get away with it to some extent as gradually building up characters is part of the core loop.  For eroges, the primary focus is the sex stuff, and if you're gating that off behind umpteen super-generic combat encounters (which might even be against regular rather than sexy monsters), you're only going to bore the player.  This is probably the number one reason why I don't review as many monster girl eroges nowadays – I get bored way before completing them because the devs threw in a bunch of needless grind out of a misguided need to pad out their game.

For that reason, we probably want our dungeon explorations to be more like Slay the Spire or Iratus – each dungeon being a single run to the boss, rather than going back into the same area over and over.  The main problem with this approach is that it forces the dungeons to be sequential where I'd rather the player had some choices over the area to go through.  I'm not sure how to resolve this.  From a plot perspective it would make more sense for the player to traverse the regions sequentially as they tried to get closer to the portal back home.

Now for the important stuff – the sex.  As with the warlock approach, a lot of the H-content is going to be pixel art of team succubus getting it on with the other (in this case our) team.  We probably also want Bad End snu-snu scenes if the party wipes, but this will force some design considerations.

We'll need to be sparing with the permadeath.  While I like the dilemma – it's almost an additional, meta, attack for the succubus to see if she can tempt the player into losing to see her sexy Bad End – forcing the player to have to throw away whatever time investment they've put into their party just to view the sex content seems unfun.

And also, who is being Bad Ended?  i.e. Where is the player avatar in all this?  In Darkest Dungeon you're the guy that inherited the creepy mansion and you're the one hiring all the idiots to go get killed by Lovecraftian horrors.  You're never on-screen and if the party wipes, you just hire the next lot of shmucks off the stagecoach.

I think we'll still keep the player avatar off-screen, but I think we'll let them have a little more 'fun' in our eroge version.  In this case, the player avatar is the scientist/commander guy in charge.  Now, if the party wipes, it'll be the player avatar getting the nice Bad End scene.  If we're running permadeath, I think we'll want the Bad End's to be less game-ending.  For this, I'd likely use a plot device where the succubi are forbidden from actually killing the main character.  The party wipes, the player gets a sexy Bad End scene, but it's a fake out where the main character is either found or rescued by whatever surviving characters he has left in the overall pool.  The player would lose the party characters, but they wouldn't get a full Game Over and would be able to continue (as long as they still have other characters – we'll get to that in a mo).

I would also involve the player character in other ways.  One of the things I liked in Domination Quest: Kuro & the Naughty Monster Girls, which they sadly didn't do enough of in my opinion, were the battles where the main character was snatched by the monster girl and the other party members had to rescue him before all his energy was drained (through various sexy means).  That could make for some sexy fights.  You, the player, are grabbed by a giant alraune or similar monster girl and the party has to fight to free you before the sexy monster girl fucks your life out.  It could even be the main focus of most of the combat encounters.

Rescue the leader before... uh... bad things happen to... hey, are you sure you want rescuing?

Then we come to the recruits.  Most games like this start you off with a limited number of characters, and then you get more as the game progresses (or you can just recruit new ones at any time to replace losses).  One thing I haven't really seen in a game, especially a horror game, is one that mimics the 'dwindling party' trope of horror movies.  i.e. Your units die and aren't replaced and when you run out of units it's Game Over.  Darkest Dungeon has a hard mode where you Game Over after a certain number of party deaths.  I think they could have also done a hard mode where you start with a finite number of characters and have to complete the game with just them.

That fits the setting for my hypothetical H-space game.  You're teleported to the starting location with a set number of soldiers, scientists and medics.  You might pick up a few prisoners along the way, but your starting crew is mostly all you have and you need to manage them in a way to get you (and as many others as you can) to the portal back home.

I think this also plays well for a game based around Bad End sex scenes.  Sacrifice can be a major game mechanic.  Tossing a soldier to a hungry succubus can be a legitimate strategy (you don't have to be a good commander!) and also another source of possible H content.  It also gets around another area where difficulty and eroges don't mesh well.  You want to get to the next succubus to see if she's fappable, but you're stuck because there's this irritating boss in the way!  Easy way to get around this is to have the ability to sacrifice squads to get around problem encounters.  While the succubi are having their 'fun', the player sneaks by with the rest of his forces.  This also meshes sexy Bad Ends into the gameplay better.  Rather than being punished for seeing that sexy scene, the player can use it as a cheap means to get past an annoying encounter and move on to the next one.

Whew.  That was a little more than I thought I was going to write.  As I said at the top, this is all hypothetical.  I just don't have the current skills or knowledge to create something like this.  But maybe it might inspire someone who does, and I think we'd all like to see more sexy succubus and monster girl games!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Ideas for a Darkest Dungeon-esque H-game - Being the Warlock

Ok, here's some more random musings on the type of Darkest Dungeon-esque succubus H-game I'd like to see (because I don't have the technical chops to make it myself).

Last up, I talked a bit about the combat, which is going to have various smutty succubi and monster girls mucking up the standard 4-on-4 structure by jumping the bones of members of the opposing party.  This is where we have the excuse for lots of lovely and gratuitously xxx-rated pixel art (and hopefully some strategy to make the fights a little interesting as well).

The next question: Are we Team Succubus, or Team Succubus Bait?

I'll start with Team Succubus, as that's probably the most straightforward.

This is pretty much going to be like Iratus, but we're an eroge, so our banshees and vampires are going to be fucking the life out of enemies rather than spooping them to death.

The background setup is easy.  Perhaps a little too easy.  The player takes the role of a warlock or demon lord, and goes after the human realms with an army of sexy succubi.  From that starting point there is plenty of freedom with respect to humour, tone and lightness.  The Japanese games tend to push the slider towards goofy cute (although Monmusu Quest: Paradox can get very down and serious when it wants).  Personally, given that most of these games are fairly light-hearted, I think it might be interesting to try a darker tone – give our succubi some real fangs and an aura of sexy deadliness.  That would require some work on the main protagonist as goofball villain protagonists tend to work whereas deadly serious ones do not.

Maybe our warlock protagonist is the good guy, just using dubious tools to take down an army of corrupt and hypocritical shining knights.

There's also a fair bit of freedom with respect to the enemies.  Maybe they're your classic knights and D&D adventuring parties, but corrupt.  Maybe it can be a bit of succubus-on-succubus action.  While I think you probably want both sexes represented to appeal to a larger audience, this might necessitate extra work in the pixel art department as the monster girl may have different scenes depending on whether she's having fun with a man or woman.

I'd probably go with succubi vs knights, and start out with making the knights all male to avoid needing to multiply the art assets too much.  Then maybe adding female enemies to also attract ryona enthusiasts if resources allow.

One key difference to Darkest Dungeon is we'll want to hide a lot of those units behind some sort of unlock system.  In Darkest Dungeon all of the available units are pretty much available from the start and gated only by the RNG determining which ones show up on the stagecoach.  For a monster girl eroge, the focus is going to be on the sexy monster girls.  The lure of seeing new ones is what will (hopefully) keep the player playing, so we want to make them part of the progression system.  This then has an impact on balance.  The later unlocks should, in theory, be more powerful than the starter units, but then there's a risk of moving away from the finding synergistic parties aspect that makes Darkest Dungeon so damn good.  I think just making the later units more powerful than the starter units is back to the problem of boring combat mechanics.

Rather than more powerful, I think more strategic options might be a better thing to aim for.  Make the newer monster girls open up new options and new party configurations.  Just like Darkest Dungeon, the enemies are going to add more nuisance units to their roster, and that should prompt the player into trying out newer strategies to overcome them.

Another interesting consideration is whether we go roguelite or not.  Roguelite would have unlocks carry over into the next run (Iratus does this), whereas a more traditional RPG-type system would require the player to go through the same unlocking process with each new game (but, like a typical RPG, would only be playing one game rather than many randomized runs).

There's also the easy opportunity for more sex content.  One source of H-content is going to be in the battles as succubi "overcome" the enemies.  We can also have more conventional H-scenes of the succubi having fun with their warlock commander (i.e. the player) outside of battle.  Monmusu Quest: Paradox does this with the request scenes in the pocket castle.  This is also an additional form of player progression – the player raising affection with their monster girls (through levelling them up or maybe some kind of gift system) in order to unlock their H-content.

In general, I think the game would look something like this:

- The player plays a warlock/demon lord out to conquer various regions with sexy succubi/monster girls.

- There are different regions with different enemy unit compositions requiring different strategies to overcome in each.

- The player grinds short 'dungeons' in each region to unlock new units and strengthen existing ones (with the goal being to get strong enough to take down a 'final castle').

- The player unlocks new succubus/monster girl units.  New skills for the monster girls can be unlocked.  New H-content for the monster girls can be unlocked.

- The player has a 'base area' to develop with resources taken from the dungeon runs.

- 2D sprite strategic battles.  As we're an eroge, a large part of the strategy will be pulling enemy units out of formation or restraining enough of them so that they can be sexually drained.  Combat also has to always feel interesting.  There's going to be a lot of it, so the player needs to not feel like it's a massive grind.  Have different roles for each of the monster girls (but not too obvious and rigid).

So far, so vague.  But I doubt the various core gameplay loops can be nailed down until getting more serious about planning and development, and this tricky for me.  I have ideas, but I suspect I don't have the technical chops to take it all the way, so there's only so much time I feel comfortable to devoting to something like this.  I've always liked jotting down game design ideas, so maybe this is something I'll return to when I need a quick break from regular writing.

Thinking about this did remind me of a 2D sprite eroge that does do some of this stuff, but is real-time action rather than turn-based strategy – Attack it! Devil Legion.

Attack it! Devil Legion - Your demonic legions of... uh... doom.

I didn't get on with the demo, but did give the full game more of a try when I was thinking of existing eroge examples similar to the ideas above.  Attack it! Devil Legion does have some strategy in the form of various offensive, defensive and support roles, but it mostly feels a little too frenetic.  You control a little bat and can interrupt attacks and knock enemies over, but your monster girls and succubi mostly seem to do their own thing.  It does have an unlock system (but no H-content with your own minions - for good reason given the protagonist).

I'm not convinced on the real-time play aspects.  Most of the time you're too busy flinging your bat avatar around the screen to get a chance to enjoy your succubi double-teaming adventurers in various smutty ways.  It's still better than most of the other sexy monster girl eroges I've played recently, so I might give it the full Hentai Game Review treatment if it holds my attention long enough to complete the game.  The sprite artwork is really nice.  This, but turn-based was what I was thinking of as I wrote this post.

Hot succubus double team action.  I'm thinking this but where you can sit back and enjoy watching rather than trying to figure out where your bat avatar has been bashed to.

Maybe this will give some of you reading some ideas.  I'd love to see a game along these lines, but as I've said already, I doubt I have the technical chops to make it myself (or even organise a group of people that could).

Next up I'll brainstorm the other approach – Team Succubus Bait.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Thoughts (rough!) on how to do a Succubus H-game version of Darkest Dungeon

So where were we?  Oh yes, I was talking about Darkest Dungeon and sexy monster girl H-games.  Then I got side-tracked.  Briefly thought about posting something political (an urge thankfully resisted).  Then I rewrote a bestiary story to make it more of an actual short story (available to patrons now, but hopefully will be on Literotica later this week if it doesn't get rejected).

So, Darkest Dungeon sexy monster girl H-game.

First thing to clear up: if you're making a hentai game, the number one priority is the sex.  This is what people are going to be buying it for.  So that comes first – which means sexy characters, good art, hot scenes.

If everything is about the sex, is it even worth bothering with the game mechanics?

I don't know the answer to this.  Personally, I prefer to play hentai games that have a little more than a rudimentary combat system, but I might just be a weirdo.  I'm going to assume other people are weirdos too and write this from that perspective.  But if you are actually creating a sexy succubus H-game and have limited resources, put those resources into the sexy first, then start to think about adding clever game mechanics.

So, what does Darkest Dungeon-style combat give you over regular JRPGs?

Added strategic depth by making both party composition and character position very important.

Typical Darkest Dungeon combat - a party of 4 vs a party of 4 rendered in 2D

The basic JRPGs are very simple.  You have an attack(s), the enemy has attack(s).  Repeat until one of you is dead.  Damage goes up as you level up, but so does enemy toughness.  It works, but is bloody boring if it has no depth.

The standard way to add depth is to incorporate some kind of elemental paper-scissors-stone system.  With H-RPGs elemental is usually substituted with body parts, so the player character (or monster) might be more sensitive to boobs, kisses, sex, etc.  It's depth, but not much depth – find the weakness, hit weakness for bonus damage, rinse, repeat.

Adding a party adds more complexity, as the party members will likely specialise in different areas – healer, tank, DPS mage, etc.  Monmusu Quest: Paradox did this pretty well I thought.  It was fun trying out different monster girl parties as they all synergised in slightly different ways.

And this is also one of the major appeals of Darkest Dungeon – mucking around to find the party compositions that 'click'.

(Generally, the ones that don't click get savagely butchered fairly quickly – that game does not fuck around when it comes to difficulty.)

For regular RPGs, it's usually about putting the beefier classes in the front and the squishier ones in the back.  But then you get other synergies such as classes with skills that move them (or enemies) about or taking advantage of the 'marking' mechanic in Darkest Dungeon.

That's just for regular RPG combat.  We're looking at options for smutty H-game equivalents, which largely come down to: where's the sex?

Again, the easy option is to move it out to separate H-scenes, eg a Bad End scene if the player loses.  A lot of the monster girl hentai games do this.  You fight a regular battle and then, if you lose, you get treated to a nice scene of having 'fun' with the monster girl.

I think we can do more than that though.  Why waste the opportunity to create fun pixel art of succubi getting it on with hapless (lucky?) party members?

In Darkest Dungeon (and the other recent games inspired by it), you have up to four characters in your group facing off against up to four characters in their group.  Each character has a range of attacks that can only be used in the right position, and only target certain positions on the other side.  An example of this is Darkest Dungeon's Leper.  He's a tank with a big sword that can only hit the first two rows, and only if he's in the first two rows himself.  If he gets moved to the back two rows he's pretty much useless.

If we want to put a bit of snu-snu into our Darkest Dungeon-style combat we're going to need to break that 4-on-4 placement system and get the sexy monster girls in amongst the other party.  At first I thought about making it more complex with the characters being able to move freely through 8 to 10 slots and have attacks more dependent on adjacency than position.  I think that might be hellishly complex and move too far away from the straightforward 4-on-4 system.

An easier approach would be to make it possible for two characters to co-exist on the same spot.  That way the monster girl would either be jumping into the ranks of the party to jump the bones of the mage in position 3, for example.  Or a succubus/alraune would lure one of the opposing party to her position and then start having fun with them.  Darkest Dungeon already has some fights like this.  The Siren will steal a party member to fight on her side for a turn.  The Hag will throw someone in her pot.

As this is a hypothetical sex game, team monster girl grabbing someone is going to be a nice excuse to throw some pixel-art smuttiness in.  If anyone has ever played the FOBS game, that, but as part of a turn-based strategy game rather than a 2D platformer/metroidvania.

FOBS - picture this as taking a character out of combat

If a portion of the fight is going to be about party members being pulled out of the group or pinned by a monster girl within the group, then this might inform some of the combat gameplay.  Maybe neighbouring characters can help out pinned characters by knocking the invading monster girl off.  If a character is grabbed, then the focus can be about trying to pull them back from the monster girl group.

The other feature of Darkest Dungeon (and Iratus, but on the enemy side) is the addition of the stress bar.  Characters can be taken out via conventional HP damage.  Or they can be driven mad and stressed out enough to make them to succumb to heart attacks.

If characters are getting heart attacks in our H-game version, it's going to be of the overexertion-through-sex kind.

The stress system in Darkest Dungeon adds an additional layer to combat.  Stress attacks don't cause physical damage, but if you fail to manage the stress build-up, your party members will start behaving erratically and not follow orders.

It wouldn't make sense to use stress in a H-game equivalent.  But something like willpower or seduction would be a perfect replacement.  That way you'd have monster girls attacking with either physical or seduction techniques.  This could again force players to think about party composition.  Muscular types might be very good versus muscular monster girls, but very weak to succubi with strong seduction arts.  Generally, you want the player to be constantly thinking about chopping and changing their party composition in response to whatever the AI is throwing at them (whether it is monster girls or humans).

That's another interesting question.  Do you play as the monster girls (as a succubus-summoning warlock equivalent to Iratus's titular necromancer) or as the leader of a human squad trying to resist the unholy temptations of various succubi?

I think either would work, and I have ideas for both.  I'll detail those ideas in separate posts later this week.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Build Your Own Sextrap Dungeon

No, we're not talking about BDSM studios.  This is more gamer-y stuff.

(But not this particular gamer-y stuff, which jumped to the top of the list when I did a google search on "Sextrap Dungeon".  I should have expected it really.  "Sextrap Dungeon" is the sort of term that rolls off the tongue nicely, so it's inevitable someone else would have already grabbed it.)

Yesterday I was talking about MachiaVillain, a cute little indie game where you build a murder mansion.  They added succubi, so the perverted little black cells in my brain immediately conjured up a little murder bordello, where the 'guests' get to go out with a bang at the hands (and other parts) of sexy succubi.  It did make me wonder if that concept could work as a nice little hentai game.

The 'build-your-own-Deathtrap-Dungeon' genre has been around in videogames for a while.  Dungeon Keeper was the famous one, and there have been a couple of spiritual successors in recent years in Dungeons and War for the Overworld.

Dungeon Keeper 2's succubus - Dark Mistress.  Likes torturing people.

My main bugbear with these games is they're often bait'n'switches.  You start off laying down traps to squish invading adventuring parties, but then the game usually morphs into a typical RTS around level 3 or 4, and the rest of it is mostly spent doing the usual RTS-y things of harvesting resources, recruiting new units, and then battling opposing dungeon keepers until the map is clear.

This may be down to the realities of what works as basic game design.  Building up a force to take out a rival puts the player in an active role and is easy to grok and calibrate challenge.  Building a dungeon to squish adventurers puts the player in a more passive role and is harder to grok and calibrate challenge.  Dungeon masters with human players have an incentive to keep things 'fair'.  If they constantly kill the party with an inescapable deathtrap in the first room, well pretty soon they're not going to have any players show up to their games.  A human player trying to keep AI heroes from plundering their goodies doesn't have to worry about that.  Kill 'em all in the first room works, but will make for a dull gameplay loop if too easy to pull off.

My thinking is you'd want to allow as much freedom for fiendish design and creativity, but also some sort of challenge element to keep the player from getting bored.  Generally, I think you'd want some kind of additional reward for the player to incentivize building long and elaborate deathtrap dungeons for the heroes to get lost in rather than throwing everything at them in the first room.  How to do that seems tricky, and probably why games like Dungeon Keeper switch to standard RTS gameplay once the initial concept wears out its welcome, as that's a tried and trusted means of maintaining player interest.

Dungeons 3.  I'm pretty sure this game has a succubus, but could I find a decent pic of one, could I bollocks!  (She also likes torturing people)

MachiaVillain sort of has this with bonuses awarded for killing victims according to horror movie rules - kill them when they're alone, kill the virgin last, etc.  But most of the time you just zerg rush the victims as soon as they enter the murder mansion anyway.

So far, I've mostly been talking about regular games, where my real interest is in more... ahem... perverted fare.  The advantage with more perverted fare is it opens up... ahem... rewards that can't be offered in regular boring mainstream games.  After all, where's the fun in filling a deathtrap dungeon with delectable demonesses if you can't catch a peek of them... ahem... dispatching those dastardly dogooders.

This then also opens up further possible gameplay options than just dropping a mountain on the heroes' heads in the first room.  If we have succubi, we need to keep them happy.  Happy horny succubi make lovely porn movies (obviously we edit out the part where the barbarian stud dries up like beef jerky).  Sulky sad succubi rip their victims' hearts out and throw entrails at the camera.

War for the Overworld's succubus.  Bit spiky.  Likes torturing people.

This now implies a rudimentary management sim.  You have a dungeon.  You have various sexy (and deadly) sirens.  You maybe have a black market distributor specialising in... certain types of films.  The player now has aims and goals beyond just bumping off the marauding heroes in as efficient a way as possible.  Maybe there's an audience score that gives gold bonuses.  Maybe the monster girls have certain restrictions - more powerful ones will only take up residence in lower levels.

This creates tension in that you'll want to lure heroes powerful enough to penetrate the dungeon deep enough to reach the more exotic succubi, but not powerful enough to beat them up.  Maybe part of the gameplay will be figuring out ways to weaken the more powerful heroes without breaking them completely, so that your succubus doesn't get bored with too-easily 'dominated' prey.

I can see there being potential here.

However, there is one awkward question - is all this as fun (and as sexy) as the player trying to battle through the dungeon themselves while fending off (and occasionally frequently 'losing' to) various amorous monster girls?

I did blog about a 'hentai Dungeon Keeper' a few years back - Pretty Warrior May Cry.  That was more of a ryona game.  It did have a rather lovely succubus-type unit, but most of the rest of the game was focused on watching orcs, dogs, slimes, even a dragon!, do various unmentionable things to the female adventurers stupid enough to set foot in your dungeon.  Ryona isn't my thing, but it has an audience and meshes well with the Dungeon Keeper concept.

Pretty Warrior May Cry's succubus.  In the middle of torturing... hey, wait a minute.

Would a similar thing appeal to the same sort of audience that enjoyed Monster Girl Quest?  I suspect players would rather the succubi were doing all the sexy snu-snu stuff (minus any angry heart-ripping) to them.  Although this can easily be fixed in-lore with some sort of magical maguffin that allows the player to bodysurf in to experience their succubi's delectable skills firsthand without those awkward 'dried fish' consequences.

You could probably even cater to both audiences by allowing them to mix'n'match which monsters they want to populate their 'sextrap dungeon' with.

Anyway, enough idle musings.  I think something like this could work and hopefully I've given some ideas for anyone wanting to make a succubus/monster girl hentai game that isn't just another RPGMaker clone.

Yes, I'd like to make something like this myself, but I suspect it would be rather difficult to do well, and certainly far beyond my current skill set.  Hence me posting a bunch of ideas here.  If you think you can make it work, feel free to go for it!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Many-Eyed Hydra’s thoughts on how to make the perfect Monster Girl H-game

For the last few weeks I’ve been running a playthrough of Dieselmine’s Monmusu Conquered World, which seems to be a spiritual successor of sorts to their previous series: Violated Hero.  As is typical for Dieselmine’s releases, the game is a mix of nice, sexy stuff, and frustratingly bone-headed/lazy design choices.  Frustrating, because I think the pieces are there to make a really good game, if assembled correctly.

To deal with that frustration, I thought I’d follow-up with this: my thoughts on how to make a really good Violated Hero game.  I switched the title to “Monster Girl” rather than “Violated Hero” to hopefully attract more general interest.

(As for adding my own pseudonym to the title, yeah, that’s pure self-indulgence.  Feel free to mock.)

For convenience, I am going to restrict this to a Violated Hero-type game; i.e. a Visual Novel/JRPG with a male protagonist having sexy stuff done to him by sexually dominant monster girls.  This is not the only or best way to make a monster girl game (check out Eroico for a 2D platformer and any of camel’s stuff for games with female protagonists), just the one I decided to focus on after playing through Monmusu Conquered World.

To be honest, I think the basic Violated Hero formula is a good foundation to start with – create 15 or so sexy monster girl characters and have the player run through sexy encounters with them.  Once you have those in place, the next steps are to determine how to handle the encounters and what to use as “filler” between them.

(Historically, this is where games like Violated Hero have been weak and games like Monster Girl Quest have been strong.)

I’m not going to go too much into creation of the monster girls.  Generally, you’ll want to cover a variety of types and sex acts.  Monster Musume’s harem of lamia, harpy, slime girl, centaur, mermaid, arachne and dullahan is a fairly straightforward roster.  You can choose to lean more vanilla with only humanoid monsters (elves, succubi, cat girls) or go full Monster Girl Quest weirdness (anything drawn by Delphinus or Xelvy).  I prefer the latter because additional entertainment can be derived from seeing just how fucked up a sexy Bad End can go.

As for the protagonist, I’m not sure on this.  Jude Duval has some interesting comments on my last post.  My thinking is, if you make them a blank, it’s easier for the player to project themselves onto the character, but the character likely won’t be very memorable.  I don’t know what’s best here.  It probably depends on writing skill.  I’d love to create a Geralt or Conan, but it’s not exactly easy.  The only hard rule is your protagonist should be at least 18.  Japanese games tend to be a little more flexible on this, but it’s pretty much a big no-no to go younger in any kind of Western erotica.

The most basic implementation of the Violated Hero model is a Visual Novel where the protagonist is “on rails” and proceeds through each sexy H-scene one by one.  Each scene is represented by one or more static pieces of art backed up by a text description.  This can work if the quality of the writing and artwork is high enough, but the resulting product is unlikely to make any “best of” lists.

We want more of a game, so let’s look at the separate elements.

First we have the character.  I’m going to borrow Slime from Monmusu Conquered World as an example.

Say hi to Slime

The artwork is usually a single standing pose with variations in facial expression to indicate her mood.  While it might be cool to add animation here, improving the other sections of the game are a higher priority.

Those other sections can be divided into “H-scene”, “fight” and “filler”.  “H-scene” is the sex scene, and what most people will be initially buying the game for.  “Fight” is sort of self-explanatory.  “Filler” refers to the segments between each monster girl encounter.


The most basic implementation is a piece of sexy artwork with some text describing what’s going on.  Here’s Slime from MCW having her wicked way with the protagonist.

A typical sexy Bad End

These scenes usually have one main piece of artwork with several variations as the scene progresses.  With Slime it’s going to be show semen spurts inside her translucent body as well as her wrapping more of her amorphous body around the hero (usually a good time to start getting very concerned in MGQ-world).

Sexy Bad End scene art progression

This is your standard monster girl Bad End scene and how both the VH and MGQ series have implemented them in the past.  Nowadays, I think these games need to do more.  Animation adds so much to the scenes I think games should try to work it in where they can.  It doesn’t have to be fantastic animation either.  Even simple distortions/manipulations of a static piece of artwork add a ton to the scene.

This is where Monmusu Conquered World cocked up, in my opinion.  MCW has some nice animated snippets, but it doesn’t use them in any of the Bad End scenes, even though most of them are derived from the same base artwork.

The next step from a simple animated snippet is some variation.  A change of speed or change in the background squelchy sex fx is simple, but very effective.  Currently, I think the benchmark for sexy monster girl Bad End scenes might be the succubi in Succubus Prison.

Start with some gentle paizuri and then...

The animations, aren’t exactly complex, but there are enough variations and screen effects that by the end of it you really feel like a succubus has ridden the fuck out of you.

...time to give that cock a proper squeeze...

I think this is what monster girl H-games should be aiming for, at minimum, in their Bad End H-scenes.

Of course, if you want to go all out, there’s no reason not to take it further.  Play the demo for Monster Girl Island, lie back and watch as demon slime Eris fucks the absolute shit out of your player avatar.  It’s not exactly surprising that Redamz is making $30K a month on Patreon.

Now imagine 10-15 scenes just like that in your monster girl H-game…

(excuse me, just off for a quick… ahem… break)


This is the interactive portion of the monster girl encounter.  In your typical monster girl RPG, the hero has to beat the monster girl “boss” to continue.  Lose and they get the sexy Bad End.

Yes, it is kind of weird that the sexy stuff is only unlocked by losing, but it makes sense for games where the monster girls are sexually dominant/femdom-ish.  The incentive is still there for the player to “win” as they don’t get to see the next girl’s sexy content until they do.

The most basic “fight” is a dialogue option asking the player if they want to fuck the hawt succubus.

Most games do a little more than that.  I’m sticking with the VH/MGQ archetype, so we’re looking at turn-based RPG combat.  This usually takes the form of:

1) Normal vs Normal (the early Violated Hero games)
2) Normal vs Sex (Monster Girl Quest)
3) Sex vs Sex (“battlefuck”, e.g. ROBF)

Personally, I think the games that drag the sexy into the fight segment are hotter than the ones that follow the blueprint of “bog-standard RPG fight followed by non-interactive sex scene”.

The main reason is interactivity, and – stemming from that – unpredictability.  The Bad End scenes generally don’t have any interactivity aside from clicking enter for the next line of text.  The fights do and it’s way more fun to see exactly how the succubus or other monster girl overpowers the main character to get them to that Bad End in the first place.  Extra bonus hotness if it’s some kind of special sex move that leaves the protagonist empty of energy.

The Dieselmine games have been traditionally lacklustre here, although the recent Monmusu Conquered World gives each encounter a nice animated sex attack.

Slime's special attack - boobs

The original Monster Girl Quest did better, with various attacks that bind the hero and hold them helpless while the monster girl sexily sucks out their HP.  MGQ was also pretty good with the unpredictability.  Sometimes the game would change the rules and the player would find themselves fucked (literally) whether they were trying to win the fight or not – a simple and very effective way to reinforce the femdom theme of the game.

"What, you thought you were supposed to select struggle?  Fu fu fu."

The VH/MCW fights were always too predictable to get across that “lack of control” angle.

I don’t know what a perfect interactive battlefuck system would look like.  It’s something I’ve been tinkering with for years without ever landing on something I like.  I think it wants a variety of pics/animations to represent the various sex attacks.  The better fights in the original Monster Girl Quest series had multiple artworks depending on what was being done to Luka at the time (Sexy Automata Girl and most of the later Succubi being good examples).  Add a little tweak of animation to their scenes and hawtness intensifies.

The shame of it is that Monmusu Conquered World already had elements of this in place.

Along with the animated slime girl titjob scene, they also had the following scene kicking around in the random filler sections.

Do not ask a Slime girl to "get creative"

I think this would have been better used as an alternate sex attack in the battle with Slime.  Throw in a couple more snippets of similar quality and suddenly those turn-based RPG battles become less of a chore and more a portion of the game to look forward to.

How to work them in is a harder question.  I like MGQ’s bind attacks and think some kind of system where the player gradually gets enmeshed in deeper and more explicit sex attacks would be as hot as fuck, but how to implement that, and produce all the art assets to effectively depict it is not a trivial task.  ROBF probably gets it closest in art/animation and Succubus Rhapsodia in text description (If that game could more accurately depict what was happening in art form, it would be amazing.  Unfortunately, creating art assets for all the various combinations would likely be way too time consuming).

These sprites do not accurately convey what this trio is about to do to you...

The Filler

These are the segments that link each of the sexy monster girl encounters.  The game part of the game unless you want it to be just a boss rush of the various monster girls (which is also fine, but requires putting a lot more detail on those boss fights).

Personally, I think this is lower priority depending on how much gameplay you want to add to your sex game.  Most of the time it’s just padding anyway, and exists to stop players blasting through the game in under an hour and then thinking it’s too short.

Dieselmine, with both the Violated Hero series and Monmusu Conquered World, have traditionally been comedicly terrible on this.

VH1 and 2 sent the player through a Dungeon Master-type pseudo-3D maze (Lightning Warrior Raidy also does the same).  They switched that to a branching path abstraction for VHs 3 to 5.  MCW has the player playing a very simple game of JRPG “tag”.  None of these segments really added anything to the games.

To be honest, there’s nothing wrong with taking the Visual Novel approach and filling the gaps with an interesting story.  This is what the original Monster Girl Quest series did and most monster girl H-game fans love that game.

The standard expansion to that is to use RPGmaker software and spread the story out across an overworld map.  This a more interactive option to get the story across, but suffers in that there are a lot of cheap RPGMaker games out there already (but as the focus should really be on the monster girl characters, this is not a substantial handicap).

The RPGmaker approach also moves the game more into being an RPG rather than just a Visual Novel.  The temptation then is to fill the map with random encounters (either normal critters, or more sexy monster girls).  It does add padding, but can also be tedious and grindy (especially if using conventional RPG critters rather than sexy monster girls).

On the surface Succubus Prison looks like an RPGmaker game, but while those games are about having the player explore a large world, Succubus Prison subverts it by confining the player to a small house.  It’s really a puzzle game with an emphasis on finding and combining the right key items while avoiding the succubi.  It’s good as it adds a fresh twist to a well-worn genre (and it also helps that the Bad End scenes are gorgeous).

To be honest, there are a lot of approaches that can be taken here.  The bad ones are those that feel pointless, boring and tacked on.  The good ones advance an interesting plot or give the player interesting character advancement options (or add sex content in a way that avoids being repetitive).

Anyway, it goes without saying that these are my thoughts, and might not hold for the target audience overall.  So, I would like you, the people reading this, and likely target audience for this type of game, to add your thoughts and comments below.  I’d like this web page/post to be a useful resource for anyone considering developing a monster-girl-themed eroge.  Maybe it will.  Maybe it will sink without a trace.  The internet being a big ocean and all that.

Next week we are going deep into the world of Monmusu Quest: Paradox, and I mean deep.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Random H-Game Musing

Every so often I go through a frenzy of brainstorming game ideas.  Unfortunately it rarely amounts to anything as I don't have the requisite skill set to bring these ideas to fruition.  However, by posting them here it might inspire someone who does.

One of the things I've been thinking about is a roguelite monster girl H-game with randomly generated dungeons.  Fenoxo's Corruption of Champions already does this really well.  There is no complex world map here - you head to a location and are presented with a random encounter, some of which open up further locations for exploration.  This is a great example of abstract, extensible game design.  If Fenoxo (or one of their writers) wants to add further scenarios, all they have to do is create the scenario and then slot it into the list of random encounters for a location.  No massive rewrite of the whole game engine required (at least I assume so).

I really like the puzzle H-battles of Monster Girl Quest, but creating a whole Monster Girl Quest is a fuckload of work.  I think an approach that could work is to create a more open game framework that can be extended easily with new encounters.  Most roguelites/likes function on this principle - the dungeon is randomly generated each run from a series of building blocks.

Why not RNG the encounters like every other JRPG?  Now, this is where, for me personally, Monmusu Quest: Paradox is weaker than Monster Girl Quest.  JRPGs are a notoriously grindy game genre.  The first time you encounter a new enemy is cool; the thirteenth time when you're just trying to run through to the next location, not so.  Combat typically devolves to trying to bash the mooks off the screen as fast as possible.  This is where Monster Girl Quest could get away with stretching out the fights with all kinds of delicious bondage holds.  You only had to fight each monster girl once.  If you really liked the fight (and Bad End) you could revisit it in the Monsterpedia.

One of the roguelite elements I think could work is a card-based encounter system.  Camel uses a card-based mechanic to abstract dungeon-crawling in his Card Quest series (knowing what abstraction is and when to use it will save a lot of fledgling game designers/developers a ton of pain).  I think this could be taken further to give the player some choice over the dungeons they romp in.

Hand of Fate is a good example from the mainstream gaming world.  Here is TotalBiscuit's WTF is review of the game, which also gives an overview of the mechanics:

The player starts each quest with an equipment deck and an encounter deck.  The dungeon floors are laid out as a random combination from both the player's and dealer's encounter decks.  The player starts each run with just basic equipment.  During the run they can buy or find better equipment - but only equipment cards that are present in their equipment deck.

I'm a big fan of strategy card games (like Magic: the Gathering) and the concept of tailoring your decks to "beat" the dealer's dungeon sounded very appealing.  As it is, Hand of Fate doesn't quite play out like this.  They have an interesting way of implementing side quests in that completing certain cards' scenarios will reward the player with a token, and this token unlocks the next card in the quest line at the end of the run.  But the strategy element of the player customising their own deck is fairly weak - most of the time you run with the AI's default configuration anyway.

While I was playing around with potential stats for gamebook ideas, the three that seemed to have most potential were strength, agility and willpower.  Depending on which the player specialised in, some monster girl encounters would be more or less difficult.  As an example I thought up three lamia types - muscular, fast, hypnotic.

Muscular is slow, but if she ever gets her coils around you, you're never breaking out.  Agile characters get the advantage as they just dodge her slow attacks.

Fast is... well... fast.  But she's slender enough that her coils can be struggled out of.  Strength characters get the advantage here.

And finally Willpower character gets the advantage vs Hypnotic Lamia.  She's slow and weak, so she relies on hypnotising her opponent with sexy dancing so they don't resist her as she has her fun with them.

Coming back to a card system of dungeon layout.  The player has some control over the encounters.  If they have a low-Agility character they would want to customise their encounter deck so it didn't contain the Muscular Lamia that would likely be Bad End the moment they encountered her.

Or, and this is where it becomes really important for a monster girl sex game, the scenario of being dominated and squeezed in the coils of a powerful, sexy snake queen might be a major turn-on for that particular player, and they want her in the deck for the fun times when she shows up (and losing in these games is part of the fun anyway).

The reverse is also true.  If the player is squicked out by vore, they'll want those nopey Eater monster girls banished as far away from their deck of encounters as possible.  I think that's also a good thing for any H-game that's going to cover a very broad base of fetishes.

I think this concept could work really well.  It's also really extensible.  Dream up a new cool monster girl concept?  Create a scenario card for her and into the game she goes without changing anything else.

Main problem is getting that framework right.  And this is where I always screw up by making things too complex.  I really want to make the fights more interesting than player hits monster for 5 damage, monster hits player back for 4 damage, repeat until someone reaches 0 hit points.  I think Monster Girl Quest really got it right with the various bind and status attacks.  Unfortunately, taking that too far can end up getting a little out of hand - like I did with this Arachne scenario I plotted out for a potential GameBook idea.

So I dunno.

Figuring out the player character stat line is important.

Figuring out what rewards/unlocks the player earns after each run is important.

Figuring out how the fights work is really really important.

I think the fighting is the key part.  If I'm running mainly text-based to start, the other scenarios are multi-choice questions and stats tests wrapped up in sexy descriptive fluff.  The fight encounters determine the mechanics.  Is it sex-on-sex battlefuck, normal-on-sex like MGQ, or full-on puzzles with the player character trying to work out how to get to the next room without being caught and snu-snued to Bad End?

Figure that out and I suspect the rest starts to drop into place.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Game Design Fumbling: An Arachne Scenario

While playing around with some GameBook/text-based videogame ideas I sketched out this scenario for an arachne encounter:

It ended up coming out a little more complex than I thought...

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.