Saturday, July 25, 2015

Open Call!

Hey, folks! I'm still trying to get a larger pool of applicants for my Variant Writer position, and it looks like it's time to open up the application to the public! So if you haven't heard about this yet, or just were shy to email me without knowing a little more about what the work would involve, read on!

The basic idea of a variant writer is to look at my existing writing for MVOL, line by line, and come up with ways that it could be changed slightly to reflect things like the avatar's species, or Lith's dominance, or the size of either character's anatomy. I consider MVOL's smooth prose one of its strengths, but compared to games like CoC, it doesn't really go out of its way to acknowledge that this is the player's own unique experience and not just a solid block of writing that's the same for everyone. It needs to be unique to the player! It needs variance! Hence, we need to write in more variants, to make the experience more rewarding for the people playing the game.

I can give you the tools to make that happen, but it's up to you to get creative with where to put these changes and how to word them so that they slip smoothly into the writing without interrupting what's going on or changing the feel of the scene. It's important that it's the same scene, just with subtle changes to reward the player and enrich the experience. It's hard work, and it's easy to get worn out trying to work with so many restrictions, but I believe some of you will be much better at it than I am.

You can get the full details of what the job involves by downloading this document. It spells out your goals as a variant writer, then goes over all the tools you have for adding variants to my work. Once you've got the basics, you can take a look at an example I made for adding several variants to a short scene. This site highlights all the differences between the before and after versions. It can be kinda hard to read the game as raw code at first, so you may want to get in the habit of selecting text as you go to keep your place.

And once you've looked at all that, you can get samples of scenes from the game in this file to take a look at and try your own hand at writing variants! It'd probably be a good idea to focus on just one to start, and add as much as you can that you think fits in well and follows the goals before sending it to me. Or, if you get to the point that you feel like you could add more but you're not sure how you're doing so far, you're welcome to send me a partial and I can give you some feedback on what you're doing well and what you should work on.

When you feel like you've got something ready for me, or even if you just have some questions about the work or the position, email me at lithiers@gmail.com ! I'm hoping to get lots of applicants to choose between, and if enough of you look especially promising, I'm thinking I'll have a second round for making the final decision, with much larger samples, and I'll pay for the work! Once I have made my final selection, we can figure out a scheme for making sure you're well compensated for your time and effort. I hope I'll see you in the running!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Looking for a Variant Writer!

The Patreon has been going well, I'm happy to say! We've hit several of our goals, opening up a new tier of rewards for patrons, as well as raising enough support that I've gone ahead and cut my hours at my day job so I can focus more on writing for the game. Maybe most significantly, however, we've hit the goal for hiring a variant writer. This should help get more content out for the game faster, and also satisfy a lot of requests I've been seeing from players.

So what is a variant writer? Sort of a combination of an editor and re-writer. My Very Own Lith has a lot of choices and variables through which you can customize your play experience, but my personal strengths as a writer are focused on crafting a single, powerful narrative experience. As such, I often don't make as thorough use of these variables as I could to custom tailor the experience to the choices each player has made. The idea is that a variant writer will take the scenes I've written up and carefully add in alternatives and references to smoothly fold in acknowledgements of things like the player's species and anatomy, Lith's anatomy, and the nature of the relationship between the two of you, into the narrative. The goal is to keep the same quality of writing, but better acknowledge players having knots or being submissive or giving Lith big knockers or what have you-- to make it feel like a more personal and rewarding experience, more often, in subtle but pleasing ways.

Obviously, this will take a careful and patient touch. I'm not going to say it will be an easy job. It will require a mix of dogged creativity, attention to detail, patience, and passion for, ideally, all the aspects of the game that we want to reflect.

I get offers now and then for help with writing for the game, but the fact is that this game is a work of exacting precision for me, and I don't think anyone else can write up full scenes that would accurately match Lith's nature, the portrayal of which is MVOL's primary goal. MVOL is all about Lith and helping you get to know him better, so only someone that knows Lith as well as I do can really write it. But this aspect, writing in variants to reward players for their choices, is something that I actually don't feel very qualified for. I've never been very passionate about species, and I get a headache trying to find places to cram in all the little details often enough to make players happy. So I earnestly believe there's somebody out there --one of you-- that can do this job better than I can. And I mean to find you.

So if you have a strong grasp of writing, a dedication to thoroughly working over a text, and a ready font of creativity to tackle problems in interesting ways, I invite you to contact me. You don't need to know how to program, so long as you can learn to format your submissions to roughly match the templates I give you.

I'm preparing an in-depth explanation of the work that needs doing and samples, but if I can keep this behind closed doors so I can avoid putting too much raw game text up where everyone can see, that would be ideal. I'm hoping to get a number of applicants to consider. I'll be making my selection by offering a small sample of writing to try your skills out on and see how you do, and if need be, I'll pay for a larger sample of your work on scenes I have to offer as examples, before making my final decision. My goal is to hire one main variant writer, but I'll be happy to consider as many people as want to apply, and even if you don't get the position, it's possible I'll come to you later if things don't work out with the winner, or if I end up wanting to get the work done faster and take on multiple variant writers. So don't be afraid to apply!

I'm not certain under what terms I'll be paying the variant writer. Maybe something like a set amount per thousand words of the original copy, or per hundred words of content added, depending on how things work out. It's a bit of an odd position, really, and we'll have to feel out some of it as we go, but I have no intention of leaving you feeling you got short shrift for your contribution to the game.

If this sounds like a position you might be interested in, email me at lithiers@gmail.com ! If I can get enough applicants straight away, I won't open the application to the public, so if you're excited to help write for MVOL, email me now! Similarly, if you have any questions about the position and what it might involve, don't be afraid to ask!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, June 19, 2015

v0.17 is Live!

Check the "Play the Game" tab above to get the new version!

It's been a little crazy, but I'm feeling good about this update. Got in something of a "double" sex scene with some alternatives worked in, plenty of new story content, and capped it off with a few little treats. Plus the new Patreon is online and going well so far! I'm hoping to see it really flourish with the excitement following the new copy of the game floating around. If you've been considering joining, or just know what would interest you if you were able to pitch in, don't forget to vote in the poll for what rewards I should offer!

It's pretty difficult to refer to the new content in a way that can be consistently understood, when it comes to dividing all the branches of the storyline into pieces to be talked about. So we're looking at the last two missing paths for "chapter two" for the stone door, meaning that you can now go through the stone door a second time, no matter what. On top of that, we have the "final chapter" for the stone door, but only for one path at the moment-- one of the black collar choices. There will be more content after the stone door, but there are going to be some "endings" to be found through the stone door, depending on the choices you make.

Additionally, this is a more subtle addition, but I've decided the "first half" of the game, the content before the doors, is stable enough at this point to have a more persistent achievement for completionists. It used to be that I would add achievements for completionism for just one version at a time, to give the game a little extra play time, but since I kept changing things, they weren't really valid for long. Now, I don't expect at least the first half of the game to change too substantially for this achievement to lose validity, at least for a little while. I've added a sort of "you've found all the basic content in the first half of the game" achievement for folks to chase after once they've played the game a bit-- and to give them a better idea of just how much they might have missed. I've tested it myself, and not only is it obtainable, but with the exception of three scenes that may be considered obvious to those most familiar with the game, the achievement can be obtained completely through one save file. Perhaps I should make an achievement along the lines of that particular trick, actually, now that I think of it...

Lastly, you'll probably notice this one pretty quickly, but I added a little graphical treat to the game, and I'm pretty happy with it! I hope it will prove pleasing for all my experienced players, and an inviting welcome to the newer players.

Thanks for your patience, everyone, and I hope you enjoy the new content!

Friday, June 12, 2015

v0.17 and Patreon!

Hello, everyone! v0.17 is ready as of this moment, and next weekend it will be released to the public! If you just can't wait to play, you may be interested in my new Patreon, officially launching today! As a kickoff special, everyone that joins will get advance copies of v0.17+ right away, no matter what amount they pledge. Check it out!

Right now, the only supporter rewards are the same as I've been offering before-- a cheat-enabled copy of the game, and if you're especially generous, early access to the next version. But I'm planning to add more rewards as the monthly pledge total increases, some of which I want to choose based on feedback from the community. Please take a look, and vote in the poll for what rewards you'd be most interested in! And if you're tantalized by these possibilities, the idea of monthly mini-updates, or even an on-the-spot feed of my new writing, then come pitch in, and maybe tell a friend or two!

And yes, for those of you who may be wondering, I will still accept donations the old-fashioned way here on my blog, and send the same rewards as usual. I'm hopeful lots of folks will be interested in the Patreon system, though, and we can build it up into something big and exciting for everyone! ^.^

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So... Patreon.

I've been thinking about it a lot since people started suggesting it to me, and I think that now that it looks like I'm able to hit my goals for scheduling out new content for MVOL, it's time to take the next step. This month, probably later this week, I'm going to start up a monthly Patreon of my own so that folks can support My Very Own Lith by subscription and get cool rewards for doing it!

Now, the question is, how should I set this up? I've been considering that for a while, and I've been pretty nervous about it, but I've come up with some ideas. I still have no idea how to set the monetary amounts for the most part, but I thought that today I'd come to you all for feedback on what goals sound most compelling, and what rewards you'd be most interested in. Here's what I've got so far!


Milestones:

  • Cut back hours at my day job
  • New art with every update
  • Hire on a specialized writer to help with expanding options, variety, and reflection of things like species, anatomy, and dominance to existing scenes
  • Second tier rewards
  • Further cut back day job hours
  • Regular Livestreams?
  • Two new pieces of art every update
  • Switch from official update every three months to every two (meaning pushing for more content faster, and new art every month as well)
  • Third tier rewards
I know people always want more content for the game faster, and many are impatient for things like more species options or the completion of the vagina-related content. I've been really focused on pushing the story forward since there's still so much to do, but if I could develop a strong rapport with a writer I pay to go through my old scenes thoroughly and add in things like new options for variable content and new variances to better reflect players' choices, then it could do a lot to reward the players and enable me to write without stressing out too much over the dozens of potential branches in a single sex scene. For more on this, read here: https://lithier.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/writing-lith/ about halfway down.

The Reward Tiers was an idea I had that I'm not too sure about. Some rewards would take a lot of extra work, and if only one or two supporters take it, or if I'm not getting much support in general, it wouldn't really be worth the time it takes me away from MVOL. So I was considering offering the option to start with a basic set of rewards, and then if I get a lot of support, I'd expand to offer higher tier rewards as well as add a little more value to some of my lower support slots. I'm not sure how much support people would actually be looking to give, so I'm spitballing a lot here.

I used to do Livestream now and then in the past, but it was rather stressful and not all that popular. I was considering offering it as something I'd start doing on the regular, partly as a way of forcing myself to write during those times with everyone watching, and I feel like maybe if it does get pushed into existence by a sufficient level of Patreon support, maybe more people would watch! But I'm still pretty worried that I'd end up running a Livestream and maybe two people would show up, but then I'd be stuck doing them over and over anyway because I promised.

Rewards:

(First Tier)
  • $2: Cheat-enabled copy of the game (the standard donator reward, just given as a subscription, equivalent to roughly a $5 donation per version) 
  • $10: Advance access to the official release (equivalent to the early access donators get to the next version when they donate $25 or more)
  • See new art commissioned for the game early
  • Lith's Diary? (an exclusive, monthly newsletter from Lith talking about silly stuff)
  • Patreon-Exclusive Deluxe Version? (As a high-end reward, get a copy of the game that's higher resolution and with redone, prettier interface? "Shiny" version.)
Some Patreons offer silly little things as a sort of thank-you, and my first thought for that was to have something where Lith can just personally thank the higher-tier supporters. But that would get kind of repetitive, so I thought they might like having an exclusive little slice of Lith just being a silly cat as a regular thing in their inbox instead.

The other "silly thing" I thought of was to give you the equivalent of buying a hat in TF2: a vanity item. The "deluxe" version of MVOL might not be strictly better besides being higher resolution, but it would look nice, and it would be rare!

Rewards:

(Second Tier)
  • Monthly Mini-Update (get an exclusive copy of the game with a sneak peek into the rough draft of whatever content I've created this month)
  • Lith Stories (every month, I write a short, cute story exclusively for these supporters about Lith, whether from before the void, in the void, or after...?)
  • Spoilers Answered (every month, send me a question, and no matter how spoilerific, I'll answer it honestly, and briefly, in private. Keep Lith's secrets!)
  • Petre's Secret Stash (every month, get a newsletter from Petre with tips on how to find secret scenes or use the cheats to best effect)
  • Name Game (get a custom-made version of the game just for you, in which Lith actually knows your name --you send me the name you want to go by-- and calls you by it in the game)
I get a lot of questions about the game, whether it's how to do something particular or whether I'll be including something in the future. I'm very tight-lipped about spoilers because I want to make sure everyone gets the maximum experience, but if it will entice people, I may be willing to quietly admit a few tantalizing secrets, and ask that those I tell keep it close to the chest... And Petre would be happy to give a few tips on things you might have missed or never heard of, though it may be hard to keep coming up with more of these forever, especially given my most enthusiastic players may already know most of them.

It's an intentional part of the design that your name isn't really spelled out anywhere, and obviously you don't get to enter your name normally, but I thought that if players really wanted, I could make an exception where, just for you, because you're such a generous supporter, Lith knows your name by heart.

Rewards:

(Third Tier)
  •  Raffle: Ask Lith (Every month, one or a few people selected at random from this group can send Lith their refs, personal descriptions and so forth, and ask him one personal question. Like, say, "do you find me attractive?" or "how would you like to be my pet?" or "would you like to go on an adventure with me?" or just about anything you can think of, and Lith will answer!)
  • Daily Sneak Peek (Whenever I write any new content at all for MVOL, I'll send it to these supporters in text files. They'll be the first to see what's new with Lith before me, myself.)
I was trying to think of ways to help people connect a little more individually with Lith. A close second to this was inviting the winner of the raffle to an exclusive chat session with Lith, though I'd be a little nervous about that getting overly creepy/stressful/out of control if a person wins and is rather uncouth about handling it. It might still be worth a shot, though, maybe if I just set a few ground rules ahead of time.

And it doesn't get any more supporter-oriented than going straight from my pen to your screen!


Alright! That's everything I've got so far. Which of these ideas sound really exciting to you? Which sound boring, or like they might be more work for me to do than they'd really be worth when I could be working on MVOL instead? A lot of Patreon pages don't actually have all that many rewards from what I've seen, so I have the feeling I need to trim this down by a TON xP But even so, if you have any ideas for other kinds of rewards or milestones you'd like to see, please let me know! I'd hate to let a good idea go unheard until after I've already got this all set up and people (hopefully) start signing up!

I'm pretty excited about this, and a little scared it'll all crash and burn! Share your thoughts, and maybe we can make this support system something awesome itself! :3

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Good Ol' Scramble

Nothing like a deadline to bring things together, huh? I've finished a single route for the final chapter, though a lot of details and small parts need to be added still. But I managed to integrate it all into the game and send it off to my proofers before going to bed, and I'm hoping to add more in the next week or two. Got another few bits I'm hoping to get in before release, too, so this should be pretty suspenseful, but right now, the game is shaping up like I'll hit deadline.

(++++++====)

60%, giving a margin on the end for all the last-minute stuff with proofing, updating details, and different versions. Now, if I could just find the time for all the extra stuff I want to get going on the side with the game... Look forward to more announcements, folks! ^.^

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time to Get Serious!

The goal is to have v0.17 ready and out sometime in June, and with all the preamble a release requires, that means I'm drawing in tight on my deadline for writing new content. The second chapter behind the stone door is finally complete, but I'm still working on adding what I can for the third and final chapter. I'm aiming to have at least one path of roughly twelve complete, and hoping I might be able to add more before release. As it stands, I'll estimate I'm at about...

(+++++=====)

Halfway there! I've been pounding out a lot for MVOL in the last week or so as the deadline looms up, and I still feel like I have a lot more I need to get in there. I still need to learn to respect this schedule and work more reliably even when it's not close to the end, but if anything, this is proof that the schedule is a good idea for keeping production going more quickly on the game.

As things start to pick up, I'm expecting to come back with more news, more frequently, so keep an eye on this blog! :3 And again, if you're ever wanting a more consistent, constant stream of information from me, I've been updating my Twitter (@Lithiers) every day I get writing done, and my personal blog is still going strong, though I've been considering changing up its schedule. Recent posts include a preview for the next version of MVOL, two previews for my first exclusive eBook, and a variety of rants about things ranging from the role emotions play in modern society to sex scenes in film and books. Come check it out! ^.^