Saturday, July 20, 2013

MVOL Needs Guides!

First, if you haven't seen it yet, v0.13 is out, now featuring lady parts available for the avatar!

With that said, MVOL could use your help! I mentioned previously that we need proofers, and that's still true, but today I'd like to talk about guides. At least half the feedback I get on the game tends to be along the lines of "how do I do this or that," and while I do like to help people, it also leaves me very... conflicted on some levels.

The tricky thing about MVOL is that, to me, it has a little trouble fully qualifying as a game. It's interactive, yes, but the actual "gameplay" amounts to two things: exploration and repetition. That is, you work your way through, trying out new scenes, which unlock other scenes, and still others after that. Eventually, things stop unlocking right away, and you have to start doing certain scenes two or three times to push up this or that value high enough to unlock the next scene. And as you get into the really difficult stuff, you're forced to find the right scene or combination of scenes and access them several times, revving that cat up to be in just the right mindset for what you're trying to pull off. That basically describes the game's mechanics, from beginning to end.

What this means is that I could very simply say "In order to get to A, you just need to do B about X times, then go to C, and A should unlock." But then the player would do B about X times, go to C, and get their A scene and go home happy-- kind of like turning to page 28 in a book and reading what's there. The thing that sets MVOL apart from a naughty pick-your-own-adventure book (besides getting to change up the genders and naughty bits) is the hunt. The entire challenge is in finding ways to unlock those tricky scenes, and the concept behind it is supposed to be that if you think, "how would I get this cat to A if I was really there with him?" and if you understand how Lith works as a person, you'll immediately think to do B several times, then go to C. Not because someone told you, but because you thought it out in-game. That's immersion. That's the difference between coming up with a solution and just turning to page 28.

In short: I could tell you how to play the game, but then you wouldn't be playing it-- you'd be reading a book.

A lot of games rely on random number generation to create gameplay. I designed MVOL to try and make sense, and I specifically wrote the game to never used random elements for anything important. The only scenes that use random elements just cycle through potential outcomes in a random or semi-random fashion, to encourage you to try it several times and see what comes out. Figuring out how to access scenes is the entire game that I have designed, and I just don't have it in me to take that away from you.

So that's where you come in. I can't bear to spell out the game and leave it naked and meaningless, but I heartily encourage people to discuss the game from the outside-- to talk about their experiences with it and share tips and tricks. The logical extension of this is user-generated guides. If you think you have a good idea how the game works, I beseech you:

Write a Guide!

New people play MVOL every day, and a lot of them get confused at one point or another! This subforum is dedicated solely to being an official repository for guides to MVOL that we can link to from the game itself, to help players everywhere. But for that repository to help, we need more guides!

Whatever aspect of the game you'd say your experienced with, consider pitching in your own insight on how to overcome the harder parts of the game, or even just how to get started if someone hits a hitch early. There's a quick set of rules at the top to give you a basic idea of how to get started, including a link to email me if you've written a guide but you're not sure it's up to snuff. The closest I can get to telling people how to play is Petre's surly guide, and that's just not enough for a lot of folks out there!

The newbies are waiting for your help. Think of all the Lith's going uncollared without your guidance! Write a guide today!

Friday, July 12, 2013

v0.13 is Live!

With this, a wave of horizontal expansions on the game draw to a close! I'm done for the moment adding options and side content, and starting with the next update, we'll be jumping into the story! This update has a little bit of something for just about everyone as we wrap things up!

For those of the more female persuasion among you, be it in body or mind, vagina/nodick avatar support has been added to the game! You can now play a full herm or a regular woman, although I should note that if you choose not to have a dick, you won't have access to as many scenes. The black collar, for example, relies entirely on a scene that you can't access right now. I may expand V/ND avatar scenes later, but for now, I hope you enjoy hunting down the slightly less obvious hanky panky you can get up to with this new equipment :3 For a hint, I'll note that the more recently I wrote a scene, the more likely it is to include support for V/ND material from the getgo. I haven't been able to get excited about making Lith eat anyone out, but there should be at least a couple different chances for you to get something barbed and pokey in there.

For folks that prefer to keep the bulge in their pants, there's a final (for now) scene added to [Offer Yourself]! This is the hardest outcome to get, or rather, the hardest to find, so I've gone ahead and added a brief addendum to Petre's Guides to help out with this side of things, now that it's completed.

For those of you that are big on getting dominated, Lith now has several subtle changes to his attitude strewn throughout the game, so that when you interact with him, he'll act a bit more confident if you've brought out his dominant side.

And for those of you that enjoy a challenge, I've brought back player achievements for this version! See if you can find every scene in the game with Cover to Cover-- and, as a new addition to complement that, I've added Even the Footnotes. MVOL has always had a lot of scenes with alternate outcomes and bits that switch out, but [Offer Yourself] is the most extreme example of that so far. So, to make sure you've seen everything the game has to offer, I've gone through and bookmarked a total of 37 outcomes with at least a paragraph of text that you might not see on a normal playthrough! If you really want to challenge yourself to hunt down every hidden bit this game has to offer, this is the achievement for you! Around 15 of them are from [Offer Yourself] as well.

And finally, for those of you that feel like donating, v0.13+ features Vagina/Nodick content for Lith herself! Including an alternate for the brand new [Offer Yourself] scene... Also, there are two snippets of content you can hunt for to get a peek at the story content coming in future updates! One is the next stage in Lith's story, and the other is a very strange offshoot, which you can unlock in an alternative to the first... And, finally, I've upgraded the cheats included a little to make them have a more dramatic effect.

So far as I can recall, that should cover the changes I've made with v0.13! I've probably poked and adjusted a few things here and there besides, so you never know :3 Hope you all enjoy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

We Need You!

I mentioned it previously, but I'd like to take a moment to throw it out there in a more urgent sense: MVOL needs proofers! If you've ever thought about helping out with the game, please check out the Page for Proofers! It's got everything you could ever need to know about becoming and being a proofer, the wordninjas behind making sure this game runs and reads well. MVOL is a big game, text-wise, and I need help with proofreading and testing to make sure this game is ship-shape for spreading across the web!

It's not easy being a proofreader-- yes, you get access to lots of the content before anyone else, but you're expected not to simply enjoy it, but to approach it critically, dig out problems and report them in a timely fashion. Right now, I have a pretty small group of proofers, and for one reason or another a lot of them are having trouble taking part in the process. I need more hands on this game! Are you a responsible and focused reader/gamer? Please take a look, and if you think you're up to it, lend a hand!


I've got some bits and pieces to wrap up, but right now, getting this game proofed is the big bottleneck! Uncle Lith Wants You! (To proof his game.)