Monday, September 28, 2015


So the last week before the release was a huge scramble trying to make the graphics happen in time, and I've mostly been catching my breath since then and dealing with some real-life stuff I had to put off, but it looks like we're paying the price for that time that I should have, ideally, spent making sure the game... well, worked.

I caught the issue with the stone door path back into the void pretty quick (you might have gotten a glitched copy if you were fast to download, try grabbing a new one if so and you haven't heard of this already) but it looks like there was another, stranger issue. I think this might partly be a glitch with Flash itself, but-- well, MVOL uses Justified text so that both the left and right sides of the body of text are flat. It looks nicer that way! But for some reason, it's going too far with it now, and partial lines are also being spread to fit the width of the screen, which is very not right.

Strangely, the issue seems to be something that can not show up at first, but "infect" every instance of the game later. Either that, or it really is a direct effect of a recent Flash update. Either way, the most direct fix I've found is to simply not justify the text. So I've put up a left-aligned version of the game on the Play the Game! tab! If you're having issues, download that, and you should be okay to play and read comfortably. I'm hoping to find a better solution soon, but I want you guys to be able to play in the meantime without the game being an ugly mess.

I've been hearing a few other issues with the new release here and there, and I'm starting to think it may be because of the new, larger image files. I'm looking into solutions; right now I'm thinking it may be an issue with players trying to run before they've loaded everything, but if I can't force it to pre-load, then I may just have to try offering folks a compressed version and see if that fixes things. For now, if you're having issues with text, grab a left-aligned version, and if it's something else, try opening the game a different way! Opening it in an internet browser usually seems to work okay, but Flash Projector and some mobile devices seem to be having trouble.

Sorry for the inconvenience, everyone! I wanted to make the game beautiful, but beauty comes with a price, it seems. Hopefully I can straighten this all out soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

v0.18 is Live!

Pop over to the Play the Game tab to play the new version now! Also, if you've already downloaded/played the game elsewhere on the day of this post, please force-refresh the file! There was one bug that made it through to release, but the files have been re-uploaded with a fix!

It's been a wild ride making this update happen. The Patreon has funded two new pieces of art for every new version of the game, which I thought would be a snap, but problem after complication after delay turned three months into two weeks, with no art ready! I had to put aside my goals for the specific art I wanted for this version and scramble to get something else ready in time. Fortunately I found some very helpful artists willing to make this happen for me, so the new pieces are ready in time! I also took some time to overhaul how MVOL handles art, including the way it's presented and the quality and compression it applies. The file has actually doubled in size after all this (the loading screen seems much more appropriate now!) but I think you'll see a distinct rise in quality, especially if you're not playing the game at native resolution!

Past that, a bunch of new story content is jammed in there! It totaled over 15,000 words of new content, including two new endings and the first path out of the stone door and back to the void for good. We're pushing well toward the end of the stone door, but if you'd like to get a more concrete idea of exactly how far along we are toward completing this arc, you can check out this helpful post on my Patreon!

Lastly, I've been working with my new variant writer to massage some of the old scenes. We haven't changed very much so far, partly because I realized that I need to revamp my text parsing system with something a little more powerful! So you can look forward to more of that in future versions, but for now, there's just a handful of little edits for quality and variance here and there.

It's great to finally have the game out for everyone to see! I'll be getting to work soon on setting up a discussion for you all to join as I discussed in the last post, so keep an eye out for more news here! For now, I think I'm gonna go lie down...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

So Let's Talk About MVOL!

Quick update: I've been flailing at the whole art issue, and it looks like I should have art ready in time for the main release! Barely! My proofers are looking over the new content right now, and I'm hoping to have it ready for an advance release this weekend. I always feel like I'm not adding enough to the game, but current wordcount for new content is over 15k! That means I'm actually writing, for MVOL alone, at about half the rate I was at my prime when I was keeping The Schedule in days past. So I think that's pretty good, actually!

Now, the big thing I wanted to talk to you guys about is: I want more feedback for MVOL. I get emails and comments and such from people that like the game and the overall impact, which is great, but I yearn for the kind of comments that I'd get on stories, where people get into the nitty-gritty of how specific scenes made them feel, what didn't make sense or fell flat, and what they didn't like about my work. In other words, constructive criticism.

Of course, it makes sense that I didn't get much of this for MVOL! It's hard to say "Dear Lithier, I liked the one scene where you talk to Lith about this and then he says this one thing, and I was playing a dragon so I think that's why he said THIS, and that was nice but I kinda wish that this and this happened." It's a pain getting so specific about the circumstances, because the content is hidden throughout the game in all these twists and turns, and very specific circumstances can open a new trove of things to read! That also means it's very easy to, when commenting on something, spoil it for others. It's hard to comment on anything happening behind the doors without spoiling the doors for new people coming to the game, for example.

So! Here's what I was thinking: What if we took the time to focus on single scenes at a time and discuss them? What if I selected scenes from the game and transcribed them to a page where folks can read it to get a reminder what it is, and I can talk some about why it exists and what went into writing it and even touch on what different outcomes can be seen in it, and then folks can comment on it with their experiences, opinions, and impressions? Maybe if we were reeeally lucky, people would even start discussing scenes, or at least ideas in them, with each other! I'd love to see the sinister truth of what impact my writing has had on people.

And this wouldn't just be to stroke my ego. I'm going through old scenes in the game, along with my new variant writer, and working on sprucing them up to make sure everything is up to my current writing standards. In most cases that just means catching a typo or two or spicing up some repetitive word choice, but if I can get feedback from you guys on what was unclear or didn't work as intended, then I can make the game a better experience! One awesome thing about having this big body of work as a game I'm releasing in versions is that it can continue to live, breathe, and grow in all aspects!

So that's the idea! You guys get examples of scenes from throughout the game complete with some developer commentary and the chance to make your opinions heard, and I get delicious feedback to help me improve the game! There are two questions that I have to ask you all, though. Would YOU be interested in taking part in this? What can I do to make it welcoming for you to take part in the discussion? And secondly, where would it be best to set it up? It actually seems to me like the forum may be the best place for it. It's a little more user-friendly for comments and discussion. The downside is that people would have to make accounts in order to comment.

What do you think? Would you join the discussion? Would you be willing to pop onto the forum to try it? I expect I'd be linking new discussions on here as they go up, maybe every week or every other week, so you wouldn't have to go hunting for them. Comment here to let me know (you don't need an account), or you can always email me at! Thanks, everyone!