Saturday, September 3, 2016

v0.24 is Live!

If you haven't seen it, go to the Play the Game tab above to grab a copy of the new version!

This update may seem like a pretty light one, depending on your perspective. And technically you would be correct-- I believe it has less writing in it than we've typically seen from the sprawling Stone Door updates of the past, though more than v0.23 did. But if it's sex scenes you're going for --and you're willing to accept scenes of this one particular nature-- then v0.24 may be the motherlode for you.

The featured addition of v0.24 is one new "scene," an addition to the first half of the game that's been overdue quite a while. Its main purpose is to act as a counterpart to one of the classic scenes for when you have different anatomy, but almost anyone can access it, and since it's where and what it is, it actually comes in three different versions, each larger and more elaborate than the last. So when you add it all up, that's a lot of sex! One of my proofers even said it might be one of my best sex scenes to date. Personally, looking back on it, I feel like I went pretty overboard with the whole thing-- it turned out much longer than the scene it was supposed to play counterpart to, and it gets rather more intense. I'm definitely considering dialing it back at some point to be a little more in line with its goals, but I've decided that for now, as the main chunk of new public content, I should at least leave it as is for everyone to enjoy.

Now, when I say public content, that points a finger toward the not-so-public content I've been adding. The other big chunk of development time with v0.24 has been spent on the next chapter of the game, the next big arc after the Stone Door. A lot of that was actually struggling, stopping, and brainstorming a lot, as I found I wasn't quite happy with the attitude certain parts of the planned content had, and it took a while to figure out how I would be happy with it. It's still not perfect, I think, but I'll be feeling it out for the best solution as I go. Past that, I've written up a fair chunk of new content for that coming chapter and put it in the game-- but, like the Stone Door (worse, actually), there's a ton to be written before you can actually go all the way through it to a decent stopping point. So I'm still working on that, and that content will remain disabled until it's ready.

If you're just burning to see what's coming, though, you can always drop by the Patreon and pick up a cheat-enabled copy. That lets you see what I've got written up so far, although it cuts off right in the middle of things, so that may make something of a tantalizing cliffhanger for you. In case you haven't seen, the Patreon also gives you previews of new art as it's commissioned, access to a monthly copy of Lith's Diary and, at higher tiers, more rapid early access to get every bit of writing on the game, including stuff that may never actually see publishing, as soon as humanly possible. I try to keep an appealing blend of rewards going!

Speaking of art, v0.23 was crushed into a shorter time period, and I could only get one new piece of art into it in time. I'm happy to say I'm much more on top of the art situation now, and to make up for last time, v0.24 has three new pieces of art! Sure, two of them are pretty closely paired, but I think you'll find all three pretty pleasing. And I've already got the art for v0.25 lined up and ready to go! I'm so glad to finally be ahead on that, although for a while there it was pretty hectic working with so many different artists at once. Fun, but super stressful trying to get the art just right for the game without being a jerk! It breaks my heart a little sometimes.

In any case, those are the big changes for this version. Lots of new sex that just so happens to open the door for people of a certain persuasion to get access to all of the story like they should have, lots of new art, and a chunk of work done on the big, upcoming story arc. I still feel like I could have gotten more done with this update, but it's true I've been a little distracted.

If you haven't been following, things have been heating up some over at The Cathouse Tale. We're working on a big new character customizer that we think is going to be absolutely awesome once it's online, but we've had a lot of big delays with it and it's been really frustrating. And while all that was going on, I've also been trying to engage with the fans to get feedback on what characters we need, and then turn all those wishes and desires into a small handful of characters to round out our cast so I can finally get started on actually building the game's plot from the ground up. It's a really exciting time in the process, but at the same time there's too much freedom and too many restrictions, all around. It's been quite a challenge to try and tackle! I really want to try and develop these characters to the point that each one might feel just about as real and relatable as Lith, albeit each in a very different way, and this is the first time I've tried to engage with something like that on such a large scale, with so many characters at once. It's definitely going to be intense.

But I don't want that to pull too much of my energy away from MVOL! The fact that they're so dramatically different gives me a lot of hope, actually. These two projects are using very different parts of my brain right now, so I'm hoping that they'll complement each other well, in that I can plug away at one project and, when I get tired of it, switch right over to the other one for a nice break. I've often done this by switching to free writing stories for my own entertainment, but I'm gonna see how much of that I can transfer to developing this cast.

I don't want you guys to be worried that I might leave MVOL behind, or let it come to a standstill or anything like that. I'm absolutely determined to finish this game, and to do it right. If anything, I'm hoping to give you guys reason to be just as interested in CHT, even if it is a pretty dramatically different game. I don't expect it to be nearly as text heavy, but I want to experiment with ways to make what text remains still super engaging, to make the characters feel as real as I can. If anything, aiming to keep the word count low might give me a lot of freedom to try radical ideas I couldn't go for otherwise.

So! Hopefully you'll find plenty to enjoy in v0.24! And if you're curious, feel free to check out The Cathouse Tale, we're hoping to release a new version in less than a week, if we can conquer a few last technical challenges. More early- to mid-game content should be coming with v0.25, but hopefully I'll be getting close to ready with the next arc to finally put the first chunk of it in the public's hands! Thanks for reading, everyone!