Monday, November 21, 2016

Lost a hard drive...

I've hit a bit of a speed bump. A couple days ago, my biggest hard drive up and died for no apparent reason. Since then, I've found out that particular model actually had a shockingly high failure rate, and a ton of its reviews basically amount to "it's great, until it breaks, which was within two years/a few weeks/a couple days/before it got to me." So the fact it worked for a solid two years was pretty lucky for me, I guess.

Now, this drive had a lot of personal files and, as you may have guessed, the project file for MVOL. I do keep backups online, but I didn't update those as often as I should have. Fortunately, I do most of my writing on a separate computer, and between that and the archives from the daily updates I send out to my supporters, very little writing is actually lost. This will basically amount to maybe a week or two of work putting things back together, redoing the final polish, editing, and all the little bits. I also lost all of my files for the art I've commissioned, or more specifically, the edited versions polished up for the game. So it's basically going to be a huge pain, but hopefully I can recover everything from online copies or contact the artists.

Honestly, it's been demoralizing more than directly damaging. It's already been pretty rough around here for personal reasons, so throwing this on top has forced me to fall back on some old coping strategies. Right now, I've sent the hard drive to a recovery service and I'm waiting for word on how much it would cost. It would mean a lot to have all of that back, so I'm hoping I can afford it, but if it's a mechanical issue like my tech-savvy friends think it is, then the price may be pretty out there.

One way or another, I'll deal with it. The upshot is, v0.26 may end up a little lighter on content just to keep the schedule going, and this month's MMU will probably be a little odd, maybe compiled with an old version of the game or something.

Anyway, sorry if this seems like a lot of complaining for a relatively small crisis. I know I haven't been as active on the blog lately, and a setback like this is probably the most significant news I've had in a while. Hopefully I'll have better news soon. Thanks for your patience, guys!

And yes, I'll definitely be looking into more robust, automated options for backing up my work files, as well as any files I consider important to me. I'd encourage all of you to take the time to do the same.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

v0.25 is Live!

Hello, everyone! You can play the new version right now by going to the Play the Game tab at the top!

Development on the game has been frustrating for a while now. I'm not getting as much done as I want, and I'm not getting the particular things done that I want. I guess "slow but always managing to carry on" has always been MVOL's story, and this bi-monthly schedule has probably helped a lot, but I still feel like I can do better.

Originally this update was supposed to be largely focused on getting the post-Stone Door content ready. But the more I tried to work with it, the more I realized that there were so many problems and questions and tricky bits I hadn't accounted for in planning it out that I needed to figure out before I could really write it all out, both in terms of practical, line by line writing and coding and in regards to the overall feel of the scenes and how players would perceive them. I've often been pretty interested in how dramatically players' reactions can differ from the thoughts I had going into the scene, but here I realized there were some pretty serious issues on that front that needed to be addressed. So it's turned into a pretty big puzzle!

Well, after struggling with that a long time I decided I needed to switch focus just to make sure v0.25 could have enough new content. The Wooden Door has been pretty sparse on content, and there was one particular idea I'd had in mind a while that I thought a lot of people would appreciate: scenes that play up your species more than other features, to really make you feel like it matters that you're a dragon, or a human, or a horse. Usually in any given scene, I'm either focusing on the particular thing that makes this scene unique, or trying to touch more on things like what collar you have and the nature of your relationship. And of course, that's all with the given that almost every sex scene forces me to at the very least acknowledge both the various mixtures of genitalia and Lith's dominance, if not re-writing the scenes altogether several times to account for all that. So there doesn't tend to be much room for other things.

And it doesn't help that I have a bit of a bias. While I do find the variety of species in the furry world very cool and I like exploring what it "means" to be a certain species, it doesn't really hold the fascination or the emotional charge for me that it seems to for a lot of people. Some people are super into, say, foxes specifically, and want every single scene to reflect their foxy nature, but I can't really get as into that. With everything else, it just doesn't feel like as big a priority.

But these scenes are my big chance to try and make up for that a little. Of course, that does mean that there's effectively a lot of content here that you won't be able to see because it's buried deep in the game and you only get one small portion of it according to your species, which is less than ideal. But I'm hoping that means both that people will be encouraged to try out other options for species a little, and that this will be one more way the game rewards replaying in general! And I'm hoping those that really dig their own species will like getting their own moment to have something a little special on that front.

That was the big push of new content this update. As usual, there are two new pieces of art tucked away in the game as well! I still want to focus on the post-Stone Door addition next, but I don't know how many more problems that is going to throw at me. I'm going to try and force myself to get some "just for me" writing in now that this is out, that's a step in my creative cycle I've been neglecting lately, and I think it's been giving me a really hard time because I always think I won't really need it. It's important to remember why you love what you do, you know?

That covers it for today. Thanks for reading, folks, and I hope you enjoy!