For those of you who missed my last major update, the big news is that I’m working on Interns as a part-time job for now (my day job has slashed my hours due to the pandemic).
If you haven’t figured out before now, I’m working on a game that would really benefit from a skilled programmer with very little programming skills of my own. On top of that, researching Ren’Py and Python, figuring out the code logic, and implementing and debugging the code tends to be a slow and arduous process for me.
For that reason, having many full days back-to-back is a huge boon for me. I’m able to come back fresh each morning and return to problems that left me frustrated the night before…whereas, previously, it could be days, weeks or months between being able to return to the problems.
So far, I’ve been tackling things that have given me some big headaches, and I’m making progress. I’m sure a lot of this won’t be terribly exciting to the end-user, but I think it should make things for me easier as I go along.
First version of the system actually looks to be working! The biggest hangup is still the update/notification portion; the game detects when you’ve changed clothes and plays an appropriate seen, showing the new outfit. This was easy to do when you only had this option in the morning, but now you can do this at pretty much any time throughout the day.
What’s tricky about it now is that, during free time, the PC can choose to stay in the room, go to the beach, go to the club, etc., and there’s no easy way for the wardrobe system to know if the next outfit will be a swimsuit or not. I think I’ve got a solution for this in the next section.
At the heart of Interns is the code that selects the weighted-random scenes that will play based on time period, previous choices, who the PC has met, etc. It’s always been complicated, and it’s one of the biggest challenges when it comes to allowing players to continue their saved games.
I’ve learned a lot since I made the current version of the code, and I took some time out to learn a little bit more in order to come up with a better solution. What I have still isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a big improvement.
I won’t go into too much detail, but the general idea is that now events are class objects; rather than being a group of separate variables that I need to keep track of, there’s now one name that holds all the information such as whether or not the player has seen it, what the default odds are of the scene appearing, whether or not the PC is in swimwear for the event, etc.
I have this code implemented for the free day event picker and appears to be working fine so far. My next step will be to convert all of the other major day events.
If this system works out, I believe I can eventually add more info into these scene objects, which may allow for things like content tags. The idea being, I could eventually allow the player to tailor their experience by selecting which tags they do and don’t want to see. I’m not promising this feature, but it’s something I always wanted to explore.
I talked previously about cleaning house, and that applied to the art assets as well. The current shower CG ended up being a bit of a fiasco. It turns out, the system I made for showing the PC’s custom body type completely broke down from that angle, requiring me to spend way to much time doing editing in Photoshop (and, even now, I’m catching additional issues with it).
I took a day to overhaul all of the PC models to hopefully avoid this in future CGs, but only time will tell.
I’ve also started cleaning up and organizing models for the NPCs. There are a few that still need to be finished (the maid, Irene, is *way* out of date), but I think most of the characters are to a point where I can do a final pass on them.
Part of this will involve some code; Chastity, May, and Renata already have a preliminary version of this that allows their sprites to change dynamically, but I want something a bit more robust for everyone that will allow their attire to change on the fly to something appropriate for each setting.
I’m also looking into making some special variants for facial expressions. Not sure if these will be made for the sprites, but I at least want them for the CGs. The tools available for facial expressions are pretty weak and I’ve found that, in order to give a character a reasonable smile, I actually need to make a special version for it.
(This one image of Scarlet should serve as a good example of how much more expressive characters can be when I actually alter them specifically for the image.)
Getting my files organized is pretty essential for this, so that I can actually find the models I need when I need them.
(I’m still contemplating if I want to do different variations for different outfits. Case in point: An earlier version of Angel had alternate versions based on whether or not she was wearing a bra. There are other characters I feel could use similar treatment.)