I’ve been chipping away at the willpower/mind control/mental change mechanics and how this info will be conveyed to the player. It’s an assortment of lots of little challenges to be solved…all of which can be a little tricky for me, as I tend to go somewhat ADD and have difficulty focusing on the problem(s) for very long.
Spoilers ahead for the game, of course.
For the two main types of mind control in the game—which I call Obedience and Indoctrination, respectively—I realized the willpower check mechanics can be done fairly simply.
A willpower check will look something like this: There player is provided with a choice, with one option being what the PC is compelled to do, and the other choice being the option to resist the compulsion. The “resist” option requires an amount of willpower in order to be selected.
Now, say the PC can have up to a maximum of 100 points of willpower.
If I treat Obedience as a percentage (i.e. the PC is 30% conditioned to be obedient), the willpower checks can simply be this max willpower multiplied by the Obedience percentage.
So, at 5% Obedience conditioning, the PC will only need 5 points of Willpower to pass the check and chose the “resist” option. At 100%, they would need 100 points to pass (making it nearly impossible).
It’s fairly straight-forward and makes the willpower checks themselves a bit easier, leaving me to focus more on the mechanics that handle how those percentages are adjusted during the game.
The lust aspect is considerably more challenging, unfortunately. The idea being, choices that are influenced by lust have a lot more factors, such as the PC’s orientation, how desperate they are for some kind of release, etc. This ties into some mechanics that I’ve been working on simplifying.
And, to make things a bit more of a struggle for me, I’ve realized that some choices the player will be presented with can have overlapping conditions. It’s possible that some willpower checks will need to be made against both Lust and Indoctrination if the situation is one where the requirements overlap.
There are also some side cases where none of the main conditions apply. An example would be the “homework assignment” dream, which is intended to be a short-term effect.
Conveying Info to the Player
Every bit as important is the underlying mechanic, is making sure that the player knows what’s going on. I’ve been working on ways of handling this feedback, including things like colored text that implies the reason why a willpower check is required, and marking these choices so that the player has an idea of just how much willpower is needed to pass the check.
I feel a bit dumb having struggled to try to figure this out, only to discover the Ren’Py site actually spells it out…
So, I mostly have a handle on that aspect.
For the willpower checks, I liked the idea of having some kind of icon that identifies them. While I still wouldn’t say I’m happy with what I’ve got right now, it does appear to display properly and, with some trial and error, I’ve managed to get the icon to display in menu options based on the value of the willpower check.
(You’ll notice the one sample also has a yellow text blurb that appears before the menu, hinting at the reason for the check.)
Still to Come
There’s still a lot more to do before I can start adding all of this into the game proper. Things including adding an indicator for the state of the willpower pool (maybe another bar at the top with Lust and Energy?), figuring out how much willpower passing checks should actually drain is something I need to play around with (a 1:1 ratio seems like it’d be too much), designing the mechanics for changing the PC’s level of obedience/indoctrination, etc.
Other Things I’m working on…
Have you ever wondered about boob shadows? If I’m doing my job correctly, I would hope not. When they’re missing, though, things look a little weird. I’m always chipping away at avatar images, and through this might make an interesting topic, so in my latest backers-only post, I tempt the Patreon censors by posting some samples of what goes into creating these shadows to make images of the PC look better. Find the Patreon version of the post here. Or the SubscribeStar version here.
There are still a lot of “housecleaning” tasks hanging over my head that I know I need to get to eventually. I used some of my time off during the early pandemic to create a new scene class and use it for reworking how scenes are picked on days off. I’d like to get around to updating the workday events to use this system to (with some updates I have planned for scene tagging and filtering).
Along with making that update, I intend to change event handling for the period when the PC returns to her room from work and decides what to do next. Right now, so many events are vying for that slot that it becomes possible for some events to be delayed for a lot longer than they should when many of these scenes should be able to happen on the same day.
A lot of people have noticed some issues with the swimsuit “effects” not working properly, and it looks like this is tied into the above issues as well. The code for this needs some rework as it was tied into the fixed schedule the game originally had, and doesn’t look to work well with being able to switch outfits whenever the player wants.
The body-transformation code is in desperate need of an update as well. A lot of it doesn’t even work as it is right now, and I would like to add in some more gradual body changes early on, so you won’t be stuck with the “starter body” for as long as you currently are.
Lastly, I’ve been working on story-planning a little bit, toying with flowcharts to help get my thoughts organized. Some story elements can get pretty tricky when they involve more than one character and the relationships the PC has with them.