Huge'ol Update Post! Development Progress & Build Status, Whats Coming This Month, and Broader Public & WebGL Release!
Alright this is gonna be a LONG one... I hope people actually read these but regardless it's there.
The short of it
So before I get into the long of it, let me get some main stuff out the way. First off I'm writing this post after being satisfied with what I was able to do with the refactoring on my own. That said the refactoring is not complete, I'll get into that more later in this post. But while the game is mostly functional, certain things haven't been reimplemented, or have odd critical bugs to be worked out. These issues are beyond my own programming ability, so this month I'm hiring Kaitou to fix these issues and add/re-add features I didn't have time for.
I went HAM on this for the past two weeks and I need a break, so after this post I will make some updates but they probably won't be "development" related until after at least the 15th and that also includes builds I think. I am going to try and schedule some updates related to music and other stuff in the mean time. But I think after typing all this today I'm just gonna be done for bit.
I know people are really eager for a new build, but I promise this whole thing was absolutely nessecary and hopefully the rest of this post will make that clear.
That said, I'll start test builds soon, the first will probably be $5 and up tiers only, then all supporters after that. Reason being I expect the build to have too many issues given how much was redone. Given my goals, and my deadline, I anticipate a lot of builds this month and even if you're not a supporter you should join on discord if you want to test builds closer to the very end of this month.
And before I get into further specifics here's my promise for the month. By the end of this month one way or another, there will be a full public release and WebGL release. This absolutely needs to happen for reasons I won't get into, cause I don't like talking about things unless they're already done or an inevitability, but you can probably guess what I mean. Anyway this public release may or may not include the new sex sim content or new outfit variants. It depends.
Oh and I know some people are waiting on certain rewards, or they need to get back to me on what they want. I'm sorry I'll be on those soon and I'll talk with you about those. Right now I'm on multiple serious deadlines and actually stuff like the voice lines I tend to commission in bulk.
Oh and some side news, one of my client projects Hypnolab VR is hitting steam! So please check that out as a ton of work was put into it, and cypress has been awesome and very patient. And honestly a lot of development on Our Apartment wouldn't be possible without his project.
Also small reminder about my new personal website sac.moe!
And now that the basics are out of the way lets get into it...
The long of it
Alright so as I said the last two weeks have been a HELL of a lot of work. The true work didn't begin until after my last post about completing the move to URP.
Actually a short bit about that, I still had some issues to fix but over all I'm happy with the results. The few things that need to be fixed is issues with some transparent clothing items that don't support dithering yet. But that may just be a simple move to the Uber Shader. I also added some stuff like if you move the camera too close, and you you end up culling Naomi's body, you'll get a flat shade on the culled area now.
After that I also mentioned I updated some assets, I still need to update the skinning on those assets to match Naomi's updated skinning. I also fucked up her arm bone weights cause I changed how many twist bones she has. Dumb mistake, I shoulda known. I'll probably just roll back that change and deal with it. So yeah a good deal is needed with reexporting.
And thankfully the 100+ prefabs and 100+ asset item's for the UI to read will update automatically thanks to Unity's new prefab variant setup. Speaking of that, GOD THAT WAS A LOT OF WORK. But it's done and I shouldn't need to do it again besides the few asset items that need to be made for the player Avatar.
But understand that besides redoing all the prefabs I had to make and organize a "item" file for every, single, item in the game. It was a lot of work and I didn't even get to making icons and descriptions yet.
So after all that...Outfit UI
I started working on the new Outfit UI, I already had a mock up for it I just needed to program it. Instead of using bolt I decided to write it myself since I already had a concept of how and that would allow a commissioned programmer to more effectively extend it if needed. That all went successfully, the game now loads a list of game objects that work with the new costume system and equip and mask accordingly. You can see it working in a test scene in the image above. which also includes me franticly trying to avoid anything too NSFW lol...
Unfortunately the first critical issue came up where for some reason the costume asset loses it's references to what is pre-equipped causing a null-reference error. I don't think this is related to the UI stuff but it should be resolved without much issue I think as refreshing the asset list in play fixes the issue it's just a weird thing with startup.
Next as I said earlier each item needs a description, a thumbnail, and some need banners for collabs. That will be quite the under taking on it's own but I think I have a concept for a process that should simplify things.
While I'm on outfit UI the Avatar UI got an update too, this I started and finished just yesterday rather than doing it immediately after the outfit UI. It will have a similar tabbed selection for various slots at the top, then color selection at the bottom with a similar tabbed UI so the palette can be larger making selection easier for smaller screens.
As mentioned before color selection is now a global property meaning all possible future dick options will now have custom color selection. And while working on the next part I'll explain, there's support for color presets too. I dunno if I'll have the ability to save presets anytime soon, but that would be nice.
This UI is not properly implemented yet, only stuff that works is based off Naomi's outfit stuff, but that will be a job for Kaitou.
Also once the overall UI is finalized I will be commissioning a proper UI design, I've been holding off all this time due to how much could change.
Agnostic Character Properties and The Future
So I said last month that the "Refactoring" taking place required replacing some aspects of bolt code with written code. But as I started this process I gained some confidence and decided to replace as much as possible with written code. I did this for several reasons...
- Written code can be faster than bolt, so I want to use bolt more as a design tool than a foundation.
- I wanted a custom inspector view I can use to more effectively test sex sim
- Using written code allows for me to commission work more effectively as references and relations can be more clear, and they don't need to learn or know a separate tool.
- Bolt is not fully compatible with some things I want to use like DoTween, and also post processing adjustments required dealing with code as well. So it's not ideal for some aspects
- Bolt 2 is coming and actually converts nodes to actual written code, so this makes integration and use more natural. In the long term this should be highly beneficial, and its better if as little as possible needs to be remade for when Bolt 2 comes to a full release.
- Overall my confidence with written code has increased a lot as I understand VS tools and have a a bolt graph to reference. Bolt nodes look pretty similar to written code in a lot of ways so converting wasn't too hard since i already knew how I wanted to do something
My main limits in programming is methods relating to math is less experimental and visual, and I'm mostly programming by ear. I have a good sense of these things but not enough knowledge to know the best method for every particular thing. And stuff like "coroutines" which are a simple toggle in bolt have a lot more layers to them in written code and the way my head works is I need to know what the result needs to look like then I can guess the rest. I just lack good examples or enough examples for things I'm trying to do.
But despite all that I got a ton done.
First I worked on the inspector, thanks to an asset called Odin inspector this is easy, but I'm using it minimally due to time and knowledge limits. The above is only part of the inspector. The key here is now all aspects of Sex Sim and the game will be character agnostic. Meaning it doesn't need to be Naomi, I can take any character and provided I have the animations and certain other bits they'd work just as Naomi would.
This is a long term thing that ultimately won't be used in Our Apartment specifically. But for that you should keep an eye on or support here at Subscribe Star. Progress on this is extremely slow I know, but with so many critical things to do myself I can at least make tangential progress on Alex content. Really sorry about this!
Anyway this also solidifies some concepts thats existed previously. Naomi has long had an H level, in-fact originally it was even in The Couch but the code never existed to use it. In current build releases upon fulfilling certain conditions Naomi's "H Level" will rise to a max of level 3. As a result arousal rates will increase, she blushes easier, and gets sweatier easier, and at level 3 gets heart eyes. Other aspects like dialogue and facial expressions can be affected too.
Now this has been solidified into a "likes" system agnostic for any character. If something a character "likes" occurs H Level will increase, I even included the option for those "likes" to be weighted, but it's not in use yet. In fact while the functions to increase H level exist, the conditions to trigger if a "Like" as occurred is not setup yet. But thats based on values that are already setup, it's a relatively simple thing I think.
You'll also note other "stats" that affect a variety of things set by a "Base Stats" profile. I won't take time to explain what each stat means but they affect sex sim obviously. I also made sure the image above didn't include Naomis configuration. ;)
The player also has their own stats.
Here you'll find aforementioned color presets, player stats set by profile similar to Naomi and global material settings. You'll also see "current" values which was excluded from Naomi's image, current values are just the dynamic changes for a particular scene. These values will change as currently they are extremely unbalanced.
Ofcourse the player is agnostic too.
After getting this setup, I went through the task of replacing bolt code. As I went one thing just lead to another where in the end the only thing part of the Sex Sim not bolt is Audio and "Petting" functions.
This was largely done to simplify references, to me it didn't make sense to try to awkwardly dump some aspects into bolt especially when a lot seemed perfectly feasible to be done in code.
The scary part is a had to do a lot of this, somewhat blind cause up until now the sex sim gameplay has not had a test scene. And stuff was so fragmented making a test scene was difficult. So I actually had to write all this stuff, and assume the way it read would work based off what the bolt nodes were supposed to do.
And thankfully I was mostly successful once the test scene was actually made.
There's some issues, but arousal/blush/sweat ticks work, most of the buttons work to activate animations. Most issues relate to the lack of coroutines and some of the "timers" I use to check for "likes". But the foundation is quite functional.
After confirming things are where they should be even if they don't work ideally this is the point where I pass off the work to Kaitou. Part of the reason I did this myself is because originally I built it, and I would be the best to make the conversion. On top of that describing my goals is complicated. It's much easier to make something badly so someone can see what I'm trying to do or see it as it's working currently and rework it to be proper. So thats basically the plan.
My expectation is over the next two weeks while I'm taking a break from Our Apartment he'll be fixing things up and making sure stuff works the way I intended. Then after finishing my other work I'll get things wrapped up for the public release. Then in the future I'll transition some more things from bolt and make more things agnostic.
Here's some other things I did as well:
- The "soft object" script which makes the bed deform was moved from bolt so it can use global shader properties and hopefully more quickly apply the world space position values. This is also a hopefully more agnostic method.
- I started using a new settings asset and the dev has been very helpful, next build should have various resolution settings and other things built in just fine. Do expect a more limited array of settings though that will expand over time as I learn how URP works in this regard. This is less because of refactoring and more that the old settings simply don't work anymore cause everything is completely different.
- Probably other things I'm forgetting in the fog of my work habits...
Whew that was a lot, what can I expect this month again?
Like I said one way or another there's going to be a public release. And if things go as planned there will be a lot of test builds made probably not until after the 15th. I will release some here, but most will be on the discord.
Some supporters will get updates on Music made, I'll try and make some samples for everyone else.
There's other stuff and polls I've been meaning to make for a while but I either end up lost in work or burnt out so I don't get to them! DX
Uh, there's probably something else I meant to say here but I've been writing this post for like 3 hours and the brain dump is emptying. Thats why these things always end abruptly...
I think thats it for now? Maybe I'll make another post later if I remember...
Whelp thanks for your support peeps! Seriously, I'm able go through all this thanks to you peeps. Which might read weird but I know what I said.