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Potential Crazy Person
Everything included with the previous tier, but with the added bonus of being able to scoff at those $20 people, who clearly don't have as much disposable income to throw at amateur smut on the Internet!
All of the above, and I will give serious consideration to the idea of yelling your name really loud while I chase a duck.
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• Learning the clip trick from May is now recognized by other scenes.
• Cyn shower scene no longer repeats.
• Fixed an error with the first swimwear day with the bikini and skirt if PC's hip size is too large.
Also: Please let me know which Android version is the best to use. Ren'Py has a build for newer devices, older devices and a universal file that's supposed to work on both, but some users have been having issues. (SubscribeStar doesn't appear to have a poll option, but I've created one on Patreon here.)
Sorry, all. I really wanted to have the update out this weekend, but it looks like I'm going to need a bit more time in order to have something that isn't a completely unfinished mess.
Between being a bit overly-ambitious (as usual), creating way more bugs than I intended and other issues, this build became a bit of a mess and it doesn't look like it's going to be presentable by the end of the night. I really wanted to have some more interesting stuff with the PC hooking up with guests, but I think it's going to be a bit more simplistic for another build or so, and, right now, I'm just working on getting the remaining story content plugged in and working.
I feel really bad about this. I'm not sure how well it'll hold you over, but I'm giving all of my backers a sneak peek at some of the renders for one of the scenes from this build (the PC has an opportunity to join Tatum in a threesome with a guest).
Thanks for your patience. I'll keep striving to do better going forward.
Okay, headline is a bit melodramatic, but it's been a lot of struggling in the last month and a half.
Cutting Part of a Feature
So, bit of bad news first: After trying pretty much every reasonable thing I could come up with, I just can't find a way to handle positioning of long hair for the protagonist. If it needs to be moved at all, I just can't get the different color versions and the masks to line up properly, meaning far too much image editing time for each CG that requires it.
Honestly, the game is way overdue for some cutting back anyway, so I think I'm going to eliminate the longer hair lengths. It was an extra that people asked for early on, but it's already taken up too much time in trial and error, and I think it's probably best to drop it and press forward.
Next one that might get the axe is makeup. Really, I only planned on having this show up in close-ups, but I'm having trouble getting it to work alongside tanning. The image above demonstrates weirdness I was getting in my latest attempt. This mirror image was mostly working, but the tanned version of the makeup layer won't match the opacity of the rest of the layer. (On the plus side, the new eye colors were much easier than I expected!)
I've tried getting some help on the coding issue, to see if there's something I'm doing wrong, but help with this sort of thing isn't as easy to get as it used to be. Really, though, the effect is such a minor thing that I don't want to waste too much time trying to get it to work if it's going to keep being difficult.
Stuff That Hasn't Been Cut Yet
As you can see, I've been working a bit on graphics, and I'm hoping to have some more mirror images ready for the next big build.
After those, I want to move on to more CGs with the player character. Specifically, images for sex scenes. As I've been putting a lot of my energy into getting more events with sex involving the PC into the game, I'm sure most players would like to see their character's actual body in those events, rather than nothing or another place-holder image.
Speaking of those events: Part of that work involves making it so the PC can hook up with guests at the resort. Like everything else in the game, I'd like to have a bit of a random element to keep things interesting for replayabilty. This means the guests will have attributes that will change each time. There isn't any of that in the game just yet (it's far more likely that you'll just get a few static guests for a while), but I am laying some of the groundwork for it.
Like the PC, I'll be using a sort of layered-image approach for these characters, so they'll be built from mix-and-match parts. Hopefully they won't be quite to the same level of complexity, though. Instead, I'm looking at a set of body types and different heads for each skin type.
(I'm just thinking "out loud" at this point, but as these guests are supposed to have varying levels of attractiveness, I might do some player polls and let the players rank them for me...)
Gotta give a little something back to my backers (and, also, Patreon forbids "implied nudity" in public posts), so samples of what I'm working are available in a special restricted post: (Here on Patreon and here on SubscribeStar.)
Life...Don't Talk to Me About Life...
I saved this section for the end for people who aren't interested in personal updates. Game development frustrations aside, I'm still struggling a bit with health issues. In general, stress takes a much bigger toll on me than it used to, so I find I can't push myself as hard as I used to.
Fortunately, the holidays mean time away from the day job, which has traditionally been good for Interns development. Hopefully that will be the case for this year.
(But not really... It's really just a regular update.)
Sorry if I haven't been quite as responsive as usual in the last week. Between insanity at my day job and some health issues, I've been pretty tapped out.
I've gotten a lot of great feedback on the last build. There have been lots of story inconsistencies pointed out, bugs and other issues brought to my attention, story ideas and even some scripts submitted, so that's pretty exciting...also gives me a lot to work on for the next release.
I took a little time to explore more of my art options as well. I always figured I'd be looking into Daz3D for future projects, but it occurred to me that it might have potential for creating backgrounds for Interns as well. The method I'm using for backgrounds right now is okay for basic scenes, but if I want a series of CGs in a single location with lots of different angles, it ends up being a TON of Photoshop work for me. I thought I'd explore 3D sets so that I could render the angles I need. Going to take a bit of trial and error, since I'm not really familiar with the software and it looks like it's changed a lot since the last time I tried it out.
You've might've noticed in the last build that I've started adding more events that will eventually lead to hooking up with guests. (They all, sadly, are non-events or lead to placeholders.) I'm still trying to push these forward so that they're actually worth checking out.
Part of this has lead to what's probably the fourth(?) revision of the sex system. I've mostly scrapped what I had and rebuilt it using everything I've learned from the past versions and now have something cleaner, a bit less complicated, and a little easier to predict.
In keeping with the themes of the game, it's all still based on interactions between physical and psychological elements, of course. As such, a part of the process has included addressing some of the lust-triggering events that have already been seeded into the game to start taking the PC's orientation into account. Since the player character's sexual orientation changes over the course of the game, it only makes sense that turn-ons and turn-offs need to be able to reflect that.
Does this qualify as a body TF?
Aspects of body transformation tie in here as well. I've long hinted that there would be more things that can be changed about the PC's body than just the visible traits. A bunch of these apply to the sex system
Here's what's in the current version system:
• Body parts are each assigned a sensitivity value • Sensitivity has a minimum and maximum value that it ramps up to based on the level of arousal
The general idea here is that, the more sensitive an area, the more pleasure can be produced from interacting with it.
Ease of orgasm:
In the previous version of the system, I had a pretty complicated system that handled how easy/difficult it was for the PC to have an orgasm. I've got with a much simpler method that's a bit easier to work with. For those who have found it in the current build, you'll know that there are already the beginnings of how the PC will be able to get some help with this.
Quality of orgasm:
This one is still really in flux, as it wasn't initially planned. I've been trying to figure out a system that handles how powerful an orgasm is, how satisfied it leaves the PC, etc., based on all of the other elements already in the system. (Good ones can leave the PC content for a while, while lackluster ones can end with her being unsatisfied, with sexual frustration making lust more insistent.)
This came about from some of my experiments; I was looking at how changes in sensitivity and ease of orgasm (see above) impacted the quality of orgasm system I worked out, and I discovered some interesting side-effects. Mostly, if it was made *too* easy for the PC to climax, the orgasms ended up being pretty weak.
This introduced another variable with the potential to be changed in-game: a modifier for orgasm quality. Could be fun to incorporate into the story.
Changed from the previous builds...
Sex acts in the game have always had an intensity level (representing how fast/vigorous the action is). In past versions, I had this being used as a multiplier for pleasure, and it didn't quite work out the way I wanted. For the new version, it's being used to add more of a game aspect to the system.
The idea being that, at different levels of arousal and/or progress towards orgasm, different levels of intensity will be more or less effective. So, choosing the right action at the right time will get you better results.
I like this aspect because I can give NPCs skill levels; more skilled NPCs will know when to use the right intensity at the right time, whereas less skilled ones will make less effective choices.
When the PC is in control, the player should be able to handle these choices. I'm still trying to think of a good way to handle this that doesn't involve a menu popping up every "round," however. (The existing mirror masturbation scene should give you a good idea of how it would look if I did that.)
Still to Come...
As you can guess from that last part, there's a need for a bit of an "AI" for NPCs. I have a start on that from a while back. It's not quite as ambitious as it sounds (or at least I hope not) since it's really just a basic structure for sex scenes (much like how the job manager handles the events that fire off at work).
As a way of keeping sex events from going on forever, "stamina" is going to be used to control how many acts the player can take. This will likely be derived from the amount of energy the PC has, though, when NPCs are involved, they'll have their own stamina to deal with.
Penetration, Pain, and Lubrication
The previous version had a lot of this already worked in (and you may be able to see some of it in the sex scene with the man who tries o romance the PC at the club). I feel like it got a bit too complicated, so I'd like to find an easier way to handle it. The general idea is that the PC should be at minimum levels of arousal for certain actions to be pleasurable. If not, being too rough will result in a bit of a penalty and some appropriate flavor text (likely some scene branching or early ends, too).
For those who are really interested in my work on this, I've got a post for backers that goes over a bit of my testing process. Those pledging $1 or more can check out that post by clicking here.
I have no idea what I'm doing, and this is a lot of trial and error on my part, but I'm going to keep trying to refine this as I add more opportunities for the PC to hook up with people around the resort, and hopefully get more of those scenes at least a little more fleshed-out.
With the size of the game growing with every update, I thought it might be a good time to look into space-saving options again.
Ren'Py used to have JCC as an option for images with transparent backgrounds: This would save the image and the alpha channel as lossy JPGs, reassembling them in-game.
Modern Ren'Py now has WebP support, so I thought I'd look into that a little bit...
I can't say I know much about the pros and cons of the format, but from just some tests, it certainly looks promising. It's probably not the best way to do a demonstration, but the above image of May is made from saves at different levels of compression. Clearly, there's zero difference between any of them!
No, don't panic, I'm just kidding. Scrutinizing the images in Photoshop, I could make out some artifacts at 50% compression, but at the lowest compression settings, the differences between the two images was fairly negligible.
The size difference, on the other hand, is significant. Here's what it looks like: 1,422 KB - Lossless PNG 942 KB - Lossless WEBP 441 KB - Lowest Compression WEBP 56 KB - 50% Compression WEBP 18 KB - Highest Compression WEBP
So, as you can see, this is a drastic improvement. Converting the character sprite directory to this format, even at the lowest compression, brings it from 222 MB down to 64.7 MB.
Unless anyone knows some reason why I shouldn't be using this format, I'm seriously considering making the switch.
This is going to be more of an UsagiTripleSix-focused post than an Interns-focused one.
I wanted to take a few moments to type up my thoughts on where I am right now and how I'm thinking about moving forward.
PLAYER FEEDBACK PART: I am looking for feedback on backer reward stuff, so if this is a TL;DR post for you, you can skip ahead to the rewards section below.
Obligatory Interns Part
Interns is my top priority, and I'm hoping the update schedule change is going to help it move along in a way that people will be happier with (so far, it seems like bigger updates are better received than more frequent ones).
Health-wise, I seem to be in a stable place (hooray!). Maintaining my health takes much more of my time every week than it used to, but I appear to have a handle on that.
My day job is getting more demanding. The company is getting busier and I'm taking on more responsibilities, so that does take a bit of a toll, but I'm hoping that's mitigated somewhat by the new update schedule.
While it certainly looks like I'll be working on Interns forever, I would still like to work on other projects at some point. A part of me thinks it might be a good idea to look into some short side projects; things like illustrated stories more than interactive games (though I'm worried that might not be as much fun to work on). That might be something I could do that would give people a good, regular story fix without having to wait on me to figure out a million-billion coding problems.
To that end, I'm trying to find time to dabble in different ways to create visuals for new projects, be it 2D art, or something like Daz. I'm also looking into things like sources of music as well.
I'm considering making an upcoming Patreon goal one where I'll look at putting some money into art assets so that I can expand on what I'm able to make.
Rewards for My Backers
Rewards are a tricky thing. I know they're fairly essential in order to be successful with crowd-funding, but I really hate to offer anything that's going to be counter-productive to actually making progress on the projects people are backing.
That said, I'd be interested in hearing what people would most be interested in seeing for rewards. I'm not promising I'll implement any of them, but suggestions are definitely welcome as they may give me some ideas.
Right now, $5 is essentially the top tier; anyone pledging more than that doesn't get anything more than the satisfaction of knowing that they're helping me a bit more.
In the past, though, I've thrown them a bone by giving out a tool that let them preview the Avatar System I made for making the game's mirror images.
I'm considering doing more stuff like that in the future. Perhaps the higher-tier backers will periodically get sneak peeks of assorted stuff I'm playing with, be it samples of game mechanics, snippets of non-Intern story stuff, or samples of some of the artwork I've made while experimenting.
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Let me know!
(As for the teaser image at the top... Is the resort being invaded by Xterminators? Probably not. But I've gotten some new studio assets, and I show off some of them in the latest behind the scenes post.)
You know, you can tell me about things in the game that appear broken, right? 😆
I spent yesterday morning and most of the afternoon doing a play-test for the status system (and fighting bugs...lots and lots of bugs). To get the most out of it, I kept a running list of which scenes I saw in the process and which days I saw them on.
In the process, I discovered just how out-of-whack the schedule was. Day 5 no longer existed, some job types only lasted for a day or two and ended prematurely. Looks like you couldn't work evening shifts at the club until your second time around.
It's all the result of sloppiness on my part, and the schedule probably needs a rework (I hadn't originally intended on looping the same day over and over the way I'm doing now). In the meantime, though, I was able to adjust it so that you now properly spend three days at each of the different job types (well, except one, and whichever day you miss if you do the beach party). That should keep you from getting short-changed.
Another thing that got an unintended update was the code for body transformation. A requirement of the status system is keeping track of what's going on with the player character, when it happened, etc. While adding in those checks, I decided to also make it so that the PC can't skip over sizes in a single day--instead, they'll move to the next size up and continue their transformation during the course of the next day. Looks like I needed to dial down some of the preference bonuses in order to make this work a little better, as some extreme preferences were giving an additional 200% to transformations! Pretty crazy.
I didn't want to get too distracted from what I was doing, but I made a note to reexamine how lust declines and the PC sobers up after drinking. I had the PC get completely wasted at the beach party, but she was completely sober by the time she got back. I'm not sure if that's an issue with how I implemented the party, or if the alcohol is just disappearing too quickly. The same with "lust plateaus;" high lust in one scene tends to dissipate by the next, keeping it from coming into play. I may need to find a way to delay the transition just a little bit.
As for the status messages themselves: I'm sure it doesn't sound terribly necessary or exciting, but I feel that it'll have a lot to add to the experience (especially once there's enough copy to populate it). The Energy and Lust bars on the top left of the screen are fairly easy to ignore and don't add much to the experience. Having this explained in words at regular points during the story should do a better job of conveying what the character is going through. When the PC is tired and drunk, the messages should let you know that it might not be the best time to investigate the hotel. Being turned on and horny might not be when you want to apply lotion to guests, lest it get out of hand... (or maybe that's the best time?)
Wow, feels pretty weird to be at the end of the month and not be rushing to get the next build out. (For those who are out of the loop, a majority of my patrons indicated that they were interested in getting larger game builds every two months, rather than the smaller monthly builds.)
So far, it's been a productive month. I've been working on:
Work Events - I think few things make replays more painful than having to skip through the same events over and over, so I've been working on NEW events...to skip through over and over. ;)
Some are short and easy to write, while others are considerably more challenging, thanks to all of the new possibilities that have been added to the game. There's just enough mechanics for energy, lust, work attitude, etc. that I can start using them to change how scenes play out. It's obvious that I'm going to need to do some streamlining somewhere to make this more manageable since these can get really complicated, but, hopefully, the way to do that will become clearer the more I work.
Dreams - Same as the work events. You're probably tired of the same ones, and I have a backlog of dreams I've been meaning to write (as well as some new ideas). I have three written, with two functional in the game.
Free Day Events - There are only a handful of these so far (you can only see them when assigned to the Club in the evening so far), so I'm working to make more.
Oh, and one new TF opportunity made its way into the game, so there's that, too.
Mirror Images - The project that keeps on going. I've been working to make a single new mirror image that can tackle all of the available work costumes. All of them have been rendered and have basic working masks, but I still need to do editing to allow the mixing and matching of top and bottom parts (based on body sizes). The real struggle has been finding a good way to add the remaining hairstyles. Parts of the hair need to go in front of clothing, and others need to go behind. The masking method I've been using for the hair is working fairly well, but the eyebrows have become a bigger problem.
With all of these, I'm trying to identify the most straightforward method to produce these quickly so that each image of the PC won't take forever to produce. Hopefully, most won't require every possible variation like this (e.g. a beach image will only need the swimwear versions), but I do feel like I may need to do a sanity check at some point and re-address the options. Cutting down the number of swimwear types already seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea.
Status Messages - Is this version 3 of the system? Well, not quite. I've got the core of a much more universal version of the status update code started, and it looks promising. Initially, it won't be quite as specific about what the PC is doing (on break at work, or heading back to the room), but I think this is a better solution. As always, a lot of writing is required before I can get it into the actual game, right now. I've got a batch of messages already written and coded, and I'm filling it in as I go.
Bug Fixing and General Tweaks - I've had a chance to slow down and try playing through the game while actually paying attention to the text for a change, and that's helped me identify a few more things to work on.
Planning - I'm always thinking about how to make the game better, so I've been considering how I want to implement things like tanning opportunities (repeatable events on the beach, poolside and tanning beds).
I've also been toying about an option for the PC's room called "Think about..." which will could be used to show or hide certain repeat options (Do you want to tell Chastity that you're the guy she met? How about now? Now? What about now?), but I'm still mulling over the potential mechanics for that.
So, thanks for your patience as I enter the second month for this build. I'm hoping the next update will benefit from the extra time I've been able to give it.