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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've got some samples of what goes into creating these shadows to make images of the PC look better. Find that post 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.
#4 - A tie - Chastity and Cynthia with 16 votes each
#5 - Christina with 14 votes
So here’s what I’ve been up to:
Thanks to the popularity content results, I discovered that I never actually finished updating Gabby’s model, so she got another pass. (There are a few others who still need it, but I haven’t had to render those characters in a while.)
I mentioned previously that I’ve been looking into some resources for more 3D props and sets that I can use, especially since I realized sex scenes with the PC are likely to require a lot of different angles. I’ve found a lot more great stuff and took some time to check out some options to see what else might help me improve quality.
I’ve got some crude sample of some of the background models in the latest backer-only post (for those who missed me sharing some quick renders on the Discord), so be sure to check that out when you’re done here.
Along with new sets and props, there was a higher-resolution body model that I think might be handy for things like first-person close-ups where polygon edges start to show (and there are some new skin textures as well that I wanted to try out).
I also gave a shot to the Image-Based Lighting plug-in to see what I could do with that. I love that there are a lot more controls for tweaking images, but with the time I had to invest into it, I just couldn’t get results that looked better than what I’ve managed with the time I’ve spent already, so I may put off playing with that again for another day.
On the game mechanics side of things, I’ve done some preliminary work on the willpower mechanics and the way these things will be communicated to the player.
Right now, I’m looking into colored text to indicate when the PC’s thoughts are being influenced by something (pink for lust and yellow for mind-control).
Certain decisions will eventually require a willpower cost for the PC to choose (such as doing a really good job at work or turning down an insistent guest). I intend to designate these choices with an icon, which will likely also indicate just how much willpower the choice will require.
In the content I’ve been working on, which picks up on last time, there are some sex opportunities, and that’s partially prompted me to revisit some older scenes as well. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve intended to scrap the overly-complicated system I’ve been failing at for way too long now, so I’ve gone through my notes and tried to break it down to the most basic parts I still want to include.
I wrote a quick and dirty little scene that hits on just about everything, and I’ve been working out what kind of function calls I need to be in there. A lot of these things are just things like keeping track of what acts the PC has done, how many times, etc., so that the story can properly reflect that (so no more “first-time” messages long after your first time).
These probably won’t be complete for a while, but it’s my hope that I can at least put the calls to the functions in their proper places in the existing scenes and clear out some of the old code. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fix some of the problems with the existing scenes in the meantime.
Interns v0.261 is now available! (Image is completely unrelated to the update.)
This is a bug-fix update that addresses a few of the glaring issues with the previous build(s). Players of the previous build should not need to start a new game for this one.
• Fixed the “holodeck” background bug. • Fixed bug that prevented Olivia from appearing in the first night bedroom menu. • Cover image should no longer require game restart to update. • Address some reported typos and grammatical errors.
It doesn't contain everything I was working on, but I don't want to make you want any longer than you already have. Without further ado, here's v0.260...which is primarily a Cynthia-focused update.
A fresh save probably isn't required, but wouldn't hurt.
Main New Content in 0.260 Content-wise, most everything that's been added involves having Cynthia help the player character get ready in the mornings. These are all scenes that were always intended to be early in the game, building off of the original makeover Cyn gives the PC in the first week.
There's still more planned for this event chain, and, sadly, it still ends with a tease, but, hopefully, there's enough to explore until the next Cyn-centered update.
Skip this part if you enjoy the frustration of discovering things on your own. For everyone else, here are a couple of tips to find some of the scenes.
Obviously, you'll need to allow Cynthia to help you get ready in the morning.
You have a set amount of time to get ready for work each morning (and I've added a bar to the UI to help make it easier to track this time). When Cyn is helping you, she'll appear a little while before this time has run out. If you're still in the shower during this time or masturbating in front of the bathroom mirror, there's a chance she'll walk in on you.
Other additions side from the aforementioned timer bar in the mornings, there are two new outfits added (one which has mirror support). There's also a series of events that can change your eye color, and you now have the ability to get a haircut. All of these are currently only available through Cynthia's events (technically, you can get the eye color event on your own), but alternate methods will be added at a later date.
What's new? (That I remembered to write down...) • New chain of events for Cynthia + CGs. • New CGs for incomplete shower scene with Cynthia. • New scene for Irene and new sprite (likely temporary). • Added mirror "avatar" CG for new yellow dress outfit. • New transformation event for eye color. • Created preliminary haircut mechanics (only with Cynthia helping in the mornings). • Added timer bar to morning preparation to make it easier to see how long you have to get ready for work. • Added crude implementation of prep time tracking to mirror masturbation. • Added slight variations on shower image (reverse pan and slow zoom out). • Fixed error that was preventing beach party event from happening. • Fixed issues that were preventing cover image stats from updating with most endings. • Fixed issue with display of maid uniform for mirror image 2.
Those of you who have been following me on TFGamesSite and Discord have been getting little updates here and there, but I thought I should take a few minutes to give everyone a quick update as to where I am.
What I’ve been up to
As you may recall, I got off to a real bad start with this build working on stuff for sex sequences that I just ended up scrapping; way too much complexity for a game that’s already bogged down with way too much complexity.
Since the prior update included a big cleanup of all of the code around the PC’s room, I shifted my focus to seeing if all of that work would make it possible for me to finally add in some of the events I’d long had planned for Cynthia.
Cyn is already in the room with the PC (such as with her “shower tutorial” sequence)
The PC’s hair has grown long enough for Cyn to suggest a haircut
It’s the first day the PC is in the sun and Cyn has advice on sunscreen
I’ve got most of that figured out, which mostly involved making each morning scene with Cynthia composed of multiple smaller scenes (as I did for Holly), and I’ve got most of that code done but it needs testing.
I had two transformation events that I wanted to include for the next update, but, so far, I’ve only managed to get one working (and, for that, I ended up needing to work with some placeholder graphics, as the renders for the avatar image had alignment issues again). I’ve tested the event a few times and ran into some issues that required some makeshift updates to a few mirror scenes, but it looks to be working well enough now.
It’s not exactly a TF, but the haircut event finally makes it possible for players to choose to stick with one of the shorter hairstyles now.
What I’d like to have done before the release
This build has been as much about content as the code required to get it into the game. I’ve got most of the former worked out, but there are still sections with no images or where only placeholder text appears.
I really wanted to have a build out after last weekend (and I’ve been pushing hard to work on it every chance I get). I’ve previously released plenty of builds that were just back-end updates, but, with this one, I feel that including more of the content that I’ve been working on is going to make a big difference in how worthwhile the update feels, so I hope you’ll continue to be patient as I try to get a bit more of this content into the game.
Thanks again, as always for your support of my work!
Hey, everybody! I was really hoping to have a new build out for you by now, but I wanted one that actually included some worthwhile content for you and, so far, that's not working out.
I appreciate how patient everyone's been (don't think I had a single person so much as ask about the next build). I was at least hoping I'd get an extra day off from work for the holiday to get stuff done, but that didn't happen. I might need to try scheduling a "vacation" at some point to help get me caught up.
What's Coming Next
Content-wise, the stuff I've been working on has mostly involved Cynthia. She's been well overdue, and the cleanup work I did in the morning code looks like it may be enough to make adding some of these events possible. (I've also added a little graphical UI timer bar for morning preparation so you know roughly how much time you have to goof off before work. Should help with getting that shower scene added previously.)
Irene got a little love, too. She's the maid you catch in your room a few times. I've finally got her sprite updated and at least one scene that lets you start a bit of a casual relationship with her.
I've also been working to adapt some player-submitted content, which is tougher to do than I expected when I first asked for these. Lots of little tweaks and edits needed to make these sequences more universal, and less tied to specific mindsets of the PC.
I've been invested a lot in graphics, as well. I've been trying to finish off the last pair of costumes I had planned for the PC as well as working on the sex CGs I touched on in the last update. Had a bit of a setback in the former, as I'll explain below.
Behind the scenes
I thought I'd knock out a Behind the Scenes update a bit early and talk about issues I'm having with costume #4. In particular, the plunging neckline of the lace-topped dress ended up breaking my avatar/paper doll system, as it required the PC's skin to overlap the bottom of the outfit...something I (stupidly) didn't plan for when I did an overhaul of the code earlier this year.
I *was* planning on talking about how I was going to address it... But when I opened the file to make some sample images, I discovered the Photoshop file was corrupt.
Looks like this must've happened the last time I saved the file. I hadn't realized it even happened--only discovered it a few minutes ago, so my backup has the same problem.
So, in short: I've lost a ton of work I've done on that outfit. Original renders are still there, but this one was requiring some above-and-beyond Photoshop work, so this is a bit of a gut-punch when I was already behind.
Again, sorry for the delay. I'm even more sorry that I can't post the Behind the Scenes to tide you over in the meantime. But I appreciate your support and I'm going to keep beating my head against this wall until it gives way or I do. 😉
P.S. - On a personal note: Don't do major depression, kids. It just sucks the fun out of everything you used to like doing. 😜
Last time I was able to make some massive headway on cleanup and reorganization. It's done wonders for Avatar images, as I now have a more universal way of calling these images in-game and, on the back end, I've organized the files and folders used to make these graphics, which has streamlined the process of making them quite a bit.
I had wanted to work more on finishing the overhaul of the scene code, but, as I'm no longer on reduced hours at my day job (quite the opposite), I've decided to put that on hold until I have another block of uninterrupted time to focus on it (maybe next work holiday I get).
Instead, it's been a while since there's been some real content, so I'm pushing myself to get into the right mindset for some writing (trying to focus on Cynthia, since she was part of the main reason for trying to improve the morning and wardrobe code).
In addition to that, I'm still chipping away at the two aspects of Interns that I feel are preventing it from being what I wanted it to be in the first place: the sex and mind-control aspects of the game.
I mentioned previously that I was planning on stripping down the sex from the simulation I really wanted to do (maybe a future game when I have more time?) to something more streamlined.
Another big aspect of it is the graphical side of things. As the player character is overly-complex to make graphics of, I need to do it in a smart way, so I've been working on planning that out, with my intent to have reusable assets that can be combined in different ways to make different images. Part of the avatar overhaul was actually intended to help me with that--the ability to color-tint avatar images will make it possible to change scene lighting without needing to render new graphics.
Sorry I haven't been very active in the community for a while. At work, I've been assigned to a big project that requires some extra training, and I've just been a bit overwhelmed.
Going off on a bit of a tangent here: I appear to be building up a list of a lot of new ideas I want to look into in the future--maybe not for Interns, necessarily... I'd like to explore adding animation to one of my projects at some point. I've looked at the idea of, perhaps, rotoscoping with a simple art style, but I've also gotten interested in tools such as Spine and Dragon Bones that can be used to animate 2D images. Could be neat.
Ah, it can be frustrating sometimes, as I have a lot of passion for game-making, but find time, energy, and lack of ability make it difficult. Ah well, nothing to do but keep pushing forward.
Well, I’m still chipping away at at things, as always. My current goal is to get enough of the PC’s room stuff squared away that I can start getting more events for Cynthia added to the game without causing issues (as some people can attest, the shower code can cause her to appear in the evenings to get you ready for work...right before bed—so, yeah, it’s a bit of a mess).
As always, I’m doing work on PC avatar images as well, with most of the focus on getting the additional outfits ready. There’s a third mirror pose that’s coming along as well. For those who are backing me, I’ve done a more in-depth post that goes into some of the details of the image-editing work involved in making these paper-doll-like images fit together better.
I’m going to switch into “thinking out loud” (but in text, so, really just “rambling writing”) mode for the rest of this, so fair warning. (I’m more hobbyist than anything else, so a part of what I do in these posts comes down to trying to organize my own thoughts as I tell you what I’ve been working on.)
In addition to what I listed above, I’ve also been working on the sex mechanics for the game. The aspect of it that I've been focused on recently has been more on general scene flow: how events start, what positions are available, how to switch between them, etc.
I’ve got a lot of neat stuff in progress for all of this, but I find myself having to take a step back to reevaluate what I’m doing.
Way, way back in the beginning, I told everyone that I would continue this experiment for a while, see how plausible it is, and, if I decided it wasn’t going to work out, I would look into simplifying things.
Having had the opportunity to work part-time on Interns for a few weeks let me experience what it would be like to really be able to give this game my full attention. Conversely, switching back to full-time work dives home just how little I can get done with the time I usually have.
I really love the idea of having a complex sim guiding things in the background, and I don’t think it’s beyond my abilities to eventually figure it out...but, clearly, that’d take forever with me working a full-time job.
Moving to part-time could be an option in the future, but, clearly, to get that kind of backing from Patreon & SubscribeStar means having updates that include an actual, playable game, making it a bit of a catch 22.
So, in the interest of getting Interns more playable, I’m considering moving away from simulation and going towards more flag-based mechanics. (Perhaps I’ll be able to revisit simulation more in a future project). Sex scenes probably won’t be interactive in the way that I originally planned, but, with flags, what's actually happening might more clearly reflect other choices the player has made.
Anyway, as always, things are subject to change. These are just my most recent thoughts on it. Feel free to share your own thoughts.
IMPORTANT: Do not overwrite your existing directory with this new build! Many filenames have changed, and doing so will leave old files that may prevent your game from working properly.
IMPORTANT 2: Start a fresh game for this version. Interns v0.250 includes a major overhaul in how free-time events are handled, so old saves likely won’t work. (This may be the case for an update or two, as I continue the overhaul of the event-picker code.)
With businesses starting to reopen, it looks like I may be back to full-time employment next week. While I’m happy I’ll be able to pay my bills, there’s a part of me that’s disappointed, since being part-time was a nice opportunity to really dig into Interns without as many interruptions.
v0.250 and v0.251
v0.250 is out to backers on Patreon and SubscribeStar, and I have 0.251 well in hand with bug fixes and some additional improvements that weren’t ready last week (such as the revisions for the saved game updater).
For me, part of these builds were changes to address some big issues with the core of the game that’ve been making development a headache. There’s plenty more to do, but with the organization and documentation work I’ve done so far, I’m already having an easier time navigating parts of the game that haven’t been touched since the very beginning.
For players, the biggest changes are some overdue quality-of-life improvements: Not needing to navigate the perfume and sunscreen menus every day; being able to change your swimwear choice at any point; the beginning of optional menus to move item access (such as the “magic wand”) out of a nested menu, and the new phone option which will allow you to plan meet-ups with NPCs.
(I don’t think I mentioned that I also reworked all of the swimwear to create graphics off-duty versions…)
UI and Future QOL
I think the optional menus show a lot of promise for streamlining the game without taking away choices. It seems way better to allow you to make a decision once, and not constantly ask you each time it comes up, instead, allowing you to tell the game when you want to change it.
The next obvious spot I see for one of these is work attitude at the beginning of your shifts. Right now, there’s a menu at the start of each work shift; I thought it might be better to make this an optional menu.
I’d love input on this. My current thought is to represent it with a little drawing of a girl holding a tray of drinks, with plus and minus buttons. Hit plus, and her smile gets bigger and she holds the tray higher. Hit minus, and her expression moves to neutral and eventually angry, with the final version depicting her dumping the tray.
Perhaps, when you hover over the icon, there will be a tooltip that actually says “Work Attitude” so that it’s obvious what it represents?
One of the challenges I see with this one is that it should only be available for a limited time at the start of work, so it may be easy to miss if the player is clicking through too quickly.
Another related item I’ve been considering are status icons. I’ve really tried to keep things immersive by minimizing game-like visuals as much as I can, but it isn’t like I’ve avoided it completely (the Lust and Energy bars have been around for a long time now).
Stats like Perception aren’t terribly obvious to the player. It’s hard to convey that when the PC is drunk or tired or otherwise distracted, they’re not as keenly aware of their surroundings. I was wondering if an icon should display in the corner of the screen at these times to help indicate this.
“One often creates more bugs on the road he takes to reduce them.” – Ancient Proverb (Probably)
TL;DR version: Those looking for a stable experience may want to steer clear. Lots of code changes and no new story content. I recommend trying this build out only if you’re curious about the new “optional menus” for wardrobe, telephone and items. (Or you want to help track down bugs.)
NEW SAVE REQUIRED!
Announcement: I now have a Discord channel! Thanks to Louise for doing all of the work of getting it set up for me. Feel free to come by and chat. I might even be there some times…
So, I’m part-way through some major overhauls for the game, which I hope will improve things both for the player, and make creating the game just a tad bit easier for me.
I outlined this concept in a previous post. As of now, there are two types of optional menus in the game. The wardrobe lock button will make the game show the clothes/sunscreen/perfume menu at a fixed point in the script when enabled. The phone and items menu can be used whenever they are on-screen, at which they will jump you to a new scene before returning to the line of the previous scene where you first pressed the button.
I’d like to know peoples’ thoughts on these, as I think there’s some interesting potential here to reduce unnecessary menu clicking.
Fun note: i figured out how to change the phone graphic based on the menu option the player is hovering over. (Not sure what happens to those on touch-screens…)
Known issues: With both phone and item buttons available, you can use them to get into an endless loop.
Free day and evening events use a new system that uses a Python class object for each scene. This allows the event picker to know things like whether or not the PC will need swimwear for the upcoming event.
Known issues: I had a lot of unexpected problems with this that may be tied to Ren’Py’s rollback. Some scenes that had previously been viewed would occasionally switch their status and enter the event pool again. Let me know if this happens to you, and which scenes are causing the problem.
Player Avatar Update
The player avatar image system got a big update. It’s moved to WEBP for smaller file sizes, and now allows for color tinting. I’ve greatly cleaned up an organized how calls to the system are done, making it much easier to use on my end. I’m hoping this system might lag less on less powerful devices.
Some new images were added, with one set of new casual clothes and a version of the resort uniform for a different mirror pose.
Note: So far, only the images to use this are the two full-body mirror images. More will be converted over in the future.