UPDATE: February 2020
Oops! I Made a Mess...
When you're half-assed about doing something, it's pretty easy to make a big mess.
Lately, I've been finding that I've been wasting far too much of my time trying to track things down because I haven't been organized enough. This covers just about everything:
Character model files - There are a lot of them. And the count keeps going up. It isn't just new characters who are in-progress, or the million-zillion files for all of the variations of the PC--there are lots of different versions of the previous characters for different costumes, TF variations, and, (when I'm feeling ambitious) better facial expressions.
Game variables - These have gotten hard to keep track of. I originally had everything in one file, but, with the save updater I created, I started keeping them separated by game update. This makes it much easier when it comes time to initialize them for old saves, but harder when I'm trying to figure out which quest is looking for which flag of variable value. That said, even if I consolidate them, it makes for one big file to scroll through; I probably need to put together some kind of reference guide for the ones I need to check most often.
The code for the game itself is a bit of a mess, too. As I've figured out what I'm doing, some of the recent sections have gotten much easier to manage (I know where to find everything for work events, for instance). Some of the older stuff, however, is confusing; especially anything that took me a few tries to figure out. Morning preparation and the mirror code? The PC's reaction to body changes? Yeah, old and new code are in the game simultaneously right now.
So, one of these months I'm going to need to get organized. General plans:
- Organize the folders for all of the character models. Get all the latest models in the right places and remove the experimental stuff so that I can find what I need easier.
- Create a common variable guide. I did a little bit of this when I set up a guide for people who want to submit content, but I need to take it further and make some kind of reference so I can pull up variables quickly. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten how to check if the PC is a teetotaler, whether or not they've had their first drink, etc. Lots of times I need to dig back through scenes to figure out what flags were set for events I want to check for.
- Reorganize the game code - I always do a little bit of this each time, but there are a lot of sections that have been overlooked for way too long. I want to put them into appropriate files that makes them easier to find when I want to make a correction or addition.
This is coming up more and more as I make scenes for the game. There are lots of locations and "time blocks" in the game where I feel certain scenes should be valid, but no easy way to make them appropriate.
To clarify: If a scene could work on the beach during the day, or at the club at night, it would require the backgrounds to change, the clothes of the characters to be different, and various pieces of text to be altered to reflect the environment.
That's not to say that I haven't done this with a few scenes already. Over the time I've been working on the game, I've started adding variables that allow me to tell where the PC, if she's working, what time it day it is, and the like, so I've got some of the tools there. For the mini-chat events during work, I even have a function that will call a random background appropriate to the job type.
I think I'd like to take this a bit further.
The Pie-in-the-Sky Version:
The best version would have me create a single event pool and manage scenes by tagging appropriate times and places for them to show up. This would make it so that I wouldn't need to go into each individual event-picker and add the code for the event.
That being said... It's not too likely to happen. Oh, I'm sure it's possible, but right now it's a bit beyond my coding skill level and probably not worth the time I'd need to devote to it. Maybe someday, though.
I've already got a few characters set up to display differently based on their body transformations. I think I need to push this a bit further so that it will apply to clothing as well. I should be possible, though I'll need to do a lot of Search/Replace operations to update all of the existing scenes to the new code.
I've always thought about doing this for backgrounds as well. The PC's room is an instance where there are a few variations based on time of day. And, as I said, I've already done something similar for the mini-events, so why not?
I managed to have a little coding breakthrough for UI elements. The linked YouTube video is just a quick sample of something I've almost got working...https://youtu.be/ZV86DKTuOQY
I'm planning to use menus like this to combine perfume, sunscreen, swimwear and outfits into a single menu. Eventually, this should help reduce the number of clicks required to get through the day, and, hopefully, means fewer nested menus for things like choosing which swimwear you want the PC to wear.
On a complete tangent, I've been exploring art options for some other project ideas. Nothing serious so far--literally just some dabbling in different programs, but as I don't have anything exciting visually to show on the Interns front, I figured I'd share some of the doodles and my thoughts on that with my backers in my latest behind the scene post. Click here for that one.