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Court Map Time Lapse

March 15, 2017
in Games, House of Tail

recreation of what it was like drawing house of tail's court map
The courtyard map – took quite a while to make. Had to create custom brushes for the houses to do the angles and shadows.

I’ve been drawing maps. Lots of maps.

While they don’t seem as exciting as drawing characters, I have grown to appreciate them. They’re easy to take for granted. Trying to put some thought into them, especially the layouts. We have another ‘house’ map, the court above, a castle, tavern, shop, and some dungeon and battle maps I’m currently working on.

Thoughts on Genre

I’m not quite sure the genre for the game is exactly a RPG at this point, but maybe? Probably. Recently, someone talked about it as a brothel sim, and it reminded me that it was originally supposed to be one. It’s a lot more subtle about it than what I think the genre expectations are. I know expectations are important and can make or break a work.

If I had to describe the design goals in that regard, it’s not been how to market it or meet genre guidelines, but more about seeing what’s been done with character management games in general, coming up with that character icon and slot drag-and-drop mechanic to streamline the play and make it more engaging, (which I’ve seen since then explode in popularity in mobile games… sucks that it’s taking us so long here), and following strict design objectives and guidelines. Which is a lot of words to say things like: make it less tedious, understand what keeps players interested (context, challenge, and reward,) and so on.

For example, while making the maps I’ve often had the thought of how easy it would be (but time consuming) to make it so you can walk around. I like walking around in RPG’s, the exploration and immersion of talking to everyone in sight, going into their houses (not creeping). But it doesn’t make sense here. It would slow things down and remove the focus on where the player has agency or control. That and the story’s designed in such a way that it sure would be tedious to have to trigger it by walking and talking around. Would get old fast, but having to playtest a game everyday since whenever, I can see any game getting old fast given the right circumstances, so who knows.

I could be wrong about this, and I’d love to make a more traditional walking RPG. We’ll all get to see how it turns out, can learn from it. There will always be room for improvements and different takes, and I’m kind of excited about that. About a month ago, we reached that development milestone where you’ve been finished with the design long enough that obvious ideas on how to handle a sequel or follow-up hits you. Had it with Common Grounds a long while ago, still sitting on those sequel designs. It’s been like that when drawing maps. Get close to finished and think up all kinds of ways to make it look different and possibly better. Better a finished game than twenty different iterations of a map, if you know what I mean.

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Character Styles | Furoticon Ending?!

March 2, 2017
in Games, House of Tail, Other Games


Hot Progress

house of tail character concept design tisserand adela furry possum deer

Did another pass on the visual design for the main and supporting cast. I believe the count came out to be 22 total characters. There were a lot of interesting design considerations and I feel like I leave everyone out of the loop too much when we discuss it behind the scenes (happens almost everyday.) It’s neat stuff to think about and I like talking about it and hearing others’ thoughts, so why not?

Visual Style

One of the issues with drawing a larger cast is the strain it puts on the visual ‘style’. This is hard to put into words, but by style, I mean how you can draw the same characters in different but consistent-between-each-other ways. Think of things like Disney where a cartoon duck or bear head will be in the same style regardless the show or movie, Ms. Pacman being Pacman with makeup and a bow–Minnie being Mickey in drag, Sonic the hedgehog proportions, how you can tell a character has the Pokemon-look, or how every pony in My Little Pony uses a similar base template and perspective shots.

What I learned is that the more characters you have to draw, the more it pushes the limits of a style. And that some styles are geared toward accommodating this, while others not so much. The assumed goal is making visually distinct and striking characters. And, avoiding those moments when you have trouble telling who’s who.

I played around with styles and choose one within my ability to keep consistent and that will animate well. But it’s not without its drawbacks–the characters in the above pic are a possum and deer. You can see where I made the possum look more possum like, but I felt it breaks the style too much. I showed it to a friend and they could not guess its species. Hopefully with colors it will be more clear, but it’s also a question of: why does it matter what species a character is in a fantasy setting? Does every furry character need to fit into a specific representation of a specific species? Can see arguments for both sides. Forced to pick sides when designing, gotta be mindful of it all and do our best. Made a big list of species to pull from, but I doubt we’ll hit everything as it clashes a lot with the setting and world-building.

Questions of style. Big topic, lots to say, but I need to get back to finishing the game.

I’ve been working on maps this week. Will show you next time.


This really took me by surprise.

Furoticon’s ending. They’ve released their final set, Climax. Apparently, their work on the online video game almost bankrupted them. It’s a lot to take in and think about.

There’s a fascinating journal by Seppel that goes into a surprising (and much appreciated) amount of detail here:

And here’s an earlier journal where the developers talk about the end of the physical card game:

It’s incredibly sobering. I remember when I first found out about it at a convention many years ago and was able to convince some friends to try it out by signing up for a draft tournament. Hardly anyone understood the rules, but it was great fun. Out of all the adult furry games to review, this is the only one I know for sure I could write multiple articles for–from the silly experiences of playing a competitive game in person, to talking about deck construction and game design.

Hate to see them go. We wish them the best.

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Fall HoT Report

October 18, 2016
in Games, House of Tail

Hi, how’s it going? Long time no barks.

Been busy with personal-life stuff. Sorry for not checking in.

graphical polish to show the day number
can now easily recognize when the next day starts

At Present

The current plan is implementing the chapter-specific game play details piece by piece for the first 4 chapters. 12 Chapters total. The first four encompass most every game element. Getting there.

Design Updates

Had to change a lot of the code foundation for House of Tail recently, namely for how it parses what to do when you click ‘start’. This is so we’ll have better control over timing and speed, but mainly for the code ‘hooks’. Hooks as in where skills are triggered, side quests checked, scenes that can happen on any day with given conditions.


  • 6 streamlined stats
  • No more hustle or sex stats
  • Skills: 1 active, 3 passive
  • Characters can have different health point totals
  • Icons display info when you hover over them
  • Options menu getting populated with… options, to toggle
  • other minor things, like updated menu graphics

Super excited about the game, but not so much about leaving everyone (outside of the development team) in the dark about it. It’s going to feel strange putting out the next update where a lot of elements are ‘in there’ but not quite. I’m trying to stay in a frame of mind where there has been no public release, meaning: it’s not a chapter-by-chapter installment or showing updates for attention kind of deal. It’s very OK and encouraged to ignore it all until the game’s finished. Might be interesting for those who like to compare builds. The whole thing has been such a learning experience.

About the Stats

Recover, Ability, Charm, Service, Smarts, Power

All jobs use 1 or 2 of the last four above. ‘Recover’ is how much health a character recovers when on the bench or elsewhere. ‘Ability’ is used for how powerful certain skills are. ‘Sex’ has been changed to ‘service’ to make it fit more with what job it ties to and because it overlaps too much with the idea of ‘charm’. ‘Toughness’ has been changed to POWER.

While I liked the idea of hustle influencing everything a little, it just needlessly complicates everything with the conceptual overlap. The idea of hustle as not being lazy and doing what you assign them to do is built into the idea of stats. Someone with a stat of 10 will have more hustle (get more done) at a task than someone with a stat of 1. The old idea in using a hustle stat was someone with a 1 in something could do better than someone with 10 if their hustle was high enough–think someone with a lot of drive but inexperience, most any main character at the start of a story. The reality is, it’s annoying to have to factor in a fraction of hustle into every job’s equation when deciding who to use for what. Now it’s never more complicated than adding two stats to see who’s more effective.

The big picture is you should be aware of the math the game uses. This has been a pretty big design goal. Like how Common Grounds will tell you what stats you’re missing to advance with a character. You’ll be able to click a job and see the math it uses. When you have to make choices during scenes, the game will tell you the result beforehand. It might seem counter-intuitive or easy-mode, but it should translate into being aware of what choices mean, giving them more weight, and having more control–not feeling like it’s hiding information from you or using cheap tricks to mess with you. It has to be this way to tie in with the story’s theme~