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Kaive

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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Kaive

Character Styles | Furoticon Ending?!

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

Hi

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.

Furoticon

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:
http://furoticon-online.com/furoticon-online-is-dead-tail-kiss-studio-closing-soon/

And here’s an earlier journal where the developers talk about the end of the physical card game:
http://furoticon.com/index.php?a=1024

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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Kaive

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.

Changes:

  • 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~

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Kaive

HoT Update Incoming

June 2, 2016
in Games, House of Tail

By the time you see this, a new version of House of Tail should be up.

To download the update, simply download it again from the BMT Micro email link and reinstall. If you can’t find it, we would be happy to resend it to you, just ask~

house of tail logo

Update News

This update shows off the new structure and visuals, and is more or less a stable release.

The next set of updates will definitely be more prone to bugs and spoilers (if you play through the story mode), so you may want to avoid it if you want your first play-through to be when everything’s polished and ‘there’. Otherwise, there will be lots of placeholders and debug stuff, which can be cool to see.

If you find any bugs or issues, we’d love to hear them and add to our list. Please keep in mind we might not address them just yet in favor of getting more of the bulk of the game in place.

The big thing is we don’t want to take your support for granted. At the end of the day, we all want to play the finished game, we want it to be something special, and that’s what we’re aiming for. In the meantime, we can show you how silly and chaotic it will get in development, if you want to look. We’re not sure we want to handle pre-orders like this ever again, and are thinking of additional ways to thank those of you who have or are taking a chance on it before it’s finished.

merek formerly murguy

Next Up

Will try and post more often, as we’re finally entering back into the fun parts.

Past week has been an intense search & destroy for bugs and issues, so you could have a stable update.

Next, I need to go over the game design document one last time and make sure everything checks out. Spent the past few weeks going through the story doc with Whry many, many times checking plot threads, resolutions, twists, and for holes. RPG sized story here. We feel the story’s great, just need to make sure the game play matches it. Making sure game elements are introduced at a good pace and varied, so it doesn’t turn into a chore or ‘waiting for the next scene’ kind of deal.

Am super excited about everything! This is going to get crazy.

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whry

State of the Tail

May 26, 2016
in Games, House of Tail

Hi folks, Whry here, and I just wanted to take a moment to talk about what we’ve been doing with House of Tail.

Well, to understand what we have been doing, we need to explain some of where we were at a good while ago. The major thing there is- HoT sucked.

It was a neat idea when we started with it, and really, it was a test to see if we could do it. But- once we had played it some, and watched some of our friends play it, we could really see issues. This put us in a very odd situation. The original design was nothing more than a way to play with porn pinups. It was received fairly well, especially being an unfinished demo. We could slap some more characters in, finish out the story mode we were planning, and call it a day. We could have.

And- we could have shipped a game that none of us here were very happy with.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Kaive

Freshly fixed website

January 13, 2016
in General, Website

Took a little longer than expected (had some issues with the display on mobile devices.)

  • User registration seems to be working, emails should not appear in spam folders anymore
  • Rewrote and updated a lot of the text in places like the about us and team pages
  • Streamlined photo safari to a single page, given better context
  • Made pretty all the forum layouts
  • ‘Enter / exit’ warning only appears on the main index**

Probably more, but you get the idea. If you see anything off, please leave a comment.

** interesting obscure trivia / research:
US Senate document on porn front pages (google books link)

This is it legally, so far as I could find. A tiny paragraph at the bottom of the page. It’s entirely voluntary. Strictly the front page only, and more about not putting up material than warning anyone. Only specifies commercial adult entertainment. Also, the wording on the child stuff is really weird if you think about what it implies you can do otherwise. Not going any further than that. I know a pit trap when I see one.

Always researching`

Also took some time to catch up on the furry game development scene. Found out about some projects being either canceled or put on hiatus. It’s always sobering to see, regardless the details and drama. I can imagine what things might look like for us in particular. Sorry it’s taking so long. Wish everyone the best.

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Kaive

Fupoco 2016

January 12, 2016
in General, Website

Warning: Updating the site, things might look weird.

In looking into the user registration issue, discovered a mess behind the scenes. Spent the past few days redoing everything.

The last time we updated the site like this was in 2011. Been putting it off and it sure caught up with us. Learned a lot since then.

This should fix everything. Will post again when finished~

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Kaive

END OF 2015 Approaching Fast

December 18, 2015
in Games, House of Tail

*** REGISTRATION EMAILS NOT WORKING ***

Status: found core issue, working on it (will take a few days)… fixed, updating site… (will post when finished)

Emails: please give us a few days to catch up with responding 🙁

Holidays are kicking my ass.

We’ve been slow to respond to emails and such, and I apologize. Really, truly focusing on wrapping up House of Tail. So much so, that come the new year, I will most likely go into full hermit-mode, forsaking all worldly pleasures to crunch time! Forewarning: I might seem more crazy than usual. ha. ha. Will check emails and online stuff at least twice a week.

But where are we at? I hear the voices ask.

Right now:

– Re-coding the item and upgrade shop presently
– The equip, character, and level-up screens need to be fixed
– Some minor title menu adjustments
– release the next update

And so far as updates, I feel the need to stress that this isn’t meant to string people along or to make us go off track by having to service them. They will be extremely ‘work in progress’ feeling as the goal is a finished game. So large sections will be put in and will be smoothed-out once other sections are put in. A real behind-the-scenes of what a game looks like as it’s being worked on. For example, the next task is to put in all the story scenes, but without all the neat scripted effects. That gets added once the story and game aspects are OK’ed in their pacing and how they play, so we don’t waste time redoing things.

Basically, you don’t have to worry with or play through these upcoming updates at all. It’s a way for us to show at least some kind of thanks to all the early adopters and support. We will take note of bugs and suggestions, but don’t expect us to prioritize them until the game is on the verge of being finished as most of it should get worked out in finishing it.

Extremely excited about this project! Hell, furry game making in general. Is cool to see more people getting into it. Want to see more finished games, though. Doing our part~

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Kaive

Updated HoT customer graphics

September 19, 2015
in Games, House of Tail

(and a small, but big thank you)
house of tail blushing bunny customer walk animation

house of tail new customer test screenshot
oh no the titans have breached the wall and are terrorizing the city

Finally replaced those stick figure placeholders. Lots of different expressions and some different animations to spice it up. Also means there will be different customer types which should play into the new mechanics I’m working in right now.

The long-awaited update will arrive once that’s finished and some of the menus are fixed.

I want to temper expectations because I know it’s been a while. But we here at fupoco will just have to take it. Thinking I can write up a quick ‘lessons learned’ through the development so far, to give you an understanding of what’s been going on that you haven’t seen. Either way, just want to thank everyone who has supported us, especially those who have already bought a copy. We will not let you down!!

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Kaive

House of Tail development plan

June 22, 2015
in Games, House of Tail

house of tail old vs new house room graphic
quick teaser: new vs old house graphics

RARE REAL LIFE UPDATE: been busy working on a roof. It’s really hot outside. Speaking of HOT…

Development Plan

The ultimate goal is for you to have a finished game. Playable, polished, the whole shebang. To that end, everything else has taken a backseat, such as releasing more unfinished versions.

Currently we are updating the graphics and code to support a high resolution. We’ll post a new version once that’s done and notify everyone who has bought a copy.

Next will be working in the main game, which is mostly story and has already been written: scenes, dialogue, and all. We’ll try to post new versions once we get chapters in place (no emails though, don’t want to spam). But, fair warning: there won’t be any polish or ‘finality’ to it. It’s a first pass; things will be adjusted, added, and removed.

Next will be a pass for balancing, polishing, all that extra jazz that makes a game feel complete and fully realized. Music and most of the sound will likely be added here, along with most of the fullscreen ‘intimate moments’.

Lastly one last pass to make sure everything is as it should be. Will finalize the title screen menus and casual mode. An email to everyone to let them know it’s more or less finished. Fix up the website (long overdue.) And maybe some ‘bonus’ stuff after that. maybe.

So don’t worry! Too deep to get out now~

The funny thing about this kind of talk is who cares once it’s finished. Really is the goal.