sorry if this is a bit slapdash; so far development is a thing that's mostly taken place in my head, with lots of "and then i'll figure out something that works here, although i have no clue what it will be right now" bits. this is more of an essay than a proper game design doc. maybe over time i'll refine it into more of a bullet-point feature list.
on the largest scale, this is a game about moving around a map and activating events. the GOAL is for the maps to be, like, ten times as dense: to have discrete chunks of 'areas', with the space between filled with a bunch of different encounters. so you end up bouncing around between locations -- building up state by finding and delivering things to different locations, a la the dryad/farmer interaction, or revisiting events that respawn their 'rewards' after a certain amount of time (time in "tiles moved" i think), or having challenges (fights, etc) that respawn regularly in various locations and need to be continually cleared out or held in check. and then only slowly would you chip away at the encounters that form the border of the map and let you go into new "regions". (i've also been thinking about having a 'fog of war' style effect; idk)
(it's maybe worth mentioning that also on the influences list is this little game called HELL TOUR which is very much about bouncing around maps slowly clearing them out, though obviously in a very simplistic way.)
the current maps which are wide-open and only have a light dusting of the same seven encounters are... not exactly exemplary of what i'd like the maps to be like, and part of why i keep talking about how i'm working on changing the map generation code.
(also, the map code is perfectly capable of dealing with map tiles at different heights, it's just that raises this other issue, namely that then i'd have to either 1. make sure no maps generate with such a height difference that some tiles are entirely hidden in the background or 2. add in map rotation and then make sure no maps generate with such a height difference that some tiles are entirely hidden in the background at all rotations. since that sounds like a big messy code problem, it's not really high priority. but it would be real nice for shore/water tiles to actually be "lower" than the rest of it, and for there to be actual slopes and cliffs. basically for the game to look more like 'rings of power'.)
(heroes of might and magic 2/3 is another inspiration, in that when i was a kid a played it a lot as basically a single-player game about wandering around and visiting places and fighting monsters and building up a few towns, and that's really the biggest gameplay inspiration i have so far: a few big towns you can interact with or "upgrade", some "recurring resource" locations, some treasure locations, a bunch of one-time fight/treasure events. but hell game doesn't really have the same resource cycle as the heroes games do, so i haven't figured out how exactly to translate that gameplay.)
(the problem being i haven't really thought up a lot of actual concrete things to be building the state of or to be encountering, etc, etc. the game is very light on game mechanics so far, which is part of why all the content in it so far is sex scenes.)
they should exist! with the plan being... an autosave slot made after every event, + being able to manually save (somehow) in separate slots.
this would actually be pretty easy to add, it's just i haven't done it yet.
the goal is for encounters to be things beyond opening up into "talk/fuck/leave" prompts. the hellhound knight scene opens with it actually asking you some questions; in the future most events will be updated to require actual interaction before you can dive into the sex scene. what that "interaction" would actually be is up in the air still. the idea is that, generally, you'll have to revisit npc encounters multiple times and only after a while have them be like "sure let's fuck" (though obviously some would be more or less picky than others in that respect), it's just i don't have super concrete ideas for why you'd actually need to revisit encounters yet. aside from "doing a bunch of boring fetchquests", which i'd like to avoid.
part of that might involve making encounters a lot more location-based. currently there's that mechanic shop in the factory: imagine if you could actually talk to the flame demons and sons of hamar-tabal there. so having shops and settlements and ports and glades as fixed locations, and changing up the encounters so that e.g., you might only ever see flame demons sitting around in the factory at various locations, and never just sitting out in the open.
(also i plan on adding in a bunch of variants for each encounter -- you might have noticed the "son of hamar-tabal" encounter has a few different versions, and the plan is to give all the encounters enough random switches that each one ends up reasonably unique, instead of all seeming identical copies. i also intend to have conversational switches, so npcs would have different conversational topics or responses or what-have-you. some of these might be tiny (the son of hamar-tabal encounter has a "piercings" switch that changes like, two sentences) but others might be bigger (i'm planning on adding a 'cock cage' variant for flame demons, w unique sex scenes and options for caging/uncaging them to switch between the two). i'd also like for there to be a fair amount of internal state for these encounters, so that they do things like "comment on your body when it changes" or stuff like that.)
(related to the above... i have some plans for basically "procedural character placement". quests would have open slots for "a son of hamar-tabal or a flame demon" and then the game would look through the encounter data and pick one, so that the random encounters actually end up involved in story stuff. likewise, there probably aren't gonna be 'named characters', so much as questlines that give various encounters names and backstories. we'll see how that goes, since that might involve writing three or four separate quests per encounter just so all encounters of a certain type don't all end up having the same kind backstory. but that would be a lot of work, so it's not super high up on the priority list; i'd like to have all the stuff in the above paragraph done first before starting on any of this.)
sex scenes themselves... i wrote up a thing about "tiers" at one point, but i might as well duplicate it here:
- stage 0: scenes not coded, or partially coded, or coded without full prose; there might be prose written to some degree but it's not something that's properly marked up at all yet
- stage 1: scenes coded and playable & parametric up to bodytype (e.g., bipedal, quadrupedal, centaur, snake, naga, wyvern)
- stage 2: scenes parametric up to species, including limb counts. e.g.:
- differentiating between human, tiger-furry, and satyr in the 'bipedal' category;
- factoring in wings if you have wings and the wings are relevant;
- differentiating between centaur and bull-taur;
- disallowing bj scenes if you don't have a head;
- correctly referring to your number of dicks and balls, when relevant
- between being a four-legged wolf & a spider (& properly handling that yes a spider has more than four limbs despite being called 'quadrupedal' in the code :V)
- stage 2b: cocks part one. existing sex scenes parametric on cock features (knots, flares, barbs, etc) and ball features (come type: sap, ichor, lava, etc; come volume maybe). maybe some minor branching on cock/ball size, but not entire separate "huge dick" scenes, even if your cock is the size of yr entire body.
- stage 3: scenes parametric including all the various body attributes -- these are things like "on fire" or "stabbed through with swords" or "actually an ichorous ooze monster in the shape of a person"; a lot of the 'flavor' tfs are on this level
stage 3b: cocks part two. parametric scenes based on body & cock size, including some size difference stuff; sex scenes that feature cock-tongues or tail-cocks if you got em. this also covers other genitalia, but... but it's mostly cocks.
(this is the final level because it's an enormous amount of work and involves basically as much work as the rest of the levels put together, since it basically calls for several extra scenes per encounter & bodytype.)
(those being the stages a sex scene passes through as a work on it more and more.)
in practice things have been a bit muddier than that -- turns out, for example, it's fairly easy to disallow makeout scenes if yr headless, but a lot more difficult to write special two-headed makeout scenes. and if you have two dicks, like, it's very awkward to figure out what to do there aside from write an entirely new two-dicks scene, which is very writing-intensive. so scenes generally aren't solidly in one tier or another so much as always partway between.
generally i'll try to get new encounters to stage 2 or 2a before actually putting them in game, with specific branches having to do with specific parts coming later.
a huge thing that is only very, very vaguely shaded in is "having npcs follow you around and potentially even participate in sex scenes with you", but uh it should be obvious to everybody how much of a giant task that would be. there will be some more restrained versions of that, though -- the void worm quest i'm working on does actually involve moving around with another character and potentially ends with you and them getting gangbanged by void worms, and the mining barracks scenes involve a bunch of threesomes based on you sending npcs around, so they could in the future be restructured as "you and your npc follower fuck some people". but don't expect being able to get any encounter to have a threesome with any other encounter.
one of the goals of this game is SURFACING CONTENT. a bunch of porn games have these situations like "oh you chose a wrong decision in this one interaction so now this enormous sprawl of content is forever locked out", or "okay you need to have a knotted dick, a wolf score of at least 3, for it to be nighttime, and for you to not have already flipped this one plot switch, and then this scene has a 25% chance of triggering". i... don't plan on putting anything like that in this game ever. (i'm kinda categorically against randomness here; instead of "random scenes" there are either branch points in sex scenes or hidden variables -- encounters with hidden "top/bottom" flags, that kind of thing -- rather than just rolling dice.)
but i do have plans to have sex scene branches include options based on your body (e.g., "fuck him w/ yr cock-tail", "fuck him w/ yr tentacles", etc). also, some of the scenes end up having little 'bonus' scenes that might not be immediately clear that exist (like the snake-form sex scene with a son of hamar-tabal where you just slither up his ass). so i'd like to figure out some method of making it clear what scenes exist in which encounters, so people can figure out how to get to stuff that interests them without having to exhaustively go through every encounter with every possible body. not entirely sure what that will look like, but it'll be a thing once there's more stuff in the game to see.
this is i guess the thing i'm most interested in playing close to my chest, uh, in part because this is also the thing that depends most on how the development polls turn out. suffice to say: i have a lot of planned content for "area 1" (the hubur delta), a few vague ideas for quests, etc, and then some very rough outlines for the next few areas which will be, probably in this order:
- a void mine beneath the hubur
- the mountains of kur
- and then maybeeeee the city of dis
no telling when i'll actually get to working on them; i'd like to get this area comprehensively finished and playable as an actual game before working on anything beyond it.
all the plot stuff is just extremely sketchy outlines, though. there will be plot stuff, i just don't have it that pinned down yet.
also i've gotten a few questions about it, so i guess i should say here that i don't have any plans to add in other peoples' writing to the game. at the very least "not for a long time", potentially never. (or at least not until way down the line when i release the source under an open license and stop being able to control that kind of thing, but that'll be... a while.) there are a few reasons for this, if you care, but a short list would be like:
if other people's writing ever does show up it would be more like "i commissioned some scenes from somebody specific", not something like 'crowdsourced by the community'.
the stat spread as it currently exists is very template (several stats aren't used at all, and the stat curves for damage and hp gain are super wonky). i don't really know what they will be ultimately, but it's safe to say all the stat boosts and formulas will be overhauled a lot. likewise, while the skills nodes give you will probably stay the same, what they actually DO will probably change up a lot as i try to make the combat ROBUST and BALANCED. the goal is to have enough part-based skills with enough of a spread so that you don't need, like, some super-specific body to have The Best Min-Maxed Build. this is not a HARDCORE GAME FOR TRUE GAMERS THAT IS TOUGH BUT FAIR WHERE YOU NEED TO LEARN THE SYSTEMS AND GET GOOD. it's gonna be pretty easy.
(tbqh in terms of 'difficulty' i'm basically aiming for morrowind-style "anything is sufficiently exploitable that even a 'bad' build is usable")
the other thing is "combat" is only one of several planned 'arenas', and probably not even the most common one. i'm taking a page from echo bazaar/fallen london's book and making the action/challenge mechanic abstract enough to be used in several completely-different situations. so in addition to having a little combat event reel where you hit people or w/e, there will also be things that use the same interface but are like... "chasing someone through a swamp" or "looking through a library for a book" or "solving a riddle" or "having an argument with somebody".
there are four main kinds of interaction: fighting, hunting, persuading, and thinking. those would all use the same challenge interface, but would have different available skills. i'm not SUPER sure how that would work out -- i might do the pokemon thing and have the same skills just with different names/actions depending on how you're using them, a la moves in a beauty contest, or they might be a completely separate thing that are gained by entirely different node combinations. probably this would mean having some tabs in the stats page, so you can see which actions you have for which arenas. (also i plan to have some kind of limiting factor, like you can only have six actions per arena equipped at a given time, with the rest stored but unavailable for use.)
(i really want to avoid the whole, yknow, "sexy rape fight" thing, which means maybe stepping back from fighting people being the main gameplay verb, which means i have to figure out OTHER main gameplay verbs.)
(the challenge code is probably gonna be expanded a lot --
- status effects (certain kinds of attacks do more or less damage, or prevent certain kinds of moves from being used, or just does damage over time)
- more or less lookahead (maybe determined by speed?)
- opponent AI that's smart enough to try to counter you
- breaking things like "hit" and "cast" into specific damage types:"slice" or "bash" for physical types; "fire" or "ice", for magic types; stuff like that
- the pc and opponents having certain tags like 'armored' or 'flying' that determine certain damage resistances.
oh yeah also currently skill levels do nothing, but the goal is to have them get minor damage boosts per level + every five levels up to, idk, level 20 have you pick a development branch? so like "gives you a str buff for the next ten moves" vs. "debuffs opponent str for the next ten moves", that kind of thing.
also there'll eventually be a "you got these items and this much experience and w/e else" post-challenge victory screen, once, yknow, i have encounters that drop items.
bodies are made from a tree of nodes, and those nodes give you some transformation, raise your stats, and potentially unlock new skills. currently there aren't that many nodes, and the stat boosts they give are... pretty erratic.
nodes come in several different flavors: animals, parts, elements, "gloss", shape, and sex.
currently you can attach nodes to each other via those boxes, which are colored based on their type and are basically hardcoded in. this is a temporary thing; i have plans for... some sort of system where you basically "level up" nodes to unlock new slots of your choosing (with a hypothetical max number of slots). it's just i don't really know how that system would actually work, so it's not in the game. also, while i don't really like the "box" ui, i can't really think of a better way to do it either.
here are a bunch of planned nodes:
- theoretically these species are ready to go whenever, pending some minor things like dick description lines, writing barbs lines in sex scenes, and figuring out how precisely to give manes to lions:
- [DRAGON][BIRD][BAT](tho 'bird' might get split up into multiple different kinds of bird, like dove/raven/hawk or smth)
- these are gonna need some extra fiddling about adding in [WINGS] and the resulting extra bodytypes THAT'S gonna require, up to/including writing new sex scenes for basically every encounter to deal with you being a giant bat / small dragon, that kind of thing. (alternately i could just put them in without wings, but that strikes me as kinda weird)
- [SCORPION][SPIDER]maybe [CENTIPEDE]
- these are pending me adding in 1. code to make [MORE] more adaptive so people don't end up as "four-legged spider" and/or 2. [MORE]»x3 and [MORE]»x4 nodes. also having to read through all the existing sex scenes to see if i'd really need to write separate "arachnid" blocking separate from the existing "quadruped" blocking.
- this was mostly for mermaids and so you could be a weird sahagin, but the issue is, again, if you want to just be a giant fish that kind of... involves a lot of blocking, and i haven't yet decided if i want to 1. spend ages writing fish-specific sex scenes that basically nobody will ever see b/c who's gonna play as a giant fish or 2. categorically make everybody refuse to fuck a fish, even if they're okay w/ fucking a giant worm
- [OCTOPUS] and [TENTACLE]
- i'd like to have those but i don't really have a real path towards them right now, because they ALSO require a whole other, like, "cephalopod" kind of bodytype for the case when you literally want to just be a giant octopus, rather than "an octopus-headed human" or "some furry with a few tentacles".
- ditto, for you could have big scything arms, which would kinda require this whole separate branch for "you're a biped/naga/centaur and you have arms, but despite that you don't have HANDS" that would be a giant chore to write.
- something that i haven't coded up at all but might not be that big a deal to add. this would give you things like: a snake tail that actually ends in a snake head (like the son of hamar-tabal's tail, and also to complete an actual chimera body); medusa-style snake hair; cocks that are actually snakes (or at least prehensile snakelike cocks); tongues that are actually snakes; maybe arms that are literally pythons, though that one gets into the same "have arms but not hands" problem as [MANTIS] above
the planned ones are like... [WINGS][TENTACLE][EYES][HALO][TEETH]
generally "eyes" and "teeth" are gonna be assumed, in the same way that if you have a wolf dick it automatically has a knot, even if you didn't attach a[KNOT] node specifically. so don't worry about accidentally making faceless mouthless monsters.
also to talk about "sex" nodes here, since there's a lot of overlap b/t them and 'parts' generally:
planned new sex nodes: [BREASTS][MOUTH][TONGUE]
[TONGUE] both to give yourself a giant warted purple demon-tongue that you can load up with nodes, but also to give yrself a mouth + tongue for yr main genitalia, which would in practice work basically like a cloaca w/ yr tongue as the dick (with some word substitutions).
the plan is to allow people to have cock-tails and cock-tongues:
these haven't really shown up at all yet.
"element" is pretty self-explanatory; it's stuff like: [FIRE][ICE][STORM][POISON][PLANT][STELLAR][STATIC]. several of those are planned to have more specific variants, specifically [FIRE] is gonna have, like... [FIRE]»ash and [FIRE]»magma, and [STELLAR] is gonna have [STELLAR]»sun[STELLAR]»moon[STELLAR]»stars[STELLAR]»void.
"gloss" is more like material qualities: [ICHOR][BONE][OBSIDIAN][SPINES][VEINS][PUSTULES], and various weapon nodes: [WEAPON]»sword[WEAPON]»spear[WEAPON]»chain[WEAPON]»bow
i've been waffling over whether [BONE] or [OBSIDIAN] should be elements instead but it's really not important.
among other things, these nodes will do things like change yr cum type. [FIRE]»magma on yr balls is gonna give you lava cum. [PLANT] on yr balls is gonna give you sap cum. [ICHOR] on yr balls is gonna give you thick blackened slime cum. and so forth. those are gonna be fairly easy to code up into sex scenes, since it's pretty easy to locate the parts where i talk about the pc coming. there's already some code to handle cock attributes (like "has barbs", "has medial ring", etc), so the spines/veins/pustules stuff should fairly naturally slot into that. this is all actually pretty tractable compared to WHAT'S COMING NEXT:
the only shape node currently gettable is [MORE].
shape nodes... introduce a lot of problems. already with [MORE] there's the issue of like: hey two dicks. how should this sex scene respond to that? or: two heads! how should this makeout scene respond to that? and currently the answer is "basically ignore it", which is maybe disappointing but it makes my job a lot easier. as time goes on and i return to flesh out more existing scenes, expect more sex scenes that do actually take into account the more complex dick structures. [MORE] will eventually have [MORE]»x3 and [MORE]»x4 variants, which will just make my job more of a mess but WILL let you be an eight-legged horse. or a four-cocked horse.
similarly to [MORE], there's probably also gonna be, like. [MORE]»less. for when you want one-eyed ogres or one-winged angel characters. (it's [MORE]»less and not just [LESS] b/c of the no-duplicate-nodes rule; that way you can't have [MORE] and [MORE]»less on the same part) this raises questions about monopods, but probably i'll just cheat and say that you can't put 'less' nodes on arms or legs.
there's also [LARGE], which will probably have like, [LARGE]»x2, [LARGE]»x3. and, in practice, be used for giving yrself giant dicks/balls/knots.
actually putting [LARGE] in the game is gonna depend a lot on... uh, basically, adding support for that for descriptions would be fairly easy, since i'm already internally tracking cock size as a variable (not in inches; in fairly chunky classifications like 'small' 'average' 'big' etc; [LARGE] would just boost the size by x categories). the plan for encounters is to have maybe two variants: one for "reasonably-sized to large" cocks and one for "hugely oversized" cocks, with the precise cutoff between them depending on the encounter. likewise, maybe having two cumshot variants, one for "normally-sized" balls and one for "definitely oversized" balls. but just those four cases by themselves is an enormous amount of work, since that will for the most part require two new branches per body type per sex climax scene. so expect to see [LARGE] nodes substantially before they actually do anything during encounters.
(well, and also putting [LARGE] directly on your body, so that e.g., you can go from being a wolf "slightly larger than most wolves" to being a giant wolf. tho ofc that's another thing that there's not really full support for yet; there's a "small animal" category that wolves and goats fall into which changes their blocking slightly sometimes, but basically it would mean going from that branch to the branch that unicorns, bulls, and centaurs end up using, and if yr already a unicorn bull or centaur it wouldn't do anything at all in sex scenes. non-quadrupeds wouldn't see any change at all, at least for now.)
the other big one is [ASYMMETRICAL], which may or may not be a gigantic headache to implement; i haven't even started on it. use cases for [ASYMMETRICAL] are like:
- do you want one arm that's a big thorny tentacle and one arm that's normal? try
- do you want to be a real chimera with goat and lion heads? try
- do you actually want mismatched dicks, b/c that's a thing too
- do you want to be a dramatic one-light-wing one-dark-wing angel character b/c that's just like, idk,
basically the[ASYMMETRICAL] node works like a proxy bodypart, which you can then use to selectively override parts of the 'base' part.
there are also some nodes that don't really fit in those categories. for one, you might have noticed that "impreg content" is on the "fetish content" list. there's gonna be a two-part system here.
part one is "nodes that change over time". an example would be something like `[SEASONS]»spring` that cycles through `»summer` `»fall` `»winter` over time, or maybe a day/night one. (since there's no "time" yet this doesn't exist)
part two is for scenes to have the ability to force nodes into your node tree. so you might get [BLOATED] after one of the (many) times you get pumped full of weird slime. generally those kind of nodes would be semi-permanent: they'd stick around forever, but you'd be able to remove the nodes if you want, and if you do that they'd just be destroyed instead of going back into your node store. (this would only be used for physical modifier kind of things; there's not gonna be any actual forced-tf scenes)
impreg stuff would be the combination of the two. some kinda [PREGNANT]/[STUFFED FULL OF EGGS] nodes, which grow over time and ultimately trigger an event. (that being said, it'll be a while -- there's a hellhound stud encounter planned, but it's not until you actually go up into the mountains where the hellhound royals are. maybe some stuff w/ the tentacle parasites that are animating the zombies.)
IN ADDITION TO ALL THAT, i would... i mean, okay, so, this node system is very nice for creating a bunch of very different kinds of bodies, but it kind of falls down when it comes to small details. like: hair style, muscle tone, fat, coloration. minor stuff like piercings and tattoos. and i'd like to include some of that stuff, but it's kind of unclear how to actually... do any of that. i don't want to make a million [HAIR]»mane [HAIR]»undercut [HAIR]»fade [HAIR]»dreads nodes and then go "also these can only ever attach to heads". so expect SOMETHING to cover that particular niche at some point, just... not immediately.
anyway so that's about it! i'm sure i've forgotten some stuff, but this is the general concept for how development will continue.