Biweekly update #5


Happy to see you

Dev spotlight

To anyone wondering why there was a long pause between the blog posts, I was just on a vacation. In hindsight it wasn't that smart not to notify about it on the blog as well, since my Patreon page and the blog probably have some differences in audiences. I'm back now, and I'll be doing the normal weekly and biweekly things as before. And yes, I am still working on V3.

Contributor help hardships
Some people may have noticed that I've recently had trouble responding, or just didn't respond to emails sent to me. It's actually caused by a rather unfortunate issue of time, energy and value.

When I started developing Teraurge, I naively thought that I could help other writers and vet their writing just by having them send me their stuff via email. This did happen for a short time, but it soon became evident that even a small number of writers is just too much work to handle for me, because of the uneven quality and amount of learning needed from the writers, and my lack of time to coach them properly.

I did persevere with a few writers in the beginning and tried to push the things they were writing to completion, but I either lost contact with them, or the writers became disillusioned/stressed/uninterested in the writing process and their writing projects never got finished. After several of these writers abandoned their efforts despite my help and critique, I became disillusioned with the process, as the opportunity value spent on helping writers became very, very slim. It seriously sapped my own enthusiasm about the idea.

For a long time I wasn't sure what went wrong, or what I was doing wrong. Eventually I did realize what the issue was, but I ignored it in hopes of making it work. But in the end it's simply a logistical issue of a single person trying to do too many things at the same time, and dividing their attention between many complex tasks. 

Anyone of you who did write and send emails to me and never heard back; I appreciate the interest and I wish I could have worked with everyone to put content into the game, but it just wasn't realistically possible. As it stands I cannot help contributors over email but I would still like to implement possible contributor content if it has already been finished and meets the guideline standards.


Biweekly update #4


Boob monsters

Dev spotlight

Still working on V3.

Combat cards
Teraurge V3 will have a rejiggered combat system, and one of its main features are the different cards player can obtain. The overall system has not changed from V2. You use your attributes as fuel for your cards and you whack each other on different turns as usual.

Getting new cards by equipping weapons/items or with training is the main way to become more proficient in combat in TU. Getting resistances by equipping armor/items is another. 

The general idea is to avoid number inflation, so to keep the numbers as low as possible in terms of damage dealt and the hitpoints of combatants. For this reason it is actually impossible for the player to gain more hitpoints beyond the starting amount gained from the endurance attribute. This "number minimalism" also extends to the combat cards. The card damage values start from 1 and go from there. This will make balancing less of a headache, and I find that adjusting hitpoints is easier than adjusting the damage cards deal.

Because of how the resistances work (they just deduct the specified amount from the damage type), very low numbers still have a large effect on the overall damage output. It also means that exotic damage types are more valuable than more common ones, so one point of fire damage can be more useful than two points of slashing damage, because the slashing damage is more often resisted by enemies.

I also want to avoid leaving in an "ideal strategy", where a single deck configuration can beat all enemies in the game. The resistances and damage types are there exactly for that reason. Really tough encounters should require the player to specifically tweak their deck to win that fight.

PS: Combat card graphics are a strange beast. It's very different from the normal character/scene painting I'm used to, since it needs to communicate an action in a more symbolic way. I think I need some more practice with the style before I'm happy with them, but for now V3 can suffer the simple card art.

Hmm yes, blue fist, red fist, and blue leg.


Biweekly update #3


Very round shapes

Dev spotlight

Sketch pictures

Most of the TU gameplay time is spent in the default view, which is the familiar screen where the character stands on the right and speech bubbles appear on the left, or on the overmap. But, TU also has sketches or "story pictures", that are used when the writer wants to visually represent a detail or an action that default view can't show. The sketches are used for the sex scenes, and pretty much all of the lewd pictures (aside from nude character sprites), are represented with the sketches.

The sketchy, "unfinished" style for these pictures is a deliberate choice from my part. This is mostly because of the amount of pictures needed for the game, and the effort needed to produce higher quality replacements for them would require far too much development time. Consider that V2 of Teraurge has 500+ sketch pictures in it already, and you'll understand the decision. The abstract style also allows me to use colors in an evocative way to convey emotions through the visuals. This strategy can easily be seen in the case of pinks and purples, which are used to represent feelings associated with sex, affection, pleasure, and Greens being used for unpleasant smells and sickness.

The sketches and the text descriptions are supposed to be complementary and they are used to explain different aspects of the scene. For example, if the player finds an object with a complex shape, the sketch will illustrate the shape and the text will convey other qualities not explained by the sketch. I often edit out text descriptions that duplicate what the sketch picture can already answer, since the text descriptions usually over-explain the scene before the sketch pictures are added.

Smells purple. Relevant detail on the right and empty space on the left. The sketch pictures might sometimes seem incoherent in terms of shapes, but the player seeing the character sprite before the sketches usually fills in what the shapes are supposed to be.

If anyone's wondering, the sketch pictures are drawn in Corel Painter. I make them with three layers: background canvas, color layer (overlay blending), and the black line layer. I sometimes use line layer for color highlights to get very vivid colors, but normally I constrain them to the overlay layer. The line art for the sketches is made using a pen brush (with max grain) with the tilt feature enabled. The tilt feature lets me create large strokes without touching the size slider or changing a brush and it is generally cool to use.

The tilt feature is really cool.

The sketches usually follow a format where the main detail is on the right and left side of the picture is either left blank or is ambiguously rendered. This is because the left is normally partially covered by the text description boxes.


Biweekly update #2


Hydra butt

Purple tiddy

Dev spotlight

Character workshop series:

Character workshop, part 6: Player attributes and where to use them

Since TU is an RPG, or something resembling one, it uses abstract numbers to represent player character's abilities. The PC can't be good at everything, as in the usual RPG fashion there's only a limited number of ability points to be assigned at character creation.

The main thing attributes are supposed to do outside combat is to reinforce a character archetype(s) for the player. The player mindset sees low attributes as a negative and regards events that get triggered based on the low attributes of the PC as failure states. People who play games often see character attributes as a way to get ability and control instead being limited by them.

How do PC attributes relate to writing Amnukhel?

This one's easy. You get cooler flirt options and snappier comebacks when talking to people. On the low end you might be too stunted and awkward to actually understand some of the things she's suggesting to you.

Often manifests in dialogue choices as blunt, spiteful or rude options that cut through conversations. An example, after some small talk: "So do you wanna go fuck or do we keep talking for for appearances?". High will stat often just excludes these options from the conversations.

Dialogue options that are enabled by the intelligence stat often dive into topics that include specific knowledge/out-of-the-box thinking. For example, an intelligent player could have a conversation with Amnukhel about the number of mugs of rolli required to get oneself drunk based on their body mass.

Agility is probably the easiest physical stat to use in normal conversations. Doing party tricks with your hands, catching falling objects or just not falling over when drunkenly staggering through hallways. If the player minmaxed their agility away I'd just make them a huge klutz and spill their drink on Amnukhel.

As with all physical stats, strength too is used more in actiony scenes or in combat than it is in normal dialogue in a bar. Maybe mr. Slab Bulkhead crushes a mug with his hand to impress Amnukhel. Then again, if she falls asleep on a Twig Nomuscle, he can't get her huge body off of him and has to sleep under the drooling/snoring mutant duck monster.

Endurance is probably the least used stat in normal conversations, but it comes up more often in action scenes, and it's pretty useful for fights. Endurance does actually improve your sexual stamina, mind you. Although it only makes you last longer, as it doesn't actually make you better at it.

This thing is derived from all of the three physical stats (agility, strength, endurance) and it just measures how athletic the player looks like. This is actually very easy to use in dialogue since characters commenting on player's bod is pretty easy to do in flirty dialogue.

The mental attributes (charisma, will, intelligence) in 90% cases, add dialogue options that the player can take, but physical attributes usually do not add dialogue options. The success is usually resolved after the dialogue option that relies on a physical stat "(Crush the mug)" is taken. Weak player can attempt to crush the mug the same as a strong player character, the strong character just succeeds while the weak character fails (dumb jock stuff, like crushing a mug is probably behind a will attribute requirement as well).


Biweekly update #1


What a weird culture, but hello I guess.

Dev spotlight

I have decided to harness the awesome power of weekly streams to directly further the development of the game. This probably doesn't speed up the process that much, but it does give me a larger library of art detritus that I can use for the game. It also gives me a weekly obligation to flesh out different areas and aspects of the world, while providing a small window into different parts of the game world for those interested in the game.


Weekly update #38

Weekly updates update

The weekly updates will become bi-weekly updates, beginning now, this change will hopefully give me some breathing room in terms of blog update content and TU dev time. The streaming schedule will not change and the weekly streams will continue.


Weekly update #37

Dev spotlight

No dev spotlight this week either. 

I might have reconsider the weekly blog updates. I use a lot of time just to come up something for the weekly update, and often I merely flounder with a topic and don't manage to create anything post worthy. The constant stream of blog updates also buries the more worthwhile blog posts with these ones that basically a weekly excuse how I have no real content for the blog.

Even with the character workshop I have trouble just formatting or presenting the writing process without just simply repeating what I've written of the character. The writing process becomes quickly monotonous from an outside perspective because you can only plan/design so much until process is just write, edit, write, edit, write, etc.

Still working on V3.