It's Friday, and you all know what that means! Dev Updates! ::whoop whoop::
I want to thank all the new (and old) Patrons publicly. Last week I asked you to help me do more things faster. I'll ask again at the end of this dev update, and you can judge for yourself if we deserve your support or not!
I don't know if it's something in the water, but we've been on fire again this week! I've done so much this week that I've lost track of all the little things, but here's trying to remember the blur of days that made up my week.
With all the changes we're making for the next release, some of you might want to start a new game without playing through the first two episodes again. As such, I created an option to skip the prologue.
In doing this, I've had to change the intermission scenes so the game can still get the required information from you (name, gender etc.) without you feeling like we should add a "skip the intermission" option also.
While doing so, I took some time to refine the intermission scenes also. They now feel more like a cutscene instead of having to click the whole time.
I've continued to work on the sprites, updating them to the new layered setup I mentioned in last week's dev update. I've also started updating the sprites in-game by going through the code line-by-line and polishing it. It will take a few more weeks to get through it all. Special shoutout to Odikeraz on Discord for creating these amazing reference sheets to be used while coding. This has helped more than I can say!
Another art update is a new alien species, only briefly mentioned in the game until now. You won't get to see them until Episode 4– Well, you get to see a teaser of them now, but you won't see them in-game until episode 4. I won't name them, as their name will spoil some minor reveals (there is power in names, after all), but those who have been paying attention will know what's going on.
Meet the [REDACTED]
This is also the first complete character design done by one of the new artists standing in for Zaph while he takes a break to sort out some stuff. There is a slight difference in art style, but nothing clashes with what we already have.
I like to think I am proactive in solving issues before they become issues (It's one of the selling points for clients in my day job), so I've finally committed to GitHub. (See the pun? Hurr, Hurr.) This will allow better version control as more people start helping with the coding. It also opens up the possibility to open-source the code should I ever lose interest in the project. (I don't foresee losing interest, ever) By using GitHub, I also implemented some more scrum boards to work off, and I am considering the possibility of a publicly visible roadmap. Time will tell!
A few months back, I teased a mockup screen on Discord for the dynamic stat tracking system. It has now been implemented and works like a charm. As a bonus, it even led to the discovery of a silly bug that drove me up against the wall! Luckily I was able to find and squash it.
One thing I wanted to achieve with Infinite Stars is telling a story that feels custom written for you. After all, it's not about the destination. It's about the journey. With these stats being tracked, there is an incentive towards roleplaying instead of just clicking choices to find the 'right' scene.
I'm still playing around with the exact wording to describe the different metrics we're tracking, but you'll be pleased to know that we did quite a bit of research into the science of personality tests, all in the name of making your Mah'Abeu feel like, well, you. (We also track some stats not related to personalities, just for fun.)
With my focus slowly shifting towards updating the Patreon tiers, one of the possible rewards would be to have one of our artists draw your Mah'Abeu's headshot for this screen. That bright blue square will become your headshot picture. Players can replace the image with anything they want, a photo of themselves, a drawing of their cat, or even a logo or emblem that they particularly like.
Each stat is revealed as you gain or lose points for it. They are also "flippable", changing from dominant to submissive, optimistic to pessimistic etc. I'll probably do a full writeup on this in the future for other game developers, and it's a system I see myself using for all my future games. And talking about future games brings us to our secret project, Project Herald. I'm finally ready to announce the name and share some promo artwork.
Ladies, Gentlemen and everyone else, I introduce to you, Draegan Herald!
Draegan Herald will be a very adult game, with a writing style primarily focused on the heterosexual (and not so heterosexual) ladies. We aren't neglecting the rest of you. We're striving to create something appealing to you, no matter your gender, but let's face it: when it comes to adult visual novels, the ladies need some love.
The project will be a commercial project funded by Patreon. (This horse has been beaten to death, but Kickstarter is unavailable for South Africans. Shame on them for stifling creative opportunities! Shame!) All Infinite Stars patrons above a specific tier, up to a yet unannounced date, will receive a free copy of the game when it releases as a token of my eternal gratitude. In the meantime, you can follow the shiny new Twitter page with 0 followers. Go hit follow and tweet "first" or something like that!
I warned you at the start of the post, and here it is: If you feel I am doing amazing– (or even mildly acceptable, hat tip worthy work), please consider pledging on Patreon to allow me to do more things like this, faster. I started Infinite Stars with a $30 per month budget from my savings two years ago. Since then, every cent I receive goes straight back into tools, artwork and other things needed to better the project. The biggest bottleneck is funding, and while we are making significant progress with our current budget, I'd like to do even more with your help. If you feel that my work and dedication are something you'd like to support, please consider making that pledge! (To those who are already supporting the project, you are all legends! I've told you many times before, but I'll say again that none of this would be possible without your generous support!)
That's it for me. I have tons more to do in preparation for the NEXT dev update. ::Whirrrrrrr::