I’ve added food (and hunger) to the game. Food will serve two purposes: primarily it’s as a simple upkeep mechanic. Slaves require food to survive and food costs money. The second purpose is as a morale booster.
For every slave you acquire you have another mouth to feed. But you don’t buy or manage a food stock. Instead, your characters will passively consume some amount of units of food every turn and at the end of every week you pay for the total food consumed.
You can set how much food is allocated to each of your characters. You can starve a slave to save money, however they’ll be less happy and weaker as a result. You can also reward slaves by giving them extra food, which will have similar but positive effects.
Naturally, the owner/player character requires more food than the common slave to be content.
At the end of the day this is a fairly inconspicuous addition. The player is not required to manage their food consumption if they don’t want to, as long as they can earn enough to pay for the weekly food expenses.
Sorry about the lack of updates. I just don’t end up posting as much as I probably should but development-wise I’m pretty much on the same pace as always. Maybe a little bit slower since work has been pretty hectic this fall.
Looking back at what I’ve done most of it have been focused on various systems in the game, which makes for really poor screenshots so bear with me.
Characters can now be defined with a personality trait. This is actually a very minor addition but it should be helpful when creating characters. Personalities work just as any other trait, but a character can only have one. I realized that a bunch of the psychological traits would serve better as personality traits, like “Shy” and “Slutty”.
I have a small confession to make. I stole this system from SoldGirl Town, almost in its entirety. In short, slaves now have two new stats: Loyalty and Reason (previously Mental health). These attributes are then used to determine the slave’s current state of mind or “mood”. Slaves generally start out with low loyalty and high reason resulting in a hateful mood. By slowly changing these stats through their actions, the player can alter the mood of a slave to successively make them more compliant and eventually
submissive and obedient.
It’s worth mentioning that this completely obsoletes the slave leveling system, which I’ll remove at some point. But I think I like this system better because it’s more nuanced and it adds a secondary way to affect a slave’s obedience besides the insubordination/punishment system.
This is another small change. I redefined the skills and categorized them in groups; a primary group (Manual, Oral, Anal, etc.) and a secondary group (Elegance, Perversion, Technique, etc.) The point is that every sexual activity will require a skill in the primary group and (optionally) some skill from the secondary group.
The primary skills should be self-explanatory but you can have vaginal sex in lots of different ways and I wanted the game to reflect that. So if a customer walks up and wants rough sex, it’d require the slave to use both their vaginal sex skill and their rough sex skill. An aristocrat might want a more elegant experience. You get my drift.
This also leads into some future work where I want to add some non-sexual services like strip dancing.
These were previously called “Techniques”. I wanted a way to clearly indicate a character’s skill growth. But I kind of solved that when I switched to a level based skill system over the previous linear one. Level 2 is clearly better than level 1.
So I changed techniques into be something a bit more interesting, I think. Characters will now occasionally learn special skills (I needed the word “Technique” for something else) and these are effectively buffs. Some special skills will be learned from books while some will have to be learned spontaneously. They should hopefully help with slave specialization and to differentiate slaves from one another.
You can now inform the game, via the character creator, if two or more characters are connected or related somehow. Characters can be brothers and sisters (for that incestuous hotness), husbands and wives or just canonical friends or enemies. I believe that if the player knows that two characters are canonically related, the game should be able to know that too.
This will come into play later when I revisit the relationship system. I believe there’s a ton of gameplay potential to be had there.
Semantic engine improvements
I added an option to allow the game’s text engine to refer to the player character as “you”. [Name] [is] tired will produce either “Chun-li is tired” or “You are tired” depending on the setting. Pretty neat!
I added an [a] command that will correctly output “a” or “an” based on the succeeding word. This is incredibly useful when referring to unknown things like names of customers – which now have randomized prefixes for variety.
Finally, I added [if], [elif], [else] & [endif] commands to do conditional statements. You could already do this but the existing syntax is more suitable for individual words whereas this will work better for full sentences and paragraphs.
I moved the project from Unity 5.3.4 to Unity 2018.1.6. Unity 5 is getting pretty long in the tooth and I really want to implement TextMesh Pro (alternative text rendering plugin). Experience tells me that you should always avoid upgrading engines or APIs that your project is relying on but I figured I had the time and if I was ever going to do it, it’d be now. If you’re lucky nothing breaks but you can’t ever expect that. Truth be told, you never know until you try.
Technically, only one thing broke. Unity removed MSAA from UI canvases rendered in Screen Overlay mode (default camera). It made some screens, like the building blueprint screen, really, really ugly and unfortunately the solution to that issue was to change the rendering of every single screen in the game and that cause a whole mess of issues. It was a domino effect of shit. It wasn’t hard to fix but incredibly tedious. Eventually I was able to put everything back in order. #NeverUpgrade
It’s a really good text rendering engine but the feature I wanted the most is its ability to insert arbitrary sprites in text.
Improved “Battle system”
If you squint really hard, House Dominae is almost like an RPG, where your slaves are party members and customers are enemies to battle and defeat. That’s honestly pretty close to how I’ve been looking at it. There is a system in the game where slaves encounter customers and attempt to defeat them, except not with swords and magic but with their bodies and skills.
Inspired by these ideas I made some changes to how the customer-slave encounters play out. Previously, slaves would roll dice based on the amount of experience points in their relevant skills. Those rolls would be modified by various circumstantial modifiers like gender/orientation compatibility, tiredness, etc. until finally tallied up and compared to the difficulty of the requested act.
That system worked well enough but while playing the game I observed that it felt really binary. Your slaves would either fail every time, or they’d succeed every time and it just wasn’t very interesting. I tried making the limit more fuzzy by allowing slaves to soft fail, i.e. get the job done but poorly.
The new system is closer to an RPG battle in the sense that every customer has a climax limit (health) and the slave gets multiple attempts (attacks) to reach that limit. If a slave can’t immediately satisfy a customer they can make an additional obedience check to see if they want to continue. Customers will do a similar “patience” roll to see if they’d want to continue. As long as both agree the slave can keep swinging. The result is the climax ratio the slave delivered divided by the number of attempts made. This means that a slave can “succeed” by 30%, which would be considered a poor result. They can also succeed by 200%, which could be interpreted as the customer cumming twice.
This level of granularity means that the progression of each slave’s performance will feel much less binary. Additionally all these values are fed into the text generation system so you can write really creative and detailed descriptions.
The service phase has been removed and is replaced by a foreplay phase. Unless they fail an obedience check a slave will always perform some kind of foreplay at the start of a customer encounter. They will maybe flirt or do a little striptease dance before moving on to the main event. This will cut off a small portion of the customer’s climax limit, making the encounter slightly easier.
Skills now have discrete levels
A slave’s performance in a skill used to be based on the precise value of experience points for that skill. That’s been changed to a more typical leveling system. Skill rolls are based on the level for that skill.
Obedience dictates whether or not a slave will do as they’re told. They can either accept a task, resist it, or refuse it entirely. I had a similar issue with obedience rolls as I did with customer-slave encounters where the rolls felt really binary. Either a slave would refuse everything or they’d agree to everything.
Thankfully, this didn’t need as big of an overhaul. I changed up the math to a much simpler (and to me, more predictable) look-up table. It gives me better control and I can tweak it as I go along.
It’s a tricky balance because I want Obedience to matter while not making it so that a slave can constantly disobey and drag the game down. This should work for now though.
More LUA stuff
Finally, this past week I’ve made some good progress with custom activities, scripted in LUA. Most has to do with exposing the necessary functions to the scripting environment, writing helper functions and sample scripts.
In House Dominae, any characters can attempt to perform any act, except they will fail 100% of the time unless they have the necessary experience points relevant to that act. I want it to be an open system but it also meant that it’s hard to discern what your slaves are capable of, without knowing the numbers.
To alleviate that issue I added something that I call ‘techniques’.
The basic system remains the same, except now when a slave gains a sufficient amount of experience in a certain discipline, that gets reflected by them learning a new technique, clearly shown in the character window.
Customers will only ask for activities if one of your slaves possess the technique relevant to that activity. The net effect is that advanced activities won’t be introduced until you have someone capable of performing them.
A secondary benefit of techniques is that you get a better sense of a character’s growth and it’s easier to compare them.
Almost as a direct consequence of adding techniques, I felt the game could use more alternative ways to gain experience.. so I added books! and a book store!
You can buy books and give them to a character. They can then read that book up to three times and gain experience on the subject of that book. Once a character is finished reading a book it stays in your inventory and you can give it to someone else to read.
There are advanced books and rare books too, so it’s a good idea to check the book store regularly to see what’s for sale that day.
I’ve been working on rooms and room upgrades across a number of weekends. I’ll be honest, this has not been the most fun task for me, but a necessity since upgrading your brothel is an important progression mechanic in the game.
As the owner of the brothel, one of your jobs is to assign a purpose to each room, and to maintain and upgrade them. You can only house as many slaves as you have beds so if you want to grow your business you will inevitably move to larger and more spacious buildings.
Admittedly, a lot of the rooms will be bedrooms, but I intend to have a number of other useful rooms available. One example is the bath, where characters can go to cleanse and reduce some stress. Another is an isolation room where you can confine slaves either as punishment or to slowly eat away at their psyche.
But all of this required a decent amount of foundational work. Work that is now mostly complete. Rooms can now be dressed up with furniture and props based on the room type and level. The game is now also smart enough to where it can utilize the same prop placements regardless of a room’s orientation or dimensions, which I hope will save me a lot of time putting them together.
Renting buildings This weekend I put some work into the game’s building mechanic.
You’ll start the game in a building just big enough to house you and your one starter slave. To progress and expand you’re going to have to move your brothel to successively larger buildings. Every building has its own room layout, which is an important consideration because the size of a room determines what type of room it can be.
You can also choose which town district your brothel is situated. The location of your brothel will heavily influence the kinds of customers you can receive.
Naturally, all of these considerations will affect the rent so choose wisely.
Hermaphrodites I also made a small but critical change to the shemale gender. They can now have both male and female genitalia. (They used to only have male bits.) I really liked the idea of a well-defined third gender and how it created a nice symmetry with the other two genders. At the same time this is stuff people really care about and in the end, the less restrictions on character creation the better.
Shemale characters with both a penis and vagina is now referred to as “hermaphrodites” but are still considered to be members of the same gender as their vagina-less sisters. They’re a little OP, because they they get the best of both worlds, but so be it.
I reworked how you earn influence points in House Dominae. Influence is an important resource that you spend on things that money can’t buy. It’s like a social currency and you need it’s to gain access to the in-game bank, as an example.
Previously you would passively earn influence points based on your current reputation score. As long as your reputation was high, you’d gain some influence every day.
In testing I discovered that this mechanic just doesn’t work. You’d start the game earning no influence at all and once you’d get a little bit of reputation you were swimming in it. I tried balancing the numerical values but it became apparent the system was fundamentally flawed.
The new system will assign influence points to individual customers. To claim that influence you must satisfy their request. You can imagine these customers being influential people that will spread word about you even after visiting your brothel. The likelihood of a customer being influential depends on their social class.
I really like this way of doing it because it directly ties into the rest of the gameplay. When an influential person shows up in the customer queue I really want to make sure that I assign them to a slave that has the greatest chance of satisfying their request.