My goal was to finish and release House Dominae before the end of 2022. Evidently, that did not happen. There were a number of factors preventing me from reaching that goal but the primary one was that the game is quite large and I overestimated how much of it was in a shippable state.
In most cases, the things that need the most attention are things I wrote a long time ago and never revisited as the game evolved.
There is a silver lining though, and it’s having a goal has allowed me to focus more. Over the past several months I’ve been meticulously going over different parts of the game and finishing them up, or removing them if necessary. Many things were left at around 80-90% completeness. Enough to technically work but often missing some final piece (usually text). Lately, I’ve brought lots of these kind of things to 100% completeness or, at the very least, a solid “good enough.”
The Final Stretch
In my mind we’re currently in the final stretch of the project. I want to be absolutely clear though. I cannot say with certainty how much work is left but I know it’s not going to take another year. That I know for sure. It will be a while longer still, as I continue to finish everything up – and trust me, there is a lot to finish. But I can see the end of the tunnel and have started making plans for what to do when I get there.
Perhaps related to this, I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the game lately. It’s been rewarding seeing everything come together, more or less how I intended it. The code base is really robust and easy to work with (most of the time) and things are snapping into place in a satisfying way. I have even found myself playing the game more often and roleplaying with the characters. All good signs.
The Road to 1.0
I have a rough plan in mind for the game’s release. The first release will most likely be given out to the people in the Discord as a beta. The game is plenty stable but there’s bound to be a scattering of bugs and issues that have eluded me so far.
We might throw a few beta versions around. We’ll see. Then, once I’m satisfied with the game’s stability and content, that will then become House Dominae version 1.0 and be released to everyone, for free.
Shortly after that, assuming people keep playing the game, I will be addressing further player feedback and suggestions.
Once the game is out and about and everybody’s happy, I’m going to start working on one of two feature updates. These will aim to restore some of the features that were cut for the sake of finishing the game. One will complete the pregnancy mechanic. The other will introduce animals and the ability to create custom creatures (i.e. Pokémon) using the character creator. I made a Twitter poll about this a while back and the responses were quite encouraging. There’s also potential for a distant third update that would introduce monsters and magic but that hasn’t been fully fleshed out in my mind yet. I’ll just leave that as a tease.
I don’t foresee these updates taking ages to complete. They’re half-implemented already, just disabled, and they won’t require much that isn’t in the game already. If I recall correctly, what’s left to do is mostly UI stuff.
On a whim, I’ve experimented using DeepL Write to punch up some of the game’s text. The results have been good. I’m reasonably confident in my English spelling and grammar but creative writing is not my strong suit. To be clear, DeepL isn’t the kind of tool that writes the text for me, rather I feed it my own written text and it gives me back a few alternative phrasings I could choose to use instead. So far it’s been really helpful for me to get around some of the stiffness in my writing. More importantly, having a crutch to lean on is making me want to write more and that alone is a major win.
I’m currently undergoing a rewrite of all sexual services in the game. It’s not related to the DeepL stuff. It’s just another part of my mission to finish everything up. Lots of them are still unwritten and I’m going to take the opportunity to try a different structure that will hopefully be better at conveying the slaves’ performances in an interesting way.
Finally, I still need to fully commit some number of days to create male faces, hair and clothes. That should happen soon. I’ve been postponing it for too long.