Saturday, October 24, 2015

Spooky Scary Halloween-Unrelated Flash FS Update

Greetings again, from Blue Bishop!

If you’re on our Patreon, then you’ll soon find a new version of our “Flash FS” alpha available for download. The focus for this iteration is primarily on re-introducing and refining character creation.

Now, I don’t plan to write up a blog post every single step of the way; I think we’d all enjoy discovering new things on our own, rather than being told them outright. That being said, there’s a key change here that I think is worth highlighting to avoid potential confusion or misinformation.

Specifically, this relates to us phasing out banning in favour of a more robust version of warding.  With this, you’ll still be able to avoid random encounters with selected monster types, but they’ll still remain available for some events and quests. We’re also reassessing a couple of the ward categories to be more concise. Finally, sexual content rules (such as anal level) also still remain.

Quite honestly, the old method of outright monster banning has been a lot of trouble from a design standpoint.  This was especially prevalent when a banned creature was integral for a key quest or for NPC progression, basically making that task unwinnable.  This cut out a lot of potential storytelling options and kept you, the player, from the desirable content that would otherwise follow that task.

Here’s what you can expect to come (in time) from the improvements to warding.  Some of these will appear as those mechanics are built and others are guidelines for the devs to keep in mind.
  • Warded creatures will never be randomly encountered. The exception to this rule is where you go overboard and ward everything in a given zone. At which point the wards are suspended for that encounter roll.
  • This is mostly the case for random events, as well. The exception may be events where the monster doesn’t really “do” anything; I think players will abide the game acknowledging the mere existence of a warded monster, for the sake of keeping event lists relatively plentiful.
  • Players will (almost) never be forced to have sex with a monster for player victory. Way back in ye olde times, this would happen a lot. It should happen less now, but moving forward, we want to avoid these instances (almost) entirely... I say almost, because there may be some rare or extreme cases where we may break this rule, but only when it’s sufficiently justified and, overall, we want to make these the exception rather than the rule.
  • Quests which require you to fight a certain -- potentially warded -- monster will point you in their direction so you can hunt for them, which won’t be affected by warding. Some quests already make compromises in the game when it comes to warding (such as by changing the target), so we’re likely to carry those forward -- but this, by no means, suggests that a writer is obligated to provide a compromise for every time a ward conflicts with a task.
    • Additionally, we have no intention of entirely suspending sexual content for the warded monster, which includes player loss (should you lose fair and square to them) or during certain narrative-driven moments.  For the latter, there will often be an indication as to what you’re getting into, so you need not be completely blind-sided.
  • Chances are, any monster part of the “Humorous” ward list (now called “Silly”) will never be a part of the main storyline, so you can avoid them to your heart’s content.

Now, that being said, as much as we want to make an effort to appeal to the tastes of our players, there’s going to be a point where we, as the developers of this game, have to draw the line. I won’t patronize you by going on a rote diatribe over ownership, rather I’d underline that we can only go so far before the entire endeavour becomes absurd.

After one too many compromises, it then becomes a question of whether or not we should have sex in the game at all, which isn’t what anybody’s signed up for here. It’s as simple as that.

I understand that, if you’re really into banning, it might be a bummer for you to lose this functionality, but it ended up going too far with what we were willing to let the player modify regarding their experience.  This improved warding method should provide what you were looking for without preventing you from partaking in quests and storylines you might otherwise have enjoyed.

Anyways, while you can expect to see a lot of changes to existing mechanics as things progress, this should hopefully be the only significant mechanic you’ll see removed outright. In either case, the goal is to greatly improve upon the old version while still being “Flexibile Survival” as we know it. And with that, I return one more to my coding cave!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hot Bovine Action!

I'm back with another update on the new content added to the game.  We've got some new fun with existing characters and a brand new NPC.  The two headliners deal with big bovine studs.  Amazingly, my queue seems to be almost clear, though I know I've got some more big requests looming on the horizon.

- Tiny Tim: There's now a series of scenes involving the player topping Camp Bravo's minotaur.  To have the option appear in Sgt Alexander's menu, you'll need to partake in some of the camp's other content.  You'll also have to be human-sized or larger and have a large (10+) cock.
- Bradford: A new bull Bounty Hunter you can meet while exploring the RLD and he's willing to cut you in on a few small bounty missions he's been commissioned to do.  After a pair of these, he'll be open for some sexy times, though he's mainly an M/F kind of guy.
- Dom Icarus: He's back with 3 additional basement scenes (1 being for avian-pred players only).
- Snow: Triggering for the Wild Squirrels event has been tweaked, making the skill rolls a little easier.  Should you notice the trap in advance, fleeing is now optional.
- Latex Ermine: In a bit of mutual bribery, I've added a broad set of endings to this infection after Anymouse1968 made art of these sexy ermine girls (see next).  Variations are based on gender and being pure or not.

- Latex Ermine: A spontaneous art gift, Anymouse1968 has done six colour variations for these sexy ermines - 5 for the roaming monsters and another in the player's indigo colour.  The latter will appear as part of pure Latex Ermine endings (with breasts).
- Lamia: New Patreon-sponsored art of the sexy mistress of the hospital's maternity ward and also done by Anymouse1968.  It can also be seen on the Patreon page.

Removed Content:
- Reservoir and some background events have been removed temporarily due to space limitations.

Writer For Hire update:

  • More Bradford (0/2) - Stripes
  • Rane/Eric (18.5/20) - Wahn
  • Chris Reservation (0/5) - Wahn
  • Caveman Reservation (0/5) - Wahn

Monday, September 21, 2015

Flash FS!

Boy oh boy, Blue Bishop here and you certainly haven't seen me in some time, now have ya? I've been very busy these past few months, and I'm proud to officially announce my work on a new, Flash-based Flexible Survival. There's a lot to go through here, so sit tight and I'll break it all down for you. First off...

Story Time!

When you last heard from me, I was fresh off Dragonpalooza, with still a few minor mechanics to implement and primarily focusing on minor, quality of life improvements for a bit. Then we... Kinda hit a snag.

Basically, we hit inform7's previously unknown capacity limit; No more content could be added without removing old content. The most we could do, when updating, was shuffle out some really old stuff and when we had new content to produce. For this reason, I pretty much went on hiatus -- having another writer pumping out content would only exacerbate the issue -- until it was resolved.

Sadly, after working away at personal projects (And moving again), a fix never came. Things were looking dire, we needed the matter attended to right away, so I set aside my current projects and committed to creating a proper, long-term solution to our problem.

Using Fenoxo's, open source, Unnamed Text Game as a base, I started work on a prototype to replace our i7 version, and after many long months, I finally have something to show for it. And that leads us to today.

The Game Itself

Currently, the "Alpha" prototype is available exclusive to Patreon contributors. As much as I do encourage your support, I wouldn't stress over this too much if you choose not to. The Alpha functions primarily to illustrate our current progress milestone and only contains the most essential mechanics at their fundamental levels: room navigation, combat, items and inventory, infection and self examination, as well as exploration and scavenging.

There's no significant amount of new content for you to experience here, and we want at least some small way of compensating those who've stuck with us for so long, so you're not missing out here. The game will remain Patreon-Exclusive throughout its alpha stage, which involves adding all the remaining mechanics (pregnancy, pets, npcs, etc), and then become fully public once we enter Beta -- which is the point where we're purely translating content from the i7 FS to the new one.

Talking About Changes

Converting the game from i7 to flash is no easy feat, we basically had to start over from scratch. However, this can be something of a blessing in disguise, because we can now more closely assess and adjust mechanics as they're re-introduced. FS has become something of a patchwork of inconsistent design over the years -- an inevitability of changing hands -- and here is our chance to organize everything into a cohesive whole.

Obviously, the thing that’ll mostly be staying the same is scene prose -- though I imagine you can expect it to be polished/tweaked during the translation process -- so don’t expect completely new content across the board to complement this new version, just an overall better, more consistent experience on an engine that will last for us.

Additionally, simply by virtue of how different the two engines are, some things are lost during the translation process, though you'll be surprised at how much we've managed to preserve regardless. Here's a more in-depth breakdown:

What's going:

  • Text Input
It’s simply impossible for us to implement i7’s robust, in-engine system for receiving player’s text input, there’s no way we were going to preserve this during the move. 

This isn’t that big of an issue, however, as FS generally stopped relying on text input with the advent of hyperlinks. The only mechanic that really makes any use of text input is hunting, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

That being said, text input will see some modest return, if purely for inputting cheats and giving your PC an actual name for once.

  • Undoing
Similarly something built into inform that we were not going to be able to replicate was the ability to undo turns… This is kinda good and bad. On one hand, it’s nice to undo when you commit a serious gaffe, but on another it feels rather skeevy and cheap.

I don’t think any of the developers will really be missing this mechanic, and I’m sure players will find other ways to get around this absence. Of course, there will eventually be an ability to look back at previous text screens, even if this isn’t strictly “Undoing”.

And that’s… Actually kinda it, really. Everything else is wholly doable.

However, I do feel it’s important to highlight exactly what will be staying. This game uses UTG as the base for its prototype, and a “Fenoxo” game has a lot of implications circling around it, and I want to dispel those immediately. Here we go:

What's staying:

  • Hyperlinks
The ability to have interactable text within the main text box is something Fen’s games don’t really have. This is a big deal, because that otherwise means all interactions in the game are restricted to the UI’s button layout. If you want a lot of options, you need a lot of buttons or have buttons assigned to “Scroll” between them. This way gets past that entirely.

Core interactions will still be relegated to designated buttons, but now we can keep the button UI sparse while still having a very wide array of interactions.

  • Robust Inventory and Item Management
This is one such example of why hyperlinks are so important. In a Fen game, you can’t, say… Leave an item on the ground and pick it up later, or have a very large selection of items in your inventory.

This considerable expanse of possible interactions extends to NPC’s, sex menus, and pretty much anything we need. I can’t underline enough how significant this design choice is.

While I’m certain players have no problem with Fen’s work, they should have no fear that the game will end up becoming largely indistinguishable from his work at a design level, and this should be immediately apparent to those who have access to the Alpha… UTG placeholder UI notwithstanding.

Moving on, the translation process to flash means we acquire a number of newfound benefits, either from the engine itself or because of updated design philosophy. While pretty much every mechanic will see improvement, here are some highlights:

What's Changing/Improving:

  • Saving
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to go flash is the very apparent benefit of being able to easily save the game. i7’s browser-based interpreter can’t handle saves for a game as large as FS, and even with a better interpreter, the saves would not be preserved between versions. Given how rapidly we’ve been known to produce content for the game, this is kinda an issue.

Otherwise, you’d have to use savewords, and those were always something of a wonky, jarring process.

Anyways, this functionality is not yet present in the alpha version, but we do look forward to implementing it much later on.

  • Hunting
The ability to hunt for monsters or events basically has to change, given the lack of text input. Subsequently, hunting opens up a menu displaying any monster you’ve encountered and any event that’s been referenced elsewhere.

This means you can’t hunt for things right off the bat. On one hand, it’s really nice -- as an experienced player -- to know where everything is, but it kinda trivializes the experience of exploration and discovery.

Sure, in a game with physical navigation you’d have the same benefit, but you’d just as easily argue that’s a weakness of those games and not a strength -- at least from a designer’s perspective.

On the flip-side, you’ll never run into that situation where you’re fumbling about trying to remember what the exact name of some monster or event you’re looking for. So there’s that!

  • Time
This may seem like a minor annoyance, but in i7 FS you can only advance time in 3-hour increment “Turns”, which is a bane to anyone who wants to implement shorter increments. This could be fixed in inform, but because of a lot of mechanics presuppose these time increments, you can’t really change it without messing up a lot of timers connected to NPCs and quests.

Thankfully, since we’re starting from scratch, we’re no longer slaves to this annoyance, allowing us to shorten the time of certain actions or possibly provide feats that shorten them even further. Hooray!

And those are the highlights. It’s really nice to finally reveal what I’ve been working on these past few months, but the work still has a long way to go. I’ll be taking a brief break and focusing on producing documentation for writers transitioning between these two engines before development starts up once more.

As always, thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It Lives!

Here comes the long overdue update announcement.  Things have been trucking along in the background for the moment.  There's been a bit less generation of new content due to the focus on trying to get an alternative game engine operational, but that doesn't mean we've showed up empty-handed.  In addition to a lot of fixes, tweaks and typo corrections, the following material has been added or adjusted:

- Dominick: This ultra-dom husky is living out of a Corrupt Kennel off in the Urban Forest.  He's got several scenes and provides a new Breederslut infection.
- Feral Gryphon: You're now able to give a sample of Garrett's special "milk" to these guys, resulting in a more consensual anal scene.
- Garrett: Giving some of Garrett's "milk" to a defeated Gryphon (Herm or Feral) will open up a new sex menu option w/Garrett for a threesome, but only if you're pure male gryphon yourself as well.
- James: The medium sledge has been added as another possible weapon to bribe the Central Library's guard.

- Lucifer: The feral mustang now has new fun stuff in his sex menu – joining him as he breeds a mare, as well as being fucked in a sex harness strapped under the proud stallion.
- Feral Gryphon: Victory sex is now all the sweeter, as the player has the option to mount the gryphon’s cock.
- Orcs: There’s more fun to be had with Mul the orc, pushing  him further into a submissive role (if you’re an or warrior yourself).
- Rane: The blue oni and Eric will be able to get it on – with various possible results. A long sex scene is completed, though for now not uploaded yet. I will do so once the followup is further along...

- Fancy and Nermine now have in-game art by Anymouse1968.  It can also be seen on our Patreon page.
- The Mutant Centaur and some background events have been temporarily removed from active play.
- The Ewe, Ram, Lizard Girl, City Sprite, Pirate Shark and Black Equinoid are now capitalized in name.  This will affect older savewords during restoration.  Similarly, the tainted wool drop item has been corrected to lower case and inventory may similarly be affected during restoration.

Writer For Hire update:

  • More Dom Icarus (5.5/8 - in progress) - Stripes
  • More Garrett (5/8) - Stripes
  • New NPC (0/6) - Stripes
  • More M/M (Patreon) - Stripes
  • New NPC (0/6) - Stripes
  • More Orc fun with Mul (9/12) - Wahn 
  • Rane/Eric (8/20) - Wahn
  • Chris Reservation (0/5) - Wahn
  • Caveman Reservation (0/5) - Wahn

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Chimera Upgrade

Okay, quick post this time.  After a lot of fighting with it over the week-end and multiple attempts to compile, test, compile, test, etc, I have completed the Patreon-sponsored update.  The beta-testing takes a long time this deep into the quests.

Returning from Zephyr to your chosen doctor leads to him offering you a very special transformation opportunity, and each one suitable to them. 
- Dr. Matt: A tantalizing opportunity to regain your humanity thanks to a dose of that restoration spray.
- Dr. Mouse: An offer of greater transformation - turning you into a powerful chimera of his own designing.
- Enhanced Chimeras: On either path, the Mismatched Chimeras get phased out for their newer model: the Enhanced Chimeras.  How they infect the player will depend on your game path. 
- Armour Tweaks: Some adjustments were made to the armour and shield systems.  Mostly background stuff that should speed up combat slightly.  The stopping power of shields have been upped in general, though that may need further tweaking.  I need to rethink some of the implementation when I have more time.
- Food/Water Request: The request for supplies by Doctor Matt has been opened up to players with Automatic Survival active.

- Denise: Now an npc with her own nest in the upper level of the Grey Abbey library. You can pick her up there or drop her off there (as well as still use the old pet summon commands). NPC Denise does have a sex menu and a talk menu.
- Nermine: Jackalman players who fucked Nermine and had a fennec customer walk in on the fun now can play through a followup event - where the fennec comes into the store again with his mistress Bastet. A short quest and not so short sexual contest between the player and Bastet allows for binding her into Nermine's service, adding the sexy lioness to the magic shop as a guard.

- Shaft Beasts: To deal with the continued compiler issue, we've had to temporarily phase these creatures out of the game.

Writer For Hire update:
  • New NPC (0/7) - Stripes
  • More Dom Icarus (3.25/8) - Stripes
  • More Garrett (0/8) - Stripes
  • New NPC (0/6) - Stripes
  • Lucifer/Ferals (0/6) - Wahn
  • More Orc fun with Mul (3/6) - Wahn 
  • Rane/Hayato/Eric (0/20) - Wahn
  • Chris Reservation (0/5) - Wahn
  • Caveman Reservation (0/5) - Wahn

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hospital Quest 2 Started

Here's another update on the additions to the game.  It's a shorter list because I've had to do a lot of prep/planning/testing, but it does have several significant additions.  As you can see below, there's a lot on my plate planned and coming.  The main new item for this update is the titular one: the roll-out of the first segment of Hospital Quest 2.  The Patreon time for this month will be going towards this, the Main Storyline 2 and/or various creature scenes and this is the first portion of that material.

- Hospital Quest 2:  Did you side with Dr. Mouse or do you enjoy playing in game modes without Dr. Matt, but still want more story quest?  Well now we've got the first few stages of HQ2 active.  They'll be quite familiar to experienced players, as they are retooled tasks from the latter portion with Dr. Matt.  I had originally planned only partial overlap from these, but circumstances require I be more conservative with my writing/coding at the moment.  Going forward will have a mix of mutual and individualized tasks and I might later swap out the nav point task for something different.
- Susan: As part of readying for new storyline content, Susan's gotten some preliminary adjustments.  The main of these is a separation of dialog and sex, and an acceptance of over-sized player cock.  She has also taken one of the HQ2 tasks as a request of her own: you'll need to save her from the horrors of hospital food.  We'll see more of her along with the advancement of HQ2, as I consider her a part of this.
- Aurora: Sexy times have been added to your frost giantess companion.  These are player-activated scenes, so just ask her to fuck.  She's also been given some basic endings.
- Icarus: Dom Icarus has received the first portion of his optional darker content.  After several dommy scenes with the player, he'll try to force an avian pred or feline player down into a utility basement for some extra punishment-sex.

Writer For Hire update:
  • Patreon Time (6.5/18) - Stripes
  • Patreon Scenes: Onyx - Stripes
  • New NPC (0/7) - Stripes
  • More Dom Icarus (3.25/8) - Stripes
  • More Garrett (0/8) - Stripes
  • New NPC (0/6) - Stripes
  • Nermine (0/3) - Wahn
  • Lucifer/Ferals (0/6) - Wahn
  • Denise NPC (0/6) - Wahn
  • More Orc fun with Mul (0/6) - Wahn

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pet Fix

One thing I forgot to mention during my update announcement that's actually quite important.  I found the bug that was making pets so ineffective and corrected it.  They should now have a reasonable chance of hitting in combat.  I have also slightly increased their odds of trying to attack, to further increase their merit.  And remember: increasing your charisma increases their chance to attack every round.