Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Expanding "Bound"aries

Greetings, my fiendish friends! Blue Bishop here, let's talk about Bound States.

Overall, the feedback regarding Bound States has been overwhelmingly positive, and it's great to see people enjoying the system as they are.

Nonetheless, one of the criticisms often expressed about the system is a lack of robust interaction in the scenes. After a lot of deliberation, I set out to resolve this problem, and it should be resolved in this most recent update(July 23). However, I would like to take an opportunity to discuss the changes in detail and the thought processes behind them. Let's begin, shall we?

Existing Actions: Struggle/Abide

Players will find that Struggle hasn't changed at all; there has never been any issue with the mechanic and its execution, so it stays the same.

Similarly, Abide remains unchanged; however, you can now only access it if you lost the inciting battle and your humanity is over 50, which leads into the new mechanics.

New Action: Oblige

Oblige Replaces Abide if you submitted to the fight or if your humanity is less than half. Its operation is relatively the same as Abide, except your lust gains are doubled and certain, contextual mechanics are accelerated.

You might be wondering why the system didn't come shipped with a "Positive" action, and only just a "Negative" and "Neutral" one, but the reasons are lengthy and complex.

First off, simply by virtue of how bizarre these situations are, it'd be logical for the player to not respond positively to the situations. Moreover, even though you the player are complicit in the interaction, you may not want your character to feel the same way.

One potential mistake you can encounter when creating these sorts of games is you could present a situation and portray the player character as having a certain response to a situation that is wildly different from the player's intent, without any good reason for it. Hell, in the case of Bound States, you could argue that this doesn't apply since there's a choice, but simply offering the choice can harm the player's experience by implying that it's an action they would ever consider.

Of course, the flip side to that coin is that you have players who do want to be proactive and involved in the scene, and you annoy them by not offering the option. Finding the right balance can be surprisingly difficult at times, and it took quite an amount of time for me to figure it out. Hopefully, Oblige will fit this niche neatly.

New Action: Endure

If Oblige is an accelerant, Endure is the opposite, slowing down and prolonging the encounter for as long as possible. Endure ostensibly halves the sanity loss and lust gains you receive, both passively and through certain events such as getting off.

As I said before, it took me a while to figure out Oblige, but in that time I considered a "Defensive" action, which didn't really get anywhere until recently. The problem with such an action is that, providing it next to Abide, you'd only really ever use the defensive option, at that point why even have Abide? And if you're removing Abide, you'll now have to tune this new action around the player always using it... At which point you might as well do nothing and just keep Abide.

However, once I figured out Oblige, Endure felt much more appropriate. The problem still remains for Abide in the small window where it's available, but now that issue feels much more tolerable, given the larger picture.

New Action: Recover

Now, while all actions have a clear identity and a reason you'd want to use them, there's very little player interaction between these actions; for the most part you'll just find the one you want and stick to it for the encounter, which is where Recover comes in.

Every time you perform an action, there's a chance for Endure to be replaced with this action. Not only does Recover behave exactly like Endure, but it will actually restore a small portion of humanity to the player; certainly not enough for you to gain more than you've lost, but enough for you to consider the action no matter what choice you usually make.

And that's all the changes you should see when experiencing bound states. At present, these changes apply to all existing encounters that use them (Assuming I didn't goof something up).

Oh, and there's one other little thing. Along with these changes, I decided to send the player loss half of the still in-progress overhaul of the Yamato Dragon Pair, which contains its own, vore-based bound state! A dedicated blog post will be made when overhaul is completed, but for now I'll tell you that both require More Vore to access, and they have no scale restrictions, unlike others of its kind. Have fun!