So… Hm, where to start…
As you may recall from last week, Alpha 6.1 was meant to be a relatively simple update focused on expanding Penny’s content. It was gonna be great! I was gonna release a pretty solid update in a reasonably timely matter, people would have been happy, I would have felt good about myself.
Then it happened.
There was an idea, a simple offhand suggestion made in the deepest, darkest corners of Discord. The idea itself was actually quite minor, but the train of thought it inspired turned into something… Different.
I’m beating around the bush, let’s talk about centralized NPC commentary and reactions!
So let’s get this out of the way early. The change I’m about to talk about involves a MASSIVE update on the back-end in terms of how NPC’s function. As a result, save files from 6.0.X will not be able to be loaded into 6.1. There’s just no way. Now then…
One of my biggest issues with The Company, and I know I’m not alone here, is that everyone around the MC seems either oblivious or indifferent to the MC as a person. Content tends to be scripted to the point where the player can really start to lose agency in their actions. You might wear feminine clothing as a male character to trigger a transformation, or because that’s how you prefer to play your character, but other than the mechanical functionality there’s no contextual change as a result of crossdressing. This is the same for all aspects of your character.
Or it was, anyway. The following changes are coming to 6.1, and are already functional in the current pre-alpha builds:
This might be a lot to unpack, so let’s start with the basics. Specifically, how many months will this take to implement?
Well, the good news is that it should take too long, and the reason for that is both simple, and important: The commentary system is completely centralized and, in its current form, character-independent. What’s happening is that a single repository of all potential character observations, comparisons, etc. is being created. At any point in the game where a character might comment on one of the MC’s attributes, I simply call the function, the character who is commenting, and optionally what I want them to comment on.
While you’re in the lab, Penny will make a general comment. She’ll look first for a recent player transformation, before randomly selecting something to comment on. Maybe she’s noting your outfit, maybe your chest got bigger, maybe you got a hair cut, or it grew longer. Or maybe she’s just saying “Hey, how’s it going?”. If she does comment on your makeup, she’ll notice whether or not you were wearing makup since she commented on it last time, or that you’re wearing more or less, or that your a male MC and you’re wearing makeup, and hey that’s cool, you do you. Of course, if she’s under John’s control and her tone changes, she’ll probably berate you for looking girly!
If you’re playing a transsexual character and you find yourself engaging in some funtime with an NPC for the first time. They’ll likely be surprised to see what you’re packing under your skirt, they’ll know if it got bigger or smaller next to you play together, and they’ll react accordingly if it goes missing further down the line.
If Tasha’s the one who “accidentally” locked you away in chastity, she’ll remember that she’s the one responsible next time she sees it on you.
This should give you an idea of what the system will look like in action and, again, it’s already functional in the pre-alpha!
So now that you know what I’m working on, let’s go over what you should expect from the system.
The most time consuming part of all of this is building the repository. I have to write all the possible interactions a character might have by commenting on a specific attribute, each with a minimum of three variations of that interaction, then rewrite the entire tree with different tones. A nice comment on your outfit, a mean comment on it, a horny comment, those same comments if they’re from a family member, etc.
Once that’s done, it’s a matter of combing through the existing content and plugging in the function. This is tedious but not difficult, and is just a matter of figuring out where these comment calls would be appropriate.
At this point, we’re technically finished. The biggest issue now is that, in spite of the randomness involved, you’re going to start seeing repeated comments. Like, didn’t Diana just repeat exactly what Penny said? That sort of thing. This will improve as more dialogue variants are added to the repository, and on top of that the system supports checking to see who the speaker is. Basically, if there’s something that Diana might specifically say about something that other characters wouldn’t, that can be checked for as well.
Penny’s content is still getting refined and expanded in 6.1, and already has been in pre-alpha. The problem is that there were several points already in Penny’s new content where the above additions would be incredibly useful, so… This is happening!
I know this is something people have been asking for for the last year and a half, so I hope everyone’s as excited to finally have it as I am! Patrons will get their hands on an in-development version of this system as Alpha 6.0.3 sometime next month, while everyone else will have to wait for the finished product in Alpha 6.1, along with Penny’s expanded content.
That’s it for this week, as always thank you all for your continued feedback and support. This update is gonna be an interesting one!