Dev Blog #135 – Debagging Felines

Greetings everyone!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper devblog, and with Update 5.0 looming just on the horizon it seems there’s no better time! Today we’ll talk about the impending 5.0 release, look ahead to Update 5.1, and then finish things off by finally pulling the curtain back on a very exciting announcement!

Update 5.0 – Ava’s Dark Side

Update 5.0 focuses on adding about half of Ava’s remaining content to the game, specifically her “darker” endings that start by dosing her to become uncontrollably aroused. This includes introducing both the “Broken Home” and the “Ava’s Bride” endings, while also expanding on the “Sell to Company” and “Futa Maid” endings. What’s more, is that content from across that entire route is getting expanded, with over 14 new events being added to the game in this update! That’s not even counting existing events with updated variations!

As is often the case, we also took some time to make a few mechanical adjustments to the game as well. These are all pretty lightweight, but I’ve personally been getting a weird amount of enjoyment from the new randomly generated surnames. Additionally, the Free Play starting experience has been tightened up, save management has been improved, and a whole slew of bugs have been fixed!

This update will be releasing to backers on Thursday, April 28th, and to the public sometime after that. Patch notes will also be out today, so I encourage everyone to go check those out as well!

Looking Ahead to Update 5.1

While still focusing on Ava, Update 5.1 can almost be seen as a complete antithesis to Update 5.0. The next update will be focused on Ava’s more loving routes, specifically her “Mommy Bride”, “Tightest Family” and “Maniacal Matriarch” endings. This also means there will be more involvement from Dakota than in Update 5.0, as this route likes to include the entire household!

There will also be the usual run of fixes and adjustments made where appropriate, but this update will effectively be wrapping up the at-home content insofar as content originating from Ava and Dakota. What I mean by that is that any content involving, oh I don’t know, John taking over your homelife, is considered “John” content and updates will be made at that time. We expect a similar development timeframe for Update 5.1 as with previous updates, and of course I’ll be keeping everyone informed along the way!

After the final home content update, what I expect will be Update 5.2 will be primarily a mechanical update. We have a few fun ideas simmering on the backburner that I’d like to look into getting implemented. As for the following update, I think the community will be on the hook for that one… Tasha and Diana definitely need some attention, but who gets it first?

There Was a Plan…

Artwork for The Company has always been an interesting proposition. On one hand, the amount of visual freedom having drawn artwork would allow for would be pretty incredible! We could actually visual feedback on changes being made to characters and the MC, interactions between characters could actually be shown with “those” characters, and even more mundane visuals like sitting around on the couch could be shown! On the other hand, and we’re not even going to touch on the resource investment, players have grown pretty attached to the media that The Company shipped with, and serving them something new that still garnered a positive reaction is a tall order.

Ava v1 on left, v2 on right

Plus, let’s be honest, it’s an adult game. If the media in the game doesn’t rouse certain feelings then what’s the point?

The oft whispered-about artwork initiative for The Company has been in the works for years at this point. And in the interest of unapologetic transparency I would like to come out and say the reason that nothing has come of it so far is a direct result of horrendous mismanagement of the project.

From me. Specifically. The clusterfuck that was the first attempt at artwork implementation was the burning byproduct of my inexperience.

Above, you can see two versions of Ava, one being the initial version and the other being a redo over a year later. Despite a wonderful working relationship with my artist, we just never ended up with a product that I was comfortable releasing. What’s more, the engine wasn’t ready for it, and there was no “plan” for it. Simple things like art direction in the GDD that we “now” didn’t exist a few months ago, and even when new assets came in there was no easy way to use them, resulting in a limbo state for artwork and a constant flux in style and consistency.

So, we’re fixing some things…

Ava & Dakota – Now

Let me introduce you to the new art directive! Not only do we have a fantastic new artist on board, we’re working under a complete implementation plan for the first time in… ever! Art assets are coming in in a logical order and implemented into the engine immediately upon receiving. Artwork is held to new (and actually existing) standards of quality and consistency, and milestones have been set for specific batch releases.

“Ah, nice of you to join us…”

We’re also making it a point to acquire and release artwork in a way that makes sense, tackling the game in a chronological order and ensuring “complete” implementation, even when that means waiting on “boring” assets. What boring assets? Well, for starters, all backgrounds in the game have been reworked and hand drawn, and even reflect the time of day when applicable. We’ve also adjusted some aspect ratios on things like room banners to allow for a cleaner UI with less scrolling.

Dynamic BGs, zoom levels, expressions!

Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that my track record when it comes to this isn’t great… which is exactly why I’ll be releasing an early-look demo build showcasing the artwork next month! This small demo is designed to show off how the new artwork will be used, and what players can expect in terms of storytelling, and will allow players to dose Ava and Dakota with MCS1, and meet the office staff. The partial demo has already been given out to a VERY small handful of players and the feedback has been fantastic. I can’t wait to get it into more players’ hands!

Additionally, those in the Marketing Associates backer tier will start seeing new artwork come in before anyone else, starting with a first look at Diana this Friday!

We’re doing it right this time, and we’ll be keeping all of you involved for every step of the way.

Artwork Information:

  • As mentioned before, the artwork operates on a different timeline than actual development. Development of The Company isn’t contingent on development of the artwork
  • The artwork will not outright replace existing media, which will always be made available through the official channels
  • Once the artwork is completely implemented, you’ll be able to switch it on or off, or switch between existing media or artwork via an ingame toggle
  • Until then, the “Artwork Build” will exist as a separate build of the game, and will be updated as more artwork is acquired
  • The “Artwork Build” will be a natural evolution from the upcoming demo
  • The existing paper doll will eventually be getting a rework through the new artist as well

That’s all for this week, but I hope you all found it as excited as I did to finally share it! We’ll be releasing more information as it’s available, and the artwork demo will be making its way into everyone’s hands in the not-too-distant future!

As always, thank you all for your continued feedback and support!

23 Comments on “Dev Blog #135 – Debagging Felines

  1. I don’t hate the new artwork, assuming that the new stuff is just the bottom 3 images, what was shown before kind of reminded me more of stardew valley than a porn game.

    currently I play with the puppet in game on because I think that looks better than the other options, but not by a whole lot, the artwork on the bottom looks better than what’s there by a lot, and with it being custom made, i’m assuming more flexible as well for scenes. some scenes like up close actions, see the creampie images as an example, I hope stay more or less the same if they transition to drawn/animated.

    • Yes, the new artwork is the bottom three images. The first image is to show what came before the new direction.

      • Ok, yes I like the new art style alot more.

        Personally, I liked the prior images for the paper doll in change clothes more than the current one, I don’t know if this will change to reflect the current artstyle/what you are going with, but if it does, I can’t wait for it so I can get a better idea of where its going.

        overall I think this is probably a positive step and has a good style for this type of game. one thing that I can’t ignore is boob size, for me this is well within ‘this is fine’ territory but the bosses are kind of that edge of porn game and large breast fetish size if it makes sense.

        I do have one other question, are you planning to expand the paper doll for the… it’s been a while and I don’t remember off the top of my head, the basement/slave training area so we can get an idea of what they look like? I think something like this down there would improve it quite a lot but it may also take a bit of work that is ultimately not worth it depending on how many people use it.

        • As stated in the article, the paper doll system will be getting redrawn by the new artist as well at some point in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Honestly that nee artboard direction is fire. Really clean and invoking. I could see a lot of good facial expressions being possible in scenes. Comic worthy.

  3. I know the idea of artwork has been thrown around for awhile now, but I didn’t think much thought was being given to it. But seeing this now, wow! The style itself is absolutely on point, and the character design is fire. Certainly the definitive portrayal of the character is my opinion, it looks great. Yet another thing to eagerly look forward too.
    Looking forward to the full release of 5.0 and beyond, keep killin’ it, Westane!

  4. Not only does the art shown above look great, it’s a good idea from legal and ethical perspectives. It’s safer and less sketchy than using real peoples’ likenesses and IP without compensating them. No one who has played and enjoyed the game wants you in trouble or your work shut down.

  5. The artwork looks great in terms of quality, I really do like it, however I do have one fairly minor concern / complaint.

    The Dakota I have grown accustomed to in the game (and many others too, presumably) has a very specifically small-framed and petite body, with a small breast size and an overall very fitting “Lil sis” kind of look to her. Whilst the art looks great, I cant help but feel I don’t exactly get those same vibes. The breasts, in my opinion, are a tad too large In comparison to the actress’s that represented Dakota and overall she looks quite abit older and more mature than she felt before. Quite a difference in the “vibe” of the character IMO.

    Now I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, you can take her in whichever direction you like – I just felt like it was worth pointing out, since as a result I ultimately might not end up using the artwork and its possible the same could apply to many other people too who could be taken aback by the shift in tone. Would be a shame to put a ton of time, effort and money into a project like this only for it to end up alienating a portion of your fanbase who as a result might not even end up using it.

    Then again, I might just be a miniscule minority of whom cares about something like this or even notices the difference, so it might not actually be anything to worry about in the end. I dunno, I just thought it might be worth mentioning. I prefer Dakota to be petite and cute, rather than busty and “sexualised”, if you get what I mean, but that’s just my opinion. Its up to you in the end. Either way, the quality of the art itself looks excellent and i look forward to seeing how it all turns out!

  6. “this update will effectively be wrapping up the at-home content insofar as content originating from Ava and Dakota.”

    I’m confused. So is Dakota not getting anymore content for her own paths? Dakota won’t get anymore endings? I ask because, if so, it seems like Ava is getting more content than Dakota.

      • Not all characters will have the same amount of content, and a lot of Ava’s content involves Dakota, so she’s not being completely left out. If anything, moving forward, Ava’s larger content pool is the anomaly and most characters’ dose routes will be closer modeled after Dakota.

  7. So will the MCSX serum route for selling Ava to the company have an option to actually remove her from the house entirely? I remember being annoyed that the ‘bad end’ serum didn’t actually have gameplay repercussions, whereas pornstar!Dakota moved out.

  8. With regards to 5.3 content… One small QoL thing that would be nice. We have a serum to speed hair growth, but not one to slow/stop it. Would be extremely helpful on some playthroughs!

    • Just out of curiosity at what point in your play through did this become an issue. I normally have a routine of hair cuts and birth control each week along with the rotating morning quickies to keep my arousal level low. I also use a night time rotation to boost my clients (money) and relationships.

  9. I have a question about items that are introduced into the game but then never used again. The first is the antidote that we use in the lab but never see it again. Why couldn’t we use it to undo a story line that we don’t want? For example, we decide we like a character and no longer want them to be slutty. Or you are tired of Ava coming in your room every dam morning.

    The next items are the enhancements we can use on ourself. Why can we make all these enhancements but can’t use them on the slaves in the pit?

    The slave training is interesting but I have spent way to much time down there experimenting and the only thing that I have been able to get consistent results from are the injections. There does not seem to be any effect on the slave from the training. I even tried giving an injection then reinforcing it with training, like we did with John and Lauren but no change.

    There are also no indications of what is a good stat and what is bad, for example do you want them to be afraid or not afraid? Maybe add a conversation with Craig to answer simple questions like “How do I train loyalty?” and he says “I like to make them suck my cock!” or which ever training applies. There are also a lot of operations that only seem to be for our amusement because they don’t drive up the value even though the appraiser says they do. there was also an issue with breast implants inconsistently showing up on the operations list. I also turned a male slave into a trans but he was still listed as male. What is the point of the remove penis operation, unless it is actually a sex change?

    I have lots of questions and suggestions but this is getting to be way to long. You all have done a great job on this game!

    • Glad you’re enjoying the game!

      Right now the pit is sort of meant to be a kind of playground for the player. It’s not so fleshed out that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to utilize it. That said, this is still the “functional inception” of the system, and I intend to spend an update cycle dedicated purely to expanding it.

      • Thank you for the feedback, I have spent a lot of time in the pit trying to crack the system. Now I know what to do and eagerly wait to see how you expand on it. What about the antidote and enhancements any thoughts of incorporating them into the game?

  10. The new art work looks much better than the first concept art. It sill looks too cartoonish for my taste. Also, like the first artist the characters all seem to emphasize certain physical features on all the characters presented so far. I know it says these are not finished artwork but they currently look like color sketches.

    I didn’t see anywhere if the cut scenes will be animated art or still art like a comic? Animated would be pretty intensive work on your end and still art would be a lot of clicking on our end. While animated art is more entertaining, still art can be very effective if the artist can capture the scene with the right image. Will the character expressions change depending on the choices you make? The concept art for John and Tasha are good but I normally make John friendly depending on my mood early in the game. Again, with still art if the picture doesn’t capture the scene properly it just isn’t effective.

    On a side note, what is Debagging? I have heard of Debugging, is Debagging a new term? I have noticed in the story some minor errors in grammar and language. Nothing that interferes with understanding the scene. Not that my post are perfect, I rarely edit my own work. As an English teacher you just tend to notice every detail from grading so many papers.

    Keep up the great work!

    • You think this looks like a colored sketch?

      Art’s subjective and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I’m just a little surprised is all. The option to use the current media set will always be there ๐Ÿ™‚

      All characters do have multiple expressions that will all update dynamically during gameplay. Animation isn’t something we’re currently pursuing right now, but it’s something we’re looking to possibly explore in the future. Right now it’ll be static images all the way through, though each “action” will have multiple states so as to really capture what’s going on in any given scene.

      I’m playing on letting the cats out of the bag. As someone who also has a degree in English with the intent to be an English teacher, I quite hate the language, and seek to desecrate it whenever possible! I think this is pretty apparent in most of my writing ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I am sorry for the color sketch comment, you are right art is subjective and your art has some great qualities. There is a lot of shading and the separation from the background looks great. So, let me be specific about the things that stand out to me. Dakota has ears that really jump out at you, they both have strangely elongated necks. The bodies have no definition or details. Ava’s face is flat like a paper cutout. On the topic of Ava I stand firmly behind my comments about her erotic pic’s. I won’t spoil it here since those are not openly released yet. So when I said they look like color sketches it was more in reference to they didn’t feel complete. I view a lot of different styles of animation on lots of different platforms. I always try to view each as unique, so If these are the style of pic you have chosen for your story I am good. It’s just a mental reset and I’m ready to play. Just please keep my lab partner Penny cute and perky. ๐Ÿ˜Š

        I am an addict when it comes to choose your own adventures, all the way back to the 70’s. At this point I don’t even have the video on most of the time because really how many times do you need to see the same cum shot. However, I still read every line of the story on each play through.

        I think the writing is comparable to a lot of the published adult novels but thankfully less graphic. There are just minor editing errors but that is common on any level of writing.

        Keep up the great work! ๐Ÿ‘น

  11. Iโ€™m just wondering if Dakota is going to have anymore to her completely in love path? Her last dosing doesnโ€™t seem to change anything, which surprised me considering marriage is mentioned, but nothing becomes of it. Are we going to possibly be able to marry her in the future?

    Now the other thing I wanted to mention is the impregnate system. Why? Well we can buy protection, but no one ever gives birth so itโ€™s like impregnating didnโ€™t happen. Basically is Dakota and the other females going to ever going to give birth and make us a father?

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