Friday, March 22, 2013

A closed beta might have just happened...

...Or maybe not, there is no way to know, you can only trust my words!!! (unless you got the link, then you know for sure the beta is there...)

So, since last status update, I added 3 more random events to Verania, fixed a few dumb bugs, improved a few things here and there, did some picture-hunting. I didn't do too many changes, because I want some feedback from the testers now, so I tried to avoid creating a big mess. Now I think I won't work on the game for a couple of days, other than the bugfixing I'll surely have to take care of when the reports arrive, and I'll try to focus on planning some of the stuff that I will add next (there are a couple of things I must do while my memory is still fresh on them, as sometimes there is just too much I come up for with a quest, that I can't simply write a few notes down, and get back to it when I have time).

As I wrote in the last post, if anyone that should have received the link to this closed beta didn't get it, let me know, although I believe I didn't miss anyone.

This is it, at least for now. Next week I'll have decided what to do next, so I'll probably report my progress on that. Until next time!


Here is a video to keep you busy and not think about the beta-that-shall-not-be-named (either you'll love it, or you'll be left wondering just why did I post this... But you won't think about the beta anymore! :D)


  1. Wow! I only stumbled across this game by chance. Alako (author of Instinct Program) made me aware, that his game is inspired / based on yours.

    So I downloaded your game and it's really well done. I also didn't encounter any major bugs so far. (despite bugs often being a problem with the RAGS coding and events not triggering)

    The characters are nice and the amount of texts seems just about right. I also like the use of music and images a lot. They really add to the game. The main character is hot!

    It's crazy how much content you already have. I've been playing like 4 hours or so.

    I only wished there were more development without Game Over at some points. For example being enslaved or hypnotized needn't always end in a Game Over, but rather in another story arch, which let's you escape and then continue the story for example. But you already adressed that in your to do list / future plans.

    Also another question I couldn't really find an answer for: does the Mental Resistance have any effects right now? At first I thought you were going to get a Game Over, when you reach 0, but that isn't the case. (and I'm really glad about that!)

    1. Glad to hear you are liking the game so far! :D

      I try carefully to crop out any bugs that gets reported (I am fairly experienced with RAGS by now, so the only problems that remain in my game are usually issues with the engine itself).

      Yeah, using music adds a nice touch to the game (but if I could go back I think I wouldn't use sound effects, as they are hard to find and generally a pain to use, and also because RAGS can trigger them with a certain delay, which makes the whole thing a bit silly).

      I tried to give the game a decent story, so the characters had to be interesting. Hopefully, I am not doing a bad job out of it. :)

      Yeah, Celeste Star is a very beautiful model.

      The game is hopefully going to be at least twice as long as it is now, possibly more. This is just the first chapter, though, and there is a second part I'll have to work on, after I finish this (but not right away, I'll probably work on a different game in-between).

      I would like to do more "extended" bad ends, and maybe give the chance to the players to play a bit more after a "critical failure", but that's usually a lot of work for something that adds little to the core of the game, so it's also a matter of using my time in the best way possible.

      Sometimes, it's also a matter of possible conflicts with the plot I have in mind, so there is that, too.

      MR affects how quickly ALICE enslaves you. Basically, it reduces the number of travels you can make with your ship, before a bad end triggers. There are ways to increase the number of travels you can make before you are doomed, though (making the ship faster, so that each journey takes less time, and so ALICE has less time to affect you, a few choices you can make give you some special items to slow down ALICE, etc...).

    2. Now that you told me about the MR, that actually explains the dream sequences while space traveling. I've got 0 MR and have been traveling twice so far (to Kantur and back to Europe). Oh well ... looks like I probably have to start over at some point then.

      I also have some suggestions / questions:

      - I felt, that some of the sexy scenes could have been a little more descriptive. For example (but not limited to) the Darenzia part or the quest with Mr. Brown (rent quest). On the other hand I really loved the detailed Illusionist part (although it ends in a GO).

      - I'd also like to see the enemies dropping items or money occasionally. Especially, medkits and shield boosters.

      - I was also wondering, whether it's possible to heal oneself besides using those expensive medkits? That is something I'm really missing right now.

      - Another solution would be, not just to fill up the shields after each battle, but the health as well.

      - After having upgraded the scanner I struggled to figure out, how I could lose to weaker enemies, because I wanted to see what happens. Later I realized, you could switch weapons to lose a turn and get hit. So any chance for a "surrender" option?

      - Now that I know about the MR: Maybe it would be a good idea to increase the starting value to 10? 5 is really not that much, if you want to have a little fun in space. :-)

      - Also I would really appreciate the upgrades being a little more descriptive. For me it's hard to tell, whether the pistol and shotgun updates are worth the 1500 credits. Same goes for the other items (medkits, granades etc.). Maybe just add some numbers to get a better impression of the value.

      That's it for now.

    3. Yeah, the quality of my writing is a bit uneven. That happens because of several reasons: it might be that I like more this or that idea, and I tend to pour more effort into the ones I prefere. Also, this comes back to me not having as much time as I like and because I am not a native english speaker: sometimes, I just get frustrated that I can't properly express what I want to, and in order to save some time, I end up cutting corners.

      Enemy loot? It might be worth it, from time to time. Since the game doesn't have random fights, I didn't think it would be all that useful, but it might be a way to give the players some supplies.

      There are ways to recover health already, and I feel that the way it is now makes things a little bit more tense, since in certain areas you might be cut off from your usual supply chain.

      Yes, you can buy an upgrade for your house (assuming you bought the house, of course), that gives you a way to replenish your health whenever you want (except when you don't have access to your house, of course).

      The fights are usually pretty short, so even if you want to lose on purpose, it shoul be quite easy to do, but I might include a "surrender" option, in the future (not now, though).

      As long as you keep your MR at 5, you don't have any penalties, and you can fly around as much as you want. Having it cap at 10 or at 5 doesn't make much of a difference beyond that, it just depends on how I balance the mechanics linked to it (right now, I didn't really work on balancing them, since the game isn't complete, yet).

      Well, I'd say that all the upgrades are important, considering how close the battles are, but I see what you mean. I think I had proposed this before, but people preferred the vague descriptions, instead of the hard numbers... I am not 100% sure, though, as it has been a while. I'll try to check this with my testers, too, and see what they think.


    1. Hey, you are one of those that got to see the closed beta, you weren't supposed to be distracted by the video!!! :D :D :D

      I am going to tell you just one reason (there are several of those, but I'll guard the secret jealously!):

      I am a huge fan of Lupin the 3rd!

      What, isn't that already a good reason? :P

    2. I'm with the doctor on this one.

      Slightly echoing "The fuc..!?" again and again... :)

    3. Okay, okay, I'll give yet another reason:

      I like the lyrics (even if a lot is lost in translation)!

      Now everything makes sense... XD

    4. You end up costing me the whole weekend watching The Woman Called Fujiko Mine...XD

    5. I think that was time well spent, so you should thank me! :D

    6. Kekeke, I was suppose to be fixing my game and testing yours, but THANKS for introducing me to a new anime series. :P

    7. You are welcome! ;)

      I guess I'll have to drop a few names of anime and mangas when we talk, I have the impression it might yield some hilarious results! :D :D :D

  3. I must admit, Tales of the Drunken Cowboy is quite a misleading name for a game :). At first, when I saw the name, I was like meh and only later decided to check it. And... wow. This stuff is pretty crazy. I mean in positive way.
    The amount of quests and overall content is quite good, I'm impressed. As far as I saw your writing is really good (in my opinion of course :)) and the presence of high quality pictures only enhances it further.
    Still, I've only played through the first planet (Europa 4 I believe) and I don't know how much more content is present past this point and if it's getting even better. But with you writing about some update, I stopped playing for now. I just like to have as much content as possible before playing a game ;)

    So, keep up the great work :)

    1. Yup, it is very misleading! :D
      The name is a tribute to Cowboy Bebop, which has inspired several aspects of the game.

      Always good to know someone likes my game! :D

      I am not a native english speaker, so I think I could improve on the writing, as I feel that sometimes I end up writing dialogues that aren't as smooth as they should be.

      I spend a lot of time picture hunting. I have grown more and more picky about the pictures, but at least most of them are good, thanks to that. Using pictures is a pain in the ass, though, and not always I find what I am looking for... -_-

      I understand what you mean (I do that too), but I would suggest you keep playing the game. While it isn't complete, I take a LONG time between updates (I try to put together enough content to keep things interesting, instead of making small updates), so you are probably better off seeing what the current version has to offer (the next public release is probably months away).

    2. Since you've mentioned picture hunting, in my head rose a question - how often (if at all) do you have to change text because there's no fitting images?

      And concerning further playing - well, if the next update is sooo far away, I might go back to my playthrough :D

    3. I'd say that I always have to change something to fit the images.

      More precisely, I never write a scene without having found the pictures first, so I start with a general idea in mind of what I would like to have in the game, and then I adjust it based on the pictures I find. The rare occasions when I decide to switch pictures, because I decided they weren't good enough, I am usually forced to change things here and there, even if the images are very similar.

      This greatly varies based on the number of pictures I use. The more pictures in a scene, the more I need the text to adhere to what is shown, of course.

      You are better off playing it now. I still remember suggesting to someone from the Hypnopics forums to wait until the next release... And then proceeding to get stumped, and have a release only several months later... I still feel embarassed whenever I think about it... -_-

  4. I'm happy to see new updates!
    It's like getting a klondike bar every time!
    And the finished game would be like a big cake!

    By the way, you should have someone help you in your picture hunting.

    1. Well, since it's a closed-beta, technincally you aren't seeing it (didn't you watch the video at the end and got properly distracted from thinking about the demo? Damn it, my clever plan has been undone!), but I am happy to hear you are happy! :D

      Picture hunting is hard to delegate on a stable basis. While it can be done for some of the more "generic" pictures, for most of the work I'd either need to give incredibly specific indications, or I'd need to have them download and then forward me a ton of pictures. Even worse, there would be the inevitable delay between asking for pictures and receiving them, plus asking for more if they weren't good for me. Finally, I also tend to adapt a lot of the sexy scenes to the pictures I find, a process that would be slowed down if I have to wait until I get the pictures from whoever is in charge of providing the pictures. And this is still considering the best scenario, where my schedule and his schedule kind of work well with each other, which is rarely the case...

      So it's a huge time sink, but it's really hard to actually avoid it.

    2. So that is why you don't ask for help huh...
      I see now, you realy have a tough time doing this all by yourself. You are awesome!

    3. Nah, I am not awesome. Small projects like this one are better off with as few persons as possible, because any time you could gain from redestributing the workload is usually lost in having to wait for this or that person to finish his part of the job, and to make sure everyone is always on the same page, managing the schedules, etc (this is a hobby, after all, there is only so much time someone can put into it)... In a full-time project, having more people would surely work better, and if I wasn't so used to handling all by myself, I am sure I could delegate a few more things even now, but as it is, it's better to work on this on my own, as to have more control on the game development, and to avoid wasting time.

  5. I love this game. mdqp is the best at rag games and there will never be a game that comes close to the pure awesomeness of TOTDC .

    Would Just like too Say thanks and keep up the awesome Job i cant wait too see how you top yourself next time..

    1. Argh! Now I feel the pressure, the PRESSURE!

      I'll never be able to live up to the expectations of my audience, I just know it! XD XD XD

    2. Look at it from another perspective:
      In nature pressure creates both diamonds and oil, and both are precious - just don't make like petrol and burn out! ;)

  6. Several days without a comment? Never I say!

    1. Eh-eh. I should write a new post soon, so there will be plenty of space to write there! ;)

    2. Indeed, what misdirective psychedelic video can we hope to get this time around? ;)

    3. I don't want to abuse them, it would lessen their effect! XD