Quick Elsewhere Update Stuff
Hund is going to be teaming up with Koops to make talk sprites, which means we might get them at a reasonable clip now. In fact we just need some faces and Rubber Queen Mei is ready to go! I’m also working with a very patient person on Discord to track down the black screen bug. I’ve almost got it I promise. Urimas is making sprites for Monoceros and Chicken got over the big disease and is working full time, so no art on that front.
Quick Bit of Art
I put some promotional art up top by Ruby Doll to get you psyched. As if you thought there wasn’t going to be doll TF in this game.
Important: This post is NSFW. Please don’t look at it while at work. If you get fired I accept no liability. If you get promoted because someone else looked at this post while at work, I’ll expect a gift basket in the mail. Congratulations.
Where is Monoceros Now?
To give you an idea of where the game is in terms of completion:
- All of the player combat art is complete
- All of the enemy art is complete
- The map is complete
- I have a contractor working on getting the talk sprites for the various player forms done
- The callouts system is in place and I have a contractor getting the callouts done
- All of the maps are done
- All of the main scripting is done except the ending
- All of the combat balancing is done, though it will get tweaked with playtesting
- A few bad ends are done
- A sidequest is done
- The UI is going through its design phase, more on that below
- The music is mostly complete. I need another world theme and the title theme from DrDiss.
There are probably some other things I forgot on that list. The balance has undergone several tweaks thus far, with changes like adding new equipment and gems, and adding new enemy abilities to make the combat more interesting.
Of note is that, towards the end of the game, I found the highest tier of enemies (Tier V) was too narrow. So I went back to the early areas of the game and added a set of “Omega” enemies.
They wear blue outfits so you know not to mess with them. Because when you first see them, they will probably one-shot your characters, and you won’t be able to hit them with your low weapon accuracy.
If you can make it past them, you’ll find bonus areas packed with max-level enemies and containing the best equipment and materials in the game. This gives the game some nice non-linearity, as you can explore these areas as soon as you can beat up the beefgates at the front. The best items are guarded by an even meaner set of Omega enemies, often coming in packs. Getting all of the best equipment in the game will make the ending a breeze but you earned it!
Skills and Levelups
Harpy-eyed readers spotted those field abilities in the top left. Those aren’t just for show. For convenience reasons, you can push the 1 key at any time to warp back to town. After all, you could just go lose a fight and watch a bad end to get punted back to town, so why go through all that? What are you losing fights on purpose?
You can push 3, 4, and 5 to bring up the skill purchase menu for the respective character. You can now buy skills at any time as soon as you can afford them, rather than getting them via level unlocks. This means it’s up to you if you want to get a skill to kill the enemies plaguing you, or get new items or level up to do it instead. It lends more choice to the proceedings, though you’ll likely want to buy them all eventually.
Similarly, you can purchase a level up by pressing 2. Each level up increases the cost by 20%. You can finish the game around level 30, but the cap is 100 if you feel like grinding a lot. You’ll need to weigh the costs of getting a few more points of HP and accuracy against upgrading a gem or buying a skill.
I found the original game’s system of essences to be a little restrictive, so I came up with this secondary system. Essences still exist but are no longer the primary crafting ingredient. You still need them to make charms, and you need 1 or 2 to make an item, but they aren’t dominant. This allows a lot more flexibility.
I mentioned the change first in Milestone 1, but it’s now fully implemented. There are five materials, Hide, Fiber, Base Metal, Casing, and Exotic Metal. Exotic metals (gold, silver, platinum) are rare and usually used for making special accessories. They also sell for more in the shop.
The game now a ranking system, I, II, III, IV, and V, to organize the materials into tiers. You can put together 10 of a material to make 1 of the next tier up material, or just go beat up tougher monsters. All monsters can drop all kinds of materials, and you can find them in chests as well. This gives more player choice than having your upgrade path dictated by what equipment I put in what chest, and collecting a lot of a lower tier material can give you a head start on the next tier if you’re really struggling.
Sage now has a much increased inventory of items, but you’ll need to bring her equipment to unlock the new pages. Don’t worry, they’re not far off the beaten path.
What About The New UI?
We’re currently working through prototyping a new UI. It uses most of the same code as RoP does but has various features removed (as they aren’t used in this game) which allows us to streamline the layout. Characters recover all their HP and MP after combat so we don’t need to show anything but the total HP, Catalysts are no longer used, etc.
Chic wanted to go for a more rugged leather color scheme than RoP’s magical theme. Combat and the shop interfaces will get their own overhauls as well.
I don’t want to post the full map since it does some spoiling on what areas are in the game, so you’ll just have to wait for the release, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t show this photorealistic corgi by Stinkehund.
Other Useful Features
One thing I noticed during playtesting was that the chests with random contents meant I frequently didn’t have the kind of adamantite I needed to keep my gems competitive. So I put in adamantite dig spots, which are refreshed and re-randomized when you visit town. There is a chance you’ll get a gem from them as well, but mostly you’ll get adamantite. They spawn pseudorandomly, so a map might contain 6 spots but only 2 spawn. Certain locations have a high density so you can farm them quickly if you know where they are. Such locations are usually guarded!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. I found that picking stuff up in this manner slowed the gameplay down very slightly. Rather than take this on the chin like a chump, I coded in a notifications system. This both doesn’t slow gameplay down AND gives you an extra chance to see what item you got in case you accidentally hit the advance button without reading it. This feature will get rolled into RoP later on, too, and the adamantite piles probably will as well.
Combat’s layout has been changed, and Chic wants to modify it further when she gets to that part of the UI design. For now, the menu was moved to the top so it has more space for displaying MP/CP requirements.
The character who is acting is highlighted while the ones who aren’t are greyed out. I found that this wasn’t quite enough to make sure you knew whose turn it was at a glance, so:
This helpful effect draws your eye towards who is acting. I find it works well in practice. Keep in mind all of this is tentative, Chic gets the final call on what the UI looks like in the end.
I found that certain enemies didn’t have that much distinguishing them from others. Yes, I can give them unique abilities, but how can I force the player to pick priority targets, and make it really obvious? Well now you can see it. Certain enemies have a charge-up skill (much like Sanya’s Aimed Shot from chapter 2) and will have a big stupid ! over their head. You need to stun them or KO them otherwise they will unleash a really powerful attack next turn.
Some of these, like the harpy you see above, do a lot a lot damage and can inflict curse. Others, well, you know what happens when you look at a gorgon right?
How About Some Music
I actually had a bunch of music I wanted to post in the second milestone and I forgot. Oops.
WordPress says I can upload ogg files and then tells me I can’t upload them, or any other audio file, so here’s some gdrive links. Great site you got here guys.
The Chapel. Plays in the chapel, obviously. DrDiss asked for inspiration and I sent him several Clock Tower songs. I think it’s pretty obvious the inspiration.
Bad End. DrDiss thought that a bad end should be sinister, but then I explained the slime bad end and we decided that vaguely-comical does a much better job. Besides, I have other music for the sinister ones.
DrDiss was working on the main title theme but it wasn’t completed in time, and there is one musical theme remaining after that. There’s more new music but you’ll have to wait for the game’s release!
I want to see the art!
Okay there captain impatience. First, here’s some pieces that were shown on Discord earlier.
I put together some very simple polls and let the denizens of Discord vote. But wait.
Why are these different? Well, Chic decided to do, and I quote, a “Titty pass”. So a lot of the images now have more visible breasts and skin that didn’t before. Nobody says no to that sort of thing right?
These were also voted on by the discord community. I can’t believe they wanted to see Izana as a vampire, who would have guessed!
Plus, here’s a few pieces that were only sketches in previous milestones. Finished versions of ghost, alraune, and the enemy mermaid.
And here’s some new stuff. First is the water elementals. You’ll be encountering them well before you’re able to actually kill them. Chic really did a great job on the water elemental TF designs. Then we have mummies, encountered in the tombs. Chic wanted to go for a bondage angle on them so Caelyn has to fight without her hands. You might think it’s not possible to use a sword with your mouth but Heron up there doesn’t seem to be having a problem.
Lastly we have some orcs and goblins who want to turn our heroes into hulking musclegirls! Yeah that’s not something most games have so I thought musclefans would appreciate it. Plus it means I can put in some lore about orcs and how they work in Pandemonium. It’s not what you’d expect.
What Remains To Do
I got sick over the weekend otherwise I’d have a lot more of the sidequests done. There’s about a dozen, and you’ll need to do some of them to reach some of the secret areas (or you can just look up a guide, you wiener). They also give extra backstory, character moments, and maybe even alternate bad ends.
After the sidequests are done, I’ll be working on the bad ends, and then the final true ending where you somehow don’t get turned into a monster. Given what you know about the plot so far, you’re probably assuming it involves Izana writing a very detailed report but what if I told you that doesn’t happen. Maybe Cyrano writes it? Maybe Izana half-asses it and it gets stuck in a binder someplace and never read again? The suspense!
Chic is going to do the UI rework of the shops and combat over the next month while I get all of that done, and then we’ll be doing more polish work. I want this game to have more bug testing and polish work than String Tyrant got so that will take some extra time.
What Will It Cost?
The expected price point is going to sit around 15$ USD. I know a lot of people tend to pirate games like these, but I think the product is of such good quality that you’ll want to pay that in order to support further game development. Right? Right.
As with our other games, this will be on Steam, Itch.io, and available for direct download.
Yes this is still an update post so that means I answer questions.
The Link Pile
Rationally debate this post on the forums! Discussion thread for String Tyrant!
Monoceros will get a forum thread once the demo comes out sometime in 2023.
Pandemonium’s Steam Page! You can get updates automatically.
Maiden Sealed in Stone, a game Salty translated!
Buy String Tyrant, our gaiden game, on Itch.io! It’s on Steam too!
Ask us questions anonymously on Curious Cat!
Buy our merch on Redbubble and Teepublic!
Give us money on Patreon so we can make more monstergirl stuff!
Alternately, give us money on Subscribestar so we can make more monstergirl stuff!
DO NOT join our Discord and curse at me in person! Our testers might be cats, I can’t tell!