Sunday, July 31, 2022

History and Progress

Here's some of the progress that's been done lately. In this video you can see a few updates, such as the crates, the cheat menu, Alraune's attacks, and Golem's level. 

The crates didn't had precise collision when Voms was stepping on them, and they wouldn't break with Ground Pound. Now they do.

Alra has more constant attacks and shoots 5 projectiles. Originally she had only 2 projectiles and she wasn't very challenging as an enemy.

Golem's level had an experimental double camera (just like Slime Girl Red), but that was slowing the game's framerate. We went back to just 1 camera and the overall fight and the presentation is much better. 

Also, I get hyped listening to the new music!


Of course none of this came easily, as there were many delays on many fronts. My new plan regarding my programmer also failed. I suggested that I pay for an Airbnb for him to stay for 10 days and focus on the game, but that wouldn't work for him. He had a counter-proposal where he could find a few extra days to work... let's hope it would work. Otherwise I would have to start looking for other GM programmers.

Sadly, the delays have no end and I have mentioned this in the past few entries. The progress is there but it's very slow. It is by no means a cause for celebration, but July was this blog's 9th birthday. I'm embarrassed of how long this project is taking to be completed. But I don't know what else I could have done differently. 

Besides the programing delays, if I can try to justify my part, it's because there are 6 playable characters. This is like making 6 different games that overlap in one big complex setting. And every character has story, cutscenes, puzzles to solve and additional details (nudity, sex scenes, Rudy has 3 transformations, etc). The game design was challenging from it's inception. 

Thanks to player feedback we improved the game by adding a map, cheat codes, guides on the map, teleport rooms and more. And even more were added by pledges, such as sex scenes, map scenes, custom Npcs, Survival mode, Time Attack mode, Galleries, Safe mode etc. None of these things were in the original plans, but we had to add them. So, looking back, these extra additions make the game a more complete experience and I'm glad they exist. 

At this point, I need to mention that Titan is a great programmer. He might be slow regarding deadlines, but he was able to do pretty much everything I asked of him. And many of these things were almost impossible to pull. For example, he figured out that the sex scenes can only be shown through a video plug-in, made specifically for Hyper Light Drifter. That solved the white screens a few years ago. As a result, Titan always says "thank you Hyper Light Drifter" when he deals with new sex scenes. Pretty random and funny.

 

- A short history -

Titan, the game's main programmer, contacted me by DeviantArt back in 2013. Soon after we started working on a demo of MoGi Origins, based on characters from my card game MoGi CardFight. Voms was a character we both designed just for this game. Then we started this blog.

By August we had our first demo and by Spring we had a very successful Offbeatr. We wanted to make a small game at first, and in our excitement we promised things that we thought it would be easy to do. But soon reality settled and we realized that we ended up with a mountain of things to deal with.

The original deal was that I would do all the graphics and Titan will be working on everything regarding GameMaker. At first I was designing levels and Titan was tiling them in the game by code! I don't know how that it's possible. Very tedious work. Later, the game showed problems with white memory screens and video playback, but that was thankfully solved. Overall the game was mostly working fine, but it needed a lot work.

2 years later Titan started having personal problems. And from 2015-16 until today the game's progress is very slow. I tried to work around this, so after talking with Titan, I spent a lot of time looking for GM programmers to help us with our project. The process was painful. Everyone I contacted had to pass Titan's test first, to see if they got what it takes. Many were lazy or fakes. And Titan wasn't often available. We had programmer's steal money from us, or doing terrible work (while being expensive), or just wasting our time over and over. Details of all that can be found in this blog.

In 2016 we decided to add an extra attack for Voms, because his gameplay felt flat. That attack was the Ground Pound. In 2016-17 we added 7 sub-weapons and the Swing move that repels enemy projectiles.

In 2017-18 we paid to have level artists do the tiling and programmers to deal with various aspects of the game. This was GM work, so Titan was overseeing this. I wasn't satisfied with the end result. Most of the people working on this were doing the bare minimum and making changes was costly. At least we finished the level naming which was a burden for years.

In 2019 and 2020 I invited Titan to fly and stay with me, in order to finish the game. I insisted that he won't pay for anything during his time here, as he was my guest. A huge chunk of the game's code was finished during Titan's visits, so it was worth it. In any case, some of these solutions worked well, some didn't. This is what they call "development hell". And I live in this hell for far too long.

With all that behind the scenes, it was hard to remain focused and creative. But by 2020 all MoGi (sprites, programing, sex scenes and map scenes) were finished (except Golem and Stheno). Also all playable characters are designed and playable (except Ninjuco). Details for all the above can be found throughout this blog.


During the game's development, little by little, I had to compromise and take on more responsibilities. The graphics were always my department. I gladly took on music and voice acting, even though it needed a lot of research and attention. This blog was Titan's idea but after a while it became my thing as well. Patreon too. Videoposts too. The level tiling in GameMaker is now also my job. So yeah, everything ended up being on me. Furthermore, Titan for personal reasons, forfeited his rights to this game. But he promised to help whenever possible. I'm sure I am missing a few other things that we had to sacrifice for the game's development... oh yes, one other thing is that I had to remove Vor as a playable character. And the seagulls! I made an animated seagull to give some life to the static backgrounds but... I have to let go and focus on the necessary additions until the release.

All that may sound negative but there is a bright side. The game is still going. This may not seem like much, but I can see here in the blog's sidebar that other gamedevs haven't posted anything in months or even years. Furthermore, I had to learn GM and do the levels on my own. Thanks to that I'm not limited by other people's skills, and I also added simultaneous vertical and horizontal parallax to some levels. So, I don't have to burden others for any nitpicking details! And I might have removed Vor, but naked Alice is added as a secret character!

I want you to know that I do the best I can with what I got. For now I have to balance quality with quantity and finish the game with as few compromises as possible, while making the game feel complete and fun.

There's one more thing, if any of you have any info. Does anyone knows how can I get an ITIN or a Ben-8? They are forms I need to fill in order to get MoGi Origins to Steam. I better prepare for this now, than having to wait in yet another thing in the future. 

Thank you all for being around.
-Veins

 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Busy June

A lot of things happened this month. And my hard work starts to show. Although not in directions some of you may like, but let me elaborate. I was working on many personal projects that manage to see the light of day. I know you want to hear about MoGi, but perhaps it's all relevant in a way.

I'm happy to announce that Orphanarium got ranked 1st, in 6 categories, in 2 game jams! And one of the jam's hosts decided to play it and comment on the story. I love his reaction on certain moments, how well he received the game and his on point analysis!

It is a game where I made pretty much everything on my own (except for composing the music and programing the game engine). The story and the graphics can be a glimpse of what I try to do with MoGi, and of what is yet to come.

 



Other than that, some more of my card games were finished, and a few more are near completion. These are games that I slowly work on for years, because their art, rules and shop pages need special attention. This month I managed to release Super Magical Gems with Rudy. Apparently Ucogi's version had offensively sized boobs (according to a few random internet people), so I made an alternative cover, featuring Rudy.

15 Ghosts and Super Magical Gems got their own promo videos and the 3rd game, Rainbow Kings, is something I'm still testing. Rainbow Kings also has an alternative version with Fish instead of Ucogi. Why people are scared of boobs? Why do they judge a book by its cover? Don't they know proverbs?

In any case, I was working on a few digital games as well. Which gave birth to even more ideas. But I'm talking too much and actually I'm supposed to be finding new sfx for Mogi Origins. About Mogi...


My programmer worked for only like 2 days during June. Which sucks, and that's why I keep my self busy. Otherwise I would've driven my self crazy. March's 10-day working deal, lasted for over 100 days. It's always one delay after another and unfortunately the MoGi project has a snails pace. Perhaps you can see why it is so important that I finish and release all these other games. Because relying on others can go on forever. And I like finishing things. My completed games are proof of that.

In any case, my programmer is online now and I should be working with him because this is his "10th day" of working on MoGi. And we have lot's to do: Cyclops sfx, breaking statues, harder Alraune, cheat menus... But I also had to post here. Crazy month!

Oh yes, I also managed to fall off a ladder and hurt my dominant hand. Did that stop me from doing all the above? Not by much! I feel better now. Stupid ladder...



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Slow Progress

I wish I had better news, but the past 2 months the progress was slow. Alice's Ai was a challenge, Titan was very busy, and the voice actress hasn't made Ucogi's voice yet. We are using SourceTree to update the game, and here's the dates and progress we made during April-May.


I know you are all waiting for a beta, or an update. This is painful because I am waiting for things to get done as well. My programmer sometimes promises deadlines that he can't meet for various reasons and that delays the development of the game. This month was very nerve-wracking, as I was waiting and waiting for some progress. The following Skype messages are between me and Titan, the programmer. It shows how days fly by, and sadly that is just a glimpse of the whole story.

All that said, I'm not pointing fingers. I'm explaining the situation. I do have to do many things on my own and this waiting and pressure is killing my creative mood. But I try to keep my chin up and be professional. Some of the challenges I'm facing has to do with the sound. I got some good voice samples but they do need to be edited and placed in the game, and tested and if they are not good enough, I have to repeat the process.

I made a rough video regarding Alice's progress and I tried to show off some of the new sfx. The sound in the video is quite out of synch but it was a hassle to fix, so I left it as it was. Still, you can see the improvements since last month. One of the biggest changes is that the soldiers used to be black and now they are white (in the story, the black soldiers appear later). When progress is made, feels really good. The background looks bad, it's one of the designs that I have to re-do.


This waiting made me think and reconsider. I know now that I need to give the least amount of work to anyone else involved in this project. And to do the best I can with what I got. I have to find a balance what is important and what can be shown in other ways. For example, I wanted to have a mini-boss in the farms, as a story beat, world building and change of pace. I can compromise and have an NPC dialogue, without the fight. Which means that the programmer won't struggle for another 5 days to deal with this, and he can work towards completing more important things.

These are my thoughts for now. What remains to be done? Programming-wise we have to finish Alice, Stheno, Succubus 2 and the ending presentation. The title video needs some sound work as it is out of synch. I need to re-check Succubus, Red and Golem Bosses. We need to add 3-4 dialogue cut-scenes, and a new cheat menu. These are the most important things for now. We are almost at the finish line. 

Of course bugs and corrections are unavoidable, and I do have to fix the design aspects of levels and dialogues. But Voms' timeline is really close to an end. Once the programming is completed, everything else should be a breeze.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Voice acting and Boss Alice

Apologies for not posting anything for almost 2 months. Things were moving slowly and I didn't had much to report. 

Titan (the game's programmer) was supposed to work for 10 days during March and hopefully another 10 days during April but he managed to work only 4-5 days during those 2 months. He has almost finish Boss Alice but there are still lots to be done. I added a new move for Boss Alice, to make her be more intimidating: she can use her special attack on air, during gliding. I made the following video to show Titan what needs to be fixed with Alice. And while at it, I did some more testing. 

The weird thing is that Alice was acting fine in the test room but her behavior changed once she was placed in her Boss level, so some additional things need to be fixed. It sucks when something is almost ready and then you realize that there's a lot more to be done.


I also felt that the game lacks in the sound department, so I hired a musician and I was looking for a voice actress. The musician wrote a couple of pieces that I really like. Regarding the voice actress, I managed to find one after a few failed attempts. I came in contact with her on March 1st, and she told me that she would be busy for the next 20 days. 

I used that time to create a list of the voices that I would need and create a video to help her visualize the whole thing (see below). When I was done, she needed another 20 days to work on the voices and then she got sick... and finally, I got the raw files just today. Now I have to go through a bunch of sound files, play with the pitch and other options and decide which ones to use. There is still work to be done in the sound department.


 
I wanted to do a lot and I was in a very creative mood all this time. But I couldn't do much because I had to wait on others. At some point I started doodle-programming on Flash. I know it's a dead program but .exe files still work and I got excited about it. I managed to make a few Ucogi Games run in fullscreen (like Solitaire Quest), and I experimented with many things. Ucogi MultiDice for example, focuses on dice rolls and also contains a new Ucogi edit (maid outfit and nude).

The main problem about MoGi Origins is that I mostly wait for stuff to be done by others. And this waiting is killing me. I'm not just talking about my artistic and creative mood, but literally. It causes anxiety, shame, and so many other negative things. I feel the need to keep myself busy and useful. I have to stop relying on others regarding game creation. During my wait, I actually tried to get myself into Blender but I quit after a day or so (Blender is a very unintuitive program, and I prefer drawing in 2D anyways). I also tried to start doing my own game-music, but then I quit that too as I got overwhelmed. And then my doctor said that my lifestyle is unhealthy and that I need exercise and diet (the food I have to eat tastes really bad). Special thanks to the pandemic and to the countless hours sitting on my PC working or waiting on others!

These are the facts and my thoughts. I keep working on MoGi and I need to finish it more that anything in the world. Things can get hard at times, as I keep bumping into things. We are getting there. Slowly, but progress is being made.
 
 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Late Valentine's Day

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well.

I was extremely busy this month, dealing with some lose ends. I'm glad Ucogi was around to help me clean up my dusty folders and put a few things in place.

There was contest that inspired to me to finally finish a bunch of card games (currently one of my games is in semi-finals! ^^). I wanted to complete these games for quite some time and that was a good opportunity. Also I went back and revamped existing games and their shop pages:

I modified the MoGi Deck, adding about a dozen new mogi. Ucogi Deck and Ucogi Nude Deck are updated and edited to be as identical as they can be. Ucogi Nude Deck has special improvements regarding the nude edits. I
revisited the Ghost Deck and released 2 original games, the 15 Ghosts and Super Magical Gems. Creating images, videos and pages for all these games was madness.

Finishing these games and the fact that it was "itch.io day", motivated me to work on Ucogi's last game, Solitaire Quest. And after it's release I added a playable demo for both SQ and Orphanarium. And then I had to add all the above in Ucogi.com with new thumbnails and everything. And I had to work on my personal site (nobody goes there). Not to mention the work on another 3 card games. Like I said, madness!

Around that time I placed Ucogi Valentine on Zazzle... but with all the above, I missed the Valentine's deadline! Still though, I'm just glad I managed to do so much, and that now I can move on.


I've made so many things that I'm starting to lose track. So, I decided to create one more thing: a small program where everything is gathered in one place, giving easy access to anyone interested. That includes links to videogames, card games, merch and social media. Feel free to download "Ucogi Links.exe" from my Patreon. I will be updating that file from time to time.

Regarding MoGi Origins, I did some research about voice actresses. Right now I need to create a word document with all the MoGi and decide where they need voices. And then hire a few people that I found, so that every MoGi has a consistent voice when they hit you or when they get hit. I hope everything works well, because 28 MoGi and 5 female playable characters are a lot of work.

I will resume working on it this week. I just had to distance myself a bit, deal with all these unfinished projects that were clogging my mind, and return with a fresh pair of eyes.



Monday, January 31, 2022

I needed a break

I wish you all a happy 2022. And hopefully this year MoGi Origins is released. Things look very promising so far.

That said, this post is not so much about MoGi but about me. Working nonstop from September to December made me neglect many real life things I had to address. Some of them are still unsolved, like Payoneer owing me money for over 6 years, for the mobile sales of SuckerSuck (I probably lost over $400 thanks to them). So I haven't worked on the game since late December. I also needed a break to get out a bit and see some friends, and distance myself from MoGi Origins in order to see things more clearly once I get back in it with fresh eyes.

I did work on a few other things though. I wanted to release Ucogi's Solitaire Quest for over a year now in my itch.io account but since it would be the definitive edition, I have to add a few new things. Also I needed to feel like I'm finishing something and feel good about it, because Mogi can be kind of a scary monster at times. With that in mind, I tried to finish a few card games and decks that I had in my plans for a long time. Solitaire Quest has all this Ucogi art and it was a shame that it was not placed it in any actual cards up until now. So, I do plan to release SQ and a few physical card games when I feel ready. I will announce here any releases but if you want to check, here's my card games


Regarding MoGi. I would resume working on it in a few days. Sometimes it overwhelms me to have all this weight on my shoulders but the spark is still there. Titan is able to work and help as well when I need him around for programming. But the rest is on me. Back in December I felt my mind crumbling just with the thought that I had to deal with setting up a Steam account to sell the game (my cousin would help me but then he declined because of his own life matters) and even finding and talking to voice actresses because the Monster Girls need better and more voices. Even when I work with Titan, the amount of work I have to do is multiplied, as I have to give him instructions, foresee any liabilities (such as art I might need to add or how something may conflict with anything else), double check everything and play test his additions. 

Every little thing is piling up and I really need to focus at one thing at a time. Without neglecting any other aspects of the game (or my life? Nah, work comes first). This is the path I chose for myself, and it's not too bad. It's just scary and exhausting some times. So, thank you all for your patience and support, emotional or Patreon-wise. It helps a lot.

I hope I can have a decent beta by the end of February. Let's see how it goes. 


Monday, November 29, 2021

Another month of complete devotion

Hello friends! Thank you all for being around and supporting MoGi Origins with your presence, suggestions, opinions, feedback and any other way possible. It means more than you can imagine.

This month I managed to finish all of Alice's animations for every outfit she was supposed to have. It was a huge challenge but she is now fully programmed and tested as a playable character. Alice has a new Backdash ability, even on the air. Also she has a Special and a Super move that consumes energy. Alice showed up a few bugs but seemingly everything is now fixed and I'm very pleased with the final result. Her Super move is so cool as it shakes the screen and hits all visible enemies!


Titan worked with me for the second time, since our new arrangement. I'm very proud of the number of things we added and fixed this month. Here's most of the tasks Titan had to deal with, during his 20 days of work. Most notably, Slimegirl Red needed a big update and Succogi is now completed as a boss fight. The work speed was hectic and some details may be missing from the following list, but that's a good chunk of the problems we addressed.


Titan will work on the programming of the game for another 20 days in January. Until then I have to finish the underwear version of Ucogi, and revamp and populate as many levels as possible. The level design is tricky in many ways and every guy we hired to help, found it to be a big chore. I need to familiarize with GameMaker and its kinks, as there are no obvious shortcuts to tile each area. But for me is more time consuming than challenging. For example, just to test each level's parallax scrolling, I have to compile the game every damn time.

My main concern is making the levels interesting (especially if they need backtracking) and work well with all 6 playable characters. Moreover, I need to worry about the pacing of the game, which is tied to the level design. Thankfully I have worked on many plans and drafts, but if something is off, I would need to reconsider and correct it. 

Even thought all the levels exist in the game, many of them were left empty, to be populated by objects that I would design later on. These objects are now completed, many levels have Hostage puzzles (an idea that came to me only a few months ago), some art is updated and even the parallax scrolling has been updated to be both horizontal and vertical. Furthermore, the game due to it's semi-realistic setting, it appears to have many flat levels and it does need more verticality. So, I really need to rework and polish most of the areas.


I wish I could have something tangible to show you, especially after all the hard work we have done in the game, but most probably I won't have something ready, until the early months of 2022. To some of you, this might sound disappointing, but please consider that I'm doing my very best. Not only I came up with a viable production plan that works, but I have also been working non-stop (pretty much since September) in an effort to redeem the whole project. 

During November I only went out 5 times (to get food supplies from a supermarket), and I haven't had any other contact with the outside world. The sheer amount of this month's work is a testament to that. I might take a break during the Christmas vacations, because I'm showing symptoms of burnout, and I do need to clear my head, if not for my health, then for the level design's sake.

 
~Veins