While getting the Patreon rolling, I’ve also been planning out code mods. Specifically I’ve been reading up on Python’s import machinery and different approaches to monkey patching. Monkey patching is a much-derided programming technique where you rewrite or add to portions of the code while the program is running. If this sounds crazy, it sorta is, but it’d really give modders the run of the place. It’d be a good fall back for situations where more formal extension hooks don’t exist.
I’m looking to give modders @before, @after, and @instead decorators that would let them hook their own functions into existing methods, but reversibly and in the load order of the mod list. I’d publish a list of recommended places to override, of course.
I’ve also been preparing the data definitions (character types, transformations, all that stuff) to make it easier to turn them into data that I can load from files. This is going to benefit both modders and myself because it’ll give me a more convenient way to maintain both a patreon version and a non-patreon version.
I’m restarting the Patreon! I’m aiming to make the game longer and continue the story after the Baron’s demise. If this sounds good, please consider contributing!
Here’s what’s different from the last Patreon launch:
- It’s a plain regular-ass Patreon: you get charged monthly. You get rewards. No weird pledge threshold.
- The port away from the server is done, so there’s gonna be results much sooner.
- The rewards are different: rather than no-ads and cheats, special content instead.
You can find out more here:
If I was gonna restart my Patreon, what would you like to see as a reward, and where would you want to see me spend time and resources?
Whatever happens I’ll continue to use Steam revenue to finish off mod support. But patreonbux would allow me to bring in artists and writers and commit to more content. If you’d like to be informed if/when this happens, follow Fleshcult on Steam or Itch.
A Fourth Location?
In this scenario I’d focus on making the game longer, with a new location after the suburbs and the old quarter. It would have new types of minions to recruit and a new plot arc that carries on after the Baron.
I regularly have ideas for erotic games that I make little prototypes of. They’re short and not illustrated, but I’d polish them up and add some juicy text descriptions. Not all of these would have selectable gender and sexuality like Fleshcult. For example, the most complete thing I have lying around is a Twine game where you’re a male sub lost in his mistresses’ maze of sinister glory holes.
I’d also add the technical framework for background music to the game. I slapped together the Steam trailer music in Renoise and could make more tracks with a similar mood, but at lower tempo and with more ambience. Or hire an actual musician, if the community gently takes me aside to say, “Yes, but not like that”.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was doing a bit of worldbuilding to give me more of a setting to work with. For example, I have a map of the underworld based on tectonic plate boundaries and large igneous provinces. Demonic factions, yadda yadda. Absolutely no promises this ever makes it into the game and it’s very unlikely to get you off. Might be interesting if you’re trying to do similar things on tabletop.
What else am I missing?
I’m open to suggestions.
Fleshcult v1.08 is now available on Steam and Itch. It allows you to create and install mods that can:
- Add graphics
- Improve the UI
- Add sounds
This is the first phase of mod support. I’ll be continuing to work on enabling mods for:
- Adding characters, transformations, and locations
- New mechanics and other code alterations
This one’s just a wee bugfix release. Changes:
- Altering the internal name of your mod from the upload form no longer errors out.
- All of the CSS classes for minions have been added to the Lab screen and the minion pairing table. They work identically to the ones in the Visit Surface screen and encounters.
On the Steam beta branch you can now download v1.08, which lets you upload and download mods from Steam Workshop. This is an opportunity for modders to test workshop integration before it goes live for players in general.
- If you’ve been using Modding Preview 1, you’ll initially see an error about not being able to read user settings, but it should behave correctly after that.
- Secondly, if you’ve written metadata for your mod into an ini file, it will now need to be named ‘metadata.ini’.
- The upload form can’t cope with unicode characters yet.
Please let me know if your mods behave any differently after a trip through workshop and I’ll look into it. And if you’d like to get into making mods, you can learn more on the wiki.
I’ve added a page to the wiki on what you’re allowed to post to Steam Workshop as part of your mod. If you’re working on one, you should totally read it.
Ideally I would’ve had this up much sooner, so that nobody wastes time making a mod I’m just gonna ban. I’m sorry that it took this long. To be honest, I’ve been kind of dreading writing it, because it’s a bummer to go laying down the law before anything has even gone wrong. But it’s important to get things started off on the right foot so we’re in the clear with Valve.
In other news, programming work is continuing to go well. Got some bugs to fix so it works well in the absence of Steam, and with international characters in mod metadata. Then it’s on to a big retest of the entire game, given that this will be the first Python 3 release and it’s hard to know what that might have broken.
Today I uploaded a mod into the workshop from within Fleshcult, and then downloaded it successfully. It took me a while getting here. I didn’t realise the amount of work, and didn’t realise how much fatigue I was carrying into 2021.
Anyway, this is a significant milestone for me, but there are still a lot of details to address. I’d say I’ve got about two weeks left of assorted bugs to fix, then I’ll finally have a release.
Here’s a progress update on Steam Workshop support. I’ve got Fleshcult connecting to the Steam API and fetching the mods you’ve subscribed to in the workshop. It took some fixes in the Python wrapper I’m using. As far as I can tell, looks like there’s one other person who’s using Steam Workshop from Python, so I’m further off the beaten track than I’d hoped. I’ll be sending the fixes upstream soon.
There’s still a fair bit to do before it’s usable. Uploading mods is much more complex than downloading them. It’s the game’s job to upload the files and attach metadata to them – descriptions and tags and so forth. Once I’ve got the uploader working, I’ll be able to test the whole process from end to end, and from there it’s not too far to releasing it.
I’ve been finding it hard to focus on programming tasks lately, so I’ve been spending this week working on world building. I haven’t tended to write much background material, but I’ve been hankering to do more, because a post-Baron plot arc has gotta be more than just another antagonist like the last.
My process so far is similar to the one behind Vampire: The Masquerade:
- What are the major political divides generated by the premise?
- Come up with factions for each position. Give them names, epithets, symbols, founders, derogatory terms…
- Who’s allied with who? What are the conflicts? Who won, and how long ago?
- What sorts of juicy scandals might’ve been covered up? Who’s keeping secrets?
- What’s the sequence of foreshadowings and reveals that leads the player to the bottom of each mystery?
- Who do they need to know and where do they need to be, to discover all these things?
- What are the tasks and random events that lead them there?
Anyway, I doubt I’ll follow all these steps exhaustively. If I can see a shortcut to writing game content, I’ll definitely take it.