I hope you are doing well during these trying times. Our team is ok, despite quite a few tense moments back when countries were closing borders. Now we are hard at work trying to get Build 0.3 out as soon as possible, as we believe a little bit of cheering up is what people in general need right now.
To be precise, however, we are trying to get Build 0.3 out ASAP without compromising quality. And since that's taking a while we figured it'd be good to post a progress report so people know how it's going. And after that we will have a call for input — that is, a few questions you can answer to help us make content for the next build.
For starters... why is it taking longer than expected?
First and foremost because back in January and February I had a rough health patch alongside starting a new job. Unsurprisingly that crashed my productivity. But it's in the past, we aren't here for a pity party or anything.
Now, the second reason is still relevant: it's because Build 0.3 has a lot of variation to account for previous player choices — how you've treated Asterion so far and whether you sent him to the valley or not, who is leading the lounge, which background you picked. And that takes time, that's just how it goes.
Suffice it to say, we are trying to pack this thing with a fat load of content.
And what's going to be in Build 0.3?
Build 0.3 is going to be our biggest one yet in terms of word count. It will have Chapters 8 to 11 in their entirety — unlike Build 0.1, which ended early if you sent Asterion to the valley. Without going into too much detail, this chunk of the story will have the our capable main character interacting with the first batch of guests, bringing Internet to the hotel and exploring the valley. Most notably, a chunk of that will be accomplished by managing the hotel's growing staff into doing certain tasks.
Now, there is a twist here. If this was accomplished through your usual dialogue choices then we could reasonably well predict all possible outcomes and account for all of them. But from now on this guest management portion of the game will be a largely dynamic system, in which you can either do badly, well or particularly well.
So, from Build 0.3 onwards you'll be able to gain additional rewards by managing well your guests. Those "loot drops" will largely be items that reveal Asterion's and the labyrinth's history. In turn this will enable new interactions that can have a permanent and positive effect on him. Additionally from Build 0.4 and onwards you'll also be able to unlock new accessories for him.
Our goal with this is that, in the long run, it will make each playthrough unique, and Asterion as a character will be different in relevant ways depending on how it goes. To give a more palpable example, after all is said and done he will be a different person if you unraveled his family's history in Playthrough A, and slightly different if in Playthrough B you focus on figuring out everything there is to know about the gods.
Let's check how that should look like...
Hopefully you guys enjoyed this little peek.
Now, for this to work we need to have a sizeable backlog of items you can find in-game, right? And... ok, here it goes.
Let's talk about word count.
So, for this all to make sense let's start with how long the previous builds were.
|Build||Words before code||Words with code|
(The ~ means "approximately" and "k" means "thousand".)
Build 0.3 is more complicated. Right now its script is at 34k words, largely before adding in code — and we are not done yet. It is quite possible that the finished script will be around or surpass 50k words before code is added.
And to top it all off... So, I talked about sending people to the valley to find items which reveal a bit about Asterion's past. And I said we need a backlog of stuff.
Here's the deal: at this moment we have about 14k words worth of content written out on that front, making a total of about 40 items a player will be able to find in-game.
So, didn't I just say we might arrive at 50k words? That's on the script alone, because if we count the item backlog we are already beyond 48k words. That's a novel worth of writing packed into a single content update!
Cool stuff, right?
But we don't know yet just how many of these items will be available on Build 0.3. A few of them are, let's say, late-game and very spoiler-ish — so we probably won't put those in-game just yet. About the other ones, while the player coudl find these items, you won't have too many chances just yet in a single playthrough. At first this pushed us to only making a small number of them available in the game this time around, but...
If we make a good chunk of them available this early on, that would give it more of an incentive to replay the game, wouldn't it? If you are invested in the story and want to know more then you can dive in. And that's something we want to allow, naturally.
In conclusion, depending on how this goes Build 0.3 could end up almost doubling the word count of Minotaur Hotel! Neat, huh?
What's the release date?
As I said, we want to release the game ASAP without compromising quality. We are getting closer and closer, but I don't want to pick a date just yet because, right now, we are at that sweet spot where things are flowing quickly without being hurried... Plus we really are packing this build with content, and we don't want to release it before everything we want is in.
As the next chunks of content get ready and implemented in-game you can expect to hear us about a release date.
Oh, but before you leave there is the...
Call for Input
For those who didn't participate on our previous calls for input, we will ask a few questions and your answers will help us make content for the next build of Minotaur Hotel. You don't have to answer all of them — pick the ones you have something to say
1. During Build 0.3 Asterion will take a minute to properly teach the good master how to summon objects — how to do it and what are the limitations. Here you will have the chance to summon a gift to him. We need suggestions on what this gift can be.
The gift ideally has to fit the following criteria:
- It should be something that can be worn independently of wearing a shirt. (No brooches/lapel pins.)
- It cannot be a hat.
- It must not be already available in-game (you can see all available accessories in the VIP Room).
- It must not involve tattooing or piercing Asterion (it can't be nose/nipple rings).
- It can't be modern technology — ideally it should be something which could be produced during the 1940s.
What do you suggest? Feel free to post pictures.
2. If you sent Asterion out to the valley, what were your motivations to do so? Right now we have identified a few of the main reasons why people did it. The player might:
- have believed Argos, and assumed nothing bad would happen.
- have realized something bad could happen, but figured sending Asterion out was ultimately for the best because it would get them the mirror with no strings attached.
- have been curious to know what would happen.
- enjoy sadism.
If you sent Asterion out to the valley, do any of those options describe your situation? Would you suggest a fifth option?
3. What would you, personally, like to tell Asterion? Is there something you'd like to do for him?
This is an open-ended question so we can make our little list of ideas for future interactions with him. You can be creative here.
As a final point... If you have any feedback you'd like to add about Build 0.2.5, this is the last chance for it.
This is it for now — hope to have more news about Build 0.3 soon!