It's utterly absurd how hard this team works, and the result is extraordinary even in the current golden age of Furry VNs. Really looking forward to the update, which will surely eliminate a good chunk of a weekend come August.
June Progress Report
Hello, Nanoff and MinoAnon here! As usual, we will be listing all the build's content and how well we're doing.
|Chapter 14||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 15||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 16||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 17||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 18||Being written (about 30% so far)|
The missing scene in Chapter 16 has been written and added to the game! We also did a bit more progress on Chapter 18, which will be the main focus of July's work.
Unlike the previous chunks of the game, Chapter 18 is a rather straightforward and (dare I say it?) short piece of content. It does contain variations accounting for a number of outcomes players might have reached in their playthroughs, but these branches are rather short and to the point. Most of the attention is being put on the important parts that really advance character arcs, which are common across all variations and essential for the whole thing to feel right.
Right now, Chapter 18 is composed of about 16 "beats". Some of these are full-fledged scenes in their own right ("X and Y talk about important thing Z"), others are just brief pieces of narration ("X goes down a hallway and sees Y"), but for the chapter to be complete all of them need to be written and edited. Of those 16 beats, about 1/3 of them are at the very least in a first draft stage.
Right now Nemo and I are writing Chapter 18. As soon as Awoo and Raff finish editing the Hinterlands sections (we'll talk about them in a second) they'll jump over to hammering these down.
Side Character Content
|Themba||Finished and implemented|
|Khenbish||Finished and implemented|
|Wolf||2/3 implemented, some writing pending|
|Robert||Finished and implemented|
|Luke||Finished and implemented|
|Asterion||Implemented (a little bit of editing pending)|
So, as we said before, starting from Build 0.5 you're able to hang out with some guests if they're not busy with R&D or Exploration. Right now only a few guests actually have that content implemented (Luke and Robert), but eventually all of them should have it.
What about Asterion, though? You'll be spending time with him almost every in-game day, does it make sense to have extra hangout scenes with him? Well, we were planning that at some point Asterion would start working on a personal project, something that's meaningful to him — and you'd be able to help him with those tasks.
As the deadline was getting closer, I wondered whether MinoAnon would have time to write it or if we'd leave the option crossed out with a message saying, "lol we'll add this next build". Since the writers clearly have their hands full at the moment, I decided to take a stab at it, and it's all done and implemented, just needing a bit of editing.
Right now there are 9 scenes for Asterion, which go all the way to his project's completion. Build 0.5 adds 15 in-game days wherein you can manage your time, so if you want you should be able to see all of this content if you're set on it. But it's good keeping in mind there's no rush to finish this "quest line". It was designed as a little project you can chisel away bit by bit over the course of the entire game, balancing your time with other activities. If you try to rush this, you will miss out on other guests and fun improvements for the hotel. If you're curious about seeing the end to this quest, I recommend completing it on a second or third playthrough.
That said, Wolf's last chunk of content is still missing, since it was not exactly the priority this month.
|Ruthless 1||Finished and implemented|
|Ruthless 2||Finished and implemented|
|Ruthless 3||Finished and implemented|
The Ruthess Route, as stated before, is finished.
|Hinterlands 2||Finished and implemented|
|Hinterlands 3 (daily)||Finished and implemented|
|Hinterlands 3 (exploration)||Editing|
|Hinterlands 4||First draft written|
|Hinterlands 5||First draft written|
The bulk of the writing work this month went into finishing the Hinterlands section, which was our last big hurdle before moving on to Chapter 18 and FINALLY completing the build.
Hinterlands 2 is a small intermission that plays between Chapters 14 and 15 — it only shows what happens in the night after P finishes Storm's charm and explains P and Storm's objective.
Hinterlands 3 is the big boy. It's one of the biggest and most replayable chapters in the build — all put together, it's over 60k words long and has about 15 explorable in-game locations.
You'll control P, the peacock, and you'll have a limited amount of time to investigate "the hinterlands" in search for the "minotaur's hotel." How you manage that time, what you choose to investigate, what clues to follow, how much time you'll dedicate to figuring out Storm's past — that's all up to you. This freedom allows it to be played in a number of ways, which only become more varied as each reader's impressions of P and Storm should affect their choices.
Because of this, the Hinterlands 3 section is one of the points in the game with the highest amount of variation and responsiveness to player choice. Hopefully it'll be interesting and everyone will find something they like in it!
Regarding the area you explore — in the last Devlog nanoff had used a placeholder world map asset, which caused some confusion. P and Storm only explore a small town and its surrounding area during this chapter. Still, there are plenty of locations to investigate.
After Hinterlands 3, the story continues to Chapter 16. Then we get two more segments following up on Storm and P's adventure, but those are extremely short (just a single scene each.) While writing all of Hinterlands 3 took weeks, the 4th and 5th segments only took a day each for their first drafts.
Again, right now we're editing the last bits of Hinterlands 3. After that the boys will tackle 4 and 5, which will be followed by the whole team going all hands on deck with Chapter 18.
Now, to show off some of the assets... nanoff spent a lot of the time working on these chapters, being forced to look at P and Storm's sprites, and he figured they needed a bit of an update...
(I can't believe it took me until last year to learn to stop shading with black and white, dear God.)
Since the first planning stages, we wanted Minotaur Hotel to be the kind of game people replay. We've always added secrets, branching choices and special dialogues that trigger when specific conditions are met — and we doubled down on it for this build.
Still, we couldn't stop and wonder how much of that went unexplored. How many of you guys know that you can convince Asterion that loincloths are back in style that since 0.2? Or that, if you have the Speedrunner background, you just skip the Argos riddle in 0.1, making Argos fear you when you meet him again in 0.3? Or that you can get Luke to calm one of Asterion's anxiety attacks if you sent him to the valley on your first try?
There are a number of small and big variations like that, even more now that the game has so many previous player choices to pull from. So we wanted to add something that both made it easier for readers to track what content they have and haven't seen and clued people into just how much content there is in the first place.
Well, finding a solution to that was easy — achievements! And we went a step further — a lot of them will have little clues or insights either in their name or in their description.
That said, we're taking some measures to avoid spoilers. First, some achievements will be kept as full secrets, while others will only have their unlock conditions/names visible. This way looking at your Achievements screen won't be spoiler-ish in and of itself. On top of that, the screen will appear in the main menu after either the ruthless route, or the current main route content is finished.
(As you can see, one of those requires getting all the clay tablets, which is RNG reliant — we've tweaked one of the old chapters so that at one point in the game ([f you play your cards right], you'll always get a tablet you haven't gotten yet across all playthroughs, so getting the whole story becomes less annoying.)
Again, the intended effect here is to inform people of content they might have missed, so don't feel compelled to go through content you don't want to play through, such as the ruthless route or getting all the tablets.
Speaking of which, we decided to remove the "max rank for your background" text at the end of the build. We saw players legit getting distressed over "not being nice enough to Asterion". The last thing we want if for our game to make people feel is inadequate, that's really not an emotion we want being part of the experience.
Besides, with the new systems the maximum rank has become both very difficult to calculate given all the variables and not really indicative of how people are playing the game. Just to be clear, we will leave the rank feature there because you guys are fond of the mechanic (and it's useful for us to know where the average player ranks, especially now) — we're just removing the text "max rank for your background" text.
Quality of Life Updates
We're adding two other substantial QoL improvements to 0.5, which were implemented by Wattson. He was a cool fucking guy and approached us to fix two issues that really irked him about the game:
First of all, the scrolls going across the textbox. They reset every new line or waiting command, and this is especially notable for some of the characters like Argos. Well, it no longer does that!
The second improvement he added, and this one is really cool: you can now drag and drop the character icons in the team management screen. Just hold click (or touch, on Android) and drag them to the team you want.
As someone that had to playtest the shit out of the game, this is a godsend. And considering there will be 15 management sections in 0.5, I trust this will be a welcome improvement for you guys as well.
As you guys can see, we are very close to being done with this build. All that's left is the final stretch of writing and editing, and the distance we have to cover isn't that big. The biggest limiting factor, in reality, is that my writing time (MinoAnon) is very restricted right now.
I don't like going into too much detail about my personal life, but this time I'd say it's justified. My current job is pandemic-related, people depend on me, and June was a very intense month. I was putting in more than 10 hours on-site every day, 6 days per week, with my only day off often being spent juggling other obligations like my Master's and time with my newborn nephew. We still got a lot of progress done (overwhelmingly because of Awoo, Nemo and Raff) for such a busy month, but July will still be tough.
So, about the release date, is July still on the table? Hard to say, but early to mid August is more likely.
We'll begin doing QA this month to make sure everything works (and to do some grammar checks and edits). We plan on announcing a release date when the writing for Chapter 18 is done.
In the meanwhile... Over July we'll post a few more DevLogs than usual. Not gonna give our cards away just now but, inspired by this nice pice of Storm fanart by ᑕᖇEᗩᗰ/@CemagCre (pictured below), we're thinking of posting a showcase of Minotaur Hotel fanart and fan fiction around mid-July.
I'll gather some pieces from Twitter and our forum and post them all with attribution. If you ever made any fan art/fiction and you'd like to see it in just tag us on Twitter and/or post it in the comments here.
And that's it for now. See you soon, guys!
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I have to say that Nanoff is one hell of an artist. And I can't compliment everyone enough for all they have done on this project. I am sooo looking forward to all your additions to the game!
speakinf of achievements, I wonder if there's one for trying to convince Asterion to work nude. xDD
I know the Hotel doesn't allows him to be naked but still I wonder what'd happen if you just insists.
"Achievement unlocked: Exhibiotism Denied"
There is one for convincing Asterion to use his loincloth, it would be a little redundant.
I'm with you there in that naming the achievements is a lot of fun. The Argos related achievements are Metal Gear Solid jokes.
Thank you so much for the update, I cant wait to play more of this game!! Keep up the fantastic work!!
Thank you for the update, looking forward to the release :)
thanks for the interesting report, you can add gallery mode to the game and so you did a wonderful job, you are all great, I look forward to the new version
Will we see a development in our relationship with our boi Asterion? Like, I dunno, from being friends to more than friends? Our boi deserves all the love he can get and I am sure we are all more than eager to give our love to him.
In Build 0.5 you'll spend about 3 weeks in-game with Asterion, starting right on the day after he was given the laurel wreathe. That was a very special occasion for him, and it triggers a lot of self-reflection.
Not going to give many details, but a lot can happen in three weeks after something like that. I think you'll like what we have in store!
I am ok with "more than friends' being a thing, but even if it doesn't pan out, I have a new goal in life to make sure he ends up happy.
I know they want me to play through multiple times, but I can't stomach the thought of doing a run that hurts him.
Even if that means I have to lose my arm to keep him safe...
Oh wow! It's looking like things are coming together and the next build is going to be huge in content. I can't wait to experience all there is! (Well, maybe not so much the ruthless ending; it'll be like the genocide run of Undertale to me. But I love the fact that it's there as an option.) I also love the idea of an achievement system to see possible alternatives that are easily miss with the story. I missed Argos' hug my first playthrough and I only knew about it from reading the wiki.
I see how the rank mechanic is especially useful to accurately gauge how players are interacting with your work and the unintended issue that it caused. I felt that myself but when I deduced what it was that I could have done differently, my choices weren't that big of a deal and my relationship with Asterion wouldn't have changed at all. And given the choices themselves, I likely wouldn't have done things that differently. Getting rid of that phrasing would be a good way to avoid that confusion. The only other thing I can think of is making the ranking really cryptic and not easily as straight forward to how "high or low" it is. Maybe keeping the character icon as one tell but rather than metal colors, try neutral colors?
The touch up to Storm and P are looking good. I especially love Storm's slight sassiness to his hips. That fan are is really good.
As for when the release date for the next build, as much as I want to get my hands on it I prefer you all take as much time as you need with it so you can take care of yourselves in your personal life. I also know the feeling of being hard hit during the pandemic during the summer months in my own line of work so take it easy. And always, thank you so much for such an awesome piece of engaging media. <3