Build 0.5 Release Date + July Progress Report
Build 0.5 Release Date:
That's right! After months of hard work we are ready to announce the release date of Build 0.5! It's coming out on August 20th and adds approximately 300,000 words to the game.
Yes, that's right! Three hundred thousand words that make up an absolutely gargantuan update which, roughly, doubles the amount of content in the game. It includes:
- Chapters 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 which, altogether, immensely advance the story and characters of Minotaur Hotel.
- The Hinterlands, which includes a detective/exploration-like segment where you'll get to know more about the history of the hotel, how the world outside of it works and two new characters.
- Four new recruitable characters: Robert the demon, Themba the grootslang, Khenbish the boar and Wolf the wolf.
- The completed Ruthless Route, where you can witness what unfolds should the player character of Minotaur Hotel stay true to his god-given duty as Master of the Labyrinth.
- And much, much more!
It took us a while, but we did it! You will be able to play Minotaur Hotel precisely as we envisioned it. Thank you for the patience, soon you will see that it was worth the wait.
Questions & Answers
To celebrate this occasion, we are sticking to the tradition we set up in the previous launches: we will do a Questions and Answers (Q&A) session. You can send us your questions about the game, its development, the characters — everything, really — and we will answer them in the days leading up to the launch. Just post it as a comment here and we'll get to it!
(Note: We may not answers questions that are too spoiler-y.)
Now, before we get to July's actual Progress Report, there's one final announcement we have to make...
Backgrounds with GigaSaddle
Starting with Build 0.5 we will have GigaSaddle, creator of Pervader, doing background art for us. We won't be posting them here, as we want everyone to experience them in-game first, but suffice it to say that we are sure you'll like them!
I highly suggest you check Giga's VN, just click on the link below:
New Banner & Cover Art with Systemic Gaze
To celebrate the approaching release, thanks to Systemic Gaze we'll do an overhaul on the game's page and cover art. Starting tonight we'll have a new banner on top of the page, and as soon as the new build hits we'll update the cover art to include new illustrations on it.
The image on top of this Devlog and the one right below are both Systemic Gaze's work! Follow him on Twitter if you like what you see.
With all of that said...
July's Progress Report
|Chapter 14||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 15||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 16||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 17||Finished and implemented|
|Chapter 18||Editing (about 75% done)|
The main priority this month was to finish writing the the last stretch of content. Chapter 18 was, of course, the largest pending task. If you check the last Progress Report you will see that it was only 30% written.
Over the course of July we did all the writing that was left. The whole Chapter is about 35,000 words long, divided into about 16 "scenes" (some big, some small) where a great deal of your choices throughout the game culminate. Writing this chapter was both difficult, fun and intensely collaborative. I'm very hopeful that it will be a great conclusion for this build.
Right now Chapter 18 is being edited by two of our team members — one of which finished his editing a few days ago, and the other is about halfway done. We'll begin moving the first half of the chapter over to the VN shortly, which should save us some time later down the road.
We also did some edits to the end of Chapter 17, to add a better transition into the final stretch of the build.
Side Character Content
|Themba||Finished and implemented|
|Khenbish||Finished and implemented|
|Wolf Intro||Finished and implemented|
|Wolf Chapter 2||Writing|
|Robert||Finished and implemented|
|Luke||Finished and implemented|
|Asterion||Finished and implemented|
This month we also finished Asterion's side content and Wolf's introduction.
However, Wolf works a little different than the other two optional characters you can choose instead (Themba and Khenbish), and he requires a little extra writing push to have players be able to use him for R&D and exploration. Thankfully it's relatively short, so it doesn't expand the scope of the build very much. At one point I wondered whether we'd have to leave some big gaps of optional content to fill in later, but we managed to add pretty much everything we wanted.
|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)||Finished and implemented|
|Hinterlands 4||Finished and implemented|
|Hinterlands 5||Finished and implemented|
All the Hinterlands content is finished! There were a couple of optional locations that we weren't sure going to make the cut, but they all made it in, with a total of 14 spots to explore. Chapters 4 and 5 were very quick to put together in comparison, but still had their fair share of unique assets.
Speaking of which...
Most of the graphic assets like sprites, illustrations and backgrounds are already done ahead of time. With that in mind, moving the writing over to the game shouldn't take long.
While the writers continue editing the content, I had the time to do some further edits to Asterion's sprites. I don't believe we touched on this on previous devlogs, but I've been working on the big guy here and there for the last couple months.
Asterion's sprites were the first assets I made when we started working on the VN, so naturally they've been needing a bit of an update. Here's a comparison between 0.4 and 0.5 sprites:
Not to blow my own horn but I'd say it's a substantial improvement.
I've also made another very special CG, bringing the total up to 4 for the build. Three of which have to account for stuff like what Asterion is wearing and other factors, so a lot of work went into those.
Speaking of sprites made very early on in development that were in need of an update...
Argos plays a major role in the build so, naturally, he's getting a lot of new sprites and a general cleanup to his old ones.
Other assets made this month include more clothing sprites for Asterion, Storm and P, and some new NPCs.
And also... back in April we revealed the finished Themba sprites, after asking for feedback on the design and having people vote for which one they preferred. The final design came down to two choices, we went with the brown one. But we also mentioned that if we had the time, we could implement both...
Now, it's not the exact SAME color scheme as the one in GigaSaddle's concept art — the red/orange eyes were a problem. I couldn't get them to look as good as Giga's, and there's also the concern that Themba's eyes have to do most of the heavy work when it comes to conveying emotion, so we kept them yellow. I hope the one guy that spammed the form with the same answer twenty times to skew the results is happy — oh yes, we noticed. We're onto you.
And so (unless anything else comes up as chapter 18 gets added to the VN), all the art assets for 0.5 are done! That means implementing the remaining content currently being edited will take less time since I don't have to bother making or getting new backgrounds.
We're getting very close to being finished with 0.5. Considering that all that's missing from the VN at this point is chapter 18 and Wolf chapter 2, and we have A LOT of content done that needs to be tested, we have begun doing internal QA testing with the other devs and a couple trustworthy friends a couple weeks ahead of release.
So far the response from the testers has been great, and lots of small issues keep popping up and getting addressed, so this will result in a much more polished build that hopefully won't require a 0.5.1 hotfix. In fact, we had a big problem pop up right away:
RenPy, the engine Minotaur Hotel runs on, got updated to 7.4 very late last year. At the time we decided not to upgrade, since it was an unstable version and a lot of our custom UI and character sprites were breaking all the time. We stuck with 7.3.5 until very recently thinking we could get away with it, but alas, when making an Android version for QA, we were forced to update to 7.4.5. Fortunately, this is a much more stable version, and fixing all the issues that popped up from updating only took a couple days.
This update (and switching computers early in the year after an issue) did have two unforeseen issues:
- Android save files will be reset. The old .keystor is in my old PC, which unceremoniously passed away earlier this year. You can still catch up to the latest content by using the skip function, though. Lesson learned: back your shit up.
- The new version of the game will not be compatible with Windows XP. Demonchild22 raised this issue in the forums. If you absolutely cannot upgrade your PC or try the Android version, we can put together a build using Renpy 7.3.5, but we cannot guarantee that it will be bug free.
To close it up...
As you can see, we are on the last stretch before release. To prepare everything for release, over the next few days we will tinker a bit with the game's page and hopefully make it look better. Don't be surprised if a few things change! We also started a new thread in the forums for general discussion relating to Build 0.5 — feel free to go wild and have fun with it.
Also, just to make it very clear, we will change the game's cover art into a fresh new .gif when the new update comes out, so watch out for it!
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I am so ready for this update I cannot wait. Also the improvements to Asterions sprite work like the creases on his shirt or like actual snaps on his suspenders, the "brushed" effect on his pecs and different shading all look real good but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was sad to see his bulge go(I mean it's still there just less notable) Gosh I don't want to be mean to Asterion but I'm also starved for content it does make sense to add the path though. Agggh I'm torn I'm sure that it will be amazing though just as the rest of this story has been so far. It's being released so close to my Birthday so that's nice too. Have I mentioned I'm excited!!!!!
Wait is Themba Zulu? Or has some kind of connection to African mythology? His name strikes very familiar to names that are common in South Africa.
Yes. Themba is ethnically Zulu, he's from South Africa, and he's a grootslang.
well I do speak Afrikaans quite fluently and I can help with Afrikaans phrases and habits if you'd like stuff like that. I mean for example a very loved quisine among Afrikaans south Africans is Biltong which is a dried and spiced meat. Though it might be similar to jerky biltong is varying meats and such.
Oh boy, you're going to like this build.
We did plenty of research on South Africa for Themba's scenes, thankfully we know a guy from Johannesburg we could consult with to compliment our research. Biltong actually came up- one of the new guests is an aspiring cook, and at one point of the build he can cook regional meals for the guests according to their country of origin. Unfortunately biltong is not exactly a meal that can be prepared on the spot, but we did go with another South African dish for Themba. You'll probably guess which one it is.
I also discovered Hugh Masekela while looking up what kind of music we could use for him and he's grown on me a lot. We're using Grazing in the Grass as placeholder music for his scenes until we get a licensed jazz track to replace it with- out of the placeholder tracks we'll have to replace, it's by far the one that breaks my heart the most.
As for Afrikaans, the hotel translates most of the guest's speech so we didn't really have to look into that. Themba does say "Gesondheid!" when he toasts with the player, though.
That said, having more people to consult with is always good, I would really appreciate it if you could leave us your feedback on Themba and his scenes specifically once we release the build.
InWONDERFUL! Though depending on which region you speak of and what of our 8 cultures you're talking about there may be diffences, I'm part of the Boer culture which means I'm a descendant of the German settlers of South Africa. To me, a good and classic dish is Pap met sous end wors. Which is essentially a corn crumble porridge with a tomato and onion sauce, the Pap is then accompanied with a sausage.
Though if you want to reliably contact me then you'll need to use WhatsApp, and I think it's sorta obvious why since South Africa's current dilemma must've come up in your research. I can perhaps direct you to my discord or telegram tho but I'll be much less available on there.
I'm so excited, can't wait to give the big moo a hug
i thought the other chapters were out and redownloaded the game. lol just realized it was all being put into 1 update xd i also have a question? is there just the bad route. ( im gonna call the other one the bad route as being mean to the bull mans isint nice! ) and the route where you are with asterion? is it romance based? or just a normal visual novel? if romance, will there will be other routes, which characters would get routes? ( sorry im a very curious person! )
No worries, we appreciate the curiosity.
The player character can only romance Asterion. We'd rather have one very focused love interest than multiple ones. That said, some of the other characters can romance each other, you as the player can nudge them in that direction.
I actually really like the new sprite expressions. Especially the embarrassed and horny expressions ( the original ones had a touch of annoyance in them to me).
I do have a question, and I'm sorry if this has been explained in the story or answered before.... sometimes he's wearing a nose ring and sometimes he's not. Is this like a piece of jewelry he decides to wear or not wear himself? and does it have any significance in the story? I can't help associating it with a sort of master-servant type of thing because actual livestock bulls have them to be led around by because that's one of their most sensitive areas. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.....
Anyway I'm really looking forward to the new update. Thanks for such a great visual novel.
Asterion started wearing a nose ring when he was a teenager. The ring itself was a bracelet given by his father, and when Asterion outgrew it he adapted it into a nose ring. With this in mind, Asterion sees it very differently than how it's framed in today's context.
What happens in the story is that, at a certain point, Asterion brings up the nose ring and asks you if he looks good in it, and you can choose how to respond to that. In-story this is not something of the player imposing his will on Asterion.
That said, you are not "reading too much into it". I don't want to spoil or spell things out, but there is a meaning to things like Asterion's nose ring and the player character's armband. We use that imagery very consciously and it's a recurring thing in Build 0.5.
So, yeah, rest assured you are not "reading too much into it," we're aware and conscious and use these motifs as a means to build up some ideas.
A question I have, that I'm sure has been asked before, is does the team know where the story is going? Are there major story beats that the team knows/wants to happen/write in, even if the details haven't been worked out? And, of course, does the team have an idea of how the story will end (ruthless playthrough, not included)?
TL;DR: is there a roadmap for how the story will go and end? [No specifics needed nor wanted (I'm enjoying the anticipation)]
There is, yes!
We have the original draft of the story and some maps for the rest of the content.
We have a specific destination in mind.
I AM SO EXCITED!
I am excited and can not wait for the final finishes to the game. Looking forward to playing. I have to agree with Mc Kenzie about Asterion's expressions. I prefer the old ones. I know that drawing the characters can take a long time and adding expressions in detail can slow down your progress but it shows your talent and what you are capable of doing. Pure art!
Its amazing to see the way this game is growing, it really shows the amount of effort and dedication y'all are putting into it.
Also it seems like this build out of all will be the one with most replayability, so you can consider me excited.
(I dont wanna be rude, but i feel like i have to point this out)
The only criticism i have, as someone pointed out in the coments, its asterion's expressions they seem odd, i would preffer the old ones.
The clothing on the other hand is a great improvement.
Thanks for this amazing game and keep up the good work <3
Hey McKenzie, glad to hear you're hyped! And yeah the replay value is off the charts with all the stuff we're adding, a couple of the guys testing the game have done like 5 runs of hinterlands chapter 3 to see everything there is to offer.
As for the old expressions, I understand the preference for them, I think I changed my style a lot over the last year or so, leaning a little more towards more exaggerated expressions, and it shows in the reworks. I expect people will get used to the change as the game goes on.
Here's a full comparison between the old and new expressions. You can see that a big limitation on the old sprites was that the way the sub sprites were set up severely limited changes to Asterion's muzzle shape.
Damn I don't know if it was because I was so used to the old sprites, but these are quite the improvement actually.
Seeing them all toghether with a side by side comparasion, they indeed look better.
It's all good dude, we're always open to criticism
Thank you for the amazing story. I have always been interested in ancient Greek mythology. And visiting the Minotaur Labyrinth in Crete was my most interesting experience.
May I ask? Will the love story continue?
Yes, absolutely! That's the focus of Build 0.5, you will get lots of it!
Finally, I can't wait for the next piece of this masterpiece.
YES! IT A R R I V E S
Also, the release date is the day after my birthday :D
Maybe I'll actually remember it this year
Here's to the potential of Storm being boyfriend no. 2 (Asterion can't be replace, non negotiable). My main fascination is to hopefully breakdown his inevitable defenses, and make him connect more personally. And give him a kiss because the boy has had it too hard. I've been loving the work of all the people working on this, including Nanoff because I know of his great comic series. Keep up the good work all of you!
Also, I might have just realized the snake man might be wearing Asterion's skin from a torture session. I am deeply disgusted
Can't wait i'm very excited
This is life, this is just brilliant - enough said. Y'know what? No, let me continue. I've been absolutely infatuated with the progress of this visual novel, with each new update I find myself far more eager and passionate over every choice that I make. I mean, I'll admit, I spent the last several days checking this page for any kind of reports, and my first reaction to seeing the Peacock was of absolute suspicion. To the point where even thinking about him just makes my blood boil with how I might enact my revenge if my suspicions turned out to be true. I can't even bring myself to be cruel to Asterion, not even with my usually twisted curiosity. You are more than welcome to take you're time, especially since this creation of your's has brought joy to the lives of many. However, I'm sure you don't need me to spell it out based on the overwhelming support I see in the comments. Although, it warrants repeating.
Just E X T R A O R D I N A R Y .
The amount of work that goes into this project is astonishing. My only criticism of the updated sprites is Asterion's mouth, to me the new one looks flat and doesn't look like it fits on a muzzle. But that's just me. I'm excited to go back to the hotel and continue the story!
I can try and fix it, thank you for pointing it out!
Sounds exciting! Looking forward to more sleepless nights!🐊
Thanks for all your hard work! I look forward to the day the game is released you have done so many great thanks I cant thank you and your team enough!!!! The game and the storyline are beyond intriguing....Fantastic job!!!!