Build 0.6 Release Date
That's right, we have a release date! And it didn't even take us a whole year.
Kota Update Release Date
Build 0.6 of Minotaur Hotel, which adds Kota's Hangout Scenes and new R&D projects, is coming out on February 18 at 5PM UTC.
(You can check what time that is in your time zone in the image a little further below.)
This release date was carefully picked after we consulted with over a dozen psychics, mediums and suspicious, cackling grandmas. We believe February 18th is both the most feasible and auspicious date.
It also means that we, the developers, will be free during the next week when Elden Ring comes out (thank you, Miyazaki-sama).
For the record, the delightful piece of Kota art we posted was made by Alpha0. You'll be able to see the full picture when we release the update — it'll both be included in-game and will be used to update the cover art.
What to Expect
Build 0.6 adds Kota's hangouts — 5 of them, totaling to about 15k words (which won't all be displayed in a single playthrough and should feel closer to 10k words, as there's quite a bit of variation to them). These explore his character a fair bit, fleshing out his past and current attitude. This makes Kota on par mechanically with Luke, who also has 5 hangouts.
This does not necessarily implement the whole of Kota's story arc — that should become fully available only after Chapter 19, for story reasons. That said, we are working to try and pack in as much as we can, so the first part of Kota's conclusion might make it in.
While 10-15k words sounds small compared to the gargantuan abomination that was Build 0.5's 300k words, releasing it this way is important. Kota's content is a bit of an experiment — Luke's hangouts are about 3.5k words, Kota's is more than four times that. In the next segment of the DevLog we will discuss this in a bit more depth, but the main point is that we want to see how you guys will react to this new format.
We also want to gradually add to the game, enriching the mechanical side of things. This will pay dividends starting with Chapters 19 and 20, as the certainty that players have hangouts available will greatly streamline the writing process.
This build will also update Kota's art...
...including his CGs! (SFW version below).
We will also be updating some of the human NPC sprites, by popular request.
How to Access the New Content
The Kota scenes we are adding can be accessed from the Management screen as soon as Chapter 14 starts. Make sure Kota is neither in the Exploration nor in the R&D teams, then click on "Give staff time off" and pick Kota.
Yes, this means you'll have to reload a previous save to access the content.
We received suggestions asking us to implement a way to access the hangouts in from the main menu — which is a fair request! But there is more to it, mainly:
- Considering we use the notoriously finnicky Ren'Py engine, can this be achieved in a way that does not cause bugs, crashes, weird errors and so on?
- Some hangouts will have variations depending on when they are triggered and the player's previous choices. How do we make that work when this is not associated with a save file? Do we just make one single "standard" way the scene will be played in this game mode (which buries all the effort we put in to make the story respond to the player) or do we make a "variation selector" (which would be a colossal undertaking)?
- How much time would it take for nanoff to code a solution that is sufficiently robust — and is this enough of a priority for the overall project?
Adding a "Hangout Selector" feature would be a nice quality of life improvement, but given what I showed we believe we would do better by focusing on getting the essential stuff done.
So, yes, we are aware that asking people to reload a previous save file is a hassle. It can be even more bothersome when players don't have handy save files to go back to, which forces them to restart the game. We are sorry for the inconvenience! For now, the best we can do is suggesting that you use the Skip function to blast through the game up to Chapter 14, which should only take a few minutes.
The Full Breakdown
As we discussed in our previous DevLog, currently we are working on the game's "side content" — by which we mean the "hanging out" scenes you get by spending time with your staff when they are given a day off. Right now you can only spend time with Luke and Robert, which we did as a proof of concept.
The Luke and Robert experiment were extremely constructive for us. We had some ideas for how we could structure their hangout scenes — how long they should be, what format they should take, where the scenes should happen, what the narration should be like — but were far from being sure about it. In order to figure it out we included a question on the post-game feedback form to assess what everyone thought about Luke's and Robert's hangouts.
That doesn't look bad, right? Only 4 people disliked how we did it. But let's compare it to what the graphs usually look like to us.
Almost always the group of people who picked "5" is the biggest one — so the hangout satisfaction metric is actually one of our weakest ones, and that isn't the level of quality we strive for.
Now, looking at the suggestions you guys sent, a common point was that they didn't have the same amount of polish as the rest of the game (the sprites don't move, the narration is minimal, they all happen in a single location) and that they "ended just as they were getting good." We took this feedback to heart and reassessed what the average hangouts should be like.
|Short (4k to 5k words)||Pre-recruitment characters||Robert (before recruitment)|
|Medium (around 10k to 15k words)||Mandatory characters and those extensively explored in the main story||Luke & Kota|
|Large (15k+ words)||Optional characters who are not extensively explored in the main story||Themba, Khenbish, Wolf|
|Very Large (???)||Characters who join the Hotel with little to no introduction, whose stories are almost exclusively told via their hangouts||???|
Consider that Luke's hangouts were 3.5k words in length, and now his "category" of character will be triple that size. This will make for a more satisfactory experience, while still keeping things under control. The rough idea of this table is to show that the more a character's story arc is inserted in the main story, the shorter their hangouts will be.
Incidentally, this means we will rewrite Luke's hangouts sometime. A lot of what's already written will be reused in the new versions, but there'll be more content and it will involve Luke and the MC actually doing stuff together (as opposed to just talking in the lounge). For example, one of our ideas is the two of them working out together (either at the gym if it's available or doing cardio around/inside the hotel.)
On top of revamping Kota's sprites and adding his hangout scenes, we'll also be expanding on a feature that didn't get a lot of love on 0.5: we'll be adding a handful of R&D projects to make good use of all those stockpiled contract and tech points. As of 0.5, you can complete most of the available projects fairly quickly, since there aren't many to choose from. The whole mechanic is underused at the moment, and doesn't really explore the mechanics of how the hotel works, so we will be adding a bunch of these throughout the upcoming builds.
For people that want to see a little more of the side cast, these are good opportunities to see them interact a little more. And, of course, we'll retain one of the big incentives, which is giving Asterion more outifts.
What Comes Next?
Starting with Build 0.6 we want to release an update with a new guest's content every 4 to 7 weeks. We will continue with this release schedule while we work on Chapter 19, after which we should resume to our regular, longer schedule.
The next character to receive his content is...
Now, we've considered the survey responses for which character should get his hangout scenes first (in order, Kota, Robert, and more Luke), which is why we're starting with Kota, but the surveys also reveal something else: the amount of people that preferred a given character was proportional to the amount of screen time that character got. People's least favorite characters were the ones that just didn't get their time in the spotlight yet, so even though Khenbish, Themba and Wolf didn't get a lot of love, that might change when they get a little more content focused on them. We always try to deliver something people didn't think they wanted, and we hope that's the case with this next batch of content.
For the record, this piece of art was made by dilukha, who you might recognize from other astounding pieces of Minotaur Hotel art. Much like Alpha0's picture, we plan on using this when Khenbish's update come out.
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I'm so excited!
Plus I like Kota's new look. It suits his personality.
Well, now I can't wait to see what you've got planned. Good work Minoteam and lovely art.
I know its going to be amazing!!!
Ahhh, this is why this game is so engrossing. It isn't enough to just update the game with whatever section is up next, the team looks at the feedback from their audience and looks to improve their craft. I'm looking forward to spending time with Kota and seeing his new model in action!
Lots of love to the team! <3
Oooh, is that a pool that I see?
Does this mean that we're getting a beach episode? 👀
It would only be fair that we get to see Asterion at the beach since Oscar and Pedro got their own beach and water shenanigans.
We full anime now.
Amazing work as always, looking forward to the update! Also yesss more Khenbish content! I really liked him when he showed up but was a bit bummed out that he didnt get much screentime, cant wait to see what you come up with! :3
Conveniently, I have a save file of Chapter 14 because the walkthrough ends in Chapter 13
i would like to point out that the luke route graph is character specific one, and the more generic content ones in the example might not be fair for a direct comparison.
personally i will be fine with the saves backtrack. but am i correct to assume other characters should also get their hangouts started by chapter 14 or once they join the staff? if we can't get a work around it, maybe you can introduce save point recommendations to the moments in the story you still plan to expand on.
other than that, let me tell you kota's new visual is looking great and i'll bet he will see an increase in popularity. also completely agree the optional characters didn't get enough scenes to have a good feel for them for readers to form an investment. here i'm looking forward to properly getting to know them.
and thanks for taking different time zones in consideration. i see a lot of times in the internet when people give out a schedule and then i have to dig in to figure out what time zone that they meant.
Luke's and Kota's hangouts necessarily start at Chapter 14 because that's when the mechanic gets introduced and they are the only characters recruited up to that point.
The plan is that, when the game is in a more complete state, a character's hangouts will become available as soon as they are recruited. This means that a number of hangouts will become available during Chapter 15 as well (which is when Robert shows up and you can pick someone to join your team.)
Although I'd have to check with nanoff, providing save files might be technically feasible but our worry is elsewhere. The issue is that the hangouts can have as many variations to account for previous decisions as any other part of the game. For example, both Kota and Khenbish have scenes that change quite a bit based on what other characters have been recruited so far — so if you play Kota's scene during Chapter 15 (when you only have Luke and him) vs. Chapter 16 or 17 (when you might have Robert and up to two more guests [if you picked the Arts background]) it will have some very cool differences. In Khenbish's case, his scene goes as far as responding to what combination of guests you have.
If we give people a standard, or even a set of standard save files, people won't really have the context of having their very own playthrough and seeing the scene respond to it. On top of that, it might give people the wrong impression and make them think that save file is the equivalent of a "canon playthrough."
So... We understand the inconvenience that comes with it. But we are hoping things will make more sense when people get to play the game.
oh, that's not quite what i meant. In Killigan's treasure we get a message recommending to save by the end of the update. I was thinking you could be doing that on specific points, so that new readers know when they should be keeping their own save files for later use. It should be only like an extra line of text in the script here and there.
Kota is more chonky than ever so I'm already happy just by that ♡
The chonk is, dare I say it?, essential.
yes, my dude.
Looking forward to reading Kota's story :)
Wow, that art of Kota by Alpha0 is HNNNNG. I wasn't too keen on Kota the first time I read through Minotaur Hotel (mostly because I'm not really a dragon person), but with his new redesign and the new hangout scenes he'll be getting, I think I'll warm up to him with this new build. Also, I'm glad to see my boy Khenbish is getting some love in Build 0.6.1
(Even though I'm 99% sure nanoff pushed you guys into making content for him). And I'm also glad you commissioned dilukha to make that art of Khenbish, he definitely deserved it considering how big a fan he is of the game and how good he is at art (At least, I think you commissioned him, I haven't seen him post that piece of art before on his Twitter). Anyways, hope the development of the game goes smoothly!
That's preposterous. I would never do that.
(And yes, we commissioned dilukha for it.)