Saturday, July 12, 2014

How to choose character order?

With Crescentias arm almost fully recovered, we can soon make new progress on the game.
(I think in about ~2-3 weeks we will be able to show you some new stuff, until then Cres is working on making money via commissions)
Currently I'm just programming and balancing some things on the combat system.
But that's not something that I could "show"...

Anyway, today I thought I should talk about how I choose the order of characters on the list.
By "list" I mean, the list for the Offbeatr campaign.

Please keep in mind, that this list is NOT final!
I'll still make lots of changes to it, but I thought I'd give you some insight into the selection process.
I'm thinking about selecting 12 characters out of our cast as candidates for this list.

Here's a quick glance of 10 of them:

Theres still 2 characters missing, one will be most likely Shiwa (the green haired wolfgirl).
And the other... uh... don't know.
But I'm pretty sure that I'll pick this cast of characters as "possible candidates" for the game.

So... in which order do I choose them?
And what actually effects my decision?
Of course, there's lots of reasons for different placements in a list.
Lets talk about some of them.

1. One big factor would be gameplay:

I think it's important, to have as much variety in playstyle in the game as possible.
This is why I categorized them into different classes.
Two major classes would be close-combat-focused and balanced.

Close-combat-focused characters have (mostly) no ranged attacks (only mid range at max).
But they are usually either stronger or faster, and they usually do more damage.

Balanced characters do have ranged attacks, but they're not necessarily as strong as close-combat-focused characters when it comes to close combat.

There are also other classifications, as Chrysoula (the harpy) can fly, or Sanura (the black panther) can summon (shadow?) clones of herself.

2. Another big factor is the characters looks:

I think it's very important to have characters with different hair-color and skin-color.
So the placing on the list also gets effected by this.
Ferania has white skin, while Aurora, Esmoda and Minori have tanned skin and Sanura is even a bit darker.
And yeah... I guess we want to have as much "balancing" as possible between cats, wolves, bears and the harpy.
Looking at the list, there's more wolves than anything else.

3. Voice actress preferences:

This actually also has a bit of influence on which characters get choosen in which order.
In the end, each VA (currently 5 female VAs) needs to voice 2 characters anyway.
Of course they need to bend their voice a bit, because the characters should sound differently.
But they can choose which character to voice, and I think it's a good idea to try to match personalities.
Because this way, the VA can voice the character more convincing.
(not that there's much voice acting to do... but still)

4. Element attacks:

This is less important, but I think about this anyway.
I figured it would be nice to have as much variety in the elements as possible.

So, how does the current list look like, and why is it like that?

1. Ferania - wolf - silver hair - balanced
2. Catheline - cat - orange hair - close combat
3. Chrysoula - harpy - ??? - balanced/flying
4. Aurora - wolf - blonde hair - close combat
5. Claire - wolf - brown hair - balanced
6. Esmoda - bear - white hair - close combat
7. Chiira - cat - blonde hair - balanced
8. Minori - wolf - black hair - close combat
9. Sanura - cat - dark brown hair - close combat
10. Grizelda - bear - red hair - balanced
11. Shiwa - wolf - green hair - close combat

As you can see, I tried my best to mix the character-traits in this list as best as possible.
I also took into consideration stuff like character stats and individual abilities.
But that's a different story.

Anyway, I hope I could give you a bit insight into what I'm thinking and planning.
And about the 12th character?
Well... maybe she's a dragongirl, as that's something missing on this list.
But I'm not sure yet.
(other possibilities would be foxgirl or a jackal or something completely different, maybe a cowgirl?)

And please keep in mind, that this list will most likely make several (slight?) changes before the final list is done.


  1. Looking forward to more info, and a potential release date. I have no real objections to the order of characters for stretch goals, but I am curious as too how far apart each stretch goal is.

    1. It's difficult to give a potential release date, as we're only able to pick up work in about ~2-3 weeks.
      (no progress on the game graphics until then)
      But I think it's a good idea to concentrate on creating a working demo version in order to get more public attention.
      "If" we release a working demo version, we will try to get as much of the actual gameplay in as possible.
      (by that I mean, all the games functions, but not all the content like enemies and CGs)

      About the stretchgoals:
      I really can't say for sure, and I don't want to make any promisses.
      So... my thoughts on this are like this:
      "If" Ferania needs about ~2 months for completion (sprites, all the CGs etc.), we would aim for the other characters stretchgoal to be 5000 $ on Offbeatr (I heard they take roughly ~30%, so we get 3500 $ out of this).

      That means, every 5000 $ a new character gets added to the game.
      But, since we don't know how long we need for Ferania, we can't say this for sure right now.
      (It could be a bit cheaper or a bit more expensive)

      So, I don't think that we will get the whole character list into the game.
      But it would be cool to have 3-5 characters in there.

      And btw. yes, if people are interested in this game and the other characters, we will most likely do a second Offbeatr campaign to add more characters to the game.
      But only after we've implemented all the characters from the 1st campaign.

      Please keep in mind, that this is just a rough plan, and it's nowhere final.
      We'll have to see how things turn out in the end.
      (and yes, as you might have noticed, we try to keep the stretchgoals as low as possible, everyone who backs the Offbeatr campaign would get the uncensored version of the game, and we're also going to sell the game on DLSite later on, so because of this we can keep the stretchgoals as low as possible)

  2. This is a bit off topic, but seeing a bunch of characters at once made me notice something I subconsciously think about. So, I'm curious if there's any particular theme you're going with per character. Are you making a personality from a picture or are you making picture from a personality or both? When I look at the characters and their design/description, I can see how the pieces fit and the like. I'm not looking for any secrets or anything, just really curious as to how your mind works.

    Also, this is purely guessing and needs no answer:
    I'm getting the feeling that Chrysoula is going to be a little haughty. Nothing extreme, but I feel it'll match with her being "above" people all the time. Makes me also feel that she'll be smarter than most. As for her hair, I feel as though there's a missing purple in there somewhere. There's also the chances she's one of the subversions and she's the exact opposite of what I said. I kinda just wanted to throw a guess out there.

    In any case, I'm super excited for everything about this game. And as for your list order, I trust in your judgement. Though, I will say,

    1. Usually we make a picture out of a personality, and then after the picture is done, I'm further working on the personality.
      So we have a general idea about the characters traits or looks already, before the drawing starts.
      There are cases however, where a character is being created by "accident".
      By that I mean, it starts as some random warmup sketch, and she looks so great that we actually make an original character out of her.
      In this case, we often do adjustments afterwards as the personality gets developed.

      Regarding Chrysoula:
      Yes, I imagined her to be a bit haughty.
      I can't say much about her, as she's one of the characters that happened by accident (Cres wanted to design a harpy monster for the game, but she ended up looking too "good", instead of evil, and since her design was great we ended up turning her into one of our characters).
      We haven't worked much on her, but we will do so in the upcoming weeks.
      Of course she'll be properly created before her character introduction, so you can look forward to it ^^

      And yes, I would love to have Chiira in the game too!
      (I do hope that we reach her at least with the second campaign)

  3. I'd like to say that the dragon girl would make for a wonderful final character. It's just a bit sad that she will be at the very end of the stretch goals, which likely means she'll never make it into the game, judging by past projects. Unless you're one of the rare few that make the stretch marks reasonable, and not 5-10 K apart.

    1. Yes, it's difficult to say if the last characters make it into the stretch goals.
      But there's a chance that I still make changes to the list.
      (I think the list will only be final shortly before the Offbeatr campaign starts)

      We will try our best to have the stretchgoal marks as low as possible, however, we don't want to risk making a game that costs us more money than it earns us.
      When we go to Offbeatr, we will put the game there for the lowest goal possible (I believe that's 500 $?), as it should be already done or nearly done by that point.

      So... basically the "base game" isn't being financed by the Offbeatr campaign, but every character addition is.
      This way we can add new characters to the game, without taking financial risks.
      I understand that most people would like to have all characters in the game (I do would like that myself), but unfortunately we can't do this without proper funding.

      Offbeatr taking ~30% of the money is another issue, this actually has a huge impact on the stretchgoals.

      So, while I understand that reasonable (low as possible) stretchgoals are important, I also hope that you can understand that we need reasonable funding as well.

  4. Fox-Girl would be cool ^^ but while we are at "Fox" Why then not a Fennek ^^ (Desert Fox) they are in real soooo cute >w< The big ears and the sand like hair. XP Oh please! Yes! Please! Please! A Cow Girl! They are even more cute! >o< The cutey Ears and the Cutey tail! XD pleeeaseeee!!!! QoQ and while we are at it I have some recomendations(but no one is good like the cow Girl >w<)- Lion Girl/Dog Girl/Snake? Girl(perhaps a Nagga) /Spider Girl (with just Spider lower Body) / Butterfly Girl? / Hornet/Wasp/Bee Girl? / Panda Girl / Horse Girl / Bat Girl? (no not a Vampire a Bat like Girl ^^) / mermaid? / or even a Mole Girl? (that can dig under the eart XD)

    Ok this were just e few Ideas from me ^w^ of course it is your idea so do what YOU want to do = )

    PS: BUT IF you choose something from me THEN please do it like this (well if you want to =P: Lion Girl (a lot of Head hair (Fukuhila?) even if it is the Female^^) - Dog Girl: Like a cute Little girly with a cute Dog Tail and Dog ears - Snake Girl (nagga?) with mean Eyes You shall see that she iss a Dangerous Snake >= ] - Spider Girl: (since I doupt that you choose her I don´t know what to say XD) well just the higher Body of a Girl and lower Body of a Spider (and if then like the snake with a dangerous look >= ] (please in black) - Butterfly Girl: A Girl with Butterfly Wings and perhaps antenna (and a cutey face^^) Hornet/Wasp/Bee: hmm perhaps just like Queen Bee from darkstalkers (A woman with hair at some Body parts antenas and a big fed Sting at her A**) Panda Girl: Since you already have a Bear you know how (a Panda would be just in Black and White XP) Horse Girl: With hair tale big Horse ears and äähhh . . . . . hooves . . . ?? . . . -.- no bad Idea I know! >.< (well if then with dark Skin perhaps) Bat Girl: Hmm it could be White Skin (or even violet) and Sharp fang (just like the harpie but with skinny Wing) AND (a mean look XP) Mermaid: well you know what a mermaid is soo (on land pehaps with standart humen legs) Mole Girl: Perhaps Little and with dark Skin and sharp Claw perhaps?

    OK this was all >^_^< I HOPE THAT THIS DIDN´T DISTURB! QoQ

    1. Thank you very much for your suggestions, but I think I'll take some of the characters that I already have.
      (there's a whole lot of them actually)

      Among them are 3 dragon girls, a cowgirl and a panda bear girl.
      And... lots of others, several wolves (but there are enough of them in the character list already), 2 jackals, foxgirls etc. etc.

      So, I'm going to choose one of our existing characters, but I'm not sure yet which one.
      (I'd say, most likely a dragon girl)

    2. Cool Not bad at all since I can use them then for my own Story´s ^^ (I will be an Autor for story´s and perhaps also Games) BUT please don´t Forget my Suggestion about the Sub race from the Fox (The Fennek) They are just to sweet (And have biger ears) -^.^- (I hope that you choose the Cowgirl =P)

  5. You mentioned something about grabs earlier and I was wondering about further details on the grab system. Will it be like paperheads or will it be quicker? I imagine with many characters and sprites to take care of, it will be be a standardized system.

    I'm sorry for going off topic and this may be a strange question, but is it possible to re-upload one of the old beta demos for Paperheads?

    1. I figured it would be a good idea to rework the grab system in this game.
      I wanted it to be quicker/easier to use.
      Like only pressing the displayed directional buttons to free yourself and damage the enemy.
      Or button mashing 1 button to get free.
      (I figured there should be an option for this, so players can choose for themself)

      So, it will be similar to stuff other games do.
      But I'm thinking about a way to have something special here, that can be choosen as an alternative for players who want to do something else than simply button mashing.

      I can't say much on how it will be "standardized" yet, but yes, having a lot of characters in the game, requires some degree of standardisation, else it would be too much work to actually do it.

      Regarding your question about Paperheads:
      I'm sorry, I don't have access to my desktop computer where I stored the old backup files right now.
      (I've got no idea when I'll have access to it again, and to be honest, I can't guarantee that I'll find the file... as I basically made a hundred different testversions of Paperheads until the final release...)
      So I can't re-upload it.

      I'm sorry I can't help you with that.
      But maybe you can ask on the ULMF forums if someone has the old beta demo?

  6. Good to read that Cres' arm is almost fully recovered. And happy to see some progress in the project, at least we see most of the cast ^^ Well about the fox girl or dragon girl... I would go Dragon, because well we have enough mammals to go around so how about a mythological creature X)... Anyhow, I would suggest for which order the characters should be...'Selected' would be based on a poll, the one with the highest, gets funded after Ferania, then so on, and so forth..

    Cheers can't wait to be able to help fund this project.

    1. Thank you very much for your support.

      We already thought about doing a poll, however, this is a bit difficult.
      Please let me explain this in detail.

      First of all, we already included Ferania as first character and Catheline as second character (they both also won the previous poll).
      We thought about probably doing a poll to enable our fanbase to choose the 3rd or 4th character that gets added to the game.
      (most likely, we'll just have ~50% of the cast available for this vote, I'll explain below why this is)

      But we believe it's necessary to decide which other characters get added to the game by ourselves.
      (like, the 2nd character that gets added to the game, as well as the 5th, the 6th etc. etc.)

      The reason for this is because we created those characters with different strenghts, weaknesses, and most importantly certain gameplay aspects in mind.
      This means, it would be a bad idea if the community chooses mostly characters that are close combat based, as they all would be very similar to each other.
      (of course we try our best to make each character different, but still they're similar in gameplay if they're all close-combat based)

      Another downside to letting the community choose would be, if like ~60% of the people like blonde characters more, so characters like Aurora, Chiira etc. would be on top of the list, while brown or black haired characters are at the bottom of the list.
      (of course this would make some people happy, while others would be not happy with this)

      And yes, I'm well aware that it's impossible to make everyone happy.
      That's why I'm having a hard time doing this list...
      I'm really putting a lot of thought into it, trying to "balance" it as best as possible, so hopefully there's at least one character for everyone.
      And of course we shouldn't forget the gameplay aspect as well.

      I think it's a good middle way to let the community choose the 3rd or 4th character that gets added to the game (this means position 4 or 5 on the list, since Ferania, who's already in the game, has position 1).
      And, depending on the votes on that poll, I "could" still slightly adjust the rest of the list.
      Of course I would still need to keep the gameplay aspects in mind, so I can only make minor adjustments to the list.

      And uh... lets imagine we would put up a vote for the 3rd character that gets added to the game.
      This means, the list looks like this:

      1. Ferania - balanced
      2. Catheline - close combat
      3. - community vote -
      4. Aurora - close combat

      with this, it's pretty much clear that the 3rd character should be a "Balanced" character (which means, she should have ranged attacks, or "maybe" a close-combat character with a more unique playstyle).
      This means, brute force polar bear Esmoda wouldn't be up for the vote.
      Minori wouldn't be up for the vote either...
      But maybe Shiwa because she's at the back of the list, so she has a chance of making an appearance in the game.
      (and she's different from other close-combat characters, as she's quite "tanky")
      Maybe Sanura too, because chances that she gets into the game are pretty low too because of her positioning on the list.
      (well... maybe the 2 Offbeatr campaigns are super successful, so everyone gets into the game... but I doubt this will happen)

      So I think, I'll put up every "balanced" character up for the vote.
      As well as the characters on position 9 to 12.
      (or maybe 8 to 12? I still need to think this through, I mean... it's a pretty fresh idea, and I haven't put too much thought into it yet)

      And if one of the close-combat characters wins the vote, I just need to slightly adjust the list or something.
      I hope this makes sense.

    2. I see, and thanks for clarifying that 100%, I admit, I didn't anticipate the unbalanced part of the poll idea, so thanks taking the time to do an elaborate answer. Reading it like this sounds a lot more balanced.

      Cheers, hope to see more ^^

  7. Sorry to ask this here :P

    But is there a demo for this game or a way to donate or buy It?

    1. No need to apologize ^^

      There is no (public) demo yet, and also no way to buy the game yet.
      I'm sorry that I can't announce a date for the demo at this point.
      But I'm trying my best to keep everyone informed on a regular basis.
      (we decided to have all the important gameplay aspects and some hentai stuff in place, and working as intended, before we make a public demo release)

    2. Thanks for the answer, looking forward to the demo :D

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  9. I understand your reasoning for the polls, as the thought of potentially heavily-stilted gameplay made me reconsider the suggestion. I like your response, but it prompts me to wonder: why not have more suggestions for the polls based on "roles"? You already mentioned potentially using polls for the "balanced" characters, so why not use small pools of similarly typed characters for the other areas?

    For example: (I'm making this up completely)

    1st - Ferania (Close Combat)
    2nd - Chiira (Ranged)
    3rd - Community Vote from Balanced Pool
    4th - Community Vote from Close Combat Pool
    5th - Community Vote from Ranged Pool
    6th - Runner-up Community Vote from Balanced Pool

    This way, you wouldn't need to worry as much about an imbalance in gameplay, and if you reserve, a couple of author's pick (maybe 6/10), you can have a hand in maintaining visual differences as well. Please consider this nothing more than a polite suggestion, feel free to consider or ignore as much of this as you wish.

    My only issue with this idea is that some people would clearly want certain characters more than others, and that would directly affect their pledges in offbeatr. I know I, for example, would pledge much more to ensure that Stella was going to be in the game than, say, Esmoda or Grizelda. To get around this, I would suggest having any polls finished by the time the campaign starts, so that pledgers would know the exact order of characters, though the order to determine those characters is entirely in your hands.

    1. Phew... that requires us to do a whole lot of votes.
      And I think before doing this, we should promote the game in order to reach a lot of people...
      (and to be honest, I'm not sure how to do that without having an enjoyable demo version with decent amount of content)

      It's not a bad idea, but it can be complicated and somehow I get the feeling that I forgot something important.

      Anyway, we're going to give this a thought.
      I can't say for sure if we do it this way or not, but at least we'll give it a thought.
      I mean, there's also the problem that if we do it this way, the game might be balanced gameplay wise, but (most likely) not hair-color and skin-color wise.
      Which I also wanted to "solve" by deciding the order of characters by myself.

      So, from todays point of view, I guess it's better to not give the players full control over the character order.

      I mean... looking at votes in general, if I would do for each position an individual vote, and by that I mean, I'd do an individual vote for number 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on...
      If I'd do that, everyone can give 1 vote to each position.

      And if the majority of people (lets say 60%) like blonde characters, it's possible that all votes might be won by blonde characters.
      Which in turn means, that the other 40% who like a different hair color don't get what they want... which is... not good.
      (this is just an example, "maybe" reality is different... but you never know)

      The thing is, if I do a vote and say: "okay, people you can vote, but if the votes don't look good, I'll adjust the character list myself" <-- that's bullshit...
      Either I let the people decide on it, or I'll decide on it myself.
      So, I "could" do some big character list voting to see how popular each character is in a couple weeks (similar to the last poll I did).
      But I'd only do that as orientation, not as... uh... obligation.
      (which means the voting would certainly have an impact on my decision, but it will only have a slight impact, not a deciding one)

      This whole character-list-voting stuff is pretty much very sensitive and I kinda fear that it could backfire.
      I mean, if I decide on a list and people don't like it, that's one thing.
      But if I let people decide the list by voting, and they don't like the outcome, I think the disappointment would be a lot bigger.
      (at least I always feel disappointed if I can give my vote somewhere and what I voted for ends up at the bottom of the list... and strangely I don't feel like that, if people decide about stuff without doing a poll)

      Uhm, whatever, we'll give this a thought and decide on what to do in the upcoming days/weeks.

      I'd say, it's pretty much guaranteed that we're going to do "some kind of poll" sooner or later.
      How much that poll impacts on the character-list however, is something I can't say right now.

      Thank you very much for your feedback!