Here’s some updates on some behind the scenes work I’ve been doing on the project:
New Engine in Development
I know there’s been a lot of (justified) concern about Flash games no longer being playable at the end of the year, thanks to browsers dropping support for them. Even well known web games like Farmville are shutting down entirely. For us, the most important thing to note is the end of Flash is not the end of The Underworld. This is because two reasons:
1) The Flash version of the game client will still run, just not in browsers. On desktop you will still be able to play the game’s SWF via the standalone Flash player projector — slightly inconvenient, but still definitely playable. And the Android APK will continue to work as normal.
2) I am in the process of doing a full rewrite of the game. This is a massive undertaking, but already there’s been tremendous progress.
Currently, the first five chapters are all fully playable in the new engine, using a test UI. If you’ve been following the backer channel on Discord, you’ve probably already seen a bunch of early dev screenshots leading up to this latest one:
(Don’t worry dark mode fans, this is just test UI for now)
Currently, most all the core gameplay features like player state, maps, items, enemies, fights, transformations, acceptance system, visibility, pathfinding, etc are all in. The remaining stuff is the additional chapters, DLCs, mod support, getting a proper front-end, save/load, and so on. So there’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s getting there (no ETA yet).
For whenever the initial release is, I am planning for the first release to support HTML5 / web browser only. If I do it right, you’ll be able to play the HTML5 version on Android/iOS web browsers, too. But once the HTML5 version is working, I’m planning to get a version made for Windows EXE & Android APK.
The whole codebase is moving to C# now, which has a lot fewer idiosyncrasies than ActionScript and has already helped me find and fix a number of old bugs in the source code. Flash has always had a lot of strange unfixable bugs based on which version of Flash player you’re using, and so I’m looking forward to those no longer being something to worry about.
Poll: New Mod / Mini DLC
It’s been a while since I got to work on any content, so I’m planning on taking a break from engine rewrites and make some new (small) content. I’m leaning towards mods and stories, since engine-independent content I wouldn’t have to immediately re-port from the old engine to the new engine afterwards.
You can help me decide how to spend the break in the current poll. It’ll be the same total amount of time spent regardless of medium, so that means depending on which option is chosen, the amount of new content will vary with complexity. Example: For something like clothing, I could make a bunch of small clothing mods. Whereas something like a complex scripted monster, would probably just be one enemy. Alternatively, I could just write a TF fiction or something like that, which would be the most amount of content by wordcount, but be non-interactive.
Active backers can vote in the Researcher Intranet as usual for polls.
In terms of specifics, I’m still thinking over what I want to make. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments and on our Discord server.
Patreon – International Billing / Multicurrency
(If you’re using BMT, nothing in this section should affect you)
Patreon is requiring all projects to support multiple currency options as of today, Oct 5th.
The upside is that if you’re in the UK or EU, you will soon(/now?) be able to pledge in your local currency. If you are currently in those territories and pledging with USD, you won’t experience any change. However, once the change rolls out to you, you’ll be able to opt into changing to your local currency. At that time, any new patrons in those regions will be able to sign up with their currency, too.
Since this happened after the existing charge cycle for October, it shouldn’t affect anyone until next month’s charges on Nov 1 (and only if you opt in).
Please note that Patreon doesn’t charge the exact same for international currencies as the USD equivalent, as there’s an international transaction fee included in the cost. It may be slightly more or less than what your bank would charge for the same service, so you may want to compare closely and see what’s the best deal for you. (Based on my own personal credit card’s 3.5% international transaction fee, it looks to be about a $0.14 markup for their conversion service)
Unfortunately, supporting this change necessitated a complete and total rewrite of the pledging backend for our website. It was fairly time consuming to do, but it’s now finished in time for the upcoming conversion. It’s already up and running, and appears to have handled the October payments without issue. However, please do contact me on e-mail or Discord if you have paid for October but not yet received game access.
Additional info on the multicurrency change can be found on Patreon’s website.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has continued to support the project during the engine port over despite there not being any new content while I work on rewrites. The rewrite is a long and arduous process, but it means the game will be able to have a longer term future outside of Flash’s death, so it’s important to get it done. Your continued support allows that to happen, so as always, thank you for both your financial support as well as the encouraging comments on the blog and on Discord. <3
4 thoughts on “New Engine in Development + Patreon International Currencies + Poll”
As someone who uses a flash projector, this doesn’t really affect me, but i guess it is nessisary. I just hope it doesn’t break modding.
Oh hey, we were just chatting about your new mods last night in Discord — cool stuff 🙂
Yes, my goal will be to keep mods API compatible so they hopefully will all work as-is. However, I won’t know for sure until I actually get to implementing mods, which will probably be in a release soon after the initial release of the new engine.
I suggest an expansion or rewriting of Chapter 2. Compared to other chapters this one seems, well, really lacking in comparison, despite having really interesting monster/TF ideas. I mean, in other chapters player’s TF leads to certain needs and limitations in their life which they then have to overcome by solving puzzles and interacting with people and environment. More than that, each chapter starting from third reveals something about the infection and those involved in fighting/spreading it. Chapter 2 does not have anything like that. Player’s TFs, while hot, do not affect gameplay in general other than inability to attack the chapter’s boss, even sex scenes are mostly unchanged. And those TFs can be easily reverted by simply going to the park and losing to a foxgirl. Many questions are left unanswered. Why are the Sewers isolated even from the Underworld? Who is the Naga Queen and how did she end up there? How does she control her minions and have them protect her territory? Why don’t swamp creatures try to leave and transform into, say, foxgirls (since that’s apparently really easy), because they don’t really like their physiology? I think answering those questions can make this chapter way more interesting and rewarding for the player, and not simply enter—defeat frogs and slugs—defeat the boss—take the box and leave.
So chapter 2 is the first dungeon, and it tries not to throw too many challenges at once (and also to be honest, I was still early on in finding my writing/game dev style then, too). But already in that chapter, the player has to learning that 1) different enemies are strong or weak against physical vs lust, 2) how to heal up with items, 3) that you sometimes need to TF to something else in order to complete your objective, 4) some TFs can continue to affect you over time, 5) dungeon basics and other stuff I’m probably forgetting. However, you’re right it doesn’t really tie into the faction system / hint to the overall worldstory very well right now.
But I absolutely agree it would be really fun to have a revisit to the swamp with the same level of challenge, story, and detailed scenes like the later chapters have. Those would certainly be fun questions to answer that you have posed. So while I probably wouldn’t add lots of complexity to the early game / ch2 swamp, I can definitely see it as a good idea for a future full-scale end-game DLC chapter.