Devlog #1 - The Current Status & Romance Choices~

Devlog #1 - The Current Status

Hey everyone!
A lot happened since NaNoReno and we're still super excited that people are interested in this little game we started making just for fun.

As we already mentioned in our last status update back in April, we unfortunately didn't have as much time for //TODO: today as we would have liked due to other responsibilities, but this has changed now and we're starting to work on it full-time again!

Earlier this week we set up our new production plan and with July coming to an end we have a busy August ahead of us.
It's still too early to tell when exactly the game will be finished but if things continue as planned it shouldn't be too long of a wait compared to how long some of you already waited!

So... what's the current status?
Right now we're still in the process of finalizing the first half of the game. Some art assets are still missing or incomplete and UI and writing can also be improved in various places.

If you follow us on Twitter you may have already seen some of the things we've polished and added so far but there's a bit more to come in this update.

As things are planned right now, we will release this new version of //TODO: today in early August.
However this will still only be the first half.
We wanted to get everything from Part 1 off our to-do lists so we can fully focus on the second half. With all the WIP art and rough edges gone it will also be kind of a vertical-slice showing the quality you can expect from the full game!
Apart from some revisions there won't be any significant story content added in the coming update so it probably won't be worth a replay if you've played it already but it should at least be a better experience for new players.

Once Part 1 is complete we will devote all our time towards finishing the rest of the game!
Writing is currently a little more than 70% done, which admittedly isn't a whole lot more than what we had after the initial release of Part 1 but things will progress a lot faster now that //TODO: today is top priority again!

We'll keep you updated on our progress with these devlogs~

Romance Choices~

And now to some behind the scenes info!

A little more than a month ago we tweeted about a new feature we implemented that visualizes if choices will have an effect on the romance-able characters in the game.
This is of course completely optional but we thought some people would appreciate it.

The way we planned it, the romancing in //TODO: today is already relatively forgiving since you don't need an absolute value of affection points to romance a character and instead, it simply checks if one of the characters has more points than the other.

After watching some Let's Plays (which was a strange if exciting experience!) we felt like it was still possible to romance the wrong character, though.
So starting with the coming version 0.9 of //TODO: today you will be able to activate an option to display these particular choices like on the images below, giving each of the romance-able characters their own color to indicate an affection increase:

 

Now, if you're familiar with Ren'Py you probably worked with choices before and the upper one would basically boil down to this code:

menu:
        c "So do you want to work tomorrow?"
        "Go to work":
            $march7Work = True
            t "Yes, I'd like to actually."
            c "Great, then I'll see you tomorrow."
            #...
        "Stay at home":
            t "I appreciate that you're calling but tomorrow unfortunately doesn't work for me."
            c "Oh, is that so? Then I'll ask someone else."
            #...

The way Ren'Py works, using the usual "menu:" syntax would display both choices the same way, which makes sense since you would usually want that.
So to differentiate one of them we had to choose between writing a custom choice screen... or expanding the existing one.
We went for the latter which luckily turned out simpler in the end!

Our solution comes down to simply checking if a choice has a certain prefix. Obviously this has to be something you usually don't type at the beginning of a sentence, so we chose an underscore.
If a choice begins with "_" we then check the following letter and depending on if it's a "j" or a "p" the choice is assigned a custom style which results in the images above!

Now, to update the code, here is how the same choice looks with our adjusted choice screen:

menu:
        c "So do you want to work tomorrow?"
        "Go to work":
            $march7Work = True
            t "Yes, I'd like to actually."
            c "Great, then I'll see you tomorrow."
            #...
        "_jStay at home":
            t "I appreciate that you're calling but tomorrow unfortunately doesn't work for me."
            c "Oh, is that so? Then I'll ask someone else."
            #...

It's only two additional characters but of course they aren't displayed in the game itself.
All in all this turned out to be a simple if powerful solution since theoretically we could add as many different types of choices as we want and still only type slightly more while writing the script.

If you're interested in doing something similar, looking into the way Python handles strings might be helpful.
In this case it was only a matter of accessing Substrings and knowing which characters of a String we wanted to use.

But anyway, we hope you found this post interesting and we'll be back in a week with the next one!
Let us know if there is a particular topic you'd like to read about, otherwise we will just choose something we've been working on.

Thank you for reading this and we're happy you're interested in our game <3

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