Girl Games Version 0.3.1. is out now! Here are the relevant links:
The 'Play Online' version is here. [Note: this may not work on your browser; it's a little different to Twine ...]
So here it is - the brand new Ren'py version of Girl Games. I've explained my reasons for switching from Twine over to Ren'py a couple times before, but for those who missed it - with the last couple of Twine updates, I found I was wanting to push the game more into 'visual novel' territory, and by that I guess I mean I was attempting to use things like dual layered images, 'click to continue' functionality - all of which I lacked the CSS skills to successfully implement in Twine without it being a total trainwreck to play for a lot of people!
It was poorly received, poorly reviewed and it was at that point that I realized I'd have to make some pretty big changes.
And so this is the result. Hopefully you can get an idea of what I was attempting in that last Twine update - the one that was met with such a poor reception. Because this is what I wanted it to play like all along. I hope you like it as much as I do, because this is it now - this is how the game is going to be from this point forward. This is how I envisaged it all along. And hopefully you can see that it's still the same game at heart. Just because it's using a 'visual novel' engine, doesn't mean it can't still have all the fun stuff from Twine too - the wardrobe, the paperdoll, the free movement and inventory and all that good stuff. Only now, I hope it feels a little more ... cinematic, too!
So what's my plan for Girl Games going forward from here, I hear you ask. Well, with the old Twine version, I'd put in some of the core game loop but there were still a lot of placeholder scenes - stuff like the classes - and missing elements where you just repeated the same scene over and over, monday to friday, etc.
Well, that's all gonna change. Instead I'm planning to release the new version in complete "chunks", starting with this - the Prologue. I like to think of it as an intro/primer, and maybe once the game is complete, seasoned players could even have the option to skip it. It's a little more hand-holdy than it used to be, leading you through a few locations and with a built-in objective (find a campus map) before you can go to sleep. But hopefully it also makes sure you see the campus and have a few introductions.
And the next update will be "Chapter One", which will encompass your first week at Feminae - from Monday to Friday ... If you've played the Twine version, you'll know that includes your first 'mistress' scene too!. Only this time around, just like I've done with the Day One prologue, I'm going to make sure the game has absolutely everything in place up until the Friday. So: full classroom scenes that change each day, every player interraction, choice, etc, right up until that point. I want each day on campus to feel a little different and for it not to be a total grind fest!
Luckily, a lot of my job for Week One is already done - the old Twine game was plotted out (mostly) up until around week two, which means week one especially is nearly complete - I just need to add in some new class room stuff, some new characters, new interractions, etc. and basically work to make each day more fun and unique. And as soon as that's all done, I'll be releasing the next update - first on here to my patrons, and then a week later to everyone else!
I don't want to say exactly when that will be; I've learnt in the past that if i make promises like "it'll be out by next week!" even though I mean it when I say it, things can often run off course or take longer than expected. So no promises to exactly when I'm afraid (although hopefully I can stick to a vague once-a-month schedule for new udpates going forward). So if it seems like there's radio silence for a while, please just know that I'm be working hard on this behind the scenes and aiming hard for a new release at the end of each month!
But obviously that all depends on your support, too. I've been lucky enough to focus solely on the game for the last couple months (due to some savings I had squirreled away), as I really wanted to make it my number one priority and make sure I got the main Twine/Ren'py port underway. But now I need to go back to the real world, writing ebooks as my "main" full time job again, with this interractive version of Girl Games once more becoming my 'side hustle' just like it was back when I was regularly updating the Twine version.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for this to be my main job. I care about this game so so much and want it to be the very best it possibly can be. But obviously for me to devote some serious time to it going forward, that would also mean a significant uptick in support on here (I've modified the goals on my main page accordingly, lol).
That said, even if things stay at the current level, don't worry - this game is my labor of love, my baby, and even though it may take a while longer to get there, I'm determined to see this through until it's complete! So rest assured: I'll be working on it every spare moment I get!
Again, I hope you enjoy this shiny new version and thank you so much for reading this far and for taking the time out to play my game!