On March 31st, 2014, I began developing Yandere Simulator. Today marks the 5th anniversary of the game’s development! That’s quite a milestone! Check out this incredibly detailed artwork that Mulberry created to celebrate the occasion:
If you’d like to zoom in and see all the little details, click here!
I’ve also uploaded a new build! You can find a changelog at the bottom of this blog post. Additionally, I’ll be uploading a new video tomorrow; I hope you’ll look forward to it!
Last year, I wrote a short “anniversary speech” in commemoration of the game’s 4th birthday. This year, I’ve written a much longer one. In case you’re interested in knowing what kind of thoughts go through a person’s mind after they’ve been working on a video game for 5 years, click “Continue Reading”.
Before I launch into a speech, I’d like to share some more artwork that was drawn to celebrate Yandere Simulator’s birthday/anniversary. First, check out this adorable piece by Budokas!
And next, take a look at this super-cute artwork by Lincoln Sherlocks!
Last, this artwork was sent to me by an artist who didn’t provide a username that I could credit them by, but I want to share their work with you, anyway!
Usually, an anniversary is an event to celebrate. A birthday is a joyous occasion, right? However, it’s rare for a video game to remain in development for 5 years. That’s an indication that there are some serious obstacles slowing down the game’s production. In an ideal world, there would not be a 5th anniversary blog post, or even a 4th anniversary blog post. So, what happened? What’s taking so long?
To get to the bottom of this, let’s start at the beginning.
The game was born on 4chan in 2014. I proposed the idea of a “yandere simulator” and asked people to describe what kind of game mechanics it might have. A lot of people responded to the thread with various ideas:
“You should get blood on your clothing and leave behind bloody footprints!”
“The protagonist’s animations should change as she loses sanity!”
“There should be a button dedicated to sadistic laughter!”
I loved these suggestions, and began building a prototype that incorporated all of the ideas people were posting:
Every two weeks, I would make a new thread, show off my progress, and collect new suggestions. After several months of posting development updates, I started hearing a new type of suggestion:
“You should make a Patreon!”
I only had a faint idea of what Patreon was, and didn’t put much thought into it. But, it was consistently mentioned in every thread I made, so eventually, I decided to research it.
Basically, Patreon is like a tip jar. If you like what someone is doing, you can give them some money to show your appreciation. These donations occur on a monthly basis.
At this point in time (2014) I was searching for freelance programming jobs, and Yandere Simulator was only a hobby that I occasionally worked on. I wasn’t even thinking of trying to turn Yandere Sim into a source of income. But, eventually, because so many people were asking for it, I decided to make a Patreon.
I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to take it seriously, and I didn’t know what kind of goal to set, so without putting much thought into it, I simply said, “If I can make $1,000 a month on Patreon, Yandere Simulator will become my full-time job.” For a few months, my Patreon income was very small – I was only making about $100 per month. But, about 1 year after development had begun, Yandere Simulator began to attract a lot of attention, and skyrocketed in popularity.
After this point in time, my Patreon grew in size rapidly. Once I hit my goal of making $1,000 per month on Patreon, I started working on Yandere Simulator in a full-time capacity; 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
When I started earning $1,500 per month through Patreon, I decided that I should spend more hours working, in order to justify the increased income. So, I started working 6 days a week. When the Patreon income increased to $2,000, I started working 7 days a week.
When the Patreon income increased to $2,500, I started working 9 hours a day instead of 8. The Patreon continued to grow; $3,000…$4,000…eventually, it reached $5,000. I convinced myself that I had to be working 13 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to deserve the money I was earning. I wanted to avoid disappointing the people who were supporting me on Patreon, at all costs.
This is where things started to get out of control. I completely sacrificed everything else in my life so that I could focus exclusively on developing Yandere Simulator. I dropped my hobbies, I abandoned my friends, I grew distant from my family, I stopped making time for exercise, and I reduced the hours that I was sleeping. I dedicated myself entirely and completely to developing Yandere Sim.
For a while, this lifestyle enabled me to release major updates multiple times per month. But, after several years of this insane work schedule, I became completely burned out. I was exhausted mentally and physically, and I became a miserable, depressed person. My productivity plummeted. Even if I was sitting at my workstation with Yandere Simulator on my screen and my fingers on the keyboard, I simply wasn’t making much progress.
On February 16th, 2017, I explained my situation in a YouTube video:
After I released that video, I received hundreds of supportive messages urging me to work shorter hours and take better care of myself. i decided to take the advice I was given, and I changed my work schedule to make room for playing video games.
However, by that point in time, working for 13 hours a day had become a habit, and it was difficult to change the lifestyle that I had become accustomed to. I equated “working less” with “being lazy”, so I refused to reduce the number of hours that I was working. Despite what I said in this video, I continued to work 13 hours a day. I was only able to make room for video games because I had reduced the number of hours that I was sleeping every night. My mental and physical health continued to decline, my productivity stayed low, and the pace of development continued to slow down.
Eventually, people began to theorize that I was intentionally working as slowly as possible in order to stretch out the game’s development and keep receiving monthly payments on Patreon for as long as possible. This narrative spread very far, and was widely accepted as truth. As a result, I started to receive abusive messages and harassment on a daily basis, and a lot of people withdrew their support from Patreon.
The slower development became, the more miserable I felt. The more miserable I was, the less productive I could be. Less productivity resulted in more ridicule. More ridicule meant less support, and less support made development slower. Each of these problems compounded the other problems. It was a vicious cycle; a downward spiral that made itself worse the longer it went on.
It’s hard to remain enthusiastic about a project when you’ve been working on it for multiple years. It’s hard to be productive when you’re mentally and physically exhausted. It’s hard to feel motivated when you see people withdrawing their support. It’s hard to stay focused when you are being subjected to harassment. And it’s hard to do anything at all, when you feel like you’ve made such huge mistakes that you can never recover.
These are the factors that slowed down Yandere Simulator’s development. However, it’s important to acknowledge that a game like Yandere Sim was never going to have a speedy development cycle in the first place.
Some game genres can be developed quickly by small teams (visual novels, shoot-em-ups) and other game genres take multiple years to be developed by large companies (MMORPGs, open-world sandboxes). Yandere Simulator is a 3D sandbox-style stealth game with school simulation elements; it’s the territory of a big company, not the territory of one dude and some part-time volunteers. A game like this had no chance of being finished in less than 4 years.
Here is a timeline of my life so far:
As you can see, I’ve been in the “Yandere Simulator” phase for longer than any other period of my life. I’ve been working on Yandere Simulator for longer than I’ve been in high school, longer than I’ve been in college, and longer than I worked for a video game company.
When I look back at my high school years, I can recall hundreds of fun experiences. The same goes for my time in college, and my time at a video game company. However, when I look back at the past 5 years of my life, I only remember one thing: sitting at a computer, working on Yandere Sim, and being miserable most of the time. I had a “teenage” phase, an “early 20s” phase, and a “mid 20s” phase, but I didn’t get to have a “late 20s” phase. There’s a giant gap in my life where my late 20s were supposed to be.
When I worked at a video game company, I was often asked to develop prototypes. I was known for working extremely fast, and pumping out fully-functional prototypes in less than two weeks. You’ve seen examples of this; Yanvania, Yanderetale, Magical Girl Pretty Miyuki, and the Light Music Club’s rhythm minigame were each created in less than two weeks. I can make video games very rapidly, and I’ve proven it numerous times…but, ironically, I now have a reputation for being slow, because I’m currently known for Yandere Simulator, a company-sized project that is being tackled by a small team.
I have dozens of game ideas, many of which I’m much more enthusiastic about than Yandere Simulator. I feel like I have so much more to offer the world than what you’ve seen from me up until this point. The one thing I want more than anything else in the world is to take a break from Yandere Simulator and work on another project, even if it’s only for 2 weeks. But, if I did this, I know that a lot of people would freak out and assume that I’m permanently abandoning Yandere Simulator, and a lot of my patrons on Patreon would probably want to withdraw their support.
Because I’m being paid to work on Yandere Sim, I have an obligation to remain fully committed to it. In other words, I’m not allowed to do anything else with my life until the game is complete. As a result, it feels like I was sent to prison on March 31st 2014. It feels like I’ve been locked in a jail cell for the past 5 years.
This is one of the primary reasons why I add easter eggs to the game. You may have already realized this, but the easter eggs represent the things I’m interested in; cyborg ninjas, supernatural monsters, dragon skulls that shoot laser beams, etc. If I have to be trapped inside of this “Yandere Simulator Prison”, then, at the very least, I want to fill it with stuff that I think is cool. Easter eggs give me the opportunity to temporarily develop the type of content/gameplay that I’m actually interested in, even if it’s only for a few short hours.
It’s incredibly ironic that there are people who genuinely believe that I’m intentionally delaying Yandere Sim’s development. I am the one human being on earth who is the most negatively impacted by Yandere Simulator’s prolonged development. I want Yandere Sim to be finished more than anyone else in the world. I’m in “prison” until it’s finished! Of course I want it to be done as quickly as possible!
However, I refuse to sacrifice the game’s quality or break any of the promises I’ve made, so instead of rushing the game out as fast as I can, I continue to go down the checklist of everything I think the game requires, and I continue to try my hardest to make it the best game I can possibly make.
With that said…at long last, we’re really close to the end of that checklist. Tutorial, save/load, framerate, intro; I can count the number of remaining “checklist features” on one hand. After that, I’ll move onto Osana, who only requires a few things to be finished: Mysterious Obstacle, Befriend/Betray, suitor. It has taken me 5 years, but I’m almost there…I’ve almost satisfied the criteria for graduating from “sandbox” to “demo” and launching the long-awaited crowdfunding campaign.
The first two months of this year were incredibly productive. New murder methods, new areas at school, new weapons, new characters, re-worked mechanics, proper reactions to blood/weapons, etc. It was a stark contrast to 2018, when significant updates were few and far apart. I was very proud of my progress, and I wanted to keep up that pace…but, unfortunately, March wasn’t as productive as January or February.
I was really looking forward to implementing a proper introduction cutscene for the game, and I was hoping to do so before April 1st, but I still haven’t received all of the assets that I require for the cutscene, so I wasn’t able to make progress on it. Hopefully, the intro cutscene will finally be implemented sometime in April.
While waiting for the intro assets, I intended to make progress in other areas of the game. However, I couldn’t accomplish anything significant. I know that there is no excuse for this, but I had a lot of trouble staying focused this month. I constantly allowed myself to get distracted and sidetracked, and managed my time pretty badly. I feel awful about it. I’m very disappointed in myself, and I’m going to work hard to redeem myself in April.
This turned out to be a pretty depressing blog post, didn’t it? Up above, you can see super-cute artwork depicting happy smiling characters, but my honest feelings don’t match the artwork. I feel like I’ve done a disservice to those artists by putting such sad words underneath their cheerful artwork. I’m sorry about that. Hopefully, I’ll turn things around in April.
Thanks for your continued patience, and thank you for following the development of Yandere Simulator.
Fixes, Changes, Additions
- Increased speed of Enigma Mode attack animations and also allowed the player to cancel the animations by inputting movement. (Attacking in Enigma Mode should now feel faster, more fluid, and more satisfying.) (This is relevant because of something that will be added in the near future.)
- Fixed bug that prevented the player from taking a shower if they had just taken off bloody clothing that was obtained from a clubroom changing booth.
- Fixed bug that would cause Student Council animations/pathfinding to break if they were distracted while noticing/returning a misplaced object.
- Male characters now have male voiced lines when reacting to a note in their locker / being pushed off the roof / being splashed with liquid.
- Fixed bug that prevented Yandere-chan from being able to change into a clean school uniform that she had carried into the locker room.
- Fixed bug with Yamiko’s character model that would cause some of her polygons to stick out like spikes during certain animations.
- Fixed bug that would cause the player to fail a Mission Mode mission if they executed their target by drowning them in a toilet.
- Fixed bug that prevented the “Awareness Bar” from updating when the player got too close to a student in Mission Mode.
- Updated the “exchanging shoes at locker” animations so that students are no longer interacting with invisible doors.
- Updated the “finding note in locker” animations so that students are no longer interacting with invisible doors.
- Fixed bug that would cause a student to identify a non-bloody mask or article of clothing as a bloody object.
- Fixed bug with Life Note Mode that allowed the player to target students who weren’t present at school.
- Students will now refuse to pick up metal objects if metal detectors are present at school.
- Added new sound effects for the guitar weapon.