Hi! It’s the 15th day of the month, and that means it’s time for one of my twice-a-month progress reports! But first, I’ve got to uphold the daily tradition of revealing something that will appear in the next build with a teaser image. Here it is:
Hmm…who could this guy be, I wonder? What sort role might he play in the story? Will he be a character in the school, or will he appear elsewhere? You’ll just have to wait and see!
Okay! With that out of the way, click “Continue Reading” to read today’s progress report!
Where’s the 10 Rivals Update?
It was August 15th when I declared the 10 Rivals Update to be “90% complete” and said that I predicted I would release the update in “mid-September.” Well, now it’s September 15th, and that’s about as “mid” as September can get. So, what’s the holdup? Why isn’t the update out yet? What’s taking so long?
The answer is a combination of two things: New assets and testing.
Once the news spread that I was nearly finished putting 10 rivals into the game, a lot of people contacted me to congratulate me. I appreciated that a lot! Some of the people who contacted me were old volunteers who had contributed many assets to the game in the past. They reached out to me purely to say that if I still needed their assistance, they were available and willing to help me out. (I’m so fortunate to have met so many kind and generous people through Yandere Simulator!)
Because there were so many people offering to help me out, I decided to request some assets that would really bring up the production values of the 10 Rivals Update: more voice acting, new music, and improved 3D models. A lot of cool stuff was added to the game over the past 2 weeks, and I think that the recent additions have really improved the upcoming mode a whole lot!
Prior to September 1st, I had simply accepted the fact that most of the cutscenes in 10 Rivals Mode were going to be dead silent with no music or voice acting. As of now, all of those cutscenes have voice-acting and original music, and that makes me so happy! Playing through the game with new music and voice acting made it feel like a completely different experience!
Of course, every new asset added to the game needed to be tested to make sure that it appeared properly, didn’t sound weird, etc. This part of the process sometimes ate up a lot of time. And that brings us to…
Woo boy, this is a broad subject. A really, really broad subject. I’ll try to explain what kind of different territory the process covers:
- Playing the game and imagining that I’m a first-time player, and asking myself where a first-time player might get confused or lost.
- Testing absolutely every possible scenario, no matter how obscure, to make sure that there are no bugs.
- Looking for things that seem “janky” and then polishing them to look more presentable and less goofy.
- Playing through the game with debug commands / developer commands to see everything quickly, but then also playing through the game with NO debug commands just to double-check that everything works properly.
- Thinking of potential “quality of life” improvements that people are going to ask for, and then pre-emptively making those improvements ahead of time.
Playing through the game with “new eyes” – or, pretending that I’m seeing the game for the first time – causes me to realize a lot of things that might annoy / confuse players. I’ve made a lot of changes to the game over the past 2 weeks purely for the sake of making sure that first-timers aren’t going to have a frustrating experience.
I initially thought to myself, “Well, everything is working perfectly, so the testing phase is only going to last one day, right?” Ha ha ha…WRONG. A substantial portion of the last 2 weeks were spent discovering new issues for the first time and fixing them all. It actually took way more time than anticipated, but trust me, it was worth it, to make sure that the game is smoother when the next update is finally released.
Whenever I see something that looks “janky” – like overlapping subtitles, characters spinning in circles, characters leaning at bizarre angles, etc – I have to fix it. I know that it’ll reflect poorly on the game and bring down the production value / bring down peoples’ opinion of the game, so I’ve been trying to eliminate every last instance of “jank” I can find.
I’ve played through the entire game from start to finish multiple times to confirm that everything functions, but last night was the first time I played through the game with the intention of meeting the criteria for unlocking the “True Ending” – without using any debug commands or cheats whatsoever. It was a difficult task, but in the end, I did it – I achieved the elusive S+ rank, and saw all of the True Ending cutscenes play out…not because I had triggered them with a cheat code, but because I manually went through all the steps to make it happen. And it worked; everything functioned perfectly! I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see the True Ending cutscenes begin to play! It was a really time-consuming process…but it would have been horrible if players met the criteria and the True Ending didn’t trigger, so, yeah, it was necessary to spend all that time playtesting it to confirm that it worked.
And then, there was just a bunch of little stuff. Like, there’s this one scene that is some text scrolling upwards. While I was putting it into the game, I was thinking to myself, “The player should be able to reverse the text scroll by holding up, or accelerate the text scroll by holding down…” But, I thought it might be time-consuming to implement, so I didn’t put it in the game. Over the past 2 weeks, I went through the game looking for all of these “It would be cool to have, but too time-consuming to implement” features, and finally put them into the game.
In short, I guess what I’m saying is that I wound up spending way, way more time than initially expected on playtesting, bug-fixing, and just generally polishing and refining anything that didn’t seem right. It was a really arduous process, but now I’m finally done with it!
At this point in time, it has become impossible to develop “in a vacuum” – that is to say, it’s impossible to develop the game without thinking about what YouTubers are going to say, what fans are going to say, what might cause controversy or backlash, what might be used as ammunition for a hateful video made by a cruel person, etc. Part of the reason why I’m devoting so much time to fixing bugs and removing janky things is because I want to minimize the number of negative things that YouTubers/fans/haters can say about the game. I’ve worked really, really hard on this update, and it would be soul-crushing if people dismiss all of my hard work because they chose to play the game looking for flaws instead of looking for fun, and decided to focus on just the bugs and ignore all the cool stuff. So, I’ve been hyper-critical of my own work lately, trying to squash anything that could be identified as a flaw, to give people less negative things to say about it. It’s depressing and demotivating to have to adopt this mindset this while doing my work, but that’s kinda just the way things are for this project.
Honestly, there are only about three things remaining, and all of them are so minor that they’re barely even worth mentioning.
- I want to increase the volume of some voice acted lines that are too quiet
- I want to replace a couple of ugly models with better ones
- I want to play through the game just one more time to do a final sweep for any problems
That’s basically it; that’s the sort of stuff that is left remaining at this point. As you can probably imagine, it’s not going to take very much time at all to wrap up these last few tasks. And, after those things are taken care of…yeah, that’ll be it. I will be 100% done working on the 10 Rivals Update…and I’ll be ready to shift my attention 100% to the process of making the announcement video!
I’m going to call it now: Work on the 10 Rivals Update will end on Sept 17th, 3 months after it began, which was on June 17th. From that day onward, I will stop thinking of making any further additions/changes (unless a critical bug is spotted) and I’ll just switch my focus to making the announcement video.
In a perfect, ideal world where everything goes right and nothing ever goes wrong, the update would be released later this month. But, in the real world – the one we actually have to live in – everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and all of your plans burst into flames as soon as they come into contact with reality.
I’m currently predicting an early October release for the 10 Rivals Update. I can’t imagine how it could possibly take much longer than that, seeing as how I only have 3 small tasks remaining, and plan to completely cut myself off from making any further additions once we hit Sept 17th. From that moment onward, it’s just going to come down to how fast I can script the video, record the narration, record the footage, and edit the video. I’ll probably keep you updated by saying stuff like “Finished the script today!” while sharing my daily teaser images with you.
Once I am 100% certain that I am within 10 days of releasing the 10 Rivals Update, I will start posting silhouettes of the new rivals, one per day, in a 10-day countdown until the update is released. (And, if I finish sooner than expected, I’ll just release all the remaining rival silhouettes at once.) Once you see silhouettes begin to go up, that will be a clear sign that I’m confident I know exactly when the update will be released.
As far as progress reports go, that’s pretty much all I have to say for now! It’s time for me to get back to work, and put the finishing touches on this update! (God, I am so eager to put it behind me already!!)
Thank you for your patience, thank you for your support, and, as always, thank you for following the development of Yandere Simulator!