Growing of Virtue

Hi Everyone!

I’m excited to announce the launch of an experimental project called Growing of Virtue. It’s a Visual Novel made primarily to test an AI-assisted workflow in my production process. I’d love it if you would play it and share your thoughts:

If there is interest, development on this will continue!

Most of the preamble for the project is on the itch.io page, so I’ll refrain from posting it again here, but I do feel the need to acknowledge that there may be some controversial feelings about an AI-supported workflow. If you are fundamentally opposed to the use of AI in works like these, this project is not for you. If you are open minded to the use of AI for this purpose, I hope you’ll at least find it interesting, and get as much enjoyment from playing it as I have so far in creating it.

Content advisory:
-This is a work of adult fantasy/romance fiction primarily focused on the weight gain and stuffing fetish
-18+
-Female-centric
-Mild fantasy body horror
-The world is based on a medieval fantasy framework, which may contain elements of social injustice that are disturbing to some players

Thank you, and have a wonderful day! <3

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Really enjoyed the game! Story and characters are good, I’m looking forward to see what the characters do next and to learn more about the plot if this game continues.

Art-wise, it’s interesting for sure. Obv worked really well for the Gargoyles, describing them in the way you did really takes advantage of the AI sort of style; made them feel much more visceral than I would’ve expected them to be.

Characterwise, there are definitely a few spots that the AI-ness of the art poked through (Titania’s right hand in her first stage looks weird to me but I can’t exactly tell why, for example) but overall I got over it almost immediately. I especially liked the one off scenes, they had a dreamlike quality that really vibed with the mystical fantasy setting.

If this is the quality of work we can expect for future, I’m looking forward to more!

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looking great :)))
Really enjoyed it, the AI “Influence” didnt bother me at all tbh

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As an amateur researcher of artificial intelligence and an illustrator, it warms my heart to see its use for art here. Thank you for sharing your project with us!

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I enjoyed the story a lot, it was well written!
But… once i finished the shrine of honesty path, after the intimate scene it get right back to the choice moment. it was a bug or was intentional?

And mind I ask you some things about the AI generated art? I would like to understand on how to get them for a personal project.

Interesting take on a game with AI-generated art, hopefully we see more from you in the future

I think background images are a good use of AI because no one really cares so much about their quality but having none makes a game look empty and bad. So it’s not worth the artist’s time, but it’s also something you can’t leave out.

AI still seems pretty bad at characters though from what I’ve seen.

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You aren’t wrong, but it does seem to be improving. The faces on most of the earlier AI art pieces tended to be real horror shows, but now there are quite a few that are pretty good. There is sometimes a little uncanny valley effect going on, or some cases of the really twisted and broken faces, but there are some really good ones coming around too.

Honestly, when I posted this game, my expectations were quite low. The warm reception is so appreciated, and the overall response has been quite interesting.

In general it seems like a good number of people enjoyed the game and its presentation, which is encouraging. With that, I will certainly be continuing development on this, and I have a good many ideas in the works for how the story will develop. Honestly the hard part will be reigning it in. My ideas tend to snowball and grow to into an overwhelming scope. Gotta maintain focus on one step at a time, and progress will come!

I’ll try to address some of your comments one by one to the best of my ability!

@burntmagic I’m so glad you’re enjoying the game so far, and especially appreciate your comments about the characters. I have some plans for the plot that I’m excited about–I hope you’ll enjoy them too, once I can implement them. RE: the gargoyles, I do feel like I cheated a bit on the idiosyncrasies of AI by writing what would normally be considered artifacts into the narrative. I’m glad to hear that you feel it worked well!

I’m glad that you commented on the AI-ness of the artwork. I’ve done my best to address the most obvious problems upfront, but I do want to continue to hear about bothersome things about the visuals. Part of what I want to learn from experimenting from this workflow is how I can polish existing images to achieve a result that is at the very least not immersion breaking, and at best, indistinguishable from works produced exclusively “by hand” or without AI.

Most of all, thanks for your encouragement. It only adds to the joy of creating something like this, and is one of the best ways to ensure that more content will come.

@mefistoffeles01 That’s wonderful to hear! It’s interesting to learn about people’s reaction, and it makes me very happy that you enjoyed the game, and that the use of AI in the workflow is not bothersome to you.

@Ignisis Thank you for your encouraging words! I’m glad your discovery of this project was encouraging to you in your own work!

@Sturm94 This kind of feedback is so very helpful. Thank you. I encourage others to message me here, or on any other platform on which I’m active, if you find other problems like this. This was a known problem, but it is helpful all the same. RE: discussing AI in general, I would welcome you to join my discord. That is probably the place most conducive to that kind of conversation. I’m by no means an authority on AI image generation, but I’m happy to share my experiences and help in what ways I can.

@GrimRyu Thank you for taking the time to say so. It seems like a small thing to make this sort of comment, but I can tell you that hearing this is very motivating. I’ll certainly be adding much more to this project.

@namad This sounds like a general comment about AI, and not a comment about its implementation on this game specifically, so I’ll respond in kind. From my experience, producing a good character with AI does require more “hands on” work. But this is changing at a rate so quickly that I am hearing about new tools on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis. With sufficient work within AI programs themselves, you can rework an image until it produces something close to what you want. As an artist, you can make up difference by performing edits yourself, as I did with this project. Based on the pattern I’ve seen even over the last few days, if AI is bad at characters now, it will not likely be that way for long. But in general, I don’t want to set myself up here to be an AI apologist. There is a temptation to do so, but I think others will be much better at making the case for the use of AI in general. I’ll be happy to discuss the use of AI in this project, or any part of my workflow, however.

@Dragos_Drakkar I think you’re absolutely right. Now it is becoming clear that the ability to produce characters is highly dependent on the specific model used to generate the image. They will only improve as they are trained on more images that are specific to the needs of those using it, by what I can tell.

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I enjoyed the game. It was a fun playthrough, and I honestly didn’t feel like the AI caused any issues with me enjoying the artwork. In terms of playing, there were a couple of bugs:

  • The Shrine of Valour artwork didn’t show up.
  • In a number of places, you didn’t change up the wording from Honour to Valour. (Realistically, you probably shouldn’t be duplicating the wording twice and should find a better way to organize your code).
  • After finishing up the Honour path, it jumps straight to Valour.

The biggest thing for me though was that I found the transition from crazy wild adventures to two people falling in love stuffing her silly really abrupt. Narratively it felt like it came out of nowhere and was kind of jarring.

It is very interesting that this game used an AI generated images, the story is kinda good imo and i love the branching storylines

The only problem that i have is the text seems a little too small to read

Press the a hotkey. Scale text size up.

I had to do this. Although yeah, that means the dev should’ve used a bigger font size.

I think a better fix for readability is to add a black box shadow behind the text (which can be hidden with a command during a specific scene where you want to see the full thing).

I feel like Titania could have been bigger (as in closer to the screen, not fatter). Other than that, it was pretty good, especially the dialogue after the shrine. Something that some games on here struggle with is making their scenarios erotic, and you knocked it out of the park without interjecting any humor that isn’t conducive to the scene. I’m looking forward to more.

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I don’t usually comment on projects and simply watch from the sidelines, but this project in particular, with its setting, characters and use of AI, has really fascinated me and has compelled me to write this.

Visuals: The AI is utilized very well, especially with the background art. It feels really immersive in a way and has a very cool look to it all, and Titania’s appearance, although sometimes looking just a little bit off, seems very nice too.

Writing: The dialogue feels really well-made and natural, it flows nicely and it does well to highlight the character’s personality, as well as relationships between them. The descriptive writing does well to immerse the player in the setting and is done exceptionally well during the erotic scenes.

Criticisms: One of the criticisms I had was simply that the valor and honesty path are the exact same thing with only a tiny bit of difference. If you wanted the start to be the exact same no matter what path, then there really isn’t a point to having a choice of different paths in the first place. The background art is the exact same too, so it really feels like a pointless decision.

The other criticism I had was that the confession of love felt, in my opinion, too early in the game, and the sudden shift of focus to erotic scenes felt out of place. Plus, the time skips with Titania’s weight gain kind of throws the whole pacing off, at least for me. I know this is just a proof of concept, and I don’t know how much you intend to add to the beginning, but I feel it needs better pacing and to be fleshed out better, both the characters and the plot. Personally, I’d find it better if the erotic part of the game developed slowly, with the two main characters slowly hinting at and revealing their inner desires through their exposure to the shrines or by natural occurrences, rather than it all happening at the first shrine. I also think that it was odd that, even though she said she was a little scared of getting out of control and whatnot, that she was willing to jump headfirst into her gluttonous side. Again, I am aware that this is a proof of concept. These are just my thoughts for future development.

All in all, I think the game so far looks very nice and I’m very excited for further progress in its development. All I have to ask is, how long do you plan the finished game to be, and is the game going to be a story focused game with fetish/erotic themes mixed in, or fetish focused with a story to connect the erotic scenes?

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Hey everybody! Thanks so much for chiming in with your feedback. I’ll do my best to address everyone’s comments:

@jcc309 I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the game and visual presentation! I’m aware of the issue with the two paths and the wrong jump, but I appreciate hearing about things that need to be fixed all the same. Ultimately this will help me to make the game better, so by all means continue to bring issues like these forward. RE: the transition and pacing, that is becoming a thematic quality of the story. I am most certainly going to give the writing multiple significant revisions throughout development, but the Shrines are going to remain a plot device by which character motivations twist and turn as they encounter the Virtues’ power. When I revisit the writing, I’ll certainly be paying careful attention to ensure these events and shifts in tone/mood come off as purposeful, and eventually expected changes every time the characters encounter a Shrine.

@Curves_Conniseur I’m glad that you’re enjoying the story! This is very good feedback as my ability to test the game’s appearance is somewhat limited. I’m also aware that it is low res, which also creates visual issues. If interest in the project continues, I may revisit all of the visuals, text included, and increase the resolution. It would be a lot of work, so I’ll reserve that as a stretch goal for now as I continue to explore and experiment with this workflow. Regardless, thank you for the feedback!

@msmythicalwonders Thank you for your comment about potentially adding the black box behind the text! This is a standard quality of an out-of-the-box renpy game (as I’m sure you are aware) that I purposefully did away with. Personally, I’d rather explore a solution like increasing the text outline or find a way to create a dropshadow effect to increase readability. The black box detracts too much from the visual elements, in my opinion. But, I’m not done tinkering, so I may look at some various levels of transparency for the text box or other solutions that aren’t as visually disruptive.

@Purplgr Thank you! That is certainly very high praise for the writing in general, and that is encouraging to me. I am considering a higher res version of all visual elements as a stretch goal if there is continued interest in the project. But, re: the writing, I hope to deliver much, much more of the same, so if you have enjoyed it so far, I hope the best is yet to come!

@CranberryOatmeal I so appreciate you taking the time to write out such detailed feedback. It is always nice to hear that my project was compelling enough to gain a response from a person who is normally a quiet observer. So thank you! I am glad to hear that AI elements are not detracting from the story. As with most AI-generated imagery, close inspection will reveal a few flaws, but I hope as I continue to experiment with this process those flaws will be less apparent. RE: the writing, it is most encouraging to hear that the dialogue is appealing, that is a major area of focus for my writing, so it is wonderful to hear you enjoyed it. I also definitely appreciate hearing your comments about the pacing. The early reveal/confession of love is part of the overarching theme of the Shrines having a dramatic impact on the characters, their motivations, and desires. I hope that as I continue to revise and edit the writing, the theme will be presented more strongly and sensibly. Regarding the two branching paths, they will most certainly be more polished and differentiated with the next update, but I thank you for bringing forward these comments regardless. It will be tremendously helpful to have feedback of this kind as the game’s story grows. And thank you for your question about how the fetish content will be implemented. Based on how the story is developing, you can expect this to be a more story-focused game at first, with narrative arcs connecting the erotic scenes to one another. Eventually, I expect the fetish/erotic themes and scenes to spill over and eventually eclipse the overall narrative. I tend to take my time to slowly build up to these scenes and themes, since I think that makes the payoff all the sweeter. Hopefully I can execute that well! Did I need to spoiler that? I’m not sure. Maybe not. :slight_smile:

To give you a bit of information about the next update: I’m currently extending the Honesty and Valor paths to the points where the story will branch again. This will involve adding a character to each respective path, giving us a total of two new characters that you’ll have the potential to encounter in the game. I’m quite excited. :smile:

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fucking hell that was a great expirience

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