Thanks to everyone who provided insight and recommendations on how to improve the mechanics. I think I’ve got enough feedback for now to dial the system in, and I’ve pulled the download link for the Alpha / Minimum Viable version.
(Original post behind the spoiler shading.)
Hello all. Long time lurker, first time poster.
I’ve hit “Minimum Viable Product” level on my first attempt at making a WG fetish game. It’s linked below -
Narratively, it’s a second-person self-inflicted weight gain story with a (currently) linear plot. Gameplay-Wise, it’s a resource management game with very light bullet-hell elements. I designed it as an exploration of the idea that in 90% of games the primary resource exchanged for in-game currency is the player’s attention. Graphically, it looks like I compiled a steaming pile of feces, for which I apologize. I’m messing around with different toolsets to overcome my complete lack of visual-ascetic-talents, which should make future games less hideous, but with this one it is what it is. Fetishisticly, it’s stuffing/weight gain/loss of control related. There is an expanding body-outline image used as one of the status indicators and quite a bit of related text. If theater-of-the-mind and a glorified stick figure don’t do it for you there might not be enough here for you to enjoy.
I have a hard limit on how much time I spend on creative endeavors a day, and this is one of four plates I’m spinning, so it’s slow going. There is a point, soon, where I declare good-enough as good-enough (since this was largely an already successful programming / game theory experiment on my end) and move on to my post-apocalyptic Twine strategy war / WG game or the obligatory “College Experience” VN.
Let me know what you love / hate about it. I’m hard to offend, honest feedback is preferred to sensitivity. I’m particularly interested in knowing if a particular element stood out (positively or negatively) and if one of my planned updates seems more important than the others.
V003 UPDATE - Fixed two huge RAM issues. Leak mitigated (eliminated?) - Testing ongoing. Minor tweaks : mid-level fat acquisition doesn’t go negative anymore, circles drawn slightly differently, a note on the first plot-point screen indicates the left-hand menu provides gameplay advice and pauses things.
V005 UPDATE - Fixed a few typos (thanks @BadIdea4 !), tweaked some minor elements to make the game get a bit more difficult as it progresses, added an auto-pause feature for if the user Alt-Tabs away.
First impression wasn’t that striking, to be honest, but after taking a bit of time to get a handle on the systems and getting through the first bit of progress I do think it’s a neat concept that develops nicely. And the writing is good.
A few comments:
While I’m assuming this is meant to be a ‘learn as you go’ thing, some folks may be frightened of the G word (gym) and avoid building up any energy at first, which would be something of a problem. Some minimal tutorial here might be good?
I see a save is planned. I’m not sure how long that may take to implement, but a pause button in the meantime could be helpful. It’s a bit of a long burn, and at the moment the only way to step away is not advancing at one of the transition points.
It’s pretty fun reading through all the various passages as you play, and I feel like the speed of the gain in between the writing isn’t so slow that it causes the gameplay to drag. One note I’d like to make is that it should probably be more clear to the player that having energy causes them to make money faster (I’m sure a fair amount of players would never even think about touching the gym in a weight gain game, lol).
I think there are other obvious improvements to be made, but I won’t comment on those because they’re pretty easy to spot (like the graphics, for example). Also, as others have said, the memory usage is pretty intense.
I’m interested to see where this project goes in the future, and I’ll be keeping an eye on it for sure.
As it turns out, there is both a quick tutorial and a sort-of pause function in the game already; you have to mouse over the info panel on the left, which pauses the game while you’re on top of it, and makes text come up that tells you the controls, what each action does, and even the relationship between high energy and earning more money. The problem is that nothing indicates it’s there, I only discovered it on accident.
Welp im stuck whatever i do after a certain time? (i guess) the error message that the previous user posted a screenshot of appears currently even trying to speedrun it to the higher sizes as proven rather difficult so i’ll wait and play it when you are able to fix this major bug. Ps.: from what i could see it’s an amazing premise keep up the good work.
Played it, got through to the end. Good thing my PC was powerful enough otherwise I don’t think I would have made it. Maybe you should spend some time looking through the code and trying to find what is using so much memory.
Just played through the whole story (unless there is branching paths) and I honestly thought it was great, probably one of the most unique takes in regards to gameplay.
Really enjoyed the story, even though I would have liked it to have gone further, in regards to the gaining, I can understand and appreciate the direction you went with in the story, especially seeing how it ended. Plus honestly, not sure how much the gameplay would have develoved to if it went into immobility and being cared for, which is probably another good reason to have gone in the direction you did.
Anyway, writing was great and was the stand out part, gameplay was a little repetitive but once you get the hang of it and have progressed in weight far enough (especially if you keep your money up ) it doesn’t require much thinking and can just be used to progress the story.
Well done, keep up the good work!
Edit: Just wanted to add that I never had any issue with slow down, which either means I never encountered the leak or my computer is an absolute beast
Also, just wanted to say that I had a moment yesterday where I asked myself what did I do after I got home from work until I ate my dinner, as I had hours to do plenty of things but instead had done nothing. I remembered just now that I was playing through the game. Don’t take it as a bad thing, to me it was time I was so engaged in one thing I lost track of time, so kudos again.
main.lua:1072: Could not decode PNG image (memory allocation failed)
[love “callbacks.lua”]:228: in function ‘handler’
[C]: in function ‘newImage’
main.lua:1072: in function ‘bodyShape’
main.lua:235: in function ‘makeBanner’
main.lua:87: in function ‘draw’
[love “callbacks.lua”]:168: in function <[love “callbacks.lua”]:144>
[C]: in function ‘xpcall’
I caught an “above above” (at 145 lbs), and another typo at 460 lbs on the way down.
The story is very very good. Once the plot picked up, I cared about the story. Usually with these games I tolerate the story. You could add some branches, but you really don’t need to.
Not much to say about the gameplay. It fits the story, and is just hard enough.
The graphics were… fine. I can see why you did what you did, but it has to be one of the least sexy ways of showing a fat body. If you want to round out the game, fix the bugs and do something with the graphics.
I want to see whatever you make next.
WOW! Lots of input - thanks for trying out my MVP Alpha, folks!
I pushed an update that should seriously tamp down that RAM issue. Boring explanation follows, but the TL;DR is to re-download from the itch page if you haven’t since about 2PM GMT 31JAN2023. I would honestly recommend waiting another day or two - I’ve run some testing, but have a lot more to do to confirm that I’ve got it firmly locked down, and I can’t use any of my developer shortcuts within the game to accelerate play without potentially jumping over any remaining RAM leak points.
BORING TECHNICAL PATTER : I had a sub-function to a sub-function to the screen drawing function pulling in the body-image from a separate file. So, 30+ times per second there was a small external call. I shifted that around so it only gets called once per level, the first time it is needed.
Lua has an automatic cleanup function that triggers “every so often” - I left that auto-cleanup on, but also set it up to trigger with every level-up. I haven’t encountered the multi-GB RAM issue since, but again, I need time testing it out to ensure it works fine in the long term.
My programming laptop is half a decade old, but one of the approximately three dozen on the planet where the hardware and Windows background programs don’t cannibalize / conflict with each other in perpetuity, so believe it or not I was able to survive the memory leak without even detecting it during initial playtesting.
Thanks for pointing this out - it was a pretty significant oversight to leave out an explicit indicator that hovering over there would pause the game and provide play directions. I’ve addressed that in my hopefully-RAM-fixing update.
I remembered I forgot to say - the gameplay is both different to the usual kinds here, and fits the theme and mood of the game pretty well, and, like I said before, works in general, so that’s actually pretty good, not just adequate. There’s a point in the story (max weight and the decision to “diet”) where it would be great timing for the gameplay to change to reflect events - when it remained the same I was surprised! Maybe it could be a fifth circle? Not sure what it would do, though.
I think it’s a dedicated decision to release in this stage! It’s an important step everybody ignores if they’re looking for the impetus to improve. You got a lot of great feedback already, so I wanted to gush about your project a bit and provide unique notes:
I appreciated the way the gameplay changes with weight. I really felt like I was going through the tribulations of the character when I needed to work up the energy to do something in later stages.
I caught on pretty quickly to the game in your newest version as of Jan 31. I didn’t play the previous version, but the fact I didn’t share the same issues as players before me indicates to me your changes worked!
I LOVE IF. Mixing that up with bullet-hell style gameplay and a little bit of OSU? I thought it was fantastic for an alpha project. Maybe you could add more OSU-like elements to the gameplay in future builds (like clicking mechanics, or microspacing your cursor on the targets for different effects), if that is what you want to go for. I genuinely had fun even in this skeletal phase so it’s a sign to me that you’re expanding upon the right mechanics for engaging gameplay.
I can’t ignore the effort to include basic graphics for every weight stage in a fairly long story. Sure, they’re basic, but the effort was put in to retain player interest in that regard. Now that the skeleton is there, how much meat you put on it is up to you.
I noticed your use of “currently” with reference to the linear plot. Introducing a branching story to this game would be crazy. And I wholeheartedly encourage you to do it Fine-tuning the gameplay may be the next logical step, but having the story change based on how you play (even just at critical junctures) would be cool to me. Perhaps the gameplay could be centered around working up to those junctures in some way. I’m just tossing ideas around on that front.
All in all, if it isn’t obvious, I had a really good time with this title and see a lot of potential.