These Reluctant Years (WIP) - Last updated: April 9th, 2021

I’m very interested in seeing how the story will go when the two MCs interact with each other, which it looks like we’ll be seeing in the next update!

Also, am I the only one that thinks the boys that came to the house during winter were Lazarus and Freeman? The “hmm, hmm, hmmm” made me suspicious.

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Yes, I am planning on releasing updates chapter-by-chapter up until the ending(s), which will be for beta testing.

(;

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The new update is public, today! It includes:

  • All introductions for MC2 are completed.
  • Various grammar, spelling, and continuity errors corrected.
  • Character customization.

Let me know what you think and/or if you find any spelling/grammar/continuity/coding errors, please! I also just began another supplementary lore series on my Patreon page about a missionary who learns more than she expected beyond the Frontier. If that sounds like something that might interest you, consider becoming a patron! You will get access to more lore stories, early access to game updates, alpha access to the completed game, and developer insights.

As always, a big thank you to everyone for all your wonderful words and support! (:

EDIT: I caught a bug just now while play-testing, and you should now be able to select white fur when playing “These Reluctant Depths”.

EDIT 2, THE REVENGE: You should also be able to properly view MC2’s stat screen.

EDIT 3, THE RETURN OF EDIT: Fixed a typo where MC2’s gender would not appear correctly in their description.

EDIT 4, MECHA-EDIT: I also forgot to mention that I started a new supplementary lore series over on my Patreon page. It’s a travelogue, written from the perspective of a missionary as she travels into the Unknown Territories during the early days of colonization. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in reading, please consider becoming a patron! The series will update every other day (excluding weekends) until the end of the month, as well, if you want to become a patron at the very end and not have to wait for the story to conclude.

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I love this game, but could you add more save slots? It’s getting out of hand now that I have six mcs.

Also, I don’t understand what the seal-people and deer-people look like. Boaz isn’t a deer-folk, right? He seemed to be described as a cow? But deer-folk, like Boaz and the seal lady have animal faces? But they also have hair?? Since MC2 all have customisable hair and eye color. I don’t understand how you can customise eye color if you have a deer or seal face. Also what does the lower half of a seal-folk look like?

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I’m so glad!

I’ll see about implementing that in the next update.

Keep in mind I’ve taken about one art class in my adult life ever, and that was years and years and years ago. I am very much not “hip with the art”, as the kids might say, lol. I regret not learning the computers in school, and also a little that I never learned how to draw. That said, I tried my best…

Deer-person

Seal-person

I hope my terrible art helps you visualize the characters!

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I was not the one asking for refs, but thank you for them!
I was about to finally start with the second MC tonight, and was still unsure which kind I’ll choose.
It’ll be seal then, as I was leaning toward from the start!

And don’t worry about your art! Sure, you’re no professional artist, but the art is clear and very readable, so it makes for perfect species refs anyway! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Also, may I ask if there were changes to the first MC’s part? I’ve seen in the update post that you’ve included a character editor, but was it added to the first MC’s part, or does it come after selecting the second MC’s species?
Basically, I wish to know if I can load my save at the species selection, or if I have to replay from scratch! :rofl:

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Thank you for the kind words, and you’re welcome for the reference! People on other platforms have also been consistently asking me for something like them for awhile, now, so I figured I might as well try, lol.

Character customization was added to both MC1’s and MC2’s introductions. I tried to be as thorough as possible (with what I could think of, anyway), with eye color, complexion, hair color, hair texture/style, hair length, face shape, and body type. There are a few extra options for MC2 if you also wanted to change your fur color, decorate your antlers, or have rosettes like Harper.

I’ve actually been keeping a save file for myself right at the end of MC1’s introduction (where you can choose the three backgrounds for MC2) for play-testing purposes. When I went back to it on this current update, it just loaded me back at the start of MC1’s introduction with all of the stat increases/decreases kept from the introduction I’d just played. It might be better to have a new play-through, though I will soon be implementing a quick-start feature to skip the introductions and jump right into new chapters once they become available.

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Oh, that’s a lot! Okay then, between that and what you said about the game booting you at MC1’s intro, I’ll just start over then!
Thanks!

Oh also! I’m still debting if I prefer romancing Laz with MC1, or do the MC1/MC2 romance. Could you give me a bit more insight about how the “both MCs romance” is structured?
Does the player control both MCs when they’re both present in a scene, or does the player control only the “MC of the chapter”, and the other one becomes an NPC of sorts and has a set behavior depending on choices and personality made by the player previously?

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All romance options are structured similarly to Too Different, with there being both a relationship stat and romance threshold. The romance threshold is a certain number of interactions that the player much meet or exceed in order to deepen their relationship with a character (it’s my way of trying to ensure no one can just randomly choose actions that a character is guaranteed to like and get a bedroom scene without some emotional effort and character development). For example, if you attend Belvidere’s Yearsend party and go for a walk with Lázaro when he prompts you (and also never bail on him, lol), that counts as a +1 to his romance threshold. These moments are plot and choice-dependent, of course, but they work the same whether you are romancing the other MC or Lázaro, Belvidere, Prudence, and Blythe.

A bit of both. The perspective changes (i.e. in choices referencing “I do something”, the MC who “I” refers to might change chapter-to-chapter, though not within a chapter), and the other MC will react according to their personality/relationship stats to what the player-controlled MC is saying/doing. I’m also going to give the player the chance to choose what the MC that they don’t control says and does sometimes to keep it interesting.

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Thanks for indulging me again!

Aaah, you’re making me so conflicted!
I love Laz, but at the same time I really love the concept introduced when MC2 appears, with the idea of some beings being “split” in two. I tend to LOVE that trope in romance.
If I knew about that beforehand, I wouldn’t even hesitate and go for the MC1/MC2 romance. But of course, I got attached to Laz and so… internal conflict intensifies. :rofl:

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No problem – I enjoy talking, if you couldn’t already tell by my verbose writing style, haha!

Laz would understand. He is half in love with his work, anyway!

EDIT: I forgot to mention in the previous post that some actions available to the player while they are choosing for the other MC will still be gated behind stat/relationship checks.

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Oh dear, I didn’t expect that comment. It made me laugh way more than it should have!

Oh that’s okay, it makes sense! My character is pretty decisive about his stats, so I don’t think I even CAN fail a check as long as I select in-character options!

And after thinking about it, I think I’ll go for friendship with Laz and Bel, and the MC1/MC2 romance, because I realized a very simple fact.
Considering I only romance male characters, and that, if I understand correctly, Blythe is a pretty “bad” character (as in, traditionalist and elitist etc)… well, that leaves only one “full-NPC” option, which is Laz. But then, MC2 wouldn’t be able to romance anyone :sweat_smile:

I guess I was really overthinking that, when I could have asked myself “which one is the only option that allows me to have a romance for both MC’s?”

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Yes, he is sort of the requisite “evil” option.

I’m glad you seem to have figured it out, though! (:

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Okay, I’ve finished playing the update! Well, didn’t check it out for the backgrounds I’m not interested in for MC2 though - only the seal people.
By the way, I see it’s marked as being in progress when species selection comes at the end of MC1’s chapter, and yet the story goes from start to the meeting… What’s missing, then? :thinking:

I spotted one error!

When preparing for the pilgrimage:

In my playthrough Y’aana hates MC2 so I didn’t get that option, but from what I’ve seen if skimming the code, when the siblings prepare for the pilgrimage, one of the options favorable to her is “I can hardly wait to travel with him again, either!” - should be “travel with her”

With that being said, I was also wondering about three things - a question and two suggestions.

  • In the first chapter, when meeting Bel after having met MC1’s brother, the choices that raise Bel’s relationship - including accepting the ride - also raise society standing. But considering Bel spends their time with Laz and is considered a deviant etc, shouldn’t it lower it?
  • Considering how the society is, maybe the physical appeareance should come into play in some dialogues, like MC1’s father could be frustrated at a son with a delicate face and short stature or a daughter with square face and muscular body, as these wouldn’t be considered traditionally beautiful - or adequate - for said genders?
    Same about the insults of the bully teens when MC1 goes to meet their brother. I guess that could use the same insults as for non-binary characters.
    Of course, in order for it to not be unmanageable coding-wise, only some specific associations of face shape/type and body type could do that? :thinking:
  • Also, it would be nice to have a “worldly” reaction to the pilgrimage, that would not necessarily be all about learning more of MC2’s people, but rather something along the lines of “I’m eager to see more of the world!” or “I wonder if we’ll meet interesting people on the road!”

Well, I think that’s it! I’ll try to design my MCs when I have the time and inspiration.

Ah, speaking of which! When creating a seal MC2, the character creation still includes skin tone, but they are entirely covered in fur, right? Now, obviously, they have skin underneath, so does that mean it applies to the small zones for example around the nose that may have a less dense fur, or something like that?

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I actually caught these independently, myself, lol. They’ll be fixed when the next update rolls out.

Belvidere is seen as non-threatening enough that they still occupy a high place in Society. They don’t overtly make waves, so the young people that want to feel rebellious attend their soirees to “live dangerously” without being in any actual danger from the secret police.

These are good ideas – I’ll see about adding them!

That makes sense, I’ll add one in.

Yes, that’s correct! (:

EDIT: I’ll look forward to hearing about it!

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