Thursday, November 23, 2023

Flight of the Swallow (teasing)

Hi !

It's been so long since I've posted here ! I bet you thought I had left Second Life and stopped producing stuff at all, right ? Well, not quite. But it is true that I did not create any new SL product lately, though I kept providing customer care, naturally.

I've often been asked what I am currently working on, with the hope that it would be a new SL product. And I'm flattered, really. But I must admit, after Xulabarthath, I think I pretty much reached the limit in what I can do in SL, at least for the time being. So... I shifted my attention towards something else entirely.

I spent the last two years and a half making a videogame ! An adult game, even. Well, it's a regular game with some adult stuff in it. More precisely, BDSM stuff in it. It's an erotic game, but not a porn game.


The name of the game is "Flight of the Swallow". It takes place in January 2080, aboard the "Diomeda", a massive research ship orbiting around the planet "Lagune", in the q1 Eridani solar system.

You play the role of Sandra Curnow, the chief technician aboard the ship.

The girl is a magnet for trouble, and you'll see just how much trouble she can get in when she wakes up the first day, as you start playing.

In fact, take a look at the first five minutes of gameplay to get an idea of what this game is about. Please forgive the poor quality of the video, I had to reduce it to be accepted by Blogger. You can't post videos bigger than 100 MB here.

Note : Sandy says "no" when the player asks about a vector, yet you can see the on-screen "predictors" that show Sandy's trajectory. This is because I wrote that dialogue before creating the predictors, so I'll have to change what she says later.


Since she is inside a ship in orbit, Sandy is floating in zero-G during a good part of the game. Which means that you control her body physically. You need a controller (Xbox or PS4/5) for that, it isn't fit for playing with the keyboard and mouse yet. This will probably come down the road, though.

Here is another short example of gameplay, after she gets free from her cuffs and finds her uniform to wear.

But the Diomeda is a spaceship, not a space station. It has thrusters that can deliver up to 1.2 G of acceleration. So when they're firing, Sandy can walk normally, as if she were on Earth.

Those two controls schemes (regular under gravity, physical in zero-G and in gravity alike) are integrated seamlessly, you can switch from one to the other when able. You can probably see where this is going.

If you've played Alex8778's "Escape: Forced Overtime" or "Bondage Nightmare", then you will notice a few similarities. Initially, my idea for learning Unity was to create a prototype that would use the same controls, making the player move a physical female character in bondage. That was during the first half of 2021. You can see how it evolved since then, but this is where the idea came from initially.

There are other inspirations that are much more obvious. Can you spot them ?


(You have to be a hardcore fan to recognize this one)

But at this point, you probably guessed.


All these pictures were taken in game, there is no photo mode (yet), so I used the regular camera to offset and zoom until I got the frame I wanted. In this game, camera skills are paramount, as they are what allows you to have a good idea of the distances between Sandy and whatever it is you want her to grab.

The Diomeda is designed with zero-G and gravity in mind. As a result, it is built like the spaceships in the The Expanse series, where ships are like rockets instead of ships that move on water. The bow is at the top, the stern is at the bottom, and the ship flies upwards, not forward. And the game strives to remain as close to realism as possible. No breaking the speed of light, Newtonian physics all the way, no invisible thrusters, but Sandy can rotate on her own even without support, as there wouldn't be much of a game if she couldn't.

This game is still very much a work in a progress. At first, I just wanted to learn to use Unity, and one thing leading to another... now I'm working on a full fledged project. At this time, you could say it is no longer a prototype, but still in the pre-alpha phase. Nowhere near release.

The story is divided in days, and I have written and implemented day one, which represents several hours of content (if I speedrun it, it takes me 5 to 6 hours to complete it, and that's just the first day). Most of the locations are not furnished completely, or at all for some of them, as I prefer to write the story first.

Full disclosure, the game itself (in the state it is currently in, which is version 0.3.8 at the time of this writing) took 1 year to make. That includes the characters, the items, the story, the dialogues and the locations. But it took 1 year and a half to create the underlying engine, the part that handles the mechanics. Ragdoll controls, zero-G, normal controls (Sandy can walk like everyone else when there is enough gravity), conversations, voices, audio system, AI, inventory and items, physical elevators, physical doors, bondage... pretty much everything is made in-house.

Speaking of the voices, the game won't be provided with them directly, as they are made with xVASynth so I am not allowed to make them part of a commercial product. They will be provided separately, for free, and meant to be installed pretty much like a mod. The game will function with or without them. That's way down the road anyway, as soon as I provide a demo of the game, I will probably include the voices, since the demo will be free. At the time of this writing, there are over 2000 voice files, and I tweaked every single one of them manually to sound as natural and as little robotic as possible.

I have a lot to say about the voices, but the most important thing I want to point out is that I do not want to show disrespect to the original voice actors and actresses whose voices are imitated here (emphasis on imitated, I do not steal their voices, and I do not pretend they voiced the characters themselves, they have nothing to do with this game). It's machine voicing anyway, no doubt that real voice actors would do much better and for a fraction of the effort it required of me. And I'd love to have the original actors voice my characters ! I just don't know if the game would be profitable if they did.

I have no idea when the game itself will be ready for release, let alone finished. It will be in a couple years, I suppose. I'm working on it full time, thanks to the money I earn in SL, so if you bought products from me at some point, I can do this partly thanks to you !

This is why I don't have a Patreon page or anything like that. I think that Patreon is a flawed system that doesn't entice a dev to finish their project, and when the project is actually released, most of the money was already earned. But if you do wish to support me, don't hesitate to buy my products ! That way you actually buy something that you can use right now, instead of the promise of a project that may or may not see the light of day, years later.

I would like to release a demo soon, hopefully before Christmas. But I'm not sure if I'm ready for the flurry of comments and suggestions I'll get once it is available, yet, I'm still pretty shy on that matter. This game requires a lot of work, and there's still a lot to do. In fact, I have never worked so hard in my life, and that's coming from someone who worked as an engineer for the military for several years. Imagine working for 12 hours a day, average, sometimes doing 30-day weeks. That's what making a video game entails.

Hope you enjoyed the little teasing ! I could not resist any longer the urge to tell you what I'm working on.

Have fun !


PS : Thank you to Danna Pearl, Tania Loon, Angelina Sinclair and Stephanie Mapple for helping me by testing the game and giving me suggestions ! Especially Danna and Tania who pretty much watched the game grow over the years and who kept their mouths shut about it :)


PS 2 : I've been asked if I was leaving SL, and if I stopped making products. It's a no to both questions. I am not going anywhere, I'm still providing customer service, and to be honest, I can't wait to get back to working on SL products (new and existing), this will feel like vacations to me. Besides, PBR is coming to SL soon so I will work on the RLV and on some of my products soon anyway. So no worries !