LewdPixels June 16, 2020 Class is in Session as we chat with Altos, the Developer of “The Headmaster”

Class is in Session as we chat with Altos, the Developer of “The Headmaster”

The Headmaster sees the MC take over the running of a girls’ school in an unnamed country, where he introduces his own unique methods of discipline (cue a lot of spankings). Altos, of the game’s developers Altos and Herdone, agreed to be interviewed by us. We discussed husband and wife development teams, his future plans for the game and just where exactly the game is set.

Q: It’s unusual enough to have a female developer on the team for an adult game, and a husband and wife team must be almost unique. How does your relationship affect the work dynamic?

A: I do not know if we are unique. I suspect there might be at least a few other couples out there working on things like this. At the moment, though, I do all of the actual writing, coding, and rendering. My wife, Herdone, reviews everything that I do and makes suggested improvements. Sometimes this does lead to minor arguments where I don’t particularly want to redo loads of work. However, she is usually right and I’m generally best off doing as she says. Early in the game’s development (before the 0.1 demo) she made me scrap all my character models and basically start again. It was annoying at the time, but it was the right decision. With her help on the designs, my second attempt at making the characters was vastly superior. I think she has really given me an advantage over a lot of solo developers. Having someone to be brutally honest with me and to tell me what’s good and what needs changing. She recently quit her job to help me full time on the game and I’ve been teaching her to use Photoshop and some other tools to help me speed up my development process.

I had the idea for the game on a long boring business trip and just started making it when I got home.

Q: How did you get into the adult gaming field?

A: I suppose I first got into adult gaming many, many years ago playing Flash games on sites like Newgrounds. I was also into modding of the Elder Scrolls games Oblivion and Skyrim; making hot girls run around Tamriel in skimpy clothing. It was only relatively recently that I discovered porn games were becoming much more popular and complex thanks to funding platforms like Patreon. I also saw that some people were making a decent living off these games and I was quite jealous, thinking it must be nice to work from home doing something fun and creative.

As to how I got started as a developer, I had the idea for the game on a long boring business trip and just started making it when I got home. I had no previous experience making games and just figured everything out as I went along. It took me eight months of my free time to learn everything and to make the version 0.1 demo. About four months later I quit my day job and I’ve been a full-time porn game developer for just over a year now.

Q: Do people in your real life know that you make adult games? Do your friends and family know you do this?

A: I’ve told my friends what I do but not the specific game I’m working on. I told my family I’m working as a freelance software developer, which is true, I just leave out the pornography part.

Q: Do you play any adult games, and if so, what are your favourites?

A: I used to play adult games but since I started making my own I kind of lost interest in playing other people’s. Porn games are my day job now, so I generally want to do other things in my free time. As it turns out there is such a thing as too much porn (who knew?!). The games I used to play include Akabur’s games Witch Trainer and Princess Trainer. I enjoy his writing and humour. I really liked the game Long Live the Princess by Belle and I used to be a patron of hers before I became a developer myself. I enjoyed the game Mythic Manor and that was the first time I’d seen a really well-made game using Honey Select graphics. That was what inspired me to use similar software (Playhome) for my game.

Q: Quite a few other games are set in schools, but none concentrate on punishments and discipline so much. Why did you choose this as a theme?

Also, spanking girls is hot.

A: Most of the games I used to see coming out on Patreon were based around a young male protagonist, usually a virgin (who wants to bang their mother for some reason). I felt that I wanted to write a very different story with an older protagonist. Someone who was in a position of power and whose motivation wasn’t simply “I want to have sex with as many women as possible”. I also always enjoy reading stories where the main character is either a villain or an anti-hero and I felt that not many games out there catered to that kind of role. The headmaster’s motivation is simply to make the girls behave and to get good grades. He is willing to use whatever means necessary to achieve that goal even if that means doing things which most people would find morally dubious. The game’s focus on discipline reflects the main characters own obsession and motivation. Also, spanking girls is hot.

Debbie in the Headmaster's office.
Debbie, in the Headmaster’s office again.

Q: Do you have a favourite character in the game? If so, who is it?

A: This is a difficult question to answer but I think my favourite character is probably Debbie. She has the most character development so far in the story plus I really enjoy writing scenes for her. She’s outwardly tough and a bully but inwardly she’s very emotionally vulnerable and just wants to feel a connection with someone.

Q: How is Debbie’s storyline going to end? Will she actually end up working for the Headmaster, or will things go horribly wrong in some way? Or is that a secret?

A: Obviously I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. However, I will say that Debbie continues to work with the headmaster as his Prefect and apprentice. Things won’t be entirely smooth sailing for her though and she will meet her match when a new student arrives and takes over as the school’s bully.

Q: Will the Headmaster ever be romantically paired with someone? Or will it all be casual sex and strict discipline?

A: The game isn’t really about romance. The main fetish is dominance. I do plan to have some optional romance paths in the game for a few of the most popular characters. However, there will also be alternative routes for those characters focussed on dominance and submission.

Q: The game never actually says where it is set, only referring vaguely to being on “a small island nation”. Do you actually have a country in mind, or is it supposed to just be some generic place out-there-somewhere?

A: I think the game’s setting is probably better left as a fictional country as it helps for some people to maintain immersion. However, there are some clues in the game as to where I picture it being set (and also where I am from). The American girl, Charlotte, refers to her home as being “across the pond”. Samantha mentions a firework festival in November. Emily’s parents are from a town called Swindon. That’s plenty of information to go on for anyone who wants to work it out.

Q: A recent update introduced the new character of Ada. Are you planning to introduce any more new characters? What can you tell us about them?

A: Yes. I held a poll for my patrons a while ago on some new character models with the winners earning a place as named characters. Ada came second and I was able to introduce her straight away. We have not seen the winner of that poll yet, Zoe, because she will have a very major storyline which I’m still writing. She will arrive towards the end of version 0.9. Zoe will be a real bad girl and will become the main student antagonist.

Q: What do you have planned for the future of The Headmaster? What’s coming in the next update? And what are your longer-term plans for the game?

Rachel, the petite gamer girl.

A: The next update, (0.8beta) should be ready in the next couple of weeks. The update will mostly be focused on two of the most popular characters: the English teacher, Claire, and a petite gamer girl, Rachel. After version 0.8 there is going to be a fairly long gap while I move the game into a new ‘chapter’ with all new repeatable events and new girls to punish in your office. So, I wanted to make version 0.8 a real crowd-pleasing update to keep everyone as happy as possible while they wait for the next major game version. I also wanted to counter some criticism that there weren’t enough sex scenes in the game. The scenes I’ve made for both characters are definitely some of my best in terms of both the art and the writing and I’m looking forward to the release.

Version 0.9 will start the morning after the headmaster finally passes the school rule allowing him to punish the girls himself. There will be a new main quest and some new gameplay challenges, mostly revolving around keeping your word to the school inspector, Ruth. We’ll also see some new school rules and a major jump forward in terms of what the headmaster can get away with doing with the girls.

Q: One story development introduced the cane as a punishment. Do you have any more new punishments lined up for the girls?

A: Absolutely. The punishment system will play out slightly differently for each girl and the headmaster will keep coming up with new and inventive ways to punish the girls. We’ve barely started exploring that aspect of things and there will be a lot more to come in later updates.

Q: Will we ever find out about the school’s mysterious backers? Or are they just background colour?

A: We will learn more about the school’s owners and their motives in time. The focus of the game is obviously on the girls but it’s important to keep everything in context with the overarching story. I can’t say too much but I will say there are a few big plot twists yet to be revealed. We also still don’t know who killed the old headmaster and the answer might not be as obvious as people think.

I always go into the update with a particular story arc in mind and then I’ll start writing all the key scenes.

Q: What’s your development process like? Do you have everything meticulously planned before you start, or do you prefer to fly by the seat-of-your-pants?

A: It’s impossible to plan things perfectly at the start of an update and I think it would be a mistake to be too rigid with my plans. I always go into the update with a particular story arc in mind and then I’ll start writing all the key scenes. However, it’s not until I start putting everything together that I see which scenes work well and which don’t. I’ll also find that things don’t necessarily flow well from one scene to another and I’ll need to add extra dialogue or new scenes to fill in the gaps.

Generally, I find that the scenes I have the most fun making are the ones people enjoy playing the most. So, sometimes I’ll start making a short scene, but I’ll enjoy making it and it will expand into something much larger. The big water fight scene is a prime example of this, where a few hundred-word scene that was supposed to take me a couple of days to make ended up becoming something very substantial which took me a whole month. The exact same thing has happened with the update I’m working on at the moment with a big scene for the English teacher, Claire. Not sticking to a rigid plan does make it more difficult to keep to my deadlines but, ultimately, the game is better if I allow myself to follow my creative instincts.

Q: The Headmaster is quite a long way into its development (it’s currently at version 0.7.2 as I type). How long do you think it will take for the game to finally be complete?

A: I wouldn’t want to put an end date on the game just yet. It’s a strange situation Patreon developers find themselves in where they are financially motivated to keep making the same game indefinitely. That said, I don’t plan to drag things out forever. I would say we are probably about halfway through the main story I had in mind. I’ll probably aim to have an ending to the game in place within a year or two. However, from there I can always add extra chapters or move on to a sequel. As long as the demand is there from my patrons, I’ll keep working on The Headmaster.

Q: Do you think you’ll make a sequel? If so, will it be all new girls? Will it be set at the same school? Will any of the existing girls (for example Debbie) stay on as staff?

A: It’s a bit early to say, everything depends on demand from my patrons. I would like to make a sequel but what form that would take, I just don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead. If I did make one, I would expect there to be multiple characters crossing over from the first game.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about starting their own game? What lessons have you learned while making this game?

A: I would say that you need to be prepared to put in a lot of work. It’s not as easy as it might look. Your first few attempts at making a game probably won’t be any good but you need to stick with it.

When designing your game, you should first focus on gameplay mechanics rather than story. Gameplay for porn doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, simpler is better. However, there does need to be some challenge, otherwise people will feel like they are just reading a story rather than playing a game. I’d recommend creating a functional prototype of your game and then building your story around that. Not the other way around.

Once you have your game started, you’ll want to make a name for yourself. Therefore, you need to have a really memorable version 0.1. People will forever judge your game based on your early work and first impressions are all important. Try testing it out with a small audience before publishing it anywhere. Try to make sure it’s at least an hour of content, preferably two and be sure to throw in some gratuitous sex and nudity right from the beginning to grab people’s attention. You also need to be prepared to stick with your game for the long term even if things don’t seem to be going well straight away. Starting a game and then abandoning it is not a good way to build up a fan base and to get patrons.

Be sure to have a support network of people you can talk to. It’s not something you want to go into entirely on your own.

Once you’re making enough money to live off of, being a porn game developer is great. You get to work from home and be your own boss. I have no regrets with my career move. However, there are downsides. If you go full time, you’ll be doing long hours and you’re going to be on your own most of the time. It can be quite isolating. I have my wife to keep me sane, but I think I would have gone crazy after the first six months without her here. You also need to be prepared to take some criticism and not to let the pressure get to you. Writing erotic fiction is obviously extremely personal, much more so than with almost any other genre. So, it’s easy to find yourself feeling anxious about whether people are going to like your work. Be sure to have a support network of people you can talk to. It’s not something you want to go into entirely on your own.

Q: And finally, do you have anything else you want to add?

A: Thank you for the interview and I wish you good luck with your new role as a Staff writer at the LewdPixels website. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank my patrons and everyone who has supported the game either financially or with their time. The game simply couldn’t exist without their support. Not only that but they are also a great bunch of guys and I’ve been overwhelmed with the kind words and moral support from our fans.

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Mr. Wayne
Mr. Wayne(@wayne-the-confused)
9 months ago

I think that if you decide to make a sequel, you might want to think about where the girls have go after they completed the school. As this could be a whole new set of things to think about.

1 year ago

I m really in this game. the story is good, the characters are greats and the are all kind of body types which please me . I m sick of all those oversizes boops. finaly women looking natural ! i can t wait for the next update ! well done to the entire team !

1 year ago

It was interesting especially the psychology part of developing