The Developer of Parental Love, Luxee has just finished his first game and is about to take on his next. Read the details below.
Q: First of all, congratulations on finishing Parental Love. How do you feel now that it’s complete?
A: Ay thanks. Damn, well it feels surreal, to be honest. Hard to put into words really, but you can probably imagine that the culmination of almost three and a half years of work coming to a close gives me a pretty damn good feeling!
Q: It’s been a wild ride creating Parental Love. Did you see it being this successful when you started development?
A: No, definitely not. I would say that a large reason for Parental Love’s success was the timing of when I started development. Sometime late 2016 I first began thinking about developing games after stumbling upon Dating My Daughter. This was at a time MrDots, the creator of Dating My Daughter, had fewer patrons than I do now. I was shocked to learn the numbers that the game was pulling on Patreon. I figured, this “industry” – if you could even call it that yet – is in such early stages, that if I can make a product even half as good as dating my daughter, there’s bound to be some piece of the pie left for me here. So to summarize, at the time I began development, I figured I’d found a small market gap I could squeeze through to some mild success, but never to this extent.
Q: Was it your original intention to have the different paths in the story?
A: As I’m not a writer and at the time, I hadn’t done any research on being one, I didn’t know how other people developed their stories. Gonna be brutally honest, I had effectively zero plan going into PL. All I knew at the start was that I wanted two daughters for the player character and a wife you had to keep your relationship with those two hidden from. Eventually, you would talk over that wife into joining you three in the fun, however, this lack of any REAL overarching story is why you’ll often hear Parental Love be called a “nukige”, which is a term I tend to agree with. Good thing is, there seems to be an audience willing to give nukige’s their time as well, hah hah. Over the years I’ve grown a lot as a dev and I GUESS as a writer too, so the story for my following project after Parental Love will be much more planned out beforehand and I believe it will have much less of a nukige feel to it.
Q: Was there any point in development where all of those different paths became too much to keep track of? Or perhaps regretted putting them in?
A: Great question. I never had many issues keeping track of the different paths as I only ever meant for there to be five of them. This number never really changed once I decided on it, however, there was a cut ending that was originally intended to be in place of the “My Sweetie” ending. As for an ending I regretted putting in? It’s not so much that I regretted putting the “Pure Husband” route (the one where you stay faithful to your wife) into the game, it was just a massive pain in the ass to develop. Here’s a quick tip to any aspiring devs out there. DO NOT put a route in your game just because you feel like it should be there. That’s exactly how I felt about the “Pure Husband” route. I had no interest in this kind of a story myself. This route about staying faithful to your wife, was obviously not why I decided to start making a game about boning your daughters… but it does make sense that there’s a route like that in the game, doesn’t it? Well, that’s the thinking that made “Pure Husband” a reality anyway. It would really be fine writing stuff I’m not so interested in myself if it weren’t for the massive amount of burnout it produced in me. Creating v0.7 of Parental Love, a version entirely dedicated to furthering this route, brought out the worst burnout I’ve ever had. At this time I lost nearly all motivation to work on PL. Which is in large part responsible for my patrons getting a sneak peek of my next project in conjunction with the release of v0.7. I just had to work on something else for a little while. I got my motivation back after all that. I haven’t felt such burnout ever since finishing the “Pure Husband” route and I think I’ve learned a lot from that experience.
Q: Can you tell us about that cut ending?
A: The cut route was supposed to go like this: The wife, Emily, finds out that the player character and his daughter had sex together during their date at the pier, just like it happens in-game right now. But unlike how she then questions the player about it the next morning, in this route, the home invader instead stabs Elly during the night… I know O_o. I have no idea what I was thinking either. The story would then continue with her dying words being that she’s glad she got to have a relationship with the player before she died. Emily having heard these dying words, would then throw the player out of the house and he’d be on his own living for five or so years until you were contacted by your other daughter Ada, and you went on to reconnect and build a family with an older version of her, and your sister, Jenna. Now, I’m sure I don’t need to make a long explanation as to why this route was scrapped, but let’s just say it didn’t exactly fit with the otherwise chill and fun themes of the game.
Before I began writing Parental Love, I’d always thought that death was an underutilized storytelling tool. But I’ve now come to realize that it simply doesn’t have a place in most stories. My dumb little porn VN is meant to be consumed carefree and for people to just enjoy themselves without all the worries of real life. Bringing over the top drama like ACTUAL DEATH into the mix is simply unnecessary in my opinion.
Q: Which of the paths is your favorite?
A: Ah, well that’s gotta be the Harem route. It’s the one I set out to make when I began developing the game. And it’s the canon ending. All the other paths of the game are sort of side stories meant to be consumed if you like the Harem route enough. So I suppose in a way, picking the Harem route would be cheating. For a solid second place pick, I’d have to go with the “My Sweetie” path. I really liked how the story of Elly’s little adventure of a search for her dad turned out.
Q: During development, you played around with different render post effects, which are noticeable from update to update. Will you be going back and fixing these?
A: Oh yeh, I was really stupid, what I did was I switched rendering engine from Iray to Octane midway through the game, without taking the time to properly learn the new engine. I got a lot better with Octane later on and I did end up going back to fix most of the REALLY bad ones with this last release of Parental Love. But as you said, the difference is still VERY noticeable. I don’t, unfortunately, think I’ll be going back to work on these leftover bad scenes as it would simply take too much time away from my next projects and the Patreon model of game development funding cannot justify it.
Q: Do you have any character in the game that you would consider to be your favorite?
A: Hah, not really. There are certain metrics I can rank them by though. If we go by facial looks, I think I nailed it with Elly and Ada. Storywise, I think it’d have to be either the Player character or Sofi, as I think I spent the most time building those two characters’ backstories.
Q: The pregnancy in the harem path gets really wild. That had to be fun to write for!?!
A: Hah hah, yup. There’s the quite obvious nod at Sisterly Lust, a game by “Perveteer”, with the number of babies your harem pumps out exceeding that of Sisterly Lust’s harem by just one.
Funny you should mention that. Writing “wild” stuff? That was one of, if not THE best way I found to deal with burnout. Not just in pregnancy, but in general, just writing some completely crazy stuff into the story. Like the player getting stopped by a fake cop who goes on to let him go as long as he fucks his daughters in front of her, or the random choice to receive a blowjob from Eric come to mind. I don’t know where I’d read or heard this, but someone once told me to “Try to have fun in your job”. I found that writing like I didn’t have a care in the world, was definitely one of the more fun things I could do in porn game development. As long as I don’t drive away all of my subscribers, ain’t nobody gonna tell me not to put a full-grown elephant in the player’s living room. It really did help me with burnout a lot.
Q: What lessons have you learned about developing this game? Is there anything you would do differently if you knew then what you know now?
A: Oh, plenty of course. I would’ve focused more on building up each of the characters’ backstories and personalities rather than just trying desperately to write them a reason to fuck each other. I think people generally appreciate that human connection more than they’d like to admit. That’s why they downloaded a porn visual novel, instead of a porn video. Obviously, I’ve learned a lot of technical things as well when it comes to story writing and graphics development. In general, though, I’m quite happy with what I managed to achieve with Parental Love. I’d like to think those skill improvements will be showcased with my upcoming projects.
Q: What did you find the most surprising, from start to finish of development?
A: One thing that comes to mind is just how nice the community is. Mostly anyway, hah hah. I have an amazing community over on discord with whom I can just talk about random crap like news and such. These people who I met only through a shared interest in playing porn games. Whoda thunk it. Even played a bit of cs with a couple of those peeps when I was drunk enough.
Q: Does your professional background assist with your development skills/knowledge? And if so, how?
A: Nothing I’ve done professionally. My degree did, but even then only very slightly in the coding aspects. Obviously, a visual novel doesn’t need a lot of coding, but it did also help me with building my website (small plug, https://luxee.games). Now with my second game which is more open world-ish, rather than a straight visual novel, it has helped a lot. I did a three-year degree in computer science type stuff. I write stuff because I really don’t know what an American or English equivalent of my degree would be. Tietäjät tietää, meikä oli datanomi. But as far as the 3D visuals and such I use, those are skills I picked up as I went. Daz studio, the program I use is extremely intuitive and easy to use, so I needed no previous experience with similar programs to work it out.
Q: Is there any advice you can give to people who are starting out with game development?
A: Stick to your own vision of the game, in every other instance, except if you ACTUALLY agree with the criticism. All too often I see developers crumbling under pressure from fans and forum-goers telling them to change this, this, and this aspect of the game to suit their specific needs. All that changing and shuffling of ideas and story beats can lead to an incoherent end product that lacks even more vision than it probably already lacked (no offense, I just speak from my own experience). But like I said, that isn’t to say you should never listen to anyone. Valid criticism does exist. For all products. I don’t have the magic formula on how to pick out good criticism from the swamp that is your games forum thread. But you just gotta feel it.
Q: During the development of Parental Love, you gave us a sneak peek of another project of yours; Apartment 69, will we see a return of this title? Or are you thinking of doing something different for your next project?
A: Yes, Apartment #69 is the name of the game now. I’ve started development full steam ahead on it and I think fans of Parental Love will really like it. There should be a version 0.02 out hopefully in October if my current plans hold. It’s an… open-world-esque game. Really you just click around in the world and activate events. Once activated, the game goes back into a Parental Love type visual novel game until the end of said event. Don’t worry haters of open-world titles though, there won’t be a single bit of grind or anything in the game. It’s all just events. I only made the game this way to give me personally more freedom writing-wise.
Q: Is there anybody that helped you along the way, that you want to give a shout out to?
A: Oh there have been so many who’ve helped me immensely over the years. From bug-hunting and proofreading to coding, writing, and even UI design. Obviously big shouts to my boy Grubb for translating the entire thing to Brazilian. There were a couple of people helping me with 3D rendering stuff as well. And can’t forget the out of game help I got from certain forum moderators as well. I don’t wanna start listing names in the sorry case I forget someone xpp. Sorry, but seriously thanks to everyone who helped me, y’all know who you are. And a last big shout to the patrons and subscribers funding the game over these three years allowing me to do this as my job!
To support Luxee check them out on Patreon.