# First one
Back in March my game for NaNoRenO was released, the game was New Pisces.
Available here: http://sleepyagents.itch.io/new-pisces
New Pisces was quite ambitious, I wanted to write about horoscopes (I find mystical things fascinating for a number or reasons) and the technological singularity from the point of view of a (questionably) unreliable narrator. I wanted the visual aesthetic to be strong and of course an interesting mechanic around the audio. While there was a lot of room for improvement, mostly in the areas of the story and how it ties into the music and player choices, I am incredibly happy with what I achieved given my lack of experience and time restrictions! A few months after the release I noticed this write up which I am still so happy about http://gamerant.com/visual-novel-jam-nanoreno-2015/
|A background image from New Pisces|
I remember looking up all sorts of things about astrology while in a car dealership one day in March, the research part of game development is always a lot of fun for me.
I would consider making an updated version of the game one day!
# Second one
Next up was a fantasy game which had a much more traditional visual novel presentation this was for SuNoFes in July/August, that was For Ambergris.
Available here: http://sleepyagents.itch.io/for-ambergris
I wanted to make a game set in something like my ultimate fantasy universe! Full of enigmatic characters and strange goings on. When I approached it I had in my mind that this would be issue 0 of a 'motion comic' hybrid kind of story. I love that visual novels can be very different from traditional games and traditional films or book and I just wanted to get stuck in making something weird, that appeals to me. The game ended up being a bit of a mess as the story didn't really get going, so it's like half of a chapter one of a book, but with enough elements in the story for a trilogy of novels probably. Following this I really resolved to learn more about the craft of writing!
|Background in For Ambergris|
I think the assets in the game were the best bits about it, the music by Urban Fox https://soundcloud.com/urbanfox and the art which I did and had a lot of fun making. For one of the scenes I took a photo of loads of playing cards and Magic the gathering cards in a stack which I then embellished in photoshop using the games colour palette - something that New Pisces didn't really have! I also tried to push my ren'py skills further with this game, by changing the text box appearance based on what type of text was on screen and introducing a click-to-continue indicator in the top right hand corner.
I released this game on the Android play store - it has about a 2 star rating https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.sleepyagents.forambergris - which is probably about right! It's motivating me to make a better game. I don't feel like I'll ever really chase ratings, as I want to make games that I'd enjoy playing first and foremost! But I do want others to enjoy them as well if at all possible!
# Third one
Lastly is my most recent game made for the NoBrainerIFJam in November, Void Id.
Available here: http://sleepyagents.itch.io/void-id
Another fantasy VN set in the same universe as For Ambergris and featuring many of the same characters although a different protagonist. The jam had the rule of not exceeding 24 hours of development! I totally spent 48 hours on it though and even then I felt a lot of it was rushed! But it was a lot of fun writing this story which was inspired by what was going through my head when I couldn't sleep when I had a cold in late October. I really wanted a cookie person with a vape. Oh I didn't mention in the For Ambergris write up that gender hardly exists in this universe, something that I've been thinking a lot about over the year and as such made it's way into my games even though not into the stories themselves, which was pretty much a conscious decision.
|Cookie and Kelp from Void Id|
I think the writing was much better in this than For Ambergris. It's a weird game, which is what I was aiming for. So in that respect it was a success. It's only had about 29 downloads for PC and Mac since it's release, I think I could've done more to spread the word about the game, but due to it's lack of polish I couldn't quite bring myself to do that!
# OK next
So next year I'm planning to make a game that's not for a jam at all. The game I'm currently working on is a chill sim with, at least, a musical mechanic. I will announce more about that when I'm a little further along with it!
Happy New Year everyone!