Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Little Look Back at 2015!

My first (and second and third!) game came out this year! Here is a little run down of the games I finished this year.

# First one

Back in March my game for NaNoRenO was released, the game was New Pisces.

New Pisces

I learned a lot about deciding on a realistic scope and working to a deadline to finish a game! Skills which have been incredibly useful. I am still yet to complete a game which isn't for a game jam, but I feel like I stand a chance next year!

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

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.

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 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 - 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.

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!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Void Id out now - NoBrainerIFJam

Another game jam game!

Here it is:

Void Id
It's an odd visual novel. The idea with this jam was to make an interactive fiction in 24 hours (but at your own pace over a month).

I actually spent about 48 hours on it in total, but to be fair half of that was creating art and sound assets, so I'm pretending that I am 2 people with the same name in hopes that counts as a team effort...

Thanks to qualifiedbadger for animations, I love how the vapours and breaths turned out.

Today is exactly a year since my first post here! I'm going to spend a little time planning my next project, which, in theory, won't be for a game jam. But chances are it will take so long to make that I'll release something for a jam before it's done!