Sunday, 18 February 2018

Development Blog #5 - Thinking about walking sims

Progress on the rewriting has been steady. Around a third of the scenes have been rewritten, so there is still a bit to go.
Concept art and music is starting to come together, which is going to be helpful when asset creation starts.
The next dev log post will probably be about music, as I have a piece that I'm working on that I'm planning on developing into a piece for the VN.

My current thinking is that I'm quite likely to present the game as a kinetic novel - but I am still considering whether choices may be included, so that is not at all final yet.

It's one of those things that I think about when playing a game. The whole player agency and authored experience spectrum. It's quite tricky deciding when and where the player has control, it can easily be jarring. For example, you might be controlling the protagonist walking around an environment, say in a 'walking sim' type game, which is really nice for a feeling of immersion. Then because the game isn't a massive open roleplay type of game, you inevitably at some point lose that agency because you have to get back on track with the authored story of the game to progress. In times like this you can feel fluctuations in the resonance between player and protagonist, where, from some points of view, it would be more elegant for there to be greater consistency.

Every experience requires careful thought from the designers side. Knowing what you want to achieve is important, but there's also concerns over things like audience expectations and desire, especially if the game is intended for commercial release.

Accessibility is something that can come into this decision also. Is control over timing of button presses important to the experience you are trying to create? I feel like there are games I'd like to experience the story of, but wouldn't want to spend lots of time (and probably frustration) on trying to hit buttons at the right time, failing, and trying again and again until I succeed.

For my game I'm expecting to keep working on it as a kinetic novel, and if at some point I decide that interaction would add something, then I may very well decide that it will no longer be a kinetic novel. It sounds quite easy when I say it like that, but I know from past experience that it will be something that I worry about quite a lot during development!

Till next time!