The Monsters of NGC

Last week I had the pleasure of going to the Nordic Game conference (NGC) and I had a great time.

I have been going to NGC for almost 5 years running and every time I have fun, so that it was a great experience did not surprise.

However, most of what you end up doing at these conferences is listening to talks or networking. So, when I was not networking (which was most of what I did while there) I was fidgeting with my notebook while listening to a talk.

I drew these monster for each talk that I attended, for what reason I cannot say. This was something to do while the talk was going on and honestly, it was pretty fun while I was doing it.

So I hope you enjoy these moster that were roaming around my head as I was roaming around NGC.

Holo

I have been working on creating a mechanic that will hold the attention of my guards for a couple of seconds while Re80 sneaks by and have been having a hell of a time with it.

As it turns out, there are very few things that a robot sill stop for and even fewer of those make sense within the context of my game.

I considered an EMP mine, which would shut them down temporarily, but that seemed needlessly aggressive and I wanted to keep the game non violent.

I considered a screen at which you could hack the robots, but that came with the implication that Re80 had been able to do this the whole time, so why didn’t she start with that.

I considered a tesla coil, which would keep the robots insnared by its tendrils of electricity, but somehow, enslaving a race of robots seems like an off thing for a former slave/prisoner to do.

So in the end I decided that creating a hologram of herself to distract the robots probably was the most sensible thing to do in this situation. However, I still enjoyed the time I spent trying to figure out the problem of what stops a robot dead in its tracks.

War, what is it good for?

One of the interesting challenges that I have to face with this project is the question of combat.

Now I have taken a pretty clear stance on the matter; there will be no combat in the chain broke, but as the game is set in a world directly following a major global conflict, I find myself having to but weapons in my game regardless.

This proves an interesting challenge for me as a designer, how to put a gun in tha game and then tell the player that he/she cannot use it.

I don’t know the answer quite yet, but I will figure it out… I at least hope so.

Officially half way

When working on videogames, project fatigue is a real problem that does need to be combatted at every turn.

You start out a project all excited and ambitious. There is nothing that your game cannot do and nothing that it cannot be. This is probably the best part of making videogames, the open and delightful place where every opportunity is available to you.

and then it starts; the long arduous task of actually making the game. All of a sudden your game has to move from great idea to awesome game. You have to think about things like visual design, audio design and story beats. You lose yourself in questions of color choices and fps count and you can no longer tell if what you are making is any good at all.

This is when project fatigue starts up. You can no longer tell if you game is good or not, you can no longer tell if anything is any good and you start question everything about the game down to it’s core principles.

At this stage you can do nothing but take your successes where they come and today I found such a success.

I am now officially half way. I have reached the threshold that means that I have finished 50% of the levels that are in the game and that is awesome.

Now, bear with me, as I attempt top finish the rest.

Working on the enemies

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have been revamping the designs of the antagonists of my game. I needed to give them some kind of common denominator, something that let the player know that they were part of the same organism.

Well, I think I might have found that thing: creepy Japanese inspired masks.

I got the idea from watching the movie “spirited away” in which there is a character called “No face”. No Face is this odd character who is neither wholly good nor totally bad, he does some terrible things but finds redemption in the end.

The reason that I chose this character as my main inspiration for the antagonist of my game, is that he wars this eery mask throughout the movie that is ultimately expressionless.

I loved the fact that this mask is terrible and I wanted to pay homage to just how creeped out I was by that character, so I created these masks.

placeholder hell

In my experience game development is a game of place holders. As you develop you game, in the rush of creativity, you simply cannot be bothered with making something look nice. So you create a placeholder object. Something that isn’t necessarily good, but definitely good enough.

This, however, is a double edged sword. On one hand, you have something that works, but on the other hand you have a mess of work that you have to do in the future to make the project look somewhat decent.

I currently find myself in this placeholder hell with the enemies that make up the bulk of the challenge in “The chain broke”.

They are definitely good enough, but there is nothing distinctive about them, they are just “good enough”.

moving forward, I will have to find a way to make these monsters something to be feared. They need to be made scary.

The difficulties of worldbuilding

I have reached an interesting part in the development of “The chain broke” where I am going from answering how something is happening to why it’s happening. This might sound very arty farty (pun intended), but it really isn’t.

Up until this point I have been focussed on how the characters of my game survive given the circumstances under which they live and now I am going into explaining how those circumstances came about. I am, of cause, being purposefully vague here, because I want you to play the game and find out all of the gory details for your selves, but suffice it to say some stuff went down and now I am exploring just what happened.

Surprisingly, I am finding it a bit harder to define the why of everything, than I did the how. Creating the world after everything had gone down was, for whatever reason, quite a bit easier for me than I thought it would be, which is probably why I am struggling now.

However, I will not let that get me down, I have a game to make and damnit if I am not going to finish it.

unprepared for success

I want to state, at the start of this blog post, that I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to “the chain broke”. I know that in all likelihood, this game will fall by the waysaide, as there are allot of indie titles that are released every day and allot of those are better than the game that I am working on.

In fact, I am pretty well prepared for this game to fizzle. I am prepared for the game to come out and be ignored by everyone but my friends and my family. I have made piece with the fact that simply finishing the game means that I have a succesfull title.

This, however, means that I have no idea how to handle myself if this turns out to be even moderately succesfull. In fact, I won’t be able to know what to do, if people actually start paying attention to me and my work. I am, as the title states, completely unprepared for success.

The only thing that sates me currently is that fact that I probably won’t be succesfull. As it stands, I will sell a couple fo copies and then the game will wort of disappear into the either.