HEY it’s been a while, hasn’t it – well let’s just jump right into it. What have we been doing? Preparing for our alpha presentation. After some discussion and consideration towards the circumstances (AKA no room access) we decided to prepare our alpha to focus on the digital application portion of the game.
Alright so that was the plan when we were going to make a game about dogs. But we’re not anymore.
What happened? You might ask. Well, I’ll tell you.
So after some talk with our new advisor and some discussion (and heavy debate) between the two of us, we came to the conclusion that we could make this game outside of school. It’s within our capabilities. We can do it in our off time. It’s doable.
So why not do something that was a little more… outside of the box? Something that we wouldn’t be able to do quite that easily without the help of the school? Why not go somewhere incredibly ridiculous and stand out a little?
Well, for one, the primary reason why is because neither of us can program very well.
But it’s not like we’re incapable of learning, especially if it’s worth it, right? I’m always of the phrase that more work is not a reason not to avoid it. Hang on. I’ll quote myself right now.
More work is not a reason not to avoid it
Fish Song, 2016
Anyway. So we’ve decided to create a physical escape room with a digital counterpart. This might take a little bit to explain (it won’t) but I’ll try to break it down.
Regular escape rooms are rooms that people enter usually in groups and there are physical puzzles to solve that are usually of the logical/mathematical/riddle/physical nature. Ours seeks to do that in parallel.
As of right now, we’re looking forward to getting access to a physical room to gauge what is physically capable of us, fleshing out narrative, and proceeding with technical designs.
I’d like to perform a deep dive on branching narratives. Making a branching narrative is not difficult – but making one where the player’s choices carry weight is not so easy. I’d like to figure out what makes these narratives engaging and what makes this customized story the player’s own. By understanding how to keep track of and create unique branches, I hope to create immersive narratives that players enjoy.
So, Jenn and I are still at odds over what breed of dog to use. This might seem trivial at first glance but it’s actually very important. When you ask a person (who likes dogs) to pick one dog breed that’s their favorite, they usually struggle. They can probably immediately list 2-3 breeds but to pick between them is hard – then a few more breeds come to mind, there’s just so many dogs. That, and taste widely varies – I’ll expand in a second.
I wanted a large dog, ideally a german shepherd. They’re protectors, they’re associated with security, they’re not a typical dog breed to show up in character-centric games, and they have eyebrows. She wanted a corgi or a pomeranian or a shiba inu.
I know, it sounds like we need couples counselling.
So when we first started off, we established early on that we wanted to create a game with a strong narrative and the opportunity for Jenn (our visual director) to work on character portraits and design – these are jobs we want in the field so what better time to gain some experience and portfolio fodder than right now?
I also wanted a dog as our main character. For me, when a player sees a dog, they perceive it as ‘innocent’. Animals aren’t associated with morals like humans are, it isn’t often when you hear of a dog committing a crime or evil act. This, added with the symbolic tropes associated with dogs (loyalty, best friend, loving) provided for powerful tools to be used when playing with player emotion.
With these criteria in mind we came to the conclusion that a narrative RPG that focused on player influenced character development was our strongest option – LET ME RUN IT DOWN FOR YOU. Continue reading “THE GREAT DOG DEVELOPMENT”→