Oh whoa, I have a blog?

Look, bookcases! And a vase! Also that damned rat again, someone should see to that.

Look, bookcases! And a vase! Also another rat, man someone needs to figure out where they’re coming from.

So one of the things I’ve learned about indie development is: finding the time to do blog posts is hard.

While I haven’t been updating the site, work has been progressing rather nicely. The project that I’m working on is codenamed ‘Mystery’ at the moment, and it’s going to be a randomly generated murder mystery. Every time you die or fail to solve the mystery, the world is going to be regenerated from scratch and the elements of the mystery itself will also change. For me, the main aim of this project is to have a game that you can play for a year or more and still have new and interesting things to find.

However, one of the difficulties in making a game with the scope of ‘can be different every time’ is making an absolutely gigantic pool of assets that can be randomly added to the maps. Since I’m a one-man studio I don’t have an army of artists to constantly make new assets, and I can’t spend forever making this game. As a result, I’ve decided to go lo-fi with low polygon counts, chunky pixels and bright colors. I’m still working on refining the look, but I think it reads well and feels unique, as well as having a much faster turnaround than doing current-gen high resolution assets. The difference in time spent is huge; going from a few days to a week to complete a simple asset to mere hours. And since I’m running off my own savings at the moment and need to be able to finish this project before I run out, every hour counts!

So, what’s been done so far? Well, the game is playable if not a little bare, with a simple implementation of room randomization implemented and well as being able to control the frequency and placement of items that appear in rooms. Keys and doors have been implemented, although at the moment it’s still a first-pass implementation that will be improved later to make sure that the level is always ‘solvable’, as at the moment the key that you need can be placed behind a locked door.

Basic versions of health, weapons, enemies, pickups, dialog trees and smashable objects have also been implemented.

Currently I’ve been rebuilding the main character to fix some proportion and animation issues, as well as add the ability to change outfits. After that, work will begin on making the rooms feel more interesting and unique, as in playtesting I’ve found that the current square room design just leads a lot of players to lose their bearings and get lost, even with a map!

Okay, I think that brings everyone up to speed. Next blog post will be soon, I swear!