Feedback to the demo has generally has been positive or helpful . Some people were turned off by the sheer amount of reading the game required: in that case, the game frankly isn't for you. Everybody else wants to see where it goes. I feel refreshed, and think that I'm going to enter another period of relatively rapid development.
New things that will be added to the game not in the demo (besides the entire second half):
-Character temperament that is more strongly determined by how the player has treated them in the past.
-Plot developments more strongly shaped by player choice. While choices made throughout the game will impact the ending, I can only afford to make the consequences of those choices apparent later in the game due to the sheer amount of extra work required by branching plots. Hence, player choice in the short term will primarily have an impact on the temperament of other characters.
-Slightly larger game world.
-Music! I've been in contact with another talented musician who seems to be interested in the project.
-Anticipated release date: November/December 2014. I will probably miss this date, but it should be humanely possible for me to finish the project by then.
The game may or may not represent what I am most capable as a game designer, but apparently it's still damn good, and it's worth fully realizing. Thanks to everyone for helping me pull my head out of my arse.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Internet, it's been a while since I've talked about Waker. For one thing, little progress has been made over the past month. This past semester of college has been the busiest yet; mustering the time and energy to work on the project is a challenge. For another thing, I'm starting to feel constrained by design decisions I made in the beginning of development. As an artist, writer, designer, storytelling, and thinker, I've grown a bit over the past 16 months of game development, and working within the design mistakes made by my past self is frustrating. I'm feeling incredibly low motivation to continue the project at the moment, and even if I recover that motivation, being able to work on the game frequently enough to get the damn thing done anytime soon will be a challenge.
I made especially bad decisions in failing to implement meaningful core gameplay mechanics from the beginning of development. My approach was a of the "create the story first, add unique mechanics to support each specific plot event as you go along, and achieve ludonarrative resonance!" sort. Unfortunately, most plot events in the game don't inherently demand game mechanics, those that do don't demand meaningful ones, and because I'm only one man with limited time, when given a choice to implement new, really complex core mechanics or forgo them altogether, I will make the choice to forgo them. Lesson learned - don't develop games this way.
That being said, I've received substantial praise from everyone whose played the game so far, especially for the characters and the writing. One playtester stated that the game gave him good "feels," and others feel genuinely motivated to continue playing for the story's sake. Frankly, the game, despite it's awful, barely existent gameplay, could still end up being a great interactive story. I just don't know - and the only way to know is to commit to at least another year of development.
I need to know, if I am going to commit my time to this substantial project, will it be worth it? Strangers on the internet have expressed interest in this game in the past - I need to know if people are atill anticipating this game, if there's a large enough audience for it, and if that audience will actually enjoy it. So, I am releasing a public demo of my work up to this point. If you decide to play it, please supply feedback, especially by letting me know 1) if you would really like this game to be completed and 2) whether you would like it completed ASAP, or if you can wait an indefinite amount of time. Please be honest. You can leave a comment, or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to download the demo.
System requirements: Windows OS, screen resolution exceeding 960x720. A finally version would be able to support greater screen resolutions.
Esc quits. F4 exits fullscreen. F5 saves, F6 loads. F9 takes a screenshot. All other controls explained in-game.
There's currently no sound or menus. There are bugs. The whole thing's a little rough. I am aware of these things.
Thank you so much for taking time to play this and provide feedback. It means a lot.