Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Devlog Update (Toilets, Meat, Drugs, and Gender/Romance/Sexuality)

Life's been preventing me from writing as much as I'd like. There's a lot I'd still like to say about Gamergate, about conversations with strangers, about gamer identity as a capitalist construction, and about soda pop and self destruction. Sadly, I've got no time for any of that. What I do have time to do is fulfill the bare minimum requirement for this blog's existence, and update the devlog for Toilets, Meat, and Drugs and The Void Hero Blues.

I'm currently in the process of implementing NPCs and writing dialogue for Toilets, Meat, and Drugs: A Pink Monster Story. I never set out for the characters of  TM&D to be well-developed, or for the story to be profound. However, as I write for TM&D, I'm beginning to notice that themes of queerness, sexuality, and androgyny are sprouting up through the cracks. This is a pleasant surprise.

From the beginning, I had vague androgynous intentions when designing the game, mostly with the aesthetic (I'm going to combine pinkness, cuteness, and hearts with terror, explosions, and BLOOD), but it was never anything serious. I didn't set out to make a strong or elegant ideological statement through the game. But the ideology seeped through, and continues to.

For a while, the game steered clear of sexual/romantic themes altogether, until I recieved feedback for the original version of the game and playtests of the upcoming version. During that time, at least one person referred to the game's charming mechanic as "flirting," While I didn't original conceive of the mechanic as such, from that moment onward TM&D became a game about flirting.

The game's aesthetic, combined with the game's heavy mechanical focus on flirting, reproduction, and physical change, have naturally influenced the way I write for the game. Because of the aforementioned mechanics are so prominent, the characters must refer to them fairly frequently. Meanwhile, because I've felt reluctant to directly impose a gender on the player character,  and because the player character is capable of flirting with nearly everyone in the whole game, I haven't assigned a gender to anyone in the game (with the exception of the one human character). Essentially, the world of TM&D is one in which, if sexuality isn't experienced by the player, it is at least implied, and, yet, gender is virtually nonexistent.

Now, if you are expecting this game to be primarily about queerness, sexuality, romance, or androgyny, or if you expect it to make a profound statement about any of these things, you're going to be disappointed. That was never my intention with this project, and I am not the most qualified person to make profound statements on these topics. However, while my exploration of these themes may be shallow, they are themes that aren't typically explored in games, and certainly not in this manner. It may just be icing on the cake, but icing is still really fucking tasty, and it's the good homemade stuff you don't often get your grubby hands on. Just remember that it doesn't have any nutritional value. I don't want to sell the cake as something it isn't.


Regarding my student project, The Void Hero Blues, I'm mostly focusing on modelling, texturing, rigging, and animating the art assets, and implementing them in game. I don't have much else to say about my work on this one, so I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Both of these games should be done in time for the holidays, for whatever that counts. Just a reminder that the rest of my games can be found here. Follow me on Twitter @alchiggins, as Twitter's become the primary way I engage with the game development community. Cheers!