Sunday, May 1, 2016

Devlog Update: The Morphine Western Revenge

So, as I mentioned a few months ago, the new game I'm working on (now titled The Morphine Western Revenge) was originally supposed to have been released at the beginning of April. Now that it's the beginning of May, I figured that a status update for the project was in order.

As I already explained, the game is loosely based on the story of a19th century morphine-addicted Native American woman attempting to rescue her sister from the US military (you can download the story here). As I simply did not originally have the time to adapt the text into a fully experimental or narrative work, the game will mostly be carried by conventional mechanics, and since it's a Western rescue/revenge story, those mechanics are shoot-y in nature. As a result, the game is starting to become more evocative of Django Unchained than anything else.

What I have not yet explained are the details of The Morphine Western Revenge's shoot-y mechanics. The combat in the game will be fast-paced but emphasizes stealth, guerilla tactics, and deliberate planning. While the player character uses her morphine to cope with the pain sustained through combat and other sources, she and her enemies are otherwise fragile. Players will be able to carefully plan out their method of attack, but once that plan goes into practice, it will have to be executed relatively quickly.

Click to enlargen; it looks best that way.

As is the case with any game, it's taking more time to create than once expected. I originally only had a month to make it, but since it was originally intended for an art showcase, I wanted to make it as polished as I could. These circumstances impacted much of the game's design, particularly its oversimplified art style. Unfortunately, the design shortcuts I took were not enough for me to complete the game on time. It turns out that, even when your characters are white silhouettes, drawing and animating them in eight directions is still a total, time-consuming pain-in-the-ass.

In addition, I finally got a real job last month, which has been a larger obstacle to game development than I originally anticipated. I am still learning how to properly achieve work/life balance, but I suspect that I will begin to develop faster as time goes on.

By the beginning of April, I had successfully completed a prototype level, but still did not have enough content to build the rest of the game. Most of the past month has been spent fixing bugs and design issues made apparent in the prototype. This month, I am finally beginning to build the game's actual levels. Playtesting will follow shortly afterward, and the game's release after that. I intend for this to be a relatively short game consisting of five levels, each of which will be under five minutes long.

I know better than to offer any indication of the Revenge's release date. It'll be done when it's done. Development on Monsterpunk and my Pokemon ROM hack are on hold until the Morphine Western Revenge is complete, as Revenge is the smallest of the three projects.

I think this is gonna be a good 'un. It's one of the gamiest things I've worked on lately, but still hopefully weird and tragic enough to make up for it. Here's a GIF of the player stabbing someone to death with her syringe: