Once More’s title has changed. The new title is The Company of Myself.
Aside from that, I also finished a major section of the game–Specifically, the chunk that revolves around Kathryn, a person from the main character’s past. She doesn’t have art quite yet, but Luka is getting her some animation either today or tomorrow.
This section was the last major design hurdle in the game, so it feels damn good to have it working. Almost from the beginning of the game’s development, I’ve been debating how the girl would affect gameplay. The way it works now feels good, is easy to understand, and fits perfectly with the game’s story. It’s a win on every front!
The last thing to decide now is how to end the game. The original plan was that the game would simply be a character study, instead of being a “beginning-to-end” narrative. It would be sort of like asking a person to tell you about their life. They’d talk for a while, and eventually not have anything left to say. Their story isn’t over (unless you’re somehow talking to a dead dude), but they’ve said everything that they can. This works fine for a conversation, but as much as I want it to work in a game setting, I don’t know if it would. It would just feel too wishy-washy.
It’s still up for grabs, really. I’ll decide on something soon. The game should be done in a week or two.
I took a one day break from Once More to do a quick commissioned job for an old friend of mine. I’m not gonna bother going into detail about the game that amounted from this endeavor, because it’s intensely uninteresting and you have more important things to worry about.
Speaking of Once More, it’s got some character art, finally. You can check it out in the demo. Our little guy is now a person, and he’s got all of his little animations working. Walking, jumping, falling, pulling levers, etc. Things are going well. I’m going to have to revise some of the monologue, though, because I sort of changed up the character’s background. He’s also going to need a name, which I haven’t settled on yet.
For the people who haven’t talked to me directly about it, you may or may not (…but most likely not) have been wondering what the game is actually about. Here’s the gist of it.
The main character is a hermit. He finds himself unable to form relationships with other people. Each puzzle in the game is a representation of him getting through his mundane problems throughout the day–He’s not literally jumping around and pulling levers. The cloning mechanic is his way of visualizing his necessity to do more by himself than the average person, because he can’t rely on other people to help him anymore.
I don’t plan on giving the game any overarching storyline, but instead just having it be a little character study of this man. One section will follow a little miniature story while he recalls what made him so repellant to other people (this section deals with Kathryn, who is mentioned once in passing in the current build).
Basically, it’s artsy as fuck because I’m a douche and that’s what I felt like doing.
Things are still moving along nicely, as far as Once More is concerned. Music and sound are now up and running! The sounds aren’t completely tweaked out yet, so some of them aren’t quite perfect, but they’re all at least close.
I had originally thought that Danny B. was going to write the music for the game, but through some miscommunication, it ended up being David Carney that did it instead. All is well, though–David did a really good job. You can check out the demo version to hear one of the two songs he put together for the game. He also handled the sound effects, so double props for David.
We’re continuing to work on the main character, which has proven to be much more difficult than I expected. The green cyclops guy that’s in the current demo is definitely not going to remain in the game–Once we’ve got his replacement, I’ll put it online. We’ve got something good going, so hopefully it’ll turn out nicely.
So far, the game has over 50 testers, all of which will be listed in the credits. If you want to join them in the tester army, try out the demo and give me some feedback.
If you haven’t checked out the current state of Once More yet, give it a peek. You can find its demo by clicking the tab near the top of the page.
The artist for the game is Luka M., of c404.net. We worked together before on Stranded, and he’s also known for Nuclear Eagle, The Classroom, and several others. Also worth noting is that it looks like Danny B. is going to do the music–He’s the guy who wrote the tunes for Spewer.
We’re gradually getting art put into the game. At this point we’ve got a very nice system for rendering the terrain. We start with a big block of terrain texture that’s the size of the full screen. This is chopped up to only show up where the terrain actually is. Some flourishes are added, like jaggy edges and grass, and then some simple filtering is applied for shading. Here’s the breakdown visually–Click on each image for a full view.
I’ve been experimenting lately with a very open style of development. I try to keep the available demo on the site as up to date as possible, and anyone who shows up can test it. As a bonus for you guys, anyone who gives me some feedback gets to be in the credits with all the other testers. The idea is that I can see how people feel about each little thing that’s being added, and the people get to be part of the development process. Something I’ve noticed is that people are very good at recognizing what elements of games they do and don’t like, but when there’s something they don’t like, they often don’t know what changes should be made to fix it. That’s fine, because making changes to fix problems is sort of my job. One of the hardest parts of designing anything is being aware of what elements aren’t as good as everything else–Every chef loves their own soup. Random people are very good at telling me what parts of my games suck. It’s a good relationship.
At the time of this being written, a common response is that people aren’t happy with the way the main character looks, so we’re still working on changing that up. Maybe by the time you read this, it’ll already be switched out.
Anyway, the game is shaping up to be pretty good, so keep an eye out for it when it drops.