Brian Crick

Tinselfly: Post-GDEX Steps

So now that GDEX is over, it’s time to turn my attention to a Mini Maker Fair right here in Cleveland, next month.

As before, I have no desire to rush out features just for a demo–my goal is still to work on the transport-whirlwind that is the beginning of my game. Thankfully, I do have a variety of things to work on in the next four weeks, all related to that goal:

Add even more transportation links.

The sequence of events in the beginning of the game is supposed to be as follows:

  1. Start in the ruins of a city.
  2. Find a handheld VR-like game, and play it for a couple minutes.
  3. Take off the headset, and find yourself in a farmhouse instead of the ruins.
  4. Take a gondola from the farmhouse to a balloon.
  5. Take the balloon to an outer-space city.
  6. Take a wormhole from the city to another planet, collecting an inventory item there.
  7. Return to the outer-space city through the same wormhole.
  8. Watch a spaceship land on the docks at the outer-space city, and board it.
  9. Watch the floating city recede into the distance as the ship flies off with you on it.

All of this involves insanely complicated behind-the-scenes level and camera juggling to make the transitions seamless, like you’re really traveling, but 1, 2, 3, and 5 are basically done (though 1 clearly needs some cleanup, having watched people play it at GDEX, and 5 has a couple visual hiccups that irk me).

might be able to knock out 4 or 6 in the next four and a half weeks. 6 would be especially satisfying for me since I love the idea of walking through a wormhole, and it would probably be memorable for players. And I’m pretty sure I can implement it quickly. However, that would require me to model your destination, and have it be of a similar level of quality as my existing environments… I would need a very clear, specific idea of what that area will look like in the next couple days to knock that out in time.

Even if I can’t make that area in this time frame, it still makes sense for me to quickly come up with a design so I’m not wasting too much of my time on it.

2 would, surprisingly, be harder to implement… though it doesn’t add that much to the overall ‘feel’ of the demo: you’ll just spend an extra 10 seconds riding on a swinging car. And, again, I need to do lots of modeling: the gondola, cables holding it up, and the station it goes to.

Fix bugs.

I should, of course, start fixing all the bugs I found at GDEX. Having better gamepad support is probably the best, quickest thing I can do towards making the beginning more playable. Fixing the swordfighting would ease the awkwardness of having to tell everybody, well, this part is a bit wonky but I’ll guide you through it.

Make it feel right.

I can also focus on the storytelling aspects of Tinselfly. Specifically, I can:

  1. Continue cementing details in my whole-game story outline.
  2. Make my first few minutes feel more like the beginning of a story and less like a tech demo.

Like the bugs, I’ll probably be doing 1 no matter what. But 2… 2 is interesting.

See, I don’t know what my game feels like yet. I can talk about how I want it to feel, how I want the puzzles and environment traversal to do all the storytelling, I can talk about my approach… but it’s not something I’ve experienced myself, and it’s not something I’ve ever tested with others. If I can start on 2, it will greatly ease future work, as I’ll have a more concrete sense of how other scenes might play out and need to be designed.

I’m kind of leaning towards concentrating on this, with little bits of everything else: the more varied my work plans are, the more efficiently I’ll work, so it behooves me to try to look at everything I’ve listed here, if only for a short time.

And hopefully by the Mini Maker Fair I’ll have a better sense of what this project is all about–which is great for me and my audience.

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