In the last few days, I have been working to finalize the details of my Tinselfly story. For the most part, it’s going well. I have many more concrete plans for scenes and puzzles and environments than I had before, and am generally feeling good about the story as a whole.
However, I’m having trouble with the beginning. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense, thematically.
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In programming, a regression issue is where you update one part of your program, only to find out that your update broke something that was working previously.
It happens all the time, sadly. Most recently, an attempt I made to streamline the object interaction UI resulted in a broken action menu on certain objects.
Tinselfly’s story has some regression issues.
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In an old version of the story, space-dwelling aliens lay eggs in the main star in humanity’s civilization. When the eggs hatch centuries later, the star collapses, giving up all its energy to millions upon millions of baby aliens who will live thousands of years each, growing up to build planet-sized megastructures humans could only dream of. To the aliens, humans are little more than bugs in a nest. The humans flee to another star system upon realizing what’s going to happen, and everything the humans built is lost.
At least, I think that’s how it went; that version of the story is well over a decade old.
The artwork I produced during this period was all meant to evoke a feeling of nostalgia and fragility and profound loss.
The player would start in the ruins of the old world, picking up some items of personal significance before the story proper–told in flashback–started.
The story changed, but the designs remained the same, and I was still planning on starting the player in floating ruins.
I just forgot why I was doing it.
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Spoiler alert: human civilization isn’t demolished in the new story. It’s just not that bleak anymore. Sure, there’s a little bit of destruction. But it’s not exactly on a huge scale.
In many ways this is a good thing, which is probably why I changed the story in the first place: damaging something small of great personal significance to the protagonist will be far more affecting than obliterating whole planets.
So… I think I can keep the ruins. I think, thematically, it can still work and set the mood; there’s still a theme of loss going on here–a sort of loss of innocence, expressed via the loss of just a handful of structures in this world.
I think I just need to be more specific about what specifically is getting reduced to ruins here.