Thursday 21 December 2023

Hi. (aka Incubus Update #21)

Forgive me for vanishing for so long. I would have preferred resuming posting with something to show for my absence, and the more time passed the greater this need felt, but after about a year its about time I said something.

First of all, I'm not dead. Second, apologies to anyone who's written me an email in the past while and gotten no response, haven't logged in in ages. 

As things went on with Incubus Island, I became increasingly aware that my vision for it was complicated and amorphous and would require more energy than I had to spare. I started to try to come up with ideas on how to streamline and focus the project, and had trouble doing so. The fact is I am a person who is easily sidetracked by my most recent idea, which leads to me progressing things sideways rather than forward, and when I don't have a reliable compass to tell me where exactly forward is I tend to meander. I can ignore the fact that the project is stagnating even as I put work into it, but at times this knowledge is very demoralizing, and means that when time is scarce, or when I'm tired, I tend to decide to not work on it. So while I enjoy working on it, I sometimes lack the motivation to, so it stagnates even more. 

In recognition of this trajectory, I am taking a break from II until I have an idea on how to restructure it so that I can be confident it's 1) achievable and 2) fits all or most of the main ideas I had on where to go with it. 

I haven't idle though. Initially I started working on a little side project as a way of keeping some sort of creative/gamedev momentum going while I ponder what to do with II. Each side project ballooned with scope creep - something I'm highly susceptible to due to what I said two paragraphs ago - and when I realized this started happing I put the project on the backburner and started another one. 

It turned into a string of projects. There's no need to read this, feel free to skip it, but every single one of these has something going for it and I may return to at some point. 

Groundhog Lay (working title) - There's the familiar scenario of 'what if you're stuck reliving the same day over and over again'. This game concept adds 'and also you're a massive pervert' to the premise. I'm really impressed with the systems I created to allow events to happen at certain times and places and based on choices made previously in the same 'cycle' (with options or possibilities added based on knowledge or skills acquired in previous cycles). I did enough to demonstrate that this was do-able.
Corpse Quest (working title) - An 'open world' RPG with a turn based combat system inspired by something Mercury (fellow Twine dev) made and showed me. Would have involved looting supplies and rescuing survivors for a community in a town overrun with zombies while trying to find ways of escaping.
Death Highway - A second zombie game, this one less RPG-ish. Both games involved dungeons and moving around on a grid-based map but this one was more focused on AI enemies moving around on their own and also randomly generated maps. Would have been about being a scavenger trying to earn enough money and rep to be able to live in one of the various walled towns built in the ruins of a once-great city, and taken place several generations after the standard zombie apocalypse event and explored the idea of rebuilding and rediscovering lost knowledge.
Mercantile (working title) - A brothel sim that would also have had an element of gang warfare strategy as you try to conquer areas on a map in order to build new criminal enterprises. Hard to describe exactly what I thought would make this different from other games of this type but I will definitely do more with this at some point and release it.
 
Incriminator - A game where you play a sort of freelance agent who specializes in collecting dirt on and/or sabotaging the lives and reputations of individuals on behalf of their rivals and enemies. Player character does this not because he needs money, but because he's a psycho who views other people as his playthings. (Most ideas I came up with I realized would work in II so I won't be returning to this.)

This chain of projects was me trying to find something small I could work on to keep the perverted creative juices going. The thing I finally landed on was Luxury Labyrinth (working title). The player character finds himself in a So Cal luxury home who's dimensions extend forever, and for which there doesn't seem to be an exit.

Early screenshot.
Half of the indicators (including possibly the map)
are for my debugging purposes.
The house's map is randomly generated, and certain parts of it 'shift' every certain number of days. The PC has to find food and make it to a 'safe room' before nightfall (the 'sun' dims and the lights start turning off). The long term goals is to explore the place, figure out what exactly he's stuck in, and get out. 

Of course, there are other characters moving around the map too. I always wanted to make a game where characters are like other players on a board game competing for resources and pursuing their own goals in a sense, and this is the game where I'm finally going to do that. You can befriend, trade resources with and bang these characters, meanwhile while trying to find food and other resources before they do which will ensure your survival and strengthen your social standing/relationships via trade and gifting. 

The ultimate goal is to escape, but ending the game in certain ways or dying after reaching certain milestones will net achievements or special endings which will unlock new starting conditions or abilities in subsequent playthroughs (like IC but less rigid maybe, not sure).

Simplest way to describe it is "what if Back Rooms but in sunny mansion" but it has more in common with the novel House of Leaves and the movie Cube, though I won't say why just yet. 

I decided to stick with this concept because its almost entirely systems-based and so is pretty different from the normal type of work I do (writing scenarios). I started writing special 'event' content for it as in the kind I did/do with IC and II, but I'm going to put all that on the backburner and focus on making a 'game' game. I will add story to it once it functions as a game.


Anyway, that's where I'm at with everything, and now that I've broken my silence I hope to be posting more regularly. You may have noticed that I haven't addressed the bugs in IC that still need fixing, and that's because I only just thought of them now. I honestly hate the way I coded IC, and I hate the way whenever I poke around in its shoddy code I always succumb to the urge to add things to it, thus ensuring the need for future bugfixes. Well, I'll deal with that. Let's say in Jan. Mock me if I haven't done anything about it by end of Jan. 

12 comments:

  1. LL sounds interesting, glad to hear again from you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you're not dead! Incubus City is a classic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Schön dich wieder zu sehen freue mich auf jedes Spiel von dir aber bitte gib uns ab und zu ein kleines update

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad you're back. Good luck with your dastardly plans

    ReplyDelete
  5. You were gone so long I started making my own goddamn game to fill the void. Look at what you have done.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh cool your back \o ....thanks \o

    ReplyDelete
  7. No need to apologize! Just work on what you enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow. Welcome back to the land of living! )))

    ReplyDelete
  9. Welcome back, also consider yourself mocked :)

    ReplyDelete