Development Update - Scope
First I must apologise. I’ve been so busy developing infliction that I’ve really neglected the developer diary. I usually have something specific to write about. A problem I’ve overcome or design decisions. Over the past couple of months I’ve simply been busting my hump in pumping out assets and designing new segments of the game. This leads me in to the headline topic, Scope.
About 5 months ago I announced Infliction and launched a trailer. What you see in the trailer is the house from the game. This game is solely set in this house and that premise alone began to wain on me. The main problem is about an hour in to the game and you’ve seen 90% of the total environment. Originally I offset this by changing the time periods through out the story making the environment change too. This is still in place and I love how this premise allows environmental storytelling to shine. One problem is that houses don’t generally change their layout at all, mostly just their aesthetic. Of course you could write in an extension to the house but this makes little sense from a story telling standpoint for a family in turmoil to just go extending their house. I did manage to write in a renovation so that’s something.
I wanted to break free of the house a little to ensure the player doesn’t get sick of treading the same ground. The best way to do this was in a kind of mental flash back/sideways to other locations and have these locations tie in to the story in some way. I sat down with my timeline and story to make some smart decisions around other locations that wouldn’t be too complicated to make. In all I have roughly 5 other locations. These locations vary in size but I feel they break the game up quite nicely.
One such location is a mental hospital. Original, I know. But the mental hospital is less about the location. Its not a direct memory but more of a metaphor about the players journey and backstory. The mental hospital also flips the game play a little. It’s a little more linear and puzzle driven. It’s also the only side section that relates to the future rather than the past.
I looked at my game after announcing it and decided I wanted it to be bigger. As you can imagine, this makes my timelines shift and adds a little more stress to the workload but I honestly feel that the game is better for it. Now I feel it offers a whole new range of emotion in regards to not knowing what’s around the next corner. Might be a supernatural force that will kill you or a totally different location.
(Work in progress shot of hospital location - Not representative of final product)
I may only get one shot at releasing a game as a solo artist/developer. I’d much rather delay and make it everything it can be rather than stick to an arbitrary timeline or simply say “meh, good enough”. I wouldn’t be able to make these decisions on a whim if I wasn’t 100% independent so while that’s the case, I’ll work until I’m happy with the product.