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WARNING: LONG BLOG POST AHEAD
This week brought some exciting news, as we prepare for the game’s Kickstarter some very cool opportunities are beginning to open up for us.  Also, the design for the game’s Kickstarter is starting to solidify as is the design for the associated demo.  Finally I found a major design optimization that allows for a big improvement to gameplay.

 

Kickstarter Planning Begins

I met with our musician Charlie this week to discuss the upcoming Kickstarter demo and he’s very stoked about the project and it sounds like he’ll be able to funnel some amazing talent into the game’s musical score.  Charlie has been pitching the game to his friends in the business and they’re all loving it so they’ve been asking him about helping out.  Also, one of the bands that was on our ‘wish list’ to contributing to the score of the game…might be up for actually pitching in.  If we don’t get anything original from them at least we can hopefully licence a few of their tracks.  Also we’ve got someone from the Reddit community on board to help with our soundtrack and his stuff is awesome, so that was a great win for us.

Kickstarter Demo Details

The demo will be the game’s opening chapter, taking place during a business meeting in Japan the day after new years 1980.  The player and his business partner are negotiate with a Japanese investment bank to invest millions into a very risky venture and you’ve got less than 16 hours to find an edge.  There’s vice, there’s back stabbing and when push comes to shove both parties are fighting for every inch they can get.

Mechanics covered:

  • World exploration
  • Vice gameplay
  • ‘Team drinking’
  • Gossip/info research
  • Tokusatsu dream sequence
  • Final Business meeting

Kickstarter Campaign Plans

Centerpiece of the campaign will be the above demo of the game’s opening chapter.  The demo will be based upon final code (Eg. no faking or hacking in functionality).

We’ll be launching the campaign with a physical event at a videogame bar in Toronto! (Please let me know if you’re interested in attending)

We’ll be doing digital only perks (this is so we can focus entirely on making the game instead of shipping t-shirts).  We do have a plan for potential physical merch for backers but it’ll be something that’ll happen after the campaign.

Actually…we do have 1 non-digital perk:
The top level contribution perk will be spending a weekend in Toronto with the developers (We’ll cover all expenses minus travel).  While in town we’ll show you around town and give you game development lessons from the team (game design, music, art).

Campaign target will be $15,000.  
Not enough to cover the entire game’s development (We already have financing secured) but it’ll definitely give us a boost and it’ll allow us to connect with fans and build a community.

Planned Backing Tiers will (roughly) be: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $250, $1000.
The first tier is just a copy of the game, additional tiers add in digital extras and and ability to influence some of the game’s content. Final tier is the weekend in Toronto with the devs.

Social media stretch goals:

  • Pictures of backers in suits brandishing weapons
  • Pictures of cats in business meetings
  • Pictures of dogs…doing something business/80’s related we haven’t determined yet.
  • Clips of fans singing 80’s Karaoke in a language different from their own.
  • Picture of you at work with a Keytar!
  • Picture of you dressed as a Japanese Tokusatsu super hero. Bonus points for group photos!
  • Films from the 50’s photoshopped to be a hell of a lot more 80’s
  • Execute an international LBO (leveraged buy out) allowing for no more than 80% leverage and the LBO target must have a liquidity ratio above 0.80.  Company must also have a market cap above $80,080,080.80
  • Picture of yourself telling a friend you totally did whatever the hell it was I was talking about in the above sentence (must include a chart).

 

Estimated Campaign Launch: End of February!

 

Kickstarter Demo Development

I’ve been nailing out the design for the Kickstarter demo and it’s progressing but there’s lots of challenges to figure out. Mostly the challenges are coming in making the demo as streamlined as possible.  The events the player takes part in have been figured out but the steps still need some TLC.  It’s really the ‘art’ of game design, most of the issues are just a feeling that something isn’t flowing how it should, so I’ll scribble down ideas on paper and usually a few days later the solution will pop up.  I always aim for designs that are as elegant as possible, I don’t want to be wasting the player’s time with filler or unnecessary hoops to jump through, I’d rather just have them focused on the problem in front of them and enjoying the story.

Google Sheets design outline for the Kickstarter Demo
Using Google Sheets to outline the Kickstarter Demo Gameplay

 

Base Gameplay Improvements – Elegance in Action

While I was working on the cutscene system for the game I came across a realization regarding one of the first systems I developed for the game.  While attempting to design a system so environments could be re-used I developed a concept called a ‘Room State’.  For example: if I wanted a location to have a different day-time and night-time behavior I’d just define a ‘Room State’ for day and night and then attach the daytime and nighttime behaviors to the appropriate state.

However I realized that’s not something the player is going to really notice.  If anything it’ll actually be a little confusing since rooms might appear to suddenly have different events going on in them but the player is really just focusing on their current assignment. When you’re playing a game you predominately ‘see’ your current objective.  So I pulled out the room-state system and switched it over to a system that is driven by the player’s current objectives.  So instead of the NPCs having behavior driven by these ‘Room States’ they’ll be driven by what the player is currently trying to do.  Now this does cause a few narrative issues, but it makes structuring gameplay SO much more direct and streamlined I’m more than willing to deal with a few narrative headaches.  This is the kind of elegant design that I’m working to ensure is throughout the Kickstarter demo.

Next Week:

  • Actually getting that cutscene system done
  • Starting work on the Kickstarter Demo! 😀
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