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What I Did With My Holidays

Christmas is now over and New Years will be hitting any day now, and so the temptation has been to slack off from Journal work and over indulge in sweets and TV specials. So yes, as you might suspect I've not really been working on Journal over Christmas, however I have no been slacking either. Instead I've been focusing on TIGSource's Assemblee competition.

Let's come together

Assemblee is competition where artists and musicians are given a month to produce art and music assets with no idea what game they'll be used in. Then for the second part designer/programmers can take any of that material and try and make a game with them. I really loved the basis for this competition as the art assets I find are usually the hardest thing to arrange for a game, and having them already done when you begin not only saves a lot of work but also means you have to focus on a limited scope design because you can't use anything not already available.

My only complaint about the competition is that loads of artists have produced awesome looking high resolution assets, but the general mood on TIGSource seems to be that of infatuation with the 8bit era so more than half the entries seem to be making using of one specific set of lo-fi retro characters and tiles. In fact the selection of awesome art being completely overlooked helped inform my game design.

Beauty in boundaries

With no specific restrictions on what type of game you could make my natural reaction was to do some kind of interactive story. There was also 4 different sets of art assets I really liked but they were for the most part incompatible with each other. So my decision was to make a set of short interlinked stories each using a different art style.

The game I'm working is called Seasons of Change. It starts with and over-world used as framing mechanism for the game's multiple stories and then within that world you can enter three different doors, each leading to its own world with a short interactive adventure within. The different tales are not directly linked but they each themed around people learning to deal with change in their lives in different ways.

At the time of writing my entry is nearing completion, with a bit of luck I'll get it all done and dusted over the next week. It's been a really valuable experience taking part in this already for me. Working under right restrictions really helps you focus your creativity, and the competition has encouraged me to make a game I'd never thought have making otherwise. In terms of technology it's allowed me to try out a new engine, that I'm fairly sure I won't be touching again but that's a subject for another post. Most importantly in terms of experience it's allowed me try out some methods of game storytelling and see if they work.

Learning from history

To be honest at this point I think the game might fail to be as effective as I would have hoped, I'm already seeing problems with the design that didn't seem as apparent before it was actually playable. I'm going to use the remaining time in the competition to see what I can do about that. Ultimately though win or fail the competition has not sapped away a huge amount of time and has allowed me to make mistakes that I will remember in future.

Over January I am also hoping to find time to enter Gamma's one button gaming competition, JayIsGames one room interactive fiction competition and two different Game Jams where people gather together and spend 48 hours making games in teams. My hope is that when the end of January comes I will resume work on Journal having made a whole batch of interesting short games and having much more experience in seeing how my game ideas actually pan out.

Welcome to the home of Locked Door Puzzle, the independent game development studio of Richard Perrin located in Bristol.

My primary focus is on creating expressive games that explore different forms of interactive storytelling.

For contact details check the about page.