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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Assets, New Thoughts, and All My Doubts and Loathing

Murilo has been working away at creating some new assets with which we may brighten up the world of Sprout. Interesting side-fact, in the original Design Doc, Sprout was written to be done in all pastel colors. In fact! I had even selected a base palette for the game, which you can see on the right.

Needless to say, Sprout's taken a bit more of a muted direction, and I think that's for the best. I don't exactly want to hammer people over the head with this idea that it's a hopeless world, but I probably also don't want them to think they're just playing a Rugrats adventure. Personally, I think that the current look of the game is far exceeding my hopes (let's not forget that I was about to do the art myself, which would have been disastrous.)

So, in any case, we want to really make the game feel immersive. To do that, something has to be done about the rather bland terrain makeup. While all the separate parts so far are, in my humble opinion, exceedingly gorgeous, they haven't quite come together into something with a beating heart. And that's been the current goal. Last night, Murilo sent over the first batch of new assets for me to toy around with.

So, as I get ready to expand the spectrum of colors and shades visible in the game, I'm also gearing up to really take a good long look at what the plan is. Sprout is a relatively slow-paced game that may take time to complete puzzles and rarely has you slaying enemies. A twitter thread I made earlier in the day asking about people's favorite side-scrollers came back with predictable and yet, somehow, surprising results. 

What makes a good game? Nice visuals, tight controls and fun combat. Thoughts: "Okay, so the first one is an easy check. Sprout looks good.

"And tight controls? Well, yeah, that's obvious. But wait- what are tight controls?! How do I know when I've got them?!" And thus begins the journey into the rabbit hole of doubt. But I think I may actually have this one figured out. Tight controls mean that you should never say "Ah, I didn't mean to do that," while you're playing a game. The mind, controller, and game should be 100% in sync. Right, so I can think of a couple areas in Sprout where that needs to be improved.

The the last one. "Combat. Uh oh. Sprout will have virtually no combat. But then, neither did Limbo. But maybe that was a once off? Also, is it fair to be comparing myself to the genuises behind Limbo? Will the gods of Indie Games punish me for my hubris? Should I shoe-horn some kind of combat system into the game? Maybe I can make it fit with the theme somehow." 

Of course, deep down, I know the answers to these questions. No, I should make the game the way I feel the game will work. Broad appeal can work, but it isn't what I'm doing. I'm making a game called Sprout. A muted little thoughtful piece on the struggle with depression and what to do if you find yourself alone and fighting an upward battle. The trick? Construct, not destruct.