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Dreaming Up a Nightmare
Progress on a upcoming visual novel.
BLOGby YmiApr 20th
Sometimes, a project can feel like a nightmare. Sometimes, there are several projects in row that feel like an unending series of nightmares. It happens to be that I've been in that nightmare for years!

First a game (or a series of games) that was only known with the codename "SR". The first installment would've taken too long to make. (But perhaps not as long as it has taken me to make something else... whoops!) It is an expansive story set in a fantasy world I want to tell someday, but not in the form of a game. It'll come out in smaller parts than originally intended. I have already a lot of plans for it, but those can wait for another day.

Then, a game that was worked on very little that I haven't really mentioned anywhere before this. Let's call it the "Snake Game". I was too busy to really get it off right, and when I did, I realized it was too big and not really fun to play. I have solved the gameplay issues with it already, but it still is too long for me to make now, so it too can wait until I have the opportunity to do so.

In late 2020 I began development on a new game, a visual novel. The scope of it was much smaller than its predecessors, but had an open possibility to sequels if it were to be successful. I made a lot of the main character sprites and art for chapter 1, changed my mind on the style and detail, and reworked it. However, putting together an early demo, I realized the overall story of the game wasn't really coming together.

It was trying to introduce too many concepts at once, and as a result the whole thing lacked focus. Not that having a lot of strange things is something the game isn't supposed to be, but it was like telling two stories at once. So, my solution was to actually split the whole thing into two smaller, shorter visual novels.

However, this had the unfortunate side effect of removing all of the gameplay from the first game. As visual novels there isn't too much gameplay in these games in the first place, as it's all just making choices. However, the initial idea of these games was their plot introducing the player to a scenario and leading up to a "action sequence" where the player must make choices based on their understanding of the scenario. Different choices would end up to either game overs or different story paths.

The story, its mechanics, and the system I have programmed however does require that the second game is the one where the most major story paths would emerge. If the first game would keep the same idea, the second game that would take those diverged storylines would succumb to the expanded scope of the game as the previous projects have done. On the other hand, the first game's puzzles only having one solution or multiple solutions having the same outcome would severely hurt the pacing, flow and enjoyment, as well as the replay value for the few different routes the game would have.

And that's where I'm now with the game. I haven't solved how to adapt the puzzle mechanic to the needs of the game. I have a lot of the art ready, but I really can't do much before I solve this issue and rewrite the story around it. The concept of the world and the characters are very strong in my own opinion, one of my own favorites from everything I've ever made. But it has to wait just a bit longer.

In the interim I've been working on a simpler story, a kinetic novel. Which is a visual novel without any way to interact with the story. It's a much more linear experience, but my progress on it in the few days here and there I've had the time to work on it has been... kinda significant! It's a science fiction adventure, an older story/concept of mine, improved and turned into a visual medium. I guess the more specific genre would be a space western or a space opera.

I'll have more news on it later!