Development Diary #17: A New Approach…

Another few months of radio silence here unfortunately, so far this year has been a weird mixture of stop-start freelance work and confusing business-y stuff. Looking at my previous post from the end of last year, I was optimistically hoping to have all the major systems for the game in place and, at this stage, be focused solely on artwork. Progress hasn’t been quite that straightforward sadly so I’m sort of changing approach again…

I’ve decided to work on and release Toryansé as a collection of smaller bits rather than in one big one, not in an episodic sense though, more like a short story collection. So, while they’ll share an art style, certain themes and some characters and locations might reappear in several parts, they’ll all exist as distinct works in their own right, be playable separately and in any order.

There are a few reasons for the new approach…

Nearly all the images and clips I’ve shared so far have been from one main story within the game, focusing on one character. In the last few months I reached a point with that story that felt like a nice, natural place for an ending. The problem was this left me with lots of unused ideas, characters and locations, some of which I’m extremely fond of, but which I hadn’t managed to fit in yet. By abandoning the idea that all these elements have to exist within one single game, I can let that story end where it feels right but keep exploring the other ideas and characters and give them their own space.

Another issue is motivation. In the time since I started working on Toryansé, I’ve finished numerous projects for other people but nothing of my own. A couple of these jobs had a similar scope to the smaller ideas I’m talking about here; they were technically challenging and, on occasions I struggled to get them done, but they all got delivered on time, on budget, to everybody’s satisfaction and in a matter of weeks/months instead of years. When you can actually see the end of a project it’s much easier to struggle through the difficult bits. Trying to stay motivated on my own work and finish it all in one enormous pile is becoming more and more difficult.

So, with all that in mind, a few months ago, I took one of the smaller ideas, wrote up a treatment and a schedule and applied for a small amount of funding from a local arts body, an award with a stipulation that work is completed by an agreed deadline. The idea is to treat it like another freelance job and finally get something of my own finished.

I’m currently in the midst of sorting out a few particulars but, all going well, I’ll make another post in a couple of weeks with some more details, a story outline, some concept art and, most importantly, a firm release date…

In other news, I’ve been doing a fair amount of house-keepy stuff recently; updating websites, organizing domains, hosting etc. I’ve redone the Toryansé website and logo, ditching the Amatic font which seems to be absolutely everywhere now, in favor of the handwritten title you can see in the header. I’ve also been working on a website and logo for my company, Arcto Games Ltd.

arctosite1

Both of these new sites are built using Skeleton and mark my first real foray into CSS aside from cutting and pasting bits of WordPress themes. They’re both extremely simple but I’m hoping they load a bit quicker than the clunky old ones and they should play a bit nicer on tablets and mobile.

Lastly, I’m not sure how many people still sign up for mailing lists but I’ve got one of those now too!? If you fancy a little summary of what I’m up to appearing in your inbox every now and then you can sign up for The Arcto Newsletter here.

 

Nick

3D-artist and fledgling Unity Dev. Currently working on a wordless point-and-click adventure game...