Hey guys! Hope you’re all doing well. Anybody watch the new show Maniac on Netflix? It’s got Jonah Hill and Emma Stone in it; not only is it insanely good, but it’s weirdly close in tone and structure to the game. That’s not a bad thing at all; in fact, it just gives me more validation that what I’m doing will actually work. Either way, if you’re into surreal, trippy shit and dark comedy, definitely give it a watch.
Anyways, I’ve got some great news for you guys! Remember how in the last blog post I mentioned another upcoming expo? Well, I’m super excited to finally announce that She Dreams Elsewhere will be playable at DreamHack Atlanta on November 16-18! Not only that, but it’s been included in the Indie Playground under the “Best Arthouse” category alongside three other amazing titles.
Much love to everyone at DreamHack for the inclusion; I’m very honored and I can’t wait to meet more of you guys in person. I’ll be posting more updates and teasers for the event in the weeks to come, so be on the lookout for that. Feel free to check out their official announcement of the games as well! If you’re planning on attending, definitely swing by and say hello!
This week, I’ve mainly been focused on locking down the second area, “Serenity”. It’s set in a forest surrounded by a water, and focuses on Thalia & co. searching for a way out while they’re stalked by a mysterious, yet familiar creeper. It’s where the game really starts to open up and the player is given a much wider area to explore things on their own. There’s also a fair bit of side content to discover, but if you’d like, you can just stay on the main story path, ala Breath of the Wild. It’s been really fun to design, and I really love how it’s turning out. I especially can’t get over how well the music fits; much love to Mimi and her incredible skills for that.
With that being said, I’m not gonna front; this has been one of the more difficult levels to finalize compared to the other ones. I had a lot of ideas for how to go about it, but I knew for certain that I wanted to focus on the dynamic between the main trio and use the forest as a metaphor for Thalia’s subconscious. My main issue was that its thematic ties were looser and far more open to interpretation compared to the other areas of the game, so the writing process was… interesting, to say the least (more on my design style in an upcoming blog post). Some of the cut ideas for the area included a murder mystery, a Halloween-esque romp to evade a serial killer (both of which are used for sidequests later in the game), some stuff involving witches… but eventually, I just decided to simplify it and focus on the essentials. I tend to overthink these things a lot, but at some point you’ve really gotta hunker down and just get it finished, y’know?
Neck deep in the woods. Still working on the VFX.
Another issue I had was nailing down the pacing, especially due to open nature of the layout. In previous versions, it dragged on a bit too long, or the amount of battles was too high, and so and so forth… but I’m confident I’ve finally got it down; just gotta do some more playtesting to make sure of that (feel free to sign up for that btw).
God, I love Amia.
In other news, I had to downgrade from RPG Maker MV 1.6 back to 1.5 earlier this week. Why? Because OBS (and literally every other screen recording software I tried) refused to record it anymore. Apparently, it’s because MV uses Chromium and due to changes in 1.6, it doesn’t play nice with recording software for whatever reason. It wouldn’t have been a big deal for me since I could’ve found a personal workaround; the problem was that streamers and YouTubers would’ve had the same issue as well. Shame, since that was really the only issue I had with the update.
This downgrade essentially means battles take 2-4 seconds to load as opposed to virtually instantaneously in the 1.6 update. It sucks, yeah, but it’s not a huge dealbreaker since there aren’t a ton of battles in general, and it wasn’t an issue anybody complained about in previous test builds. Regardless, I’m still gonna try my hardest to find a fix.
Part of the hub area known as “The Mirage” – each level entrance is themed on the upcoming area, with the above focusing on “Serenity”.
Anyway, I think that’ll about do it for this week. I told myself I was gonna write less than 300 words and yet I still went over. Can’t say I didn’t expect that, though. With that, I’m off to do more bizdev stuff and hopefully see the new Halloween movie later this weekend – I cannot wait to get the shit scared out of me.
As always, I’d hugely appreciate it if y’all would wishlist the game on Steam and spread the word if you haven’t already. Also, feel free to follow the game on Twitter, Instagram or via email newsletter updates. There’s also my personal Twitter or Insta if you really care about what I’m up to.
Enjoy the weekend, everyone!