So - What Do You Think?
The game is coming along nicely, and my rewrites of several of the critical systems are pretty much over. This is the period when I stop building systems for a while, and start trying to find ways of showing the systems off through building up the environment.
As GDC looms near, and after the delays and horrors of last year, I'd like to have something I can wave in front of people: a small islet with a couple of ritual bits and pieces, just to see if people are getting to grips with the movement. interaction and inventory. It's time to stop being quite so precious. Still precious... just less so.
Phase 1 - Testing testing
Once GDC is over (and the inevitable bugs and broken things have been fixed), my plan is to put up a web-player based version of the testbed here so people can give me feedback, bitch about the controls, movement etc. and let me know how the game feels to them in terms of mood and tone.
Although it will not be a full game (just a very limited testbed of very specific systems) the feedback will be incredibly important. While people are prodding and poking around that, I'll be getting on with squishing some environments together and finalising some ritual stuff...
...which will lead to Phase 2.
Phase 2 - Finally, Asking for Help
I make my games almost entirely solo. I have had some friends help out with bits of organisation (as in 'for the love of God focus on this bit!) and art advice, but 99.9% of the time, it's just me sitting here by myself, hoping that I'm not going completely out of my mind - or that if I am, it adds something interesting to the game. It's quite painfully solitary, and - this last 12 months in particular - has been really, really hard.
I said I'd ask for help at some point. It's at the root of the name 'BeMuse' (yeah, I thought I was being clever). Now that getting stuff into the game is a lot easier, and the context is hanging together, it seems a good time to start living up to that name.
I want to do this for more reasons than just improving the game. I'd like to get better acquainted with the audience and let them feel they have an ongoing hand in making this something special.
Here're some ways you can help.
1) Who Are You?
You don't have to share your name (some find it creepy), but I'm interested in what brought you here? What are you most looking forward to over the next 6 months? What music do you listen to? What do you look for in games? Art? Literature? Other people? Did you like Incoboto?
2) What Do You Expect?
I remember looking at screenshots of games when I was growing up, and - with very scant information - imagining how that world was going to feel. 90% of the time, games weren't as good as I expected. In some cases they were different, but so much better than I could have hoped (Ultima 4, please put up your hand). So, tell me how you think the game is going to play. Tell me what aspect you're most looking forward to. Tell me how you think it's going to feel.
3) BeMuse - What Would You Like to Share?
BeMuse is potentially endless. As long as there is room in the sky for new Wishes, there'll be room for new rituals, secrets, locations and discovery. So, send anything: a sketch of a weird rock. A scrap of poetry. A name that tickles your particular fancy (the campest phrase in the English language). A weird sentence. Anything you think could have magical, inspirational significance.
We did this with Fable and got the SandGoose. I think we can do better.
I think post-comments are a fairly clunky way of handling feedback, so if I get enough interest I could start some threads in the forums and see what happens.
As ever, you can mail me via the contact form and I'll always get back to you.
Thanks for your time - I know that in this period of our history, attention and caring are more valuable than dollars, so I appreciate it.
2/9/2015 06:51:15 am
Forum my ass! I hate forums with a passion, cause they make me feel so much like a nerd. I love the anonymity that comes with comments like these, where I can say things like "Forum my ass" without embarrassment.
2/9/2015 07:00:55 am
What first brought me here? Hmm. Well, Incoboto was featured in the App Store as game of the week or something, and it looked cool so I bought it. When I finished the game (you really needed to add more secrets to uncover with the jetpack), I saw this website in the credits, and I thought you might have more games like it. I never played Fable a day in my life (that M rating discouraged me from playing it; I was in 8th grade when I played Incoboto). And my God, I've been waiting on this game for 3 years now, commenting on all your posts under various pseudonyms, hoping it would be done 2 summers ago, 1 summer ago, until now. C'est last vie.
2/9/2015 08:03:55 am
Indeed. Inco definitely needed more stuff to do with the jetpack - but I got really burned out by the end. When I get around to doing a port/upgrade of it for 'everyplatformunderthesun' I'll make it a fatter game by far.
2/9/2015 10:12:18 am
Well, I have a whole list of demons that I would love to see in this game:
I think demons should be based on clinical phobias. Especially the really weird, silly ones. Like 'fear of glass windows.'
2/10/2015 03:15:07 am
And here I was expecting a stream of comments referencing Baudelaire or Voltaire, Buddhist philosophy and Hobbesian states of nature.
2/10/2015 07:00:01 am
I would rather butterscotch than hopscotch
"Man, I really love butterscotch. Butterscotch is similar to toffee, but for butterscotch the sugar is boiled to the soft crack stage, and not hard crack as with toffee. Butterscotch sauce is often made into a syrup, which is used as a topping for ice cream (particularly sundaes)."
2/13/2015 10:39:55 am
Oh no, is that a health meter I see? I didn't think this would be that kind of game. I was more looking for free range MySims Kingdom-Like exploring and doing stuff.
2/14/2015 04:32:38 pm
Health? Don't worry too much. The current way it works is that 'being in bad places' does bad things to you. Think of the health heart more as a sanity/health/not-being-ripped-apart gauge. Most of the time you won't even be aware of it. But if you screw up a summoning, or encounter a Ghost, you'll want to 'do the right things' as quickly as you can, or else run like hell. Otherwise you'll go crazy/heart-explodes.
2/15/2015 10:24:44 am
Hmmm... Shaking trees, being stung by bees, and putting messages in bottles? I hope we get to fish, catch bugs, collect fossils, and dig for gyroids too!
2/15/2015 10:37:04 am
Messages in bottles are just a way of getting twitter messages into the game in a more naturalistic way. Shaking trees does, indeed, feel a bit like AC, but the implications are very different (they're food and ritual items). Bees were my in-joke for AC fans. This game is to AC as Metroid was to Incoboto: my love for them flavours some aspects, but this is a very different beastie.
2/15/2015 11:14:25 pm
The cuter you make it, the creepier it'll be ~=[,,_,,]:3
2/17/2015 01:42:55 am
How about the entire island you're on is a giant demon! Scaaaaary...
2/17/2015 02:29:53 am
Or it is entirely fashioned from the crushed bones of those who came before you. Cute bones, though.
I was late to the party with Incoboto, but it became one of my favorite games on IOS and thus brought me here to see what you were working on next.
2/18/2015 04:26:22 am
Thanks very much for the kind words.
Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFey
2/19/2015 12:05:52 pm
Definitely make sure to include a "make-your-own-demon" section where, maybe in your dreams, you can create the basic shape of a demon, give it some details (eye color, glow, etc.), and give it a few phrases of dialogue, then have other players interact with it (again, maybe have a bunch of these demons floating around in their dreams or something). Also, outside of the game, you should have a demon suggestion box where people can suggest major demons for you to put in the game. Make it a very communal game, y'know?
Oliver Boliver Butt
2/19/2015 12:10:24 pm
Why not make the whole of dreams a bunch of players interacting and playing together in a transformice-ish manner. If that's unfeasable, perhaps give players the opportunity to inscribe clues on tombstones, and allow other players to read them in their dreams.
2/22/2015 03:07:52 am
The current plan is to get the jars that float ashore to be filled with both clues as to rituals, and also bits of the game's Twitter feed. Not put that bit in, though. I'd love there to be more interaction in a Dark Souls kind of 'people aren't here, but can influence things' kind of way.
2/21/2015 11:14:28 am
Oh! Idea. How 'bout, when you start the game, the sky is full of stars. As time passes, the stars slowly disappear from the sky, until only one is left. That star then turns red, and you have to focus on it with a telescope to find and banish a demon. Once you successfully banish the demon, the stars return to the sky, more beautiful than ever.
2/22/2015 03:09:19 am
Um. Currently, when you start the game, the sky is full of black stars, and each wish gained relights one. This is part of 'framing' though. My initial plan is to get the general mechanics into your hands asap so you can tell me if you all hate it or not.
Breaker of Winds
3/3/2015 11:10:44 am
Hope GDC is going well! Gettin a lot of booth traffic, I hope?
3/8/2015 04:08:45 am
So now that the GDC is over, by when do you think you'll be able to upload that preliminary version you've been talking about?
3/11/2015 07:55:20 am
Oh dear, I am hoping you haven't died
3/22/2015 11:53:29 am
His Twitter is active, but that could just be a demon
3/23/2015 03:40:43 am
Mr. Dene.. Just seeing if I've missed getting involved in the 'Specific Systems' release.. I one word, the thing that I'm most looking forward to playing this year (hopefully), is Bemuse. I adored Inco..
3/23/2015 03:45:18 am
*In one word
3/23/2015 04:06:28 am
Thanks, Zav. No, you've not. I'm adding a couple more bits and pieces at the moment. The good news is that the Demons are looking great, the systems are (I think) coming along snappily, and a lot of the stuff I've been worried about is sort of working out.
Wah hoo that's good to know..
4/18/2015 03:56:52 am
Nothing yet, eh?
John Ziegermeyer Wiener
5/19/2015 10:27:00 am
So... anything happen in the last 3 months?
6/9/2015 02:56:22 am
Just checking again that I've not missed the beta testing boat
6/9/2015 03:20:37 pm
Sorry for three radio silence. Some radical things are afoot. To cut a long story short, the Gage was taking far too long to iterate on. Every chance caused ripples that slowed things down even further. The worst part was that the more I fixed it, the slower the next iteration was.
6/9/2015 03:21:13 pm
Typing on a phone blows...
6/9/2015 03:21:25 pm
Typing on a phone blows...
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Fluttermind’s director, Dene Carter, is a games industry veteran of over 25 years, and co-founder of Big Blue Box Studios, creators of the Fable franchise for the XBox and XBox 360.