This week I’ve spent some time working on a crucial part of the game: Flashbacks!
The flashbacks hold some very important story moments, and they have a minigame element associated with them.
There are a total of 7 flashbacks in the game, and you can get all of them in one playthrough, but you can also avoid most of them, depending on what you value the most: the truth or your sanity.
While some flashbacks will reveal a whole picture of a moment, others are part of a bigger moment, and will uncover only one piece of the puzzle.
I have also recorded a video to show what the whole thing looks like in the game. If you want to avoid possible spoilers and go in knowing as little as possible, consider not watching. Remember this is still a work in progress, and some things will change and be more polished in the final version, like the text boxes, sound effects and the color of the puzzle pieces.
On this post, I will write about something very important that we have been working on for a long time: the map of New Wenders!
We’re not Bethesda, so we didn’t start the game with a map, on the contrary, the idea for the map came in very late, when the story was already finished. More precisely, when we updated the game to widescreen aspect ration.
If you played the preview version on itch, you probably noticed the map is just a placeholder and serves to nothing but aesthetics. But we wanted to make it interactive and something the player can use as a reference for story events.
We ended up removing the “chapter select” screen that is on the preview version. This screen was supposed to appear every time a chapter ended, as a transition to a new location.
But since we now had a map, it made more sense to show the transition through it.
Nothing fancy, the pin just moves from the current location to the new. This will also show up when loading a game, so the player will be able to see all important events from the current playthrough.
The pin show where the player is now. A red dot indicates a location already visited in the current save; A blue dot indicates a location visited in a previous save; A yellow dot indicates a location still unknown.
The player can also access the smaller version of the map at anytime. When he passes the mouse over the points marking the locations, he will see some information like how many passages has he visited and what events happened in each location.
The evens will written in bold if it happened during the current save, and grayed out if it happened in a previous save. If the player never seen experienced the event, it will show as ??????. In a similar way, the visited passages for the location appear in bold, while the known passages from all playthroughs appear grayed out.
This will make it easier (and more interesting) for players trying to see 100% of the passages or events =)
This post is more focused on the map itself, later on I will talk more about New Wenders. What kind of city is it? What kind of people inhabit it? What do they feed on?
At first I decided to add keyboard control to make testing easier and faster (also tendinitis), but then I realized it might actually be a better way to play rather than using the mouse.
For the regular gameplay, you can advance pages with the left and right arrow, and make choices with numbers 1 to 5.
The white font on the third choice means this option was already selected on a previous play-through, since the game has many different paths, I thought it would be nice for the player to visualize which options are new to him.
The SPACE key has a different function depending on the context. In most places it will act as a mouse click (advancing a dialog cutscene, maximizing/minimizing an image), but it is also used in the minigames. By the way, if you played the demo version, you will notice that the minigames are now linked to the relevant attributes, so they will be harder or easier depending on the value of your attribute.
And of course you can access the Map (M), File (F) and Options (O).
Besides that, I’ve also started working on polishing some aspects like adding fade in/out and adding some animation to tape-covered text.
January has been quite productive around here, I started the month by implementing my saving system, which would also come in handy because now that I have all the chapters in the game I wanted to do some testing with an entire playthrough.
This is not the final UI, but is probably close to the final version. There will be 3 different slots for now, but given the amount of different paths I’m considering adding more, as well as a way to edit the name of the saved data.
Another big thing I’ve been working on is the Flashbacks. If you played the Blackout demo you probably encountered a flashback, they are basically a scene where the character recollects a piece of memory connected to what caused him to blackout.
In the demo this flashbacks were basically represented by a scrollable text on a different background, but I wanted to do something more special because they are core to the story. So what I ended up coming up with is something that makes it look more like a comic book, and also more interactable.
Here’s a piece of one flashback, but please keep in mind that the assets are all placeholders and things are not properly animated yet.
The dialog moves along as the player clicks, and there are also sound effects and ambiance, which really makes a ton of difference in some of the scenes.
Let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions!
it has been a while since the last post, mostly because I’ve been busy with Blackout’s development, had to spend a lot of time with marketing stuff, like creating this landing page, which implied in me having to update and translate the whole site, (something I was meaning to do for almost 2 years now).
Anyway, development has been moving well, as of now I have 9 out of the 10 chapters playable, which means soon I’ll be able to have a test build in which a whole playthrough will be possible. But after I finish this there is still A LOT to be done, need to start testing the systems, balance attribute changes, make sure every path/choice is reachable, add remaining SFX and then finally polish and confetti.
I just wanted to share the chapter workflow, since I mentioned previously that the choices can change the order of the chapters (reference names have been omitted).