A Choose Your Own Adventure? What?
On June 4th, under the beautiful, maple-y Canadian sky, while the avians of the sky sang out to their birdy lovers, I rereleased my libGDX jam game to the fanfare of millions...
Whew, a little ahead of myself there. What's a maple-y sky, Developer Doge? And do you even know a million people? Wait a sec, this isn't important...
What is important, is telling everyone what I hoped to achieve in Tri-Jectory: A Journey (play now!), with a silly 10 minute Choose Your Own Adventure / Visual Novel style game. Although later I hope to update it to add more, here's what's up to this point.
A Simplified Choose Your Own Adventure
What I had intended as a core design decision, is to complete some sort of text-based story, in which I would be able to entertain people, through not flashy gameplay, but with funny, meaningful, philosophical, simple text on the screen, and the fun of entertaining one of three choices afterwards, based on the situation.
However, it was not my intention to entirely focus on something that anyone could do, with plain text, or a plain platformer. Rather, I wanted to, within my single person resources, to put a piece playable software into people's hands. This was accomplished - Tri-Jectory is a working piece of software, and in a state that someone could call it finished.
Core Mechanics - Choices
* I lead you through the game with dialog boxes, and you are presented with 3 choices
* You are "rewarded" with karma, and the story is affected by your decision
By breaking the game down into this core essential formula, I believe it has the power to be tweaked and alter to become a potent experience. With the format, the player knows exactly what to expect, so should they start enjoying it, they will definitely be able to immerse themselves in relevant story and choices, while identifying symbolism and double meanings (or even create a new meaning).
This gameplay format also has control advantages. This style can be ported to a large amount of consoles, phones, and even 1 button/arrow control schemes (that would be found on a remote). By having a formula and genre that is already so portable in terms of audience, allowing it to be portable in terms of software is also a big advantage. Since stories can be enjoyed by everyone, there's no telling where your game may be played.
Core Mechanics - Karma
At the end of each decision, you would be presented with what happened, as well as it's impact on you, given in the form of health, money, and karma.
The game isn't really clear about what's good or not, just that everything seems to be upside-down (or at least until the end). However, it is important to note that for any "gains", a positive, happy sound effect plays, while if you "lose" anything (money, karma, health), a heart-stopping negative effect will play.
I'm going to spoil a cool part of my game here, as it is entirely relevant to what I have done above. Should you choose to a plan at the start (instead of begging/stealing), you will immediately lose money, health, and swag. All of them play negative sounds effects.
But I thought a plan would be a good thing? It is - you just need to overcome the bad, to get to the good! In fact... I make you repeat the event twice - asking the second time, if you truly don't want to resort to begging and stealing.
What's more, is that you lose swag karma. It plays the negative sound effect, however...
Hah! Losing swag karma is good, but the bad sound effect plays. This bad sound effect, actively has the effect of deterring players from the 'correct' (or at least, more successful/event) paths, and instead, they go to beg and steal. I had tricked players, and taught them a lesson about the world... or had I?
While the theme of the game-jam was Upside-Down, I intended to craft a world in which you would be rewarded for bad choices - an upside-down world. In the process, I lost sight of what I had intended to show. Maybe you can tell me, what you think?
I intend to post more follow up posts to further detail techniques, ideas, and spoilers. Stay tuned, and if you like what you see, please follow me at @DeveloperDoge on twitter.
Also don't forget to play!
Get Tri-Jectory - A Journey
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