Friday, 15 November 2013

Idol-eyes Game Changes

Hello everyone, hope you are well!

I've made a couple of changes to Idol-eyes recently based on a discussion with a colleague, I think it'll actually improve the game. There are spoilers involved as it relates to the ending so, be aware if you are going to play the game.

Originally the games 'true ending' was only possible to acquire after playing through a second time. After speaking with my colleague who is a game designer, we decided the the best course of action would not be to restrict the player in this way. What I find is players usually fit into one of two categories, and I can find myself in either depending on the quality of the game. Some players will play through the game once, and no matter what you do they will not play any further than that. As such, I need to make sure that all the endings a player is able to acquire as satisfying, and as such I don't want to 'block off' a key part of the story just to force the player to play it again for no reason. Originally I guess I thought that making the player do more of the story would increase the longevity of it but after actually thinking about it, the length of the game is not what's important.

Another change I've made is to the stats screen - it will only display on the second playthrough. This will allow players to play through the game naturally the first time without the distraction of knowing their player stats, so this is good for players who will only play through the game once and once alone. The second playthrough will have a stats screen which will enable players to see the influence of their choices and 'aim' for a specific ending the second time, if they are completionists. I think this is the best way to get the most of the game for both audiences. Originally the stats screen was going to be there the whole time but this can be really off-putting for those that play through the game naturally, and for those that want to get all the endings, the first playthrough will still enable you to obtain and ending no matter what so nothing is lost there.

I'm looking into a couple of the other things I've done but... the game is coming along nicely. I'm going to work on it some more this weekend.

Thanks,

Sally

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fan-art

Check out our lovely fanart by Erin <3


He did a good job of creating our heroine in his style!

Thanks,

Sally

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Design Mechanics - Minigames and Interactivity

Idol-eyes is a visual novel, but I've tried to include elements of other games that I felt worked well. A lot of the design of the game has been inspired by other visual novels that I played and liked and so really it's a huge combination of those, plus my own ideas. Visual novels usually don't include mini-games or much interactivity, but I decided to try a couple of those things in Idol-eyes because I think it's important in this case to make the player feel immersed in the environment. 

Mini-games and Interactivity

A lot of visual novel games don't include mini-games at all because the focus is on the story. Mini-games can be executed well as long as they aren't superficial; I have seen games that just use mini-games for no real reason and they don't contribute well to the atmosphere of the game. If a game is in the middle of a story element and then has you playing a version of pair-matching card game, it can sometimes hinder the progress of a story rather than help it. (I've seen this in games before.)

I've tried to include mini-games or interactive features that make sense and make the user feel engaged in the story. The writer of Idol-eyes had an idea for one of the earlier games. One of the first interactive features that is included at the start is a basic game in which the user has to put an ID card into the correct slot; the correct district is given previously in the story and the user has to remember which district they are from. This is during a key part of the story where the user is giving the machine their identity (something they player can input themselves.) I thought including this part was important because the user is physically using the ID card, and it also gives the player an early indication that learning parts of the story and remembering what NPC's tell you is important. One of the key elements of a visual novel is engaging in dialogue with other characters and making choices based on those dialogues; working out who is friend or foe by the subtleties in their language.