Hey everyone! we have a couple of interesting things going on and I wanted to give you a small update to let you know. As our backers, I know that you're generally interested in what Broken Window Studios is up to. We've taken some of our spare time to polish up an old project, called "Reflections," which was a design I did in 2012 during a gamejam. It's currently on Steam Greenlight if you want to check it out. This is a little off-topic as far as Grave goes, but I figured that you guys would be interested in hearing about this side-project, particularly since we will be ready to release it as soon as we're Greenlit.
Reflections was a largely completed game that I built in Unreal Engine 3 during the time I was graduating from college, before starting my game dev career full on. It was meant to deal with the feelings I had about change and progression in my life. The game is a simple experience (about an hour long for a single playthrough), but it shows off a lot of cool ideas that are important to us as a studio. Specifically, the game uses a unique Storyteller system, to custom fit the game's narrative to the player (I'll go into that more later).
Back when I built Reflections in 2012, I didn't see where or how the game could be marketed. Even only 3 years ago, a game about a real world setting didn't seem that viable. Worse, Gone Home was announced a couple months after I started building Reflections, and it seemed like the games would be too heavily compared. I decided to basically just set it aside, rather than wrap it up and release it. At that time, I hadn't done a whole lot of professional development and finding a way to release it seemed really daunting.
Since then, a lot has changed. I spent a little time looking at Reflections over the holiday season and felt like it was a real shame that it never got out there to the public. After a bit of deliberation, we decided to take our spare time and move Reflections over to Unity 5. Our art team also spruced up the visuals and made the game more aesthetically pleasing.
The Storyteller System
Storyteller is the backbone of Reflections and is something we are in the process of incorporating into Grave. The idea is that the "Storyteller" is a form of drama manager, that allows elements of the gameplay and user interaction to be tracked and aggregated to create a myriad of variations in the game world and experience.
Because Reflections is a small, self contained game, it has served as a bit of a testbed for this idea. Reflections doesn't have the same complexity of challenges as Grave, but the model of the system we are building carries over to Grave really well. We're still exploring exactly what role that will play in Grave, but the main thing we're sure of is that we're going to use the Storyteller to change the environments and surrealist experiences in Grave. It gives us the opportunity to read the player and more adequately convey a world that responds to the player.
Reflections and Grave
Reflections serves a few roles as part of our studio goals; The game was largely completed almost 3 years ago but we couldn't figure out what to do with it. Our goal for the studio is to remain independent and build Grave into the strongest experience we can. We don't want to compromise and do something that doesn't live up to the potential of the game you guys invested in.
So, Reflections is a way to test out a system we're now incorporating into Grave and an opportunity to help us increase the scope of what we're doing with Grave without having to take on contract work or split our attention. Reflections has a bit of polishing before it's ready to release, but the fact that the game is already close to completion means that it gives us a chance to expand production on Grave, while not having to make a poor deal with a publisher that would hurt the end product.
For Grave Backers
We really value your support and input. Because Reflections is an unusual experience and is very experimental, we'd like to offer the chance for all of our Grave backers to sign up to be beta testers for Reflections. If you are interested in doing so, drop me a line on Kickstarter or in a comment on this update and we'll get you set up with beta access of Reflections.
This is completely separate from our work on Grave and does not affect any of your backer rewards/tiers. We brought Reflections out of cryo-sleep because we felt it would be a good way to help us push our studio into the next tier without compromising. As always, feel free to ask me any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!