Firstly, I’d like to thank all of my backers! We exceeded 30% on Saturday with 3 weeks to go. I think that’s a great sign! We still have a long way to go, and I still need your help spreading the word if we want to make our target.
I’d like to do an update today talking about ideas I had for a running in Neverending Nightmares.
The way I see it, is we basically have 4 options:
1) Keep it as is with no run
2) Allow the player to run all the time
3) Implement an asthma/endurance meter
4) Do some sort of random monster encounters if you are too loud
I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we stuck with #1. I think adding in the environmental interactions like I discussed earlier will help with interactivity and might render the run button unnecessary. With Neverending Nightmares, I am trying to remove all unnecessary design elements to create a very clean and streamlined experience. We did the opposite on Retro/Grade, and the project was very difficult and the end product was a bit scattered. Fumito Ueda gave a talk at GDC 2004 about designing Ico and how he cut everything that wasn’t completely necessary. I think this philosophy really helped make Ico so awesome. (For more info on his talk and the idea of subtractive design, read this article.)
Number 2 is something that I’m not happy with because I think it detracts from the vulnerability of the player and ruins the pacing. I am feeling really good about number 3. I’m not sure how many of you have asthma, but it is terrifying! One of the scariest things that has happened in my life (that wasn’t related to my psychological state) was when I was having an asthma attack. Breathing is essential to life, and not being able to is a terrible feeling. You really can feel your own mortality when you are struggling to get life sustaining air! That’s why drowning seems like a terrible way to go, and why I suspect waterboarding is such awful torture.
The worst part about having an asthma attack is when you get scared, you start breathing even more shallowly, and then you get even less oxygen. When I was in the ER with an asthma attack, I was hyperventilating because I was so scared. They made me breathe into a paper bag to slowdown my breathing. I felt so stupid because my fear of the situation was actually making it much worse.
Because I want to stick with no hud, the “endurance” meter would have to be conveyed in a different way to the player. I was thinking we would indicate it to the player with breathing noises. That ties really well into the asthma themed endurance. I was also thinking of designing the game such that if you run too much, you essentially have an asthma attack and have to stop and pant to catch your breath. This encourages sprint running when you are fleeing from an enemy rather than running all the time, which I think fits well with our gameplay goals.
However, it is still an endurance meter, and it still may be annoying like I mentioned in the video. If you want to cover a large section of the game quickly, it’s not going to be super helpful – just frustrating. As the designer, I don’t really want you to cover huge sections of the game quickly, so I am fine with this, but it might be difficult for players to accept.
With idea #4, I think it’s going to be difficult to pull off well, and I’m not sure it’s a good use of our effort.
What do YOU think? Leave a comment if you have any ideas. We’ll have to prototype the mechanics before we commit to anything, but I’d like to get a feeling for what you guys think before I go down one of these roads.
Also, just a reminder – I’d really like to do a backer meet up at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Night. I haven’t gotten any responses yet – probably because I imagine everyone is spread all over the globe, but if you are interested, check out my previous update and leave a comment.
In addition, we’ve gotten quite a bit more press! Yay!
On the CrowdCrowd podcast, the creators of “Indie Game: The Movie” chose Neverending Nightmares as their favorite crowdfunded project! (Skip to 54:50 for the good stuff) What an amazing honor! Watching "Indie Game: The Movie" really gave me a push to open up about game development. It showed me that people care about the struggle it takes to make a game.
We were featured on CityArts’s list of beautiful games of PAX ’13. I thought that was really great – especially with some gorgeous games like Tengami and That Dragon, Cancer.
Adventure Gamers did a nice write up about the game.
An interview with me was also featured on the BoneBat podcast. (Skip ahead to 127:57 for their thoughts on the game and 131:40 for my interview )
As always, thank you so much for your support!