Hey gang, just when you were thinking, "Whatever happened to that Thunderbeam game," here we are, cranking away. September was an incredibly busy month with the Fantastic Arcade event that I (Wiley) help run- but it's a chance every year to hang out with other indie game developers who we love, and get all kinds of good advice and inspiration.
We've got two new artists on board and one permanent-ish new member of the coding team! Illustrator Paulina Ganucheau approached us a few months ago, and she's demonstrated a fabulous feel for the characters and become an indispensable member of the team. Dan Beaulieu has signed on as well to work on environment art and game items, and together we've been in a huddle the last couple of months, dreaming up new parts of the world. Paul Slocum, who I've mentioned in past posts, has gone on to work on just about every system in the game- from the level editor that Chevy Johnston started, to the save system, to the scripting language that orchestrates so many events in the game and pushes the story forward.
The story of the game is one of my primary occupations, and it's important to me that story not be window dressing for a game that is filled with unrelated interactions. The story should be created by the game-play, and the mechanics of the play should be as relevant to the themes of the game as the art or the narrative.
One of the core ideas of the game is that it's placed in an anachronistic future. 70's technology sits alongside impossible Sci-fi creations. The reason for this weird environment is that scientific progress was replaced in leaps and bounds by the practice of 'hermeticism'. Psychic individuals retrieve technology from the future while in trances, these items are then manufactured and reverse-engineered by a technological priesthood (some are never fully understood).
This narrative nugget will actually be a playable part of the game- items are envisioned by your characters while in the meditation chamber of your ship. Once they are manufactured they must be combined in different configurations to create valuable (or dangerous) new pieces of tech that can only be understood by being used. Since your experienced characters can die permanently, it's important to enhance the abilities of new recruits with future tech, retrieved via psychic gnosis.
Of course, this kind of creates something like a tautological paradox- how is technology being retrieved from the future if it never gets invented in the first place? The course the game takes may or may not have some light to shed on that subject.
Thanks again for everything you did for the game! Showing off video of it is still a little like letting someone into our messy bedroom, but we will have some new stuff to show in the next few weeks- Primarily all the new character and alien animations, which we will be ready to throw in a room for your delight soon.