After the last update, I started working in a prototype of The Light, returned to university, and pitched the idea at a couple game dev meetups. After getting back to school, progress on the game stagnated, but I kept talking about it. Every time I talked about it at a meetup, someone would ask how I planned to end it. I didn’t have an answer. This wasn’t something that worried me too much, as I figured I would come to how I wanted the game to end eventually.
After putting the game on the back burner to focus on school for a bit, I came back to it and realized there were a lot of things wrong with the prototype. For one, the transition between canvases and the dark worlds wasn’t very intuitive, and it seemed to break the flow of the game. The idea had originally been that the dark worlds and puzzles were just content to keep the player engaged and interested in the game, but they were ultimately distracting. Additionally, I the mechanics of the dark worlds had started distracting me as well. I spent more time iterating on mechanics in the dark worlds than I spent working on the parts of the game that really mattered to the narrative. In fact, those parts were largely unimplemented.
So, I pivoted. I dropped the dark worlds and instead moved their simple terminal based puzzles to the canvases in the gallery. Observers still stand next to completed pieces and pass judgement on them as the player progresses, and the player still works to unlock wings of the gallery by solving puzzles. The game became a uniform experience that takes place in one room. I also developed a narrative arch for the experience.
The pivotal moment for the player is given the option to seal back off a wing after they have entered it, blocking observers from entering and passing their harsh judgement. If the player sealed the wing, they are presented with two options upon completing the wing: open the door, or exit the game (exit remains an option regardless of the state of the door). The player has the option to allow the observers to return and pass whatever judgement they may, or just exit the game satisfied that they completed the puzzles.
After making these changes to my design, I prepared another prototype for a local meetup and held the first playtest. I also collected emails for a closed alpha group. Over the past month, I’ve been working with the alpha group through to get a build ready for the Game Developer’s Expo (GDEX). The game has really come a long way from it’s inception nearly 5 months ago.
This past weekend, at GDEX, I ran the first public build of Noah and The Quest to Turn on The Light Beta. (More on that soon!)
During the beta, this blog will see more updates with insights into development on the project, so be sure to keep up to date!