The Path —— Status Report October 2008

October 1st, 2008 by Michael

We’ve worked so hard in September! We get up in the morning, do some work, have brunch, do some work, have tea, do some work, have dinner, watch Star Trek, do some work. Day in day out. From 8-9 am to 1-2 am. Apart from the weekends when we force ourselves to rest. And despite of the stress and the routine, it’s fun! In an ideal world, we’d probably want to spend much longer on the game and add all the elements that we imagine while playtesting. But it’s probably a good thing that practical circumstances forbid this. Otherwise The Path would never get done.

I’ve been able to do most things on my to do list for September. Only a few things have been cut, or pushed down to the “desirable features” list. For me, the door is now closed on adding new features, and now I’m shifting my attention to tweaking and fixing everything that is in the game. There’s a lot of work still to be done!

In the asset creation area, Grandmother’s House is starting to look very very nice! But there’s still some work to do. So we didn’t quite make the asset creation deadline -again. And after the Grandmother assets are done, we still need to work on animations and visual effects. So that will be an important part of the October workload. After which Auriea can get back to the forest and finalize the graphic elements there.

In September I was able to implement a few nice and fun things that will definitely add to the enjoyment of the game. For the first time, I’m also really starting to see (and feel) its artistic potential and emotional effect. I must admit that I was a little bit disturbed. It’s one thing to say that you’re making a game in which you lead your six avatars to their deaths. It’s kind of funny and provocative to say such things. But to actually do this, and see the effect. Is chilling. Even for me.

It made me think that the developers of all those violent games must have a real talent of transforming that pain and death into lighthearted entertainment. If you show these things in their plain and dry state then I imagine the emotional effect can be devastating. I think politicians who complain about violence in games now haven’t seen anything yet. I think all those developers are holding back!

I was actually worried that The Path would be too extreme. Not in terms of blood and gore, but in terms of psychological and emotional tension. But then I reminded myself of the fairy tale aspect of the story. And that everything in The Path is a metaphor. Maybe there’s even a reason why you would want these girls to die…

Anyway, October will be a lot less fun. Now is the time to make sure that the most essential elements of the game work properly. Ranging from controls and game flow to the user interface and the save system. It all needs to work well and be clear to the player. After that, hopefully, finally, we well get to play a bit with our doll house and author the more artistic aspects of the game.

Almost all collaboration with other people has stopped. Laura has finished all animations. Marian is making some final versions of the new logo. Jarboe & Kris are adding some extra elements to an existing composition. And Hans has helped a bit with Grandmother’s House. Soon it will just be Auriea and I, tweaking this bag of feature into a lovely experience.

We hope to squeeze in some play-testing too, this month. But we can only really do that when the game works reasonably well, technically. And that’s not entirely the case yet. Too many unwanted weird things are still happening. But I feel quite confident about fixing them. A lot more confident than I felt last month. I think the biggest issues were taken care of in September. The rest is easy. ;)