Michaël Samyn, May 23, 2012
If all goes well, Bientôt l’été will be released 3 years after our previous desktop game (Fatale) was released. Production of Bientôt l’été should only take 9 months, though. Before we started on Bientôt l’été, we made an iPhone game, we created prototypes for two new games and worked on a collaborative project with Alex Mayhew (of Ceremony of Innocence fame).
None of those projects have lead to a release yet, but I now notice that several of the ideas developed in that period, have found there way into Bientôt l’été.
The sci-fi layer comes straight from Cncntrc. The chessboard on the café table with objects that you can move around comes from the experiments we did on iPad with Alex. And the graphical user interface, including the textual hints, is similar to what we have developed for The Book of 8.
I don’t have very fond memories of the prototyping period. I came away from that project with a rather negative attitude towards prototyping. The problem with prototyping, at least the way we did it, is that it’s endless. You can make many prototypes and never know if they’re any good. And there’s always something that can be improved, so there’s always more experimental work that can be done with placeholder graphics. Which is rather irrelevant when you do work like ours in which visual impact plays such an important role.
But we did learn a lot in that period. Next to the concrete ideas mentioned above, that knowledge is also being poured into Bientôt l’été. Even the dislike of prototyping has had a rather positive effect on Bientôt l’été‘s production. It pushed us towards figuring out a concrete buildable design. This lead to a reductionist aesthetic that I’m quite happy with. And also to a design approach that eschews theoretical “on paper” design in favor of creating systems in the game engine based on how they feel. It’s the closest we’ve ever worked to our ideal situation of “the game is always finished, all we do is refine it”.