So here’s the plan…

Jamie:
I took today off to finally nail the Looshkin script down. I wrote it out last year, but it was just notes in a sketchbook without any sort of actual flow, so i needed to actually structure the thing. And above is the fruit of today's labours so far.

Writing a game is a new arena for me, but I'm trying to not treat it any differently than I would a comic. The objective is to write a fun story with plenty of twists and loops, which resolves each of the character's threads and brings an overall conclusion for our (anti)hero. The only difference in a game, as far as my approach is concerned, is that we'll actually be interacting with this story in a way i've never had the opportunity to try before, so the story needs to have its pieces hidden and interwoven in a way that'll hopefully be intuitive to progress through. THAT'S THE THEORY. To be honest, I'm just having fun.

Perhaps it's time to reveal a little about how the story will work. At the centre we have Looshkin, who we're controlling, who has a main aim. Something to achieve, and when he does, that's the end of the game. But to achieve it, he'll have to solve other people's problems along the way, to help him progress. He lives in a house (which is our setting) with a family, each member of which is having a little crisis. Their problems will overlap each other, one helping resolve the other, and to get through it all, you (the player) will really need to use your brainsmarts when it comes to using items. And most of the items in the game will be there to use and access from the start, so it's up to you how quickly you work out which of them will help you.

Oh and there may be a certain Bear. The poor thing.

So instead of writing the game out, i decided to draw it out. Starting with the basic floorplan (you can see in the centre of the photo), then each room we're going to need inside the house. Around that, a storyline for each of our characters, along with a game objective for each of them. On these i wrote walkthroughs to achieve their goals if you knew exactly what you were doing, along with pointers as to which room you'll need to be in. I've obviously blurred these a little in the photo, just to keep it secret. Of course, once you're playing the game it won't be this straightforward, as you'll be busy playing around and solving bits of each character's objective along the way.

Each character is then linked to their starting room (or a room crucial to their story), and each character has breaks in their story where their story impacts ANOTHER character's story (ie: you have to solve something else before you can progress).

I'm happy with how it's looking. It'll obviously get tweaked and shuffled a bit along the way. But now this is looking good, I'm going to concentrate on the incidental details, which we're going to fit in around the story. I want there to be different channels on the TV, random leaflets among the letters on the doorstep, various paintings on the walls and things in jars on the shelves, some of which may point you in the right direction, some of which are just silly diversions. I want the whole house to be explorable and enjoyable to spend time in, where you may complete the game but still have 50% left to discover.

Let's see how long my enthusiasm for that continues once i actually start the hard graft of drawing it all out.

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