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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSomewhere - an exploration game set in a surreal colonial India.
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Author Topic: Somewhere - an exploration game set in a surreal colonial India.  (Read 22649 times)
oleomingus
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« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2014, 08:57:46 AM »


Thank you ! @ephoete. Our update cycle is certainly a little tardy, but we will be posting some interesting
stuff over the next few weeks !


Wow ! Thank you. @TobiasW  We really really appreciate the wonderful play-through video.
It is amusing and rather instructive watching someone play through one's game. There were parts I believe
where the numerical distance counter caused some confusion, and it was interesting to
see you walk through the levels trying to figure the pathways.

I am really glad you enjoyed the game and the narrative intrigue of the game writing itself !

We did go back and forth over dialogue choices and branching dialogue.
But eventually we decided to keep each conversation linear. We are making several additions to the
conversation system, where the distinction between an overheard conversation and a dialogue become
fundamental to solving the game. We will also make conversations dependent on several parameters, which would tweak
the inherent dialogue and make it somewhat adaptive, and take into account the player's association with
other characters.

Voice-over is rather expensive !  And while the theatrical dialogue would definitely benefit from a voice-over,
we are going to stick to text for the time being. Though we are working on music and sound, which we will add to
the next build. You can listen to a wonderful track by the music composer we are working with :

http://oleomingus.tumblr.com/post/80159156875/strangers-walk-upon-my-road-they-do-not-tell-me




# update two point four



Giant.tooth.brush.trees. Early screens from the second environment for our next build.



















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oleomingus
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« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2014, 03:11:54 AM »


A small addition to the last update. Images from the first foliage test.










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Calined
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« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2014, 03:26:13 PM »

so far all this reminds me of a weird dream, a Dali painting or the movie "the Cell".
Awesome! =D (subscribed)
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oleomingus
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« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2014, 05:23:05 PM »

Thank you ! @Calined . Not familiar with the movie though the environments are certainly inspired by the scale and form distortions found in surrealist work. There is in fact a rather overt reference to René Magritte's paintings in our previous build.

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acatalept
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« Reply #44 on: March 27, 2014, 01:20:52 PM »

Regarding the movie "The Cell": it's dark (about a serial killer), but director Tarsem Singh is the modern master of surreal filmmaking, and you'd almost certainly enjoy and be inspired by his work.  And his other films (The Fall, Mirror Mirror, and to some extent Immortals) are much less morbid than The Cell, and feature a greater amount of surreal imagery.

Here's a quick montage of his films (you might want to mute the audio, the background song doesn't fit the imagery at all, but it's the only "summary" video I could find on youtube):





That aside... I like everything about this game so far, very disorienting (in a good way!) and surreal world and art style.  I can't wait to see the finished product!  Good luck!
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oleomingus
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« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2014, 02:17:00 PM »

@acatalept  The brief introduction to both the director and his movies, is rather helpful.
And the short montage looks really bizarre and alluring. Thank you !

# update two point five

Reworking details and colors.











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jgrams
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« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2014, 10:44:28 AM »

nobody here commented on the build at all (and that's a damn shame)

I tried it, but probably wouldn't have commented except for your prodding. Tongue

I just don't have much to say that seems useful. As a first level of a game it would have been extremely disappointing, but I assume it's meant as a demo to show the writing and the mechanics, and it does that just fine.

And I liked the overall mechanic and mood, so...what is there to say? Keep up the good work?

I guess I do have a couple of specific things:

It was jarring that Ali ends by saying that he "[the stranger's] broken journey will amend." but then he sends you right back to where you started. At first I thought the fading to black meant I had failed, and I went around the loop two or three times before I realized that was how it was supposed to go. I'd like to see that changed somehow; either in the dialogue, or make it clear that he has changed his mind (or was just humoring the crazy person when he said he would fix it). Maybe show him scribbling and then fade into his page to go back to the beginning?

The level design needs a little tweaking. If you try to do something other than follow the story it becomes painfully obvious that the game only lets you do what it wants you to. In this first build there are a few ways this can happen:

  • In the first environment, you can go into the clock room, shut the door and go to the far end and hide. Then you can go back in, sneak around Mir Bahadur (and they maybe need to be more alert? It's really weird to be able to "sneak" right past in front of someone in a reasonably well-lit room). But it doesn't let you switch. If you try, it grabs the clock (even though the clock is way over in the other room). Very disconcerting.
  • And another attempt to possess Mir Bahadur. Pick up the clock, carry it over into the room where you start the game, and then drop it. You can now edge out into the doorway and get the distance counter down to zero when he walks by, but it won't let you possess him.
  • As Ali, if you go away and hide and then sneak back up on the stranger, you can't switch back (I was trying to open the door with Ali and then go back and switch and go through with the stranger). So then I thought maybe you could only possess people from the stranger's body, but that doesn't make any sense.

All that added up to a feeling of "there's no reason for me to be playing this: I might as well be sitting here just watching." You can't change the order of anything and the only thing you can skip is the dialogue with Ali (as the Stranger).

But as I said, I'm not sure how useful any of that is. You probably are already aware of it, and the build is just to demonstrate the basic mechanics, and the game will be great when it's done. I'll be keeping an eye on this.

--Josh
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oleomingus
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« Reply #47 on: March 31, 2014, 04:04:02 AM »


Thank you. @jgrams for that wonderfully detailed reply !

The possession was kept deliberately linear, though I completely understand that forcing linearity within a stealth game can become frustrating, especially when you are meant to try and explore the environments.

We kept the storytelling very controlled and the level design linear, since this was a pre-alpha build, a test of our basic premise. The build we are now working on extrapolates from this basic template in almost all aspects. In subsequent builds, there is no enforced linearity, neither is the flip restricted to a singular person, you can flip between characters as many times as you like, and amongst as many characters there are in the scene.

Still, I do appreciate your meticulous cataloging of the major flaws from our previous build. Thank you again for taking the time to write about and play the game !
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oleomingus
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2014, 01:13:25 PM »


# update three








Completed the second smaller room for this first draft of our environment.
Added some furniture in trying to make the space unkempt, dark and crowded. A dilapidated resthouse.

A bulk of progress this week though, was the completion of a first draft of the new conversation system.

We now add eavesdropping to your insidious repertoire !









While best explained through video, the changes to the dialogue mechanic now allow the player to overhear
people’s conversations while in sneak. Conversations that would otherwise change were the player’s
presence detected by the characters.










The conversations now exist within the game world rather than as an overlay.
This allows multiple characters to talk to you at the same time, and even with text it is now possible to simulate,
in part, the noise of a quick conversation amongst a group of people.

But most importantly it allows you to listen in on people while they are talking. eavesdrop !



While getting detected will feed into how difficult subsequent sneaking in that space becomes,
it also causes the characters to remark upon your presence and hastily change the conversation,
obfuscating from the clumsy player their private conversations.


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rocket5tim
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« Reply #49 on: April 05, 2014, 04:16:17 PM »

Wow. Just WOW!  Blink
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oleomingus
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« Reply #50 on: April 05, 2014, 07:10:29 PM »


Thank you !

Wow. Just WOW!  Blink
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oleomingus
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« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2014, 03:10:48 PM »


# Update four. a Story Update


A lot of the writing we create outside the game world and writing that influences the form of the game feeds directly into the lore of Kayamgadh.

Kayamgadh is a mythical town of storytellers. Our game is built around the search for this town. In each portion of the game you investigate a path into Kayamgadh. You accumulate stories, myths and falsehoods about Kayamgadh when you change characters and navigate their lives. Characters who are all of them looking for Kayamgadh.

The largest repository of writings about Kayamgadh come from the notes of a British surveyor, who claims to have returned from Kayamgadh after having lived in the city for seven years. These are excerpts from his Journal.



from the diary of the protagonist
Kayamgadh  1953




It rained. And Kayamgadh was created.

The city was born of nothingness and it’s existence was not wondered at. The people of Kayamgadh were born with it, they emerged from the rain, onto the washed streets of a city that was always there. They were born without a history and they had no wonder in them at the marvel of their existence or at the existence of their marvelous city.

They felt a simple pleasure when the rain blurred their faces, and when it blurred the outlines of their streets. But they never wondered.

In their books Kayamgadh was pictured unchanging, an unmoving bastion. And in their temples and murals Kayamgadh was always there, never to be wondered at. Their stories never told of the birth of Kayamgadh, and their poets never wondered at the beauty of their being.

In the multitude that lived and toiled within the walls of Kayamgadh there was a contentment. A faith in the perpetuity of their city. They knew that to think about the birth of Kayamgadh would be to question it’s eternal form. So they continued to stare through the rain, and marveled at nothing. Wondered at nothing.

And when the rain stopped they did not remember Kayamgadh in the rains, they could not recall the overflowing fountains, and the paper boats in the gutter. They could not remember the gust of moist wind and the desperate streaks of water on their window panes.

They would remember nothing.

And every time they looked upon their fair city, it was with the faith that only this was Kayamgadh. Unchanging. Born the very moment they would look upon it.

.   .     .    .

Somewhere is not an absolute story. It is an exploration of how the unchanging truth of Kayamgadh tears the reality of the people who are searching for it. It explores the painful process of disillusionment whilst looking through the lens of it’s most ardent believers.

Kayamgadh does not exist, but there are stories about it. Kayamgadh cannot be reached but people will travel and will try and reach Kayamgadh. Kayamgadh offers no answer, but people will turn to it for salvation. And nobody can return from Kayamgadh because they were never there, but people will claim and even believe that they have been to Kayamgadh. And in doing so they will create a city of their own,  a city that would truly be a city of storytellers. An untruth, yes. But no less real to the believer, than the actual city. The one that does not exist.

Gubble ( our current build ) is an exploration of these themes. But most of all it is an exploration of the act of creating an illusion. A magic trick. And exploration of how the storyteller might realise the myth, he most firmly believes in. and how one might create out of absolute nothingness, something marvelous. Like the city of Kayamgadh.




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Giaddon
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« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2014, 11:16:34 PM »

I just checked out the initial pre-alpha. Really impressive stuff. I will say I struggled with the dialogue in verse. What you just posted, about the origins of Kayamgadh, was interesting to read, and I like the overall atmosphere of what you're creating. But verse is really hard to pull off. It's simultaneously infantile (nursery rhymes) and pretentious (bad poetry).

So... think hard about how crucial verse is to your project, and how you might make it easier to handle, is I guess what I'm saying.

But this is incredible work, and I look forward to seeing more, verse or no verse!   
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Minion Studios
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« Reply #53 on: April 15, 2014, 05:42:55 PM »

OH MAN! I got to play an earlier build... your game escaped my radar for a while. This is a really twisted and fun concept with great great art!
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oleomingus
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« Reply #54 on: April 15, 2014, 06:00:19 PM »

@Giaddon  Thank you for playing fictions ! and the wonderful feedback.

I completely agree, that our first iteration of dialogue was rather heavy handed ! The restrictive verse, limited both storytelling and the complexity of the narrative itself.

The verse did serve the purpose of obfuscating the difference between dialogue and narration, something we had not wrapped our heads around at the time, but we have now shifted to normal dialogue.


We are working towards releasing an alpha build at the end of the month. It will be a stand alone build but with about eight characters, that you can can flip between, and an intricate narrative of it's own. A bulk of the storytelling for this build is dependent on changes we have now made to the dialogue mechanic, including dialogue boxes or the ability to overhear conversations when sneaking. This build is also an experiment in narration based on how dialogue is written for the theater, and how stories might be told without narration.

Thanks again for playing ! I am really glad you enjoyed the build.


@Minion Studios  Thank you ! Hopefully our just gets more twisted as we build further !
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oleomingus
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« Reply #55 on: May 05, 2014, 03:27:52 PM »


# Update four point one. 








Images in this post are from a single room. A chamber within the Sarai ( resthouse ) where the game is set.
This room forms a fulcrum around which the player navigates the smaller personal spaces of the individual characters.

Having volume blocked our way into the first draft of the space we are now working on
intricate spaces, pendentive domes and vaulted ceilings.



We have also been experimenting with textures. Here there is a deliberate shift from the bold flat pallet
previously explored in fictions to a broadly painted but somewhat detailed imagery.

We are still getting used to the process so the screens are very much a work in progress.










Scribbled on the back of an old accounts ledger. Provenance unknown. Kayamgadh 1932.

" Our lives they softly come and go,
our words are softly sung.
In a crowd of silent people such,
our shouts are inert hung.

But still we shout our little words,
and with a whisper cry asunder.
Till voices from a silent thought,
shall roar the sound of thunder. “
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ephoete
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« Reply #56 on: May 06, 2014, 10:30:19 AM »

Getting me more and more wordless here, verily.
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oleomingus
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« Reply #57 on: May 06, 2014, 12:42:37 PM »

@ephoete  Thank you !


Making some changes to the floor. ( wip ).






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mirrorfish
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« Reply #58 on: May 06, 2014, 01:49:54 PM »

Love the visual style here, will check out the build when I have a bit more time.
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oleomingus
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« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2014, 11:12:00 AM »

@mirrorfish  Thank you ! Looking forward to your feedback on the previous build.
We will also be releasing the alpha build soon. It is a much more intricate example of the game's systems and our storytelling capabilities.
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