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eigenbom
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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2014, 02:38:27 PM »

Interested to see how this develops. Smiley
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2014, 02:11:15 PM »

We're back from several journeys now, happy to be staying at home now to devote all of our time to Sunset.

Today we have made our production schedule. It's tight. I wish we had a bit more time. But we'll try to manage. One of the things that's complicating matters is our desire to share a lot of stuff along the way and reach out  to everyone who might be interested. A lot of that needs to planned as well. But we're looking forward to it. We've always disliked working for long periods of time without getting feedback.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2014, 12:54:34 AM »

Sunset is much more than a game. We are creating a fictional universe. And, partially for marketing reasons, we want to share this universe with our audience as soon as possible. For this purpose we will be reaching out on all social networks we can get our hands on. Not so much to talk about development (which we only do here) but to immerse people in the story. This way, we hope that by launch time, a lot of people will be eager to play the game and find out more.

For this purpose, instead of working on the actual game, we are currently creating a website. A fictional website that will give a sense of the world in which Sunset takes place. Our story happens in 1972, so the design of the website is inspired by the style of the early 1970s, especially advertisements. Like the ones below.



The anachronism of building a 1972 website is very amusing.

And even though it feels weird to create a website rather than work on the game, it does help us develop the narrative and this will in turn make the game better. Also, this way we get to release a lot of small things along the way, which is much more fun than working in obscurity for a long time before release. We love to be in touch with our audience. That's the main reason why we chose digital technology for our art to begin with.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2014, 09:25:45 PM »

It's been a lot of fun exploring the backstory of Sunset a bit while building the new website. But web design has become quite a drag, with so many browsers and devices that are not compatible. CSS sounded like a good idea in the beginning but it's become too rigid now. We should never have left the path of automatic layouts. A table is still superior for many things.

Anyway, with a bit more tweaking, I hope the website will look nice across platforms. It will be launched today at http://sunset.voyage.
It's a website where Anchurian Air presents its new “747 Luxury Liner” airplane to take you to San Bavón, the capital of the small fictional Latin American country Anchuria, where our story takes place.

The name Anchuria, as well as some others in the game, was taken from O. Henry's 1904 bundle of stories Cabbages and Kings, in which he famously coins the term banana republic. The website, like the game, is set shortly after a military coup that enabled president Miraflores to install a neoliberal regime. The website is meant to lure foreign consumers and investors but still sounds sinister on closer inspection.

A lot of the text was lifted from or inspired by 1970s advertisements, like the graphics (given that Sunset is set in 1972). I love writing as a sort of role playing.

I like how the metaphor of travel suits a visit to the virtual world of a game. Auriea and I were very fond of airplanes when we met, given that they were the things that brought our bodies together. But that memory was ruined after 9/11. So we're happy to return to a time when air travel was still glamorous in Sunset. So Anchurian Air does time travel too!

And when you book a ticket, your email address is added to a mailing list where we can continue the journey with you.

Not sure how people will respond to this. Are we taking the playing with fiction too far? We're having fun. We hope our audience will be amused too. To find this out early is part of the reason why we are doing this. We really  want people to enjoy Sunset.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 09:37:34 PM by Michaël Samyn » Logged

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melos han-tani
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« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2014, 08:47:02 AM »

Seems like a good idea! I don't see any disadvantages to something that helps create the game universe. Gives a more concrete framework in which the players can interpret whatever narrative comes forth, instead of using a present day mindset, the things you leave with the website can help to guide a player's thought process to get more out of the game, I think. Anyways, looking great as usual.
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« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 01:54:32 PM »

Thank you.

The website is live now: http://sunset.voyage.



We did a lot of extra research for the website that helped us understand the era and its style better. Disregarding our work, this is just very enriching. I love learning about this stuff.
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« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 03:42:40 PM »

Interesting, I love the effort and life your giving this game through the different aspects of its design. Your building up a world not just through the game proper, but everything around it aswell. Wish you all the best!
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Ouren
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« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2014, 07:38:33 PM »

your url is gdlk
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2014, 09:13:09 PM »

Interesting, I love the effort and life your giving this game through the different aspects of its design. Your building up a world not just through the game proper, but everything around it aswell. Wish you all the best!

Thank you. This is the first game we are making with a story of our own. But to us as videogame makers, a story is a world more than a plot. We want to know all about it. And share parts of the story that will only be backdrop in the actual game. This sharing is in fact a very helpful part of the creation process. We are making things up while creating, simply because we need to know them.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2014, 09:16:14 PM »

your url is gdlk

LOCATION = YES

President Generalísimo Miraflores would not have it any other way,
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 09:32:11 PM by Michaël Samyn » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2014, 11:44:50 PM »

We're working on our Steam Early Access page now. Although there will not be a game available to download for a long time. And before we release any sort of version of Sunset, we will release one or two small games for free, games that are only tangentially related to Sunset, exploring some of the narrative. We want to connect with the Steam audience as soon as possible because Sunset is a PC game that we hope will have a wide appeal. Since we're not very familiar with the Steam community, we feel we need to get a lot of feedback from people there to make sure we're approaching them well.

In the past we didn't care much about the Steam presence of our games. Often we thought of it is just a good joke, to have games like The Graveyard and Bientôt l'été available on Steam. But Sunset is different. We really hope to appeal to a subset of the people there (people who enjoyed Gone Home, Dear Esther, Stanley Parable, Proteus, etc).

Preparing the Steam page gives us another opportunity to build further on the narrative of the game. As opposed to Anchurian Air, the Steam page will be much more closely related to the actual game. The darkness of the Steam graphical style fits with the darkness of the apartment at Sunset where the game takes place.

Since Sunset is a narrative game, it feels right to give "early access" to the story first, and to develop it in public to some extent.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2014, 02:04:29 PM »

Preparing a Kickstarter campaign out of Europe is a pain. Especially getting a US bank account is proving very difficult. And one of us is a US citizen, and we have several people helping us in situ. US bureaucracy is a nightmare that even Kafka couldn't have imagined.
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Michaël Samyn
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« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2014, 10:46:16 PM »

But apart from the business labyrinth, creating the Kickstarter page and video has been an interesting exercise in modesty and clarity. The page isn't even public yet so I don't know how I will feel then. But writing text and recording ourselves directly asking for people's support has been a strange experience. In part because you don't really know whom you're addressing.

We have tried to be as honest as possible. Within the realms of what a casual passer-by would be able to parse. We have a natural tendency towards playfulness and messing with people's minds, and our own (comes with the territory of an artist). But it takes knowing us better to appreciate that. So we've turned some of that into an attempt at humor.

I am grateful though for opportunities like this to basically market the game long before it's done. Each time we reach out, we learn from the feedback and can fine tune our design to make the play experience as smooth and entertaining as possible.

We apparently need this because we have clearly not been prepared for that in the past. Every time we release a game, we think it's just beautiful and joyful, and every time a bunch of people freak out. Even now, still, there's some people who can't resist the temptation to post nasty comments if our name is but mentioned anywhere, for reasons they themselves often fail to recollect.
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« Reply #33 on: June 02, 2014, 11:35:51 AM »

Sunset is now live on Steam. The game is hardly coming soon but we want to communicate with the Steam community and share the story of Sunset with them as we develop it. Hopefully we get some input and feedback to help make the game better.

We had originally planned this to be a Steam Greenlight or Concepts page but when we consulted with Valve about our plans, they just gave us an App ID. This has never happened before. And our last two games only got on Steam after an IGF nomination. Shocked

Anyway, hope you like what you see and read.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!
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melos han-tani
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« Reply #34 on: June 02, 2014, 11:39:43 AM »

It seems like Steam is moving towards open publishing. Which is nice - but they might just give out App IDs to current developers. At least when we asked for Even the Ocean they just handed us one because we had Anodyne.

The early Store page sounds like a good idea, maybe I should do that too.

Looking forward to Sunset! Keep it up!
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« Reply #35 on: June 02, 2014, 11:51:44 AM »

The early Store page sounds like a good idea, maybe I should do that too.

Yes! Join us!  Smiley

Looking forward to Sunset! Keep it up!

Thank you. you too!
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« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2014, 01:06:19 AM »

We have finally completed all the administration for the Kickstarter campaign. What a nightmare! Ironic that we have to deal so intimately with the paranoid administration of today's world for a project that criticizes the systems that run it.

But we can't launch the campaign just yet, because next week is E3 and the game press will not have any time for us.

I would like to launch next Saturday because it's the birthday of Che Guevara, one of the inspirations for the story of Sunset. But launching on a Saturday feels weird. Is weird good?
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« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2014, 02:54:39 AM »

Is weird good?

Yes.
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« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2014, 10:04:50 PM »

I have complained about having to do marketing, instead of making the game. But if marketing means playing around in the fictional universe, invent stories and just release small things for free, I kind of wish we didn't need to make a game at all.
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« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2014, 11:32:05 PM »

My son told me about this thing called Thunderclap. Sounded like another of those crazy social web things to me ( = old fart). But we set one up to promote the upcoming Kickstarter and it's going well. Many people are far more comfortable with this Brave New World than we are. And I think people appreciate the opportunity to express support. I know we appreciate feeling supported! So it's all good.

Here it is: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/12575-kickstart-sunset.

For those not familiar (as I was): The idea is that on a specific date and time, everyone who commits to it through the Thunderclap campaign will automatically post a message about the Sunset Kickstarter to their timeline (Twitter and/or Tumblr and/or Facebook), so everybody who follows you will hear about it.
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