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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #120 on: July 07, 2017, 01:37:37 PM »

I'm so happy for you ! I loved the demo and I am excited to play the full game.
I wish you all the best for the hard part of the journey (making the game fantastic) :p

I've been (mostly) off the interwebs the past week, but thanks so much for the love!

I'll get back to updating soon, and I hope I can make something you'll really enjoy at the end of this!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #121 on: July 09, 2017, 08:17:30 PM »

Kind of a bummer that you went to all the work of Greenlight and they've just barely opened Steam Direct. Have you seen the details of the new system?

I just noticed your log has never had a game completion progress bar on it! I found mine so cathartic when I was working on Whisperer. If you had to estimate, how close are you to finishing? (Hit me up if you need playtesting, too.)

While I was in New York I played a game (it was on an arcade machine in an awesome exhibit at Babycastles) whose visual style totally made me think of Distrust. It was quite awesome, you should play it if it's available anywhere: This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, which I can't quite piece back together
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #122 on: July 10, 2017, 07:15:48 AM »

Kind of a bummer that you went to all the work of Greenlight and they've just barely opened Steam Direct. Have you seen the details of the new system?

Aye, but it got the game some press -- featured on Kotaku and Adventure Gamers. And it helped me solidify my marketing before showing at any conferences. And, through some form of black wizardry that I had no part in, the game got through Greenlight in just 15 days! So it wasn't too bad all things considered.

(EDIT: Steam Direct is apparently just a $100 fee per game that Valve will reimburse once you hit a certain number of sales, but I haven't looked any further into it)

I just noticed your log has never had a game completion progress bar on it! I found mine so cathartic when I was working on Whisperer. If you had to estimate, how close are you to finishing? (Hit me up if you need playtesting, too.)

Really? On my side I see the progress bar:



Right now I've just finished the first draft of the story. I have a month of rewrites in my schedule, along with a ton of art still left to do. If everything goes okay, the game should be done later this year. But exactly when depends on how many logical rewrites I'll have to do (i.e.: this person didn't understand that -- crap!). Mysteries can be difficult to write when your players have to solve them Wink

While I was in New York I played a game (it was on an arcade machine in an awesome exhibit at Babycastles) whose visual style totally made me think of Distrust. It was quite awesome, you should play it if it's available anywhere: This is My Memory of First Heartbreak, which I can't quite piece back together

That looks fantastic! I can't seem to find anywhere to download it, but I'll keep an eye out for it!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #123 on: July 10, 2017, 11:29:19 AM »

Right you are about the progress bar... and yeah, that game might have been a local-only arcade cabinet. Hopefully they release somewhere else eventually.
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #124 on: July 14, 2017, 02:44:51 PM »



In a tiny café, as a soft trumpet frolicks with delicate française, I sip a refreshing afternoon cider. This could be San Francisco, or Toronto, or Penang. But it’s still Denver. I told you I’d be sticking around a while.

Another long drag of drink, followed by a breath with more exhaustion than I’d realized. I’d taken some days after E3 to myself, including one to ask someone for the rest of their life (she said yes!), but the last nine days my head’s been buried.

But don’t misunderstand. I’m a overtired, sure, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Let me show you what I’ve been working on!

Let us begin, dear love, where we left off

Adventure Gamers, TechRaptor, RPGFan, and NewGameNetwork wrote about A Case of Distrust. There has yet to be a negative article, which is exciting! I’ve also had a few interview requests, so expect more from your favourite game sites in future.

I also recorded episode 59 of Gamer Weekly with Justin Bannister. I had a blast, so have a listen if you want a laugh.

Imposter syndrome, even these days, factors into my work. Doing interviews and podcasts reminds me that my project is everything I’d want in a game. Whenever I hear myself make the game’s pitch, I get excited, too. They’re fantastic motivation, and I can’t wait to share more!

Tie up the broken threads of that old dream

The game progresses smoothly. Before E3, I’d finished the first draft of my story. After a few edits, I traded my pen for a brush, and I created a few more portraits and the final searchable locations in the game. There are many more visuals to still make, but I finally have all the red herrings I need. After writing some more flavour, I’ll have sufficient content to begin proper testing of the game, from start to finish.

But just talking about it is a tease. So let me share: the new portrait of Franklin Earnest Conway, played by Andrew Hobson (my future uncle-in-law!).



And go on happy as before; and seem

I’ve finished the cider, my neck less sore than when I’d started. It’s been a while since a blog post, and this one is especially long. I promise I won’t leave as large a gap again.

Thanks for sticking with me, and with the game. I’m working hard to make this something we’ll all enjoy.

That I’m having so much fun along the way is gravy!

Lovers again, though all the world may scoff.



Quotes from Reunited by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Top image of
Bookbar where I'm writing this post.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2017, 08:24:05 AM by TheWanderingBen » Logged

TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #125 on: July 28, 2017, 08:21:11 AM »


And then I came to Three ways,
And each was mine to choose;
For all of them were free ways,
To take or to refuse.


Major choices in narrative games are often expected. Of course your decisions will have an impact! That’s why you play games after all: to see an immediate and lasting consequence to your actions; to shape the world in the mould of your heroes; to decide who lives and who dies!

Giving my players choices was always my intention, but my game’s themes aren’t so grandiose.

A Case of Distrust is not an epic. You won’t find mythical creatures or magical spells between its covers. It’s not about transforming the world, or saving it from the grasp of evil. It’s about a society, its charm, and its blemishes. It’s about understanding the impact of an average person, and how little that can actually be. It’s about a mystery with a culprit — one character has to be guilty, and, whatever a detective’s choices, that fact won’t change.

So what do players decide then?

They choose how to navigate this society. They dictate their main character’s reactions. They build the Phyllis Malone they want to see.

Of course, a personality has personal consequences. The world won’t be different tomorrow if you’re more friendly to your neighbour — but your neighbour might be nicer to you! Depending on Malone’s actions, characters will start to see her in different ways. Sometimes that will mean an easier time solving a mystery, while other times it might add to her difficulties.

That’s what I’m working on now. The reactions of characters based on my players’ decisions. The subtle changes in the mystery based on who you think Malone should be.

Choices that won’t redefine your world. But choices that are intimate.



Quote from The Choice by Robert William Service

Top image by I. Melenchon
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #126 on: September 20, 2017, 09:14:36 AM »



PAX WEST

PAX West. Ow. My exhaustion is only now waning, two weeks after the final day of that massive show. The wall of humans chronically surrounding the Indie MEGABOOTH transcended any other convention I've seen, as an attendee or presenter. If you came around the booth, you may have found my voice rough and strident, or my words slurred, or that I was nearly unconscious. And my feet still hurt.

But my complaints are trivial compared to the rewards. Hundreds of showgoers once again reminded me that, hey, A Case of Distrust is damned cool. Many players groaned when the demo ended, eager to continue Malone's story. The diverse crowd dug the style and wanted more. And, of course, the cat got much love.

If exhaustion is the only price for that pleasure, sign me up every time!

A very heartfelt thank you every single person who played the game; to the Indie MEGABOOTH team for selecting A Case of Distrust; to Christopher Wulf who coordinated the booths expertly; to Yaprak and David DeCarmine for showcasing the game at the Game Jolt party; to Luke Icenhower who gave me a place to stay; to Dino Ignacio, Evan Champlin, and Rex for reminding me that Seattle friends are awesome; and to Kyle Seeley and Robin Ras for watching the booth and finding food and getting wasted together.

Until next year!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #127 on: September 20, 2017, 09:26:40 AM »

Awesome!! I love that mass of sticky notes with player comments  Kiss it gives me a warm feeling.
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #128 on: September 20, 2017, 09:47:15 AM »

Awesome!! I love that mass of sticky notes with player comments  Kiss it gives me a warm feeling.

Yeah, me too! All the work feels justified when I read those comments and talk with excited players. Here's how they left the notes on the booth on each of the two days:

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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #129 on: October 18, 2017, 08:14:24 AM »

small UPDATES



small Update 1 - IndieCade



A Case of Distrust was selected for IndieCade 2017 in the Documents section. The festival was hosted by the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, LA. My experience was incredible! Each creator showed an innovative or evocative piece, and most attendees were developers themselves who asked thought-provoking questions. The lunch conversations, the drinking exchanges, the informal meetings — every interaction was filled with passion and veracity.

And the game showed in a quiet setting, with seating for devs, which was nice.



small Update 2 - Taylor



Taylor Pereira, one of my childhood friends, will be doing additional character art for the game! I recruited him as a roadie for E3, and that experience inspired him to get into the art of video games. I'm excited to have him on board to help finally finish this game.



small Update 3 - Steam



The game is on Steam! You can now add it to your wishlist and track the game's progress over there. One step closer to launch! Expect pre-orders soon!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 08:31:10 AM by TheWanderingBen » Logged

TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #130 on: October 23, 2017, 07:02:26 AM »

DREAMHACK DENVER

Seems like a Serenity Forge intern died during setup...



And then others joined in the fun!



Thanks for coming out!



This was the last show of the calendar year! Now time to focus on development of this damned thing!
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« Reply #131 on: October 23, 2017, 09:08:28 AM »

That "interactive" outline is a great idea! Smiley
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« Reply #132 on: December 10, 2017, 09:19:54 AM »

On Friday, I finished the epilogue. The final thing I'll ever write on A Case of Distrust. Over two years of work. It's almost done. Feeling pretty good. Here's a character you haven't seen before, looking rather proud of me:

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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #133 on: December 23, 2017, 04:32:38 PM »

Just played A Case of Distrust fully, taking detailed notes (that I'll show you upside down so you don't get spoiled):



These nine pages of fixes, mostly minor text edits, are all that stand between me and Content Lock!

Wish me luck this weekend!

UPDATE: Of those nine pages, only 20 items remain! Some of them will take a little longer, but Content Lock is in sight!
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« Reply #134 on: December 23, 2017, 09:17:15 PM »

And just like that, the content in the game is LOCKED. There will be a few minor features (windowed mode anyone?!), and likely some small tweaks to the story to improve clarity. But otherwise, we’re locking this bad boy down. It’s mostly bugs from here on out!

It’s coming together real soon!

I know there’s still some work to do, but, like our good friend Sam Shipman, I can’t quite stifle my smile:



Happy Screenshot Saturday everyone!
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #135 on: December 30, 2017, 09:26:30 AM »



It’s been a week since A Case of Distrust entered “Content Lock”. For me, that means my game is shippable. I’ve given it enough love to release tomorrow — and if it did, I’d be proud of it.

Yes, it also means you’re close to playing it. (Excuse my massive exhale.) More on the release date in the near future.

So what’s happening now? Fixing minor bugs takes a lot of time. Issues like “the music doesn’t fade nicely here”, or “a saved game takes too long to load”. These things wouldn’t sink a game, but they would fracture a player’s experience. An old friend once told me to make every interaction magical. Anything that breaks the spell must be polished away.

There are also quality-of-life features, which includes accessibility features for disabled games. Able Gamers has great articles on issues around accessibility, and Game Accessibility Guidelines offers a good checklist to consider when building a game. I likely won’t be able to implement some of the items on that list, but each item I add improves the game for a largely ignored group of players. That’s worth it for me.

Finally, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me lately. I took pains to update a weekly devlog during my first year of game development. The second year, which involved a lot of writing, was more difficult to share without knowing my final script.

(Maybe that’s true. But maybe it’s also an excuse. Having spent a year abroad without being close to finishing my game, I think I dove too deep into development. Sure, being a solo-developer means that any time I’m not working on the game there’s zero progress. But I ignored the fantastic people that got me here — the ones who lifted me up when I wanted to throw this all away. Thank you.)

Now that the story’s complete, I have more room to breathe. I’ll give you a peek into certain sections, and explain how and why I made my decisions. Expect many more posts in the coming while.

Thanks for following!
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nathy after dark
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« Reply #136 on: December 30, 2017, 11:01:24 PM »

I'm v excited. It's been a pleasure!
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #137 on: January 03, 2018, 04:00:49 PM »


SLOWLY, YOU WILL

I’m proud of A Case of Distrust. In world where I didn’t make this game, but instead stumbled upon it by chance, it would instantly rank among my favorites. I love this thing.

It wasn’t always clear that I would.

March 2016, in the melting Penang heat, I was dejected. Four months of development, and I realized: my game sucked. Four months of scrupulous research, exhaustive plot creation and writing tests, extensive visual art trials, and meticulous code structuring. None of it mattered. The game sucked. The game suuuuuuuuucked. Why did I ever leave Visceral Games, or BioWare, or even EA Mobile? (God damn I had some good times at ol’ EA Mobile.) What made me think I could create my own thing? What hubris possessed me to give up my fantastic life? To do what — to make it better? Augh. I will never make a good game.

And then I did.

Slowly, I did.

So fucking slowly. It’s been almost two years since that Penang sweat. Both the tortoise and the hare have retired, but I’m still going.

In the interim I discovered something rarely shared: Every good game you have ever played has sucked. Go to GDC, E3, PAX,  or IndieCade — find a developer, hand her a drink, and ask about the worst moment. It’s unlikely she’ll tell you about the hard crunch. She’ll share that point where the game was far along, and then, she realized, it sucked. The game suuuuuuuuucked.

And then, it didn’t.

Slowly, it didn’t.

So fucking slowly. But with careful analysis — a deep breath and critical questions (why does this suck, how can it be better?) — the game improved.

If you are at that low moment now, or if you ever get there, I encourage you to keep going. (Hell, if this is future Ben Wander, once again struggling to find the fun: keep going!) Be honest with yourself, but be hopeful. You’ll get there.

Slowly, you will.



Image by William Warby
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« Reply #138 on: January 06, 2018, 07:01:28 AM »

Love this last post, Ben. I'm so proud of you. I can't wait to see it finally come out! It'll be on my Steam page for sure Smiley
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TheWanderingBen
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« Reply #139 on: January 08, 2018, 02:14:43 PM »

Big news today! A Case of Distrust will release on FEBRUARY 8TH!

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