This is a cross post from my blog about the development of my current game project. To follow its progress further and maybe look at some other art, head over to https://xuelder.com.


This will be the first of several devlogs I will write for my current Game Development project, named Project Bonsai for now. For those who follow me for my art, this will be a strange change of pace as I switch to mostly posting long lines of text, or the occasional in game screenshot.


When I first started this project, I only had one goal in mind: just get a game done and have it published. To do this I returned to a game genre that I had a small amount of development experience already under my belt in as well a genre I enjoy, narrative based adventure games. To this end I started researching ways to build it, and came to the conclusion that the KISS method is always best, and went with the Twine Engine, a narrative game engine that can be modified with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, all languages I am extremely proficient in.


In designing the mechanics, I initially wanted to keep it fairly simple with staples in the genre, multiple path choices and some small item fetch quests to move forward. However, in order to make it stand out I added two distinct features: the first, while not original, is an important in how I added the second, adding random rpg fighting encounters to break the monotony of a story driven campaign. However, encounters all have consequences to the social aspects of the narrative plot. Your character being injured may end up limiting choices in physical encounter choices, or may effect how sympathetic they are with you. Status effects from combat will also affect you in similar ways. For example, becoming confused can make choices go in the opposite path that you wanted, becoming poisoned can make choices timed events, etc.  


The reason I decided to add the consequences from combat to the “social” aspect is two fold. First, as a frequent DM for tabletop, nothing annoys me more than the lack of thought for the “social” consequence in Table Top Role Playing. In many cases, there is usually no thought in player characters minds to the fact that their actions, or inactions, have consequences in these imagined worlds. Often times I would find that players would just run straight from encounters in dirty places straight to their patrons, and it annoyed me that they didn’t think about things you would think about in real life for an important meeting, like personal appearance. Secondly, I have read around the net from various personalities like Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth about how they have had a negative experience playing much more advanced but fundamentally similar games to this project like Detroit Become Human or similar titles in the Narrative Game Genre where it is often not clear you were going down negative paths till the very end. In this case, I came to the conclusion that there needs to be a way that you could measure whether or not you are going down the right path or not. Positive and Negative consequences from combat could open up avenues to seeing how you are progressing the game, and could give insight or reasons as to why you are following the more dire paths in this narrative game.


All in all, this is where I am starting with Project Bonsai in this first week of development. Currently working in my prototype I have a turn based combat system, a list of status effects, a way to traverse forward without clicking links, and a rudimentary UI. It is not much to look at right now, but it’s only been one week. Next week I am hoping to have at least a working draft to start story boarding major events and other visuals, so tune in for that!