Alpha Update + Press Links

Hey everyone, here’s an update on the game and some press activity. I’ll start off with the press stuff.

  • The Novelist was written up in the LA Times, which is definitely the biggest non-gaming site to do a story on the game so far. Very exciting!
  • I was also the guest on this week’s Core Elements podcast, which is a full show that’s not just about my game. If you want to hear the Novelist bits they’re closer to the end of the show, though if you listen to the whole thing you get to hear me talk about my favorite game of all time and mention three games I’ve really enjoyed recently.
  • And how could I forget my friends over at I met Landon at Indie Press Day back in May, and we immediately hit it off. They produce a great show at BigSushi, and I had a lot of fun as their guest. You guys should definitely add their podcast to your feed; they’re doing interesting stuff over there.

As for the game itself, I’m in the midst of a big push to revamp the gameplay loop. I got a lot of great feedback on the recent alpha build that I sent out to friends and family, and for the last few days I’ve been implementing a new plan for how the flow of a chapter works. Without getting into too many low-level details, there were some parts of the game that were overly confusing and restrictive, and I’m making some changes to open the game up and make it more organic and exploratory. More environmental storytelling, different types of writing, different types of memories to discover, and so on.

When you’ve worked on something for a long time you inevitably lose your objectivity, which is why getting outside feedback is so essential to making a great game. I’ve had some of the smartest designers in the industry give me feedback and suggestions for the game, and it’s been a huge help. Luckily the main features in the game are in a finished enough state that solving the clarity issues isn’t a case of inventing new features from whole cloth or dramatically changing the game, but are instead about reorganizing and reconfiguring what’s already there. The goal is to take the game from “Hey, this is really cool, but it’s sorta confusing at times” to “Wow, I totally know how to play this game and I’m having a great time.”

The last few milestones on a project are always filled with excitement and change, and so far things are going well. And with that, I gotta get back to work!

Thanks again to everyone who’s shown such incredible support for the project. You guys are proof that the internet can be a positive, supportive place. I can’t wait to get the game into your hands.