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Lachlan Easton
14 posts
Technically a Programmer
The Bearers of Bad News (narrative heavy game)
(drinking game: take a shot every time I use the word 'story')

First, some backstory writing the story.
I've had this story and cast of characters brewing in my head since mid high-school. Back then -like many naive teenagers- I wanted to write it as a novel. Unfortunately I suck at writing prose and lack the love for writing to become good at it. At some point I thought I would write is as a movie script, or even a stage-play, but I'd be powerless when it comes to actually putting it on screen or stage. A while back I played a game called To The Moon, which is quaint little story "about two doctors traversing through the memories of a dying man to fulfill his last wish". To The Moon touches similar themes and emotions that I want to explore with my story (but more on that in a bit). It was only recently that I realised that To The Moon's format is actually the perfect vehicle to tell my tale (I bet you're glad I didn't say story), I know how to make games, I've worked on more complicated projects before, dialogue comes much more naturally to me than prose, I can create competent (albeit amateurish) art, I think I might actually be able to pull it off.

The story itself.
Is pretty depressing actually. I'm not gonna lie. You must remember this story was born in an angsty teenagers mind. The story centers around Sarah Paddles, an apprentice of the titular Bearers of Bad News. The Bearers of Bad News is a messenger service dedicated to delivering -you guessed it- bad news. This includes (but is not limited to) informing people of their loved ones passing (death notifications), informing people of their terminal illness, or informing someone that their lover is breaking up with them. I don't want to spoil it any more than that.

Game-play (what little there is of it) largely consists of exploring dialogue trees (talking to characters) and delivering bad news. The game serves to tell the story foremost so don't expect deep puzzles, action sequences, skill trees etc. It is probably more similar to a visual novel than a point and click adventure.
The game will be presented in a top down RPG maker-esque pixel style (see below). I hesitate to call it retro as I'm using 24bit colors 8bit alphas and intend to have all sprite animations be in 60fps "on ones". The sprites are being made pre-rendering 3D models. The 3D models are being modeled and rendered in Blender.

About programming.
The game will at least release on Windows and is still in very early development. It is being written in C (and some C++). Other than the Windows apis I'm (currently) using OpenGL for rendering, SoLoud for playing audio, stb libs for loading and saving pngs and other stuff, DearImgui for editor&debugging tools, crunchlib for texture compression(which will have limited use since it's lossy and not great for pixel art) and glew because I'm lazy.

Anyway, that's enough words. Here are some pretty pictures to look at.

Game logo (which I might redo at some point since I'm not 100% happy with it):

In game screenshot of Sarah in her (unfinished) bedroom just to give an idea of what the game actually looks like:

And finally a drawing of protagonist Sarah Paddles in BoBN uniform:

I would love to hear what others think so I welcome any comments, criticisms, enthusiasm, doubts, questions, suggestions, romantic propositions etc. Let me know if anything I have written is unclear.
I'm Lachlan_Easton on IRC and lbeaston twitter if you want to get a hold of me elsewhere.

Viva la programación
Matt Mascarenhas
135 posts / 1 project
Annotator, supper gatherer and slammer of thunderous high fives
The Bearers of Bad News (narrative heavy game)
This is a quite fascinating premise! Without wanting to over-trivialise it, I think bearing bad news is something that depends pretty heavily on empathy and learning how best to deliver that news to, and manage the reactions of people. So, depending on where you want to go with it, you could have a fair bit of scope for developing a really rich cast of characters who Sarah must get to know individually (or the BoBN to have somehow gathered information about), who react differently to the news and whose reactions may have ramifications for the player. Trivially: Sarah has to deliver news i to someone who has x, y, z qualities; she delivers it in such a way that it prompts quality y of that person to lead them down their own path of self-destruction; Sarah subsequently finds herself tasked with delivering news j of that person's downfall, etc.

Personally, I'm not sure that explicitly stating those qualities would be the way to go, so the skill would be in imbuing them in the dialogue (or in free indirect speech, if you excuse the jargon) and art.
Casey Muratori
801 posts / 1 project
Casey Muratori is a programmer at Molly Rocket on the game 1935 and is the host of the educational programming series Handmade Hero.
The Bearers of Bad News (narrative heavy game)
This concept totally reminded me of its comedy version:

- Casey
Lachlan Easton
14 posts
Technically a Programmer
The Bearers of Bad News (narrative heavy game)
AHAHAHA! How have I never seen that before?