Visibility Jam. July 19-21, 2024. Happening now.

Welcome to the Seabird Development Blog!

Timothy Barnes
This is the first blog post for Seabird, a game I am designing based on character interaction. Seabird is the project that is keeping me busy through my college years. I am excited to have Seabird here on the handmade network.

I feel that the handmade network is a good place for this project for at least two reasons:
1. I have found the people here helpful and supportive, and I think this community will be valuable to help Seabird come together.
2. I care about learning how things work. This has influenced the choices of technology in the game which makes it fits nicely with the other projects here.

I started working on Seabird in 2016. Seabird started as a simple prototype. In the prototype there were a number of squares that would stay near other squares of their same color on the screen. The player controlled a square that was falling. If the player was near other squares, then the player would stop falling, but the other squares do not always want the player near them. To avoid falling, the player needs to understand how the other squares react to the things the player does.

For instance, upon going near a group of squares of the same color, the squares may initially be interested in the player because they have not seen the player before. After some time the squares may become uninterested, but other squares in the same group may still want to continue to help the player. The squares trying to help will then try to get their uninterested friends to come help.

The white gauges above each square was used to represent how much each square was willing to help you.

I also made a prototype of the player controls and character dialog.

(I guess the answer to the question in that dialog is (if you look closely) their wings are not entirely connected to their body.)

Goal for the development of Seabird:

The only thing I am trying to do with Seabird is to make interesting character interactions between the player and other characters.

I would like to get closer to understanding better how interactive fiction could work in a game, but I am content for now with making a game that has interesting and challenging character interactions, regardless of whether the sum of the interactions emerges into a tight narrative.

I hope to share the development of Seabird through streams and posts here on this blog.
I would like to do a live stream demonstration whenever I have some notable update on the game. This way I can share the progress of the game design, technology, and artwork.
You can reach me on twitter or leave a message here if you have any questions or thoughts. I would like to hear from you.


So, what is the main thing that you do in the game? Do you talk to birds and try to understand where to go to get more help?
That's a cool premise. Player/NPC interaction has so much room for improvement in games.

Good luck, and keep us up-to-date!
Hi Anton. Thanks for your interest in the game.
You navigate through wind currents and whirlwinds to find different flocks, hoping that they will be able to help you get back to your family flock.

The gameplay is based around the mechanic of flocks leaving to find other flocks. The objective is to learn about the flocks, who they will fetch, and under what conditions, and use this knowledge to make your way back to your family. When you are with your family, your objective is to try to navigate the wind to avoid loosing them again.

The way other flocks help you get back to your family flock is by sending out a few birds to go looking for your family or another flock that could help you get back to your family. They will only leave if the player is stable, meaning they are not in a whirlwind or falling.

The reason to be with your family is because they keep you from falling. They do this by leaping over and catching you when you fall. When this happens, you stop falling for a little while. Other flocks might help by catching you too, but less readily, and they might even leave when you need them.

You do not directly control the dialog in the game. It happens by itself depending on what is going on. The purpose of the dialog is to help you understand what is happening between the player character and the flocks.

Sorry to write a tome here. I hope to get things together for a demonstration on twitch soon. I’ll try to post an update on the blog at least a week before the demonstration date.