January and February have been difficult months for me. As a very long-lived pet reached the end of his life, I found myself needing to dedicate myself to his care. Prioritising his comfort and wellbeing during his final days was important to me, and I am totally happy to refund pledges for January and February for anybody who requests it.
February felt like a write-off. I am disappointed to say that I made very little progress with Voices of the Past, Winter's Wake or the Icicle engine. I didn't touch any of my older projects or do any meaningful work on new ones. This has been pretty demoralising, but I think it's part of dealing with loss. The Squishmonster was a part of my life for somewhere around 24 years the loss of the familiarity and closeness we had has been difficult to get used to.
The live demo of Voices of the Past that was being considered for DIY: Games to Inspire didn't pan out (which was probably for the best given how little work I was able to do), although copies of the game on disc were given away at the event.
In an effort to try to regain some of my motivation, I gave myself a couple of small scope projects and published two guides for the game Firewatch. The first was a list of all the collectible books in the game, with descriptions transcribed from screenshots and extracted textures (there were text resources that I could have extracted from the game's data files, but doing that felt like it would've undermined my purpose). Responses have mostly been positive, but seem to fixate on several non-collectible books not being included. I'd made a conscious choice to avoid those, as the divide between what's significant and what has enough content to write about becomes far more blurred (if the Teen Hunks magazine should be included, then shouldn't the photocopied cookbook? What about the books we only see partial covers of? The books that we only see spines of?). I'm open to expanding the book list in the future, but I'm keen to make sure it's consistent about what is/isn't included, and arriving at a decision on that
The second guide was a catalogue of all of Firewatch's Wildlife. This was a much larger scale project than the book list, and at the same time a much more enjoyable piece to work on. When I go hiking, being patient and observing wildlife is something I enjoy, and although Firewatch may be sparser on that front than I'm used to, I was able to find some of the same enjoyment there. The wildlife guide was mentioned in Graham Smith's Rock Paper Shotgun column, The Sunday Papers (thanks to some prompting from The Maker's Eden developer Jaco Gerber), and has garnered some nice comments.
I wanted to write something that expressed my experiences as though I were hiking through the game's environments myself. As I got close to publishing, I toyed with the idea of inventing a fictional character that had had these experiences, but ultimately I didn't want to push someone into the game's fiction that didn't exist. I tried framing it as being Henry's thoughts, but I'd not been writing with his tone. Eventually I opted to just pop "Unknown Author" on it and leave it as open as possible.
There are still a number of blank spots (the biggest one I want to nail down is the existence of a bear den - there are text resources from a conversation with Delilah about it, but it's unclear to me whether that's an unused asset or not), so I'm sure I'll be going back to refine it over time.
On the Cheese Talks front, at the beginning of February, I'd published a retrospective look at a big list of games that I'd played through last year, and towards the end of the month, I put effort into soliciting further responses to my Another World survey before its end date. I've decided to leave the questionnaire open and accept late responses, although the later they are, the less likely they'll be reflected in the resulting article.
I also officially retired the Humble Visualisations at the beginning of February. It's both saddening and liberating to not have it on my list of things to care about anymore.
March is typically a busy month for me. My partner Mim and I usually take our art and hand made cushions to a AICon, a local pop culture convention. I am anticipating giving Super Happy Fun Sun and Above The Waves some exposure there, but I'm still undecided on what form that will take, as space is at a bigger premium than the convention I demoed Above The Waves at in September last year.
Primary Project: Winter's Wake
- During March, I hope to, finish up HMD support and pushing out a new public build
- Voices of the Past was handed out on disc at DIY: Games to Inspire
- If I find time during March, I will aim to get Hover Drive and FLAT builds up to itch.io
- I feel that I am likely to deploy new builds of Voices of the Past ahead of updated Winter's Wake demo builds
- Published reflections on games played through in 2015 (article)
- Published some initial notes on Another World questionnaire responses (patron only post)
- Retired the Humble Visualisations
- For my Adventure Jam retrospective article, I've still been reaching out to organisers and judges to get their thoughts on the game and its outcomes (still waiting on responses from a couple of people)
- Another World questionnaire is now closed. Research work on gathering reviews, analyses and fan works of the game will continue
- Article on numeric ratings in game reviews is still coming - sorry for the wait!
- I plan to look at revisiting Cheese Talks' back end and styles soon to allow for nicer navigation
Thank you all again for your support.