I don’t have to tell anyone that this has been a strange year. I don’t know if I can really blame 2020 on the lack of blog posts, however. Some of the progress is hard to show, and we want to have a few surprises when the next game comes out.
The COVID-19 pandemic did impact things. We’re pretty sure one team member caught it but had almost no symptoms (and at a time when there wasn’t any testing to confirm it). Otherwise there hasn’t been any direct impact, since the team is distributed and people work out of their homes. But that is still very different when other family members are now doing that too, or you can’t leave your home. So we’ve all been affected.
Despite that, work on the next game, “Lights Going Out,” has proceeded. Currently, 317 scenes have been written and coded. Two thirds of them have been exhaustively tested. (For comparison, “Ride Like the Wind” ended up with 364 scenes.) Most of the non-scene writing hasn’t started, though there are currently two rituals running. (One of those may need to be reworked.)
We have a lot of great art. I don’t know quite what our target is here (since a lot depends on the not-yet-written scenes). But more has been completed so far this year than in 2019.
Although most testing has focused on individual scenes (the “trees”) in isolation, we have done some QA based on just playing (the “forest”). I think you could play for 13 years before running out of yearly content. So while it’s not at all balanced yet, the basic game still works fine.
Although the basic game is the same, different things matter. The game takes place generations later, so factions other than the Seven Families are important. And you’ll possibly be interacting with the supernatural in different ways. Plus, the supernatural will impact you in different ways. I’m in the middle of tweaking the map for this.
And speaking about both games, you can indeed load a game you won and continue it. A number of factors are brought forward. At least one was something that we hadn’t originally planned for. (You can certainly play “Lights Going Out” without having won or even played “Ride Like the Wind,” though we hope it will be a richer experience if you have.)
As I mentioned in December, we’ve also been prototyping some ideas for a different game. As I write, its fate is unclear. For what it’s worth, as a separate project it hasn’t affected the “Lights Going Out” schedule.
Unfortunately, that schedule still isn’t solid. It’s taken longer to get here than I’d like, but I think we have made considerably progress during a challenging year.