AdventureJam 2016 happened and, once again, I was there.
This time with a story-driven “walking simulator” kind of game where the emphasis was on uncovering the story, not solving puzzles. Again there’s a lot of dialogue, but it’s more interactive — and this time the object of the game is to trigger as many conversations and find as many objects as possible to piece together what’s actually happened.
Before the jam started, my friend Shaun Aitcheson (of Cloak & Dagger Games) and I had what we thought, and still think, is a great idea: We each take photographs of our surroundings, send them to each other, and then we have to build a game around each other’s photographs.
We didn’t know what each other’s photos were going to be until the day before the jam started. Turns out, we photographed pretty much the same things. (Apparently, we both have a thing for graveyards.)
So — Shaun’s game, ærinde, takes place in Roskilde, Denmark, and my game takes place in wherever the hell Shaun lives in the U.K. His Twitter profile says Peckham, but I have no idea where that is. So I set my game in a fictional town.
My wife and I hammered out the story over a night, which was great fun — she’s got a fantastic imagination, despite the fact she couldn’t give less of a shit about adventure games. However, owing to a lot of factors, I sadly ended up having very little time to actually make the game.
The entire thing was put together in just four days (including the soundtrack), and this means that — despite this being quite the verbose game — the game is actually quite short on dialogue that doesn’t immediately advance the story.
The entire soundtrack was composed in the span of an hour and a half, and basically consisted of two or three synths playing long-ass chords at an ungodly slow bpm.
Also, the character sprites themselves are two coworkers of mine who just happened to say ‘yes’ to being photographed two day before the game was meant to be finished. It was the first time I’d ever tried photographing real people to use as character sprites, so they move in kind of a silly fashion.
Overall, the presentation is actually kind of silly, even though the story is meant to be really serious and somewhat creepy.