Hello backers, readers and search engine crawlers,
Today, we show you the third and final poster which will ship to our Kickstarter physical backers. I think you’ll like how it turned out:
The poster was drawn by Rashi Chandra, who also worked on Unrest in the early stages. Personally, I love how it combines traditional Indian painting art with a movie poster vibe with five player characters.
Now, here’s our scripter Ross about what he likes about working on Unrest:
It was an interesting day at Pyrodactyl Games, not least of which because Pyrodactyl has no office, and exists simultaneously in two different days depending on the hour. “ROSS ARE YOU AWAKE”, petitioned Arvind. “DEFCON 1 THE DEMO IS OUT.” Sure enough, the demo for Unrest had released on Steam a week ahead of schedule for reasons beyond comprehension. The news articles were already out, which is ironically how we learned about the mixup, and people were playing our prototype as we spoke. While the demo was playable to a given specification, it was out of date by at least a month of pure bug-fixing and polish. We needed to patch the thing, and patch it soon.
As I wrapped up the demo fixes, something in the Unrest discussion thread at Twenty Sided caught my eye. One of our players had arranged things in the demo chapter such that the character would willingly enter into an arranged marriage having sabotaged the entire affair without being caught. The chapter proceeded smoothly enough, but this looming conflict never came to a head anywhere the player could see. It was only possible to achieve this under a remote number of circumstances, but sure enough there was a not insignificant hole in the game that needed filling.
And in fifteen minutes we filled it.
Now, Unrest is something of a special case: due to our simple animation system and focus on dialogue over kinetic action, we have very little overhead to introducing new plots. Conversations between characters are often no more than a matter of a few minutes’ scripting. The turnaround is so short that we can make drastic changes effortlessly, and flesh out content at a moment’s prompting. It’s occurred to me several times that this must be how it feels to write something like a massively complex choose-your-own-adventure novel with dialogue mechanics, spacial movement, and all of the eponymous shoujos replaced by giant snake people. It may have also occurred to me that I’m something of a nutter.
This isn’t a formula that could serve every game, or even most of them. Unrest shares more in common with classic adventure titles (sans insane item puzzles) and early CRPG’s than it does the voice-acted cinematic action games that followed. We use text as dialogue, animated sprites, and painted backdrops of isometric elements, which all lend themselves to a very specific style of game. Still, I think the time cost of adding content to a game is important to consider no matter the genre.
Games love to push the envelope of visual fidelity. For an animated medium like ours this often bloats the workload of artists beyond the point where it even makes sense to change the game’s content once it’s created. Prototyping becomes ever more necessary, and even prototyping on top of the prototyping, to a point where everything must be planned beforehand and there’s no room for spontaneity or minute-to-minute flashes of inspiration or creativity to manifest. That’s not a dig at modern games – it’s literally the only option available until we find more efficient ways to automate the process.
This is why, after my stint as a level designer and 3D artist at Firearms: Source, working on Unrest has been such an interesting experience. If there’s a line that doesn’t work in the dialogue, it’s a few seconds from being changed. If there’s a new area we just realized would improve the story, an hour or so in Tiled and an XML editor placing the assets is all it takes. Experimentation is simple. We can try things at almost no cost on a day-to-day basis, crafting the game to fit our playing it as opposed to strictly the other way around. It genuinely makes Unrest better in every way, and it’s something I find is often overlooked when comparing indie games to their larger contemporaries.
We’re small in manpower and resources, no doubt, but with that comes some amazing flexibility. Simpler things are easier to change, and there’s an unspoken cost to dialing up the graphics and recording voices instead of writing text, as attractive as both of those things may be in the end. Sometimes it just helps to remember that fidelity comes on a gradient, and no position is without its tradeoffs.
Finally, since there was just too much optimism around here, here’s Arvind with the slightly annoying news:
Just a few weeks ago, we promised that we would give you the DRM-free builds a week before release. Unfortunately, due to several issues and the release date rush, we were unable to do that. The good news is that you will get the DRM-free build, just on the release date. We’re taking the extra time to quash last minute bugs, especially since patching and updating DRM-free builds is a lot tougher than on Steam.
There’s only 3 days to go, so I hope this slight delay isn’t too much of a problem. Thanks a lot for your patience and support, I hope to see and hear you all once you’re playing Unrest!
Feel free to tweet me @pyrodactylgames, also follow me to give Pyrodactyl that web 2.0 social media edge.