Detailing the world

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A couple of weeks ago I finally managed to get all the key story elements in the prototype. You can now, for the first time, play the game from start to end.
It’s a very rough ending but it’s there and it makes me very happy that I got to such a milestone.

I’ve also been regularly sending the game out to some friends to play and this has allowed me to fine tune the pacing and the difficulty of the puzzles. Still a lot of work to do but there is a clear progression in the overall quality.

For this post I’m going to cover something I’ve been tackling recently which is, trying to figure out how I can add all the story details into the world without messing up the simple interaction language and the clean readability of the environment.

As an example here is the bathroom’s medicine cabinet with the only gameplay relevant element:


Looks great no? Yeah..right…but it reads the way I want it to. You can immediately tell what you are supposed to interact with without wasting any time pixel hunting to see what you can grab or not.

But unfortunately it feels barren and without any personality. I want this cabinet to show the lifestyle of the couple and peek into the intimacy of their lives.
So taking that into account I made a pass to add more objects that you would normally see in a medicine cabinet but having them read as background:



The difference is night and day. You now get the feeling of peeking into someone else’s cabinet but the added detail will make the player go up and down with the mouse trying to figure out what is interactive or not…

On this third pass I tried to play with the colors and angle placement of the objects to accentuate what is relevant:



And quite happy with the results! There is no question of what is interactive or not and the background items are generic enough not to be a disturbing but detailed enough that you can make out what they are.

Still need to figure out how to deal with the extreme desaturation and not sure how this will work with other containers in the apartment…but looking forward to find out!


  • Niels Gade
    August 13, 2014, 5:43 am

    Those towels are folded so neatly you almost suspect the person of being a murderer.

  • Christopher
    August 13, 2014, 2:07 pm

    This game sounds and looks amazing. I just read the RPS article, and this game is now on my list mental of “Really Cool Things to Watch in the Future” (RCTWF for short). Is there any chance that this game will make it onto something like Steam Early Access before release?

    • Luis Antonio
      August 13, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Glad to see such a warm feedback from the prototype. This is the kind of game that is easily spoiled on the first playthrough so I’m not sure if it would fit with Early Access. On the other hand I need to figure out how to eventually get some funding to be able to dedicate my full time to the project. I guess only time will tell!

      • Christopher
        August 13, 2014, 3:23 pm

        That’s true, wouldn’t want the game spoiled before it was even complete. Well, whatever way you get it funded, I wish you luck. This sounds like a game worth making.

  • Yankee101
    August 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

    Surely looks nice! I like it when PnC games can actually show you the items you can interactive with rather than lead you onto a wild pixel hunt which serves no good for the story.
    So keep up the nice work! Are you considering gonig on tigsource or indiedb or anything?

    • Luis Antonio
      August 13, 2014, 4:30 pm

      I thought about tigsource but in the end I think it makes more sense to keep the development progress all in one place, the current website.

  • Benedict Heaps
    August 15, 2014, 11:53 pm

    Can’t wait to play this game. The RPS piece plus your images in this blog make it sound incredibly detailed. You mention once-through games and It makes me think of those sand mandalas that Buddhist monks, I think, make. So much work and attention to detail but it can only be fully enjoyed once. I wondered if, with the mechanics and concept figured out, will it be easier to create sequels in the future, or would you prefer you leave this as one-of-a-kind?

    Also, if I may, why did you settle on twelve minutes as the time span?

    • Luis Antonio
      August 16, 2014, 8:58 am

      Never thought about the ideas of sequels. It’s true that once the game is done, if I wanted to do something similar, it would be a lot easier since I’ll have the pipeline.I’ll probably be satured with the concept and will want to try something completely different though. As for why the twelve minutes, I’ll cover it in a few weeks in another dev post!