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Surreality development begins! Page coming soon.

While not a direct sequel, it is a sort of spiritual successor to Esoterica. It will not have an action shooting system in place, nor will any of the characters carry over. I can't even say that they share a universe, for sure, due to the fact that esoterica is much less grounded in reality. The surrealist theme will be much more prevalent, however, and it will play more like an oldschool adventure game. I can also say that players who experienced esoterica will definitely notice the parallels in plot.

One thing that is very similar is that it will be a complete mindfuck until the very end. Much less of an esoteric ending though, as there are no multiple meanings this time. There were diverting views on my ending commentary last time, so this will make sure there is no need for explanations. Don't worry though, it'll still be surprising, and everything will come together in a tight little package.

Timewise, it will be about as short as esoterica. In terms of development time, it is going to take longer than a month this time. The reason behind this is because I can't begin eventing until I finish all of the mapping.

Expect the new game page soon!



There are still a couple bugs in the game, but as far as I know there aren't any game halts. Thanks to chana for the first bug report!

I should talk about the outro, as I knew from the beginning that many people wouldn't like it being there. It is, however, (like most things in this game) completely optional. A lot of people will immediately get the ending, but some people won't, and it doesn't mean they're idiots for it or anything. In fact, there are still many questions to be asked at the end of the game. The outro explanation is simply my take on things, but that doesn't necessarily mean I have a definitive answer for everything seen in the game. We'll never truly know what happens "after" the events shown, and I suppose it could mean anything is possible. Also, I wanted to cover my ass by explaining the "clues" to clear up any confusion before any reviews started pouring in. Just remember that not every author has every answer to every question in the universe they've created.

P.S. Dumbledore is gay.

I'm still planning another release of the game, but it may have to wait until after the end of the contest. I want to wait and see some reactions and get a few more bug reports before attempting another release.


Progress Report #6 Beta test iii

It's a damn good thing I finished this early, because as expected, there were many bugs in regards to the gameplay that I missed in my original playthrough. Mostly, the battles made sense to me and to me only, and pretty much anyone else would have been stumped by the whole positioning thing (which barely worked anyway).

So, what have I done? I retooled it all. It's an extremely simple system now, and you'd pretty much have to try to be killed. This may piss a few people off, but hey, it's a contest entry, and I have other projects that need more focus. All battles are skippable now too (except for the tutorial battle, so try not to fuck it up) :P

I keep adding little pieces of dialogue here and there too. There's an outro commentary (optional as well) which explains the ending in more depth for those who are left confused, a tale of how the story came to be, and an explanation of the clues that lead up to the surprise ending.

I'm very glad that I still have ten days left to submit, as I feel as though I have all the breathing room in the world. It's entered the final beta testing phase, so there will be no more tests after this one (both amerk and I are doing final playthroughs... unless he doesn't get the last email I just sent him, in which case I couldn't possibly put him through it all a fourth time).


Progress Report #5: Finished!

Just sent the beta over to amerk. I tested it today, and it took me an estimated 45 minutes to get through the whole thing. It'll probably take others even less time since they won't be checking for spelling mistakes and whatnot.

I'll have the game uploaded as soon as I fix any bugs amerk finds.


Progress Report #4

The story and scenes are all finished for all 3 acts. It may seem a little abrupt, but I think this works a lot better than dragging it on and on. I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out.

What I have left is to add the music to the third act, connect the scenes in the most logical order, and finish off the gameplay parts. I hope to have all this done by the 20th, send it off to Amerk for a quick test, and release it as soon as I can.

While there are less surreal elements than I had originally intended, it's all in the best interest of the game. I'm not really trying to win this contest, I do want it released in time for it, however. It is what I believe it should be, and that's a real mindfuck of a story with some small optional gameplay elements.

As I had previously mentioned, this is part of a spiritually connected trilogy. I won't start on the second entry for quite some time, maybe not even until the next major contest. It'll have the same development time as this one, that's all I can really say for sure. All I can really hope for right now is that this game generates enough interest that I'll eventually get to it at all. Even if I don't this is pretty much a standalone game in itself, so it's not like you're missing out on what happens to these characters next or anything. Their storyline ends here.


Progress Report #3

Just finishing off Act 2 today. i took a couple days off to get drunk, get sick, recover, and get drunk again. I love Summer.

I'm going to have to change a few things on the main game page, as some aspects of the project have changed a bit to accomodate the short production time. I still think it's a trippy experience anyway. I'm mostly concerned with the pacing right now, delivering a juicy plot progression while keeping it as short as possible. Act 2 focuses much less on relationship development, however, so I can only hope I achieved enough of that in Act 1.

As for the finale, I'm probably gonna cut the game down to 3 acts total. It just seems like a whole lot more running around than there needs to be if I added the fourth act, but we'll see how much story I can fit into the third act first. I'm not sure location-wise where the rest of the scenes will take place, which is a change from these first two acts where I basically had a plan.

Act 1 has been edited and put properly together, aside from a couple door switches. I'll be making sure the scenes flow alright later tonight.

In my next update, I will most likely be calling for beta testers, as it appears my usual collaborator is on holidays and it wouldn't hurt to have a few people taking a look at this before the release anyway.


Progress Report #2

Act One of Four is complete. Keep in mind, I may add a fifth if need be. An act is simply structured around an action mission and a major event. In the first act we're introduced to the team and get some sense of their relationships with one another and Eddie, and aside from a brief dream sequence and some odd behaviour from a bartender, there aren't any surrealist elements introduced yet. The reason for this beign that I want to immerse players in a world that is very real first before diving into the craziness surrounding the mystery.

My hope is that nobody gets bored before the mood does change. The brief dream sequence I added yesterday should help to prevent that a bit. As I've worked on this over the past 3 days, it's become more of a horror themed story than I had expected. The psychological horror has always been there, but I have since decided to add more horror imagery to further the impact it will have on players/viewers.

Tip: Play this game with the lights off and headphones on.

Arranging the scenes in the most effective way is proving to be the most difficult part, but so far I think I've done alright. I'll update again when I'm finished with Act 2.


Progress Report #1

On the first day of this contest I managed to get quite a bit done for this. Not only did I get all the resources I need, but I finished off the intro, the first 2 scenes, and the first mission. I barely did anything on it yesterday, as I was busy finishing off the Fragile Hearts demo, which was promptly sent off to Amerk for testing.

The game is more structured like a movie than an actual game. In fact, it would easily be transferable into a film, if I were ever to get the drive to write out the script. The original idea was to include RPG battles, but on a whim, I came up with a simple action battle system to replace it (even though I spent HOURS finding appropriate battle characters). The more I think on it now, however, the more it seems like the actual missions should be optional. Therefore, I'll include an option to skip missions and move right on to the next major cutscene. I'm doing this because there will be a lot of people who get frustrated with the battles (even though I think they're pretty easy) or won't appreciate my level designs, but there are also those who need to actually play the game to stay interested rather than just watching the whole time.

Anyways, first and foremost, I want to focus on story development. It's a real mindfuck of a story once the surreal elements are finally introduced, and I really want people to walk away from the experience with some heavy reflection on what it all means. It's very esoteric... perhaps I should change the name to Esoterica: The Dreamlike. I just may do that.

To describe the battles a bit further, the system has its obvious problems. I could mend some of these but given the short development time, I'll probably just leave players to deal with it. The first obvious problem is that the target sign will follow you everywhere once it has been activated, so you can't hide where the enemy can't see you, you'll always be moving around trying to find the right shooting angle. It's extremely unrealistic, but honestly, it makes it more fun in my opinion. It will stop players from trying to run from battles too. I have thought about perfecting it for an entirely new project some other time, which will focus more on gameplay than story. I'm pretty full up on projects right now though.

Anyhow, I wish everyone participating luck in their development, and I'll be updating regularly.
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