I made quite the challenging decision today, I hope will lead to a slew of positives where Nambug is concerned. When I originally started work on the game I wrote out a list of ideas that either inspired me to think about it completed, or that I just knew I had to include. For instance while I didn’t want the world to be simulated on an atomic level, I did want the NPCs to think for themselves, and to do so based on internal components and past experiences. Some of the more fundamental ideas that emerged out of this thought-soup stuck around for quite a while, and many of them survived until today (and by proxy, until this weekend). A few major concepts got sliced today, to provide a more measured experience for the player, and to allow the remaining systems room to breathe. I list now, a few examples of late stage cuts made this evening:
- While the genuine sight and hearing systems survived, the fairly involved system of scent, flow, and diffusion was definitively carved from the game. While it was complete, and did work as intended it became apparent that it was taking up more time and resources to find interesting uses for than it was worth. This seams a shame, and I may someday return to some similar system for a future project – but not here in Nambug.
- Another such idea was one of 3D printers. This game being set in some far future after an unknown ‘great collapse’ – it made sense to allow for such technology to exist. Thematically I really liked the idea of new proto-tribes forming around the use of these now seemingly magical machines. As with the scent system, I did get so far as functionality for both the player and the NPCs, revolving around a system of schematics. In terms of actual gameplay this seemed to funnel the game into some bizarre futuroid collect-a-thon. I cut this in favor of more time spent on genuine experiences.
- Finally, (and this is a big one) I cut the fundamental system of materials. Every object in the game is essentially the same thing – a somewhat easy way to look at it: Nambug runs on a quasi-ECS framework. One of the earliest implemented ideas that was an underpinning system until now was the idea of Materials. I had a short list of 36 materials that in various combinations comprised everything in the game. I really liked this idea until I realized it was very cool sounding in my head, and had almost no visual application in the game. After cutting the 3D printer it was essentially vestigial and so, the axe.
I’m sure there will be more cuts along the way. I’ve been pretty good about scope creed throughout the prototype and first playable phases, but these cuts will lead to a more precise experience and allow me to lavish more attention on the ideas that remain. Stay tuned!