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253 - Neverending Nightmares Regrets

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:30 am
by matt
In this dev diary I talk about my regrets, and what I would change about Neverending Nightmares if I had a time machine. Mostly I am happy with the game, but there are a few things I would have liked to change.

Re: 253 - Neverending Nightmares Regrets

Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:52 am
by evilkinggumby
I am sure you are dreading having me go on some diatribe or rant about the game after posting this.. lol.. Dont' worry I won't do that.

My only thing to chime in is that regret, in life and in our creations, is only as good as what we learn from the things we contemplate (with regret). I honestly see no use, or benefit, to you having any regret (small or large) for NeN if you did not actually learn anything from the experience. Sadly this monologue didn't actually offer any insight in " If i went back I would change this, and I'll be sure to consider this with NeN 2: Sleep Free or Nightmare Harder." Now you may not have because OF COURSE you will apply what you learned, but it would have been nice to see some of that in your words. Now I just see you offering regrets and things you'd possibly have changed (and yes, most of what you said you might change felt like a "maybe" and not a concrete "YES") but no clear path showing you learned from the mistakes. Instead it seems like sadness, regret, and possibly frustration. Those are ok, normal, human feelings. but not necessarily productive.

See what I am getting at? I want to see you progress, improve, move ahead and keep on a path to becoming something more human than human. hehehe. Or maybe a developer more developed than developers are.. lol... Or a Model D-1000 Game development terminator!


Anyhow thats mostly me and I am sure others will look at this and think very different things.

Though to tie together a few videos.. i will say i am curious. when you lay out the stuff you regret about this game, and then consider the development process with the team and your dictatorship methods, do you think there is anything you might change? was there moment where the team suggested something, you quashed it and now you look back and think " maaybe they were right" or a moment you had an idea, but now you wished someone stopped you and said " ok I am not sure this is going to work" but because of the heirarchy you designed, it couldn't happen?

Re: 253 - Neverending Nightmares Regrets

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:57 am
by matt
No, I don't think anyone presented me with an idea that would have addressed any of the issues that would improve the game. However, there are no other "game designers" on the team. Dan is more of a tools/engine programmer (gameplay programmers do quite a bit of game design, which is how I got my start) and the rest of the team is artists. That's not to say they can't have amazing game design ideas (Joe has a game idea that I keep telling him to write a design doc for), but a lot of the little tweaks require someone with an eye for those type of things.

This video is specifically about what I would change on Neverending Nightmares 1. The next game we are working on has a clean slate, so I am actually making significant changes to the way the game works based on the response to the first game. Obviously, I don't want to say everything we are doing but here are things I've already talked about:
1) It'll be more gamey. Not super gamey, but there will be more puzzles/objectives/interactions. There is also a new mechanic that I think people will be pretty excited about that will make exploration more entertaining.
2) It will be linear. This will mean that all content will be critical path, which I think is a win when you aren't presenting a ton of content. The game will still have about 3 hours of content, but everyone will play through it rather than reaching an ending at 1.5 to 2 hours.
3) It will be more story driven. Neverending Nightmares was very light on story because it was meant to be symbolic. There wasn't SUPPOSED to be a personality for Thomas. I deliberately kept him vague and weird. This was important to me because I didn't want anything distracting from the mood I was trying to convey, but the story is probably the third most important thing in the next game. (One is the horrifying atmosphere, two is building out the world)
4) We are downplaying the vulnerability of the player a bit. As much as I liked the asthma mechanic, it definitely drew some ire. There will still be stamina, but the character doesn't have asthma, so it isn't as punishing. The asthma mechanic was very important to tension in our enemy set ups in Neverending Nightmares, so I don't view it as a regret, but I have different plans for the enemy set ups.

Does that answer your question?

Re: 253 - Neverending Nightmares Regrets

Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:07 pm
by evilkinggumby
more or less yeah that answers my question. And the list you have going for changes for the next game- keep that handy as I think citing all those differences and alterations/improvements could really work in your favor for the next project and kickstarting it. As it is I am already getting ramped up about it, and thats no easy feat. :)