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The Bear and the Machine - Part 1

GENERAL INFO

High Concept

The Bear and the Machine is an Interactive Novel / Text Adventure game in 2 parts that is currently in development. The game is a Post-Apocalyptic tale set in an alternative version of Earth.

It's about the bear Matt Brown, an elite soldier, who works for the U.M.C.A (United Marine Corp of Animals).

Matt Brown, along with a team of other animal soldiers and a war-assistant android, must venture north to destroy the heart of an alien plantation to save the world.

Why I made this game

I am making this game to improve my narrative design and world-building skills since I'm very interested in those areas. The gameplay and style combines elements of visual novels and text adventures. It also has sound effects and music to enhance the atmosphere. The whole idea of the game is to tell a story that I've been developing in my head for some time now and I also want to show my strengths in Sound Design, Music, and Narrative Design, all in one place. 

I am building the game in Ren'Py, a free-to-use Visual Novel Game Engine, written in Phyton.

TARGET AUDIENCE: ADULTS / YOUNG ADULTS

DEVELOPMENT TIME: 3 MONTHS

GAME ENGINE: REN'PY 

TEAM SIZE: SOLO

Development

Early stages

During our Narrative Design course at Futuregames, the course leader, assigned us to create a text-based game with storytelling as the main pillar.

INSPIRATION AND GOAL:

I was greatly inspired by God of War 2018 and came up with an concept for a game. Instead of Kratos, a marine soldier bear would be the protagonist, and a war-assistant android would replace Atreus. The setting would be a post-apocalyptic version of Earth where animals had taken over after the humans, and they are now facing a threat from alien life forms. Already from the start, I wanted to explore themes of absolution where the protagonist starts at a dark place, but eventually "learns to forgive". The idea was that Matt Brown (protagonist) would show great distaste for the war-assistant android, but as the story progresses, he eventually see the android as a friend.

 

To summarise the concept:

Story-driven 3rd-person shooter with an over-the-shoulder camera perspective. Cool! now I just had to figure out how to make this game "text-based"... 

My submission for the Narrative Design course was a Twine game, which basically was a shortened version of the story's first act.

First version

The first version of the game. 

A 13-minute-long version of the first act. 

"TWINE SCREENSHOT"

Appearance / Texts / Colors

APPEARANCE :

Since Renpy was designed purely for visual novels, I had to modify its code to suit my game. I wanted a black background with pixelated text appearing letter-by-letter on the screen, almost like a typewriter/keyboard effect. 

TEXT:

I made changes to the code by adjusting the fonts, text box placements, and sizes to my liking, resulting in a satisfying result.

COLORS:

I made changes to the code to get the colors I wanted.

Other text-elements, like buttons, choices, and character names, are different from the body text. 

Text

Colors

CHARACTERS AND HEADINGS:

I defined all the characters that would be in the first part of the game, gave them appropriate titles and colors, and decided how some of the titles would appear on the screen.

Game Immersion

MUSIC & SOUNDS

In order to improve the gaming experience, I decided to create music and sound effects to enhance the narrative. My goal was to transport players to another world. If it is raining in the game scene, I want the players to experience the sound of the rain. Similarly, if the main character is inside a bar, I want the players to be able to hear the sounds, feel the smell and visualize the environment clearly.

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