We hope everyone's Thanksgiving made them feel as sleepy and fat as it made us feel! We've got some big news regarding our development this month, so let's get started!
Side-Quest's New Lease On Life!
We had a ton of great feedback on Side-Quest, everyone seemed to enjoy the alpha and we were more than happy to bring it to our patrons! After examining the product, what it was shaping up to be, and exactly what we want to bring to the people who have supported us, we here at Cuddle Pit reached a unanimous decision.
We can do better.
Our patrons have given us the freedom to not only create but to improve, and we only improve by challenging ourselves. So Side-Quest, now a working title, is undergoing some major changes, all of which we believe are positive both for the final product but for the development of the project itself.
Let's start at the top!
Side-Quest's Lofty Writing Ambitions!
First thing's first, we've decided to take it from the top with Side-Quest's script, retaining only a basic premise, some locations, most of the characters and a joke or two from the original script. Otherwise, we've been planning out a script that is more ambitious, more riveting, funnier, darker and more intense than anything we've yet attempted, at least through Cuddle Pit.
We obviously can't tell you much, as a great deal of the new script, as was the old, is based on twists, turns and hidden information. We'll keep you updated as best we can! What we can tell you is that the current outline is far less linear than the alpha and player actions will matter in far more consequential ways.
Directing Side-Quest's Art Like Never Before!
Our artists, hard at work as they usually are, have begun stretching their directing muscles here at Cuddle Pit! Above is a set of rough animatics, playing sequentially in .gif format, created to better illustrate an intended scene. With the freedom to have our artists, rather than the limitations of telling a story strictly through text boxes, decide how our scenes can and should look, Side-Quest is shaping up to be a more visually interesting project than Cuddle Pit has yet undertaken!
With this kind of direction, a type of motion-comic, or even moving, visually dynamic dialogue sections, could be used to punctuate key scenes in Side-Quest!
The above animatic is a test scene, not necessarily anything intended to appear in Side-Quest specifically, but was created in order to see how Side-Quest could and should be able to visually convey scenes.
Is It Still A Visual Novel?
Yes and no! Yes, as in, it is still a moderately long-form story told mostly through character dialogue and influenced heavily by player decisions!
No, as in, it is no longer defined by its confinement to these boundaries. Side-Quest's current plan and build is defined by player involvement and a greater emphasis on non-Visual Novel style interactivity. We'd like, very much, to allow Side-Quest to blossom into a game, with as much reliance on skill and interactive entertainment as the games that inspired us into this business!
Which naturally leads us to:
Side-Quest's Fancy New Engine!
Many of our contemporaries have done amazing things with Side-Quest's previous engine, Ren'Py. It's a reliable piece of hardware that is capable of amazing things, but we believe it's time for us to say goodbye. Side-Quest's development has officially and completely switched over from Ren'Py to GameMaker Studio 2!
As shown in the above GIF, our switch to GameMaker Studio 2 has already been a fruitful one. Our commitment to a greater emphasis on gameplay, along with our existing background programming in GMS2, means that our ambitions to make Side-Quest smoother, sleeker and more fun than anything we've made before are not only possible, but are demonstrably achievable by our own in-house team!
How Ambitious Are We Talking Here?
So far, compared to the original, the game as planned has not doubled in size, nor do we intend to double its size. Among the many benefits on working on Side-Quest, one of them is the ability to stretch our development muscles as a unified studio. With that, we are remaining conscious of how far exactly we can stretch. We have based our plans directly on qualities, ambitions and ideas we know we are already capable of.
This is exactly why we are comfortable with releasing the updates on our development here and now. We recently began experimenting with a new engine, with changes to the script and with a greater focus on art direction, and with the success we've achieved in that department, we're happy to say that the experiments were a success, that our artists are flourishing with this newfound creative freedom, that GMS2 is a great fit for Side-Quest and that our new story outline and burgeoning script is as fun as it is surprising.
In other news, we'll also be doing our last pass on Nowhere Girl on (Today? December 1st?) so if you're a $10+ patron and haven't received your complimentary key yet, then don't forget to message us soon!
We should also have a new pin-up posted very soon!
We're very excited about all of our recent developments, and we'll be updating you with more information as it develops. Thanks again to all our patrons and we'll talk to you again soon!