Tag Archives: film

Ossuary Status: Steady, Sinful

a preview screenshot from Ossuary showing some stylized people standing around in a dim museumEarly in March, I previewed my next game, “Ossuary.” It’s coming along nicely, although the screenshots are still rather boring. I’m focusing on getting the puzzles together before fleshing out the art and writing. I’ve got a whole lot of content in already, though. Some numbers:

  • 15 puzzles done out of a projected 30
  • 49 NPCs; the final game may have over 75
  • 248 lines of dialogue out of perhaps 400 or more

This is sort of what I was talking about a month and a half ago with respect to the cost of content. I’ve done very little in-depth programming on this game. Most of the time has been spent writing dialogue and hooking up the logic between the various NPCs. To be sure, this is still coding, and it can be interesting and tricky, but it feels a bit daunting.

“Ossuary” has no procedural content, so every minute of playtime the player experiences is the result of ten or thirty or sixty minutes of my development time. There’s a concept in film called cutting ratio that measures how much footage is filmed compared to how much ends up in the final movie. A cutting ratio of ten-to-one is perfectly acceptable. In game development, even if you never discard any code, there’s still an incredible concentration of developer time into player time.

The Length of Games and the Frailty of Memory

Recently, GameSetWatch linked to an article at You Are Lose! asking if a long game can tell an engaging story:

When RPGs or strategy games stretch into the dozens of hours, played over many weeks or months, how am I to be expected to recall something that happened in the beginning of the game?

The longer a game, the more likely I am to put it down for a lengthy time and forget major details about it. This is a major detriment, I think, to games’ ability to tell a story.

The author, Korey, makes a certain amount of sense. As he points out, many games will present information in the opening cutscene that’s not referred to again until hours later. In the middle, there’s a whole lot of content going on. However, I think that when interactive narrative is handled properly, works of equivalent scope need to be longer than their non-interactive equivalents. Let’s look at Valve’s Portal first.

Continue reading The Length of Games and the Frailty of Memory