Back here with a devlog after a LONG time. It was a regular habit with Rainswept, but I totally neglected it during the development of Forgotten Fields. There's good reason to do both (to write or not to write) Does anyone really read these? (Not really) BUT, it does keep development focused, and these posts (especially newsletters) also add momentum to the overall marketing efforts. A dev can't just disappear during development and show up during release with a readymade game. In today's saturated market, you need to keep your project in the public eye throughout.
So hello! What's been up, you ask?
I started work on a horror project
After releasing Forgotten Fields in mid April, I spent two months at my parents place as I rode out the second wave here. One of those months was spent supporting the game, and all my free time and the next month was spent chilling, unwinding and catching up on video games. These were rainy months, and we were even hit by a very strong cyclone. I also finally played Silent Hill 2 (after listening to its amazing soundtrack for years) and it blew my mind. I spent every evening in the balcony after sunset, looking at the view across the horizon, while listening to the Resident Evil soundtrack. I don't remember the exact moment I decided to make a horror game but these experiences got me REALLY in the mood. Here's a video of the balcony along with some RE music and VHS effects :)
oved into a new studio apt alone, started meditating, journaling and have been having weird dreams
I'm not even kidding about that last one. The new place (moved into in June) has given me a LOT of time to sit alone and ponder and get lost in my work. It's a great place! You can even see a little bit of the beach from there. I finally started meditating as well - I've been adding it to my "to-do during vacations" lists for years now, but I guess it finally felt right to do it now thanks to the freedom that living alone brings. And my dreams have been more vivid and weirder than ever. I've also had these morning dreams that are based in my apartment (with me laying on my bed as in reality) where I see people in walking around or talking to me. In my apartment. No I'm not kidding. Yes it's kinda cool.
I've made good progress on the game, and it feels like a special one!
During the past 4 months, I've made a ton of good progress on the game. In short, it's an atmospheric, story driven horror game with themes related to morality, abandoned places, and dreams (of course) It's all set in a lonely hotel for the most part. There's a lot of more exciting details to be shared, but not yet. We don't even have a name yet! Silent Hill 2 is of course a big influence, especially when it comes to the style and cutscenes. But it's not a surface level imitation. It's also got some experimental and innovative game mechanics, and I'm pretty excited about that. I spent over a month purely working on the script, characters and overall lore. There's a ton of detail and depth to this story, as I felt that was lacking in my previous effort. I'm putting in all my time and effort to make sure this one is a really, really special one - it's gonna take time and I definitely won't be rushing it.
Until then, here are some early screenshots-
I've added some structure and balance to my life
Living and working solo as an indie dev can lead to things very quickly spiralling out of control. As we discovered during the past year, staying cooped up indoors all day without much of a structure can be difficult. During September I saw myself getting increasingly bored, feeling unmotivated and lying around getting not much work done - this despite being in love with and very excited about the new game idea. Forcing myself to be disciplined wasn't working out. But one day, chatting with a friend about a very successful game dev got me fired up - it gave me a goal to aim at, and emulate. The next day, by chance, I ended up going to a nearby cafe for a game of FIFA in the morning and had a great time. When I returned home in the afternoon, I found I felt completely energized and excited to get back to work.
It's obvious stuff and we hear about it all the time, but it's crazy how easy it is to fall into a pattern of staying cooped in, always working in the same way. Parties and night outs don't help - instead, changes to the daily work schedule and getting out and about during the day and getting back to work after can be super helpful. One easy way to do this is to make use of co working spaces, or just spend a few hours working in a cafe - and that is where I'm writing this from right now!
I've added weekly cafe working slots, possible (unrelated to work) workshops, and meetups - all of these things keep regular (non-party) life energized, and even add structure. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of days that all look the same, staying in and working. It's bound to hurt creativity.
I also got started with Notion during all this, and again, it's made work so much clearer, planned out and structured! I've always been a big fan of planning and to-do lists, but somehow fell off that as well in recent times. Structuring my plan out clearly on Notion has made me realize what a mistake that was.
For the next month or two, I will be focusing on making the first "act" of the game polished and playable, coming up with a name for the game, and getting the game in a state where it's good enough to be shared and shown around on social media etc, while also working on some of the new, exciting gameplay features I mentioned before. Mayyybe I'll also be posting (possibly shorter) updates every week from the cafe - structure, right?
I also really, really want to do something with the YouTube channel. It's gained a few subscribers, and I have thoughts I want to share! But there's only so much time, and the last time I tried recording something, it came out extremely awkward and I had to scrap it. Maybe I'll just turn these text blogs into shorter, monthly devlogs? What do you think? For now, catch this little soundtrack preview I uploaded recently:
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Catch you next time!
Hi, I'm Armaan, the creator of Rainswept and Forgotten Fields. On this blog, I post weekly updates about my games' development (or as often as possible!)