Hey y’all! Hope y’all are doing alright. It’s that special time of the year again, baybee… E3! Legitimately one of my favorite events year after year, and this year is no exception. I mean, Animal Crossing? Ghostwire Tokyo? Avengers? Cyberpunk?? Way to the Woods?? BANJO IN SMASH??? FINAL FANTASY VII AND AN VIII REMASTER MY GUY ARE YOU KIDDING ME IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL-
I would’ve loved to show off She Dreams Elsewhere in some capacity this year (and almost did), but alas, financial and time constraints prevented me from doing so. Oh well, there’s always next year! It’s no big deal either, since there may or may not be a new gameplay trailer with extra special announcements coming next month… (hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge, yeugh)
With that being said, there are indeed upcoming events that the game will be shown off at! While I can’t reveal them just yet, I’d like to give a special shoutout to the folks running Brazil’s Independent Games Festival; She Dreams Elsewhere was graciously nominated in four award categories: Best Game, Best Narrative, BIG Impact: Social Matters, and BIG Impact: Best Diversity Game. I’m extremely honored and thankful for the nominations, truly. While I won’t be attending the event itself, you can still play and check out the game during the Games Exhibition – it’ll be in Sao Paulo, Brazil from June 27-30 and admission is completely free. If you’re there, I’d love for you to check the game and all of the other entries out. (And if you do go, snap a pic while you’re there and tweet it to me, yeah? Pretty please thanks I love you ❤)
Other press features include Lauren’s Morton’s fantastic writeup on developer’s dogs being put in their games over on Rock Paper Shotgun, and my interview with the dope Terminally Nerdy over on his website.
Honestly, it’s such a trip to see the game resonate with so many people even in its small, unfinished demo form. I was pretty confident about its quality ahead of the demo release but I really didn’t anticipate this level of love and attention, so many thanks to you all for the support. Not gonna lie, the pressure to deliver on the final product intensifies week after week… but I hope I can do you guys proud.
But enough about the demo. I bet y’all are wondering how the rest of the game is shaping up, yeah?
Development has been coming along a bit slower than I’d like, but it’s going alright. I had to take a two-week break last month just because I was feeling so burnt out. After GDC, I had just been running nonstop to the point where it just got way too much to handle. I was barely able to sleep (moreso than my usual insomnia, believe it or not), unbearably stressed, and completely burnt out. One day, I sat down to write a fairly simple cutscene… and just could not do it. That’s when I realized I seriously needed a breather; so on my break, I did a lot of hobby photoshoots (some of which you can see on my personal Instagram), caught up on TV and YouTube, did some screenwriting and future film planning, and generally chilled on the game minus business meetings and less-intensive tasks. It was definitely worth it and now I feel completely refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the game. Self care is important, y’all, it really is.
Anyway, I’ve been toying around a lot with the battle system and playing around with some new mechanics. One of the ideas I’ve been playing with is having most enemies be stunnable with 1 weakness hit rather than 2, mainly because the latter tends to drag battles out slightly longer than I’d like, especially later in the game. Stronger enemies and bosses will still have higher shield counts, though. To counterbalance that, once you use a skill, it’ll have a 1-turn cooldown to prevent spam.
And while Thalia will still be the primary magic user in the party, Amia and Oliver will also have access to elemental skills, so they’ll be able to exploit enemy weaknesses more effectively as well. I still need to do some more playtesting to see how it actually works out, but I like how it’s coming along so far.
But let’s say an enemy doesn’t have a weakness… what’s one to do, then? Simple. Just give one to them. Many elemental abilities have a chance to land an additional status ailment, which can then be exploited even further. Take the skill “Roast” for example: It has a 50% chance of setting the enemy “Aflame”, which not only does damage over time, but also increases damage of Ice attacks. So if one where to set an enemy aflame then follow up with ice attack, that’ll act as a weakness as well. Sounds cool, yeah?
I’ve also been working on adding even more polish / juice to certain attacks, specifically all of the Limits (which lowkey need a new name); those are getting fancy anime-esque cut-ins ala Persona, featuring new art from best girl Yanina. I can’t wait to show those off when all is said and done, so I hope you look forward to them.
Also, Thalia’s got a new sprite. Still a work in progress as far as the outfit and the back of her hair goes, but I’m digging it.
On the story side of things, things are progressing well. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and made some changes to the opening of the game, mainly adding extra foreshadowing, dialogue changes, and other small details. (For example, if you leave the party without saying goodbye, Amia will roast you for it later in the level.) There’s also some bigger changes in store, but you’ll have to wait to find out exactly what those are. I gotta say, though; it’s been a bit difficult showing off content from the game without getting into spoiler territory, but I guess that’s just what happens when you have a narrative-driven game like this, yeah?
Anyway, that almost wraps it up for this update. I thought it was going to be much smaller, but here I am again overwriting shit… ah well.
One last question for everyone, though… how would y’all feel if I started up a Patreon? I’ve been considering it for the past few months now, and some people have even reached out asking if they could donate. For those that aren’t aware, I’ve been working on Dreams for the past few years completely full-time, and while I don’t have much overhead and the occasional (though not consistent) videography / filmmaking gig does bring in some dosh, it would be nice to have an extra source of income, especially since it would improve the game in various aspects and better allow me to attend events. Backers would be able to test new builds, get access to extra behind-the-scenes goodies, and other perks I’ve yet to think of. What do you think? Let me know in the comments (or tweet/DM me).
Let’s see, what else is there…? In terms of personal stuff, I’ve been bumping Tyler, the Creator’s new album IGOR, which is an absolute classic. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but once you acquire that taste, oh man… s’pure bliss. (If y’all couldn’t tell, I’m a huge Tyler fan.) I also just finished watching Chernobyl yesterday; it’s a bit depressing but a great watch, I can’t recommend it enough. The Game of Thrones finale was disappointing as shit. Movies? Avengers: Endgame was a banger. Saw it twice opening weekend. Still gotta see it again. Detective Pikachu was good, though I was expecting a bit more. Aladdin was a fun watch. John Wick 3 is an absolute 10/10. They can make however many of those and I will watch every. Single. One.