In the Air / On the Road

I’m writing this on a plane as my wife and I fly back to North Carolina for a week to visit my family and see my brand new nephew for the first time. I’m also going to my niece’s second birthday party and seeing all of my family for the first time since the holidays, so it’s pretty exciting.

One of the benefits of being a solo indie developer is that as long as I have my laptop with me I can work from pretty much anywhere, so I’m going to try and stay productive next week. Last May I came to North Carolina and spent the week creating the algorithms that generate the procedural musical score for the game, so there’s a precedent for actually getting work done on vacation.

There aren’t any new interviews to share this week, although there are a few in the can waiting to be posted, including the first podcast interview I’ve done for the game! That one was a lot of fun, and I’ll post a link when it goes live (it even includes a sample of the game’s score).

This week I focused on writing. My goal is to have 9 chapters in the game, for a number of reasons:

  • Given what I know from playtesters about how long it takes to play a chapter, having 9 chapters should provide a really good game length: anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on how thorough you are about finding every last clue. Long enough to have a good experience, not long enough to feel tedious, and a good length for replayability.
  • Making 9 major choices (plus some number of smaller choices) will give players a chance to see the effects of their decisions, understand the dynamics, and have time to adjust in case they decide they want to play a different way.
  • I’m using the classic 3-act structure, and having 9 chapters provides a nice symmetry for dramatic spikes in chapters 3, 6, and 9.

Previous playtests have had 5 chapters (which the people who have done all three playtests are no doubt sick of at this point), so there are 4 new ones on the way. I got two of them done this week and started on the third, so my goal is to have all 4 new chapters finished, with a first pass of revisions and cleanups, by the end of next week.

So that’s what’s going on with development. The game is still climbing the Greenlight charts slowly but surely, which is great to see. I’m also in the process of signing up for the new Amazon Indie Game Store, which is really exciting; the more ways to get the game out there, the better!

Thanks again to everyone who has continued to support the game by sharing the news, retweeting @TheNovelistGame, preordering on the site, or sharing a kind word. It means a lot to me.