Monthly Archives: April 2014

New Update + 50% Off Sale + GDC Slides

Hey, everyone, I just wanted to let you know that The Novelist is 50% as part of Steam’s Weeklong Deals! It’s also available at the same 50% discount here on the site and on the Humble Store, and those purchases come with a Steam key as well.

It’s on sale to coincide with a small but significant update to the game. In working on my GDC talk this year, I began to fully understand the scope of an issue with the game’s relationship tracking that could lead to players getting endings that were a little worse than I’d originally intended. In short, if you made decisions that favored one character too many times in a row, you could hit a scenario that would cause that character to not get the full benefit of your decisions.

Over the course of the game that could limit your chances to help other characters, and could ultimately lead to an ending that was a little more of a downer for one of the characters than players may have intended. To be clear, this was an edge case: I don’t have data on how many players actually hit it, but it wasn’t a particularly likely scenario and it didn’t have a huge impact on the endings, but it could have made the difference between a happy or sad ending for a character in certain cases.

That issue is now fixed.

If you want to know more about this issue, or if you want to get an in-depth look at how your decisions affect the characters in the game, you can see all of the details in the PDF version of my GDC talk. It has a bunch of graphs and charts in it but it isn’t particularly complex, so you don’t need to be a game designer to understand how the system works. And if you’re not worried about seeing how the sausage is made, it may be an interesting read in terms of finding out how the game works under the hood. Heck, it might even entice you to do another playthrough and see if you can send the Kaplans off into the sunset full of smiles and happiness.

And there’s one other nice feature in the update: a significantly reduced memory footprint and better load times. I added a huge amount of VO to the game very late in the development process, and I didn’t have time to optimize it as well as I would have liked. So the game took up more memory than it really should have, which of course also meant that load times were longer than they had to be. In this update I’ve optimized a lot of VO logic to make the game much more efficient, which has the added benefit of reducing load times.

So that’s the state of the state. The game will be on sale all week, so make sure to take advantage if you haven’t picked it up yet, and spread the word if you have. Thanks, as always, to everyone for the support and kind words over the course of the project. I’m still toying with the idea of putting the game on other platforms, but I’m also beginning to work on ideas for an entirely new game, so it’s an exciting time!