Project Mayflower

To teach myself new skills, I’ve been working on Project Mayflower.  It’s a Weird House game (more Aberrant than Haunted) that will be available for free download later this year.  

Today I’d like to discuss the work done thus far and what comes next.

How it All Began

It began with a vision. After seeing The Old Dark House, ideas flashed through my head: a map with increasingly bizarre and nefarious questions, along with a new way of engaging with dialogue in games. I had half-scenes I wanted to write, vague ideas of mechanics; but I didn’t have anything solid. My next step, then, was to solidify the mysteries. These would, after all, form the cornerstone of the experience. Everything about the game’s pacing and horrific possibilities would all spring from precisely was happening and why.

Working with a Knife

Once I had my story, I needed to pare it down. I knew I could easily spin Mayflower into a multi-hour title, but that’d take more time and effort than I could afford. I forced myself to remember I was only working on a demo piece, something to showcase skills and concepts. Editing the story down to be five to fifteen minutes was a trial, but one I enjoyed. It forced creative solutions, raised some interesting theoreticals, and evolved the mysteries in ways I’d not expected.

Tooling Up

Once I had the player’s journey planned, I had to begin making the game. I knew it’d be made in Unity, and I knew I wanted it to be a 2D top-down title. I spent some time researching on the Asset Store and purchased a few tools to help me build the demo. First was the RPG Map Editor by Creative Spore; the second was Playmaker by Hutong Games. I spent a lot of time experimenting with the tools. They’re easy to pick up, and goodness knows I don’t need much else to finish the project. The only other tool I’m eyeing right now is the RPG Conversation Editor by Creative Spore.

Planning Ahead

And that brings us to the present moment. So, what’s next? Already I have the basic map built, the story sketched out and standard character movements working. Following that, I have the following basics listed: create door triggers which take you to the appropriately horrible room; functional keys to unlock new areas and stave off enemies; triggers which reveal more of the House’s true nature; a unique system of non-modal dialogue; and a secret ending. All in all, it’s a seemingly straightforward path. But as all game designers know, there are a host of little complications I’m still working out.

As my freelancing life takes off, I’ve not as much time to dedicate to the project as I’d like. But I hope you’ll stay tuned for more updates, following #ProjectMayflower on Twitter!