Post-Mortem: Thank you


Welp-! The game is done, the entry is submitted, the jam is over. And since I had a couple really new things happen over the course of making and releasing this little game, I thought I should throw one more in and make a post-mortem for the project.

It's something I've mentioned/alluded to, both in the game and game description and in my previous backlogs, but this is a game about my experience with some pretty awful emotional abuse at the hands of my father. He's out of my life now, probably for good, but... well, the thing about abuse is it tends to stick around way longer than the people who inflict it. So when I saw that the theme for My First Game Jam this time around was on Memories, the concept for this game popped into my head almost immediately.

WHAT WENT WELL

Right off the bat, the game concept itself changed very little from when I started to the final product... that's something I like about Bitsy though, the idea that you can make things pretty much exactly like you pictured them. The idea of giving your memories away, or at least the parts that hold you back and make you afraid to take those big leaps into the future, is something that appeals to me a lot as someone trying to climb out of her own dark place, and from the feedback I've been getting it's something that resonated with a LOT of people.

I'm also really pleased with the scope of the game; last game I made (once again for MFGJ), I let all the options and possible endings get away from me, and in the end had to cut it down to around half of what I originally envisioned. This time around, while I had to spend some time fiddling around with getting the variables in dialogue I wanted, it became a lot more manageable, and I could spend that extra time getting everything polished up to how I wanted it.

WHAT CAUSED TROUBLE

I think there were three things I was really concerned about with this game: the maze segment, the dialogue, and the endings.

  1. I spent a LOT of time tweaking the colour transitions in the maze as you climbed up... I like it a lot, it's a nice break to show off that final push to the surface, but I know at least one friend who played was frustrated by it and I still think that maybe I could have added some little easter eggs of text in places. I stand by the idea, but maybe could have given it a little more polish.
  2. The screens themselves were basically unchanged from when I first made them, but the dialogue needed one or two more passes to it. I really wanted something that reflected my experience trying to move forward, but still have enough ambivalence that other people could find their own meaning. Most importantly, I know that there are many different ways to recover from abuse, and I didn't want anyone to feel like they were doing things "wrong." So I edited all the dialogue to be as supportive as possible without being pushy or implying that you HAD to leave all your memories behind, even if it meant missing out on saying your goodbyes to some people. I'm not sure how successful this was! It's a very subjective thing! But I would recommend going through it at least a couple more times to see different dialogue options depending on if you don't drop off memories, or which ones you leave and which ones you keep.
  3. In keeping with that idea of ambiguity and subjectivity, there's three different endings to the game; let's call them Fly, Stay, and Wait. Again, I didn't want any one ending to feel like the "correct" one, though the Fly ending is probably the one that most people would go for; unless, of course, you're like me and love talking to NPCs multiple times and exploring EVERYWHERE. To save time on whatever discourse might occur here, all three endings are "canon."

FINAL THOUGHTS

I still don't know where my idea of the Sisters came from, aside from wanting a representation for the different senses and their links to memory. I'm not exactly the most religious gal, myself, but I like these characters and may revisit them in another game (BTW, Sister Olfa and Sister Tacti are totally girlfriends).

IWYD got featured in a list of favourite Bitsy games by Shonté Daniels, and I even got interviewed for it! Check out the article here and check out some of all the other games there while you're at it: https://amp.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/01/bitsy-makes-it-easy-to-design-sma...

I joked in my first devlog that my next game would be about a cat, and I just wanna say... that's still on the table! If I do go for it, you'll probably be seeing it in the Bitsy Jam that's coming up in the next few days, and if not... well, it's still bouncing around in my head. Either way, please keep watch for my next game!

The response I've been getting from people who've played this game is incredible. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that my work on IWYD and whatever future games I make continues to resonate with people.

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