I have an iterative approach to game development. I begin with an image in my head of what the final game should be, and then I go somewhere completely different. But it's not a bad thing. It can be surprising though! And this game began from day 1 as "the most meta game I could imagine". Exactly what that means and where it comes out is a larger question, and one that I spent some time thinking about recently.
Another fun fact is that I like to design games from the beginning to the end - making the intro experience first before moving on to the later levels. That is generally considered wrong, because the introduction is the first thing the player will encounter, so it should be very well made to draw them in. However, it's also true that the introduction is the simplest part of the game, and later parts will always build on it with more mechanics and characters and whatnot. So that's how I defend my thoughts!
I actually began this game somewhere in the middle, working on the 20 Minutes Till Lunch game mode (and the Bug Queen, who has nothing to do with it!), but after working on the shop, I want to go back and start on the first stuff you'll be doing before you can buy anything. What will that look like?
Well, it's a game mode called To Tory L.
, and it's focused around a letter to somebody named Tory L., asking for help, and written by none other than this guy:
Who, in case the picture didn't give it away, is trapped inside the Broken Build Simulator! In developing this narrative I'm actually going weirdly deep into my own psyche and getting into the ideas of how I get so obsessed with making games (and moreso making jokes/puns/wordplay. I'm obsessed with how words work). See? META. So right off the bat, your first goal will be to rescue Hamumu from inside his own creation. It's not a parody of anything, just a basic Roguelite. You need to fight a wave of enemies in each little room to open up the doors to any neighboring rooms, and try to find the right room that contains your final boss (but once you do find it, you might want to backtrack and do some extra rooms to level up). It looks something like this:
That's Hamumu, and the dots on his face are supposed to be my tendency to not shave, but they look like acne. I wear glasses now, by the way. Have for a few years (you can just barely tell in the picture of me above). He is playing Marvel Snap on his phone the entire time you're playing this game. Why you play as Hamumu when trying to rescue Hamumu is a bit of a mystery, but it makes sense if you think about it - he's trapped inside the game, therefore he's a character in the game. The gun I'm using in this shot is called "Gun!", and it is my attempt at the most generic possible gun without it being uninteresting. And all those 0's and 1's are Hamumu's special character feature, called Movement Glitch, where enemies that get close to him sometimes get teleported away. His skill tree is themed around bugs in the game and balance updates. So I have to make sure not to have any actual bugs in them, or people will point out the irony and hurt my feelings.
And by the way, I am wearing a Bouapha shirt in that pixel art, and I do still own that shirt for real. Working on this and thinking about it has really broadened my thoughts on what this game is and how it should work. It's going to be ridiculous as you might expect. I can also feel some bigger and stranger ideas just flickering into view in my peripherals, so I'm not sure where this is going, only that it will indeed be ridiculous. And of course, because I'm making it, it's going to be 10x bigger than it should be and take 30x longer.