FRUSTRATION!!! (Having your game idea stolen…)

One of the annoying things about trying to develop games on your own and with a day job, is that it takes an unbelievably long time. I get about an hour an evening and less at weekends, and thats shared with my Modular Synth building obsession.
Over the course of the 4 years Ive been doing this, I have yet to release one game (whatever “release” is gonna mean if I actually finish one) Ive never been interested in the tiny “retro” style games that are churned out for mobile or on “Game Jams”. Im always for the BIG IDEAS, and the COMPLEX STORIES.
So when my game “Aunty- A metaphysical Mystery” failed to get funding (twice) from the film fund, and then a game, seemingly with the same idea was anounced, and was bing heralded as “the next big thing” and had millions positively flung at it… Well “sour Grapes” comes to mind.
Of course Im not suggesting for one moment that “Among the Sleep“was a nicked idea from me, my god no… And in the end of course, it turned out to be nothing like Aunty was ever going to be…
However, the annoyance was enough that I dumped the idea, for the moment, I will probably return to it when I have finished T.R.U.T.H.
But there, now I have been working on THAT NEW GAME now for two years, finally there comes along ANOTHER bunch of things that could be called similar! Again from “proper” Norwegian companies, who will no doubt finish their games and get on with their next one, way before Im done with mine.

So baring in mind that my game is…

Set in a remote Norwegian Valley and concerns mysterious strange activities that could be taken from Norsk folk lore, religion, superstitions and experimental science. A FIRST PERSON fragmented mystery, where the goal is to find out for yourself what you think is going on, but never ultimately really understand due to conflicting information and clues, and points of view… Including, A Strange old lady and her missing mentally challenged son, Biblical Prophecies, A secret scientific laboratory, and underground caves and tunnels, a newcomer to the village, where you get the feeling you are always being watched?

In an attempt to NOT get all uppity and pissed of, I instead will use this post to BIG UP my competitors and let them know that far from being annoyed I AM TOTALLY PROUD AND VERY IMPRESSED That Norway has so many cool and exiting games being made, (oh and if you wanna give a 51 year old wannabe a job.. then…)

I do wonder if this “spate” is infact a bit of a reflection of some of the criteria that the NFI use when dealing out money to projects, because during my failed attempt at getting anything from them for Aunty, I do remember a mention of Norwegian Culture and language bing favoured.

The first is “Through the Woods” from Antagonist Games

Through the Woods is a third-person psychological horror game set in a forest on the western shore of Norway about a mother and her missing son. Through dynamic narration, you play the mother’s re-telling of the events surrounding her son’s disappearance in a setting heavily influenced by Norse mythology and Norwegian folk tales.

This looks very cool, quite dark and scary, seems to be a bit more “supernatural” and possibly involving fighting monsters. I met one of the guys from Antagonist, he was very nice about what he had seen of TRUTH, and told me a few home truths about the cash situation they are developing under..
Ha! Kids! How they can live on almost nothing is very endearing..

The next game is from the new darlings of Norway Red Thread Games, who came into the scene with a blast for the latest instalment of The Longest Journey, Dreamfall Chapters. I havent played that one, I didnt like the originals, but their new piece is Draugen And is…

Draugen is a first-person psychological horror adventure, set amongst the deep fjords and towering mountains of Norway’s awe-inspiring west coast.
The game is a dark and disturbing journey into the pitch black heart of Norwegian national romanticism, as seen through the eyes of an American nature photographer, botanist and entomologist.
Inspired by Scandinavian literature, legends and fairytales, along with Norse mythology and the Icelandic sagas, Draugen is set in the early 1920s and delves into the deepest, darkest secrets of a remote fishing community where every single soul has mysteriously vanished.
As the player explores the tiny settlement, gathering clues and memories, and unearthing the truth behind a terrible tragedy, they will learn more about the history of the village and its inhabitants. And they will come to see that behind even the most innocent of facades lurks the potential for malice.

OK great… again looks fantastic, and remember these are the big boys, as they are all ex Funcom dudes, that know what they are doing, bastards! Heres the clip…

But really.. Norway.. mysteries… missing people… ghosts and legends… sigh…
I better pull my finger out…


After a while of inactivity in the Aunty project, due to other projects taking precedence, Suddenly a few things came together.
Firstly I finished the first rough model of “the House”. (It should have an address? (69 Acacia Avenue, Hemel Hempstead seems nice… hope it isnt a real place)

Can’t really show a pic cos it would be a bit of a SPOILER.. Oh ok, then, if you insist.. but from a long way away, in low quality ok? Deal!

AND, Even more exiting, James came up with the first model of Aunty herself! She has excellent hair!


Introducing Aunty

After six months of hard and very secret work, I think the time has come to announce that my very good friend and previous collaborator, Mr James Dolan and I, have re-animated our original sinister organisation “Ordo ab Chao” into a new-millennium high tech version, that we call “ORDO AB KHAO“.
The reason for this is that we have started work on a new project, called “Aunty – A Metaphysical Mystery”. It is a computer game. Now we are well under way in its development, and are currently seeking forms of funding so that one or both of us can work on it full-time.
The game concerns a child who wakes in a strange house that she can´t remember having been before, despite the friendly old lady who looks after her, telling her that shes “Aunty”.The child wonders where she is...

Aunty Screen shots

A child is sick
...she passes over...
...but awakes in a strange house...
She asks "Where am I?"
...and explores the house...
She asks "Who am I?"
...searches outside...

...but the answer comes from within.

A strange and surreal atmosphere
– a sinister but intriguing story. Strange characters, colourful plots, obscure locations, mysteries, milk and cookies. Reality and dreams merge, questioning existence.

Real-time based – game elements such as lighting, night and timed events, will reflect the users actual time. Because different events happen at different times of day and on different times of the week, users will enjoy a varied experience, from person to person, and from play to play.

Non-Linear story – the mysteries hidden within the game may be revealed in different sequences or combinations producing different game experiences.

Learning – Unique feature where as the character learns to read, to reveal her own history and key points in the narrative.

Multiple endings – The player may decide whether or not an ending is a real “game-over”, or to go back and explore another path, to reveal alternate endings.

Story told in 1st and 3rd person – Mostly, the user will play in a 3rd person, over the shoulder view, this gives a feeling of “a character I control”, but during the dream sequences the view will be 1st person, this feels more like “me”. Thus the dreams almost feel more real, than reality.

Game play based on exploration, learning, narrative and physical clues, mysteries and puzzles.

Game analyses user choices and play patterns and alters content.