[Sigrid: Det inre mörkret] A blog about my own game, a psychedelic fairytale
Alexandra_Nilsson_T last edited by
I suck at making these kinds of posts, but life is short, so bear with me.
This is meant to be a blog about my indie game, my love child and lifetime passion Sigrid: Det Inre Mörkret. I try to make this a blog not just about the game, but about the more personal & emotional parts of being a developer. Think of it as an EZA-exclusive bonus Indie game: the movie!
About the game: Sigrid is my darling genre!! An adventure game that’s gear-based, takes place on a world map that takes the players to different areas, dungeons and towns, and relies strongly on an unfolding narrative with a central cast of characters.
I’ll pull an x meets y here - It’s Super Mario 3D world, but wired around a young adult novel-inspired story (that heavily vents my love for gold-era Squaresoft, Final fantasy VII, VIII and IX, Parasite Eve, Chrono Cross and Xenogears, namely)
that is both weird, funny, and even a bit morbid.
It deals with things like sisterhood, prejudice, authoritarianism, prostitution and divorce. In the lead, we see an optimistic, pregnant blonde, a homeless rockstar, a sassy party princess and a short, shy refugee. (Sigrid herself)!
(Gosh this sounds like a press release. Should’ve scaled its down to ”um, it’s my game, it’s kinda Nintendo with a darker story, and, well, check it out”. Maybe.)
(It's chopped into chapters. There's 2 of them out, and 2 is yet to be released. So about half the game is out. People ask about this, and I like to draw a Wind Waker parallell: Chapter 1 would be Outset Island to Windfall Island, and Chapter 2 would be Dragon roost to Tower of the gods)
Love & Respect, Alexandra.
Must say I really like the title and the art style! Det inre mörkret is a perfect subtitle as it makes me want to find out what inner darker secrets she might carry!
For a title that "dark" I must say that the game seem to be of the quite bright character, which is cool! Once I get payed I might buy a copy and see how it goes.
Alexandra_Nilsson_T last edited by
So anyways, this 'blog' is off to a rocky start as things have been going pretty bad indeed. Tomorrow I'll upload patch 1.2.1, and I will for the rest of the week crawl up in my lonely corner and feel ashamed for ever having to to that. I patched chapter 2 once a day after release, merely optimizing the frame rate in playfield and the working woods a little bit. (culling more objects, increasing the threshold for popping, a little mesh baking) There and done, and I was so proud slash happy that that was the 'only' thing that needed to be done in order for the game to MOSTLY run great, ofc not glitch free but at least nothing gamebreakinig.
Then what. 3 days ago. There was a game breaking bug right before the credits. What is so ridiculously shameful about this is that I was so damn tired of the last day of debugging that upon reaching the final scene, I was like 'yeah, neat'. Because the credits worked all those days prior to that last stretch of debugging. And I believe that that frame rate patch caused the credits glitch, but of course I didn't realize because I ran a debug test only in these areas where the frame rate needed to be tested.
The thing with glitches and bug - there is, especially for an indie developer, NO FREAKING WAY, your game will be devoid of glitches. Making a game and debugging it is like that Greek beast. For everyone you remove, there's five more. If you remove two, sometimes there'll be three more and sometimes there'll be 50 more. It never ends. A great game dev is not someone who makes the game glitch-free, it's someone who knows when to stop, for if you have 23 glitches, risks are that you'll MAYBE get 21 or 20, but if you try that you run the risk of end up with 40 glitches instead.
Some things that happened:
I believe the end credits thing was that I altered the function that was supposed to destroy the hud in the credits in order to optimize the play fields. (an area in the game) . I tested the play fields, it ran good, and I didn't realize that altering that function would mess with the credits. But it's just hud, right, but then when I tried to optimize the working woods by making the overworked theme stop, I accidentally named it and tagged it the exact same thing as the post-credits song. So now, that song would load the same time as the song in the ending cutscene, but only if you would've saved in Anastasia prior to that. (which ofc I want people to do)
And then now, like 2 days ago, I discovered this other major glitch where there was a strand of code left in a scene so where you would press X, it would load the library, but not Sigrid, forcing you to restart, and it was left there simply because the dialoge tree would go off to that branch because I, in another scene, set up the value for the library the very same as the scene after that scene, but only after you would finish the 1st dungeon.These things happens all the damn time and it makes me throw a tantrum and cry and scream all the damn time because this is just that hard.
And I, well. I really have to fight against the narrative that 'Well, stop complaining because we know it's hard, just work harder." And I really think that any game developer should be perfectly entitled to 'complain' as much as they want. It really is that hard, and frustrating, and depressing. We, as developers, can not tell you this enough. Whenever there's a breaking glitch in an indie game, I feel empathy. It's hard for a consumer, perhaps, to come to terms with the feeling of having wasted 10 bucks, and I understand that. But please note that glitches really is like fighting that Greek monster.
And I'm beyond proud for each and everyone who pulled this of as good as they could. Whenever I see the next Golf Story or Owlboy. I get so happy. Yes reviewers are bound to double down on those games for their glitches. But still. These people are so awesome for pulling this off. And I hope I can be like you someday.
suplextrain last edited by
What engine are you using? Unity? Godot?
Have you made a design document? Have you set up a schedule that you follow? I find that both of these things greatly help in not only helping your game stay more focused but also helps in making sure you get stuff done (without feeling any anxiety).
Also while I understand the appeal of wanting to make money off the games you make, it's generally a good idea to make (at least parts of your games) free to help with playtesting. When you monetize it also puts further pressure on you, That kind of pressure is easier to deal with once your experience and workflow has been improved.
These are just some thoughts at a glance, could do a more thorough second pass once my fever has passed.
And I, well. I really have to fight against the narrative that 'Well, stop complaining because we know it's hard, just work harder." And I really think that any game developer should be perfectly entitled to 'complain' as much as they want. It really is that hard, and frustrating, and depressing. We, as developers, can not tell you this enough.
This is just me but I absolutely never ever complain when it comes to game development. I don't think it's a good mindset to have. I mean yeah jokingly telling your partner or friend that you spent 1 frustrating hour trying to fix a really easy problem (once you figured it out) is fine, but self-pity is pretty ugly and no one likes hearing people complain.
If something consistently makes you made and causes problems for you then look for the thing causing said problems and try and fix it. Is your workflow sloppy? Are you bad at coding? Etc.
Some things you can't solve on your own either, so looking for some courses or people to help you is a great help. I used to suck royal ass at optimization which made my games run like crap (could even crash) so I started looking more into that and once I got better at it my dev time became far more pleasant.
Once you start working on a team becoming a problem solver over a complainer becomes even more important. I mean you even getting mad in the first place is a problem you can solve by getting to the root of the problem
The thing with glitches and bug - there is, especially for an indie developer, NO FREAKING WAY, your game will be devoid of glitches.
Personally I feel that making sure you always (no matter what, even if it's something simple) keep your code neat and well commented helps. Writing down some notes while coding for things that could cause problems or has caused problems in the past also helps. Because (at least for me) most bugs are generally very easy to fix once you know the cause. Once you start working on a team (if you're interested in that sort of thing) these are good habits to already have nailed down (unless you want people to tear their hair out going through your code, since most people code/work differently).
Sorry if I came off a bit preachy but I've been in a similar position myself so I wanted to share some advice I personally found useful in helping me grow as both a person and game dev. I know a lot of people that have had (and still do) a hard time getting into game development because frankly it is a very difficult (and tumultuous) business. Some even gave up.
Some of them I've managed to help by butting my nose into their business (without them asking for help) but you won't always have an asshole like me forcefully trying to help people I can see are in trouble, so remember to never ever be afraid to look or ask for help. If it's something you enjoy it should never get so bad that you consistently get upset to the point where you scream or cry. Leave that for when an asshole like me shows up.