Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Somehow I have unintentionally cast James Hetfield as the lead protagonist in my GDD?!
Well, James Hetfield spliced with a Gorilla...

In brief, he is the only other character in Kold with abilities which (almost) match Sheol's. And he too, is an outsider with no frame of reference as to where he came from or why he's there. This guy (nameless as of yet) has been 'awake' a little longer than Sheol and being somewhat older, has kind of taken on the role of town Sheriff, policing the area na d protecting from the Departed. I won't spoil my story idea just yet, but the two are linked in some way.

Additionally, here is a mock up screen of the 'Sustenance Gauge' or Health/Ammo meter used in the game and it's brief description.

Health & Ammunition monitor

All of Sheol's abilities are mutations of his own body. The Rifle, the Bio-Tool, the Cry and Consume are Sheol's body's natural adaptations to overcome obstacles in his environment. The ammunition used for particular attacks all comes from the same resource - him. Obviously during combat and occasionally through other accident's Sheol will also take physical damage and once again, his bodily resources are channelled to heal his injuries. These resources are known as 'Sustenance'.

Sheol's Sustenance is measured on a gauge which is divided into two sections:

The RED area measures the amount of sustenance distributed to HEALTH.

The GREEN area measures the amount of sustenance distributed to AMMUNITION.

By pressing the 'BACK' button, the player can pause the game and bring up the Sustenance Distribution Screen. Here they can adjust a slider attached to the gauge using the left analogue stick. Moving the slider to the left will increase the amount of sustenance devoted to ammunition while decreasing the amount devoted to health and vice versa.

This way, the player can manage Sheol's bodily resources and distribute them to which ever area they deem most important at any given moment. For example; if the player finds themselves taking a lot of damage from enemies, they can pause the game and distribute more sustenance to health in order to prevent Sheol from being killed. Alternatively, if they find that they have the upper hand in battle but need powerful attacks to take down an enemy, they can distribute more sustenance to ammunition.

Obviously, while each extreme has it's benefits, it also has its downfalls so the player will have to be careful to fine-tune Sheol's sustenance in order to meet their current needs.

The total amount of sustenance comes from food and rest. As Sheol takes damage and/or uses up ammunition, his total amount of sustenance will decrease and the sustenance gauge will reduce in size to convey this. He can replenish his sustenance at any time by sleeping in an empty bed or by eating small animals or fallen enemies. Sleeping will replenish the gauge to 100% however different animals will replenish the gauge in small chunks of various amounts.

(NOTE: if Sheol has a backpack, he can carry dead animals inside and eat them later on by selecting them from his inventory)

The bar will only appear on-screen during normal gameplay either when Sheol takes damage or when he is firing a weapon. It will remain on screen for 30 seconds prior to that, after which time, it will fade away. The on-screen representation of it will be a smaller, less obtrusive design showing simply the two colours and their percentages, horizontally along the bottom of the screen.

Finally - just an idea I had, hehe.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


OK this is just gonna be a quick one.

No looong text, I promise =)

I've been doing various bits and pieces here and there towards the GDD and I though I would just post a few sketches to show how my ideas are progressing. First off are some examples of camera angles.

Standard view.

A quick explanation of the coloured bar on the left -

As all Sheol's abilities are natural mutations, they are all fueled by the same resource - his body. Therefore I have created a standard health/ammo bar (Green = Health/Red = Ammo). At any point during the game, the player will be able to access this bar via the 'back' button (360) and move slider up or down to distribute the resources between these two elements. So for example, you could have the bar fully Green if you are in a defensive mode, or fully Red if you want to attack. The bar as a whole will be depleted if Sheol takes damage and as he uses ammo. The bar can be replenished by eating wild animals or fallen enemies and by sleeping.

Sprinting - the camera zooms in slightly and there are some nice comic-book speed lines and blurring to emphasise the change in speed.

Conversations - the camera will move to incorporate both Sheol, the NPC and allow room on screen for written text. The text boxes will be 'context-sensitive', changing in shape and form in reaction to what is being said within them along with the font which adapts to suit the character who is speaking.

Combat - When targeting an enemy, the camera will move to view both Sheol and the enemy. Comic book style 'decals' will appear on screen to emphasise the action of certain attacks (in the same vein as the super duper special moves in Street Fighter IV).

Q.T.E's and action sequences - storyboard of possible 'Ned' sequence. As he fires at you, you have to move quickly through the forest overcoming obstacles whilst avoiding his shots.

Possible clothing mechanic - As Sheol's body has mutated, the clothes he wears at the beginning of the day won't fit him anymore so he will be forced to find others by exploring washing lines in peoples yards and raiding wardrobes etc. Clothes will have different effects on play e.g. Heavy coats will slow you down whereas as t-shirts will allow for quicker movement but won't provide the heat that Jackets do, meaning Sheol will lose health more quickly when attacked. Other items of clothing such as bags will allow Sheol to carry extra items. Others still will be needed to complete certain quests e.g. Camouflage for the sniper section of the Ned quest.

Consume ability - Once Sheol has mastered full control of his DNA, he finds that not only can he eat other living matter to re-fuel, but he can 'consume' still living creatures whereby he swallows them and combines some of his DNA with their own and then regurgitates them. Once combined, they become hybrids of Sheol and the animal that they once were. In gameplay terms, this allows you to 'possess' animals and use their unique abilities to explore new areas. On the example image I've shown:

A Chicken - land based creature able to get into small spaces.

Rabbit - able to burrow deeper than Sheol can dig and access new areas.

Crow - able to fly.

Frog - able to swim.

The final image is just a quick sketch of other possible abilities (from left to right):

A mutation which works like a lock-pick.

Items which can be picked up and used in combat (pitch-fork, rifle).

How Sheol interacts with windows.

A possible 'escape' maneuver, used to get out of 'sticky situations'.

Cross-hair ideas.

I've also recently written nearly 2000 words explaining the 'Ned' (now named 'Branka') scenario in full detail, including a new quest option allowing you to consume an animal and after stealthily entering the forest - persuade the other animals living there to all rush Branka at once and kill him off. Brutal!

Apologies for the rough scans but like I say, this was just a quick update!

More soon if all goes to plan! =P

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fear of GDD...

The pressure is on.

Seeing past student's GDD's (especially a certain 3-Book Colossus) has been fairly intimidating. On average, these things usually top 100 pages with ease. We have until mid-December to create one and so far, I can't stop drawing! =P It aint such a bad thing though and it is helping me form stronger ideas as Jim had suggested it would.

Above is another Pic of Sheol and you may notice that he's slightly more 'clothed' than previous drawings. I figured every time Day Zero re-starts, all of Kold's inhabitants will find themselves wearing what they originally had on that morning. Since they have all dramatically changed physically, many of them will find that their clothes are either way too big, or in Sheol's case too small and have torn. Where could you find shoes to fit those claws, eh? Thus, I am thinking of including some kind of appearance customization, although I don't want to just for the sake of it. I can imagine Sheol stealing clothes from washing lines in an attempt to disguise himself, perhaps?


This also ties in with a bit of research I've been doing on character movement. I took a look at 3 contemporary titles on 360 which encompass the kinds of fluidity I'm aiming for. They are Assassin's Creed, Prince of Persia and Wet...

First of all, Altair. The first time I played AC I was blown away, primarily by the smooth animation and the ease of which you could traverse the landscape. It felt good to play and with few complicated button combinations, you could scale a wall, hop across the beams of a collapsed roof and then leap into a hay-pile below. Interestingly in this case, you spend the majority of your time running away - something which I hadn't fully realised when thinking about my project. My only concern was the fact that you have to hold RT to run and then another button to jump and a third to Sprint. Why have to hold a run-button when you spend 99% of the time running anyway??
AC also made me think about outfits when I noticed that Altair's movements are made all the more dramatic by the constant motion of his loose clothing. A free flowing cape or robe of some sort definately enchances the experience.

Prince of Persia was nice... meh. That pretty much sums up my feelings for it. All I had seen previously was the concept art and I have to say I expected the Prince to be this dark, brooding, awesome warrior. And he was a dick. I actually had to turn it off after little more than 15 minutes because he pained me so much. In terms of movement, the wall running was interesting, the combat was noteable but I think the thing I really took away with me was the 'kind-of-cell-shaded-but-not' graphical style. Along with the recent Borderlands, I'm thinking it's a style that if used correctly would suit this world quite well.

And finally Wet. A game that had a lot of potential. With it's Kill Bill-esque heroine and its dynamic slow-mo gunplay the ideas were there, but to me it felt slightly rushed or unfinished. I like the way pulling the trigger during a jump or slide automatically slows things down and allows you more controlled and accurate shots ...but that is exactly where it fails because the analogue settings are SO sensitive, it's near impossible to get a precise aim at anything! Also, the wall-running, climbing element was there, but I found myself constantly jumping away from where I wanted to go, letting go of ledges and getting generally frustrated. The control scheme could definately have done with a polish.

Assassins Creed is without a doubt the closest representation of what I would like 'Again' to achieve. Hopefully, the impending sequel (ACII) will further this too. A fluid, smooth and easy 'free-running'. And a context-sensitive button is the way to go e.g. when standing by a wall - use A to climb it, when standing on a ledge - use A to jump it, when being attacked - use A to dodge/counter. Something that is also used to great effect and was (or may have been) pioneered by Zelda.
Additional games I may take a peek at include Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mirrors Edge and Prototype.

...and other stuff

In the other areas, I have kind of been going off on tangents. I had already preemptively done some plans for camera angles and menu screens among other things (and I will post them when they're more polished) but more recently I have done some paintings of suggested colour palettes and some rough quest ideas.

Here, I did a quick mock up of a village square and then tried to show how it may change visually over the course of the day. At night, the world is a dark inky blue, lit only by the yellow glow emanating from the homes of Kold's residents. As the sun rises, a small amount of snow falls so the morning is white and misty. By afternoon, the snow has begun to melt and the dark eerieness of Kold begins to shine through. As the day draws to it's epic conclusion, the world starts to tear itself apart. It is night but the streets are lit by flashes of lightning and wild fires. Since the game is set in the same place over the course of the very same day, I want to try to give it varying moods as time moves forwards.

This chap's one of the Departed. I haven't named him yet but in my head I've created a whole mission around him which I will now attempt to describe. (let's call him Ned for now) =P

On Day Zero he was a simple hunter. Ned woke up early and took his rifle and his dog into the forest at the foot of a mountain which surrounds his home, to look for deer. He spent most of the day stalking various animals and killing them to bring back to his family for dinner. When the time-loop began, Ned found himself acting out these events over and over again. As 'time' progressed, he evolved to become the ultimate hunter. His sight, hearing and smell developed past the ability of any known predators and his skill with his rifle became totally unmatched. Spending the day entirely alone had severe adverse effects on Ned. His mind became entirely focused on the task at hand and gradually, he forgot about his family and the village and his past. All he knew was hunting. Now he roams the forest silently like a ghost, picking off with ease any intruders who cross his path.
This is a major issue for the 'waking' towns-people who realise that Ned's family are trapped on the other side of the forest. Essentially cut-off from the rest of the village. None of them stand a chance against Ned.

In the game, the villagers explain Ned's tale of woe to Sheol, presenting him with an obstacle that you, the player, may choose to overcome in your own way.
Your options will be so-forth:

1. You may choose to enter the forest alone and try to either eliminate or avoid Ned. Once you approach him, you may attempt to attack, but his heightened senses will mean he will spot you every time and a bullet from his rifle will prove fatal. If you choose to run, he will continue to fire and you will be able to avoid his shot's using QTE's. You must sprint through the trees, using the lance to swing from branches and leap over obstacles in order to reach the other side and contact Ned's family there.

2. You may encourage a small group of villagers to enter the forest as bait (if they die, they know that they will return when the day starts over so it isn't THAT bad), this will rely on speech skill and dialogue choices within conversations with various NPC's. As you enter the forest, Ned will pick off the others allowing you enough time to make a break past him to the other side. Note, that if this method is chosen, the characters who get killed will remain dead until the day is reset.

3. You may train with a rifle of your own (up to a particular skill level, through combat), find an outfit that is camouflaged both in appearance and in smell (through NPC interaction/gathering items) and then silently enter the forest and try to 'snipe' Ned from a distance without him sensing you. This will take the most time and effort to accomplish but will result in a swift solution to the 'Ned problem'.

I want every quest to have multiple routes allowing the player a huge amount of options and experimentation which cover every element of gameplay. I may try to story board these ideas and also hope to post up more soon...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Please make my game =)

Pitch Document

My full pitch document in PDF format. Boy did it take me a while to get this up and working! But it's worth it - you can full screen it and then change the view mode and even browse it like a real book. Whoopee!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sheol and the town of Kold

So this is a finished(?) concept of the main character for my game design pitch.
I've named him Sheol:

Sheol (pronounced "Sheh-ole")[1], in Hebrew שאול (Sh'ol),
is the "abode of the dead", the "underworld", or "pit".[2]
Sheol is sometimes compared to Hades, the gloomy, twilight afterlife
of Greek mythology. The word "hades" was in fact substituted for
"sheol" when the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek

I'm hoping the picture and the name convey the kind of 'feeling' I'm going for here. I have revised both the story-line, the setting and the mechanic since my initial proposal. One of the most important areas being the location which is now a fictitious mountain village in Eastern Europe. It's weird out there. And weird works well with this story. (I thought Sheol could pass for a boys name in Latvia =P) I also like the idea of a run-down, archaic community within a modern day setting. A place that's secluded, maybe a little inbred and generally primitive through lack of contact with the outside world. Somewhere between the village in RE4 and the Chernobyl level in CoD4?

I want atmosphere to be a huge part of the game. The beating heart as it were. So creating a mood is essential. As I always do with these kinds of projects, I have found myself latching onto music as a source of inspiration. Try listening to the track "The Ghosts you draw on my back" or "The ballad of the broken birdie records/The ballad of the broken string" by Múm whilst perusing the images (I think they're up on Youtube).

Newayzzz, here's my new overview. I hope it reads more clearly and focused than the last one. I do also have a more solid view of how the mechanics are going to work but I'm still attempting to translate them from my brain into some kind of decipherable description that others may be able to read/view.
Hopefully I'll be there soon! =P

'Again' takes place in a small mountain village deep in Eastern europe called Kold. The player takes control of 'Sheol', a 10 year old boy who wakes up to the realization that he has been trapped in a time loop for the equivalent of thousands of years.

After a cataclysmic disaster in early 2010 which killed everyone in the village, the inhabitants found themselves waking up at the beginning of the day before the accident. The day played itself out exactly as it had done previously, the people were killed and then returned once again to the previous morning. After a long time, something within the minds of the creatures in Kold begin to realize that something was wrong. Nature rejected the recurrence of the same day over and over again and they begin to retain slight fractions of memory from each loop, as if resisting it's sadistic power. Their physical bodies began to show evidence of this repetition; although they never aged, nature adapted to the endless cycle that they endured through their doing the same things every-day. Men who had spent the day doing physical work began to grow massive muscle mass while those who spent it in front of the television grew frail and weak. People who spent the day learning a certain subject became masters of their art while those performing certain skills achieved perfection. They were evolving.

This urged them to the realization that they were not simply waking up as they thought they had been on a normal timeline, but they were trapped in an endless cycle of the very same day.

As people tried to come to terms with this idea, many of them found it impossible to comprehend and having to deal with the concept that they were essentially physically mutated and forever cursed to live in a single day with no growth or change caused many to lose their minds. This divided the people. Some, who refused to believe despite being told day after day by those who had accepted their fate, chose to carry on as they always had done - attempting to ignore their reality in the vain hope that eventually the cycle would stop and they could finally rest in peace. Others changed their ways and stopped repeating the day as they had been doing for so long, As they began to retain more memory, they could predict the future of the day and hoped they would be able to alter it's events and save themselves. Their obstacle became the mystery of the source of what killed them. No-matter what they did, or how they acted, it seemed the events of the world were destined to play out the same way and they knew that every time they were killed, they would re-awake the previous morning. A rare few who simply didn't work it out and were not showed by the others, carried on as if on autopilot. The worst effected were those who couldn't handle the repetition. The mundanity and monotony of their daily lives drove them insane. They became beast-like and roamed wild, evolving predatory features and attacking any who crossed their paths. The sane labelled them 'The Departed'.

Sheol was one of the last to be 'awoken'. He was only discovered after many cycles since a small portion of the communities initial 'awakening'. Although he had been in the village on that day, he had obviously spent it alone and it was only when others began to dramatically deviate from their set routines that he was found and awoken. As is the same with everyone who has realized that they are in this cycle, Sheol's memories of what he had originally done the first time the day had occurred quickly faded. His thoughts were replaced with the perception of what was going to happen and his freedom to do whatever he wished during this time. Very obviously, whatever Sheol had been doing day after day for so long had led him to attain dramatic physical abilities to the extent of no other in the village. Like many, he had evolved a tail for extra balance and had physical fitness beyond that of an olympic athlete. His hands and feet had become almost claws and his 5 main senses had become finely attuned, matching those of specialized animals in the natural world. For a young boy, he now had the maturity of someone way beyond his years. To the other residents of Kold and unto himself, Sheol is a mystery.

Does this make sense??? I have know one around me to validate my scribblings!

Here's some NPC's too =)

"Why are all our eyes blacked out?"

"After years of witnessing the same faces and places, our eyes grew tired. Nature felt them to have no more purpose and they began to recede back into our heads. Maybe now that we are finally attempting to change things, they will come back out to view the world once more."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gay Sheep

Well, I haven't mentioned a thing about the group project as of yet. To be completely honest, I wasn't looking forward to it at all at the beginning of the course. That did change however, once I hooked up with the other members of my group and we started bouncing ideas around. I thought I might actually get something worthwhile out of it. That said, I still regarded it as 'number 2' after my main course work so I was admittedly relatively relieved after the dreaded 0% lecture that upset so many people. I totally understand why people were peeved - if I done a significant amount of work, I too would have been slightly ...annoyed. Nevertheless, since our group had already come up with an idea, we decided to pursue it to the stage where we would present a proposal, rather than any physical 'piece'.

Our main idea centred around the Preston Guild:

"Preston Guild is held only once every 20 years and links the city’s heritage and traditions with its ambitions for the future. The guild also recognises Preston’s importance as a place to trade and learn new skills with which to build a successful career.
During guild year, the whole community comes together to celebrate with a series of events and attractions, including traditional church, community and trades processions. There is also a torchlight procession as well as an array of dances, fireworks and sporting events."

We decided to think about how we could contribute and our ideas started to focus on creating some kind of 'float' which could be part of a procession in the next 2012 Guild. As soon as we started looking at visual traits and representations of Preston my ears pricked up. I researched these symbols and found by far the most common and prominent figure of Prestons heritage to be the lamb - illustrative of the Cities lucrative Wool trade. While other members of the group looked at the decoration of the float, traditional Preston dialogue, trade and culture I thought about a mascot or representative of the festival. Originally I sketched out an idea for a "sheep-suit" to be worn, in the same vein as a football mascot on the float. I didn't really like the outcome and so ended up creating a more fantastical picture of the sheep in the image of some 80's he-man-esque super-hero, proudly carrying Preston's flag. My idea was that it could be used as promotional material for both the event itself and perhaps Preston as a city.

In terms of a learning outcome, I did find out a lot of stuff I didn't know about the city. You wouldn't think this is my 5th year here! And it was interesting to meet people from different disciplines and see what inspired them and what things they found interesting and why. Although it has obviously been a flop and as far as I know a lot of the groups aren't planning on showing anything tomorrow, I'm glad I've done something. It's another image in the portfolio I guess! =P

Hmmm, looking back at that picture now .....it's kind of disturbing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

and Again...

So now I have been tasked with pitching the concept for a full game. When I first went home to think about the idea, I found that I had already done a substantial amount of thinking through my work on the previous project. Whereas the idea had been to design a level using a set of working mechanics, I had perhaps gone a little overboard and come up with a character, theme and back-story for the whole thing. A couple of people remarked on the character design so I figured I'd take it a little further and use him as the foundation for my Game design pitch.
His appearance stemmed from the criteria I had already been given -
  • I wanted a fairly athletic character who could traverse a 'platformy' landscape,
  • he had a 'lasso' in the brief, which was used to pull objects towards him and interact with the scenery so I thought 'why not have it be a part of him?',
  • and he was supposed to have three main weapons, light, medium and heavy. Since there was no ammo mentioned in the brief and due to the fact that I had already decided on a bio-lasso, I decided the weapons could be kind of built-in too.
Taking into account that I had already decided I wanted this guy to be darker than that foxy bloke from my first post, I guess it was inevitable that he turned out looking like something from silent hill/resident evil/prototype. So that's what I chose to go with story wise as well. Once again touching on ideas from my level design, I had been thinking about the idea of having a single level that could be altered and played in different ways multiple times in order to stretch it out into a full game. This obviously led me to think about Majora's Mask.

What a game.
And what a concept!
I remember thinking when it first came out 'this is gonna be the next big thing - everyones gonna be doing this time-loop thing from now on!' and then... nobody did?
For anybody reading this who didn't play it, the whole idea worked like so:
The moon is falling and is going to hit the earth in 3 days. Thus you have 3 days to stop it! But as you find out very early on - it's nowhere near enough time to do so. Luckily, being the 'hero of time' you can reset the 3 days, skip between them and slow down the flow of time with your trusty Ocarina.
The mechanic is brilliant because it means the developers could design tonnes of unique time based quests where you may have to be at a certain place at a certain time or trigger things in one time period that will effect another. It added a whole new dynamic to dungeons, putting a strain on the gameplay in general as you rushed to do everything against a pretty strict time limit. Plus all the quests end up overlapping, meaning you have to keep adjusting your position on the games timeline. The environment changes over a period as well - I seem to remember some guys building a house in the main town that gets gradually bigger with each day. It layed the foundation for so many ideas and I'm unaware of any major titles which have done anything similar since. My manager at work put me onto 'Flower, Sun and Rain' a DS port of an old PS2 game which apparently uses a 'groundhog day' style mechanic where you have to try and find a collection of items throughout a reoccurring day and try to prevent an inevitable plane crash. Kaile also told me about 'Ephemeral Fantasia', also on the PS2, which plays out over a 5 day loop, similar to Zelda.

I can't help feeling like there's massive potential for something incredible here that has yet to be fully explored... or perhaps yet to be fully sussed-out?

Anyways, there I was bending my mind over the concept of time travel as a game mechanic when I was browsing over the latest GamesTM magazine and I discovered a 6 page article entitled
"TIME MATTERS - Time travel has been explored in films and literature, but with a few key exceptions, videogames have rarely entered the fourth dimension. GamesTM examines why time manipulation could be a new gameplay frontier and takes a glimpse into the future of temporal-exploration games."
The article reminded me of such other wonders as 'Chrono Trigger' and 'Braid' which are huge personal favorites that I had somehow overlooked. Both successfully implementing their own personal spin on the idea in a unique and interesting fashion. Noteably, an important feature of each of the games mentioned appears to be the story. I guess if you're going to go with such a far out idea, then you better have a pretty sturdy backbone to hold the whole thing up.

Luckily I like writing stories! Wether or not they're any good remains to be seen... haha.
So I'll post my (rather lengthy) pitch and some pics of character designs and such that I have done so far...

Game Design Idea...



A young boy wakes up and looks around. It is 8 am and he is lying on the roadside. The street is on the route that he follows to school every morning and leads into a small but well populated village. It is misty and he can't see anyone else around even though at this time on any other day, the road would be littered with other children on their way to school. He feels a strong sense of familiarity, like he has not only been in this place before, at this time of day, but he's experienced this PARTICULAR day before. As he pulls himself up he realizes that he's not dressed in his school uniform. In fact, he's not dressed at all! And his body has changed. His skin is thick and tight and on his limbs and chest, large muscles are exposed. His spine has elongated into the beginnings of a tail and his feet have mutated into much stronger forms and now bear large talons. Most noticeable of all, his eyes have gone. Where they used to be are now large black holes, yet somehow, he can still see. The boy begins to walk, heading in the same direction he does every day. Before long, he approaches a set of roadworks. What used to be a large rectangular 'Give Way' sign now has tiny scribbling etched deep into the surface. Immediately the boy recognizes the letters as those of his own handwriting. It is a note to himself.

"On this day, Monday, January 4th 2010, you went back to school like any other day. The mornings lessons began as usual but shortly after 11 am, something happened. The world plunged into chaos and began to fall apart. You, like everyone else around you desperately tried to find your loved ones, stay alive and work out what was going on. At 2:23 am on Tuesday, 5th January, you died.

With no obvious explanation, you woke up here at 8 am, shortly before the events that would lead to your death. For a moment you could remember what had just occurred, but like a dream, the memories faded and you carried on with your day as you had done 18 hours earlier. The days events played out once again, you and many many more around you were killed again and you returned to this road to replay your day again. Every time this occurred, a sense of dread among the population increased and people began to realize that something was happening to them - that this had already happened to them. Every day they could feel an impending doom but were completely powerless to stop it. Over 'time', people started to lose their minds. The strain of their repeating lives, both mentally and physically caused them to alter in both shape and personality. Many became aggressive, some depressed and lonely, while others like you somehow stayed strong of will and continued to struggle on.

I don't know how long we've have been trapped in this cycle. It must have been the equivalent of hundreds or thousands of years because we have evolved. You can see, you are not physically the creature you once were. And it is only you who has uncovered the truth. I ...you have discovered the endless cycle of birth and death, purgatory, or whatever you want to call it and from this point on, you won't forget. The newfound awareness of your own time and space is a gift and it will give you the ability to alter this cycle and perhaps eventually even bring a stop to it. There are many out there now who have become hostile but there are still a few who have shreds of sanity left. You must use your developed strength to fight and your insight to solve our mystery."

Like a slap to the face, he remembered everything. And he did feel stronger and better equipped to deal with the situation. He had 18 hours and counting...


'Again' is a 7th generation (Xbox 360/PS3) 3rd person action/adventure game with a major focus on puzzles and including RPG elements. Very much in the same vein as the Legend of Zelda series. The entirety of the game takes place in a medium sized sandbox environment, the setting of which is a (fictional) small suburban English village called 'Ceaseston' (Cease - Stop, ton/tun - an enclosure/farmstead). It is made up of streets of houses, a town centre shopping area, police station, hospital, school, various places of industry e.g. factories, offices, docks and a countryside area made up of fields, forests, rivers etc. Ceaseston has a large population to support the story. About 60% of the original inhabitants are now hostile - enemies of the player and occupy the streets and open areas. The other 40% are NPC's that the player may interact with in a manner of ways, the most obvious being the ability to talk with them. They still occupy many of the buildings in the game-world and all have independent situations/stories/dialogue options and often quests to provide for the player. The world has a day/night cycle which takes place over the 18 hour period leading to the inevitable death of the player. There are scripted events for the environment since it is a recurring day e.g. weather/the 'end of the world' event/certain areas being destroyed, blocked off or opened to the player. Also in a similar way to Oblivion/Fallout/Majora's Mask, all of the NPC's will have scripted routines such as traveling from one place to another or sleeping.


The main mechanic of the game revolves around the theme of time. Inspired by 'Majora's Mask' and 'Flower Sun and Rain', the story is based on a groundhog day style event. The player begins at 8 am on Monday and has until shortly after 2 am on Tuesday to explore the environment, interact with various NPC's undertaking quests for them and battle hostile enemies. With every action the player makes, the timeline of the day is altered. When the day comes to it's conclusion. A second day is created as a parallel timeline which the player can select as a second 'level' to play through. Events and location will differ slightly from the players first experience, based on their actions the first time round. The player can use this dynamic to create multiple 'levels' and gain new abilities for the player character by performing certain actions a set amount of times in one level or completing particular quests, thus 'evolving' the next time round. An overall puzzle will bein to develop where the player can learn the outcomes of decisions made in the alternate levels they have created and combine them in order to play the day through in a 'perfect' way, finally completing the game. The main objective of Again is to uncover the cause of the disaster, the time-loop and eventually break it and escape the cycle.

More to come soon!... =D