we released an example of the Spilled React engine using a scene from Life Is
Strange by Dontnod Entertainment. My experience with making the Life is Strange
example was incredibly eye opening and so much fun. As a new designer, breaking
down a piece of work I admire was a really helpful exercise. It gave me the
chance to look at what it might be like to work on a well-respected, sizable
game. Along with what it would take to accomplish something like that, and how
Bullet Decision compares.
We chose this game, and this scene, because of Dontnod’s release of a flow
chart of how the scene works. It was the perfect opportunity to see how a
something so different, but still a story game, could stand up in our engine.
Along with if there was anything that we couldn’t do, and missed in our own
structure. Life is Strange takes use of primarily a dialogue tree structure and
was very intuitive to write in the Spilled React engine. Surprisingly, the
hardest part of getting the script together was finding all the endings. I
watched every youtube walk through I could find of the Frank’s RV ending, and
they surprisingly didn’t cover every possibility! I had to play the game from
chapter three to actually find every piece of dialogue. It’s incredibly
interesting and valuable knowledge that despite a very active fan base, no one
had truly explored every ending opportunity and posted it. As a designer, it
showed me the difference between what the player thinks is true and what is
actually under the hood. It leaves an incredible amount of opportunity to weave
different stories with seemingly cosmetic choices.
most creative part for me was the UI designing, which was so fun! I wanted to
stay true to the aesthetic of the original work, which is very different than
Bullet Decision. I think it shows the power of what a simple dressing can do
the feel of your game in an interactive fiction setting. Our work isn’t very
visual heavy, so it was really unexpected what a difference it could make. Even
though the two still are very visually similar. Another creative liberty I took
was choosing to add in the descriptors [indicated with brackets]. It became
very obvious while writing the script that this is a visual heavy game. While
it might come off as mostly a story game, it really relies on its facial
expressers and body language cues to take their script to another level. It’s a
perfect example of elements working together to take a game to another level.
me, this was an invaluable learning experience that I’m so excited to share.
Being able to work on this after releasing Hopeless Start has been an amazing experience
of continuously learning new things, and how to be a better dev. I really hope
you enjoy our example and my experience and learn from it.