The Edgelands Devlog # 1

Welcome to the first Edgelands devlog. The plan is to use these to talk about how development is going, share some work in progress and discuss more general aspects of the game as a whole.

Seeing as this is the first one, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at what the game actually is, and how things work. A while ago I came up with the phrase ‘Uncanny Rustic Adventure’ to describe the game, and yeah, I’m pretty much sticking with that.

I’m interested in the notion of inbetween spaces, such as places where the rural and the urban overlap, or when the real and the supernatural seep into each other. I’m aiming to present these sorts of ideas with a heavy dollop of ambiguity on top, with the goal of creating a sense of uncertainty about where things are situated on the magical realism scale. Are there goblins in the woodshed, or is it just weasels? But why is that weasel looking at me like that? Perhaps they are goblins after all, or maybe there is no difference. A big part of this will involve juxtaposing the seemingly mundane with the apparently otherworldly and letting the player draw their own conclusions, perhaps even taking the small seed of folklore I am offering and growing it into something completely unique in their minds eye.

In terms of actual mechanics, the easiest reference point would be point and click adventures, but with no pointing and minimal clicking. The main character is controlled directly (either with a gamepad or the keyboard) and interacts with the world by walking up to things and clicking the interact button (see there IS some clicking, phew).

The decision behind using this approach instead of the more traditional point and click approach is I feel it gives the player more of a sense of being in the gameworld if you have to actually move around within it, rather than click a spot on the screen and watch your character trundle over. I also wanted to avoid any pixel hunt type situations, players diligently trawling the environment with their mouse pointer looking for things to click on. In The Edgelands, if you think there might be something hidden in that suspicious looking tree stump, you’ll need to take a walk over to it and have a look. There could be all sorts of mysteries in there. Or maybe it’s just a stump.

Making the player move the character through the environment directly also feeds into another big aspect of the game – ambient interactions. These are small details such as wandering wildlife, rocks to look under, maybe even our old friend the tree stump. Interacting with these will be passive in some cases (for example, approaching a squirrel may cause it to scurry away) or involve interacting in order to get a result (clicking a tree causing a bird to fly from it’s branches)

These interactions exist to add flavour and atmosphere to the game. They will all have particular sounds or melodies attached to them, which will add to the overall soundscape and hopefully make the act of moving through the world engaging and enjoyable, and maybe lead to some distraction as you decided to see how far you can chase that squirrel.

That’s probably enough to chew over for today.