To introduce the game, of course.
i.e. To set up the entire scope of the game, show potential players that I am developing a fun, well thought out world, and ideally, get them hooked on the big weird ideas and the humour, style of puzzles and characters (Not much then!). They should have questions at the end, rather than answers.
The key question bothering me right now is – Is the witch is necessary, or is she superfluous. ???
Let me explain: In my wildest imaginings, the DEMO goes like this:
1) We meet Max(boy) and Mr Kittens(cat) in Max’s bedroom / laboratory. We grasp that they have swapped bodies.
2) We solve the first puzzle and discover that there is some kind of weird time travel going on, as we arrive at the Over Lyme bay area in the ‘dystopian killer plant future’.
3) We grasp that we can die without getting GAME OVER.
4) Then we solve the series of puzzles in the killer plant bay area and fall asleep exhausted, and dream. We dream about the bay area in different time zones, the Mesozoic Era (catosaurus!), the middle ages (where the witch is from), 1989 (where the main game is based) and the three alternate futures, the killer plant future, the dystopian capitalist nightmare future and the more eutopian, shared future (where the game ends).
So – is the witch necessary?
I think adding her in brings the question of magic nicely into the game (where it can serve as an occassional and interesting counter to the more scinetific elemts necessary to a sci fi). It also focuses the neatly around my concerns – i.e. trying to create a game with a stronger female presence / perspective than is typical in these types of games. It also provides a nice narrative curve – from the witches suffering and torture in the middle ages, through the Finch grandmother’s ‘problems’, her daughter’s logical approach in 1989 and Kinoko’s emotional responses through her Bill and Ted filter (via the future, also in 1989) to the more enlightened position of the narrator from the future, who is imbued of both magic and science.
And it would for sure confuse Max as he digs down into the foundations of his house for the first time (after the first loop has run its course) looking for spirits, to find a witches body in the dungeon below his house, because this would seem to confirm his paranoid belief that the events of the first time-loop were somehow the result of magic. (Which they aren’t – they are the result of ‘mad science’)
Physical Problems – Putting a witch’s skeleton into the tower is one thing, creating a whole new backdrop of the bay is another (with lightening striking the tower, galleon at anchor and a witch being carried towards the tower in shackles and so on) Parts of the town could stay the same from this time, the tea shop for example. But this backdrop could take WEEKS!
If I do opt to do this, there is also an argument for creating the dystopian future backdrop of the bay, complete with terminator and crashing shuttle on the beach too, so that the whole scope of the game is included in that opening scene…
This can be thought about slowly I suppose, if the purpose of these images are mostly to function as cutscenes. It is not clear at this point if there should / could be a part of the gameplay that takes place in the middle ages version of Over Lyme. That seems like a MADidea. Unless it were to be SUPER SIMPLE.
So what to do next? (NOTE TO SELF)
I could dedicate some time to finishing the ways of dying in the lab, cleaning up any bugs and starting on the killer plantbay scene, or I could dedicate some time to getting the puzzle in the tower (prologue part 2) working with my new ideas (including the witches’ skeleton), and starting to think about Scene 1, Act 1 (finally!) At least the question of the size of the art (my size) is now resolved, now that Gregor (my co-collaborator for a short while) has departed for who knows what.