This week’s focus has been all about the smaller details that make the cutscenes right on point. Fires blowing out, candles falling, cracks appearing – all of those smaller things that individually may not seem like a lot but together make the difference between a cutscene that looks alright and one that looks great:

We’ve also started working on the credits (gosh, I can’t believe we’re actually at that point), how and when they will appear, what they should look like and so on. Though we’re only three people, and have had the help of just three more (our awsome music & sound designers), there’s a lot of names to include from those of you who supported us by buying the Snowbacca Tier. (Again, thank you so much for making it possible for us to make this game <3)

I’m not sure when, but in order to get the credits in order we are going to close that tier soon, so if you’re interested in getting your name in there, now’s the time :)

Before I write the rest of the post I want to take a moment to thank all of you who commented on or reached out about last week’s recap. I can’t even begin to describe how much it means to hear (well… read!) your words of encouragement! I know I speak for all three of us when I say it truly, truly warms our hearts, and we’ll continue doing our best to finish up this journey in a way that will hopefully satisfy you all <3

So, on to the actual update! This week we’ve more or less finished two of the most important cutscenes: the transition scene where the game either goes to “bad”/default ending or continues on the the final boss fight for the true ending, as well as the epilogue cutscene that’s part of the default end.

Fred has also started working on a little easter egg in relation to the final boss fight against Zhamla. It will be very interesting to see how many of you figure out how to “unlock” it! Don’t worry – it’s nothing big that will take forever to make, just a little something for those who have paid attention to certain storylines… ;)

For obvious reasons we’re not going to show any of the actual footage from the cutscenes, but here’s a sneak peek of some related animations:

As for the production book, I’ve finished every written section now except one (the music and sound effect part – still a bit unsure of how to approach that). There will be a bunch of shorter texts & info drops to go along with the images and sketches I’ll add for each area as well, which is something I’ll work on this week.

Another week, and – you guessed it – more cutscene progress! As game developers, creating these final cutscenes pretty much feels like one of the most crucial parts of the whole development process. These scenes can literally make or break the player’s overall experience, so it’s important to get them right. Recently, we’ve been especifically focused on the scene where the final, final boss, Zhamla, spawns.

To approach this scene, we first created a very basic “whitebox” cutscene (meaning we used mostly sample graphics) to establish the general flow and timing. Teddy then recorded and showed this initial version to me and Fred, who came with feedback regarding the pacing, dialogue and how certain things were presented. Yes, I’m being vague here, that is the problem with trying to keep these final things ‘secret’ enough for there to be any sort of surprise when you finally get to play through them. Anyway, based on the feedback, Teddy then made the proper edits as well as adding new animations and effects as they get done.

One of the key aspects of creating any great cutscene (or pretty much any great aspect of a game at all, in my opinion) is iteration. We recognize that the initial cutscene is just the starting point, knowing there will be room for improvement as we move forward, continually seeking feedback and making changes to the scene to enhance its impact and make it as memorable as possible. This means we go through these cutscenes a lot, and while it may seem like we’re taking forever working on the same scenes, a lot of progress is being made.

Here are some of the new animations Fred’s been making for this scene:

As for me, I’ve continued working on the production book.

I’ve written drafts for most of the longer sections now, detailing the economy side of a project like this as well as listing and explaining the various things that make it difficult to estimate how long any project takes to finish, especially when it’s made by a very small team. Both topics I think are highly relevant to anyone interested in becoming a indie game developer themselves, and hopefully helps shed some light on how developing a game of this scope may take longer than you may first think.

Looking back, we were very naive about the scope and how long it would take to finish this game in those early days, but now that we’re nearly there, I can definitely say the journey has been worth it. I do wish there were realistic expectations on what you can expect any game dev to accomplish within a set timeframe, though. Sure, there are geniuses out there that can complete wonderful games in no time at all, but for most people, that’s not gonna be the case. It certainly wasn’t for us, as you can tell from us still working on this even after all this time.

It’s easy for people with no insight into a game’s development process to criticise and leave angry comments on how you’re not doing a good enough job. I wish it wasn’t needed, but I’m considering adding a section on how to stay sane when dealing with people telling you how awful you are for not finishing a game they want fast enough. If I do, I’ll probably make it publicy available to help others in this situation. We do have a lot of wonderful fans that have been nothing but supportive, but I’d be lying if I said the barrage of negativity we face every week didn’t take its toll. Please remember that there are actual people reading what you write on the other side of that screen. Actual people with feelings that will get hurt, no matter how much you think you’re just trolling for fun or trying to put down people who deserve it.

For those of you that have been patient with us throughout this awfully long process, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It means the world, and without you we’d never have gotten this far.

Fred & Teddy continues work on the cutscenes for the endings. The cutscenes inbetween the two major battles involved in the true ending are more or less done. For the bad ending, everything is done up to the “second part”, which is sort of an epilogue where you see what happened after the big battle.

Here’s a little sneak peek WIP from one of the scenes you’ll get to see. What do you think is happening here? :D

Spoiler Video, Beware

Otherwise, here’s a couple animations by Fred from his batch last week:

As for me, I’ve written the first proper draft for about one third of the pages for the production book!

It’s a fine line to make sure the written parts are short and succint while including enough detail to actually keep them interesting. Once all the pages are done, I’ll send it out to the rest of Pixel Ferrets as well as some other trusted readers and we’ll discuss if they should be longer – or even shorter (who knows!). In this draft I’ve leaned into keeping things very short, so I think the main question will be if the information that’s actually in there is interesting enough or not.