With AVSEQ having been released last week a few people asked me how we managed to make two games at once (because we are also making Fallen City for Channel 4 Education) and the answer is: we didn’t. Well, not really. AVSEQ was an existing project that Tom had produced before we began working on Fallen City, which he then converted to Unity (our development platform) with a front end menu and some more levels. Then it was down to me and James to offer some design tweak ideas (the precise way notes are unlocked was James’ idea) and then bend the difficulty into an entertaining curve.
Tom, it should be pointed out, is rubbish at it, and can’t get much past Agate. If you’ve beaten that level then you are doing better than the programmer who made it. To be fair, I could probably beat Carmack at Quake, too, so it’s in a fine tradition.
Anyway, the past fourteen months have been focused on Fallen City, which is now just at the final stages of its development. There are just bugs to squash, and then it’s done.
Where AVSEQ is an abstract test of reflexes, Fallen City genuinely is a puzzle game, but not one you’d recognise from any other genre out there, because on the surface it looks like a strategy or Dungeon Keeper or something. It’s a game about making city districts worth living in for their inhabitants, and they will react to their surroundings, like The Sims. But the challenge is more about figuring out the precise solution we’ve set up for the level. Sorting the place out and choosing the correct combinations of buildings unlocks the full level, allowing you to “complete” each level. The levels can be finished without completing them, however, and you simply score a lower percentage.
I should probably stress, for my RPS readers and others, that Fallen City is a free game aimed at provoking younger, school-age gamers into thinking about cities, so it is not a hardcore challenge like AVSEQ, nor a more serious work of procedural cleverness like the Lodestone stuff we’ve been working on. It probably won’t be anything like people would expect from us, but I think folks who follow my RPS and twitterings will recognise a lot of our key obsessions in there. Tea, after all, solves a lot of problems.
Here are some screenshots (click for full size):
Later in the week I am going to talk about what the plan is for the months following Fallen City. The one thing I will say now is that it’s not Lodestone. Well, not exactly. But you’ll be interested. I guarantee that.
Finally, we turned the blog comments off, please head over to the forum to chat to us!