One Night Only draws broadly on the look of early pixel-based adventure titles, as well as a range of unique personal influences to bring the player an ambient adventure through a virtual Freo–inspired landscape. Initially based on the creation of a stand-up routine and performance, One Night only follows the plight of Nelson Jones as he creates and performs his act, in attempts to get over his ex-girlfriend.
What’s been your experience showing your work at the Perth Games Festival this year?
Way less stressful than other times we’ve shown stuff off. We had a way better tutorial thing going on so the game could pretty much be left alone. I was so relaxed this year I just wandered off for like an hour and let Jacob Janerka watch our booth, Haha.
Are you able to tell us a bit about some of the changes made to the game since we last heard from you?
Pretty much everything was completely rebuilt, re-written, redesigned – the only thing we kept was the design of Nelson, the main character. Everything, even the story is different now. We basically just took the idea of a stand-up comedian in Fremantle and redid the whole concept.
In what ways does One Night Only depart from conventional adventure game mechanics?
There’s no inventory, only like 3 puzzles in the whole game, there’s a stealth section, characters swear way too often, the main plot revolves around a person doing pretty much nothing. It’s really an adventure game in that you don’t kill people.
What has been your biggest challenge in terms of design?
So, the game has a really long feedback loop.. the payoff for the actions you’re performing is something like 15 minutes later, so designing lots of subtle aesthetic things to communicate to the player that they are progressing is pretty challenging. The interface has to be really subtle too, I hate HUDs with text in them.
Can you elaborate on the idea of ‘ambient narrative’ and how that comes into play in your game?
Yeah, I guess we’re looking at it being something along the lines of what games such as Bioshock do with audio logs; hiding backstory around the game, except that instead of discovering events that happened before you arrived in Rapture, you’re seeing this guy’s life as it happens, slowly piecing together what’s happening to him. The whole stand-up comedy performance is really a narrative bookend to help sum up all the things the player has seen or done.
I understand you’ve cited local artist, Magali Dincher as an influence, how have other people and places you know influenced the game?
Ha, yeah, Magali was an inspiration. The way she strips buildings down to their core allows her own drawing style to come through and unify what is actually a bunch of buildings that look horrible next to each other. I felt like that would work for doing pixel art. I read William S. Burroughs Junky recently and was really inspired by his unusual metaphors for city streets and people. There’s a tonne of other games that influenced us too, like Trav’ Nash’s Comedy Quest, Cherry Tree High Comedy Club, Else Heartbreak, To The Moon, Three Fourths Home, Jazzpunk, Redshirt, to name a few.
What is it about games (as opposed to other creative industries) that appeals to you?
The openness of their audience. People who play games like Halo 5 are just as likely to appreciate something like Gone Home without making some lame concession. You don’t get that in Music or films, independent artists in those disciplines are often treated like the rookie league or something, like, one day they might graduate and get to make some big blockbuster action movie. Also, just how undefined what a “game” is now, like a musician has to release an album, which has around 10 songs, each of those around 4 minutes, and they have a single, etc. The musical equivalent of something like Mountain would never happen.
What’s your been your experience thus far with funding a largely solo development?
Noodles and asking my girlfriend to pay for things more.
Any advice for aspiring developers or things you wished you’d known before you started out?
People are actually lovely. Ask everyone for advice and help. If someone doesn’t respond to and email or a tweet, just message them again and again until they do.
I understand you are currently applying for Greenlight through Steam, What’s your current release time frame and how can readers support the project?
We’re aiming to get the game out before Q1 2016, but you know, feature creep. The Greenlight page should be up by the time this goes out, right? The best support is money, so yeah, Greenlight this game and then buy it, people! Haha.
Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/comments/324248364