Devlog #1: Introducing Sagebrush

Hello!

I’ve been working on a game for a few months now and I wanted to start sharing some of the work I’ve done.

Wait, who are you?

I’m Nate Berens. I’m a long-time reviewer for Adventure Gamers, I run the Ludodrome Youtube channel, and I’ve participated in a few game jams. I also made this dumb video that a lot of people seemed to like. Over the past few years I’ve been teaching myself game development and this year I finally started work on a serious, long-term project.

Cool?

Yeah! So,  since March, I’ve been working on a first-person narrative exploration game called

Sagebrush

It’s about exploring the compound of an apocalyptic Millenialist cult in remote New Mexico after a mass suicide.

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Cheery stuff!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, Sagebrush is primarily about exploring the compound, unlocking new areas, and reading everyone’s diaries. It’s about learning the stories of the people who joined the cult — who were they? Why did they join? Why did they die for their leader, Father James? And who, for that matter, are you?

There’s a heavy dose of Gone Home and Vanishing of Ethan Carter in the presentation (only uglier), as filtered through the aesthetic of low-poly, low-res early/mid 90s 3D.

I’m inspired by the environmental storytelling in immersive sims and the idea of ‘archaeological’ non-linear storytelling. My hope is that players will enjoy exploring and piecing together the story of the cult through both the more linear ‘critical path’ and the less linear contextual elements of the story.

The compound is one large map that can be openly explored, though locked doors and puzzles give structure and momentum to keep things from being totally aimless.

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How’s it coming along?

Pretty well! Mechanically it’s a pretty simple game, so I’ve got all the gameplay mechanics functioning and in place. The writing is mostly done, but it’s always being edited for the better as I get a better handle on the story I’m trying to tell.

The compound is laid out and I’ve been tackling the different areas in chronological order, so the areas in the first “half” of the game are mostly complete, while the back half is still mostly whiteboxed.

I’m putting the finishing touches on a test build that includes about the first half of the game playable in order to start getting feedback (I know, I waited too long, but better late than never)

I initially planned for the game to take about a year to make so I’m hoping (hoping hoping hoping) to release some time in early 2018.

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Check this space for more updates!