I haven’t written about this game in about three months, and that’s largely because I haven’t really been doing much with it. I’ve been busy working on other projects, which has helped me develop quite a lot of new skills I’m hoping to use to improve Other Minds.

I think a long break has done me some good as well. I felt like I was really going nowhere with the project and I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to continue it. I’ve been trying to push forward with a beta release regardless. After that I had planned to put the project on hold, most likely permanently.

I have since decided that there’s a few things I’d like to change before releasing a beta. Changing these things will probably make me feel better about the project as a whole and help me push forward to develop it some more in the future. In this post I’ll detail some things I think are lacking and what I’m going to do about them below.

Story

It may come as a surprise that I actually have quite a well thought out story for this game. I didn’t think I had the story telling skills to have a prominent story, so it took a back seat position in the game, with only hints of what’s going on scattered throughout. I’ve since published Remember Mary, which is almost entirely driven by it’s narrative, and a lot of people really liked it. It was made for the “I can’t write but want to tell a story” game jam, but maybe it turns out I can write after all. Either way, it has given me a lot of confidence in my narrative-writing ability.

To bring the story into more prominence, I would like to add more Ed and Sage interactions to provide more ongoing commentary (Ed will still be almost entirely a mute). This should provide some more context and motivation for our heroes to push forward on their quest.

There’s a few characters I would consider “main characters”, who I would like to talk more about the world they live in and current events. The more minor characters will provide minor, mostly pointless commentary, but hopefully they will add something to the world the game is set in.

Level Redesigns

When I first started making the levels for this game, I had no idea how to make levels. I literally sat down, placed some blocks, added in some jumps, enemies and collectibles and thought “that’ll do!”. I just didn’t know what I was doing. I would stare at level maps from games like Commander Keen and Super Mario World and think “how is this a good level?”.

My answer to level design eventually came from Ceave Gaming, who makes YouTube videos about Super Mario Maker. He made a few videos on how to design good levels which were immensely helpful for me.

The levels I’d really like to revisit are the first four. They have decent ideas, but nothing that really ties them together so I don’t think they flow well. In addition, some people found them confusing because they are non-linear and introduce multiple mechanics at once.

Hopefully the re-design will give the game a stronger start and provide more motivation for players to continue.

Ochre Hill is Way Too Long

Ochre Hill is the longest area in the game by far. I ran out of ideas towards the end of making this area, which lead to some annoying and uninteresting filler levels. I hate to scrap content I’ve spent a lot of time on, but I’m going to scrap at least two levels (probably more) to make the area shorter.

I may make some sort of “museum” area where players who have 100% completed the game can explore legacy levels that didn’t make the final cut.

Menus

Everybody hates making UI, and my main motivation for completing the current UI was “I’ll never have to do it again”. Well, here I am, wanting to do it again.

I’m currently working on a typing game. The work on this game ended up being 95% menus and 5% gameplay, but that means I’m now really good at menus!

I’d like to use my new found menu-making skills to give the Other Minds menus a new look and some better animations.

One of the new rhythm levels

Gameplay

I have about two more levels I’d like to finish before I’d consider the beta release “complete”. For collecting all the orbs, the player will be rewarded with some bonus rhythm levels. Finishing all the rhythm levels will give you a further reward! There will be “true end” of sorts for completing everything, but this will essentially be a placeholder ending until the game is actually completed.

So there we have it, despite there being so little to do gameplay-wise, I have absolutely tons of stuff to do “behind the scenes” before I’m happy to do a full beta release.

As always, there is still a demo available on itch, but I would now consider this demo to be outdated.

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