Not very far! I put a ball in a room and when you click your mouse it sends an impulse. It's not even dependent on anything, I just picked a static vector for the impulse just to test that the impulse worked.
It doesn't do much. If you spam click you can get it going a little bit. I also made this prototype in Unreal, which is a beast to export even a tiny simple thing to html5 let me tell ya.
<iframe src="https://storage.wertle.com/BringOutYourDead/Bounce/Bounce.html" width="854" height="480"></iframe>
[[Why did you stop?->Bounce Outro]]
Sure. Just type in the box and hit OK, then you can drag them out and, if you feel like it, give one to me. Then I'll burn it in a temp placeholder fire. And that's all there is.
I made it because I had remembered a time long ago where my friends and I wrote down fears and regrets on slips of paper and then burned them in a campfire.
<iframe src="https://storage.wertle.com/BringOutYourDead/Ritual/index.html" width="854" height="480"></iframe>
[[Why did you abandon this?->Ritual Outro]]
Hello! My name is Lisa and I'm a game designer.
I was excited to share some abandoned projects for Bring Out Your Dead, but when I went digging around my archives, I discovered something...
(if: (saved-games:) contains $_autosave_slot and (datavalues: (saved-games:)) contains $_autosave_filename)[I'm really good at either killing a project extremely early, or taking it to completion. There isn't really much to these prototypes.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to go through my decision-making process when I decided to kill a project. It can be a good thing to learn when something isn't going to make it to completion early on, so you can abandon it quickly and move on to something else.
(link: "Continue where I left off")[(load-game: $_autosave_slot)]
[[Go Through Again->Intro 2]]
[[What was it?->Intro 2]]
(link: "DEBUG: Delete saved data")[(save-game: $_autosave_slot, "DELETED")]
Not very far. I started out by prototyping the idea for the person playing the environment. I thought I'd set it up so that you could drag different traps and hazards onto the ground at any time to replace that bit of ground with the hazard.
As you can see, I started off with the built in runner template in Construct 2. Any shortcut to getting a prototype out quickly is welcome.
You'll have to play for both roles for now. Press spacebar to make the runner jump, and drag those pieces onto the ground to add a pit or a height change:
<iframe src="https://storage.wertle.com/BringOutYourDead/MPRunner/index.html" width="630" height="360"></iframe>
[[So why did you abandon this prototype?->MP Runner Outro]]
The goal was to see if I could create a sense of space through pulse patterns alone. Kind of like if your finger position was pinging like a sonar, and if you were touching a wall it would have a different vibration pattern than if the way was clear.
Here's a bit of the script, just so I can show something. I was just trying to test two different pulse patterns to see if I could distinguish them mentally
[[So what happened?->Touch Maze Outro]]
I got the eyetracker working in Unreal, and got it so that when your eyes were open your weapon would fire and when your eyes were closed it would stop firing.
This game was actually the subject to a couple of development streams I did, showing the full process of trying to figure out how to do something in an engine when you have NO knowledge of how to do that specific thing.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLon-_pxM8TyrEXW6UKQdZ12YHkqvmUcAn" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PLon-_pxM8TyquBFKZGS4OQEGRRyLxvMFm" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[[Did you abandon it because you were unfamiliar with the tools?->Laser Eyes Outro]]
Even though I made those other experiments when I was 15, well before I had any sort of game design vocabulary, I could remember the feeling that teenager-Lisa was trying to invoke in the player. Something about having to be sneaky because you were outgunned. Not very Doom-like, honestly.
I also wanted to make a place where the demons would be hanging out that wasn't just another hellhole, so I sketched up an idea for a monster bathhouse
I started building it, but I didn't get very far. I just started mocking up space that would be the "home" room, trying to remember metrics for door width and ceiling height and trying to remember how to make a fake working ladder.
[[Why did you abandon it?->Doom Mod Outro]]
I'm really good at either killing a project extremely early, or taking it to completion. There isn't really much to these prototypes.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to go through my decision-making process when I decided to kill a project.
It can be a good thing to learn when something isn't going to make it to completion early on, so you can abandon it quickly and move on to something else.
Are you ready to learn my thought process?
[[Yes! I love learning things!->2014]]
Alright! Well, when I looked through my old project folders, the first unfinished game I encountered was from 2014.
[[What was it??->MP Runner Intro]]
[[Wait, you've been making games since 2007, you really went 7 years without an unfinished project?->Pre-2014]]
[[test back to beginning->How to Kill a Project]]
Sort of. I mean, this timespan was when I was either in graduate school or working in a studio. I don't count studio games as "mine" but rather "projects that I worked on." As for side project stuff, I didn't even start doing game jams until 2013.
Well, I guess my very first game jam I did when I was in school could count. It was called Cake Town, and we only got two levels finished.
<a href="http://www.wertle.com/projects/personal-game-projects/cake-town/" target="_blank">You can read more about that here</a>
Alright, ready to get back to the first unfinished project of 2014?
[[Yes!->MP Runner Intro]]
[[Do you count game jams as "finished" projects?->Game Jams]]
[[What were games that you DID finish before the first abandoned project?->Pre-2014 Finished Games]]
It was a prototype called MP Runner.
I had bounced around the idea in my brain of an endless runner where you played as the environment, trying to outsmart an AI runner.
This quickly evolved to an idea of a multiplayer endless runner, where one person would play as the runner, and the other person would throw down environment pieces that the runner would encounter.
This was around the time when Construct 2 came out with its Multiplayer game object, and I thought it might be a good opportunity to learn this new feature.
[[How far did you get?->MP Runner]]
I gave up the MP Runner prototype for two reasons:
1) I realized that the scope of tackling the online multiplayer object was going to take way longer than I would have anytime in the immediate future (production on Slow Down, Bull was ramping up at the time)
2) As soon as I made the protype of replacing the floor with obstacles, I started thinking of balancing cases down the line: What would keep the placer from spamming pits? Would I have to ensure that two pits couldn't be placed next to each other? Should the placed pieces have a cooldown? How do I manage the asynchronous win states (distance vs kills)? Would this idea hold any weight after a few minutes of novelty for both players?
I wasn't up for dealing with solving those problems, so I moved on
[[Do you think you will ever revive it?->MP Runner Outro 2]]
The next abandoned game was called Touch Maze, and I actually can't technically show it to you, because there were no visuals in the game.
I wanted to make a mobile game that involved spatial puzzle solving that ONLY used haptic feedback.
I was thinking of it as a tablet game that would be a gift for my grandfather, who had Macular Degeneration and who was ill at the time.
[[That sounds neat!->Touch Maze]]
The thing that killed Touch Maze was the discovery that the iteration time would be too slow. Unity had a remote app that let you test games on your phone without making a build, but to my dismay, it did not support vibration, and my game was ALL vibration.
So, if I changed something and test it, I had to make a build in Unity, install it on my phone, and then test. It was long enough of a loop that my brain lost focus.
Some types of games I could manage with a long iteration time, but this mechanic was experimental enough that the slowness killed it for me.
[[What about your grandfather?->Touch Maze Outro 2]]
After Touch Maze, it was almost a year before I would have another unfinished project.
[[Wow, that's a long time!->2015 Transition 2]]
Yeah, would you like to hear about some of the games I DID finish in that time? (roughly the last half of 2014 through the beginning of 2015)
[[Yes but let's make it quick->Year of Finished Games]]
[[Nah, forge on to the next abandoned game->Laser Eyes Intro]]
Tangent list of all the games I finished in that time.
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/afterlife-dance-party" target="_blank">Afterlife Dance Party
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/verticorpse" target="_blank">Verticorpse
<a href="https://www.wertle.com/projects/personal-game-projects/one-does-not-simply-walk-into-more-doors/" target="_blank">One Does Not Simply Walk Into More Doors
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/cat-trick" target="_blank">Cat Trick
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/lisa-vs-the-tornado" target="_blank">Lisa vs. The Tornado
[[Wow, that's a lot! Okay, I'm ready to hear about more things that you DIDN'T finish->Laser Eyes Intro]]
Alright! The next abandoned game is called Laser Eyes.
It was a game I was making for my Tobii EyeX eyetracker.
<img src="images/tobiieyex.jpg" width="500" height="333">
It was to be a local asymmetrical two player game. One person, with the controller, had to keep their eyes closed, for if they opened their eyes they shot lasers out of it and destroyed everything within their gaze. The other person was a helper, and had to verbally guide their friend through the environment, telling them when to open their eyes and roughly where to look to zap enemies.
It was to be very silly
[[Sounds like it. So how far did you get?->Laser Eyes]]
Nah, bumbling around in unfamiliar tools is just part of the deal. Here are the reasons I decided to stop working on this project:
1) At the time, I had just gone indie, and I was poking around at a few different prototypes to decide which one I would take to completion first. I decided to go with Imaginal, and so shelved Laser Eyes
2) This is a silly concept for a game, but it is very clearly an installation game. Like, this wouldn't be a game I'd put up and people could download it, it's the sort of game you would play at a venue, and thus has a very small reach. The cost of development for taking this to completion compared to its reach (small) and its capacity for making back that money (pretty much 0) just didn't make sense without some kind of funding, so I moved on from it.
Also, I had already made another game using the eyetracker, so I fulfilled that part of it and was comfortable giving this one up.
[[So what happened next?->Starting to get sick]]
[[What was the other game that you made for the eyetracker?->Pay Attention]]
I think it's important to give some context for these next few projects. After going indie, I divided most of my time three ways: Working on Imaginal, working on Hyper Light Drifter (having been brought on as a level designer), and doing my design streams.
A combination of this overwork with the unknowns of indie living ended up being extremely stressful for me. I started to get very sick, my chronic pain condition started to flare out of control, and I started sinking into a depression (because as it turns out, when you go through many life changes at once, and when you are in pain all the time, and you push yourself anyway, you get depressed! Surprise!)
[[Did your mental and physical state impact your ability to finish projects?->Sick Sick Solitaire]]
Yeah I think so, in the sense that I couldn't spread myself as thin anymore. That August I wanted to participate in Ludum Dare, but I was so ill that weekend that I couldn't finish my game. It was a hard time for me because I think it was the first game jam that I'd ever been unable to finish.
Now, this is questionable as an unfinished project, because I did get something playable and more or less complete in terms of game loop. But it definitely wasn't close to where I was trying to go with it.
<iframe src="https://storage.wertle.com/BringOutYourDead/Sick Sick Solitaire/index.html" width="854" height="480"></iframe>
The roughest part was being okay with myself.
[[What do you mean?->Sick Solitaire Outro]]
Talk about Imaginal, Notary Bear, and Hyper Light Drifter
[[That's still a lot of finished games! What was the next unfinished one?->Getting Sicker]]
So the next game I abandoned was something I was trying to do for pure leisure. At this point the "work" part of 2015 was over, and in an effort to combat my sickness and depression, I went on a two month vacation to try and rest.
Granted, I mostly spent that time sleeping and crying, but there was rest involved.
I got inspired to make a Doom mod.
[[Like old-school Doom?->Doom Mod Intro]]
Yeah! I was inspired because my brother found an old backup of our family computer from when I was 14 or 15, and had noticed some Doom wads on there. I always enjoyed trying to build levels but not much of interest survived. Mostly they were tiny rooms where I was trying to figure out things like scale and height:
Yes, I did put lava on the ceiling.
[[Ha! So what did that inspire present-day Lisa to make?->Doom Mod]]
In this case, the reason I stopped working on this mod was that I was still very sick. A pattern emerged: I would rest, then start to get motivation to create, then try to create, but my body would be like "I'M NOT DONE RESTING" and would tank me.
It was nice to feel motivated to tool around in the editor and make things, but my body and brain were indignant about my pushing them when they had been promised rest and recovery.
[[Do you think you'll ever go back to the mod?->Doom Mod Outro 2]]
[[Can I try out what you made?->Download WAD]]
Not exactly, because when I got back from my trip I dropped right into a whirlwind, where I had just a few weeks to wrap up any business I had in LA, pack up my life, and drive across the country to Pennsylvania where I would begin a residency gig in the new year.
I was still very sick, and very depressed, but I knew that once I moved and got settled that I was going to go see some doctors and get better. I used this to push myself through those last couple of weeks.
When Ludum Dare came around again, I thought, maybe I will make a very tiny thing. Just one small little thing that I can knock out in a few hours...
[[And did you?->Ritual Intro]]
I tried, against my better judgement. I wasn't even really trying to make a game, just a bit of a toy. Or a tool. I'm not sure how to describe it.
The theme of the jam was "Ritual."
I wanted to make a thing where you could type in a text box whatever you wanted, and it would make a little note in a basket. Then, if you gave the note to me, I would burn it for you.
I did wind up with something.
[[Can I try it?->Ritual]]
I guess it is sort of complete in its base functionality. Any other work on it would just be presentation and making it look and feel nice.
I stopped for two reasons:
1) I was still very sick, and any sort of creative work just tanked me. My poor body and brain had been trying to get me to learn this lesson for months, but I was very stubborn about it.
2) Even though it was simple, it felt really personal. I was still experiencing some of the unexpected difficulty of having made an intensely personal game (Imaginal), and I wasn't ready to experience that sort of hurt again. It wasn't the time for that sort of thing. I was still too depleted.
Anyway, that wrapped up 2015
[[On to 2016?->2016]]
Double-click this passage to edit it.
Double-click this passage to edit it.
Yes, on to 2016, and my first abandoned project of the year!
This might have been the fastest time from start to abandon, now that I think about it.
It came from a discussion I had with a very dear friend of mine, where I admitted that fear I mentioned just now. I was, in a way, afraid to make another game, because I was afraid it would hurt. I was afraid of falling into making something deeply personal again when I was not quite healed enough for it.
My friend suggested that I make a tiny little silly thing as a healing step. "Make a game about...hmmm. Like something bouncy. A game about a bouncy thing that bounces in a nice way."
So, anxious to get on with the healing, I started making a game about a bouncy thing.
[[How far did you get?->Bounce]]
I did! I saw some doctors. I got medicine to manage my chronic pain and to help the depression. I laser focused on getting better. And I am feeling better. So, so much better!
[[Did you learn anything from the experience?->Recovery]]
I think I learned temperance, if that word is appropriate. Even though I am feeling a lot better, I am cautious about overscoping my life. I am picky about projects and I focus on fewer things at a time.
If I ever get even the smallest twinge of feeling overwhelmed, I don't push it. I'm learning to be kinder to myself (though that's always an area that could use improvement).
I even finished a couple of games since getting better!
[[What were the games you finished?->Finished Games 2016]]
[[Yes, but did you have any more unfinished projects?->RPGMaker]]
Yup, that's all for now! Thanks for coming along with me on this exploration of abandoned projects. I hoped you learned a thing or two along the way. If you did, or if you had any insights, let me know on Twitter - @Wertle
If you want to revisit any of the games, you can now get to them [[from the beginning of this adventure.->How to Kill a Project]]
Nah, I ended up finally getting some experience with the Construct 2 online multiplayer object with another project. And as for that idea, I'm pretty sure someone is bound to have made this two-player runner idea already, right? It's a pretty simple idea.
Ready to see the next game?
[[Yeah let's see it->Touch Maze Intro]]
[[Wait, what was the other project with the multiplayer object?->Multiplayer Tangent]]
Well, this is sort of a tangent, but I used Construct 2's online multiplayer feature to build a tool for a remote game design workshop I was running.
I wanted to use one of my favorite intro-to-design workshops, called Artifact Hunt (which my friend Liz <a href="http://www.lizengland.com/blog/2014/08/artifact-hunt-a-board-game-design-workshop/" target="_blank">has written about here.</a> So I made an online version.
[[Okay cool, I'm ready to go to the next abandoned game!->Touch Maze Intro]]
[[Can I see it?->Artifact Hunt]]
I ended up getting him a different gift that was not a game but still highly personal. He appreciated it very much. Papaw Krish passed away earlier this year.
Shall we move on?
[[Yes, let's look at more unfinished games->2015 Transition 1]]
[[Well, wait, what was the new present that you gave him?->Grandfather Tangent]]
Well, one family holiday, I was talking with him about a recent trip I took to the Netherlands. He mentioned how he missed traveling like he did when he was younger, and that he'd always wanted to go to Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank House. He also encouraged me to travel as much as I could when I was young.
The next year at another family event, I brought up that I was going on another trip to The Netherlands, and he started talking again about how he wished he could have gone there to see the Anne Frank House.
So, while I was there, I took a side trip to Amsterdam to go see the Anne Frank House (which was in and of itself an intense experience). That Christmas, I told my grandfather all about my trip and described things in as much detail as I could. He was really excited to hear about it, and thanked me for the chat. He passed away the following January.
[[That was lovely. Okay I'm ready to get back to abandoned games!->2015 Transition 1]]
On Train Jam I made a game with Rodrigo Lira called Pay Attention that you controlled entirely with the eyetracker. Here's a video of someone playing:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/25A1rUgPMMY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<a href="https://www.wertle.com/projects/personal-game-projects/pay-attention/" target="_blank">You can read more about it here.</a>
[[Cool. Okay so what happened next?->Starting to get sick]]
Well, I ended up having to turn down several really cool opportunities that summer and fall, just because I was not in the mental and physical state to do them. It was hard because I'd been used to being able to do ALL THE THINGS, so I was not practiced in turning down opportunities.
In spite of this, I DID finish some things in the latter half of 2015.
[[What games did you finish?->Another Finished Interlude]]
[[What was the next abandoned game you did?->Getting Sicker]]
Nah, its time has come and gone. It is sometimes better to just let these things float away. It clears up room for new growth in your brain, and often you'll find was to incorporate elements of the abandoned work into new projects down the line.
I'll hang on to the map sketch, though, in case I want to try and build it in something else. We do have SnapMap now, afterall!
[[So after your long vacation, did you feel better?->Sicker Still]]
Oh yeah! I did have one. Awhile back RPGMaker was free on Steam for a weekend, and I have always been curious about that software, so I gave it a try. I didn't make much, but I got my hands into the basics and mocked up a map where you went around and pet goats (a modified battle system - we had just been to visit a petting zoo to pet a bunch of goats so it was on my mind).
The reason for stopping that one was easy: the free weekend expired! Oh well. I didn't think to export what I had before the weekend was up, but here's a cute screenshot of my party of friends. I'm the one in front.
[[Yay! So that's all of your unfinished projects?->Thank You]]
It was the same thing again, I got that far and then I tanked! My brain and body were like "Oh my God will you STOP?? We are NOT ready yet! Please listen to us!"
Then I decided, okay, for really reals this time, I'm not going to make anything. I'm not going to make another game until I get doctored up.
[[So did you finally start feeling better?->Transition to Recovery]]
Talk about Death Jeopardy and Imperfection
[[Cool! So do you have any more abandoned games?->RPGMaker]]
Links to the individual projects will unlock here as you read about them
[[Back to Start->How to Kill a Project]]
Sure, if you own a copy of Doom and some modern program to load the wad, you can give it a go. There's really not much in there, though, just some oddly scaled doors and ceilings and some keys to test raising and lowering blocks.
<a href="http://storage.wertle.com/BringOutYourDead/Doom/MonsterBathhouse.wad">You can download it here</a>
[[Do you ever think you'll go back to this mod?->Doom Mod Outro 2]]
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I do count game jam games as complete and finished. I've never been one to make a game for a jam with the intent of expanding it into a bigger game later. I make the game for the jam and then it's done.
I find this helps me to keep game jams casual and it lets me experiment with formats that are good for jams but not necessarily long form games.
[[Okay, got it. So, your first abandoned project of 2014...->MP Runner Intro]]
Sure, here's Artifact Hunt. Note that there are no enforced rules, it's built to be talked through with a group of people on voice chat. So basically you can just move pieces around and roll dice.
If you're the host, press S to spawn the pieces.
<iframe src="https://storage.wertle.com/ArtifactHunt/index.html" width="854" height="480">
As an aside, this is a really great workshop for people who have 0 game design experience to give them a taste of what it's like. It's all about fixing a broken board game, one rule at a time.
ANYway, shall we move on to the next abandoned game?
[[Yes!->Touch Maze Intro]]
Okay super fast:
<a ref="https://www.wertle.com/projects/professional/resistance-3/" target="_blank">Resistance 3
<a href="https://www.wertle.com/projects/personal-game-projects/number-wolf/" target="_blank">Number Wolf
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/10-second-dragon-feeder" target="_blank">10 Second Dragon Feeder
<a href="https://wertle.itch.io/prop-hell" target="_blank">Prop Hell
<a href="http://www.rosaneurosa.com/" target="_blank">Rosa Neurosa
[[Wow! Okay ready for the first abandoned project...->MP Runner Intro]]
[[Do you count game jams as "finished" projects?->Game Jams]]