"The community then votes on which way they want the choice to go..."

Story Games and the long drive to Betaville

I have news!  Much news! Big news!

First thing is that something that's been brewing since late last year has finally started!  As a way of engaging and growing our Discord community, I've commissioned a writer Saf to write the backstory of Before We Leave.  Even if that was all it was it would be awesome, because I have to admit I never really knew what the backstory of the game was!  I knew the basic outline - I knew what happened to get the peeps you guide in the game to the situation they're in to start with, but I didn't have the detail.

But it's more than that.  We're not just writing the story of what came before, we're writing it live as an Interactive Fiction!  The idea is that we'll release a chapter of the story which ends with a choice.  The community then votes on which way they want the choice to go, and then we'll give the community a challenge, usually around inviting more people in, but also some fun and crazy stuff.  Once the goal is achieved, the next chapter and choice will be released and we go round again!  We know the outline of how we intend the story to play out, but thoughts and feedback from the Discord community will definitely shape the story as we go!

We released the first chapter two days ago, so all that has finally begun, and I couldn't be happier with it so far!  If you want to come and follow along, join the Discord.

Odd, glowing bugs the size of my pinky fingernail fizz between the petals. Hana lowers herself into a low squat, tiny camera suddenly in her hands as if by sleight of hand. "Imagine how stunning this is at night," she says. Mar taps her shoulder and points back towards the ship. Where the flowers are shadowed by the Sonic Impulse's bulky body they've begun to luminesce, splashing a loving purple glow across the underside of our ship. Hana grins wide like a cat with cream and wades off through the meadow, her camera clicking away. Nex lets outa long, low whistle. "I always thought you guys were a few screws loose for doing this kind of stuff, but I get it now," he says. I give his shoulder a soft punch that says, I told you so.

But wait, there is (as they say) more!  As well as all of that going on, we decided last week that it was time to really knuckle down and push through to producing a Beta build of Before We Leave.  The idea of this is that we'll draw a line and say that we're done adding features to the game - all the buildings are functional, all the panels are built and so on.  Once we reach that point, we then shift gears towards fixing, polishing and testing the game as we inch towards an actual release.  Of course, if we think of a feature that really does need to be added to make the game complete, or is just too awesome to avoid we'll still add it, it just raises the bar that new stuff has to clear.

And we've set a date for it too!  Before We Leave is going to go into Beta next Wednesday - February 19th 2020 for any time travelers reading this (and if you are, shouldn't you be off failing to assassinate Hitler or something?  What are you doing here?)