Blog News & Updates

Restless – Making A New Conversation UI

A new User Interface, with its own layout and art, can help attract players and convey information and character in a way that’s unique to your game. I want to talk about our experience with Restless – a small(ish) game where you haunt a house and try to make peace with its inhabitants. I hope this post can be a useful tool for others looking to make their own UI, especially in text-heavy games, or those where the bulk of the game is in its interface.

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Conflict Resolution in Dialogue (or Lack Thereof)

It’s been a couple of years since we first released Dialogue: A Writer’s Story, and I wanted to take this opportunity to view it with a lens we don’t usually use. Minor spoilers for the game ahead, so feel free to go play it right now =)

When talking about the game, we often highlight how it is an everyday sort of story. It is about exploring Lucille’s life as a writer and her relationships with others. The stakes are low and your choices do not create wide sweeping changes. All of this is true, but there is also something else, something complementary, beneath all that. Dialogue determinedly avoids clean conflict resolution, and this can feel ‘off’ to a lot of people.

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What do you mean by ‘Narrative Design’?

Fellow narrative designer (and all around great guy) Rob Morgan sometimes introduces himself in talks as ‘a narrative designer, whatever that is’, and it’s always stuck with me. I cannot help but appreciate the sentiment, having witnessed the term ‘narrative designer’ used to describe a variety of roles and jobs in talks, job descriptions, and in normal conversation with colleagues. I don’t believe any of those different uses of the term were wrong or less significant than any other, but I do think they can be distinct, sometimes covered by different people on a team or requiring different skills.

In the interest of thinking about this a bit deeper and preventing the title from meaning so many things that it functionally means very little, here are the three main kinds of narrative design I have come across. This list is almost certainly not exhaustive, but I hope it acts as a good starting point for discussion, and inspires you to examine your own thoughts on the subject.

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Tea-Powered Games’ 2017 Wrap-up

It’s been a busy year for the two of us at Tea-Powered Games! We’ve been reflecting a bit on our work this year, and we thought we would share some of that with you.

 

Dialogue: A Writer’s Story

The year started with Dialogue on Itch, and on Greenlight going through the voting process (remember the days of Greenlight?)

We spent some time improving Dialogue, especially the User Interface art, creating a new trailer and reaching out to our market. We worked with Lewis Denby from Game If You Are; he was a big help in putting all of it together!

And so, we got Greenlit and subsequently released Dialogue on Steam! We’re happy it’s finally there, and we needed a bit of a change in pace, so we’ve also been working on…

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The Elemental Plane

Hello everyone! Now that we’ve shown the new demo of Elemental Flow at a few events, we’re feeling pretty good about where it stands. We’re still brewing up the world, but there’s a specific part of it we’d like to talk about today: the Elemental Plane.

The game takes place in two separate but connected areas. In Reality, things look quite normal; there are people you can talk to, buildings and streets, tables and chairs and everything else you would expect. However, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore a parallel place called the Elemental Plane, where things are a bit more… odd.

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Elemental Flow – Communicating as Developers

It’s time for something a little bit more personal than usual – we don’t talk as much as we should about our development process. The two of us at Tea-Powered Games have a tendency to avoid spoilers of every kind, for any forms of media, if we’re in the middle of experiencing it or we think we’ll get around to it in the near future. Discussing the media we love with others is valuable and enjoyable, but we like to come to that discussion uncoloured by others’ opinions when we can (except between the two of us, but we’re married and working together so that’s bound to happen).

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Elemental Flow – Getting Ready for Adventure X

Hello everyone! We’ve been pretty busy in the last month or so – Dialogue launched on Steam and Flo released two free games: The Felidae Phylogenetic Tree, an interactive exploration of feline species, and The Dream Self, an entry to the 2017 Interactive Fiction Competition.

Now that all those are out in the world, we’ve been focusing on Elemental Flow’s new demo, which we’ll be showing at Adventure X. We learned a lot from watching people play the previous demo, so we’re taking everything we learned there (and adding a few other ideas) to make this new version. We’ve outlined a few of the larger changes we’re making, but do note that these might not all make it to the final game – they’re steps towards a better version of Elemental Flow!

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Mechanics of Dialogue: Exploration Conversations

Hey everyone! We’re excited to finally be counting down to the Steam release of Dialogue: A Writer’s Story – Sept 20th is less than two weeks away! To celebrate, we’re doing a couple of blogs to talk you through the two main conversation types of Dialogue and the mechanics therein. In case you don’t already know, Dialogue is a game about conversation which sets you in the everyday life of a writer, Lucille. Different types of conversations have different mechanics to better reflect their nature (if you want to read a bit more about Dialogue in general, you can find out more here). Today, we’re kicking off with Exploration Conversations.

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