One year in
October 8, 2020
It's been a little over a year since me and my husband started Rock A Role Games and began working on our first game. And what a year...
Dodging and weaving through the emotional obstacle course that has been 2020, we're coming out on the other side running, with the imminent launch of our demo on Steam, and our Kickstater crowdfunding campaign.
We have had our share of ups and downs. Writing has been a struggle. The beginning of a story is the most important to get right, but I think we might be there. Sound Design has been handed over to our amazing composer Edwin Montgomery (Phew!).
Currently, work is proceeding at a break-neck speed, and if everything goes as planned, our demo and Kickstarter will go live at the end of this month!
It's happening! It's really happening! We're finally doing this!
It all began five years ago as a fun little exercise, one silly little proof of concept that opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities. Ever since then, we have been dreaming, planning, and worrying, and now we are finally here, having started our very own game studio.
Brave? Maybe. Foolish? Definitely. But for us, the married geek couple who 15 years ago first bonded discussing the latest RPG, this path was the right one. We have never seen paper shuffling jobs as the best ending for us.
So now, after shuffling a mountain of papers learning about all the bureaucracy and the legal side of things, then shuffling the intimidating pile of papers needed to start our company, all we have to do is regularly shuffle the eye twitch-inducing amount of papers needed to run our company! Once that's all dealt with, maybe we even get to make games! Games!!! Please, just let us make our games.
Worst case scenario, our Paper Mountain of Despair was conquered for nothing (except the XP of course) and we don't sell a single game, but right now we can't help but feel optimistic. We are working on several projects that we are feeling confident about, and we've got several more ideas lined up after that.
Within the coming month, we will be revealing our first title, so stay tuned either here or follow us on Twitter for more regular updates and behind the scenes content. Adventure awaits!
Pursuing the Indie Dev Dream
September 8, 2019
Superpowers, survival and self-discovery
October 11, 2019
We here at Rock A Role Games are excited to present our first game, Super/Human Identity, a narrative superhero game with light action elements and a strong focus on characters and group dynamics.
In the game, you are part of a group of superpowered individuals with no memory who find themselves in a fight for survival. With your past shrouded in secrecy and your future unknown, you must find a way to reclaim your identity, or define who you are anew.
With the game revolving around the relationships within the group, we wanted the player's choices to affect the group dynamics in a real way. Therefore, we decided to incorporate an intricate group dynamics system that will lead to great variability in how the group functions. Not only will you be able to develop your own friendships, rivalries, and romances, but everything you say and do will subtly - or not so subtly - influence your companions' relationships.
Each character will develop in different directions depending on your choices, resulting in different endings for them – if they make it that far. Will your choices lead them to ruin or salvation?
In the months leading up to the launch of our Kickstarter, we will be looking at a major feature or character from the game each week, so check back next Friday for the first weekly spotlight!
Define who you are!
October 18, 2019
The biggest allure of roleplaying games is interacting with a new world through a character you get to create. Deciding who they are, how they reason, and what stance they take on conflicts in the story is a rewarding creative outlet, as well as an exercise in empathy. Even if you are playing a version of yourself, you are exposed to philosophical dilemmas and thought experiments you would not encounter in real life, especially in fantasy and science-fiction, that sometimes lets you get to know yourself better.
It is therefore fitting that a theme of our first game is self-discovery. As the amnesiac main character of Super/Human Identity, figuring out who you were and who you want to be is a big part of the story. The player will have full control over what their character says in the game, with fully worded dialogue options rather than a choice of tone. There will be room to play your character and have them act, react and develop the way you want.
Part of creating the character you want to play as is usually customizing their gender and appearance as well. In Super/Human Identity there will be two avatars to choose from. However, on top of that you may choose your gender and pronoun separately, allowing for a wider spectrum of player character identities. Additional customization of appearance may also be available if our Kickstarter early next year is successful.
With a wide variety of conflicts, choices and outcomes, you will be able to make the story of Super/Human Identity your own by playing your role the way you want.
Subject 5 has been added to the game info page, check back next week for another character!
The First Three Months
November 29, 2019
Already? Feels like an eternity. Wait, have we really been working for three months???
Visual design is lagging behind in favour of game design. (Who knew doing both would take twice the time?) Administration rears its ugly head more days a week than we were planning on. Things are progressing slowly, but at the same time in a better direction than ever.
The dynamic relationship mechanics are coming together wonderfully. The characters' possible fates have branched further but are still within a manageble number of permutations from a writing standpoint. A simple, sleek UI is in the works. Art happens occasionally, writing and coding more so. Extremely talented creatives have been enlisted. Life is good.
Admittedly, our original time plan has been proven optimistic. When setting out on this adventure we never took into account to plan for the unplanned, a valuable lesson to learn this early on. Still, with the added time our first project has grown and become better than we could have hoped for. As long as we can keep our ambition somewhat in check and set time aside for detours, we will still be able to finish Super/Human Identity late next year as planned.
In the first quarter of 2020, we will have a demo up on Steam in time for our Kickstarter, which will hopefully give us enough funds to fully realize our vision. In the mean time, expect increasingly regular updates on all the exciting things going on with S/HI.
Also, tune in to our Twitter for imminent announcements!
Half a year into development
February 25, 2020
After a, in several ways, dark and miserable winter, spring is finally here. Daylight is returning, which is appreciated, and life is slowly going back to normal. Of course, “normal” for a tiny new studio of two people with ambitious goals and deadlines translates to hard mode, bordering on insanity. But we are feeling up to the challenge.
Despite setbacks, Super/Human Identity is moving forward. Programming for our action elements is working out the way we wanted, and despite a lack of finished game assets, we have started to assemble what we have in engine, building our first production version of the game. Character design is resuming and results will hopefully appear here soon.
Meanwhile, we have been working with the fantastic Zirouu and got some truly beautiful CGs, such as the sublime one above.
Sound design is proving a challenge on a non-existing budget. In Super/Human Identity, the player character is gifted with telekinetic powers and it is important that we get these powers to feel right. Finding sounds that are the right balance between subtle and impactful, while being restricted to free libraries and free audio software, has taken a lot of time, but we think we are on to something.
Music, on the other hand, is in the very capable hands of composer Edwin Montgomery and, from what we have heard so far, is going to be outstanding.
Attending the Stockholm gamedev mini-conference “the thing” last Saturday marked a first for us, being there as one of the many studios of our home city ranging from small indie to huge AAA. Though obviously a tiny speck compared to the giants, we were still made to feel part of the same space. It is easy to feel isolated as an indie developer. Getting to share our passion and struggles, listen to some great talks and meet so many different people working on so many different interesting projects made for an inspiring, exhausting, incredible day.
We are continuously working to finish our demo and hope to launch our Kickstarter later this spring.
Isolation - this time literally
April 3, 2020
Alright, last update aged like milk. Correction: life is doing the opposite of going back to normal.
In February, I wrote about feeling isolated as a small indie studio until meeting others on the same path. Complaining about isolation in a figurative sense, now seems spoiled and trivial in the time of literal isolation and social distancing.
But with all the bad, it also feels as though we are all coming together, finding ways to brighten each others' day. Emotional distance has gone the opposite way of physical.
We are lucky. Since my husband and I are normally working from our shared home, getting additional game assets digitally, not much has changed and we are still able to continue making Super/Human Identity. Escapism is important right now. Both being able to play games and, in our case, making them will do a lot for our mental wellbeing in the time to come.
We are looking forward to finishing and sharing our demo soon. Until then, stay safe and take care!
It has been an intense couple of months since our last post.
October was our first real crunch period, giving all of our energy to finish the demo in time for the Kickstarter. With a lot of hard work, draining our sanity, straining our deskbound bodies, and frying an overworked GPU in a dramatic turn of events, we eventually got there. Some content had to be cut, but we are proud of what we have been able to make with our limited resources. We are especially grateful to have had Edwin Montgomery create such a beautiful soundtrack that really helps set the tone for the tense, emotional, and heroic moments.
Because of our limited means of reaching out, awareness of Super/Human Identity was not high at the launch of our Kickstarter. From October 28th through November 27th, we only raised 12% of our funding goal. In some ways, it still feels like a win.
As newcomers to the scene, finding our audience seems to be half the struggle, and although only a small crowd has gathered so far, we are feeling your love and support. We have received some truly wonderful comments and reviews and we are very grateful for your encouragement.
The way we are making Super/Human Identity – visual novel presentation, with more western aesthetics, QTEs, and more story focus than in a dating sim - places our game in a niche within a niche. Knowing how engaged you are by the characters, the story, the choices, and the game world itself is confirmation that we are definitely doing something right. And again, as newcomers, that is greatly reassuring and motivating. From the bottom of our hearts – thank you!
Next for us is to continue our general work on the game, as well as improve the demo for a second attempt to raise the funds we need. This includes adding four new mutually exclusive scenes, more action, an improved character menu that goes into more detail about your unique playthrough, and complete more art so that we can showcase the slightly more attractive outfits that our heroes will be wearing later in the game.
The new and improved Kickstarter will launch on February 16th. By then, we will hopefully be in a better position to succeed in reaching our goal.
Once more – thank you so much for your support!
After the Kickstarter
November 27, 2020
We are now well into the new year, and work on Super/Human Identity is progressing. However, between what is going on in the world and the dark Scandinavian winter, we have not been able to make quite as much progress as we had hoped.
It should hopefully not be too much longer before our updated demo is finished, but in order to ensure that our second Kickstarter has as good a chance as possible of succeeding, we want to take our time both with the demo itself and the preparation of the Kickstarter campaign.
This means that we will not be launching on 16 February as previously announced. We do not have a new date as of yet, as we want to be able to stick to whatever we say, but we will share it with you as soon as we are able.
Thank you for your patience!
Progress Update and Second Kickstarter Delay
February 10, 2021