Neverending Nightmares Weekly Update 3/17/2014

Firstly, I will be at GDC from Wednesday through Friday showing off Neverending Nightmares at the Ouya booth (#316) on the expo floor. If you will be there, please stop by and say hello.

Secondly, I hope you’ll allow me to get on a little soapbox and talk about something I really want to share but is mostly unrelated to my game. If you aren’t interested, feel free to skip ahead to where it says “soapbox finished”. I won’t be offended! I’m somewhat amazed people actually read my verbose updates. 🙂 Anyway, here’s what I want to say.

I am sure you are all familiar with the upcoming game That Dragon, Cancer. I had the good fortune of sharing a booth with the team at PAX East and meeting Ryan Green whose experiences inspired the game. It saddens me to say that his son lost his difficult battle with cancer last week. Ryan Green is not only a brilliant game developer, but I feel like he is very wise. People don’t really talk about wisdom except when characterizing wizards, but I think it is a blessing that not too many people have. People might characterize me as “smart”, but I’m not sure anyone would say I’m wise. Ryan has wisdom well beyond his years. He has an amazing perspective on life, art and… well, everything really. I organized a panel with him and some other developers making “Games that Matter” at PAX East, and he spoke softly with carefully considered words that were amazingly insightful.

Even though he knew his son was dying of a terrible illness, he managed to think positively and view the time he was given with his son as a blessing. I can tell you that I would be a huge mess and horribly depressed if I were in his position, so I was quite frankly confused how he could be so optimistic. As someone who struggles with mental illness, optimism is kind of foreign to me. After reflecting on it for months after PAX East, I began to understand his viewpoint, and while I think I’d still be a complete mess if I were in his shoes, I think I’d be better at handling it having met him and learning from him. While I haven’t played That Dragon, Cancer, (and I’m a bit afraid to because just thinking about it make tears start to well up) I think it is going to be an amazing game – possibly life changing for those who play! Ryan has said it’s a game about hope, and I think it will be something that touches people’s hearts and changes their outlook just as knowing Ryan has changed mine. I look forward to playing it (even though I will probably be bawling the entire time).

Anyway, why do I mention all of this? Basically, I just wanted to tell you what an amazing person Ryan Green is and while he has an amazing outlook on life, I’m sure he needs your thoughts, prayers, tweets, or whatever support you can give him. Plus, it’s worth pointing out that when “That Dragon, Cancer” comes out on Ouya, it will be a game that you can’t miss. (Also, If you are in Colorado, all are welcome to attend his memorial service and give the Greens support in person.)

=== Soapbox finished===

Anyway, back to Neverending Nightmares! Things are really falling into place with the new level. It’s not where I wanted to be at this point in time (I posted a video about the challenges of scheduling), but I spent significant time getting the demo ready, and Joe and Adam were busy getting ready for their trade show (more on that later). Dan has been cranking away, and we have saved game support (finally). The way the saved games work is actually based on feedback provided on the forums. We save progress per nightmare, so you can load the different levels and try different things in order to progress. You asked, and we delivered! 🙂

Also, when going back to the “Lost Child” level to put some of the setups in the GDC demo, I made some changes to the chase section, which was a sticking point in the last alpha build. Hopefully it’s better this time around. I might still have to make it easier though. I look forward to your thoughts on it once we publish the next alpha build!

This week, we won’t be making too much progress other than hopefully some press from GDC. Press is really valuable! I’m not the only one traveling though. Adam and Joe will be at the Halloween & Attractions Show in St. Louis this week representing Adam’s side business, Murderforge, which makes custom masks. If you are looking for a good Halloween costume, I’m sure the show is a good place to go. If you aren’t in the area (or are like me, and don’t like leaving the house) you can order online on the Murderforge website.