I am Tye Abbott, the solo developer of Yuma Will Burn- An interactive moral thriller where choices have long-lasting story and mechanical consequences. Ask me anything!
The only question not answered. The only question worth answering.
I don't have anything to add- yeah the reddit marketing sucks, it's opportunistic for sure. Only thing I will say is that it's generally pretty well received and I follow the sub's particular rules.
Did you consult any philosophers on this project?
Do you have any interest in working with academics in an effort to teach ethics via the video game avenue?
EDIT: when do you expect to be done with the game?
Have you had any video game testors?
What's been your previous experience in video game development?
I did research obviously, can't say I consulted anyone with a degree though. That second thing sounds awesome though! I believe firmly in the moral and ethical value of video games.
FYI, edited my questions.
I'm hoping for August 2023 right now, but anyone who's a gaming fan knows that development timelines get broken frequently.
I've had a lot of awesome people look at YWB before the demo, but I always need more! if you want to test, my DM's are always open.
My prior game development experience (in my eyes at least) is middling- you can check my name on Steam if you want to see what I've made before. All of those project were made while I was in high school, and this is what I would consider my first serious attempt at a commercial video game.
I'm an avid reader of philosophy (with a focus on ethics) and even above that a focus on video game design intersecting with ethics. I definitely have more to learn though (I've only taken one course in academic philosophy) and I'll take a look at your suggestions! I wouldn't release Yuma Will Burn open source ever- but I'd be totally willing to provide and distribute the game for free if it's used for academic or educational use. If you know of any way to do that send me a direct message!
This is a good little project.
I'd challenge you to reconsider open source, especially as your first project. You don't know what you don't know, and if you have others helping, it can vastly improve your learning and your ability to collaborate with others. Open Source gaming is a vastly untapped market and most people would still be willing to work down $5.
Take for example lichess.org. I give them money monthly. Many chess players do. It's definitely a viable option.
that game rocks lol, will play it asap
You ever fart so bad that you just couldn’t stay in your office anymore? Like you really just want to finish that one thing but the fart is just so gross that it’s leaking into the rest of the place and you have to flee.
Your spirit of journalism is something I respect. Can't say I've ever farted so bad I can't stand to stay at my desk- although as a matter of fact my cat did vomit on the carpet today and while I was polishing of the demo!
I will 100% be buying your game when it’s out. I legit never expected a response to this. You’re clearly awesome, lets hope your game is.
hah thanks mate, I'll be working hard to make something worth your time and money!
Played the demo, you've peaked my interest. Looking forward to the release
Thank you so much!
Is this based off Yuma, AZ ?
The name Yuma was chosen because Yuma is the hottest city in the continental US- Fire is a motif used throughout the game. Sadly I don't think Yuma Arizona has quite the same density of crucifixions and opium that I needed for the game. Yuma Will Burn is set underground, but the surface world is somewhere in Mongolia or Russia.
How did you come up with this idea?
Good question! I've got to give a lot of credit to the folks at Ice Pick Lodge who made Pathologic. Pathologic is a relatively obscure series, but for my money it's one of video game's most evocative experiences. It's a super compelling moral roleplaying experience. Another game that had a lot of influence was Undertale (setting and more moral roleplaying elements). Also, there's a lot taken from the Italian Epic of Dante's Inferno (and a little from the two other books). More broadly the game is influenced by absurdist philosophy and Emersonian individualism in its thematic goals.
How much of the “stories” or decisions are procedurally generated if at all?
None of the story is procedural- I have a lot of respect for things like the Nemesis system in shadow of war, but I didn't think it was the right move for Yuma Will Burn. Yuma Will Burn has what I like to call mechanically influenced storytelling. In The Walking Dead game for instance, that game has some stellar moral quandaries to puzzle through, despite that though there's a sense of detachment from Lee's do-or-die circumstances. Even if NPC death is totally on the table, the audience understands that Lee is going to be fine and the story will continue despite their choices. The intended permadeath experience of Yuma Will Burn is to disempower the player in moral choice moments to give their decisions greater drama and depth.
That’s an interesting perspective. Definitely will keep an eye on it. Best of luck.
What was the most difficult thing to consider when finalizing your multiverse?
What was the most difficult thing to consider when finalizing your multiverse?
If desicions affect future events, then all those possible branches create a multiverse of timelines the player could experience.
Ah gotcha! Hah yeah any designer of a product like this has to be weary of feature creep- ultimately I tried to make it so when descions are offered they have the most moral and narrative significance possible
Explain the significance of Yuma? Are we talking about Yuma, Arizona?
There's a comment here where I talk more about it- Yuma is the hottest city in the US, and fire is a motif in the game!
The trailer looks great, I'll be trying the demo later but the description alone makes me feel like it's my type of game.
What engine are you building this in and how are you keeping track of dialog trees?
As well, do you have an estimate for the games length? With 4 endings are you aiming for each playthrough to take a couple hours or will it be a lot more expansive than I'm imagining?
The engine is Gamemaker Studios 2! I can't recommend it enough if you're looking to get into game dev- I'm by no means a genius and I learned it without too much hassle when I was super young without any game dev experience.
In the more simple dialogue trees, I just label numerically, then alphabetically if there's another branch after that. For a few interactions though I've got some truly disturbing spiderweb graphs that I need to straighten out.
I'm a developer who believes in quality over quantity- the game will almost certainly take less than 6 hours per run to make sure each interaction is as well realized as possible. My goal as a designer is to make something you play in a weekend, then talk about for 6 months. Not something that takes you 3 weeks and then you never think about again.
How come it's story come to your mind?
The story is a thematic exploration of individualism, autonomy, and melancholy through the eyes of a doctor. I like to explore the emotion of passion in my work, which is the exigent purpose behind Yuma Will Burn
How old are you? Are you doing other professional work in the gaming industry?
I'm a senior in high school right now- I don't usually talk about my age when discussing my work because I think it lowers people's expectations of what types of products I can deliver. I made my first video game at the age of 13 and I've been studying and practicing game design 30 hours a week for the past 5 years. Normally younger people in the industry don't have the experience to deliver evocative (if even functional) products. I've dedicated myself fully to game design through and I feel confident that I can deliver emotionally resonant gaming experiences.
If you want to see my previous work (can't say I'm too proud of anything before Yuma Will Burn lol) you can check out my itch(dot)io page, the open-world action-adventure game I tried to make in my Freshman year is good for a laugh.
Have you considered retitling it Yuma May Or May Not Burn?
Fuck. Already paid for the logo....
Fuck. Already paid for the
Although payed exists (the reason why autocorrection didn't help you), it is only correct in:
Nautical context, when it means to paint a surface, or to cover with something like tar or resin in order to make it waterproof or corrosion-resistant. The deck is yet to be payed.
Payed out when letting strings, cables or ropes out, by slacking them. The rope is payed out! You can pull now.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find nautical or rope-related words in your comment.
Beep, boop, I'm a bot
Are you looking for Spanish localization services?
nope, thanks though!
The screenshots are very dark and lacking in info about the style of the game, was that intentional?
Also, that cover picture in Steam is an instant ignore if I see it when scrolling as it looks very cheap (I can't also understand what the thing on the right is meant to be, nor why the guy is pulling off his fake beard at the tip).
There's more info on the game at @tyeishing if the trailer and screenshots were lacking^
A bunch of questions, sorry if they're too many.
- What engine do you use? Gamemaker Studio 2
- Can you share some system specs? (OS, RAM, storage, GPU)
- Approximately, how many hours of gameplay can players expect? 6 hours per run but that's not the point
Did you do everything by yourself? (Art, testing, story, programming, etc)
What did you intend to make the players feel when they play your game?
What motivated you to make this game?
What was your greatest challenge making this game?
What's your favorite game?
Edit: I just noticed you already answered some of these questions in a different comment.
No worries on the questions! Love talking about my work.
I do everything myself except for music, I can credit Freesound(dot)com for the music, alongside a few tracks done by Alex Karan. Also hired a VA for the intro on Fivver.
I was motivated to make my game because I think that video games are the last frontier of narrative innovation. Traditional media can craft insanely evocative stories, but I think that there's a chance that video games, and their immersive ability to take a player into the drama of a story, can push that emotional resonance even further beyond.
My greatest challenge is the scope of this project. I can earnestly say that it's the hardest thing I've ever done. The intro has been rewritten (no joke) 17 times, and working on Yuma Will Burn is often draining. That being said though- NOTHING has ever made me happier. The reasonably positive reception online and the interest expressed in the project keeps me going. I saw someone a few days ago on the Pathologic subreddit talking about the game's store page and comparing it to Pathologic and my heart melted. I want to make art for a living, to enrich people's lives, and that exigent motivation is stronger than I could describe.
Pathologic 2 for overall best experience, it's my favorite piece of media period. Frostpunk is a close contender too, and Breath of the Wild is also a major time sink for me. (Fallout New Vegas and Rimworld are in the top 10 too.)
Did you at all take any inspiration from games like Until Dawn and the Walking Dead game? If not, which games were your biggest inspirations when it came to the branching story aspect?
The first season of the Walking Dead game is one of my favorite games of all time. A downright beautiful story about fatherhood and legacy. Definitely a big inspiration, but not my biggest. If you look up "medical moral interactive dramas" there's not many, but Pathologic 2 is one of them, and I love it. The only game I want people to play more than Pathologic 2 is my own, it's transcendent in my eyes.
Will there be branching paths to the narrative or multiple endings? I'm always curious the level of influence my decisions make on games
There are 4 endings- two from failure states, and two from decisions made throughout the game. All the endings have a Fallout-style slideshow to show you what's going on in the world you left post-game. I think players will be super surprised how reactive the world can be in game- unlike an Elder Scrolls game, choice isn't part of the show here- It's THE show. I'm a solo indie so there is scope limitations, but there's going to be enough there you'd need some 5 playthroughs to see 90 percent of the content.
Hell yeah, replay value! I'm excited to see it done!
I'll be working hard to make something worth your time!
Not that anyone who would play this game would be the type who hates dialogue, but there's a skip text option in game to enable testing, and hopefully a few odd speedrunners! I'd love to see someone blaze through the game leaving babies to die as they waste 0.31 seconds to treat
Oh of course- speedrunners are just as capable as engaging artistically with a product as anyone else. A speedrun of the game would just be funny though as the most optimal way to play is definitely a comedically immoral one
Would you touch a poop for $20?
Have you played life is strange? Its the first game I played where I felt like the choices I made changed anything, worth a play if you haven't
I'll give it a look!
Did you played Ultima they first game to have morals baked in?
I've heard of Ultima- can't say I've played through it though. I'll have to check it out! That article seems intresting
Will it be science-based and possibly include 100% dragons?
The dragons are doing science in game actually
Awesome work dude. I really commend your effort and I think this looks outstanding as a first major game. Don’t listen to the haters and be proud of yourself. Do you need playtesters or anything like that? Please let me know I’d love to help for free. I’m excited to see how the game will turn out. One small quest I have is what price point approximately are you targeting for the finished game?
Thank you so much! I always need playtesters, so send me a dm if you're interested. I'm thinking either 10 dollars or 11.99 for the final game? I think that fair for a relatively short but high quality product (undertale retails for 10 dollars)
Could you elaborate on "mechanical consequences"? Aside from narrative consequences, I can't quite picture the core gameplay loop being substantively changed, though that may be because I don't quite have a sense of the genre either.
Fantastic question- here's an in-depth explanation of how the core mechanics function. After the intro the player has 3 statistics to manage- Hope, Hunger, and Health. The game is broken up to semi linear exploratory sidescrolling environments with items to find, and then a story moment, and then a campfire to rest at. The exploratory areas have items like food and medicine to find to increase your hunger mostly, but also have dangers that can hurt Dante. The most common of which is falling of the map, which generates a random "story moment" where you're spawned at the start of the level and Dante is given a health or hope debuff. The story moments are either a medical or ethical emergency, which Dante can usually approach from a couple of different perspectives. There's sometimes a medical RPG style interaction to represent Dante's treatment. The core of the game is here- almost always the most moral option will notably leave Dante weaker in some way. For instance- if Dante tries to interfere with an execution, he can just get shot and take a major health debuff. If Dante tries to treat a man with a highly infectious repository illness then Dante might catch it and have a status debuff for the rest of the game he needs to manage. Dante can be genuinely crippled at points too which reduces his efficacy as a doctor. All of this creates a desperate, edge of your seat moral thriller which will leave you earnestly thinking about your choices. (Once Dante reaches a campfire his health is adjusted proportionally to his hunger, and his hunger increases, then this cycle starts again.)
Interesting! You cited Pathologic as a source: one thing I found with the original in particular is that it became easy to contextualize the moment to moment moral decisions as just elements to be considered within the scope of the gameplay.
A lot of punch can potentially be lost when what's supposed to be a tough moral decision becomes less about the narration itself and more: "well this event gives me a permanent debuff if I do decision x, so let's not do that". "Hm, this choice gives me +5 Hope, but -5 Food. I'm low on hope atm though, can afford to lose the food".
Is this sort of gamifying a concern for you in crafting the narrative? If so, do you feel you can address or incorporate it?
Min-maxing is the blight of moral narrative game design, and it's something that you can never get rid of, but you can minimize. How Yuma Will Burn discourages this type of play is being slightly restrictive with its save system. The game automatically saves over your one save slot after a major descion so a player can't personally reload 57 times and find the mathematically perfect solution. There is where the dynamic narrative stuff helps me too, for a lot of interactions with 10+ outcomes it's hard for even me to keep a running understanding of what happens if you do X,Y, and Z. Now- will that stop players from just looking up a guide and ruining the mystery? Probably not, but that's their descion, and anyone who approaches the game in good faith, trying to engage with thematic experience, will have atleast 3 playthroughs worth of uncertainty before the clear mathematical systems behind yuma will burn will become TOO clear
Why did you steal my last name ? ):
Sorry. I’ve never seen anyone besides family with the same last name before and had to say something lol. Can’t remember if it’s Scottish or Irish, I have ancestors from both.
Me, you, and Governor Greg Abbott lmao
Did you copy your game idea from the book Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow where the main character wrote a game with this exact same concept?
Oh really? I've never heard of that book- I'll have to check it out! Hopefully it's not too similar lol
Did you play the Mass Effect games? What do you think about ME's "paragon/renegade" gameplay and narrative mechanic?
I did play Mass Effect series! I think the paragon/renegade system worked well for the thematic goals of the series. I think it's fun to have games where you are rewarded for being a bastard, but reducing morality down to a binary reward system obviously limits nuance in storytelling. For what it is, I'm a fan. I think the designers had an intentional playthrough pathing of (the player will do a good guy playthrough- then a bad guy one) and that system helps support that. For more artistic works though (like what I'm hoping to build) I think it would be a disastrous design decision.
Can I play it on Linux in the future? (Without Wine?)
I have the distribution license for Linux, but it might be a pain to distribute it on there. We'll see, hopefully
Really? What are the troubles you run into?
Basically exporting to an OS requires you buy a laptop that runs that OS natively, if alot of people want the game natively on Linux I'll make the effort though!
Have you ever drank a beer on the toilet?
Nah, ate ice cream on the toilet once
How did you get into writing/developing video games?
How do you think storytelling in video games differs from that of books/movies/tv/word of mouth?
What advice do you have to those who have ideas and ambitions but don't know where to start in a field like video game development?
I think the earliest game I played which really sold me on the potential of video game storytelling was Undetale.
Video games have a strength in interactivity and immersion from traditional media, but have a weakness in thematic harmony and characterization because often gameplay conflicts or muddles that core experience.
My advice would be to start making games, and to be okay with the fact your first couple are going to suck. Have fun with it! I made a game a few years ago in 3 weeks as my second project ever called Attack of the Demon Hitlers and it was poorly drawn, poorly designed, and I love it as a time capsule of my progress.
Did you play Planescape Torment?
Yes I did! It was a bit before my time so some of the design was a little too retro for my tastes, but it has exceptional writing. Probably the biggest innovator of narrative game design in the late 90s in my eyes, even if it wouldn't be my first recommendation in the genre of interactive stories.
Why did you only release a demo for Windows and not other platforms like Linux?
Are you planning on releasing the full version on more platforms?
If not, why? Is it that hard to compile for another OS?
I answered this question somewhere else, but the very short answer is that it takes buying an actual Linux computer and a fair bit of troubleshooting but I'll try and get something together for the full game
Will this be available on macOS?
Tepid yes right now
Oh how come? I do often wonder why games are developed only for windows, when a lot of game engines support all platforms now.
It takes a fair bit of work- with the demand I've seen here though I'll make it a priority:)
I don’t know a lick about developing but I have an idea for an app. If I don’t have a lot of money, who can I contact and how can I get my idea started into something real?
Is this a game you're talking about? If so, there's really no demand for an "ideas guy" in game development. Every game developer you talk to has a thousand ideas for a game they could pitch at a moment's notice. Now, if you're a game designer who can throw together coherent design documents, that's a little more reasonable. You'd probably have a hard time convincing a programmer to work for free for you though. My advice would be to get some rudimentary GML (game maker programming language) skills under your belt (its not as hard as you think), throw together a couple of prototypes yourself, get some experience, then find some discord communities and get an armature team together that complements eachothers strengths. An awesome setup for that can be programmer-designer-animator
Hi, thanks for responding so fast. It’s not for a game but I (not understanding anything) thought development for an app that has graphics would work the same as that of developing a game.
There's probably people more qualified that me to ask that question then, my main advice? Learn how to code yourself if that's something you want to pursue-
Here's something I pulled off the internet that might help you- best of luck!
Do you really think your game is even tangentially related to half the gaming subreddits you post about it on?
I get that you're trying to market it all on your own, but I've seen you post about your game in so many different random subs that I genuinely have no idea what you game could even be.
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