“What’s the Story?” Post Mortem

what's the story on notebook paper and a bookmark

Hello people, who may or may not be interested in behind-the-scenes game development, this is for you. Check out my post mortem on What’s the Story?!

What’s a post mortem?

In video game development, a post mortem is a reflection of how the project went. Currently, the game is on itchio. Itchio is a place where indie developers can upload their content for free. It is also a platform on which to participate in game jams (basically a game-making convention).

With every solo project, I strive to do something different, learn something new.

For “What’s the Story?”, it was the first time I played around with the effects in Game Maker. GameMaker is a game engine known for retro or indie games, the tools I use to create the game. You may know GameMaker from titles like Spelunky, Fran Bow, and Undertale to name a few. The effects I was able to make were the rain, the puffs of smoke, the explosion, etc. Let’s get into reflection time.

There was a puff of smoke in this scene for What’s the Story

A little background behind What’s the Story:

“What’s the Story?” was the first project I did by myself outside of a classroom setting. It’s a walking simulator with little/no gameplay. I kind of did this on purpose. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is when it comes to video games, you could still play this game. That, and I’m personally a huge fan of them.

This is one of the first scenes of What’s the Stroy?

Another deliberate decision was only telling the player how to move or enter the doors in the beginning on the title screen. The other mechanic where the player must interact with the environment by touching the other characters in the room, I don’t have to teach. It’s something you learn in the first few levels and I kept consistent for the entirety of the game.

I’m really proud of it because I think it’s clever. “What’s the Story?” took me about two months to complete and I loved it. This is truly one of my “passion projects”. I have never felt so compelled to finish creating something like I did with this project. I’m happy with the result that came out of “What’s the Story?”. I may come back and remake it to make it a more interesting game to play. However, for a first solo project, I’m more than happy to just let it be.

This was a field of flowers that gradually gained color by walking through it.

What’s the Story behind What’s the Story?

“What’s the Story?” definitely has a story but it’s up to the player to build one using the scenery and what happens in each scene to figure it out. I made it so that you could replay each level or “chapter” as many times as you want. The player could go in order, they could try to follow each different color on the doors to try to figure it out that way or some other method I haven’t considered. Each character has its own unique color until you get to chapter 13 where I gave each character multiple colors in their sprite. This was on purpose so as to signify that the characters in chapter 13 were new, different from any of the ones you have seen before.  

the pink character had a birch themed tied to them

Video of Gameplay:

Story Spoilers

What’s the Story is a work of fiction they are not meant to resemble real people or events but rather are one-shots around a common theme of relationships. There are many different kinds of relationships and I tried to explore that in this game.

Conclusion / Wrap Up:

Thank you so much for reading through this little piece of game development that is honestly, so, so important. I greatly appreciate each and every single one of you. If you want more game development stuff check out this!

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