Status update July 2019
Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Artem, the producer of Sayri Adventure. I’ve been dreaming about writing regular updates on development progress and now I’m finally doing it. Of course, I will try my best to keep up the pace because we’ve made so much progress that we are eager to share. Moreover, we really need your input and thoughts on our plans in order to make the right decisions based on the collective experience and ideas of the community. Let’s get started.
It is currently July 2019 and the game has been in development since 2017. We went through many ups and downs, experiments, changes in team structure, graphical/aesthetic evolutions, and an impossible number of changes to the main character, Sayri. Everything was done with a creative approach and not much focus on the business side of things. As a result, creativity and perfectionism have been much more influential than business considerations. It’s bad, I know, but we’re trying to take a more balanced approach going forward.
The game has experienced a ton of evolution, much of it powered by the feedback we’ve gotten over the past two years of showcases. Throughout this process, we learned how to make games and we started with the most complex approach to make this unique experimental project. That ended up taking a huge amount of time to balance and achieve what we’ve got so far, but of course, it’s not perfect yet. Sorry for my perfectionism, but that’s just who I am.
To give you a bit of context about what we do, Sayri Adventure is a relaxing third-person adventure set in an incredibly aesthetic and beautiful world of the unknown. Sayri is a cute and weird alien creature that reminds many players of a possible creation from Spore. That wasn’t what we intended, but it is what it is.
In terms of mechanics, our vision of Sayri has not changed since the beginning of development. Sayri has telekinetic powers, but he/she cannot solve all the environmental riddles by him/herself. Sayri meets various inhabitants of the world that have different physical abilities. The player then needs to combine the abilities of Sayri and his/her friends to make their way to a new home and unravel the unexpected story of Sayri’s kind.
Just look at the evolution of Sayri from a strange guy with balls on his back to the current (but not yet satisfactory) state.
Here’s what we are aiming for. This early concept art is our ideal and we aim to make Sayri feel exactly like he/she is depicted here, but concessions must be made to achieve proper anatomy.
The latest evolution of Sayri’s design has created a significant problem: how to make a creature with four legs and two hands feel like a person. This was a significant struggle for all of us, but especially for the poor animator that tended to think in the dimensions of known anatomy. We tried to make a horse, a cat, a dog, a kind of grasshopper, but none were what we wanted because we didn’t want to make a game about animals. We had even started to seriously think about a humanoid character with two legs, but the initial concept brought us back because it is just so ideal and cute. It creates a unique positive feeling that you just can’t get with anything else.
So I took the animator to a café and showed him how Sayri must move by demonstrating myself. This step really changed minds on the team and led to tangible progress that we could be proud of. However, we still have many issues with Sayri that we are aiming to fix with the latest iteration.
Btw, if any of you or anyone you know could help us with this, that would be very helpful. You are more than welcome to contact us. We’re looking to foster a professional environment, so if you’re skilled and ready to model and remake animations for Sayri, that would be perfect. If that did happen, we wouldn’t need to go back and redo the work in the future.
Wow, I’m now realizing just how much I want to tell you all, but I wasn’t planning for this to be a long read, so I’ll just be brief and outline the current state of the game:
Here I will try to be short and outline the current state:
We’ve invented and realized a beautiful, colorful world. It has its pros and cons, but we’ll get deeper into that in another article.
We’ve achieved a good state for Sayri, but we’re not done yet. Stompy and Spiny are great in all aspects, but my perfectionism demands that we make another round of updates for them as well.
Sayri has telekinetic abilities and is able to interact with objects around the world. Currently, Sayri is able to interact with active objects, but we’re working on how to have him/her interact with passive objects for fun and even find cool secrets. What do you think about this? Right now, the main problem is that if Sayri can interact only with active objects, but the object is only solvable by Spiny, then it really confuses the player. The player does not understand that they should use a telekinetic ability or ask a friend and that feels weird from a gameplay perspective.
We finally found an easy solution to the controls. Everything is done by one button: (A) on the Xbox controller and (Left Mouse Button) on mouse and keyboard. If you hold down the button, you use Sayri’s telekinesis, but if you just click it, you can ask a friend to help. The main pro is that you no longer need to look for the right button, you just have to figure out if you need telekinesis or a friend. Previously, players often mixed up buttons all the time.
We also finally got rid of selecting an active friend. It was a nightmare that haunted us from the beginning of development. Players had to select the right friend, then ask for help, which quickly turned into a boring routine. Now, the right friend automatically goes to the object and interacts when Sayri asks for help.
All theses changes have brought us to a new level of thinking about puzzles and obstacles. We would like to introduce more activities where friends have to operate together. Right now, everything is very sequential and linear, but that will get boring pretty quickly.
What we are trying to achieve now:
We have moved to a short pre-production iteration. I know it sounds strange because pre-production should be the beginning, but that’s how we’re developing our first project. Sometimes, we close ourselves in a black box to rethink aspects that are question marks.
Currently, we’re trying to find a better balance in cooperation between Sayri and friends, enhance the story, give more tangible emotional rewards to players that solved big environmental puzzles, and invent more cooperative and interesting puzzles where all the friends and Sayri must work together to solve the puzzle.
This phase has many aspects to it and we would be very happy to get your support, ideas, and experience.
We’ll keep you updated!
Please let me know if you like this style of updates or if you would prefer another form or style, different topics, etc.
Thank you for reading and giving your feedback!
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