In 2007 I ditched my long project of 4 years, in order to work on a new project, which was called “Vyv”.
This is Vyv. He looked like this. (I drew this today)
What was Vyv about? Well, it was about Vyv, an ordinary college student. Like me at the time. He was bursting with political rage. He was a budding socialist. He was always angry. (Like me at the time!) Oh, and also he was a stickman, as was everyone else in his world.
The game was a JRPG-style RPG with turn-based battles, set in and around Vyv’s college. You’d meet with Vyv’s friends and enemies, join underground fight clubs, build friendships, and…………… Eventually uncover a sinister plot by a Big Pharma businessman who wants to take over the world. That’s episode 1. …Did I mention it’s episodic?
The main plot of the game involves Vyv being given an opportunity- him and his friends join forces with the pharma company, and take over the world, in order to stop ANOTHER evil genius from taking over the world. It’s an opportunity he takes. And it leads him on an adventure across the world, where the consequences of his actions unravel.
Concept art of the campus, 2008
The game was definitely influenced by a lot of the rage and angst I felt during the Bush era- which ended in 2008 not long into development. Up until I made Vyv I had also never made a game that was set on earth rather than in some fantasy kingdom- nor had I made anything that was about adults, and filled with crude language and sex and violence. This was the first game I made that I felt was truly “grown up”. Or at least I felt that way at the time.
After the Bush era ended, I feel like I lost direction on the game. Around 2010 I was still working on it but was unable to tap into what it was even about anymore.
Battle System in 2008
Battle System in 2013
Much of the game that was completed was completed according to my skill level at the time. In other words it didn’t exactly look or play great. There was really no chance I could’ve made it on my own within the time I had at the skill level I had. But I worked on it every day.
I’m proud of the way the game has stickmen in 3D, and they’re abstract shapes instead of just regular stickmen (not only was it a deliberate artistic choice but I felt like the use of stickmen would save me time in animating. boy was I wrong) Also notice the special effect I’m most proud of: characters with heads see through to the environment layer below, but they DON’T overlap with other stickmen! This was to make sure their silhouettes were readable when a large group of stickmen overlapped!
There’s a lot about this game that can’t fit into a post, and there’s a lot to take in already. But here’s various things:
- I originally designed it for the nintendo Wii, not the PC.
- It was 8 episodes long
- I wanted to make a game that changed and remained up-to-date with the world around it as it changed in real life. It was a very political game and also a satire/comedy. I’ve written so much that can no longer work due to being set 10 years ago. If I ever made it, I would have to set it in the modern day
- It was somewhat precient about neo-nazism making a comeback- some of the enemies in the game were neo-nazi gangs, and they would be common enemies throughout the story. I didn’t predict them getting the presidency, though
- As Vyv rises to fame in-story, various parts of the world reflect his celebrity. In-world games and TV shows start incorporating him as a character, and every NPC recognises you, even if you’ve never met
- It was all black and white, with red, and it obeyed these rules STRICTLY. Red was only used to mark interactable objects you were mousing over. In-world Vyv is suggested to be colourblind.
- You travel around the world in a bus
- Vyv and the rest of the main cast were doodled on a piece of paper idly in one of my college classes. I had no idea at the time that I’d be working with these characters for the next 5+ years.
- Around 2010-2012 or so I was still working on the game but had lost a lot of direction, and the game was ultimately in development hell. I’d scrapped a lot of good ideas and was left with not much- looking back at it, I should’ve stuck to my guns and not cut so much content because I felt it was too surreal/too embarrassing, etc etc
- there was a sense of motion to the designs, which never came across in the finished designs. Battles were supposed to show the characters move around in very exaggerated ways- thier designs lend themselves to a lot of body language, which was the plan but I was unable to actually pull it off
- Vyv’s college and surrounding area were modelled directly off University of Bedfordshire in Dunstable, which is the exact college I was in
So, that’s “Vyv”. It might still come out, one day, but it would probably be a lot different.