'Forever Yours' - an interactive short story done on the Ep2 Engine

Work in Progress

Revised Paris sequence 17/10/11

Colourcorrection up in this biatch

It’s been a very long time.
I used to map, back in early 2008. Back when Chris was around (before he got banned for beating up animals). Back when Spacew00t was god. Back when your momma weren’t so fat.
It’s nice to be home.

So I’ve been at art school, learning all of this stuff about concepts and whatnot. And now, at the end of my second year, I get to design my own project to work on. I’m making a short story in Hammer.

The story, at the moment, is this:
Your wife has left you. She’s left a letter on the bed, saying that she’s leaving. She can’t say why. You can’t follow her. She’s sorry.

The gameplay is as follows:
Through advice given by my lecturers and stuff I’ve sorted out a concept that seems pretty solid.
The short story will be presented to the player via narrative audio tracks that play when the player presses ‘use’ on an object that would trigger a memory.
The Wife’s voice will be the voice in these audio tracks. She will recount the memory.
The player is confined to a room in which these objects exist.
‘Using’ or interacting with these objects will sometimes teleport the player to a scene relevant to the object (for example, interacting with a poster featuring Paris might activate a voice-clip regarding a memory that took place in Paris, and the player would, for the duration of the voice clip, be teleported to an area designed to look like Paris).
The experience is open ended - there is no set order in which the player should interact with these objects.
The story will be revealed to the player through the voice overs, and by experiencing more voice-over memories the player will piece together the story.

The level will be presented in a gallery space at Uni. When a player gets bored, he or she leaves the game and the next person can come and pick up where the player left off.
As such, each object can be interacted with more than once, as the new player will need to interact with the same objects the previous player interacted with in order to experience the story fully.

Attempting to use the contrast of light and darkness to draw the player’s attention to a letter which activates the wife’s audio which introduces the situation more clearly, so that hopefully each new player will go to this letter before they go to the other objects in the room.

Testing effects for possible use in the areas where the player is teleported into a memory:
(I applied a custom refract material to a smokevolume)

Reshuffling room to make it feel more like a married couple’s room. I’ll sit down and actually design the space tonight.

Testing my refraction shader as applied to a static brush.

I’ll update this thread when I have the time with development screenshots and videos. If I stumble across a new technique within the Source engine and you want an explanation as to how I achieved it, just ask =]

No offense, but why would someone want to play something that depressing?..

(Not denying the map design is a good concept)

Dear Esther is not depressing, it just has a dark atmosphere.

This however is depressing.

Wondering around a grey, sombre island while listening to a man read a letter to his dead wife seemed pretty depressing to me

Why do people watch depressing movies?

[editline]24th September 2011[/editline]

Some people may enjoy to play some depressing for a change? I don’t really know but I’m just making wild assumptions here of what I believe is why, It could be that they follow those depressing stories more indepth

[editline]24th September 2011[/editline]

Looks like a good start OP, but being limited to being in one single room (if the map is going to be long) will get boring. Perhaps expand the story to other locations, like the beach, or a picnic area in a forest, or a mall perhaps. Other places where the “memories” may exist

It’s a cool concept you have going. But mainly the fact that you never leave a bedroom is what bums me out.

I’ve only got 6 weeks to make it and I’ve got 3 other papers to do in that time as well xD
The original plan was to create a more linear story in which the player traveled some physical distance, but I’ll have to leave that for another time.

You do leave the room, in a sense, when you trigger memories.

[editline]24th September 2011[/editline]

I’ve only got 6 weeks to make it and I’ve got 3 other papers to do in that time as well xD
The original plan was to create a more linear story in which the player traveled some physical distance, but I’ll have to leave that for another time.

You do leave the room, in a sense, when you trigger memories.

[editline]24th September 2011[/editline]

Reworked room layout

I love this idea, especially the teleporting memory thing. I’m not sure Source is a good enough engine for something as detailed as a bedroom is going to need to be though.

I dunno, I think it could be, if I play my cards right.

Over-detailing might not be the best idea though - I don’t want to make it TOO hard for the player to find the objects they need to press ‘use’ on to trigger memories.

I’m still figuring out a non-cheesy way of letting the player know which objects are the right objects.

A G-man ragdoll pointing at it :v:

Sunlight reflection off an item which the player notices could work. It’d get my attention anyway.

That’s what my original intention was for one of the objects: the actual letter left for the husband has sunlight shining on it to draw the player in. The audio that plays when this letter is interacted with goes something like:

“I’m leaving. That’s all I can say. I’m going away and I’m… I’m not coming back. I can’t tell you why and it’s tearing me apart. I haven’t written you a letter in years… I… (nostalgic chuckle) I haven’t had to.
I’ve left all of our things for you. Remember me when you look at them.
I’m sorry.”

To prevent the player from trying to find the wife, I’m setting the door out of the bedroom to ‘locked’ and having the following audio play when the husband tries to open it:

“I’ve locked the door. I’ve even piled up chairs and furniture in the hallway. You can’t follow me, not this time. I can’t risk you getting pulled into this. I have to do it alone.”

Regarding having something to tell the player which objects are the right objects, I’m realising that maybe I shouldn’t do this. To tell them ‘this is the right object to use’ means that they know from a distance which objects will ‘reward’ them with audio. Therefore, the act of ‘hunting’ for the right objects loses all significance and there is no sense of gratification and a ‘job well done’ when the player finds the objects. They are simply jumping through the hoops I have laid out for them.

So she leaves him the choice of dying of thirst or jumping out of the window to get crushed on the cliffs/by the waves? Because I don’t see another way out. :v:
Better add a phone to the room.

Oh, bugger! I was actually considering that. I had planned to add a dialogue bit that said 'I’ll call [best friend’s name] to let you out tomorrow."

Thanks for the food idea! I’ll leave a fruitbowl or something

[editline]25th September 2011[/editline]

ALSO - how do I get my props to cast shadows? I’m using prop_physics at the moment with motion disabled. Should I be using prop_dynamics?

If you don’t need to move or otherwise modify the props, use prop_static.

And if you add that line about letting him out, everything is alright. He should be able to survive a day without nourishment.

It’s also about gently pressing the player to explore the room instead of trying to find a way to get out and find the wife. I think that comes in with the wording of the dialogue.

Prop_static doesn’t render half the time for me =[


Sorry for the low FPS. I need to look at configuring ZDSoft a bit better.
Everything is temporary - the visuals, the audio, the effects, the layout will all be refined later

This idea and concept seems interesting. I’m sure the husband will need a little more than a fruitbasket, maybe put “There’s some food in the fridge” instead of having to find/make a model?

Seems like a cool idea! I love the fact that you make something original, and choose to create a story. I made an attempt to create something different and sort of abstract a while back (for a competition here, the cinematic one, video of it should be on my youtube channel). I feel that you have the same feel with this project, or at least the same goal to create something artistic as i did with my thing. Good luck!

ohh, and welcome back

Oh that Spacew00t. Still waiting on his Mars maps.

Other than that, good to see someone return from the good years.