So for the past few weeks we’ve been hard at work on some of the game mechanics. Though a cellphone in a Visual Novel isn’t a new thing, nor is it a new thing anywhere really, but whilst we were thinking about the game and how to make it interesting for people, the constant theme of immersion kept ringing in our ears. If people are going to play the game and get involved in it, they need to feel immersed. For that to happen, there has to be something other than just reams and reams of text. We spoke recently about mini-games, and whilst they add something extra to a Visual Novel, it didn’t feel wholly right to us to move in that direction.
We didn’t want Convenience Wars to feel cheap and so it became more apparent to us that the more important aspect was that of immersive gameplay. We want the player to feel like a) they are a part of the game, and b) that they can choose how to act in the game and that those choices will have consequences. We’re not going to dwell on non-linear game play at the moment, that’ll come later. What became more important to us was not to distract the player with mini-games that are often not based on/related to reality, but to give them things to do that made the game feel more real.
The introduction of the phone was an idea to do just that. When the phone rings, you don’t have to answer it, you can just cancel the call. How will that affect the way the game progresses? Will the character call back? That’s why you’ll have to play on to find out. When you receive an SMS message, you have the choice of how to respond and that response will stay in your message history for you to review as the game moves on. Maybe you make a bad decision and have to live with it staring you in the face. Better think carefully.
Below is the phone concept that we’ve been working on. Yes it’s a little crude, but the theming isn’t complete. The idea was to make a phone that ‘kinda worked like a real phone’. Let us know what you think.
00:01 shows the phone ringing with the choice to Answer or Cancel.
00:07 shows the reading of older messages.
00:24 shows an incoming SMS message with the option to reply.