Most developers love the beginning of a new project, throwing around crazy out of scope ideas without ever considering that each idea could take weeks (months) to implement. Enthusiasm is high as everybody on board is convinced they’re about to make the best game ever created. It’s a lot of fun and a great feeling!
We had that feeling when we brainstormed the idea for Super Helpful Man for Ludum Dare last year. Now, working on the remake, we already know what we are making so have skipped the fun enthusiastic part and moved straight into the “What? I have to do the work of 12 people?” section. It’s still fun in a ‘let’s see how burnt out we can get’ kind of way but coming up with a brand new concept is definitely more fun. Oh well, let’s get to work!
We started working on a new version of Super Helpful Man as soon as we finished The Mind of Marlo. We made some progress but decided to remake How to Cope with Boredom and Loneliness to release as a free Steam game instead, which you can go and play right now! We’re hoping everyone who enjoys How to Cope will be obliged to buy Super Helpful Man. That’ll be 5 copies straight away!
We’ve since returned to developing SHM and this is what we’ve done.
We’ve spent the last few months writing a new story. In the simple Ludum Dare version the game focused on an 82 year old man who had spent the past 50 years believing he was a superhero handyman. There were no clues as to why he thought he was a superhero, you just accepted the premise and got on with helping Super Helpful Man solve some problems. Now we want to know why this strange man decided to start dressing up and helping people in the first place, and why is he still doing it at his age?
Contrary to what I said before about skipping the excitement and enthusiasm of starting a new project, writing this new story has captured some of that. It’s been fun filling in the blanks left by the original’s brief story. It’s still a game about an 82 year old man fixing things but it’s now wrapped up in a story exploring Super Helpful Man’s origins as well as the physical and mental impact of acting like a superhero for 50 years. It won’t be your run of the mill summer blockbuster superhero story. It will be more like one of those touching made for TV movies your Mum would watch, the one about the odd bloke down the road that dresses in a superhero costume.
That’s how we’ll present Super Helpful Man, as a movie on one of those awful TV channels, the ones that you have to scroll down ages for – EmotionalMumMovies24 or TrueLifeTearJerkers. We had fun with the mock-umentary style in past games but we want to try the ‘terrible movie’ format this time. Expect drama, cheese, bad acting, sad piano music, to mutter “I should call my granddad.” and much more!
The script is about done and the story has turned into something really nice, whether we can convince you to play a game about an old repairman dressed as a superhero is another matter. Like our other games, it is highly narrative driven but we have a lot of interactive dialogue and puzzles to keep the whole thing as fun and funny as it can be. Which leads us to our next section..
We intend to include several puzzles. Super Helpful Man will be called out to emergency situations that the player must resolve. Each emergency will have it’s own quest that propels the story as well as side quests that add jokes, easter eggs and extra detail to the story. We have a few puzzles mapped out already and some secrets that How to Cope… fans will enjoy. Our games have been simple by design so far and Super Helpful Man won’t stray too far but we hope to add more depth to the quests and the world to make this our most enjoyable game yet! Speaking of the world, let’s talk about the graphics…
Haven’t started them yet…
We haven’t started coding anything either as while Poffle has been writing the story Rodo has been extremely busy creating a new desktop app to manage all our scripting needs. It’ll be an all in one app for our scripting, dialogues, item database as well as a place to write the game’s design document. It’s going to be great until it crashes and we lose everything. Rodo has until the end of June to make it fully functional!
We hope to have the app and graphics finished at the same time. We can then put all the words into the app and all the graphics into Unity, press export then sit back and wait for the dollar bills to arrive. We’ll see what happens.
So, that’s what we’ve been up to. We hope to share more with you at the end of the month when we should have some screenshots to show as well as the launch of the Steam page!