The Fried – A bitter and self inflicted parody of The Burnt, plus post-mortem and plans moving forwards.

I’ll have you all know that nearly every element of this parody was envisioned before the judging or even much of any feed back was received. I wanted to make fun of my own game design and writing while making something for practice. This is not meant to target anyone but myself. All the features included have been polished to make sure they worked properly and could be applied to future projects. And finally, if you haven’t played my game The Burnt, please play that before this pisstake below.

Features!

  • Hastily rewritten dialog!
  • Sarcastic quality of life changes!
  • Zero game play alterations.
  • A grappling hook! (Thanks to @Chubberdy for the suggestion)

Full Changelog:

  • Timer changed from six minutes to ten, visible on screen
  • Mana orbs grant two energy instead of one
  • Minimap added
  • Selectable questlog that sarcastically explains what to do
  • Guide arrow and destination marker
  • Fastforward button added
  • Mild changes to the sixth ending

Don’t forget to check out Week of the Werefatty, and I’m looking forwards to the next chapters when they come out!

POST-MORTEM

As a solo developer and someone who enjoys making stories, I want to let my works stand on their own without explanation from the author. The failure of the audience to enjoy a work is also the failure of the author to clarify the meaning of the work in itself. Saying that, I wish to pull back the curtain a little bit and explain some of my thoughts and feelings about my own game.

The Burnt is the first proper game I’ve made. There have been little tests and exercises I’ve done in Unity, but this is truly my first release. It is not flawless. Repetition is a dangerous tool to use, and does not fire as cleanly when tied to such shallow gameplay. I did not set out to make a walking simulator when this was envisioned, but it’s certainly what resulted. From the theme “Hands-Off,” an unstoppable monster was envisioned, and helplessness was the core emotion I wanted to evoke. The three main sources of influence I drew from was Majora’s Mask, Echo Night, and Pathologic. Majora’s Mask for the visibly looming threat, time limit, character paths, and visual style. Echo Night for the spectral protagonist and sense of trying to help those beyond help. And finally Pathologic for the design of the town, first person perspective, and three conflicting protagonist who each have their own flawed solution to the impossible problem. Something I did not take from any of these games was the central gameplay mechanics. There is none of Majora’s Mask’s combat, Echo Night’s puzzles, or Pathologic’s resource management. There were idea of more complex puzzles and branching, interacting storylines, but they never got further than just ideas… A tone and story was settled on first and gameplay was not fully envisioned until a good way into the project, and this definitely reflects in the final result. I want my games to make demands of the player, be it mechanically or emotionally, but I want to reward that engagement in equal measure. A goal of mine moving forwards to create more refined and engaging gameplay and not just rely on atmosphere alone.

Another aspect I find myself critical of is the writing. I am infinitely flattered by the award nomination, but I feel like that is a result of the final atmosphere the game has more than the actual written words. Self deprecating as I may be, but I often called the writing the depressive equivalent of a fart joke. Everything is doomed, everyone dies, you can’t do anything, feel sad, wash rinse repeat for five different story lines. I find it easier to draw on negative emotions more than positive ones when writing, and if The Fried shows anything, I do not have a lot of confidence in my humor when written down versus being spontaneous in conversation. While I will not be comprising in my visions for stories and tones, I do not wish to make depressive Oscar-bait “my feels, I can’t” low blows that bore audiences and jerk off critics. Part of this is my disappointment that I could not get the sixth ending done in time for the Gain Jam release, and while not implemented perfectly, I’m glad it’s the version present on my itch page for future players to experience. Another aspect of my writing I feel conflicted on is the world building. I was surprised to see people praise the setting. The writing of a game like Dark Souls involves a process of coming up with a massive detailed setting with it’s own rules, elaborate history, and epic figures in a vast world, then selectively showing a player only a small slice of it to leave gaps to be filled in and imagined. My writing consists of coming up with just enough world to make the story function. Hemingway’s Iceberg theory of minimalist writing would disapprove of my approach, and so do I. I like big things like emotions, but for character histories, there is hastily rolled out wall paper covering bare-bone framework. Why is the Hearth significant? What is beyond the mountains? Where did the monster come from? Who did the Rogue abandon? Why was the black book left out in the library? Who was the person the Knight was with in the cellar? If there are any answers to these, I came up with the hastily after they were written. Of course, I am always happy to have the audience to fill in these gaps for themselves and make the story that resonates the most with themselves. I’ve heard many names for the characters, including furnace monster, pumpkin-lady, cleric, priestess, knight, guard, warrior, thief, rogue, and ranger. A most surprising interpretation is that someone read the Rogue as male, and I realized I had no grounds to correct them. An aspect I found no one mentioned that I had intended was that the world and the people in it were made of various food items. The houses were meant to be ginger bread, the Knight was a pancake, the Cleric was a steamed bun, the Rogue is flan, and the monster was based of an old cast iron oven. A knife, spoon, and fork were added to each of the characters to reflect the edible nature of them, but artistic limitations made this more ambiguous.

As for visuals, I started teaching myself blender about a year and a half ago. Low-Poly is partially due to my preference for the visual style, but also a result of my own limitations as a visual artist. I wish to develop my style further to create enjoyable and distinct characters, along with the worlds they inhabit. A key part of the visual style of this game is the near-complete lack of textures. Everything is painted solid colors, only broken up by the lighting system, and this was more a limitation than a choice. As character and environment modeling was in progress, it was becoming rapidly apparently that applying textures to everything was not going to be feasible as a solo developer who struggles with that already. My deepest appreciation for my distant number two on this project, @ZippZ, for drawing the expressions of all the characters and making sure the world wasn’t inhabited by faceless mannequins along with touching up the monster’s face from my original drawing, much to it’s improvement. Further thanks to them for allowing me to use their composition for the game’s theme song and letting me remix it into many of the sound effects heard in the game.

The final aspect of my game I want to address is the fetish content. Yes, this is weight-gaming, this is a website meant for games featuring sexual fetish content. I am an avid fan of female weight gain, but I simply cannot find myself engaged enough with an erotic concept to make something fleshed out of it. Frequently, I will come up with a story with a fetishistic starting point, but it will grow into something else that eventually pushes out the erotic aspects out of my mind to focus on the characters and story. From the very beginning, The Burnt was envisioned to invoke a doomed atmosphere, and the fetish aspects were very much tacked on to make it fit. I think neither my writing nor my polygons are particularly erotic, and I have little interest in developing them in that direction, though I would like to develop my fattening animation system to be more refined (currently it just scales select bones to expand certain body parts, but this limits the shapes I can make and distorts animations). If fetish or sexual content is featured in my game, I would want it to be integral to the experience. I have no plans to make games you can play one-handed. Why then, you may ask, am I bothering with making games featuring obese characters in the first place? To be honest, I am not immune to fetish content, and making round polygons is a nice carrot on a stick to get me started on projects that eventual diverge into different directions. Making a game with an overweight woman as the protagonist might be the bottom of the barrel in terms of qualifying for weight-gaming, but this is also the venue where that will be the most welcomed. I will continue making games, they might include fat ladies, they might not. Either way, I hope you continue to enjoy my output.

FUTURE PLANS

As for the future, there are numerous projects and possibilities I wish to pursue. Currently I am involved in a collaboration to make a classic 3D platformer, and while it’s been going slow, it’s been going well and I hope to have a demo by the end of the year. An avenue I personally want to explore is a classic Resident Evil styled tank-control sci-fi horror game, though I am struggling with art direction. However, this and future projects are limited by my own abilities along with time and money. To be frank, this is a hobby, and for me to start investing more time into learning modeling, animation, and programming will require this to be some sort of financially lucrative which is not something I can bet on. I do however wish to work with more of the many talented members of this community, and invite any requests for collaboration whether it be modeling, programming, or general design. With this project and many others, I am used to working solo and becoming a jack of all trades, master of none, but I want to get better at working with others, establishing workflows, and creating something more than what I can just do on my own. Those who know me personally are aware I have an absurd and often backhanded sense of humor which I try to keep to myself on these public forums. IceDev will do their best to be calm, collected, and concise when interacting with others in a semi-professional manner, but I will not compromise on my vision for my games or my work. Every project I make will build upon and improve on what I’ve learned on the previous. I hope people look back and view The Burnt as the worst game I’ve made. If you read through all this, thank you.

P.S.

Shout-out to Bobby Krilic (aka Haxan Cloak)'s Returnal OST for powering me through many hours of coding.

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As someone who still owns an N64 and has played a variety of games on it (Mystical Ninja, Mario Party, Banjo-Kazooie), I will always have a soft spot for graphics of the system. I wouldn’t call The Burnt a bad game, it’s not meant to be big or long or anything like a game like Dark Souls, it only has three characters who are near the end of their rope in trying to deal with the threat in front of them. The weight gain isn’t also taped on; the Rogue is done so why bother if death is certain, the Cleric thinking she can grow more powerful, and the Knight trying to comfort herself since it’s another village lost. While dialogue is always tough (for me personally its more of having to switch different mindsets to think, “what would they say”), this game doesn’t need much since it is the end, what can you say just to distract yourself as the creature comes closer.
Believe me, many will look at this game and will think “yeah, you know I can actually do this”, and try to either achieve the same vibes or surpass them. It’s not a bad game, like all the others in the Jam you achieved in making a game in such a short amount of time (a lot better than mine), nearly achieving everything you wanted to do. Not many can argue the same, much less say “I also made a parody of it, enjoy”, that got a laugh out of me. I hope you have fun in your game-making, as I’m certain you’ll easily go beyond The Burnt.

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