I’ll be releasing Home is Where One Starts… on Steam and Itch.io on May 13th. It’s weird to choose a day to say my project is “complete”, because there’s so much I could hypothetically add. Determining when any artwork is finished is an art in and of itself, but I’m ready to share my short story with the world. The beta testers who’ve helped me have been incredibly invaluable. By far the most common request was to add more interactivity, so now important objects can be picked up and rotated (which can provide more story insight).
I was at odds with this feedback at first, because I recalled how the developer of Dear Esther found that the game felt more right the more they eliminated interactive “distractions”. Why do you need a flashlight button? Why do you need a crouch button? Minimalism can be a very powerful tool, and I didn’t want my game to get caught up in not feeling game-y enough. Home is Where One Starts… is a slow, methodical experience, and I designed it that way. However, there is value in feeling like you’re a part of the world you inhabit, so I feel picking up certain important objects will help accentuate the environmental storytelling. I want the player to ask “why can I pick up this certain object, but not that piece of trash on the ground?”. Those kinds of questions will help unlock the mystery of this little girl’s story.