Minima Engine Used for New Game
When I first started writing Minima over a year ago now I wanted to make it largely data-driven with the idea being that I could reuse its engine at a later date to make another mini RPG. Doing so would mostly be a matter of changing lots of data and some of the graphics, sounds, and music. The only real modifications to the code would be for things like victory conditions and a couple of minor Minima-specific puzzles.
I got an idea for another RPG that would put this to the test. It'd be a different plot in a different genre. It'd be a weird mystery: a detective story but with sci-fi and horror elements. Taking place in a more modern environment it wouldn't use magic; being written to a smaller scale it wouldn't have a wrapping map, ship cannons, or walled cities. Instead it would put a bit more focus on some of the features of Minima that were underused in Minima itself. Whereas searching isn't used much in Minima, it'd be a bigger part of this game. A more intimate scale would mean that this game could have things Minima ignored; things like furniture. There would be rooms that would need to be broken into just in order to search for items or information in desks or filing cabinets. Players would need to be even more certain to talk with all the NPCs, as dialog would play an even larger role and every NPC would have both a name and unique comments.
Just as it was a challenge squeezing all the functionality of Minima into a single PICO-8 cartridge, now I'd be challenging myself to squeeze a solvable mystery story into just a tiny bit of text, most of it broken up into strings of fewer than thirty characters, without having any control over which those strings would be read. I'd have to creatively play around with player expectations to fill in deliberate gaps. As with Minima I could write a mostly in-universe manual that'd help get the player on the right track, but I'd want to restrict it to events that had occurred before the game itself started. Likewise I'd need to ensure that none of the images, clips, or descriptions I posted anywhere would have any spoilers, as a big part of the fun of the game would be in figuring out the mystery.
Also I wanted to get it done before the first anniversary of Minima's original public release.
Please allow me to introduce Anteform: A weird detective story, built on the Minima Engine. Was I successful in my goals? You tell me. Please look through your case briefing (i.e. the manual) prior to arriving in Anteform Valley. Once you're there, you're on your own.
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