Would you believe that our little development blog is one year old today? My how time flies.
The script is being written, page layouts are taking shape, and the first elements of the actual website are being coded. We’ve come a long way in the last year. In fact, just yesterday I was looking back through our very first concepts. You wouldn’t believe how it all started…
For starters, the theme wasn’t originally sci-fi. Originally… it was fantasy themed. Set in a world of magic, swordplay, dragons and barbarians, Astro-Nought was originally called Phear Forest.
Quite the departure from the 40′s-infused sci-fi adventure you’ve been used to seeing. But that’s honestly how it all began.
A year ago, you’d have found me working night shifts, with nothing but my sketchpad and the long dark hours for company. There was a lot of time to think on those shifts, and I would jot down all my ideas in my trusty moleskine. That was where the germ of the idea that would become Astro-Nought originated from. Utter boredom.
As a child, I’d enjoyed the choose-your-own-adventure books that would occasionally crop up in our local library. Some of them were great, some of them were silly, and some of them were impossible to complete without cheating and marking several pages with your thumb in case you made a mistake and hit a dead-end. I wondered at the time, why they were all fairly old books, as though no new ones had been published for a number of years.
It wasn’t until getting into Web Design that my memory was jogged and I realised how perfect the medium of a website would be for the choose-your-own-adventure model. A quick search of the internet yielded few results (even fewer of which actually looked any fun to play) and so a plan was hatched. I would attempt to bring back the classic genre in a thoroughly modern setting.
The wealth of options provided by the web is overwhelming. Surely, there’s bound to be several new technologies, that’ve come along since the golden age of choose-your-own-adventure books, that would lend themselves perfectly to the task of reinvigorating the genre. We could now have animation, sound effects, musical scores, true randomisation, social-networking integration etc. So many new ways of crafting the immersive experience I remember and introducing it to a whole new audience.
It was a long slow process, thinking around the subject. Was there a good reason it’d never really been done before? Why weren’t there more sites out there? Was there still an audience for these kinds of stories? As time went by, the idea slowly solidified and the theme became more fluid. If we were going to make a site like this, wouldn’t it make more sense to play to our strengths? What were our strengths?
If you’ve been reading this blog over the past year, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Astro-Nought team are big sci-fi nerds. We each have our own specialty niche, and you’d be hard-pressed to beat our combined knowledge of Star Wars or Doctor Who trivia. Which reminds me… we still have space on the team for a Trekkie.
MAKE IT SO
So we forged on, confident in our ability to appease even the most bitter and cynical sci-fi fan. There’s something to be said for tackling a problem that you’re comfortable working with. The narrative is one big love letter to the geek community, and we’re sure our seemingly endless list of Easter eggs and tributes won’t escape the keen-eyed amongst you. The biggest hurdle by far was figuring out where to begin.
The blog picks up from there and you can follow our thoughts and struggles as we went on. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to discuss as the game progresses, so keep an eye on the dev blog here to stay up-to-date with where we’re up to. I’ll leave you with a final bit of concept art for the space station the game takes place in.
Here’s to another great year!
Twitter Username – Lycanstrife