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  • Writer's picturetoaddoesnot

Hi, and thank you so much if you are still here! It’s officially my last year at the university, which means that no matter what, Doppel Diner is being released to the world this May. I haven’t been this great on consistency so far, but I’m starting this fall motivated to make this year count!

This summer I had a chance to research primary sources of American space dreams from the 1950s period: early volumes of Tom Corbett, Tales of Tomorrow, Amazing Stories, photos from Space Patrol and Captain Video TV Shows, pulp science fiction, and other collections of BGSU Popular Culture Library. Although it did not directly progress a game, it brought me a lot of joy, which is essential for sustaining an indie project.

I also have been learning a lot about coding while working on a VR project at my uni, and learning more about myself in therapy which I started attending weekly for the past 4 months.

I didn’t quite touch the tasks that I planned for the summer, but I’m steadily getting them done right now while sharing the updates in the dev progress channel in Discord. Exhibit a:

I will aim to share more of small updates like this quite often. Stay tuned and have a wonderful day!

  • Writer's picturetoaddoesnot

Good morning to all you fancy people!

I feel like it is time to look back at everything I improved in Doppel Diner during this semester and sum it up into sound points.

Even though it is still a work in progress, DD has already come a long path from being just a whim I got a summer ago into a thought-through concept with an *almost working* build. As this year began, I was contemplating adding more narrative into the game but decided to focus on the visuals and interface this time, which aligned perfectly with my 2D Art for Games class.

The diner interior and cooking space layout (that got the JoyArt environment art nomination!) changed a couple of times. First, just because everything looked too chaotic, I moved the ingredients from packages to containers. Then, I “opened” the saucepan and toaster, because those were not registering as functional by players. I changed the positions of the plates, as it is more natural to go from left to right, and they were too close to the rubbish bin, then moved the drinks to where they are usually in real diners. Finally, I made it possible to return dishes to their initial spots instead of throwing them away! Those changes helped to make the game more smooth to play, minimize unnecessary mouse movements and help focus the players’ attention.

My biggest insight was to try other cooking games and realize that they all feature a step-by-step process, which goes like this: raw ingredient — frying pen — plate — guest. Thinking, I divided my own screen to feel and play it through: you grab a pot and put it on the stove, then add raw ingredients, then put it on the plate, and then all toppings go on top. Kerblam!

I decided that I would expand it even further and add a second screen with the guest seating area. My inspiration for that is an old Wii game, “Hell’s Kitchen,” where you both wait on tables and cook. For now, it is the basis for my future roadmap. I am currently developing a unique Guest Transfer System™, with helpful circle-styled request boxes at each table. In short, the guest will arrive and sit, and then you wait for them to ask for cleaning, a chit-chat, or food. Their order will then be presented as a soft-cornered rectangle order ticket in the middle of your cooking screen. It would expand based on the number of dishes and the existence of a drink in the order. A pattern on the background will help to understand in which pan to cook the ingredient. Circles with numbers indicate the table and have a timer that will tell how long the guest is waiting.

My biggest challenge was to keep showing this constantly changing and imperfect prototype to the world. Nevertheless, I managed to present “Doppel Diner” at least once per month at the festivals, which also informed my need to make it more appealing. The feedback I got from players of different ages, including the youngest ones at RPI Game Fest, made me overthink some aspects of gameplay. Also, with experience, I made a list of merch/materials that are a must for offline events, namely:

  • business cards with not just my name to connect, but also a project description and QR code for people to remember the context

  • one-sheets with the most important info about the game (I especially used to have a lot of trouble with people misunderstanding its connection to bipolar disorder)

  • elevated table that I just steal from my desk so that it is easier for people to play and also indicates they don't need to use a keyboard

  • stickers! I just printed them, and they are already really popular, and a great way for people to engage in conversation about the game far after the festivals

  • slightly unnecessary, but if you have this service in uni, I suggest laser-cutting an NFC tag on a wooden plate just because it draws attention and has a game's logo

So, that pretty much sums up the whole semester! I have lots of programming, narrative, and redesign plans for this summer, and will keep you updated on those. I hope that you enjoy your holidays and have a wonderful time!

Join my Discord to keep up with regular updates or subscribe to biweekly newsletters to learn more!

  • Writer's picturetoaddoesnot

Hey everyone!

The spring break came-and-went, and as our captain was completely captivated by learning spells and catching magical beasts in Hogwarts, here go our updates now.

To begin with, Doppel Diner haven’t won the “Get Seeded” pitch night or JoyArt, but it sure was fruitful to participate! It is always great to have an opportunity to visit such events, plus have a small trip to another state. And luckily, yet another opportunity is awaiting us just today: Doppel Diner will be at PAX Made in MA Party! at 5:30 pm. If you have a ticket by any chance, make sure to visit UConn’s table (there will be two more amazing games by my group mates)

Meanwhile, I continue to focus on creating more art. These past weeks I added raw concepts of Todd’s spaceship (inside and out) and finally gave the visitors some more colors and details, though there is still lots to do. My main strategy is to create as much visual content as possible and try to pitch in for different collaborative and funding opportunities. Also, graphic representation is something that is very easy to assess, so I hope to get in touch with Bipolar Disorder community very soon and get their feedback on at least the art part.

Stay tuned and see you on Discord!

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