Dyscourse Has In-Game Footage At Last – Hurrah!

By John Walker on December 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Dyscourse finally has some in-game footage. Six minutes of it, in fact. Is this what you were waiting for before you pledged to its Kickstarter? Because I’m really not sure what else anyone could be hoping for from such a tempting pitch: Keep a bunch of weirdos alive on an island, and those weirdos can be Tim Schafer and Ed McMillen. They’ve only four days left on their Kickstarter to raise another $15,000. Want to know why you should? The development team have promised they’ll answer any questions about anything you like in the comments below this post.

How do they know this post exists? Because they finally got around to telling me there’s in-game footage, like I DEMANDED, and I said, “FINE THEN!” and agreed to post it on my website because I can and so there.

Right, so here’s that:

I’m not entirely sure we needed the boxes read out. But still, look, the game moving! Early alpha, obviously, because they’re trying to raise the money to make the game at the moment.

Also, the game will have cats in it:

So, it seems they’ll AMA in the comments below. Try that out. You could ask why he kept reading those boxes out loud. Or more useful things about the game.

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65 Comments »

  1. owlchemylabs says:

    ALEX HERE I RUN COMPANIES NAMED OWLCHEMY. I’M USING THE OWLCHEMY LOGIN HERE, TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE ITS FUN TO BE LOUD!

    • lautalocos says:

      HI ALEX!

    • SillyWizard says:

      Cruise control for cool, as they say.

    • Strangeblades says:

      I love you owlchemylabs. Even if you aren’t owlchemylabs and are just pretending to be owlchemylabs I think my love for you fake owlchemylabs types will find its way, Ian Malcolm-style, to owlchemylabs. So LOVVVVVVE.

      Also, this game RPS is reporting on looks great.

  2. lautalocos says:

    i imagine the game will have many endings, which will give it a lot of replayability.

    but how long would a single average playtrough from start to end last?

    • DevinR says:

      Devin, Chief Technical Owl at Owlchemy Labs here!

      While we are still working on the game it appears an average day to night will be around 5-7 minutes which would mean about 45 min to an hour if you lasted a while. This depends on a lot of factor like reading speed, what choices you have made and if you actually survived.

      • lautalocos says:

        i see. im happy with that lenght, considering the many choices there are.

        also, what about the indie dev plane crash?

        thank you for your answear.

        • owlchemylabs says:

          The indie plane crash will act just like any regular scenario. We’re not sure how long that’ll be since we haven’t written it yet, but we’ve been starting to think about all of the crazy ways we can screw with all of the indies on the island. Too funny.
          Honestly, we’re still amazed that all of these cool people agreed to “get in an ill-fated rickety plane with us and be a part of a horrible crash” :)

  3. Megadestructo says:

    Hey everyone! I’m Eric, the Community Manager! I don’t do anything useful.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bradamantium says:

      I saw you guys post on reddit about the Indie Plane Crash scenario and ended up defending you from some people who thought you didn’t have a gameplay leg to stand on. Turns out they thought you were selling the game based on that update alone, but it wasn’t a total wash considering it was the first time I got accused of being some sort of corporate shill!

      Glad to see some gameplay. Since it seems a full story will play out pretty quickly, will the gameplay as presented here be the same (ie, vaguely tutorialish “Hey, maybe we can kill that!” and a bit slow in the field) move a bit quicker after the first playthrough? I could see it getting a little bogged down for players repeating scenarios to find different outcomes.

      • owlchemylabs says:

        We’re still working on the pacing for the game, but that video was definitely tough since we had to provide enough expose so viewers knew what the heck was going on. Also, we needed to slow it down to give us time to show people what was going on (and even extra time for people who were slow readers!).

        Also, all bubbles are click-thru-able!

  4. graebor says:

    Hi, Graeme here! I’m a programmer and do things, and I’m 50% of Owlchemy’s Canadian workforce.

  5. NotSoSeriouss says:

    Carrie here, drawer of all the things, here to answer any art related questions.

    • Drayk says:

      Hello Carrie,

      What are your inspirations for the art direction ? I like the hand-drawn/cardboard feel of the game.
      We see that kind of design a lot more lately, in games like Don’t Starve or Tearaway or even in Broken Age to a certain degree, where those an inspiration too ?

      • NotSoSeriouss says:

        Hey Drayk,

        Thanks! I really enjoy an emphasis on color and shape in illustration, so I suppose all my personal illustration inspirations carry over into this game ( Mary Blair, Bruce Tim, Mike Mignola, Leyendecker, Matt Lyon, etc).

        Those games you listed are def inspirations as well. I’m a fan of all of their art directions, so I’m sure I’m channeling some of that. I’m super drawn (ba-dum tshh) to 2D game art styles, there’s something charming about them that I think is lacking in most 3D games, perhaps because more often than not they focus on gritty realism. Those art styles are oozing personality and a clear direction in vision, and I hope to do something as engaging and fun with Dyscourse. Tearaway has such a wonderful and whimsical direction, I’m sad I don’t have a Vita to play it.

    • atomander says:

      Hey, I’m a just-started game artist out here in Oregon, just wanted to say that I find the art here very inspiring! I love the stylized people. I backed Night in the Woods for the lovely 2D art, and this one looks great as well.

      • NotSoSeriouss says:

        Aw thanks man! I appreciate the comment and support c:

  6. Mctittles says:

    Will you be able to forget foraging for food and just make sure you have water for the first few weeks?

    • graebor says:

      It’s not as straightforward as just walking up to water and clicking repeatedly to max out your resources. Dyscourse is more narrative focused than a resource-based simulation, so you can definitely approach the game with a mindset of collecting resources instead of strengthening personal relationships, and there will be plenty of choices in the narrative that support that playstyle. You might approach any given situation from an aggressive angle or a calculated survival angle.

  7. The Random One says:

    How much do you have to pay you to change the game’s name to Owlchemy’s Discourse and make it about an owl alchemist’s Socratic teachings?

    • owlchemylabs says:

      The $10,000 tier in the Kickstarter where you get to fly out and buy us dinner (which does not include a copy of the game) will allow you the chance to plead your case on a name (and/or game) change. Anything is possible over drinks, The Random One.

  8. pilouuuu says:

    CATS! I’m interested!

  9. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    They’ll answer ANY question? Why does love hurt so much?

    (Also, good luck with the Kickstarter! The game looks good and I love the art style.)

  10. SillyWizard says:

    At the end of the game does it turn out that everybody died in a plane-crash and they’re learning how to love so that they can enjoy each others’ company forever in the afterlife?

    Also: please include creepy whisperings whenever it’s night-time in the Halloween 2014 update.

    • owlchemylabs says:

      YES. Also the island moves around and our character Garrett wins the lottery and then goes to jail… or something.

      Night whispers? I’ll make sure it only happens in your copy of game so when you get freaked out and google it, no one else is talking about it, so you shut off your computer out of fear, but the whispering continues as you slowly slink into the corner and huddle in the fetal position, praying that you hadn’t wished this horrible fate upon yourself.

      • SillyWizard says:

        NO THANK YOU!

        I retract my request.

      • Alfrederique says:

        I think this is such a brilliant idea. You guys should definitely include that in a random copy, then create obscure website pages referring to a curse. Meta-horror gaming.

        • owlchemylabs says:

          SillyWizard has revoked his request, and therefore you now must bear the burden of the curse.

          • Alfrederique says:

            I’m totally up for it, my little brother just asked me if I knew a game he could play at night to relax.

  11. kwyjibo says:

    How did Snuggle Truck do? Why Kickstarter this time? Why the jump from mobile to PC? Watching the gameplay video, it looks like something that could definitely work on tablets.

    • owlchemylabs says:

      Great question kwyjibo!

      Snuggle Truck was released way back in 2011, which now, looking back, seems like the olden ‘wild wild west’ days of the app store. It did fairly poorly at launch (ok, very poorly) but over multiple *years* (yes, you read that correct), it ended up making back its money. Then we ported it to Android, brought it to Steam, brought it to Blackberry, and basically ported it to every single place we possibly could in an attempt to make enough money to continue making games. We achieved our goal in that sense, but we have always been developing games on short 6-months-or-less cycles, and Dyscourse is much more ambitious of a game, so we’re breaking that 6-month mold and needed to make sure we didn’t run out of money building a long-term game. Kickstarter (and early pre-orders in general) help with that a ton, and so long as we get funded, it’ll help us reduce the pain of trying to build a larger game and possibly running out of money.

      Re: PC — We can interact better with fans and players on PC and it’ll help us build a better game. Simple as that.

  12. Niko says:

    MEOW MEOW MEOW!

  13. boxfish says:

    I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of this game before, but then I saw the cat art and that pretty much sold me on it immediately. (Then I actually watched the video and was even more excited.)

    • owlchemylabs says:

      “saw the cat art and that pretty much sold me on it immediately”
      Yes, we like cats. I turned to my left and saw one, actually! Here he is. His name is Ziggy, and he’s not interested in you or me right now. http://d.pr/v/MuBy

  14. zachforrest says:

    Any influences that are maybe outside the standard management genre?

    Also do you think the time is right for a piece of culture containing bee attacks? It’s only been like 20 years since My Girl.

    • owlchemylabs says:

      Bees? Not too soon.

      Inspirations? We’ve been known to say that Dyscourse takes the interpersonal dramas of The Walking Dead and combines it with the group survival of Oregon Trail, with a healthy dose of Lord Of The Flies.

  15. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    Any question ? Nice.
    Do you like Sokurov’s movies ? Is your music composer (nice studio) also your sound designer ? What are your 3 games of the year ?

    • owlchemylabs says:

      I’ll take the sound question and say that Jason is doing music and we’ve worked (with great success) with the brilliant Dan Perry on sound in the past (http://danieldpperry.com/) and hope to do so again!

      3 games of the year? Damn. I’ll say that TowerFall is probably all 3 for me, right now, and then I’ll let my other peeps respond as well.

    • DevinR says:

      My 3 favorite games of the year are: ‘Gone Home’, ‘Papers Please’ and ‘The Last of Us’.

    • Megadestructo says:

      While I can’t say I’m familiar with Sokurov’s works, right now my games of the year are: Don’t Starve, Papers, Please, and The Last of Us.

      I think I like depressing games…

      EDIT: Looks like Devin and I share very similar tastes here.

      EDIT 2: Totally forgot to include State of Decay. That was a lot of fun too, despite its initial bugs.

    • NotSoSeriouss says:

      Apparently I know nothing about movies. But I DO know things about games!

      Super Mario 3D World, Papers Please, and Spelunky HD. I know Spelunky HD came out last year, but it didn’t hit Steam till August so it totally counts.
      I really wish I could put Arkham Origins on this list, but that game pissed me off too much with it’s glitchiness.

  16. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Do you see Dyscourse as being more Flight of the Phoenix: The Game™, or Sands of the Kalahari: The Game™?

    • Megadestructo says:

      Hmm. Adding blood-thirsty baboons *would* spice things up, but I think it would probably fall more towards Kalahari if we had to pick one. It’s really not so close to either of those films. The game is far more about the interpersonal dynamics of the group being your primary “villain” though I guess you could draw parallels to the decision to eliminate other survivors as rivals (or dead weight).

      Interesting comparison!

      • Premium User Badge

        VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I ask because Flight of the Phoenix—the book at any rate, I’ve not seen the film*—was every bit as much about the interpersonal dynamics as it was survival and the rescue plan. And for a long time now I’ve wanted a game to explore this kind scenario. So naturally it came to mind when I first heard of Dyscourse.

        *I think there was more than one film made of it? Not seen any of them. As for Sands of the Kalahari, I’ve neither read the book nor seen the film, it just has a similar set-up.

        • Megadestructo says:

          Oh, had no idea Flight of the Pheonix NOR Sands of Kalahari were books. There are two Flight of Phoenix films (the older one is far better). I saw it at such a young age that all I could remember was the building of the plane, honestly.

          The interpersonal dynamics are key to Dyscourse. We’ve been equally inspired by Lord of the Flies and the “party” game Werewolf. However, true to our nature, we hope it’ll be amusing and funny as opposed to purely bleak and oppressive.

  17. TracerK says:

    I won’t lie, you had me sold on the whole team-building interaction stuffs and the cats.

    (Mostly the cats.)

    THEY LOOK SO FLUFFY I JUST WANT TO SNUGGLE THEM ALL

    … Will we be able to name the kitties?

    • owlchemylabs says:

      That just so happens to be one of our backer rewards! If only 80 people grab the Companioned Traveler tier, we’d instantly be funded. All because of cats…

  18. hilltop says:

    Although I was skeptical of the inital pitch (given how often one hears about meaningful choices in games) the gameplay video is very compelling. You are the first project on Kickstarter I have backed. I sincerely hope you get funding in the next few days before the deadline. I think this is the kind of game I would like to hold up as an example to people unfamiliar with the medium.

    Perhaps I should ask a question.

    Will we see the cats turn on us?

    • graebor says:

      Thanks for making us your first foray into Kickstarter, we promise you’ll be happy you did! :)

      As for the cats, I don’t want to give any spoilers of course. Let’s just leave it at saying that the tensions of a survival situation can make humans do some pretty crazy things, who’s to say those same tensions couldn’t affect other species?

  19. Armante says:

    Hmmm just doesn’t do it for me. Nor does the art style.
    Interesting too that RPS really pushes those Kickstarters it likes, and ignores those it doesn’t.

    Good luck to Dyscourse!

  20. Marmalade Man says:

    I don’t know if you are open to criticism or not, but if you are then hopefully you will find this helpful as to why some people did not connect with your game.

    The first time RPS posted your kickstarter I thought the entire game was about the ‘indie plane crash’, this seemed very self congratulatory to me and forcing celebrity culture where it felt like it didn’t belong. You have character drawings of famous developers, then you put yourself as characters in the trailer, the result of which was that I assumed the other characters where just developers I didn’t know. It also felt very meme heavy, which was a bit annoying.

    The gameplay seemed almost non-existent and arbitrary. Click to choose a character to fight a snake, pick one of them and you succeed, pick a different one and you die.

    You insist that the game is more than choose your own adventure with internet jokes, but you don’t use your trailer time to show it. In two whole minutes all we get is the one snake decision, the rest is mainly you talking about yourselves.

    Maybe your game is more than internet jokes and arbitrary decisions, If it is then I hope you find a better way to show people what you want to make, because this kickstarter didn’t do that for me.

    • graebor says:

      First of all, thanks for posting your criticism in a respectful manner.

      Early on, we heard people requesting more realistic examples of gameplay, which is why we put together the 6+ minute video you see in this article to try and demonstrate some of the elements of the game. Due to the type of game Dyscourse is, it’s difficult to show off what makes it cool in a short amount of time, that’s why we’ve been doing our best to find creative ways of showing people the spirit of the game and how it operates, without spoiling our narrative.

      Sorry the campaign left that impression on you, we’re just having a bit of fun with the indie plane crash scenario, certainly not trying to ‘push celebrity culture’ in a way that makes people uncomfortable. We’ll be working hard to find new ways to demonstrate more effectively what Dyscourse is like, without the confusion. :)

      • Marmalade Man says:

        No problem, thanks for taking it well.

        By ‘forcing celebrity culture where it didn’t belong’, I just meant that I watched your video and read your kickstarter proposal to learn about your game but I came away learning more about a bunch of game developers. I wasn’t suggesting that you were imposing some terrible celebrity agenda or anything.

        Really my criticisms are not of your game at all, but of the things that got in the way of it.

        I wish you the best with this project!

  21. Velorien says:

    I am less interested in this game after watching the gameplay footage. Someone is accused of a crime. Your options are to request proof OR look for witnesses OR to try to defuse the situation, and if you try to defuse the situation, people start voting on punishment without any attempt to actually prove that a crime took place (never mind whether the accused is the one who committed it). If the people we’re playing as are *this* stupid, I’d rather wash my hands of the whole affair and go play something else.