Scale returns with a physics puzzler update

Scale

Having spent the LONGEST time in the RPS treehouse establishing that a) Scale [official site] is not The Museum of Simulation Technology and b) I never wrote about either of them here despite having a clear memory of writing about The Museum of Simulation Technology and then finally finding John’s byline on the piece and now worrying that I’ve started just having really vivid and really boring dreams. OH WAIT NO. It was for another website. Another mystery solved and it isn’t even lunchtime!

What’s that? Scale? AH YES. Gather ye round, for there is an update on the size-shifting physics puzzler including BUT NOT LIMITED TO confirmation that the game is still in development after a period of silence:

Before you watch, the topic of spoilers comes up a bit but I think it’s the sort of thing where the spoilers only become spoilers when you know what’s going on, otherwise it’s more about how the mechanical interactions work.

It’s been quiet on the Scale front and it sounds like backers of the 2013 Kickstarter were understandably concerned that the game had gone the way of the dodo. Well, had stopped being developed, which isn’t what happened with dodos at all unless a particular strand of creationism holds true.

There are 113-ish puzzles in the game at this point so it’s nudging up against the 120-puzzle intention and it looks like there has been a bunch of refinement and polish since I last checked in on it. The stylised layouts and combination of puzzle flow and space reminds me really strongly of The Witness despite the puzzle DNA being very different. I also enjoyed hearing more about the tweaks being made to get interactions to feel better or smoother.

About 16 minutes in, after the positive updates and progress, Swink talks more about why there has been a period of no updates for backers and so on. Basically it was a mixture of wanting to get on with it and, more interestingly, that Swink found the process of updating meant being upbeat in a way which ended up being unhelpful for problem-solving.

It sounds like marketing the game or at least talking about it publicly was coming into conflict with the bits of game dev where you need to wrestle with a problem it takes you a while to fix. I can see that. On the one hand you want to talk about your progress or maybe not expose the more vulnerable/less good bits online but in doing so you create this distance between the public and the private and it can be hard to marry those up or go from one mindset to the other. It reminds me of the graft of being freelance.

But yes, it sounds like Scale is inching closer to release and that is no bad thing!

2 Comments

  1. shoptroll says:

    I didn’t back this project, but my impression from other projects I’ve backed is that there’s a real tension between keeping backers informed and just staying “head down” and working on the project. Backer updates certainly seem to take a good amount of effort to write which is time that could be spent doing more productive things.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Nice. This is looking a lot more like a substantial game instead of what seemed more like a neat proof-of-concept in previous videos I’ve seen. I like the detail about the design process and the ups and downs of development. It’s definitely true that creating presentable previews or updates of a work-in-progress game can take a lot of time and can distract from just getting on with it (though they can also provide much-needed feedback and ecouragement).

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