5 min read

...vs How It's Going. 🙌 (Triple Eye's 2023 so far)

This one is an update on our activities through the first half of 2023, including hiring & prototype work on two games (codenamed "Null Sweat" & "One Last Job").

How It Started…

Hello again! Lucas here, back with more background!

In the last Triple Eye newsletter, you learned a bit about me and the growing Triple Eye team. I shared some screenshots from our shelved projects ("Appleseed", "Gumshoe"), as well as some initial information from our ongoing project ("Null Sweat").

…vs How It's Going!

Through the first half of 2023, the team primarily focused on building up the Null Sweat prototype. After some discussion, we agreed on a few design principles: the interface should be diegetic & tactile, the narrative should be folksy & community-oriented, and the gameplay should be real-time & uncomplicated.

Heading into the summer of 2023, we wanted to add an artist to the team to help with both in-game and marketing/communications assets. I commissioned around a dozen artists for some sample pieces (everyone using the same prompts), and asked two candidates to come work w/ us.

Also in the summer, we worked on another game prototype (codename “One Last Job”) which I think shows a lot of promise - keep reading to learn how you can play it NOW!

Null Sweat - Diegetic & Tactile Interfaces

A diegetic interface is one which the player and the player character see the game world in the same way; I wanted to make sure it felt like you were sitting at the same desk as your character, interacting with the hardware & software as they are.

The chips are software which can be used on a run. The panel to the right let’s you call people & connect to networks. The panel to the left is a chiptray that stores all of your available software.

As we add more features & content, Robin continues to come up with new and clever ways to communicate information to the player while keeping everything very tactile / old-school!

Null Sweat - Folk Stories about Community

It’s very common in cyberpunk - a subset of science fiction which has flavors of its own (”trenchcoat”, “mohawk”, etc) - for the stories to be gritty and bleak. I think that sits on the shoulders of what the “punk” part of that particular genre brings with it.

Pete and I spent some time talking about that and agreed that we wanted to tell a story that wasn’t cyberpunk-standard; we want to share something hopeful, not nihilistic. Pete said he had something that might work for that, and - a day later - sent over Memories of Wednesday: a one-page précis that related the importance of community (and the dangers of apathy). Memories has been at the heart of Null’s narrative design ever since.

As folk music is a tradition which (similarly to punk) leans into social issues & personal emotions, it was only natural for us to start thinking of our narrative genre in those terms. We’ve set out to tell a cyberfolk story in the vein of Robin Hood: a folk hero who forms a team to fight against the misdeeds of the powerful in support of the needy.

Null Sweat - Combat Evolved

As mentioned in the previous email, the Shadowrun Genesis game was something I enjoyed playing often as a kid; the combat always felt suspenseful, and even as you upgraded your gear, you never knew when something might go wrong on a run.

Looking at it through modern design principles, though, you can see that they were doing the best they could within the limitations of the hardware (and Shadowrun’s fundamentals). We’re experimenting with how to bring a similar feeling to the combat in Null Sweat, while stretching our legs a little within the gameplay itself.

Again, hover over this image (in supported clients) to see our latest experiment play out!

Grid-based combat feels fun, and we need to look at how big that grid can go before it becomes difficult for the player to manage. Timed abilities remain interesting, and would map perfectly to a turn-based approach if we decided to go that direction.

We still need to test some ideas out on how the system can fight back - stay tuned!

2023 - Finding New (Pixel Art) Teammates!

Towards the end of May, Robin suggested we look for an artist. Up to then, Robin had been doing all of the gameplay design, programming, and in-game art (UI & gameplay assets). So, I spent a few days looking through profiles on ArtStation, then spent a few more days reaching out to potential candidates.

Of the artists who responded with interest, I commissioned 3 pieces from around a dozen of them: the first was a profile picture; the second a street scene; the third was a building from the 18th century.

Heloisa PanuciHeloisa’s submissions blew us away. I was deeply impressed with the detail and accuracy of each piece vs how I pictured them in my mind. If you’d like to see more of her work, I recommend you click here.
Athena KipenAthena has made games before (Kana Quest; Vactics) and has an excellent eye for the intersection of game & graphical design. She’s got a style that I absolutely love - you can find more on X and Bluesky.

Each brings their own style, and I'm looking forward to having their help on our prototypes.

Also, I want to thank Robin (our primary artist to this point) for setting the artistic direction through the first year of Triple Eye's life; we couldn't have gotten here without you!

Prototype #4 - One Last Job

Do you remember that minigame in the PS1 version of Final Fantasy Tactics, where you could send your unused party members off on quests and they would come back with rewards based on how well they did? I always thought that could be a game all on its own.

So that’s what we tried: One Last Job is about matching your team to jobs. The prototype we put together is pretty barebones (while still getting to the heart of the gameplay): someone has a job which needs a particular set of skills - and you know people with some VERY particular skills!

It's more fun than I expected it to be, and feels a little like a mix between an RPG and auto-battler. We need to do a lot more work to make it visually appealing; however, this feels like a really nice first step - good job, Alasdair!

If you're interested in giving the OLJ prototype a try, please reply to this email and let me know - or just drop us a line directly @ the.team (a) tripleeyegames.com. :)

(up next) Art Update & Gumshoe Progress

In the next newsletter, I'll share some of the concept art wer're working on right now.

I'm also looking forward to sharing an update on the new gameplay direction we're testing out for the Gumshoe prototype!