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The Making of A-Box, and the Meaning I Put Behind It

edited April 27 in General
I think I have waited long enough to explain some things about A-Box. It was a passion project of mine that I poured several hours into, even though how short the game was. I wanted to perfect everything that I could to make it something relatively unique. My first two games (all of my games were made on free, so I only have a total of three games) are basically what formed into A-Box. My first game, A Little Evil, was a difficult platforming experience with some story elements added in later, but very minimal. The art was janky and just modified versions of the default sprites. I would change a lot of it now. The next game, A Boy in Armor, was basically an interactive story book. I took some more risks with it, adding in more animations, doing my own sprites and animations from scratch, and developing a story first above gameplay. I used art, music, and story to create a almost nostalgic feeling, and nearly melancholy. I was very happy with the end result, having mostly positive reviews. The downside was that it was a walk and click game. Having free also limited what I could place into the story as well. So, after updating A Boy in Armor a bit more, I came up with the next concept... (NOTE: If you're just here the story explanation, just skip ahead to the section)

How is started

A-Box was originally was going to be "A Ball o' Slime". It was merely a concept then, featuring completely 2D sprites and a slime ball that left behind a slime trail, trying to expand on the art style and animation. However, I didn't see this as anything special, and I wasn't satisfied. So, editing the character, the green slime ball soon turned into the tubes you see in the game with bubbles rising in them. I then tested something I've been meaning to test: 2.5D art. It was tough at first, but once I got the base blocks, I was able to start developing background pieces and obstacles.

Initiation

After I got the first small section in, I decided to write a story around... Something... T.0.D.D. didn't exist yet, at the time. So, what I had been doing was testing out letters and numbers within names. And that's where I got my generic list of names for the characters. I then went to Google Docs to draft a short story. It was choppy and kind of cheesy, but being put into the game, it worked. When I wrote the ending, I needed to figure out the character design. I tried several things, and at one point T.0.D.D. was going to be a robotic ball that had very extreme bouncing effects. But I soon realized that the character didn't resemble the game enough, and so, looking at the surroundings.... Why not a box? A-Box.

Influences

The game was heavily influenced by a small but unique game development company called Remedy Entertainment that brought us classics like Max Payne and Alan Wake, and very unique and truly amazing games like Quantum Break and their latest project Control (my GOTY last year, highly suggest checking it out). All of their games were special and unique with amazing gameplay, beautiful graphics and atmosphere, very complex world building, and most of all: wonderfully orchestrated stories. The head writer, Sam Lake, is possibly one of the most unique writers out there, and personally the person I look up to.

The Story

Seeing their games made me want to create something special, something my own. I even adding in world building elements such as the monitors, and adding in some clues through character dialogue. I wanted there to be more to the story than the player sees. I wanted them to theorize, to think. The story has a deeper, more personal meaning than people might think. I wanted to show people that even though people may be good to you, that you don't HAVE to follow them. You are not bound to them, especially if they are hurting you. T.1.M. constantly hurt T.0.D.D., (SPOILERS) and ruthlessly murdered the people he began to get closer to so that T.1.M. can get into his head. It was bringing him down a bad path. T.0.D.D. was meant to seem nice at first, but after a while, he wanted to start abusing his rights of creating T.0.D.D. In the story, T.0.D.D. is the variable, the "x" value. It can be anybody you want it to be (Examples: Kailee, Bryanna, etc.), and it could represent them if it relates to you enough. Even though T.1.M. created T.0.D.D. (only to destroy him), T.0.D.D. was still himself. In the end (ANOTHER SPOILER), when he breaks, a heart shows up. Physically, this is impossible. But figuratively, it represents a new beginning. T.0.D.D. is no longer bothered by T.1.M., though it is obvious the damage is still there. Then, it ends. At least, what you see. The rest is up to you and your interpretation. And that is why A-Box will NEVER receive a sequel. Whatever person that is being hard on your life without any good reason, those events in your life ARE the sequel. You yourself is where the story goes on.

The Game

The game itself had several inspirations, many being on FlowLab. I'd like to shout out @Biscuit Butter 's game " Kid's Quest", which contained several mechanics I had figured out for my game. Along with that, @Creeper Bones ' "Castle Jump" for the smooth camera along with @grazer 's tutorial (I'm pretty sure it was his...) and to @JR 01 who helped me figure out a checkpoint system. A-Box was a lot of ideas that I had adjusted to fit with the game, and it was the most enjoyable and intriguing experience I had making any of my games. I did a lot of new things with A-Box, especially with my first credits scene (took me over a day to perfectly time with the music). Not to mention the wonderful work of @Eric_Matyas for creating such unique music that just fit so well with the game.

Thank you to everyone who supported me through this journey, it was probably one of my fondest memories. I won't be able to repeat it. Thank you for all of the feedback, ideas, and fun times in the creation of this game. This community is strong, and makes games even stronger. Hopefully some day I'll be able to buy Indie, improve A-Box further and create some more games for you guys. So, thank you. Thank you all. For the criticism, reviews, comments, everything. This has been such a dream. Don't let people bring you down. Be stronger. Live your own life, for in fact you are you, not them.

Have a great day :)

A-Box: https://flowlab.io/game/play/1148793

Comments

  • Wow, this is fantastically amazing. A real story behind a game, with meaninings embedded into the game's foubdation. Not going to lie, I have played that game a lot and the end was beautiful.

    Similar to your game, my game which is also in development Called the Retroscape focuses on moral dialema, when you, an assassin, are tasked with killing 7 corrupt dictators. But you could spare them, and expose them for who they really, are, but it is the Players Choice. Similar to Bioshock or Undertale. For more information, The Creation of the Retroscape forum is on the trending page. Do visit.

    I Just wish more games had that hidden message embeded into its core foundation, standing for something good. Anyway, @rcreger You have been offline from the forums for a while! Good to see you back.
  • Thank you @The Kodex ! I spent a lot of time making the game, and even more thinking about it. I'm definitely happy how it turned out and met my goal on making a featured game.

    I actually was looking through the forum and found it just moments ago haha it seems interesting (I really want to get Indie so I can make a background. I might just get it just for that XD). For some reason though, the menu wasn't working for me, and had to skip to the game, which looks pretty good so far! I have to suggest some things though, if you don't mind. You're probably already on it, but the spike sprite and any other default sprites should be made your own. Gives it more identity in my opinion. Also, maybe make it more of a darker atmosphere, putting maybe a grey mask over the screen to give it that "moody" feel. But for what it is so far, very good!!

    Yeah, I've been off for quite some time now... I hope I can be more active on the forums at least again. In the summer I hope to get an Indie account. Anyways, thanks for replying! Took me quite some time to type all of that, so appreciate someone checked into it haha
  • I a have some suggestions that you should add to your game your character the box gets stuck on the side of walls you can change that by setting the friction to 0 and make it were when you let go of the keys to move it sets the moment to 0 which stops you from sliding.

    Also make him jump a bit higher I noticed some obstacles that could only be beaten if you grappled against the wall.

    Last when you die make it pause the game and when you click continue un-pause the
    game.
  • @rcreger Thank you for the suggestions, I just want to say yeah, thr spikes will be customised I just needed a sprite for them for the time being. The Menu does not work on purpose. It is actually one of the Last things I have to do dueto save data. But I may have it go to the first level FOR NOW. I dont actually want it to feel moody as it is meant to have a slightly comedic ele.ent to it. You know, to lift the mood. My first cutscene is also done so maybe check that out as well. Still heavily in development, but still nice to look at!
  • I have always wondered what the overall story/theme of A-Box was. My mind has just been expanded by reading this discussion.
  • @The Kodex yeah, no problem. Ah, I see, the comedic effect would do in part. Very good design choice then! Sorry for not understanding the full concept. Well, I wish you luck with your game! I'll be checking on it once and a while when I'm on. Good luck, and have fun!!
  • @GrimProductionZ though this is not a "Play My Game" or "Review" discussion, thanks you for the input! I'm still adjusting things as of gameplay, so advice is welcome, and thank you form pointing out what felt off. I'll most definitely adjust the movable block friction l, as I noticed this myself and haven't been able to get to it.

    As for the jump, that's what it's meant to do. I should have put it in the directions, but I had full understanding some obstacles will require you to latch onto a surface to jump up.

    As for the pause, I'm pretty sure what I did was just eliminate most player movement besides jump (just for fun I guess). I made it that way so the music would continue and not just be cut off. But your standpoint makes sense, as casually it isn't normal.

    Thanks for the feedback, I'll be getting onto it soon hopefully so I can start adjusting a few more things. Have a great day!!!
  • Thank you @Superstargames ! I really appreciate that thought! I'm flattered that the game actually provoked thought, which is my goal in this game. Thank you!
  • Ok, I did not know that was part of your game but thats what makes it unique
  • @GrimProductionZ you're alright mate, as I said, I should have explained it at least in the description. Also sorry for all the typos, currently on mobile haha also the reason why I'm not editing the game at the moment.
  • Oh, ok. are you Australian. Cause you said mate. HMMMMMM.
  • Shoot, I missed this, wussap @rcreger I was a bit lazy and didn't everything here but its really cool that you thought to include everything that went into a-box.

    I occasionally go back to that game still and try and beat it as fast as possible.

    It is a bit laggy though, so it would be nice if you could look at that?
  • @GrimProductionZ naw, not Australian. That'd be dope though haha

    @my_name (<_>) nice to hear people still are enjoying it! Very humbled by the thought. I'll be looking into more of the stuff eventually. Been busy of late, but I found that it really depends on the PC/laptop. I used to be on a super crappy laptop before that could barely run my game. I'm using my friends right now, and it's *almost* as smooth as butter. I'll be trying to find ways to optimize it though:)
  • Yea, very dope
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