Infimus! - Supervillainy, Self-Loathing And Shapeshifting (12/2/2021 MAJOR UPDATE: Noise Art)

Are there plans of letting us choose our villain name in the long run or are we set as “the Manifold”?

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Good question. My original draft of the game had it as fixed, but I don’t think it’s necessary at this point. I’ll make it so you can choose it yourself, in the next update.

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Nice. Thanks for that. Cool name nevertheless

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DEVLOG #3: Editing and finishing Part I

Issues to fix

Infimus is my first, serious IF game. My first Actual Game period. I’ve had a few years of false starts and half finished prototypes across Unity, Twine, Gamemaker. But Infimus has stuck, despite a relatively rocky start. The difficulty involved in creative projects is not linear: it’s hardest at the start, but gets easier as you develop good habits and get into a rhythm. I think we’ve got past that, but I’m not satisfied with the work I produced during that period.

  1. Mechanically, I don’t think the game’s systems are introduced well enough or implemented in a satisfactory way. The player is instantly barraged with the xp system + rolling + reveries + your powers. Doesn’t feel elegant, to me.

  2. Plotwise, it’s a directionless. Pacing’s off. You go from becoming a supervillain to speedrunning your training to the hideout and Spin. Doesn’t feel right.

  3. The tone is all over the place. Ranges from adventure/epic (the intro+the Hall), comedic (pretty much all dialogue, the hijinks at your hideout), weird fiction (the Reveries).

Redoing part I

I’ve got the entirety of the plot sketched out. We’re two scenes away from the ending of Part I. In my drafts, the first involves deciding your costume, crew’s name, things like methods (lethal/nonlethal, minimize collateral damage/go all in, etc) and flourishes (like leaving calling cards on the scene of the crime). The second, grill night with the crew. This setup is, I think, the main cause of issues 1 and 2. So, on the whole, Part I involves:

  1. Being introduced to the game’s world and your role in it.
  2. Deciding your pc’s name, gender, sexual orientation, purpose, villain name (in the next update).
  3. Exploring your powers.
  4. Learning about the Reveries.
  5. Learning about Sinkrep.
  6. Deciding your costume.
  7. Deciding your crew’s methods and miscellaneous things.
  8. While doing all that, being introduced the Fox, Olaf, Verve, Spin, Flowerboy and more of the game’s lore.

This feels like a bit too much. The PC is a recruit: they don’t need to know about the systems pertaining to the management of supervillain crews. At least not yet. Part I should focus first and foremost on building up the player’s character, then everything related to that. Anything more is just padding. So, this week’s version of part 1 might be something like:

  1. Introduction to the game’s world and your role in it.
  2. Deciding your pc’s name, gender, sexual orientation, purpose, villain name.
  3. Exploring your powers.
  4. Learning about the Reveries.
  5. Deciding your character’s methods and misc. things.
  6. While doing all that, being introduced to the Fox, Olaf, Verve, Spin, Flowerboy and more of the game’s lore.

This post’s getting pretty long, so I’ll talk about tone in this weekend’s update or next week’s devlog. Thanks for reading, and since I have just discovered I can make polls, I’ll leave you with this one: which of the following things are you looking forward to the most, in Infimus?

  • Romance options
  • Discovering more of the world’s lore
  • Advancing the plot
  • Doing villain stuff

0 voters

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MAJOR UPDATE: The Mask, Calling
Features:

  • Commit your first crime!
  • It’s grilling on a fire escape.
  • Baby steps.
  • You can now choose your own villain name!
  • I went back and edited the entirety of the game. All of it. Changed a lot of things that were remains of previous drafts and slimmed down the experience considerably. The prose’s a lot cleaner, also. I think It’s about five times better, from start to end. I would recommend a full new playthrough.

Play it on:
https://dashingdon.com/go/8686

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…of course. Ok, I’ll just convert everything, should work now. Also fixed a bug in the hideout, reload if you get it.

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That should be fixed in the version I uploaded just now, with all tabs converted to spaces.

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DEVLOG #4: Tone And Substance

I want Infimus to be tragicomic. Being able to express both levity and pathos. Like Disco Elysium or the best Fallout stories, like in All-Star-Superman or the Sandman or Discworld, the world’s fundamental absurdity - playing straight utterly unrealistic events and situations - can result in serious, heartfelt moments which lack none of their power despite sitting next to pretty wild stuff. Supermans’ foster fathers’ death in All Star comes after Supes fights a, uh, chronovore monster a squad of supermans from the future has been hunting for ten centuries. It’s the kind of plot you’d get in the 1930s, but it’s handled with such maturity and sincerity it turns into a genuinely heartfelt moment. Disco Elysium is a game where you, as a cop, get to tell a woman with two young kids her husband got drunk, slipped on a pier and died. That is as much a part of the game as are lenghthy discussions with your horrible necktie, kicking and/or petting mailboxes, trying to have postmortem telepathic discussions with a corpse, singing the worst possible cover of a song ever. Both feel utterly real in the context of the game’s world. There’s no dissonance. The sweet and the sour play together. They reinforce each other. This general vibe is what I absolutely love in fiction of all kinds, and what I hope to replicate in Infimus.

And that’s without getting into Twin Peaks. Don’t get me started on Twin Peaks. On that note, song of the day: Julee Cruise - Into The Night - YouTube

Execution

It’s a balancing act, of course. I don’t think I’ve been successful so far. At all. I think I’m much better at writing Serious Stuff than more lighthearted things. Means when I sit my ass down and start typing, the former comes out much more often than the latter. It has resulted, I feel, in the more exaggerated parts of the story - Spin’s awkwardness, the Hot Couch Saga, bickering between the Reveries, etc - being out of place. Dissonant. Sticking out.*

It’s also a matter of quality, not only quantity. I’m not sure Spin’s awkwardness really adds much, nor that it is very interesting in and out of itself. Yeah, of course I want to develop it later and hook it into his character arc, but as far as first impressions go…I don’t like it much. I’m pretty certain the best parts of the game are those where I just play it straight: the intro, dialogue with the Fox, the Reveries presenting themselves. No messing around, just the story.

*I like Olaf and the walrus, though. I will not disparage our boy and his walrus.

Conclusion

I think the main thing I’ll try, going forward, is tethering the absurdity. If I feel the impulse to add Something Weird, I’ll ask myself: can I link this to something else? Does this advance the plot and/or reveal character? If this particular element was in any other story, would I still find it interesting? Can I explain it in one sentence?

This, I believe, is the only way to make this kind of tone work. Our minds naturally rely on connections. The more something appears to belong in a particular world, the more we can draw lines from it to something else there, the easier it is for us to accept it. It’s far, far too easy to completely lose the reader otherwise.

But, of course, this is just my own understanding of the situation. How do you feel about Infimus’ tone, so far? Would you prefer it to be…

  • A lot more weird/exaggerated, a lot less grounded/realistic
  • More weird/exaggerated, less grounded/realistic
  • It’s fine
  • Less weird/exaggerated, more grounded/realistic
  • A lot more grounded/realistic, lot less weird/exaggerated

0 voters

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I think it’s too early to tell. The whole story’s quirky but the quirkiest bits aren’t as common yet. I mean I assumed the weirdness was just gonna keep ramping up.

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I think you should give dc original series , death metal and batman who laughs a try , main antagonist is batman who laughs a crazy , chaotic , smart and batsh1t crazy villian , i think some parallels can be drawn from that series.

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Looking at the way the voting is going, the option “it’s fine” should probably have been left off. You’re looking for actionable feedback, and I won’t beat around the bush here; I have yet to decide if this story of yours has defined itself with a clear-cut identity. A way for a reader to go ‘oh, I know which one you’re talking about!’ Not that the involuntary, body-horror shifting is a feature of many IFs aiming for the feel, and genres you are. :upside_down_face:

All the same, I could sense the doubt in your post. It was a bit like the feeling of two people rowing a boat in opposite directions, making it spin in place, rather than getting anywhere. You have a clear vision of what you want to put out into the world, so any rough spots you haven’t figured out how to work through are probably due to the lack discussion that helps to isolate what you are trying to achieve. Paint the picture with more defined shapes, and shadows. While the first moments of dipping the reader’s toes into the story are enough inform them of the main core their world will revolve around, it is adequate footing to set the stage for progressively more oddity. That’s a good thing based on your plans, so my vote went to ‘more weirdness’, but veered away from ‘a lot more weirdness’. Better to get feedback about maybe pulling something back a bit, than to be told it’s a little pedestrian when the goal is meant to provoke a reader’s sense of thrilling suspense. :thinking:

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I agree. Also unless this is to deliberately challenge your comedic side, at the chance of possibly being less marketable you might want to branch out more slowly and go for less weird/comedic and more grounded to start with and then add humor or levity only where it feels natural to you.

As a personal question will the mc eventually master their shapeshifting enough to actually change themselves into their perfect ideal? In the case of mine that would be a really hot guy.

As a sidenote I could also see this shapeshifting, depending on what we can actually change about our anatomy internally and how permanent we can make as maybe being of special significance to trans people. :thinking:

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UPDATE 6: Dress For The Job You Haunt

  • Meet your old friend the mask.
  • Speak with a cowboy and/or a trenchcoat.
  • Acquire combat stilettos.

Play it on the beta branch here:
https://dashingdon.com/play/josephferrante/infimus-beta/mygame/

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got this error when I clicked proceed (this is on a fresh save)

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Fixed! somehow typed * instead of #

Short answer: yep, but it will take a while and a lot of looking at hot guys.

Long answer: your shapeshifting skill will increase in, primarily, two ways: interacting with particular things you can shapeshift into; recovering memories involving things you can shapeshift into. The latter is more a feature of the Memory system, which I’ll be working on this week. There will be (probably) be a devlog on that. So, to answer your question specifically: become intimately familiar with the characteristics of a hot guy, whether physically or through the memories of some supervillain who was.

I have some ideas for how to approach shapeshifting, specifically, into a person. But those are fairly time intensive and I haven’t started working on them yet.

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Well, I imagine looking at them was one of my mc’s fave pasttimes in his previous life.

Does this mean what I think it does? :sweat_smile:
Although seducing someone super hot is probably easier said than done in our mc’s current poor “loser” form.

I hope there have been a few of those then. :grin:

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First of all, this game is pretty awesome.

Secondly, here are some problems I’ve encountered:

This first picture is from the normal link. When I press the “next” button, the screen keeps loading and nothing happens. It’s not my connection or internet.

This other picture is from the beta test link. I get that prompt and cannot do anything else.

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