So I realize it might not be a good time to post this in the middle of the IFComp craze, but I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Jimin, Ari, and Shush! was a very rushed entry and I don’t think the full scope of what I wanted ended up in what I had at that point. It just ended up being a buggy mess with one small thing to do and a bunch of areas you couldn’t enter yet. I’ve mentioned this game before in the Sprinklepills! and Eliza’s Unbearable Awkward Reunion! postmortem, so now it’s time to go into what it’s really all about!
The main reason I didn’t finish this game is because Inform programming was way too finicky for me. I was in over my head with this, and it felt like every time I learned something new, I’d have to rewrite massive portions of code to keep everything intact and up to date. The conversation system changed about three times, after most of the dialogue in the current demo had already been written. Not to mention the annoying rules for preventing certain canned text from showing up! It was ultimately too ambitious for a first project.
The two main characters’ personalities are something I think I was able to carry pretty well throughout the story. Since the player controls all of Jimin’s dialogue, Ari usually has something to say in response to whatever’s happening. Shush doesn’t; he gets very few lines of dialogue. I ended up giving him a cape and hat just so he can cover his face as a shorthand for when he doesn’t want to talk. Originally, Shush was actually going to talk a lot more, and my pitch for his character would be that everyone in town knows and likes him to an almost overbearing degree. But I had trouble writing dialogue and reactions for both Ari and Shush when they felt too similar, so he wound up being much more silent.
I liked the story I had going, but I had trouble coming up with actual gameplay for it. I think my strengths are more with narratives and story writing than game design. Just going from place to place with stock puzzles wasn’t too interesting, and I didn’t know what kind of places you would explore once you got out of town. On the other hand, I also loved the characters I developed for the town so much that it felt like a waste to not see Noxie and Saucedo and everyone again after spending so much time setting them up. The lack of any real planning is also what put me off developing any more, since I wasn’t sure if everything would even fit coherently into the final.
The core of the story would have been Shush and Plush’s relationship. For unknown reasons, Shush is averse to his family and prefers to be alone. You see this most of all when you attend a family dinner, ending with Shush retreating into his room and not coming out until everyone is gone. When the three protagonists are finally about to set off for the Ice Palace, Saucedo shows up and insists that Plush must join because he wants to spend more time with his big brother! So you have to backtrack, go back to earlier places and get Plush his own little armor and gear. Shush is in an even worse mood the whole way through, he thinks it’s a waste of time.
Over the course of the game, Shush slowly warms up to his little brother. I had a few scenes for this in mind. It’s a dynamic I really like, but it also wouldn’t have had much impact on the gameplay. I also wrote out the ending scene in detail – we would’ve had Shush coming across the queen of the palace and suddenly falling in love, to Ari’s and Jimin’s surprise. Still, they make it home, the goal fully accomplished.
During the prologue, we return to the characters in town. Shush, Saucedo, and the queen are all talking and laughing together, finally getting along. Shush retains his air of professionalism and quietness, but with one key difference: he’s smiling and not covering his face.
I brainstormed and started on the game around September 2022, but I stopped developing it around January 2023. I can’t really see myself finishing it at this point, but I thought I’d give some insight as to what the idea was behind it.