Post Jam Perspectives on Abate: Hide behind the Curtains

While the spring thing is close to its end, I thought this is as good a time as ever to write this.

I always enjoy reading devlogs and specially post game jam thoughts as there are often quick snippets of lessons that I often find useful for my own projects. I hope this one is a fun read with something new for everyone.

My submission for this year’s Spring Thing is a game called Abate: Hide behind the curtains. You play as the protagonist stuck in a time loop with seemingly no way out. The only thing you have is hope and with the blessings of the goddess of the void, time. How you use that time is what acts as the prime game mechanism. :green_heart:


  • The project started with the ficdown library, I found it very convenient to write stuff on my phone while going on long walks and decided to use a javascript library to immediately test the game as I make it utilising the convenience of the interpreted browser language.

  • However problems started showing up as the game got bigger, the game would freeze with no way out but to close the browser. The solution :- change the name of the rooms. That somehow managed to fix it, only for me to later discover that it doesn’t works on any recently updated browser.

  • But with the game already written I thought replacing the library shouldn’t be a big deal, the next candidate was the Ramus Framework. But with heavy logic in the main parts of the game and with the competition closing in I realised Sugarcube-2 format of twine is the answer here. :technologist:


  • The central idea I had was whether you will act selflessly or selfishly if you were stuck in a time loop with no possible way out. To do as much as you can or get things done by doing as few things as possible. The name of the game was thus a hint towards how a simple action could infact change the events when you find all your explorations bringing in no results apart from knowledge. :balance_scale:

  • The central mechanism of the game is based around a time loop. In most games the typical game loop involves dying and then trying again based on the information gathered in the last playthrough. Rather than letting it be a relict of gameplay I wanted the fails and limits to be incorportated into the story and used as a mechanism.

  • When playing parsers I find exploring the worlds, the characters and playing around with the objects more fun than being confronted with the pressure to solve a particular puzzle. And if there’s any one opinion I find common among players of point and click adventures, it’s the mad relationships of the puzzles to the player’s common sense. For a game to be fun, I believe there should be multiple solutions to a puzzle and ofcourse if that can’t be the case then multiple hints towards it should be the go to answer. :world_map:

  • With lessons from that and ofcourse my last year’s ifcomp submission (generally reviewed as funny but hard to read pixel font), I wanted this game to be narrative focussed while retaining the exploration vibes of the parser genre.

  • The world that the game takes place falls in the category of a neo noir dream realm. What makes it different than a simple time loop is that on rare occassions you will discover that you might not be the only one who retains the memories of your past playthrough. And that’s why certain choices you make can lead to a permanent change in the game world. :film_projector:

  • While straying far from mythological themes, I was also inspired from folklores found around the world sharing similiarities, one of which is someone to review your life on its end, that looked like an interesting concept to add to the game, what should be one’s outlook on someone else reviewing their actions, or perhaps that should judge how they react to it depending on that perspective? (What am I even saying? :confused: )

  • I have always wanted to turn ridiculous ideas into games, consider the whole ordeal with potatoes and linux just that. It’s like a signature I bring in every game at this point.


  • The game isn’t big enough to explore character growth or development but there was one simple element I wanted to place, games and short stories often present side characters as simpletons, the nice guy is always caring, the angry one will probably only shut up when calmed down by someone only to shout again. But characters here don’t get enough screentime, so how do I set them apart? based on the condition /situation you are in, your interactions are different. :dancer:

  • If you were feeling sick just a second ago your best friend probably is more concerned about you than his personal objectives. If you didn’t joke around probably no one will have a reason to shout at you. Also just because someone shouted at you doesn’t necessarily mean they are angry at you.


  • I have to agree with the two reviews I read pointing out that the game to some extend feels unsatisfying. I for one think that its the lack of interactive objects to play around with while investigating the world. Perhaps our protagonist should have shown some more agency towards why they should be the one to decide what happens to this world. :thinking:

  • Having the choice to just leave everything and find your own way out of the loop without saving anyone should have had a bigger impact to the protagonist (or the player) but my guesswork while making this game was simply to pretend that this is the point the player will make use of the restart button to find the real ending. :mountain_biking_man:

  • The goddess of the void, while not exactly referred to as such should have been providing more help and insights on your actions, instead there’s only a signboard that gets annoying really fast. My post jam addition to the game would be something of a object-world or object-npc interaction macro to the game that should solve that problem.

  • With the game up and ready the only thing I waited for were the reviews, which pointed out some easy mistakes that needed to be fixed. The text alignment to the center was generally abhorred. Also the time loop stopped working after a certain point. With these fixes the game is once again ready to be played and solved at its full.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to learn from other perspectives. :fondue: