Postmortem: Comrade (spoilers)

So, what can I say about Comrade… I can say a whole lot of spoilers, of course.


I was inspired more by the song titles than really the actual songs; a couple of them referenced Russia, and a couple of them reference the Moon and/or space travel. That’s some pretty fertile ground. I ended up in some sort of alternate timeline where the USSR won the space race in a very big way and had a lunar base.

I’m not sure why I ended up on with the murder mystery angle. Some of the songs were on the violent side, so that probably helped. A locked-room murder mystery on a moon base seemed nicely obvious, so I ran with it.

Things I’m Happy With

It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever written by a pretty wide margin, with 45 rooms and 9000 words of source. Among all the scattered wreckage of half-started projects, it’s nice to have something I can call, however misleadingly, ‘done’.

I like the central conceit of it. The idea of a guy allegedly hanging himself on the Moon, where he weighs 30 pounds, and all the Soviet staff and medical officers signing off on the official story, still really appeals to me. It appeals to my sense of something entirely ridiculous yet entirely plausible.

I liked that I didn’t, I hope, get too cozy with the murder. I didn’t try to kill our devoted victim with a tiny black hole or poison him with heavy water. Just one military guy strangling another military guy with a belt, for some fairly base motives.

And, while much of the game is unintentionally incomplete, I did try to intentionally work some incompleteness into the story. Why and how exactly did the murder occur? Hey man don’t ask me, I wasn’t even there. Sometimes we don’t get all the answers at the end of the day.

DUFFY overall I’m pretty happy with. In retrospect I kind of regret that he held on (generally) to analyzed clues, but my underlying idea was that it was safely holding on to them for the future trial. Also, there’s something just fun about writing a robot talking in all caps.

Things I’m Less Than Happy With

Oh, so many things. If the deadline had not been extended by a day, it would have been entirely unreleasable. It’s a whole lot of game, and my list of things that still need to be implemented is still very long. I don’t really consider it a release as much as an escape.

Even so, it’s probably bigger than it really needs to be. At least one character could stand to be chopped, maybe two; the geography could probably be cut in half without any ill effects. To some extent this was inspired, like so much of the rest, by Deadline, which had superfluous rooms and characters just all over the place. Still working on the level of genius required to pull that off.

Final Verdict

In the final accounting, I’m pretty happy to have entered the contest, written this, and released it. Good learning experience all around. And I’d like it think it hasn’t been a complete waste of time for the people who have played it. Would enter again next year, perhaps more wisely.