Devlog #1: The Reveal
Secrets simply aren't meant to be kept, and this one has been gnawing at me for a while now.
Surprise! I've been working on chiaroscuro on the side for months, and am very excited to finally share some info about it with the rest of the world... especially this lovely community, where I've received nothing but support and constructive feedback.
This may not be the update my TDLF fans were hoping to see, but I promise, I'm not giving up on Tashka and Marius just yet! The Dragon's Last Flight is still in development, and while I'm not ready to announce a release date yet, here's hoping that day comes soon.
In the meantime, I thought it might be nice to release SOMETHING to (a) distract you all from slow progress on TDLF and (b) prove that I haven't just been lazing about this whole time. So without further ado, let me tell you a little something about...
chiaroscuro, an interactive fiction novella
Yep, that's right. Novella. This is a short project (something that is incredibly difficult for me to produce; I tend to be a wordy writer, if you haven't noticed) and, at just around 30,000 words at the moment, it lands smack-dab in the middle of "novella" country. Ideally, this is a game you can comfortably complete in a single sitting—maybe even more than once.
It's minimal on the stats (none of which are tracked visibly) and straightforward with the choices... for the most part. This is much more a game for the readers among you than the gamers, as it's gameplay-light and narrative-forward. I am hoping to possibly include a teensy bit of art for major moments, but this will not be a visual novel like TDLF—this one is much more text-based.
Also, the full game (release date TBD) will also be fully free to play.
what's it about?
In the game, you play as Perce, a young American artist. She travels to Rome in search of some inspiration with which to fill the canvas of her life... as well as the literal canvas currently sitting in the corner of her room, judging her. Along the way, she'll cross paths with up to three mysterious characters—some more human-seeming than others—and it's up to you to determine who she spends her time with, and how.
Ultimately, your choices will impact not just how she spends her days, but how she sees the world—and herself. In the end, your decisions will also determine which of five possible fates Perce's future will have in store for her, so be sure to choose carefully.
but what's it really about?
You know us writers. Everything symbolizes something else, and with an obscure title like chiaroscuro and "art" as a central theme, this story is bound to be about more than the story itself. Right?
I like to leave these things up to interpretation—at least to a certain degree. But I will say that much of chiaroscuro revolves around the appreciation of art itself... but also, art as a means of expression, of self-exploration, and escape. I drew heavily on personal struggles, my own and others', and tried to make something insightful out of all the chaos.
Most of all, I hope this story will inspire others to do the same—to make their own art and embark on their own journeys of self-discovery. And who knows? Your own muse (or muses, plural!) might be waiting just around the next corner...