Pet Platforms by Sweet Thing. @ The Secret Hideout
For Maitreya, Belleza (All), Physique, Hourglass, and Kemono!
These include a large HUD for the ears (4 shapes - shown on the ad above the title!), ear color, shoe base, platforms, hearts.. Purchase by legwarmer color, or get the fatpack HUD for full customization! ♥
Coming to The Secret Hideout on May 1st.
This was an overhaul of one of Sweet Thing.’s very first items, created about 3 years ago! Time flies! I consider it my first “real” release, it was very special to me, so remaking them (with a twist!) has been on my list for a long, long time. I hope you enjoy these. <33
Prototype of Cat Story’s second minigame is coming along a lot slower than I thought it would.
This looks incredibly simple, but I probably spent 14 hours making that road look like a road instead of a bunch of jagged lines.
Here’s a brief glimpse of what it looked like in various stages of construction:
I also wanted to take an opportunity with this post to sort of explain what I’m doing with these minigames, why they’re in the game, and how I feel they affect the scope of Cat Story!
Cat Story is a whole lot more than just the first game I’m going to be putting on Steam; it’s a commentary on life and mentality and motivation, it’s a tribute to the games I enjoyed the most, and it’s a portfolio of my programming skills.
Cat Story’s a 2D platformer. This approach to creating a video game presents a lot of interesting challenges and has a few important restrictions. I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of building a platformer in this post, but Cat Story’s minigames present unique opportunities to not be bound by the rules of the platformer genre. I like to take these opportunities once in awhile because they allow me to (figuratively) get up, stretch, and get a little exercise when it comes to coding.
From the perspective of the programmer, these minigames are a way for me to shift my focus out of tinkering on Cat Story’s 27,000 line engine and work on a smaller, more manageable project while still making Cat Story a better game. These minigames add some replayability to the game while giving me an awesome avenue to explore in terms of adding history and lore to the game’s world (without shoving it down the player’s throat through endless dialog).
From the perspective of the player, these minigames are a break from all the running, jumping, and blasting that make up most of Cat Story’s experience. They’re an invitation to come up for air, and the enclosed style of the game’s save points really lends itself to the idea of, “This is a place where it is appropriate to take a break and go do something else.”
I think that it’s really important to maintain a balanced flow of gameplay while you’re working through an area, and feel as though certain types of puzzles could represent a really huge break in the flow of Cat Story’s gameplay. When I start getting ideas about mixing up the gameplay a little bit and experimenting with new things, part of that thought process is whether or not it would be better to keep Cat Story’s core gameplay mostly unaffected and compartmentalize this new, cool idea into a minigame. Some ideas make it past the minigame filter - but that’s super spoilers so we won’t go into those.
As a lore mechanism, minigames are awesome. I can show the player small glimpses of environments that they may or may not end up visiting to prepare them for massive changes in scenery, I can allude to events that happened in the game universe, and I can introduce opportunities to expand on things in the future. Developer and publisher names for these video games are a pretty neat example:
…and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve used company names to add depth to the game world. (Shoutouts to everyone that helped me with these billboards - I still have them and plan on using them!)
The characters appreciate the break from all the running and jumping, too.
I’d like to change gears from lore for a moment to talk about some of the other ways that these minigames affect the player at the metagame level.
Minigames in Cat Story do have rewards that can be collected. Completing a game will reward the player with a data disc - in addition to unlocking the minigame from the main menu, these discs have other uses outside of the terminal (like Steam Achievements).
All of these minigames feed into a much larger minigame though that’s much more intimately woven into the game’s plot. You’re exploring. You’re finding these drill pods. You’re accessing the terminals and using the computer system. You’re ferreting around in files, reading diaries, digging up passwords and access codes, turning equipment on and off, opening doors, making the story move forward - there’s a LOT of stuff to do from these terminals, and that’s the real minigame - the metaminigame, if you will. All of the terminal stuff is also 100% optional.
Some people are going to play Cat Story and never touch the terminals. Other people aren’t going to be able to use the terminals because they have no idea how to operate a command line interface. Unfortunate, but true. I’ve done what I can (within my restrictions as an ALPIX Content Curator) to make the process forgiving.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I’d like to make it very clear that every single detail and quirk that you see inside a terminal is 100% intentional. These terminals are important to me.
So, these minigames take time. They’re more assets, they’re more programming, they’re more music, they’re more scripting, they’re more dialog. These changes to Cat Story’s scope are pretty profound if you consider the idea that there’s a lot of save terminals planned.
Because of the way these minigames work, and because of the way I want to use them, this is one of the areas in Cat Story where I’m simply not able to support mods as effectively as I’d like to. In a way, I think that helps to give the minigames a certain kind of charm, though I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on that.
A final point that I want to touch on before I wrap up this post is that I’m using Cat Story’s minigames as a way to pay tribute to some of the games I played growing up. To put this in perspective - my parents split up when I was young. Video games were a constant. They provided the escape and the moral compass. I will probably never meet the people responsible for the games that taught me to be the hero, or the games that taught me to be the problem solver, or the games that let me explore for hours, or the games that rewarded me for doing the right thing, but- if you ever do end up reading this, thank you.
It is very important to never forget where we came from, and to never lose sight of where we’re trying to go. I hope that in the future, Cat Story will be appreciated for more than just running and jumping and some cute characters.