Exploit: Zero Day

Rosette Diceless

The Future Proof Podcast 007

Podcast episode

Gregory  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to the Future Proof Podcast. This is our monthly podcast where we chat about stuff we've been working on and anything cool we're planning. I'm Gregory Avery-Weir.

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:31  
And I'm Melissa Avery-Weir. 

Gregory  0:32  
And today, our episode is going to be a little different than usual. We've been talking a lot of strategy lately. And we wanted to talk about what we've been doing and offer some insight. And since we had to have sort of a strategy meeting anyway, we figured we'd record it and just elide any confidential information in the editing process. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  0:54  
Super confidential. Yes.

Gregory  0:56  
 So we've been struggling a bit with a lot of things.

With regard to Future Proof lately... and in life.

But it's it's been tricky to get as much done as we wanted to and to get enthusiastic about work and to promote ourselves in the way that we felt that we should. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:15  
Yeah. 

Gregory  1:15  
And so maybe what a couple weeks ago--

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:19  
Yeah, about two or three weeks ago.

Gregory  1:21  
We sat down at a local cerveceria, some pizza and just sort of discussed everything. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:29  
Yeah.

Gregory  1:30  
Had a long document with a bunch of bullet points on it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:33  
Yeah, it's everything from like, what do we want Future Proof to be? Like, we have a business plan. 

Gregory  1:39  
We wrote it four or five years ago. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  1:42  
Yeah, and we've not done a great job at revisiting that. It's kind of woven into our marketing but not necessarily woven into the threads of our work as deeply as it should be. And, and that's not a driving thing quite the same way. 

Gregory  1:58  
And that's the sort of thing that like you

You're the theoretically do at least once a year. You revisit that and make sure that you're doing that. We just hadn't done that in a while and and this is this was when we did it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:10  
Yep.

Gregory  2:11  
And I think it was really really useful.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:13  
Yeah. Yeah. Took a while got a few beers but yeah. So one of the one of the things that we struggle with is breaking even or turning any sort of profit.

Gregory  2:24  
Right. Like we're business--

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:25  
We're a business.

Gregory  2:26  
We feel like we should be building our business and getting to a point where, where it's a job for us and--

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:33  
The indie dream.

Gregory  2:34  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:35  
And not like Minecraft the indie dream but just like not having a day job the indie dream. 

Gregory  2:39  
Right. And that's hard and requires a whole lot of luck.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:45  
Yeah.

Gregory  2:46  
And also might not be for us.

Melissa Avery-Weir  2:49  
Maybe not. So yeah I think one of the things that that we've hit again and again and again is we would you know and we started we released Ossuary in 2013.

The end of the year and we were like, okay, so we did what we thought was an okay marketing plan at that point. It didn't work. 

Gregory  3:08  
In retrospect it was bad. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:09  
Yeah, sure. Yeah. Right. But we had this idea like, Okay, we'll iterate on that. And so we've iterated on it. And we changed up various parts. We've done tracking different ways trying to collect as much data as we could and marketing isn't working. And that's one of those things where it's like it's like everybody has an opinion on it. And if you're talking to other people and they go "Why don't you just have an Instagram?" and I'm like what I put on it? Like, we're not producing tons of graphical material.

Gregory  3:36  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:37  
Well, you come up with stuff and I'm like how many brain cells do you think I have a day to keep up a day job and come up with all these implement all these magical marketing ideas?

Gregory  3:47  
It's taken us a long time to where we can even like post on social media semi-consistently.

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:53  
Right.

Gregory  3:54  
And it's--

Melissa Avery-Weir  3:55  
And so it's you know, it's been a struggle of like, you know, it's been five years. What's our next iteration on marketing? And the answer is we don't know. And we've been asking ourselves this for a while. And I've considered doing an MBA, I've read some books.

Gregory  4:10  
A business degree. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:11  
Yep.

But we keep asking, like, how are we going to learn how to do the things we don't know how to do that make capitalist companies work? 

Gregory  4:19  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:20  
And the answer is, we don't really want to. Fundamentally--

Gregory  4:24  
All that stuff feels like stuff we have to do in order to have some sort of lifestyle, making these games.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:32  
Right.

Gregory  4:32  
Instead of the one that we're choosing to do now, so that we can make these games.

Melissa Avery-Weir  4:36  
Right. We've essentially decided, like, let's chillax on this whole, like, on this whole profit idea. And even the breakeven idea, like we both have day jobs, we both make good money. So us contributing enough equity into the company on a monthly basis to keep the hosting on and keep a couple of software bits that we buy is actually not that bad. 

Gregory  5:02  
Yeah, we don't have very many customers, so we don't have very many costs on server maintenance, and so on.

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:08  
Right.

Gregory  5:09  
It feels really freeing to be like, yeah, let's do what we want to do. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:15  
Yeah, and I think there are some things that we've learned to do that fall into that, that marketing this--I have this number in my head from, you know, five years ago, or whatever, when we started, that if you're going to be, you know, an indie dev company, you need to spend at least 25 or 30% of your time on marketing. And this is like, you know, stuff that like Rami Ismail or Simon Roth and like other like really experienced indie people say, at your standard GDC talks, or Gamasutra articles or whatever. And they're, they're presumably not wrong. Like, right, I have no evidence that they're wrong it's just we weren't doing it correctly. 

Gregory  5:52  
Yeah, I respect their hustle a lot. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  5:54  
Yeah,

I mean they're doing it. 

Gregory  5:56  
Yeah, I just can't imagine living like that myself. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:00  
And even when we did spend a considerable percentage of our time doing marketing, we weren't seeing results.

Gregory  6:05  
Right. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:06  
So we weren't doing it right. And so I don't know, it just is one of the things that doesn't feel like it's worth doing when the amount of pickup we would need for for this to become a replacement job for us is pretty substantial. 

Gregory  6:20  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:22  
And I don't know, it just doesn't feel like that's the thing to be churning for when I feel blocked on creativity as a result of trying to think in terms of what's profitable. 

Gregory  6:31  
Yeah, so part of that maintaining profitability, and, and always being on the grind and so on that has meant is that we haven't done a thing that's been productive for us in the past, which is go on retreats. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:45  
Yeah. 

Gregory  6:46  
So when we--was our first one, the one when we finished Ossuary?

Melissa Avery-Weir  6:50  
It was. It was the--it tends to be the weekend of my birthday. So around October, whatever weekend is closest October 23, and yeah, we did it locally. 

Gregory  7:03  
Yeah, I mean, this this is not like an extravagant thing. Like we got, we went to a extended stay hotel.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:09  
In, in the city we live in. 

Gregory  7:11  
Yeah, like near the airport, far away from--too far from any takeout places it turned out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:16  
Yeah, that was a bad decision.

Gregory  7:17  
And just like sat at a table and worked on stuff. And we finished all the big remaining tasks on Ossuary and then later on... Another time we was that when we did a trailer or the plot for Headless Swarm maybe?

Melissa Avery-Weir  7:32  
 Yeah,

I think we did a big EZD chunk of planning. In fact, yeah, our main plot document might have been from a retreat. And it's one of those things--the reason we are willing to even do it like in town is when you are... Like we don't tend to think of ourselves as two very social people but we're both like polyamorous and and the various times but multiple partners and like I've got two cats who will be as needy as they want to be. And I've got, like video games, right? 

Gregory  8:00  
Yeah. And and I mean we're both inclined to get into a podcast or you know, start reading something really interesting online. Like we're, we're, we seek that stimulus.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:10  
So this was the closest thing to the sort of--like you know about. writers think "I'm gonna unplug for the weekend." Well, we can't unplug like--that's literally, we have to be on the servers.

Gregory  8:19  
Like especially Exploit: Zero Day. If we want to write a puzzle for it, we have to be able to contact the web server.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:24  
Right.  And so this was the closest I can get to that. It was just like, just don't be in your house. Just don't have all the things in your house that you want to play with. We haven't done that like it might have been I think it's been two or three years.

Gregory  8:36  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:36  
It's been a while and so we want to do that. And, and at the time, for the last couple years we've talked about bumping it up to twice a year

Gregory  8:46  
Yeah. And I think two years in a row we were like let's do that and then we didn't end up doing that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:50  
So we're gonna do it and in 2019. 

Gregory  8:53  
So are we thinking the beach?

Melissa Avery-Weir  8:55  
 I would love to do the beach. So we're in central North Carolina. It's really easy--it's like a four hour drive for us to be at the beach or the mountains.

Gregory  9:05  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:06  
 I prefer beach because beaches are awesome and internet is more readily available.

Gregory  9:12  
Yeah the place we we have gone a couple times in the mountains is is kind of an--well it is literally in a valley.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:20  
Yes, and it is deliberately--

Gregory  9:21  
It's in a cell valley. Yeah, that's why that bed and breakfast is there. Or, or that's why that bed and breakfast has not installed a cell tower.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:29  
Right. 

Gregory  9:30  
So here's the thing though. So we've been talking about quarter one, quarter two 2019. If we go to the beach...

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:36  
 I've never been to the beach in winter, so I'm not opposed... We're not talking about swimming. I don't--I'm not climbing in the ocean. 

Gregory  9:42  
Are you thinking about sitting around freezing-ass--

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:46  
Not in January! In like spring break time? 

Gregory  9:51  
Okay. Yes. Okay. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:52  
I don't know when that is anymore, because I'm too old. 

Gregory  9:54  
I think it varies.

Melissa Avery-Weir  9:55  
But it's March or April or whatever.

Gregory  9:57  
Okay. So that's that's definitely more quarter, getting into quarter two solidly.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:03  
Yeah. And we know there are hotels that have good, decent patios, and are like balconies and there are places that are like not full-on beach houses because those always require like a week stay, which is excessive, but you can do a weekend stay at a little apartment place that has like a deck or a patio and then you've got a place to sit outside of you want to. I haven't picked a specific place in mind. I have a list of a couple.

Gregory  10:28  
 Are you thinking Pawleys Island again? Probably Yeah. That's the town we like to go to. It's pretty awesome. It's got a cool national park. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:35  
Oh, yeah. 

Gregory  10:36  
Water and marsh park. Yeah. And then a cool sculpture. botanical garden. Not botanic garden. Just garden.

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:43  
Just garden. Yeah. 

Gregory  10:45  
Yeah. Brookgreen gardens. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  10:46  
Really, really cool. So yeah,

we like to go there. What are your preferences?

Gregory  10:51  
I mean, honestly, it all sounds good to me. I don't... I I'm often stressed out by planning trips. I mean, I know that everyone is. But but I'm, that often keeps me from from just doing it. And I keep putting it off. But I like the idea of the beach. I'm, I'm just trying to envision like, are we I guess a deck would be the thing. Like a deck or a balcony, right? So that we--

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:19  
I want outside access.

Gregory  11:21  
Yeah. Like, we wouldn't want to sit in our hotel room in a special place. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:25  
Right for sure.

Gregory  11:26  
And work on a thing. So. So yeah, we'd figure that out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:29  
There are definitely options and we can get I mean, we can get creative even with our day jobs because working remotely isn't a problem. So if it's like, do we want to beach house for a week? Sure. 

Gregory  11:41  
And yeah, I work contract work completely remotely. And you have a decent amount of flexibility working from home. Quote-unquote.

Melissa Avery-Weir  11:50  
I would love to do that. And then I think aiming for two next year, one in the spring, one in the fall. 

Gregory  11:56  
Yeah, I think so. We need to keep up on that. But we've got this kind of some increased--we've planned for some increased quarterly meetings and such little keep that keep that visible. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:06  
Yeah, yes. And to move on to that we've had trouble... you know there's always sort of, like little things you need to, to have bubble up and be visible in a company. Yeah, and I, you know, I use I usually work for larger companies. So we have like, lots of structure and reporting and, and what many people consider an excess of meetings. But one thing these companies are able to do as a result is like, know, when their SSL certificates are going to expire, because they track it and visualize--

Gregory  12:36  
And do server upgrades. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  12:38  
Yeah, yeah. And there's all this stuff. So we've, we've, I think we've done okay at that. We aren't terrible at it. Like, we have monthly maintenance cycles, where we at least check in in our servers and our SSL stuff, even if we don't do a ton of upgrades. We, you know, we kind of have kind of some cadence for this. But there are things that fall through the cracks. Like there's a sale coming up in January on some platform that everybody puts the games on, right? And will we remember to go put our numbers in in time for it to start? Who does that? Who remembers to go do it? 

Gregory  13:16  
Yep.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:16  
 Who puts where our hosts are having scheduled server maintenance? Where does that go? There's all that sort of stuff that just kind of gets lost. And then there's kind of like refocusing, like, asking ourselves how our projects are going on beyond the week to week cadence, like, zooming out a little bit. And so I am currently at a company that does a very good job with their large department meeting, and they do it monthly at the moment. But for us, I think a quarterly cadence on sort of that larger structure. And the question we want to ask ourselves, and this kind of gets back to our business plan where we, our general purpose--

Gregory  13:58  
Our vision statement.

Melissa Avery-Weir  13:59  
Our vision statement is that we want to make games that inspire audacious compassion, and inspire dramatic social change. 

Gregory  14:10  
Yeah, we sort of look at our art has a way of communicating values to people. Yeah, and encouraging them to act in accordance with those values. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:22  
Right.

It sounds like super lofty, but all art is always conveying some values. So we might as well make ours--

Gregory  14:29  
Right.

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:29  
Not shitty. 

Gregory  14:30  
Like the alternative, the alternative is make art that conveys bad values and encourages people to not do stuff

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:37  
Or makes or makes values you don't even notice it making, right?

Gregory  14:39  
Right.

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:40  
You could just like, choose not to observe that thing. And so we want everything we do beyond like, I have to keep the books, you know, like in QuickBooks, or whatever. 

Gregory  14:53  
But even that, like serves this purpose. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  14:54  
Yeah, but we want everything we do to kind of be in service that so like, how do we market ourselves? Like, if we're doing social media how are we doing it? Is that in line with producing dramatic change in the world. And so.

Gregory  15:08  
I don't know what promotional materials that are aligned with those values are, but I'm excited to find out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:16  
And we we know it's not sending emails, 150 email to journalists, hoping that any of them give any shit, about what we're making.

Gregory  15:24  
I really like the journalists we send stuff to, and I'm really glad when they respond, but it doesn't feel good to do it. It feels like we're imposing it. It's all weird. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:34  
Yeah,

I don't know. If the way we're communicating maybe changes, then that might become a viable strategy again, but quarterly, we want to ask ourselves that question: what did we do to dramatically change the world this quarter? And that will kind of be the driving question and looking at how we've been doing and what we're planning to do. 

Gregory  15:52  
So what did we do to dramatically change the world?

Melissa Avery-Weir  15:55  
Well, this isn't our quarterly meeting. We have that in January. 

Gregory  15:58  
Oh, okay. I do, I do I like the streaming we've been doing.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:03  
Yeah, and one of the things that has surprised me so like we have very few YouTube subscribers because we haven't really used YouTube but yeah we get just chant like throwing trailers up but we've been getting some comments um, someone had a suggestion for how to play Shelter 2 that was like hard mode so I was like, "uh."

Gregory  16:22  
Like, nope. But like it's cool to have that, that viewpoint. And that's, that feels like we're reaching people more. I like that. I feel like that's like... just encouraging people to check stuff out that they might not otherwise like going, "hey here's Shelter 2, a weird game about being a cat."

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:42  
Yeah.

Gregory  16:42  
Or even like, I played No Man's Sky the other day. Not as a Future Proof thing, and had people be like I've never actually seen this game played. This looks cool! Like cool, great, yes.

Melissa Avery-Weir  16:54  
Yeah, awesome. That's like, I think I'm still... on our Future Proof streams, I'm still a little bit on the catching up with popular indies train. Like I just played Virginia.

Gregory  17:03  
Yes. But I think that we're what we think of as really well-known games because we listen to Waypoint and Giant Bomb and we follow this stuff and yeah, and like we follow people on Twitter who do this stuff like. A lot of the people who are going to stumble upon us on Twitch, especially stuff raiding from random channels--

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:24  
Yeah. 

Gregory  17:24  
Is stuff that people haven't seen. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:26  
That's fair, yeah. I hadn't even seen a trailer for Virginia before I, I played it.

Gregory  17:31  
So people have seen Virginia like I played Paratopic which I knew about I think--

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:35  
Oh, yeah, nobody had heard of that.

Gregory  17:36  
Rock, Paper, Shotgun gushed over it and at some point but.

Melissa Avery-Weir  17:39  
That game was weird as hell.

Gregory  17:40  
Yes. I mean, you know, Quarantine Circular is by Mike Bithell who did Thomas Was Alone, which I think should mean that it's incredibly well known. You know, people don't--not everyone follows individual creators, right? Same way as, as I do. So yeah, I like exposing folks to stuff. And I think that that helps broaden people's view of games. Yeah, just something I've always been interested in. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:07  
Yeah, it was interesting to play like, I'm interested to see if anyone replies to or comments on like Virginia because that ending is something else. 

Gregory  18:16  
That is a weird and--

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:18  
Yeah, I didn't realize it was so controversial, and it ruined the game for some people they were like, "I can't."

Gregory  18:22  
I mean, it is, it is, it--I am surprised that you weren't more displeased with it. Because you often don't like ambiguous endings like, um...

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:30  
The spinning... Inception. 

Gregory  18:31  
Yeah, Inception really bugged you and a few things like that. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:35  
Yeah,

I'm older and wiser um, it felt different because I was--because I was doing it. 

Gregory  18:42  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:43  
Um, but I'm also still thinking about it. But I'm not like angry and whoever made the game, right? Like part of a bug me about Inception was Leonardo DiCaprio's... face

Gregory  18:55  
Sort of a pensive smirk?

Melissa Avery-Weir  18:58  
Walking out onto the balcony or whatever. But yeah I thought Virginia was good. It's good for me to play all these weird games. It's inspired me to play other games. Like I will fall into a space where I will play Endless Space 2 for 100 hours.

Gregory  19:14  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  19:15  
And instead I've been breaking that up by playing Space Run and a whole bunch of other stuff that I might stream or not but it's it's good for me and I think our streaming and it's good for out, outward... Less... I don't know it's not for marketing, right? Like we're not like being like hey, Mike Bithell come hang out on our stream despite timezone differences?

Gregory  19:37  
We usually like tag people in so they can stop in if they want, but yeah. I think another thing that we did that that encourage some changes are our ongoing Rosette Diceless promotion.

Melissa Avery-Weir  19:50  
Yeah.

Gregory  19:52  
I think that, that that game has a vision of what it means to play a tabletop role playing game with people that is that is mildly revolutionary, mildly radical.

Melissa Avery-Weir  20:06  
It is in the circles that we have LARPed in, in the past. 

Gregory  20:09  
Yeah, definitely like, compared to some of the stuff we've done with with White Wolf systems.

Melissa Avery-Weir  20:14  
I mean, if we were to... if we were to go to--I haven't played Mind's Eye Society in forever because it wasn't great for me. Um, but if if we were to take something like Rosette Diceless, and if we converted like three people out of a gaggle to prefer a consent-based system for LARPing, I would feel like we have dramatically changed the world. 

Gregory  20:38  
That's--Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  20:39  
That's the sort of thing I think can make a difference. Especially, especially the people who are LARPers, like you're interacting with people in a way that what consent is perhaps even more important?

Is that, is that fair?

Gregory  20:52  
More important than, like home d&d game? Possibly, yeah, because I think that when you've got all those social ties in and out of character, it can feel like your whole social life revolves around these folks that you need to please and satisfy the--I mean, it sounds dramatic, would satisfy the fantasies of.

Melissa Avery-Weir  21:11  
Right.

Gregory  21:12  
While you're playing this, this game.

Melissa Avery-Weir  21:14  
You're not wrong. 

Gregory  21:15  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  21:15  
And it becomes other than--even after the game sessions, you tend to be sending emails about it, or thinking about it, or talking about it. So you can just really kind of subsume your life. And if there's someone who's toxic, or you feel like you don't have agency or something like that just really builds up. 

Gregory  21:32  
It's better to have it be this life-affirming thing that is a big part of your life. So how, how do you feel? How does your life feel now that we've shifted some of our priorities around Exploit: Zero Day.

Melissa Avery-Weir  21:47  
Ah, my beloved baby Exploit: Zero Day, by which I mean your beloved baby Exploit: Zero Day.

Gregory  21:53  
 Yeah, so one of the weird things about the projects we've done with for Future Proof is, is every single one of our big projects has been based on some work that I did before the company started. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  22:04  
Yeah.

Gregory  22:05  
Which is bad. Like, it's off. Like, it's awful for you, because you are also a creative person, like an incredibly creative person with incredibly good ideas.

Melissa Avery-Weir  22:14  
So there was something we did as part of this original talk that we had a few weeks ago, and I happened to open my ideas file while we were talking.

Gregory  22:26  
Just like a place we note down like--

Melissa Avery-Weir  22:28  
Yeah.

Gregory  22:29  
--a commonplace book, I think, is what it's often called.

Melissa Avery-Weir  22:31  
That's a good name for it. And I hadn't looked at it really in a few years like this... I think the last edit might have been 2015 or something, maybe even 2014. I had some good-ass ideas in there, and they all almost predated Exploit: Zero Day. Certainly Headless Swarm. And it was, it was eye opening on how like in the trenches I have been on Majesty of Colors, and this Rosette Diceless is based off of LORE, which you did many years ago. 

Gregory  23:02  
Yeah. 2009.

Melissa Avery-Weir  23:02  
Yeah. Majesty was also 2008 and yeah. Exploit was 2010?

Gregory  23:12  
And Ossuary... Nope. That was another 2009 one, I think. And Ossuary was was a follow up to the style of Narthex. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  23:19  
Yeah, so we haven't had, like--

Gregory  23:23  
Other than jam games, we haven't had...

Melissa Avery-Weir  23:25  
Which we've only done two. 

Gregory  23:26  
Yeah, yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  23:29  
So not that we really think of these in terms of like, IP...

Gregory  23:32  
Right.

Melissa Avery-Weir  23:32  
But we haven't had fresh IP. So yeah, we decided to like, re-prioritize kind of this work on Exploit: Zero Day. We'd had sort of a release structure in mind and a prioritization, that kind of focused on getting some of new features out and then eventually working on opening it up. It's still in closed alpha right now, when you need to be on the mailing list to get a key or ask us for a key. And so we shifted that to be like, okay, let's get Headless Swarm out the door. We're obligated to finish.

Gregory  24:01  
Yeah, we have, we have sold copies of Headless Swarm pre order. Well, not preorder style, but like early access style. So we need to like, it's the right thing to do to make sure we finish that as as a high priority.

Melissa Avery-Weir  24:15  
And then get this thing in a state where we can get our hands out of it for a while. Because it's not making money, which is part of what's frustrating about needing to finish Headless Swarm is--

Gregory  24:27  
Yeah, is we don't have many customers like we care about the ones we have. Yeah, but there are not enough to make it a good business decision to focus a lot of time on it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  24:36  
Right. 

Gregory  24:37  
And now that we're out of the profit focus, we can see that more we can look at that more clearly.

Melissa Avery-Weir  24:43  
Right, and, and decide, like, where do we want our creative energy going, and our backlog of ideas--well, we'll talk about that later. As far as work-life balance goes, having that shift, I feel better. I think I... Well, I say I feel better, but I'm also really struggling with seasonal depression right now. So I don't feel better.

But I have... there are things I need to do to feel better in this depression. So I worked out four times last week, like lifting weights, I went to yoga once, nothing like obsessive, but like that is self care. I hadn't worked out in months. 

Gregory  25:23  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  25:24  
Many months. And it just felt great. I'm sleeping a little more again, depression messes with that, right. But playing all these new interesting video games. I was--I kept feeling guilty. Guilty. Anytime I played a video game, anytime I worked on a side project. So I feel a lot better. I also feel ready to kind of come back to the keyboard on EZD. 

Gregory  25:50  
Yeah, when you do it as a choice.

Melissa Avery-Weir  25:52  
Right. 

Gregory  25:52  
Not as an obligation. It's, it's feels really different. Yeah, I have a project that I've been really excited about. A podcast project that I, we recorded in March.

Melissa Avery-Weir  26:04  
Which is also the last time I worked out, by the way.

Gregory  26:07  
Interesting. And the files have been sitting, only slightly edited on my computer for months. And over the past several weeks, I've edited it all. And I'm going to release it soon. And like...

Melissa Avery-Weir  26:21  
Just figuring out how to, how and if to do transcription. 

Gregory  26:24  
Yeah. And so that, that, having it--realizing that we are choosing to do this work with Future Proof, and then choosing to do it as much as we want to. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  26:36  
Yeah.

Gregory  26:37  
Is, is liberating.

Melissa Avery-Weir  26:38  
And it's not, I don't know that--it's not like we thought we were being super strong armed. Like, no one was holding our feet to the fire. But it felt like an obligation. 

Gregory  26:45  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  26:46  
Which makes a lot of difference, it turns out.

Gregory  26:48  
 So we talked a little bit about the, our public relations philosophies and, and all the, the way that we're relating to journalists and stuff like that, that. We've, so we've been having some trouble with some of our technology lately. So there's a really useful tool called presskit() that was done by by Vlambeer.

Melissa Avery-Weir  27:14  
And

I think verbally, it's still pronounced "do presskit".

Gregory  27:19  
Do presskit. Okay.

Melissa Avery-Weir  27:20  
It's presskit with parentheses afterwards, like a function call. 

Gregory  27:22  
Oh, that's why it's do--okay. And then in, and there's distribute(), or dodistribute, which is part of the same ecosystem done by Vlambeer and presskit is: here's this thing, this is a PHP thing that makes you a web page that has all the information on your stuff, all the information that journalists need.

Melissa Avery-Weir  27:40  
Right. 

Gregory  27:40  
And then distribute is, here's a way for people to request access to your game. And an easy way to sort through your queue and see which of these are just random folks who want keys and are trying to trying to take advantage of you. Yeah, and which are people who actually are going to provide public relation value.

Melissa Avery-Weir  28:03  
And they have distribute has like a digest email, or newsletter it sends out so you can kind of once you're ready for granting more people access, you can make sure you're listed there, and the next wave of people will see it. And both of those are excellent systems. Like, I think, I think Vlambeer has done amazing things for the community with both those, especially presskit().

Gregory  28:29  
Yeah, however, they are a video game company.

Melissa Avery-Weir  28:32  
They are a video game company. 

Gregory  28:33  
And so they've been spending their time doing video games. And so like, presskit hasn't been updated very often. It's--

Melissa Avery-Weir  28:40  
I think, it got an update maybe three years go maybe? 

Gregory  28:45  
And it's, and it's in a tech that we is is like "web professionals" feel is is pretty dated.

Melissa Avery-Weir  28:50  
And it doesn't mesh well with our site. You have to like, you have to manually update files on your server to make content changes, which for us, like--we just, we have content management systems we use. 

Gregory  29:04  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  29:04  
Which is not the way to do things.

Gregory  29:06  
It were very process heavy when it comes to changing actual code.

Melissa Avery-Weir  29:10  
Right. Yeah. 

Gregory  29:11  
And then distribute like is a really cool tool. But like, doesn't--we can't put itch.io keys in it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  29:18  
Yep. 

Gregory  29:19  
And have them work. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  29:20  
Yeah.

Gregory  29:20  
For example. And we've got at least one thing where that is the only good way that we have to provide keys.

Melissa Avery-Weir  29:26  
Right. And as far as I can tell, distribute(), it hasn't been had an update since late 2014, maybe early 2015. GDPR flew by there's been no updates with regards to being able to remove people's information, stuff like that. It's like it's, it's a since, especially since distributd() service being provided, we can't just grab that code and do something with it. But for presskit() for dopresskit we did. It's, it's open source code written in PHP, but we took the features like almost every feature. 

Gregory  30:03  
Yeah, just about.

Melissa Avery-Weir  30:03  
Except for Promoter integration. Since Promoter died earlier this year. Rest its soul, I miss it so much. 

Gregory  30:11  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  30:12  
Andreas, if you're listening, thank you for such a great tool.

Gregory  30:15  
Thank you for all of your service.

Melissa Avery-Weir  30:16  
Yes. Um, but we just, we rewrote it and Django in Python, and it integrates into Django admin system so that you can just have its default CMS do your work for you. Updating images and files is as simple as anything else is in Django, and it's on GitHub.

Gregory  30:39  
If you search for it, you can probably find it. If you're clever about it. But we haven't officially released it yet. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  30:45  
Yeah, Future Proof Games has GitHub organization, and it's like, probably one of our only two repos out there. So that's available. We're going to do a little more packaging on it. 

Gregory  30:56  
Do things like have tests.

Melissa Avery-Weir  30:58  
 Yeah, yeah.

Gregory  31:00  
Have a little better documentation and fix glaring bugs that we're finding as we're, as we're coming across the board. We're pretty close to being ready to throw it out there. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  31:09  
We've got maybe three bugs, but it's in production, we're using it. Dog food and all that. And I like it a lot. It's so it's, it's, yeah, a little more modern.

Gregory  31:20  
It's nice not to have to edit XML. It's, it matches what our current workflow is.

Melissa Avery-Weir  31:25  
Right.

Gregory  31:25  
 And like I said, we're, we're web professionals, so anything that's older than about two years feels ancient time.

Melissa Avery-Weir  31:31  
Oh, come on. I'm not that bad. Grid on the front end? 

Gregory  31:35  
Oh, yeah. CSS Grid. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  31:37  
And yeah, so great. So it's, and then hopefully, by having it open sourced, we'll hopefully... and having a distributed in a way that's, you know, this is going to be in pypi, and all that. So people will just be able to give pull requests, and we could share ownership, like, keep it moving. But we do understand that like a lot of game creators are not programmers.

Gregory  32:02  
Right.

Melissa Avery-Weir  32:03  
 So we don't--I don't think we expect this to be like the thing that takes you know, that takes over the original presskit by any means. Like, uploading PHP is very--is way easier than knowing how to use PIP to pull a package and add it to a thing. 

Gregory  32:18  
Yeah, we definitely don't want to make a presskit killer. We want to make a thing that's like, Hey, here's this great thing that we're providing another version of. Well, no it's not, it's not another version of presskit. But another--a thing inspired by it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  32:33  
Right. Exactly. So full credit to the idea and, and original implementation and everything too Vlambeer for sure. We need to figure out something for key management. Yeah, I know, I know of some other ones. But I don't know, like we want folks... We want folks to be able to request keys or access to Exploit: Zero Day without having to email us.

I am not great at checking email, especially if I, if it's, I'm going to be pretty quick to mark something as spam, essentially. 

Gregory  33:08  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  33:08  
And if it's in this nice format, where I can match up email addresses to what's on their twitch page or what's on in YouTube. That's really nice and simple,

Gregory  33:17  
It would be really nice to have kind of automated fraud detection.

Melissa Avery-Weir  33:23  
Right.

Gregory  33:24  
Because there's a there's a decent amount of key traffic that is folks pretending to be some youtuber in order to get a free game, which isn't good for anyone. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  33:36  
Yeah, and I think it's something distribute() was working on, like, they have the, the kernel of that system. 

Gregory  33:42  
They've got some good stuff in there. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  33:44  
Yeah, but it just has to be there just has to be maintenance work on that kind of thing. There's not, there hasn't been many updates of that and of that algorithm or whatever mechanism thing. So we're on the hunt to figure out what tool we want to be using.

Gregory  33:58  
For Majesty, we one tool that--what's the name of it? The one that's streamer focused?

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:04  
Woovit.

Gregory  34:05  
Woovit, yes. Which is pretty cool. I mean, we had some folks pull up stuff through Woovit and do videos and that was real cool. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:13  
Yeah. 

Gregory  34:13  
But we that was very focused in scope.

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:18  
Right. 

Gregory  34:19  
And we're, we're, we, you know, we want someone who's like got a blog to feel comfortable, you know, getting a key for Rosette and writing a piece like, here's what I think the Rosette character creation system. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:31  
Yep. 

Gregory  34:31  
Like, that's not really what Woovit is for.

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:33  
Right. And I think you know, we're going to be--

Gregory  34:37  
And it might be that we end up like... I think itch has a certain amount--certain simple key requesting system. And it might be that there's something like that, where some storefront we can we can go through. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  34:52  
Yeah, that's one of the things we're like at this point, we've got stuff kind of distributed. Like at one point, we were using Promoter for this at one point distribute() for this. And so we just kind of got like this stuff all over the place for key management and where to request keys. And so I feel like we just need to do like the sweep, along with some other messaging stuff. 

Speaking of like, the earlier idea of like, what did we do dramatically, to dramatically change the world: our mission statement, the way we've worded our mission statement across various platforms has has changed. Yeah, like the mention of transhumanism and various others with wording things. So anything about PR philosophies, like I just kind of just clean it all up, like just like, make a checklist of the 25 places that we've described ourselves, and then do it better.

Gregory  35:45  
Yeah, have any more consistent have it be clearer.

Melissa Avery-Weir  35:47  
Have one place to go to request keys. If did that means we put all our games on itch, as well as everywhere else, then I love it. That's fine with me. So yeah.

Gregory  35:57  
So do we want to talk about the most exciting thing? The dessert for our meeting?

Melissa Avery-Weir  36:03  
We're talking about padlet, right? Just... Just the tool. 

Gregory  36:07  
Just the tool. The tool is real cool. So okay. So at that meeting, you opened up your list of games and had a bunch of cool ideas. And then we were kind of like, "what do we--how do we process this stuff?" Because each of us had a Google Doc, in my case. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  36:22  
Yeah, same. 

Gregory  36:23  
That was just like a sentence or so. That was , here's an idea, it might be a dream might be--

Melissa Avery-Weir  36:29  
Exactly.

Gregory  36:30  
Something you come up with in the shower. Might just be like, "hey, has anyone done this?" Or, oh, I want to do this; this would be fun. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  36:36  
Yeah. 

Gregory  36:37  
And so we were like, what--I kind of feel like, we want to do that thing where you like, put a bunch of cards up on a wall and connect them with string. Not a conspiracy board, but like an idea board.

Melissa Avery-Weir  36:48  
It's like a conspiracy board.

Gregory  36:49  
Like, like a lot of designers will do. Put up, put up a mood board or whatever. And so we did, we did some research and ended up using a tool called padlet. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:00  
Yeah. 

Gregory  37:01  
Which is kind of--

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:02  
P A D L E T.

Gregory  37:04  
 Yeah, it's got a free tier. And then we could pay for it if we need additional boards. But it's, it's a cool, simple, pretty easy to use. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:12  
Extremely friendly. 

Gregory  37:14  
Yeah, very, they're sweet. Their mood, like the the messaging like when you dialogue pops up, or you get an email or something. I really liked the tone they use. It's, it's, it's a little twee.

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:24  
But it's, but it's like, "hey, you've made something awesome." 

Gregory  37:27  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:27  
"Come take a look." It's cool. I'll take it. 

Gregory  37:30  
So we've got this board we've been looking at. And--

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:33  
God it multiplied--it multiplied. I was like, Oh, look, I put in these five ideas. I filtered some out like, whatever. And the next thing I know, I'm like, Oh, well, here's a couple more, here's more. 

Gregory  37:44  
So we want to pick a real small project that we do soon? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:49  
This would be once Exploit: Zero Day is open to the public?

Gregory  37:53  
Maybe, I don't know. We've got--

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:56  
We have a couple--

Gregory  37:57  
It feels so far away still. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  37:58  
It does.

So the stuff we need for for EZD to be open to the public are social management features. And I think that now, being a being a consumer and user of mastodon, I would say we did that wrong. We, because we have so few users, we felt like we could individually manage problems. And, you know, I'm thinking about abusive people, or people who are putting bad things in their game system messages when they make puzzles, stuff like that. And so we kicked down the road, these features to allow us--we call it socially isolate people. So let's say you bought Headless Swarm. We don't want to take that from you. 

Gregory  38:40  
Yeah, assuming you're abusive, we don't want you interacting with other players. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  38:45  
Exactly.

So it's this feature to just kind of like cookie cutter around someone. They can't, they can't make public puzzles. They can't post on the forums. They can't--their name doesn't show up as someone who can be a friend. Like, nothing. This person exists only in this private space with the stuff they paid for.

And we haven't done that feature yet. Please don't come be an ass in our game. And--

Gregory  39:11  
We can remove you. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:12  
Yeah, but that that and a little bit around that is kind of the final... The final thing. 

Gregory  39:20  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:21  
And then we would feel more comfortable to be able to open it up. 

Gregory  39:25  
So maybe once it's open, but while we're still working on Headless Swarm stuff.

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:30  
Yeah. 

Gregory  39:30  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:31  
And yeah, cool. 

Gregory  39:32  
Want to look at the board? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:34  
Yeah, let's look at the board. 

Gregory  39:35  
Read off some ideas. Ideas are worthless. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  39:38  
Oh, God, hold on. 

Gregory  39:40  
No. They're like, like, there's, that's the old maxim: like a concept is just a concept. Like, someone could take a really cool concept we have here make a really awesome game out of it. And we haven't lost anything, we can still make a game and ours would still be cool. And they would have done far more work making it than the concept ever really, actually, was.

Melissa Avery-Weir  40:00  
Yeah. This is why my time traveling language book and or game ideas haven't been trashed after the beauty that "Arrival." Oh, that movie was so good. So we organized our stuff into sort of vague groups. One of them being kind of jam size; like game jam size, not like the fruit.

Another category being things that--usually my stuff because I'm way more hesitant--things that I think require proof of concept, like I think would be larger in scale, but should be proven out before it's worth really putting in the work. 

Gregory  40:40  
I think your stuff also tends to be more systems intense. Like there's a lot of rules and stuff going on. And I think that, that prototyping that stuff is really much more useful than, like, a lot of my stuff. Or like, here's this complete story I want to tell. It's like, yeah, that's not that doesn't, you know whether or not that that works by just sketching it out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:01  
Whereas I'm like, how do politics work? 

Gregory  41:03  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:04  
We have a VR category. We have some unlinked things, which I think is fine. We have one lonely visual novel idea. I've never done a visual novel, but I've wanted to kind of do this thing forever. Um, so it--

Gregory  41:18  
Do it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:19  
Yeah, right. I think regardless of whether it's with us as Future Proof or not, I'll probably take a chew on that one. Some concepts we think, I think only really work is larger games, in part due to the fact that a lot of content is required. 

Gregory  41:33  
Yeah, like.

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:34  
Like, systems are, I would say, systems are cheap, content is expensive for us. 

Gregory  41:38  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:39  
Like, how long has it taken us to write Headless Swarm, but we've had the framework in place for a while. So some of these just require, like--

Gregory  41:45  
A lot of exploration. Yeah, a lot of like, tactical-y stuff that would require levels being built. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:53  
We've got a tabletop idea.

Gregory  41:54  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  41:55  
Of some sort.

Gregory  41:56  
Which that's the, that's the I've got a GM-less storytelling game idea. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:00  
Cool.

Gregory  42:01  
Because, you know, it's Monday. So of course, I've got one of those ideas.

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:05  
Of course.

Gregory  42:06  
So we want to look at the jam section or the proof of concept section.

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:11  
I would say only the proof of concepts if it... if either of those excite you.

Gregory  42:15  
Okay, um, I mean, they all look pretty darn cool. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:19  
Okay,

but the jam one has a lot of ideas in it. So we might as well like start there.

Gregory  42:27  
Boy, I'm just looking at some of these. So one thing that, that I've had I've been thinking about more is a--this is not actually connected to jam but could work as one. A VR game where you move by throwing around a ball and chain that restricts your movement. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:40  
Ooh.

Gregory  42:40  
So VR games often have like teleportation, in them where you're like point at this thing and then you go whomp and you go to it. And the problem is that, right, like your actual real world space is how big?

Melissa Avery-Weir  42:52  
10 by 10 by 10 if you're lucky. 

Gregory  42:54  
Right. And so what if instead of teleporting you've got like that old fashioned ball and chain like for a prisoner and you know pick it up with your controller. And you throw it and it could both be a thing you could like, throw it a thing to break it, but also it sort of redefines the center of your play space.

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:08  
Yeah.

Gregory  43:09  
The thing about that is, I think that still ends up being a teleport, though. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:13  
Yeah, you still have to get to the limit of it.

Gregory  43:16  
Yeah, because if you--

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:16  
Walking's not a thing, right?

Gregory  43:19  
Right. Yeah, I mean you, you can you can walk around your space--

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:23  
Right.

Gregory  43:23  
But if you were... it like if you were against the west wall of your real room and you picked up the ball and you throw it east... it would move...

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:31  
Yeah, but you wouldn't get more space.

Gregory  43:33  
Yeah, you, if you threw it west you wouldn't be able to move further west.

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:36  
Right.

Gregory  43:37  
So I'm not sure if that actually works. The space would still need to re-center as if you were teleporting. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:42  
Yeah.

Gregory  43:42  
But it would least, like lend some physicality to it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:45  
Yeah.

Gregory  43:46  
 I don't know that one might have a little too much fiddliness with, with working out that movement system to be worth--to be a real small one. Is there one of your ideas that you want to bring up?

Melissa Avery-Weir  43:57  
Oh, boy. So it's a silly idea and I just came up with it like this weekend. It's also not highly rated, so maybe not.

Gregory  44:07  
Oh, is this the the idle 4X game?

Melissa Avery-Weir  44:09  
Yeah.

Gregory  44:10  
So I really like the idea of an idle 4X game. A game like Stelaris or, or Endless Space or something like that. This came up during our stream. One of the things that gets me about it is you're idea--the way you have written is "interesting ways to do" like...

Melissa Avery-Weir  44:29  
Oh, so, so the original idea--the original inspiration involved a libertarian economy.

Gregory  44:35  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  44:35  
The idea was oh, if you make if you were to take a 4X game make it a completely libertarian economy, then the player wouldn't have anything to do.

Gregory  44:41  
Right.

Melissa Avery-Weir  44:42  
Because--

Gregory  44:42  
Which would be idle--

Melissa Avery-Weir  44:43  
Which would be idle and that was a joke. But then I'm like is there a way to do this that isn't like shilling for a shitty economic system that tends to not work so great. And I'm not sure that's the case.

Gregory  44:54  
Yeah. I mean that seems like a very open question. I mean I'm very interested in knowing the answer to it, but I want to know what the answer is like what... so idle, idle games tend to depend on like building up stuff in that very high escalation of power.

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:11  
Which suits a 4X game.

Gregory  45:13  
Yes.

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:13  
To a certain extent, yeah. Depending on the pacing.

Gregory  45:15  
There's not, there's, there aren't many 4X games with scale like that. Where we're like you start very small and get bigger. Spore is an example of that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:26  
You might not have played late stage Endless Space where you have planet destroyers.

Gregory  45:32  
I maybe have once gotten that far.

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:37  
So great.

Um, yeah, so I don't know that that's that feels to me like uh... that really does feel like a jam game like--

Gregory  45:46  
Some time when we have restricted time and are already a little loopy.

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:52  
 Yeah. 

Gregory  45:53  
Um, tell me about "unnecessary hero."

Melissa Avery-Weir  45:56  
Um, so this is a really old idea, so I don't entirely know...

Gregory  46:01  
Where it came from?

Melissa Avery-Weir  46:02  
Or what I mean. So I have "a cheery Don Quixote-type character; do the dialogue in something weird like all cheery death metaphors or something". And what was probably in my head so this would have been a little while after we finished Ossuary so clear inspiration there. But also probably Fallen London and some of the writing styles of that.

But I don't--there's like there's no system there.

Gregory  46:27  
Right. What do you do in that game?

Melissa Avery-Weir  46:28  
I don't want to make another dialogue game.

"Forgotten places". Okay, so I, I really kind of like this idea. Okay so I'll read it but "visit multiple places where you collect shit; see the place vividly initially for maybe 10 seconds, but let the colors and visuals fade and smear as you continue to explore; you'll be left with the stuff but not the world; maybe photographs that also eventually blur and smear."

Gregory  46:55  
So is this like... this is reminding me of there's there's a sort of us recurring subgenre of game where you play someone who's blind or in the dark and is like sending out echoes to look or--

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:09  
Like that flashlight game you played on the Wii?

Gregory  47:13  
Oh, Dim?

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:15  
I was going to say "Lit."

Gregory  47:15  
Lit, it might be Lit. Sort of like that or who is... Scanner Sombra.

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:24  
Never played that.

Gregory  47:24  
It's done by--might have been done by the prison simulator people. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:28  
Okay. 

Gregory  47:29  
Um, done by--

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:30  
Prison Architect. 

Gregory  47:31  
Yes. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:33  
Good game. Also... revolution. 

Gregory  47:36  
But where you're kind of having to navigate a place that you can't see clearly. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:39  
Yeah.

Gregory  47:41  
That can be interesting. I can see how you would--are you thinking like, a first person game? Because I can imagine like, the sort of shader that you would use to make that happen? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  47:50  
Yeah, I was thinking first person. I don't know what you're--what your goal is in this game.

Gregory  47:58  
Is this creepy? This sounds kind of creepy.

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:01  
I think it's only creepy because losing your memory is creepy. 

Gregory  48:04  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:05  
Not-- 

Gregory  48:05  
That's very creepy. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:06  
Yes. But not because--not out of... This isn't Amnesia, right? Which is the only horror game that--

Gregory  48:16  
Is it a quiet episode of Marble Hornets?

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:19  
Like Marble Hornets, but like the end of Marble Hornets. Not the beginning where it's like, "Stop. Like, did you review this tape?" You know? But like the end where they know something's wrong. 

Gregory  48:32  
Okay. So is it like when you enter a new room it... when you initially see it, it's vividly clear?

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:40  
 Mm hmm. 

Gregory  48:41  
Does it start blurring just immediately, or like when you collect an item does like it leech reality out of where you picked it up? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  48:49  
Oh, that's interesting. Okay. Yeah. So imagine... So imagine you walk into a room that just has a bunch of stuff. Someone's house: knickknacks, and books and shit everywhere. And as you focus on items, maybe not necessarily take things like, you know, you can have kind of like looking mechanisms or whatever.

As you're looking at things or touching things, details around it fade fast enough that you as a person might not remember what was there, because you weren't paying attention. You were looking at the cover of the the colorful book on the coffee table. 

Gregory  49:21  
Are you able to tell what things will trigger that? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  49:24  
I think I would want to make it clear.

Gregory  49:27  
So like you'd see a highlight or something that you could focus on. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  49:30  
But I also wouldn't necessarily want to allow players to just not touch anything, and thereby avoid the whole thing.

Gregory  49:38  
 Yeah, so maybe they need, there'd be some motivation we need to interact or, or observe. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  49:42  
Yeah, or kind of push the issue in a larger scale after certain amount of time, or something like that. Like, maybe the whole room is slowly fading. But individual focal points fade faster when you interact with items. And I don't know, but I think, I think the visual of not just losing detail, but like, think about, like, in "What Dreams May Come" that sort of paint smear. 

Gregory  50:09  
Yeah, that's, that's what I was, I was kind of imagining bleeding. Have you seen pixel sorting? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  50:13  
I've not. Is that a technique or a game? 

Gregory  50:15  
All right, we're gonna pull this up while we record. So this, part of this will be cut out.

Melissa Avery-Weir  50:19  
Whoa, yeah, that's the thing! Because I was also thinking like, a Polaroid when it's not good. 

Gregory  50:25  
Yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir  50:27  
Holy shit.

Gregory  50:28  
What this basically is, is it's here's so we wouldn't--

Melissa Avery-Weir  50:31  
I have that as my background.

Gregory  50:33  
Nice. It would not be easy to actually, to actually do this specific algorithm, because of the way shaders work. But what this algorithm is doing, is it saying this column of pixels or this area, sort all the pixels, you keep the same pixels, but sort them by luminance or whatever. And so that's why you get that weird melty gradient thing. But we could do something like that.

Melissa Avery-Weir  50:56  
Some proximity, like, yeah, we're not going for photo realism here. So that's kind of that idea. But you know, I mean, it lacks... it lacks goals. 

Gregory  51:07  
Yeah. I like the idea of the area you're in being somehow weird or also unsettling, like, it wouldn't to be scary. Wouldn't need to be Amnesia.

Melissa Avery-Weir  51:20  
One thing that came to mind in this idea is also "Gone Home." So I only played like, 30 minutes of "Gone Home"--

Gregory  51:28  
So your memories of Gone Home are fuzzy. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  51:29  
Right. But I would--the feeling of being an abandoned space that should have felt like home. 

Gregory  51:36  
Yeah. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  51:37  
And also having met some people in my adult life who have memory problems, but are not--but don't have dementia. Yeah, so a taxi driver who had no short term memory, right? Like talking with people like this, and I know a few others. It's strange how commonly that has come up. But that sort of like, what is a space like, when you can't trust that you will remember everything? 

Gregory  52:08  
Yeah, with the with the space shift? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  52:12  
No. Okay. I want it to be the person. 

Gregory  52:14  
Yeah, I think that makes sense. Yeah, because, I mean, there's, there's been some stuff done, I think there was a segment of Beginner's Guide, and probably, um.

What's that game where you're moving blocks, and it's all weirdly philosophical and used to be called something else? And now it's a new thing? Antichamber.

Melissa Avery-Weir  52:34  
Oh, that's on my list. So that's an idea that I think could be done at a small enough scale.

Gregory  52:42  
I think so, kind of real blocky like Cairo style, Unity-ass graphics? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  52:48  
Yeah, see, if it works out. See if see if the visual of it is actually interesting, as interesting as it looks when written out like this. Like maybe it just doesn't play. And, and maybe the goal for a small version of this is just like, they could be anything as mundane as "Where did I leave my textbook? Or?"

Gregory  53:08  
I think we'll put some some plotty thing for it.

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:11  
Yeah. But nothing too terribly--doesn't have to be ornate.

Gregory  53:14  
Just like a 10 minute thing. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:15  
Yeah.

Gregory  53:16  
And if, if it, if we get enthusiastic about it, and then other folks get enthusiastic about it, we can expand it. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:22  
That would be cool. Any ideas you want to offer? 

Gregory  53:25  
Um, I've been thinking about that, like, what stuff feels appropriate for me? And I'm a little fuzzy on it. Like a game where success depends on interpreting hasty, poorly organized notes in a notebook. Like I like that idea of being like that. What the hell, what is that a "g" or "q"?

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:44  
To which I commented #mylife.

Gregory  53:47  
 Yeah, I think I think we should go for that "forgotten places" game. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:50  
Okay. 

Gregory  53:51  
I think we should I should play around with some effects and have some areas. You can, you can practice using Blender.

Melissa Avery-Weir  53:58  
Yes.

Yes. 

Gregory  54:02  
And make some spaces. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:03  
Yeah. Practice drawing to sketch out ideas, which I do not do. All of my ideas are in written form. That's how I tend to think.

Gregory  54:14  
So yeah. Good meeting I think. I think we addressed a lot of this stuff. I stopped taking notes pretty early on.

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:20  
That's okay. 

Gregory  54:20  
I'm not sure we got that many takeaways from from later parts. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:24  
Yeah, I think we, we want--we probably want to pick a game jam for first quarter. 

Gregory  54:30  
Yeah, but we can do that offline. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:32  
Yeah, and the calendars--which I'm not sure if they're actually the same calendar? I think they are different calendars. But itch.io has a calendar that just like everybody and their grandma can add game jams to.

Gregory  54:45  
There are like, 48 game jams on there. Some of which are long, some of which are short. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:49  
Right. 

Gregory  54:50  
And it's great, but it is a little overwhelming.

Melissa Avery-Weir  54:53  
It gets a little overwhelming. And it--both of these calendars (there's another one too) they only go out like six or eight weeks, so you can only current look into January.

Gregory  55:02  
So if we're like, we got time in late February? 

Melissa Avery-Weir  55:04  
Right. We just have to wait. But we will, we definitely want to do that more. Preferably something like quarterly,  scope it to a weekend, make it... Like we are not--we are too old to be staying up all night. 

Gregory  55:16  
We're not staying, we're not sleeping underneath any desks. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  55:18  
Yeah, no. So this will be a very reasonable, reasonable jam. We're more focused on creativity than any sort of crunch.

Gregory  55:27  
So uh, thanks for hanging out with us this long. I don't know how long the recording has ended up being, but we've been here a while. 

Melissa Avery-Weir  55:34  
It'll definitely be longer than 15 minutes.

Gregory  55:37  
Yes, yes. It will be longer than our usual.

Melissa Avery-Weir  55:39  
 This is your super special episode.

Gregory  55:42  
Hopefully you knew what you were getting into when you started.

Melissa Avery-Weir  55:44  
 I will signal that.

Gregory  55:46  
So if you want to check out the stuff we're doing and keep up with the fallout of this meeting, you can find all of our stuff at futureproofgames.com. We're on twitter at PlayFutureProof and on Facebook as Future Proof Games. If you want, if you've got suggestions for stuff we should do, if you've got questions about what we've been talking about, just comment.

Melissa Avery-Weir  56:07  
Your favorite jam the first quarter we should do.

Gregory  56:09  
If you've got suggestions for jams, just hit us up on our blog or on social media, and let us know. Our theme music is "Juparo", by Broke for Free, which is available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.