- Procedurally generated: Murder mystery scenarios with a new culprit and clues each time, every play-through is unique.
- Permanent choices: NPCs, interactions, and death will all persist until a new game is started.
- Notebook: Collect clues in the detectives notebook to help solve the case.
- Investigation: Interact with and examine numerous objects and characters in a number of environments.
- Countdown: Given a set number of days to solve the case, each area visited will decrement the time left.
- Freedom of choice: attempt to solve the case, or live out your remaining time doing as you please - be it fighting the law, going after gang members, or just seeing the city.
- Gunplay: Combat is generally to be avoided as a single bullet will take down the player. However, when necessary, the revolver is always available for use.
- Statistics and Scores: Statistics and high scores for a variety of topics will persist through every game.
This update had been delayed a bit due to it's sheer size. I didn't want to write up a post about all of the menus and the game components that go along with them until everything was fully functional. It's been a long work cycle of countless bugs and frustration, but all of the new features finally connect seamlessly and make the game a complete experience.
The first hurdle I wanted to tackle was arresting a suspect and ending the game. As mentioned in the last news post, the new culprit selection menu within the notebook allows the player to make their own decision on who to accuse. Once a culprit is selected, their last known location will appear on the map. The player can then go there and deal with them as they see fit. Different endings directly affect your score, but the choice is completely open. For example, arresting the correct culprit will net the highest score bonus, while killing the culprit or arresting the wrong person will reward much fewer points. Below is an example arrest. Note how the culprit is marked on screen, this is because the player has already tagged them as their key suspect.
After completing this core game element, I logically wanted to make a fully functional game over screen. Here the outcome of your work is summarized, along with some key stats that tell the player how they did this time compared to past games. There is also a button to return to the main menu to either visit some other menus or simply start a new game. Of course, the menu is animated with statistics appearing sequentially. Here's an animation of that in action.
With the game playable and a game over screen working, it was quite clear that the next step would be to create a main menu. I had previously teased a few images of this on my Twitter. Instead of a typical menu consisting of ordered buttons, I decided to make the scene itself the menu. Clicking on different objects in the frame leads to their corresponding menus. Some of the sub-menus are still in the works (badges, stats, and options), but all of the other buttons and their functions work as intended. To make this work, I also took some time to work out the remainder of the save/load system I had previously started. As you'd expect, the game warns you about starting a new game while one is already active, thus overwriting it. Saving is only allowed from the map (so as not to save and quit before dying), so the continue button will load back in to the map where the player last was. Below is a screenshot of the main menu in it's current state.
Overall, quite a massive update. I hope to finish up the other menus, as well as flesh out a number of new gameplay features next. The game is fully playable now, but I intend on working out a few more pieces before I feel that it is beta ready. All in good time.