Hello and welcome to the Devlog for Marrow. This won't be so much of a log tracking progress through development because development is nearing completion with the only things left to finish being the soundtrack, tweaks, balancing, optimizing and of course marketing and getting the game Greenlit on Steam. Marrow will need testers soon so keep your eyes open for your chance to get a credit in the game.
The house on the mountain and the crime that was buried
Instead this Devlog will look back a bit and describe some of the process and inspiration that lead to the project's creation. I will be posting soundtrack clips as I work on and finish them and be posting profiles on certain enemy types.
I will also be sharing some fun tidbits like early sketches of the game's maps, early hand drawn sketches of enemies and even the proof of concept which was made nearly 4 years ago and is what convinced me, or perhaps deluded me into believing, "hey, I can make a video game!" Looking back on it recently I can't believe it convinced me of anything.
If you want a breakdown or pitch of Marrow, please visit the game's Greenlight page and read the Spiel. Support it, spread the word, watch the trailer, like the facebook page, or follow us on twitter.
For this first entry I want to talk about origins of Marrow, the world it takes place in and give a general overview.
The initial idea behind Marrow was to make a fairly straight forward, and honestly kind of predictable Metroid-like using a low-fi, pixel art-style. The project grew and became more ambitious both in design and visual fidelity. The current game is made in the Construct 2 engine, but at first it was being built in the original Construct, now called Construct Classic. The change from a more low-fi style to something bigger and more detailed was actually done in part because of my desire to make the main character's facial expressions readable.
I wanted a mouth, eyes and nose visible. In retrospect I can't really explain why this was, possibly because of my love of Toon Link and a number of different Mega-Man sprites.
MARROW FUN FACT!
The initial sprite (not the one currently used) for Daniel (the Hero) was a rather poor attempt to match Mega Man's sprite in the SNES Mega Man X trilogy.
The novel concept I kept coming back to for the central focus of the game was the interplay between light and dark(literally, not metaphorically). I knew I wanted to have a dark world illuminated at specific points and centre how Daniel would navigate through the world around the light source he was carrying, relying on it to not only cut through the dark but also to reveal otherwise invisible elements in the world.
Finding the first Medallion
In the final game this idea manifests with Daniel collecting hidden medallions which give off light and whose light grows with each collected with different areas of the game making the player nearly blind (or at least at a big disadvantage) if they don't have a strong enough medallion. Other scenarios also worked their way into the game, such as lighting torches (temporarily) to illuminate invisible platforms or the use of the Luminous Orb to play a note and briefly reveal a hidden enemy.
Daniel jams with the Lumen Flies in the chamber of mad birth
As stated in the marketing spiel, Marrow has no exposition, or dialogue, or cutscenes. That doesn't however mean it lacks context, or story in a very unconventional use of the term.
The world was built with a purpose, and with context in mind. It is not random and a careful eye might pick out details that might suggest certain elements of story (or lore as the kids say these days) without outright saying them. Honestly this comes from a desire to read the kinds of speculation and interpretations people come up with after finishing the game.
So the story exists, but there is something exciting about seeing how others interpret things when you give them a small slice instead of explaining things to them. This is something I'm quite passionate about. The game also features simple things like title cards for areas and a credit sequence which gives the names of each enemy and boss, giving hints of lore.
In a future post I may extrapolate on the origins of how Dan and the other orphans came to be in the old house on the mountain.
So that's the first Devlog post