Monolith of Minds

The End, for Now

The End, for Now

Machines Don’t Dream

The average adult needs about eight hours of sleep every night. That amounts to 2,920 hours every year, and 233,600 hours over an average lifetime of 80 years. If a productive work-unit is calculated with 16 hours, we therefore steal the empire and civilization 14,600 days of labor with every citizen that is allowed to sleep.

—Simple math

They didn’t stop on the outside. Once they figured out advanced limb augmentations, they drilled deeper with brain implants; we could think faster, perform better on every test they threw at us. After a little tinkering they cracked our behavior; it only took a few mods before they could program someone to sleep less, and compete on superhuman level.

With technology like that, pretty soon every candidate, business owner and politician was replaced with a “machine” as the Tribes called them.

But the Empire missed something. In their craze of aggressive progress they accidentally modded out our ability to dream. Well, someone hacked the earlier models, the ones that still had a shred of humanity left in them, and created what you hear called the “Red Code”; a communication network shoe-horned into some sort of dream-protocol.

So, once they realized their mistake, the Empire re-classed some of the older units, and started booting them into the dream network to execute raids; trying to brute force whatever information they could get to break down the underground.

Views from the Monolith 004

The End, for Now

When we set out to create a video-game, we knew that it had to end at some point — we just didn’t know how and when. As we progressed over the last three years, enemies became fiercer, bosses grew bigger, items became more complex and the story deepened. So in May, we set out to join all those ideas in an epic finale.

Valor is Resolutiion’s protagonist; a broken soldier on a mission for the Infinite Empire, accompanied by the artificial-intelligence Alibii. The game starts with both characters meeting in a flashback on a soccer-field.

Creating that scene allowed us to connect the player to basic movement and frame the story without cumbersome cut-scenes or exhaustive expositional dialogue. From there the story unfolds, the player learns more about the world and begins to make progress.

Starting the game was easy.

Ending it turned out to be much harder: we had built up so many wild ideas that it seemed impossible to bring them all to a satisfying conclusion.

To solve this, we mapped the crucial events to specific areas like 'The Floor', 'The Plateau', 'The Queen’s Gauntlet', 'The Credits' and more. That helped us orient the narrative structure and rearrange it to execute the climax properly.

Building this layout of Resolutiion’s finale led to an abundance of new assets and mechanics, all defined by short scripts for each scene.

We've included an excerpt in this newsletter:

“VALOR enters the Queen’s Chamber. ALIBII appears and says:

“Impressive. The stress brought up your strongest memories. We should have enough data now.”

Reaching the top, she spawns again inside the tank:

“So many things are connected here. Now let me decipher this abomination. The most important thing right now is: don't wake up!”

The screen starts to shake, as blue lines of code appear on top. This continues for a couple of seconds, becoming stronger.

Suddenly the code 'explodes' and the shaking ends. Green bushes and some tress appear around the arena.

BLUE enters the scene in a monstrous form:

“Well, I can see that you have become stronger. But this is still my domain, and I say: stop fucking with the Red Code!”

BLUE spawns two enemies.

ALIBII:

“I need more time. Don’t wake up. Fight it! Fight!”

The camera moves back to VALOR, and the fight starts.”

Looking Up

May was a strange month: we barely shared any updates on Twitter, and the team went down to minimum communication. The pressure of creating a proper finale months away from shipping the game was intense. Numerous conversations, ideas and philosophies have created a rich, but layered world that demands a satisfying conclusion.

We can’t please everybody, and we’ve never tried. Without that pressure, we can focus on shaping the end of the player’s journey through our world.

In June, we take a couple of days off and look forward to revealing new screenshots and content as we move into our second Gathering: optimizing the Fallen City and the Sea of Flesh.

A final note on the GDPR-madness, that has probably flooded your inbox this month (Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations): we will continue to send you the Monolith of Minds newsletter, and the MoM newsletter ONLY, since you chose to subscribe to it. We will never use your email-address for anything else.

Enough said. Take care.