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  • Writer's pictureOri

DevLog #1: Once Upon A Time

My cat had long ago curled herself to sleep when a deafening shout snapped her awake:

“Yes!” I shouted, possibly in Catalan, “it f****g moves!”

I was not referring to my fluffy companion, but to the small capsule twirling in my computer’s screen. Feeling like an almighty creator I looked at her confused face with pride:

“Behold Minnie, I’ve made a thing”

For some reason, anything I say to the cat I say in English. Though, at least that time, it made little difference.

The day in which I ruined my cat’s outrageously undeserved nap was circa COVID early times, which technically makes this another pandemic based origin story.

I was already settled in the North West of England, far from my family and the place I had called home for many years, and yet in many ways I was incredibly fortunate: I was lucky to have a job I could do from home, lived with a loving wife, an agreeable cat and managed to escape most of the horrific ordeals that plagued so many. The worst that happened to me was that I felt terribly bored.

Also around that time I had already clocked 5 years of writing a novel that now sprawled over 200,000 words in different drafts and notes. Given my situation, I selfishly decided that lockdown would suit me just fine to finish the book.

Only that did not happen. Accustomed as I was to run amok outdoors, either climbing, running or simply getting lost, being locked inside the same four walls had pulled the plug on creativity. Words were no longer enough: I needed to see, to touch and feel.

That is pretty much how I started in game development. There was something about designing stuff that moved, jumped or even danced on my screen that spurred me on. I was already writing code for a living, but after a few online courses in C# and Unity for the first time my programming produced something that was fun.

Back then I already toyed with the idea of transforming the world I had been imagining for so long into a digital form. Yet the way in which to go about it escaped me. Until I found Disco Elysium. And what a find that was.

When I played it a part of me died of jealousy every time a new dialogue line appeared in the game: The flair, timing, emotion, tension and release… It. Was. Perfect.

More than that, in a time when life was reduced to the same confined space, Disco Elysium offered a feeling I rarely experienced before when playing video games: I felt like I had a meaningful impact in an amazing story of redemption, that I could explore new places, really TALK to characters and somehow help a protagonist I deeply cared about. The experience moved me.

And so I began to work. I committed myself to give digital life to the characters and stories of my book in a similar format in which the fantastic creators of DE had. In every sense the task ahead was enormous and no help was, at least at the time, ready available. Yet I decided to embrace a perhaps deluded conviction that I could do it.

In the coming logs I would love to take you along the journey that started with that mad idea. A lot has happened over the past three years and, if nothing else, I guarantee more cat related stuff is to come. After all, I named the studio after mine.

Ori

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