• Nate_Bit_Games

Weekly Post #22 - Merry Friendsmas! (Part 1 of 2)

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Hello again fellow gamers, friends and devs! Happy Holidays!

Sorry this weeks post is a little later than usual. Took some time to make the video to include in this post, but to spread a little extra inspirational holiday cheer I thought I'd share a glimpse at a game I made for my closest friends as a holiday gift back in 2016.

Each year 5 of my very closest friends of mine and our significant others get together and celebrate Friendsmas outside of holiday celebrations with our families. Back around 2015 I started facing a lot of overwhelming hardships in my life, lost a few close family members and even friends, lost my house, and faced medical and other financial hardships...things like many people have had to face this past year...but my closest friends had been there by my side through it all and I wanted to do something special for them to show them how much I appreciated them. We've all been friends for well over 11-14 years now (7-10 at the time) and being a group of gamers, I decided to take the opportunity to test/develop my game dev skills and make everyone a 2D game as my surprise gift to them. Sort of a self imposed game jam as well.

I only gave myself a month to make the full game and wanted each person to have their own personal 5 levels based around them unlocking a special item upon completion, as well as an additional 5 levels with a final boss fight for an overarching story that came as a surprise ending and part of an inside joke as well. That meant I had to make 31 levels plus short cutscenes/text for their personal stories in between each level and the overarching story. At the time my friends were playing Kingdom Hearts and joked that there was too much darkness in my heart and that's why bad things kept happening to me, so I decided to roll with that for the overarching story and had a final boss where "The Darkness" takes over me and only they can save me from it. They didn't realize it was coming until the very end even though I had them all disappear from the main menu upon beating their levels as "The Darkness" appeared from the snowy background momentarily as they faded out and he would grow larger with each persons story completed. Also no one questioned why they were unlocking their special items when they beat their story...they were needed to defeat "The Darkness".

Most of the levels were very crudely done since I knew that was a lot to get done in a month and not to mention a lot of them were just part of inside jokes and were meant to be fun/funny...a way to reminisce about past times together as well. I did let one for my friends in on it who made my 5 levels so that helped speed it along a bit but made sure the item I unlocked was "A Curse". I also used a lot of content I do not own the rights to, mainly the music, since this was not for a commercial profit but as a personal project and gift.

I went ahead and made a short video cutting out all the personal levels and just included the final overarching story with cutscenes and gameplay since after trying to edit down the full video playthrough the video would have still been 35 minutes long...the game takes 1.5-2+ hours to beat even. Not to mention most of my friends' levels were a bit personal at times and also full of inside jokes that no one would probably get. However, I did also provide some screenshots of some of those individual levels below. I did have to edit over one photo of someone whom I was unable to get permissions from to include in the video so there will be a goofy square face over theirs in one short part....and yes, that is my voice acting in this. Enjoy:

NOTE: This video is not intended for commercial use but more as a portfolio piece. I do not own any of the rights to any of music in the video as well as many other assets. I got permission from all my friends to post this content including their likeness. Due to the amount of copyrighted content, not to mention personalized content, and even some mature themes, I will not make this game publicly available for download at any point, even it was free.

Here are some screen shots from the other levels. May be a little hard to tell out of context what is going on but like I said each level was tailored to each person, including difficulty...hopefully gives ya an idea of at least how simple I kept it in order to fit in the amount of content I did. Left the story portions out as well.

The game was a huge success and upon beating the game we all did something we don't normally do...we had a big ole group hug (which is very unlike us). Will never forget the looks on everyone's face as we played the whole thing together, with each person playing their own stories. The following year I decided to make a sequel. The Darkness wasn't finished yet. This time I wanted to up my game a bit and do it in 3D and gave myself more time to complete it and even purchased some assets or used many free ones...still took about 4 months. I'll share that video with screenshots in next weeks post (Merry Friendsmas Part 2 of 2) but here is a little teaser of the title screen for now:

In other news...Probe is 75% off for the Steam Winter Sale! Only $0.50! Makes a great last minute gift for that gamer friend or family member. Get it here: Save 75% on Probe on Steam (steampowered.com)

I've also gotten quite a bit done on the game design documents for my next game and am even close to completing some concept/promotional art for it. Really happy with how everything is turning out so far. Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday season and wishing you all the best!

Happy Holidays!


Nathan Hicks

Nate Bit Games


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