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Weekly Post #23 - Merry Friendsmas! (Part 2 of 2)

Hello again fellow friends, gamers and devs!

If you missed the first post explaining Friendsmas and what this is all about you can check it out here: https://www.natebitgames.com/post/weekly-post-22-merry-friendsmas

It's where the story for this weeks post begins. In a basic recap: I made my friends a 31 level 2D game as a surprise for Friendsmas. Each of them had their own story with 5 levels and then a overarching story/surprise ending involving an evil version of myself/inside joke called "The Darkness". The game was such a huge hit that the following year I made a sequel. This is about that sequel: "The Return of the Darkness".


Here it is, the sequel to the 2016 Friendsmas game with more terrible voice acting included and even more cheese so I hope you are not lactose intolerant. Like I said I wanted to do this one in 3D so I used Unity which helped me hone some of my skills a bit more in that engine. Of course everything is not to the quality I would want a full release game to be in but again, this was like a self imposed game jam that I only spent a few months on. Most of that time was spent on the environments and gameplay, especially the main semi-open overworld design.

None of the 3D objects are original but from various free sources except for the medieval buildings which I purchased for use in a game I was working on that was unfortunately canceled so I decided to re-purpose them for this instead. I wanted to make 3D models of everyone but given the timeframe I just recycled the crappy sprites from the previous game since I spent most of my time level designing and coding....and even a small part of the coding was from outside sources. This time I only had enough time to make one level for each friend plus the overworld gameplay and story.

I did not realize just how much story was in this until I started editing the video. The story alone was edited down to 18 minutes so I included that in one video as well as another shorter 8 minute video of the overworld gameplay and each friends level (aside from my own which was main story) but very cut down. I had to censor one thing for one level and also kept names out of it. If you don't care to or have the time to watch the whole full length of the video(s) that is understandable. I will post the spoiler story summarized at the the end of this post as well so feel free to scroll ahead to that or skip around the videos. Everything that is important is in the videos this time, and I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend on this, so I left out screenshots.

Like the last game, this one also took 1.5-2+ hours to beat. I did also include my level in the main story video since it is tied in and I was able to voice act for myself, although quite horribly I might add, so feel free to jump around that part in the video (also has a lot of horror elements-fair warning). Oh and as to why I made Santa a redneck...we are all from Texas and it's the best voice I could think of that I could do while still being somewhat distinguishable from my own without a ton of filters and still be understandable. For some reason I found it harder to voice act out myself as a character than the others. Don't worry though, if any of my future games have voice acting they will be hired actors or something I can do without sacrificing quality and using heavy edits like a robotic computer (hint hint). Anyway, hope you enjoy the videos: NOTE: My computer doesn't run as well as it used to so the game lags a little bit here and there in the video due to all the particle effects so apologies for that in advance. Also the games biggest weakness was mouse sensitivity and lack of smooth mouse movement so I also apologize for the sometimes jerky camera.

Friendsmas 2017 - The Return of the Darkness (Main Story Video):

Friendsmas 2017 - The Return of the Darkness (Gameplay - No Main Story):

NOTE: These videos are 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. Unfortunately, I also lost the original game files for this one due to hardware issues so I can't even make a edited free version if I wanted.


Main Story (Spoiler):

So in this one, you don't actually start as a player/friend of your choosing. Instead you start not knowing who you are in a dark empty space where you encounter a recap of the past game on a dying laptop (ironic since mine just died right before making this video), and a radio distress call from Santa being attacked by his elves who have turned on him. Then a large light appears with the beating heart (of the darkness). You enter it and it takes you to an unknown icy forest/town where you establish you don't know who you are or where you are. Then you encounter zombie elves you have to fight off with a sword you have. There is a great fortress floating in the sky over this small frozen town, which the town turns out to be the North Pole. You find an elf named Tiny frozen in ice but you are able to enter his mind and help him escape a nightmare he was trapped in, reaching the light beam at the end of his nightmare which brings you out of his mind and breaks the spell he was put under by "The Darkness".

The elf then introduces you to Santa who explains his elves were all turned evil when the fortress in the sky arrived and all his reindeer were spooked and scattered. He also says you weren't the first outsider to come through town and they were probably your friends under the same curse Tiny was under. He can also take you up to the fortress to fight "The Darkness" once you gather his reindeer.

You then set out to free your friends from the spell, each one giving you a new skill or perk (more powerful weapon, ranged attack, speed boost, skills up and heals), while hunting down Santa's reindeer and killing all the evil zombie elves.

Once you have all the reindeer, Tiny turns evil and kills them all as a sacrifice to "The Darkness" in exchange for power but Santa had to kill Tiny to stop him. Santa then uses his Christmas Magic to resurrect spirit versions of the reindeer to pull his sled up to the fortress.

At the Fortress of Darkness in the sky, "The Darkness" then explains who you are and where you really are. No one ever left my/Nathan's mind from the previous game. They were all trapped there by the darkness and he was feeding off of their deepest darkest thoughts to gain power. Turns out you are "The Light" that was once within everyone. With every friend you freed the physical light emitting from you/the player got brighter as well, increasing your power against "The Darkness".

After defeating "The Darkness", you and everyone else begins to teleport back to the real world through the light beam you came in through. As I/Nathan begin to leave, the Darkness lashes onto me and is teleported to the real world along with me as well...setting the stage for another sequel. A sequel that has yet to be made, unfortunately.


So will there be another sequel? I hope one year I'll have the extra free time to make the final conclusion to the trilogy of "The Darkness". Life just started to get in the way and hit hard again after that year (ironic since in the game we released "The Darkness" into the real world). Also if I'm having to work a day job and also continue development of my full release titles on top of it, it may be a bit. Luckily, my friends are understanding of this but I do still intend to bring it to a conclusion one day. "The Darkness" can not remain undefeated forever. I may work on it here and there over the coming years during breaks until it's complete but that is not foreseeable in the near future. I will happily post it here when it's done though. May even be able to make the next one free to play for everyone if I take my time on it or use a bit less personal touches and be more vague...could always make 2 versions too, one for them and one for my blog readers. Time will tell....but Merry Friendsmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone!

Hope you enjoyed this as blog content for now while I work on getting my next game presentable. Speaking of...the Game Design Documents, story and concept art for my next title are coming along nicely still. Making progress every free chance I can get. Of course you have to take my word for it for the time being but I will still keep dropping subtle hints here and there until it's announcement.

Not quite sure what next weeks post will be about just yet. Probably my plans/goals for the new year (New Year, New Game!) or some other game dev/gaming related topic. Until then, stay safe and best wishes!


Nathan Hicks

Nate Bit Games


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