Hello again, Comradery!
Allison here to update you on the exploits and adventures of Soft Chaos.
To start off, I want to say that behind the scenes, there is so much exciting stuff happening for the Soft Chaos team. We’ve always been confident in our abilities and our members, but we’ve surprised even ourselves (and we’ve definitely surprised our business coach) with how quickly things are taking off. One thing we can mention is that Pulling Strings will be on a PAX Unplugged panel! If you’ll be there, be sure to check us out.
With that said, on to the main topic of this post: our current work-in-progress.
Cadences: The Story of a Distance and its Pair.
Cadences is a game designed to be played by two people asynchronously. Players will create the story of a relationship’s life, from the moment of its conception until the moment it ends. In Cadences, there are two roles for the players: The Distance and The Pair.
The Distance is ever-shifting and mysterious. Playing The Distance means seeking to find words and metaphors to describe something abstract and mutable.
The Pair is human and flawed. Playing The Pair means playing a grounding, concrete role in contrast to the metaphorical and amorphous nature of the Distance.
The Distance and The Pair take turns going on walks guided by an accompanying audio file, considering the changes and phases of the relationship, and communicating the next part of the story in a way that fits their relationship. The Pair describes, with the help of prompts, events that happen in the relationship while the Distance describes, through metaphorical descriptions, how those events impact it.
I’ve always been drawn to designing games about abstract communication. You can see this in my past work — from a cooperative video game where two players have asymmetric information and need to communicate it to each other by manipulating a single musical note to a Larp where you are being haunted by the literal ghosts of your failed relationships who can only communicate with you by manipulating your environment à la poltergeist. I can’t quite remember how we came up with the idea for Cadences, but the minute I heard it I was in love.
Squinky brought this image by artist Olivia DeRecat as a jumping-off point. It’s a beautifully visual representation of closeness over time, using the distance between lines to represent intimacy. We wanted to take this further: we wanted to have a distance that could be represented in even more metaphors. In colours. In musical notes. In shapes.
This game concept also spoke to me because of my own life. I’ve always been rather nomadic — I’ve lived in eight provinces and states, in countless apartments, and in my entire adult life have never stayed in the same apartment for more than two years. I’ve been to five post-secondary institutions and have had over twenty different jobs. I pride myself on having relationships and friends from so many of those times and places in my life that I care deeply about and remain in contact with (though not as often as I’d like). While making this game, I’ve spent time thinking about so many of them and how I picture the distance between us. In Cadences, the relationship ends at the last moment that either of the Pair thinks about the other. So as long as I’m thinking about these people, I am keeping our relationship alive in some way.
I can’t wait for the point in the design process where I get to play this with someone I care about. I also can’t wait until we have the support to dedicate enough hours to these projects to get them to a level where we can release them for you to play too.
Do me a favour, and think of someone you care about and miss. Picture what the distance between you looks like. And smile remembering you may have just shrunk it a little.
P.S We want to thank you all for your support. We’re at 69$ now. Nice.