Sometimes you simply need to go back to basics and find a simple, direct method of making sure your silly high-concept ideas actually work.
Recently we did that by making post-it-note cards that represented various structures in a puzzle (the first the player-character will likely encounter) and old-fashionedly made sure it all added up.
This was a success in two ways- firstly the basic idea did indeed work (always handy) and secondly we managed to identify a few canards we could simply cut without developing further. A minute saved is a minute… earned?
Anyway it is quite possible to get pretty far into something and realise you haven’t established or tested certain key elements that 100% NEED to function properly. As more hours rack up on the project we thought it a good time to actually do some safety-checking.
So a big part of the game is going to be sleuthing and deducing, to this end you will be required to sift through paper work from various places. So we need a document system that is a little more complex than just an image or some text, we need to be able to embed metadata in the documents have them be transformed and distorted by photocopiers and fax machines.
With this in mind here is my first pass at a document editor, on the left you have a poor mans XML markup and on the right the rendered page, I’m trying to invoke the look of declassified military documents of the period.
This was my reference, the very famous and maybe a little to obvious, declassified Project MKUltra documents. I may have gone back too far on reflection as these documents were probably typed on a typewriter and in our selected period dot matrix printers we common. However they are clearly photocopied. Notice the bulldog clip, copy distortion, the dialation on the characters and smudges. These are things to attempt to recreate in future iterations.
The overall tone of this project is quite important (to us). We are aiming for a late 70s/early 80s cold war feel- think shady NGOs, morally dubious contractors and general paranoia.
So in accordance with all of that we have, naturally, been looking at things from that period. The above picture is from an arms catalogue. There is something quite terrifying in the nonchalant adverts for missiles and land mines. Heavy stuff.