I’m pleased to announce my new game! The Flower Show is a short interactive story about a flower arranging contest. It marks the start of a new year of game design, and I’m super proud of how it’s turned out.
I’ve started using asset packs to create the environments – there were a bunch in the massive itch.io bundle from a while back, so I’ve started playing around with those. With each new game I’m trying to expand into new areas, try out some new code or learn some new techniques – and this year I really want to focus on creating interesting spaces. The games from last year were essentially all text-based narratives – I was just starting to learn about game design, and that’s where I felt the most comfortable. This year, however, the focus is on building out environments. The store-bought assets allow me to focus on arranging the layout of different areas, rather than having to draw up art from nothing – which is nice, because I’m really not an artist. I drew and animated the characters, but everything else is from Kenney Game Assets. I’m pretty happy with the result, though. It’s not bad for a first time.
The setting of a flower arranging contest is a pretty convenient way for me to start exploring patterns and colour and spatial design – I have these half-dozen floral areas that are all the same size and shape, and I get to work within that – get to try out different configurations and see what works and what doesn’t. Never do something once if you can do it eight times and pick your favourite. It’s also, you know, kinda me working through this process in fiction. I’m starting to play with environments, so I make a story about a bunch of people standing round trying to judge which environment they like best. I’m judging it, you’re judging it, the judges are judging it, the florists are judging each other – it’s the whole critical circus.
I also knew pretty early on that it was going to be about different ways of looking, or different ways of finding meaning in images. A picture can be representational, it can be symbolic, abstract, just a bunch of colours – it can be about some guy having an affair with another florist’s wife. I like how each meaning shifts in its focus, in and out, towards or away from the florists and their personal lives. And I like how some of the interpretations are totally disconnected from what the florist originally intended. For me this game is a sort of clearing space, working through the conditions and terms of spatial design. It’s a sort of warm-up exercise or rehearsal – which, you know, is ultimately the case for all of the Psalms.
Anyway, as with all my games, The Flower Show is free and about five minutes long. It’s made for PC (sorry Mac users), and you’re welcome to give it a try!