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I've been exceptionally quiet on social media and this site for a while now. Behind the scenes I've been hard at work on a new game for the past year. It's one I'd like to have announced sooner but it's the kind of game where there's no easy "vertical slice" to show people until basically the whole game was finished. It's also probably going to seem pretty far removed from my past games. So today I'm finally ready to reveal my new game, Cosplay Maker.

Cosplay Maker is a cosplaying management and dating simulation game. Primarily it's the kind of simulation game where you're making choices how to balance your week between various activities. As a cosplayer you're managing between working on your costumes, with part time jobs, relaxation time and a social life. In an ideal world you'd spend all week making your costumes the best they can be but you need money for your supplies and if you burn out from working all the time you'll make things slower and of worse quality. And the quality is important if you want to take your costumes to events and win competitions.

Although I'm not a cosplayer myself I've lived with cosplayers for most of my adult life and have been around that scene here in the UK long enough to pick up more than enough knowledge to try and make it as authentic as possible. In fact the original concept for the game came from a cosplaying friend of mine who wanted to make a game like the old Princess Maker series but for cosplay. She didn't have the time to work on it herself so agreed to let me make it. I've also spent time consulting with cosplayers to make sure a lot of the details are correct about how the costumes are made, what materials and skills are involved.

If it seems a big step away from what I did with Kairo, well it is and isn't. I've always been interested in different ways of telling stories through games. the white chamber was me trying to tell a story through one of my favourite classic genres, the point and click adventure game. In Kairo I wanted to explore how I could tell a story without text or dialogue, purely through the world. In Journal I wanted to push as far as possible in the opposite direction telling a story purely through dialogue without puzzles or other gameplay elements. Cosplay Maker is along those same lines, I've always enjoyed simulation games and couldn't count how many hours I dropped into Game Dev Story. I liked the idea of a Cosplay management sim a lot and so I've tried to explore how to use that genre to tell an interesting story.

Talking about the story I should mention this is probably one of my longest most elaborate yet. There's thousands of lines of dialogue devoted to the game's dating system alone but also there's a huge main story scenario that plays out as you progress through the cosplay world. I've tried to tell a story that gives some insight into the kind of dramas and events that genuinely do play out in the cosplay scene, though obviously for narrative purposes I've heightened them up to more overly dramatic levels than the reality. I'm hoping it's a story people who cosplay will recognise moments from things that have happend to them or their friends and to people who don't it might give them a bit of insight into a fandom they've never explored. For that reason the story does go to some slightly darker places than the game's visual style might otherwise suggest.

Anyway the good news is the game is almost done, I've still got some dialogue left to write but otherwise I'm just testing and polishing now. So unless something huge goes wrong the game should be out next month. Much quicker turn around from announcement to release than I'm used to but I really didn't want to spend a year on the road with this game taking it to all the events around the world. That might bite me the ass eventually but that kind of long PR run for indie games is expensive and exhausting and this time I just wanted to spend my time focusing on the game and seeing if I can still find an audience without all that. I guess I'll know soon enough.

If you've got any questions about the game you can always e-mail me or hit me up on twitter. Otherwise keep an eye out next month for a Steam release covering Windows, OSX and Linux. It may go to other platforms eventually but I'll have to wait and see how well it does on Steam first.

It’s with a strange bittersweet feeling that I have to announced after a year of running as a three person mini-studio I have returned to working as a lone indie developer. It’s been tough coming to this decision but I’m absolutely sure it’s the best for everyone.

The decision is the result of a confluence of factors. Money is of course one reason. Despite being super proud of what we did with Journal it didn’t perform anywhere near as well as Kairo and that’s made things harder for us. However were it just about money I’d find a way to make things works. However I left the 9-5 office life over 7 years ago because it was not for me and after a year of trying to make it work it’s still just not for me. Most importantly though I’ve failed in creating an office environment where we worked together well as a team and that’s a huge personal failure on my part.

For people who’ve enjoyed the games I’ve made it’s pretty much business as usual. The projects that were being made before this decision are still being made. Though apart from the upcoming white chamber remake I’ve not actually announced much of the stuff we’ve been working on since Journal. I’m still planning to work with a variety of artists but in contracting arrangements rather than full time salaried jobs.

Melissa is one of the artists I’ll be working with as a contractor, which I know suits her better than the full time arrangement over the past year. Suze however is currently looking for full time employment elsewhere. So if anyone in the Bristol area knows of any admin or finance jobs do let me know and I’ll pass them on to her.

Today we announce our next project “the white chamber: remastered” a remake of our classic sci-fi horror point and click adventure game. Although I don’t want to give an exact release date yet, when I say coming soon I do really mean soon. You can check out more details over on the game’s site: the white chamber: remastered

We’ve been working on this as a side project for a while now and it was only about a month ago I finally got all the things lined up I needed to make this a reality. So now we’re working really hard to get this finished as soon as possible.

I’ve wanted to revisit the white chamber for a long while now. I’m proud with what we did with that game as a bunch of students but some aspects of it have never lived up to my own standards. Also the engine we used, while a great engine, has made it harder for us to port it around for more people to play.

It was important to me that we reformat the originally 4:3 game to 16:9 to suit modern screens, I thought this would be hard but Paul managed to get that done really quickly. He’s also been redoing nearly every single animation in the game up to a much higher standard. The cutscenes are all almost entirely redrawn from scratch. We’re also re-recording the main characters voice acting and trying to work in a bunch of new content without disrupting the original game too much. This will easily be the best version of the game.

Possibly the most controversial change might be that we’re charging for this. The original game was made as our student project and we put it out for free but we’re not students any more and so we need to charge to justify the time we’ve put into this new version. It won’t be expensive, currently planning on a $5 price point so hopefully people will be fine with that.

The game will be released on Steam for PC/Mac/Linux and iOS. Other platforms will hopefully follow.

After roughly 18 months of development Journal has now launched on Steam. (Humble Store launch will also follow later today) It’s a project I’ve been trying to make since 2008 and has only grown more personal and meaningful to me in the time since. I owe a huge thank you to Melissa who came on board and helped make this finally happen, in both her artwork and writing she’s really brought it to life in a way I couldn’t have done alone.

The game is very different from Kairo. Although it’s still an adventure game it’s about as far at the other end of the spectrum as possible. Kairo was a puzzle filled work with the story told through the environment and no written dialogue, while Journal does everything through dialogue and has no puzzles. They’re both experiments, possibly both too extreme in their own ways, but they were the games I wanted to make. I suspect whatever I do next will land somewhere in the middle.

I’m the type of creative person who is never satisfied with their work. I don’t mind that because it always motivates to get better. However it means I’m already looking at Journal and thinking about all the things I wanted it to be that I was unable to deliver. Weirdly though I’m already somewhat proud of what we made and I guess that’s unusual for me. Hopefully that’s a good sign but it’s hard to know if players and critics will connect with it or not.

No matter what happens next I’m really grateful for how lucky I have been with my creative efforts. Not that many people get the opportunities and chances I’ve had to make something full time without any creative restrictions or boundaries. I plan to keep making games and getting better but even if I never release another game I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I got to do what I’ve already done.

Thank you for everyone who’s supported us whether that’s buying our games or being a friend. It’s been amazing.

I stopped doing the monthly updates a few months ago. They’re not cancelled but I had to put them on hold. Suze and Melissa are beginning work on new projects and as they’re not yet announced it’s really hard to talk about what they’ve been doing lately. I’ve had my head down finishing off Journal and some client work we’ve been doing. So there’s not been a lot to say publicly at least. However I wanted to write something for the new year about how things have been in 2013.

Kairo Lingers

I started 2013 in a pretty weird place. Kairo was finally finished after what had become a torturous three year development hell. It had reviewed well but I wasn’t on Steam at that point so sales weren’t yet paying the bills. I knew it had a lot more potential so I was porting it to other platforms and constantly trying to promote my Greenlight page. 2012 had really torn me down so I went into 2013 hoping to rebuild everything better and that’s kind of how it went.

In January Kairo came out on iOS and got featured by Apple leading to better sales than the PC version has managed. I eventually managed to get a Valve deal and in April Kairo launched on Steam. It was bit of a shock to the system. My expectations were pretty high based on all the hype around indie success stories on Steam. In truth we did not sell spectacular numbers on Steam at first, it did well, enough to live on but dreams of vast wads of cash did not magically appear. Thankfully one great thing about Steam for me is the long tail, Kairo has continued to make money every month and performs well during sales even without front page promotion. It’s keeping the lights on.

Journal Returns

We went out to PAX East again, this time to take Journal. In all honesty when I signed up in late 2012 for the space at the Megabooth I had no idea what game we’d be showing. The build we showed of Journal came together at the very last minute. I was up until 5am the night before we were demoing getting it actually playable. I rolled up to the booth on a mere 3 hours sleep with very low expectations for the event. In reality the response at PAX was beyond anything we could have imagined.

Journal is a project I’ve been trying to work on since the start of 2007. However after multiple aborted attempts at the project it had been shelved to make Kairo. I probably should have left such a cursed project alone but I really wanted to see it through so we returned to it and cobbled together a pretty rough demo for PAX to genuinely gauge what people thought of it. I kind of expected such a story focused game to utterly tank at an event like PAX.

I know there’s a lot of very valid issues with PAX by many in the press and the indie scene however as an indie developer the benefits I get form being there are huge. Not only did I get a ton of genuine player feedback on the game, the range of press and business opportunities that came from being there are immeasurable. I left the event feeling totally reenergised about Journal, people really connected with the game so I had to give it my all.

Bristol Studio

Working on my own on Kairo was really miserable for me. I have fond memories of my days working on the white chamber with Paul and Zak. I wanted to work with people again and so I decided to re-invest most of the money I earned from Kairo along with most of my inheritance into growing as a company. So I hired two of my closest friends Melissa and Suze, both talented artists, and we relocated from London to Bristol. Now operating as small studio.

I’ve no ambition to become a huge company, and if grow anymore I want to keep it to five people or under. It’s important to me that the games we make are personal expressions and not just the compromise of a melting pot of opinions. Besides running a three person studio has proved much harder than I could have imagined, I think I’d have a breakdown if I was running anything bigger.

Year’s End

As the year comes to a close Journal is nearly done. Melissa has finished all her artwork for it and I’m just finalising the dialogue and some of the dream sequences. I’m hoping to come out late January if all the stars align but we’ll see. I’m also hoping out “other project” will come out along a similar timescale. So for me 2013 was a year about building myself and the company up from a pretty low point. Putting things in place so that we can do some great things in the years to come.

Going forward I decided 2014 would be a very different year for the studio. Rather than making another “game by Richard Perrin” I decided to give both my artists a chance to put something out there themselves. Each of them are working on their own game project, where they are designing and producing all the content themselves and I’m supporting with the coding and design consultation. They’ve both come up with great (and very different) ideas and I’m looking forward to spending a year helping them come to fruition.

Between helping them I’ll probably be working on a bunch of prototypes and ideas for projects I’ve had rattling around. I’m very interested in a developing my own game making tool for beginners and have a semi functional prototype for that already. Whatever I make I know it’s going to a very productive year.

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Welcome to the home of Locked Door Puzzle, the independent game development studio of Richard Perrin located in Bristol.

My primary focus is on creating expressive games that explore different forms of interactive storytelling.

For contact details check the about page.