A little over a year ago my notebooks started filling up with tiny worlds.
I can't say what brought this on, except that I was traveling a lot, and still am. After 7 years making indie games, I've discovered a way to earn a living that lets me keep doing what I love. It means saying yes to every opportunity to share what I do, whether it's speaking in China, consulting in the States, or teaching in Sweden. Last year my trusty suitcase kicked up dust in 15 different cities.
One of my favorite things about being on the road is seeing how life is similar from place to place, and maybe that's how I hit upon the idea that the world is tiny.
The tiny worlds in my sketches had a few recurring themes. Beautiful, lush plant life, climbing into tiny atmospheres. Little animals. Ghosts. I didn't have much time to organize these thoughts, but I kept drawing them, kept wanting to see them evolve. I remember staring bleary-eyed out the window of my overnight flight from Chicago to Stockholm, pencil in hand. It was sunset when I left, sunrise when I arrived. Our plane raced the sun around the Earth, and I couldn't get the picture out of my head.
The project started as an exercise in learning to program. Wanting to improve my game-making abilities, I coded a bunch of things I thought were 'game'-y: health, lives, enemies, death. But the game rejected these transplants, and one by one I took them out. To my surprise I was left with a kernel of original gameplay, one that could likely be spun into a whole universe. I saw lonely planets teeming with life, and in the middle of their forests was a little lost ghost girl trying to find her way home.
I'm here to announce my new game, Gravity Ghost. It's an explorational physics platformer that lets you fling yourself from planet to planet, navigating gravitational fields and orbits. There's an equally important vein of terraforming and cultivating life. Gravity Ghost is being developed in Unity, with love, by a small and dedicated team (plus a good number of volunteers who lend a hand with code, web, and project management). I will have more to share about the project very soon, probably after GDC.
I'm going to make the development process an open one. I want to open a window to any game players, students, or game developers who are curious about how an indie game gets made. The screenshots above, for instance, show the game in its current state. Everything you see is subject to change, from the art to the UI elements. I love watching my games evolve, and I hope you will too.
For regular developments you can subscribe to this website, follow me on Twitter @Livelyivy, or get game updates from the brand new @Gravity_Ghost. On behalf of our team, we hope you enjoy learning about our game. Making an indie game is always an exercise in organizing chaos, and we really hope you join us on this journey.
Poster by Lara Kehler.