One night, as I’m playing Selacoa fast-paced retro-inspired FPS—I round a corner and shoot three space guards with a grenade launcher and watch their body parts fly through the air. Meanwhile, watching from my desktop is Mustard, my new digital pet. He’s from a different game, Weyrdlets, and he’s hanging out with me as I work and play games on my PC. After killing some guards in Selaco, I make sure to pet Mustard before reloading and getting back into the mayhem.

Mustard, a little pink lizard-like creature I created and named, is a good companion. I wanted to know more about how he came to be and what it’s like making an indie game in 2024. So I spoke to Weyrdworks, the devs behind Weyrdlets, to find out how this game works and how you break through among all the other new games launching on Steam every day.

Weyrdlets is a cozy virtual pet game centered around a community and a simulated virtual world of colorful characters,” explained game director Shawn Beck. “There aren’t any real objectives or goals to achieve. It’s all about caring for a pet in a wholesome community of friends. Think of it as a desktop companion that’s also an idle game.”

According to the game’s art director, JT Yean, Weyderlets was inspired by Animal Crossing, a game that is also mostly about vibes and chilling with cute critters. Yean says that Weyrdlets is meant to “fade into the background” as you do other things on your PC.

“Think Microsoft Clippy, but better,” adds social media specialist Wing Yee.

A little digital friend on your big screen

While you can play Weyderlets like any other game—with it taking over your screen as you help build a new home for your pet, train them, and play with them—the coolest feature of this virtual pet sim is when you free your buddy and let them run around on your desktop as you do other things.

According to Beck, the team had wanted to make a virtual pet game for some time but didn’t have a “hook” for it. Desktop Goose and other games that put characters on your desktop helped guide the team.

“It’s not a new concept, for sure,” said Beck. “But we’ve tried a lot of other desktop pet games, and they were more toys than games. It just seemed like there was more to explore.”

The team says balancing the virtual pet on your desktop was tricky. The cute pet needs to require some of your attention, you’ll sometimes need to feed it or pet it, but they always had to make sure your cute critter never felt annoying.

How this all works, according to the devs, is that Weyrdlets is running on screen with a transparent background. So you can see and interact with your desktop as your virtual pet runs around and demands food. In my time with Weyrdlets, I’ve never been annoyed by Mustard, even when he would wander in front of my emails. And I was always able to get work done, watch videos, or play other games, too.

Getting people to play your new game in 2024

Of course, in 2024, even a cute virtual pet game inspired by Animal Crossing might struggle to find an audience. I asked the team if they were concerned about being buried by all the other big and small releases that seemingly launch every day on Steam.

“We’re worried all the time,” admitted Beck. “Really, all we can do is put our best foot forward and build something focused on bringing value to our players. Though I hope being in a niche space of virtual pets will help separate us from the noise.”

A screenshot shows someone playing Weyrdlets.

Screenshot: Weyrdworks

As for tips for other devs out there who hope to make something good that people actually find and play, Yean advised teams to “always share your work,” and get as much feedback as possible. “Player feedback has been immensely valuable to us,” added Beck.

“It’s also nice to be able to include the community in the credits,” said Yee. “I wish more games did this. I’m still new to the games industry, but being involved in the development of a game is really exciting, whether you’re on the dev team or cheering from the sidelines.”

Assuming Weyrdworks is able to get people playing and enjoying its desktop pet sim, the team has big plans for the future, including a soccer mode and more.

Weyrdlets is a continuously evolving game, meaning it will continue to receive updates, events, minigames, and other exciting features even after launch,” said Yee. “The fun never stops.”

Weyrdlets launches on July 23. A Mac version of the game will arrive sometime after launch. You can currently download and play a free demo of the game on Steam.


Source link

By admin

Malcare WordPress Security