Category: Story

Taking Bongo International.

So last weekend I mentioned that I’d detoured from the sacred plan and got carried away with a sudden new idea…. even though everyone knows it’s never a good idea to stray from the path!

I spent the time to write a blog post justifying why I ignored my own advice, so I thought it was only fair to give a sneak peak of what I’d been up to on my little off-piste trip.

Even though PolyCity is set in a sprawling American metropolis (More on that in the next post), I wanted to give it a small flavour, a little taste, a feint whiff of my home town.

Now Middlesbrough certainly has some sights, and some characters that would fit perfectly into a game like this, but if you asked a local to think of one place, one location, one venue that might be useful in a story about the seedy crime underworld, then you’d get one answer.

The bongo.

The legend lives on

The point at which I became old enough to legally drink (long after I began illegally drinking) Club Bongo was simply a place you did not go.

It’s thought that in Star Wars, Obi Wan kenobi’s famous description of the Mos eisley cantina, was a genuine, un-scripted ad-lib by Sir Alec Guinness, who had recently returned from a 14 hour bender in Middlesbrough, ending at the bongo, with those words echoing in his shattered mind.

“You’ll not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, we must be cautious”

These are not the roids you’re looking for

In actual fact, as we got older, we learned that Club Bongo International (to give it it’s full name) was steeped in rich heritage and history. (It was steeped in many other things too)

Started in 1963 by a Somalian who served in the merchant navy, it became an institution in the town, providing some of the best, most authentic vinyl only reggae nights you could wish for, it just wasn’t for the feint hearted.

Unfortunately over it’s long history (and coincidentally the few occasions I found myself there) it had more than it’s fair share of incidents and currently lies dormant, after another revoked license for a “spot of door trouble”

A dark alley, behind the bongo? yeah, should be fine.

So in homage to our towns most loved and equally feared nightclub, I’ve decided to bring it’s essence back to life in PolyCity.

And what can you expect to find there? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Plan it, bin it and plan it again

So given everything I said about setting realistic goals, One thing I really want to achieve with Poly City is a solid story.

This meant before I even got in front of a computer, a year’s supply of post it notes, pens and paper were bought.

It was no coincidence that the UK had just been placed into lockdown during our first wave of covid19 and it felt like we were stockpiling everything. If nothing else the 20 Meter roll of art paper and colourful self adhesive sheets, could be used to stock our bathroom during the great toilet roll shortage of April 2020.

Thankfully being one of the best summer’s we’d had in years (typically during lockdown) those post it notes started to spread around the garden too, giving us a break from our 4 walls.

The key point for all of this planning was to ensure I had a solid story with real motivation to solve the puzzles along the way. It was to also avoid some of the pain of my previous games, which tended to evolve organically and spiral out of scope.

The godfather of the Point and Click Genre Ron Gilbert swears by the PDC or puzzle dependency chart for this very task, something pivotal to creating a cohesive adventure game with multiple concurrent tasks and a feeling of progression for the player.

Not actually a PDC (that would give the game away!) but a narrative flow of the key story points

Without his wise teachings from his blog and his work on the SCUMM engine, (leading to the incredible Monkey Island games) I doubt I’d ever have got into this stuff in the first place.

Thanks Ron.

© 2022 PolyCity Stories

Theme by Anders NorĂ©nUp ↑