The Ugly Game is a kinetic novel for PC, Mac and Linux


I was talking to my kid about games and had shown her the simple visual novel system of renpy many months back, but had blown it off while she was in school. Now that we are struggling to find projects to do with Corona and the summer hanging over us, we took on trying to make a game as a project. After showing her some visual novels that Fruitbat Factory conveniently released for free, we started talking about game design and what to work on. Then after a discussion on big game jams, I stopped by the game games page and I Can’t Draw But Want To Make a Game (Again) game jam stood out as perfect for the both of us to really learn game design together. She was sold on the cutesy ducks littering the page.

After a discussion about why programmer art is considered ugly, I settled on making a game about an ugly game. Since I’ve never tried a Kinetic Novel, I decided I’d work with that in mind and looked to classic games like the Questprobe series on the ZX Spectrum as influences in design. The game was going to be loosely based on The Ugly Duckling from Hans Christian Andersen.  I am no programmer which is exemplified by my ugly code. I am no writer which is why there is so much I wanted to put in that just didn’t make the cut. Deadlines are something. I am no artist which is why this game jam was perfect to begin with.

At the end of the day I had a blast making a game that my kid could enjoy. She did her best to make a game for everyone else to enjoy. With a bit more time and some better planning, hopefully I can make something a lot less ugly in the future.