Saturday, June 23, 2012

AXIOM.01 Gameplay Intro

Since the mysteries are a central part of AXIOM.01, we wanted players to actively take on the role of detective. As such, you travel to multiple locations searching for clues and interrogating suspects. Once you've got all the evidence, you must present a thorough deduction to convince everyone of the culprit.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - Sagan

Don't be uncooperative, Sagan. If you aren't gonna talk, we'll just have to do things the hard way...

The system we've developed for this is still being tweaked and is definitely open to future improvement, but let's take a look at the state of the gameplay thus far. Onwards to the jump cut!

Investigation Phase
Deduction Phase
Future Changes? 

Investigation Phase

The first part of each mystery is the Investigation Phase, where you must search for clues and interview suspects to gather important facts. During this part, three new buttons - Clues, Map, and End Day, pop up on the right side of the screen, along with a HP bar.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - Investigation Phase

Clicking on Clues takes you to your inventory, which is organized into 3 types of clues.
  • Suspects are people who might be involved in the crime, obviously.
  • Evidence includes any physical clues. You collect these by searching locations (more on that later) or taking them from suspects.
  • Facts are statements of info you observe or discover during interrogations.
Clues you are missing are indicated by -???- so you know when to keep looking.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - Clues Suspects screen
AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - Clues Evidence screen

The Map button allows you to switch your location. Each location has different suspects to interrogate and places to search. You don't want to move around too much, though, because you lose some HP every time you switch locations. Once you run out of HP, the Investigation Phase ends, regardless of whether you've found enough clues or not.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - map example

At each location, you can interview any suspects who are currently there (in the example above, going to the storeroom would let you talk to Remy and Sagan). Some people require you to show them certain items or do a task before they'll answer your questions. Affection levels may also come into play here- if a guy likes you enough, he might be more inclined to help you out.

Searching each area takes you to a "hidden object" game, where you collect clues by clicking around the room. Clicking around too much results in losing more HP (at least for now), so it's best to be conservative. Note, however, that not all of the clues are essential for solving the case. Some items may give (or take away) your HP, while others are just plain red herrings.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - clue collection example

Deduction Phase

Once you think you've found enough clues, use the End Day button to fast-forward to the Deduction Phase.

Here, you must construct a series of Truths out of the clues you've collected. Each Truth is a statement with missing sections, which you fill in using the appropriate Suspects, Evidence, or Facts from your inventory. If you select the wrong clues, you lose some HP and have to try again.

AXIOM.01 gameplay screenshot - Deduction Phase

Once you successfully pass the deduction (without running out of HP), you've won the case and get to advance with the story! Yay!

Future Changes?

The gameplay for AXIOM.01 is one of the major things we'll have to finalize before we can release a public game demo. Some things that we definitely want to consider (and solicit feedback on) include:
  • Eliminating/reducing the HP penalty, especially in the hidden object games. Is it too frustrating to be losing HP as you're clicking around to search, especially when you're not always sure what clues to look for?
  • How to enhance replay-ability. As of now, the solutions to the main cases do not change (though some scenes do) depending on your previous choices, which might make them tedious to replay if you want to try different paths. We may make the first case, at the very least, skippable on subsequent playthroughs. Alternatively, we could give players rewards for finishing cases faster or more efficiently - perhaps in the form of new unlockable choices/scenes, extra art, etc.
I'm sure many more issues will come up once more people start testing the game, so we're probably going to be looking for beta testers very soon. :)


  1. Seems great :)
    Looking forward to it.xd

    1. Glad to hear it! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  2. Yes, definitely get rid of the HP penalty: if you have played My Candy Love you will see how annoying it is to run out of HP too quickly. If you are trying to give your players a challenge, limit the number of places they can go to in a day. I hope I don't sound too pushy. ^_^;

    1. Don't worry, you're not pushy at all. ^_^ Feedback like this is exactly what we're looking for!

      I think what we should do then is get rid of the HP penalty when you are searching for clues, but keep the penalty for moving locations. Hopefully that will be about the right level of difficulty?

  3. Whoo, that looks so cool! I love the gameplay, the EVN community sure needs more stories like this (and strong and independent main characters xD).

    As for the questions you raised, I think it will be reasonable to get rid of the HP penalty during the hidden objects games, because it's a bother. ._.

    As for the replayability, it's a nice idea to offer extras - it will be an incentive for players to try different choices, etc. But if that's too much work, I suppose the option to skip cases will work too. c:

    1. Thanks! I totally second the more strong and independent MCs sentiment. I'd like to see more girl detectives as well! Nancy Drew was how many years ago now? :D

      It sounds like the hidden object HP penalty should definitely go! Heh, I'm really glad I asked about it now.

      Hmm, yeah, replay extras might be the way to go...maybe I should lock some of the choices leading to the better endings, or would that be annoying? ^^;