The Alchemist

Dear Insane Children, 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in a place where that makes sense! And to those in the other places, we can still give thanks! I give thanks (HUGE THANKS) to you, our Insane Children, for making all this possible. Not just the art, story, and design work we’re doing – but the community, the collective creation, and the shared feeling of accomplishment. I’ve said it before but… I am having a BLAST working on this with you. And am hugely appreciative of your support. Thank you!

Though it’s a holiday for a lot of you, the Spice Must Flow! And our creative output is still on Full Blast! So I’m back today with a second (mini) part to the previous update in which I outlined my thinking for the General Narrative Presentation of Asylum. 

That presentation inspired some new artwork from Omri (above) and some questions from our Insane Children. So let’s tackle those and see where it takes us! 

BTW, If you’ve not already figured it out… HUGE SPOILER WARNINGS! HUGE! 

First up, Omri says (of the new dress design):

still Wip and also i need to design the back

like i said, my problem with the Ash dress is that it’s not different enough from the Original blue dress and also technically there’s no space to place Leds on the dress to create those lights on it.

In this i integrated the Ash with the Alchemy stuff, i took designs from the Hatter’s outfit, i took in consideration that where the cosplayers will place the Led to create that red fire light in the fabric. I also took inspiration from welder’s outfits. i this works but need tweaking and i need to do the back.

I want to rework it some more, i like the hair, i hope other people will too.

So what do you think of this new “Ash Dress” (version 2) plus “Alchemy Dress” for Alice’s attire when she goes to visit Hatter? 

Leave your feedback in the comments! 

Questions From The Inmates

A couple of you put forth some excellent questions to my previous post. 

 Gregory Paraubek wrote: 

QUESTION:   Is the initial “loop” that Child Alice stuck in part of the stages of grief or is it a state of existence prior to traversing them? If the former, is she trapped in Shock, exploring Denial without care, or going through all the stages?

Or is it the latter, and the Hatter’s experiment and the breaching arrival of the Mystery what triggers Shock?  Does the fire happen, Child Alice goes through Shock (in which perhaps she loses her Shadow/the splitting of Alices), and then loops through Denial until the Mystery arrives?

I wonder if endless loops through Bad Stuff wouldn’t leave the Child jaded to a point where they wouldn’t want to proceed through the adventure, would danger that threatens something idyllic be a good motivator for action?

The Loop is the stages of grief played over and over inside this bubble of reality where Child Alice has become stuck. Imagine it like a self-contained little Snow Globe of Wonderland where Young Alice traverses the landscape of trauma over and over. I imagine by the time we meet her she’s grown tired of going the more difficult/painful places and mostly dwells in Denial (until something triggers her and sends her to Anger or Bargaining, etc).

(That, btw, has me thinking about Triggers as a means of kicking the player around the various stages of the game). 

Imagine that the fire happened, she went into PTSD, spent years bouncing around the various stages in great pain and anger. She eventually managed to settle most of the time in Denial or Depression but has never been able to fully exit The Loop. 

When the explosion happens it’s triggered by, well, us. We’re picking up the thread of the narrative at the end of Madness Returns. Outside of The Loop, there’s Adult Alice trying to examine herself after the events of AMR… Peering into the Snow Globe and realizing that she’s broken. She needs to find and heal her Inner Child. So she tries breaking through the glass of that Snow Globe… but her efforts are viewed from the inside as violent attacks.  

Sarah Heist asks:

QUESTION: So would we then- seeing through the eyes of Child Alice- view Adult Alice as the dark “Shadow Alice” ?

I purposely avoided any mention of “Shadow Alice” in that post because I feel it’s caused confusion in the past. Whether or not we ultimately decide that Adult Alice is the same as Shadow Alice… I don’t know just yet. I imagine we’re first going to see Young Alice’s view of The Mystery as an invading dark blob/fog turning everything it touches to … shadow? 

Then Alice will realize that The Mystery is actually some version of herself – a Through The Looking Glass dark refection. And she’ll finally understand that she’s viewing herself “all grown up.” Peering out from inside the Snow Globe at her future self.

QUESTION: Is the final battle between adult Alice and child Alice or is it both against all of wonderland for the transformation to be complete?

Probably both. My current thinking is that the Wonderland of Young Alice must be Dissolved in order for Integration and Transformation to be made complete. But before Young Alice is willing to accept who/what The Mystery is (Adult Alice) she’ll have to fight it. 

During or after that fight we’ll reveal the true nature of The Mystery. After that… it’s going to be Alice vs. Wonderland as Young Alice overcomes the obstacles necessary to initiate The Dissolving.

QUESTION: Can/will there be multiple endings or one fixed storyline? Or can there be the illusion of free will choice in the game but with the same general result ? 

Haven’t thought about the multiple endings thing yet. But I would like to present an ending which warps the player’s brain a bit in terms of violating expectations. Still working on that. 

QUESTION: Would we be meeting Hatter before Bargaining then, accordingto the outline? When/how would that happen? 

Hatter’s Domain still represents Bargaining. But I think it’s Hatter who is the character representing Bargaining (not Alice). He’s the one who stumbled on the nature of their reality (a closed loop) and understands in his own way what The Mystery means (transformation of Wonderland in current form to something new and unknown). 

Because of this reframing of his role and the knowledge he contains I believe we’ll need to move up the timing of his appearance in the story. 

Right now I’m thinking something like: Denial->Anger->Bargaining->???

That sequence would also be interspersed with flashbacks and memories of the fire, the asylum, etc. Still work in progress!

More questions from Angel Wings… 

QUESTION:   OK we’re going to need a chart. We’ll work on that later, but for now we have a question. The loop, it is the prelude chapter world, yes? And then the explosion, or breach or shock is what tips it into the first chapter. 

Yeah, we’re going to need a chart… but we always need a chart! 🙂 Charts are great!

As for The Loop and timing… I think *we* (the players, the game) initiate The Explosion which knocks the world out of The Loop and starts the narrative of Asylum. This might be the meta aspect of the game which we later use for the brain warp game ending. 

James Olson commented: 

QUESTION:  Since this is self contained, is this like an adult Alice looking back at that child part of her that was hurt and working through the trauma as a child? To recognize that as a child, you don’t have the same faculties as an adult so when dealing with trauma, especially at a very young age, there is all emotion and little logical thought. 

Our perspective would be 100% that of Child Alice. So we (audience) won’t know what it is that’s trying to destroy Wonderland (Adult Alice) until quite a way into the story. [Except you… you’re reading all these spoilers!] So we’re seeing everything through a child’s eyes as these terrifying changes start ripping apart a place she’d made her sanctuary (as mad as it might be). 

That’s it for today. Again, take some time to digest all of that and let me know if you’ve got any follow up questions. I really LOVE your questions because they help me sort out my thinking and organize my view of how best to present things. 

From Shanghai in a Snow Globe,


Leave a Reply