“I hate prophetic dreams. I say this as someone about to have one.”

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up from a dream in which your mortal enemy was trying to kill you while speaking in blank verse?


Whaddayamean, you haven't?

Anyway, I always liked interacting with dream sequences in games. Especially ones in which the dreams matter to the story or had puzzles.

It can be tempting to attribute meaning to dreams in real life. They always seem to allude to some message. Or, at least, mine do. I've had conversations with people in dreams, then woken up and felt as if I'd really had that conversation. It then takes me a moment to orient and realize that no, my brother did not whisk Georgie the goat away while I wasn't looking. 

I wanted to capture that feeling. You know, minus the goat. This is a serious story.

So in the Empress of Aeser, dreams matter, they have an impact on the story, and you can solve puzzles in them.

Attached is a preview of some of the dialogue/visual novel style sequences in the game (first two screenshots), as well as some of the third person interact-with-the-world sequences (second two screenshots).


I played with using a third person perspective and a rotating camera, but I found it was just too confusing to figure out what you were supposed to do next. Adventure games often do better (and visual novels as well) with a fixed perspective where you can see everything you can interact with at once.

That and getting a scene to work in full 3D with a painterly style takes an unholy amount of time.

So the player character is a 3D character, but like 2.5D games like Grim Fandango, the backdrops are prerendered. I like having the 3D sets to work from (even if the library took me months to model and paint) because there can be multiple views of each scene.

All art made in Blender3D and Krita in Ubuntu Studio, except for some of the holdover art from when I was still suffering with Windows 10.


See more behind-the-scenes stuff on my Patreon.

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