The Development of Foreign

My initial goal was to develop a story-driven game with some characters you could talk to.

In the end, what came out was an open-world, role-playing game that incorporates an artificial intelligence system written in about 500 pages of code, with English literary content equivalent to a 400-page book with 40 3D characters operating in a virtual world, responding emotionally to every user’s action in a fraction of a second, on a home computer.

The game features dozens of branching stories, dialogue choices, and game mechanics that include third and first-person control, speech persuasion, combat, cooking, safe hacking, sneaking, using tools, navigating maps and more.

It all started in school, the year was 2016 I studied game development and saw many types of games, but one thing kept bugging me, all story-driven games concentrate only on fighting. The reason is pretty clear, a game usually is seen as a sport where there is competition, in a winning and losing situation, I had to find a different kind of game.

There is another way to look at life not just as a competition but as a story. The story has choices on the way, and at the end of the story, there is a change in the world, or a change in character, or even simply the adventure of exploring a new way you did not know before. 

Not everything is about competition, winning or losing.

At the end of school, a friend told me: Why not play FALLOUT4 this game is very similar to the game you want to make.

I told myself that it was worth trying, maybe I would learn something from this strange game about imaginary America in the 1960s.

I sat down at the computer and downloaded the game.

Six months later,

I got up from the chair after 2000+ hours of gameplay and realized that something was done right here. 

But it’s still a fighting game. There has to be a way to change that.

I looked around, the apartment looking like it hadn’t been cleaned for years, the flower pots dried up, sparks of dust rose from the carpet. 

I sat back and told myself, what’s the big deal, all it takes to get started is some 3d NPC’s, some 3D houses, some lines of code, and writing some stories.

It took me a year of programming to get some NPC’s into the house without disappearing or get stuck, another year to get the characters to stop and talk to the player and not bump into him endlessly, a year to make the characters say the right sentence at the right time and not repeat the same sentence over and over, another year to bring the player into a home while loading the contents of that home without causing the computer to smoke and make small sparks.

Luckily for me, I found out that if you work at nights, Saturdays, holidays and sleep much less, you can squeeze five years into three.

It works, I checked.

Then when I added some fighting to the game I found out that combat is also kind of fun, so maybe I should change the game? But it wasn’t fun to go back and change 500 pages of code, so I just added it to the game, and the game expanded more and now it contains much more than the original design.

And eventually the time has come, the game evolved, the coffee ran out in the store, Liam has grown 3 years more, I started dreaming of code lines, and I felt it was time to release it.

You are welcome to buy FOREIGN at a Steam store, and help me make the next game (or buy a robot for dust cleaning).

Ilan Manor