Hello Ya’ll!

I’m coming out of the woodwork to announce a new game from Sokay, Cheddar Beach: Episode 0. In a strange turn of events, this new game is in the style of a visual novel. Meaning that it’s a story-based game, with a lot less interaction than an action game like Thugjacker. Cheddar Beach: Episode 0 is coming this Spring and planned for release on PC (Steam) and mobile (Android and iPhone/iPad).

I started working on Cheddar Beach about a year ago. The plan was to come up with something that I could potentially finish just by myself. For years, I’d been wanting to experiment more with telling stories in games. With each Sokay project, I’ve tended to approach the gameplay and story together. We may start with an idea sparked by the story and the world that we imagine, and sometimes we start with the gameplay first and build a story around that.

With Cheddar Beach, I wanted to figure out if we could make a game based around a story. The story is the gameplay. Could that be interesting in and of itself? Growing up, action games were just about all there was to play on the NES. The games that got more complicated than that (Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest), just weren’t for me! Mostly because they didn’t make any SENSE to me (I could barely read), but also, menus are boring! I want to control an actual character, move them around the screen and have them attack when I press a button!

Over time, I grew out of my comfort zone. Secret of Mana was an action game that introduced me to leveling and experience points. Chrono Trigger introduced me to why the story in the game can be the “icing on the cake,” and made it worth learning how to navigate a menu-based RPG battle system. Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid showed me stories that I could enjoy, without even playing the game firsthand.

Cheddar Beach is not only a new genre for us, but a new game engine. For this project I dove into the Godot Game Engine to get a feel for development with it. On my first impression, it reminded me of what it ‘felt’ like to develop games in Flash. Back then, it felt quick to jump in and experiment with ideas. The editor is lightweight and worked well across Windows and OSX platforms, so it got my attention. It’s free and the exporters for different platforms (html, Windows, iOS, Android) seemed to work well also. So I gave it a shot.

We are planning on releasing Cheddar Beach: Episode 0 in Spring 2024. It will be available on PC by way of Steam. Also, for mobile on Android and iOS.

Currently, the game is playable from start to finish, but we’re testing and polishing things. The plan is to continue development of Cheddar Beach: Episode 0 after launch to polish, add new features, and implement feedback. The goal is to keep this rolling until we can develop and release an Episode 1, which would be the “actual” start of the story.

Stay tuned!

While I was creating the Sokay Zine, I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight some artists in my life that were doing some great things. In my day to day I get so caught up with trying to use my creativity to simply make a product as quickly as possible. That makes it difficult to see outside of what’s directly in front of me. Seeing people maintain their imagination and use their creative abilities in refreshing ways continues to rejuvenate me during my own journeys.

For the first issue of the Zine we interviewed the homie, Gabriel Gaete (aka Gabotron). Check out it:

Photo of Gabriel Gaete (aka Gabotron) by Stephanie Sparks

So from my perspective, you do art and animation. Music and storytelling. How would you describe what it is that you do?

I use art, animation, music and storytelling and fuse it all together to create work intended to convey, explain and communicate concepts, ideas and information. I create work for myself and for clients but it all stems from the same communicative standpoint, although the understandability of my projects can range from, “Aha! I get it!” to “What the hell did I just watch?” it all has some kind of message to convey. For my clients I have to be very clear in communicating certain information. For my personal projects I use more abstract means to communicate ideas and concepts that can be more vague and difficult to understand, but represent the weird stuff that goes on in my brain.

I also take visual notes, I started taking visual notes in my community college classes and I found it as an invaluable and powerful tool to retain information. From client work, to games conferences to personal work I’ve created many doodle filled notes that really help me in synthesizing information.

Artwork by Gabotron

What are some sources of your inspiration?

I’m really inspired by brain science, culture, human interactions, different perspectives, experiential video games, the way music affects us, animals, plants and my cats. Continue Reading…