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You're welcome. I'm glad I could help. I made that one a bit particular looking back on it now... it wasn't ever really intended to throw players for that much of a loop, just maybe a little bit of a detour was all I was imagining, so I'm sorry for the confusion there. You're not the first to have been tripped up by that particular request so, I think in hindsight it was perhaps a bit too strict or particular in how I designed that one.

I'm not sure if folks noticed, but one other fun fact related to this particular request is you can examine the one pickaxe Smith does have hanging on the wall in the workshop, and it mentions it is in need of repair. Since only a small handful of objects in the game allow you to examine or interact with them in such a way, I figured most players would not even think to try to check it, but for those who did notice there was one hanging on the wall of the workshop and thought "Why can't I just use this one over here?" I figured it would be a good idea to include something alluding to its poor state prior to repairs.

At one point in time I had envisioned for the game adding a lot of little elements like this for players who like to walk around and examine everything. I tend to enjoy it when games do this, as it allows you to draw out additional details through the writing that you may not be able to show very well just with imagery necessarily. When it came time to start writing hundreds of unique descriptions about pots and pans on the counter, the plate on the kitchen table, that one chair with the squeaky leg, and that random bucket of laundry in the corner, in other words stuff players might not ever even have need or reason to interact with, I ended up deciding not to go forward with that idea, even though I still like it.

It would have taken literal months to write unique descriptions for all of the things you could see in every area of the game across the game's cast (Darling might think "Bennie's kitchen utensils lay atop the counter. They seem well worn." but Bennie examining them would have to say something else "My old worn out kitchen supplies. They were the best I could get on such short notice." instead etc.) and it's really just for something that was not that integral to the overall experience.

It would have been nice though. Maybe in some future game.

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Yes! I had that exact thought when I saw the pickaxe on the wall. I got really excited...and then I realized it was the broken one Smith alluded to earlier :)

One of my favorite things to do is click on every little thing in a game to read the descriptions, and it's what I was expecting to do here. I understand the triple constraint, so I'm glad you focused on the overall experience within the time and budget you had. I liked that you made it super obvious what to click (except for a couple of things, which was a smart move) so that we didn't click on a bunch of stuff only to get no feedback. That's always frustrating.

Do you think you will make more games like this? Not necessarily a sequel, but non-violent RPGs with unique combat situations. There really aren't that many out there that I know of.

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While I enjoyed working on an RPG, I learned that doing a project like that on my own takes a lot of time, and that I don't really have all the skill sets that I need to make it into what I really envisioned in my mind, since I'm no artist or musician or etc. So while I won't say "never again" outright or anything, I also don't really see it happening outside of a situation where perhaps in the future I could work as part of a team on another non-violent RPG project.

But you're right, the entire concept of non-violent RPG is almost unheard of... there are very few of them out there to my knowledge at least. Perhaps the idea will appeal enough that some other folks will want to try their own hand at making them, and the sub-genre will start to spread over time. I was pretty inspired by Undertale, for its ability to have encounters that didn't need to be solved violently, and how it generally did things in unorthodox fashion, even going so far as to highlight the absurdity of, and parody, many conventional RPG cliches. Non-violent games or generally wholesome ones seem to be on the rise in popularity recently, which is a promising sign I think overall.

All that said though, I'm already working on a new initiative that for the moment is taking the form of an Interactive Fiction story with different characters and stories broken out into chapters. Writing is more my forte I think overall, and as I'm learning my way around Twine at the outset of this new project, it's also nice to not run into the road blocks and limitations that I had trying to make an RPG, where most of the things I wanted to do were outside of my wheelhouse of skill sets. Here my only limitations are how well I can or cannot draw out the reader's imagination with words. And importantly, the boundaries to creativity and imagination are much fewer with this approach as well. Fewer limits means more things become possible to explore and create.

And with the new project I also have a focus on some novel ways of looking at things, including repercussions surrounding violence and anger. So it might not be along the lines of what you're looking for necessarily, but I think it will surprise and hopefully interest enough folks to eventually build a community around it. I envision it as a collaborative, or at least free/open, universe where folks can take what I have started and run with it themselves in their own projects, or contribute ideas for building it up over time. Maybe an RPG based within its universe would be a possibility for the future. I can't imagine what shape(s) it will all take yet, but that's okay too. As it has been said, when nothing is certain, anything is possible.

I'll get more into the details of all that when the time comes though. It's not quite at a good enough starting point to where I feel I'm ready to start putting out public builds just yet, but I don't think it will be terribly much longer until I get things there either. Unlike with Death? Preposterous!, where I waited until it was done before putting it out there for folks, this time around I plan to develop and release builds gradually over time, so it will be more of a work-in-progress for the long term sort of endeavor that I get to share as I go, which should be more fun overall I think.