I think I have waited long enough to explain some things about A-Box. It was a passion project of mine that I poured several hours into, even though how short the game was. I wanted to perfect everything that I could to make it something relatively unique. My first two games (all of my games were made on free, so I only have a total of three games) are basically what formed into A-Box. My first game, A Little Evil, was a difficult platforming experience with some story elements added in later, but very minimal. The art was janky and just modified versions of the default sprites. I would change a lot of it now. The next game, A Boy in Armor, was basically an interactive story book. I took some more risks with it, adding in more animations, doing my own sprites and animations from scratch, and developing a story first above gameplay. I used art, music, and story to create a almost nostalgic feeling, and nearly melancholy. I was very happy with the end result, having mostly positive reviews. The downside was that it was a walk and click game. Having free also limited what I could place into the story as well. So, after updating A Boy in Armor a bit more, I came up with the next concept… (NOTE: If you’re just here the story explanation, just skip ahead to the section)
How is started
A-Box was originally was going to be “A Ball o’ Slime”. It was merely a concept then, featuring completely 2D sprites and a slime ball that left behind a slime trail, trying to expand on the art style and animation. However, I didn’t see this as anything special, and I wasn’t satisfied. So, editing the character, the green slime ball soon turned into the tubes you see in the game with bubbles rising in them. I then tested something I’ve been meaning to test: 2.5D art. It was tough at first, but once I got the base blocks, I was able to start developing background pieces and obstacles.
After I got the first small section in, I decided to write a story around… Something… T.0.D.D. didn’t exist yet, at the time. So, what I had been doing was testing out letters and numbers within names. And that’s where I got my generic list of names for the characters. I then went to Google Docs to draft a short story. It was choppy and kind of cheesy, but being put into the game, it worked. When I wrote the ending, I needed to figure out the character design. I tried several things, and at one point T.0.D.D. was going to be a robotic ball that had very extreme bouncing effects. But I soon realized that the character didn’t resemble the game enough, and so, looking at the surroundings… Why not a box? A-Box.
The game was heavily influenced by a small but unique game development company called Remedy Entertainment that brought us classics like Max Payne and Alan Wake, and very unique and truly amazing games like Quantum Break and their latest project Control (my GOTY last year, highly suggest checking it out). All of their games were special and unique with amazing gameplay, beautiful graphics and atmosphere, very complex world building, and most of all: wonderfully orchestrated stories. The head writer, Sam Lake, is possibly one of the most unique writers out there, and personally the person I look up to.
Seeing their games made me want to create something special, something my own. I even adding in world building elements such as the monitors, and adding in some clues through character dialogue. I wanted there to be more to the story than the player sees. I wanted them to theorize, to think. The story has a deeper, more personal meaning than people might think. I wanted to show people that even though people may be good to you, that you don’t HAVE to follow them. You are not bound to them, especially if they are hurting you. T.1.M. constantly hurt T.0.D.D., (SPOILERS) and ruthlessly murdered the people he began to get closer to so that T.1.M. can get into his head. It was bringing him down a bad path. T.0.D.D. was meant to seem nice at first, but after a while, he wanted to start abusing his rights of creating T.0.D.D. In the story, T.0.D.D. is the variable, the “x” value. It can be anybody you want it to be (Examples: Kailee, Bryanna, etc.), and it could represent them if it relates to you enough. Even though T.1.M. created T.0.D.D. (only to destroy him), T.0.D.D. was still himself. In the end (ANOTHER SPOILER), when he breaks, a heart shows up. Physically, this is impossible. But figuratively, it represents a new beginning. T.0.D.D. is no longer bothered by T.1.M., though it is obvious the damage is still there. Then, it ends. At least, what you see. The rest is up to you and your interpretation. And that is why A-Box will NEVER receive a sequel. Whatever person that is being hard on your life without any good reason, those events in your life ARE the sequel. You yourself is where the story goes on.
The game itself had several inspirations, many being on FlowLab. I’d like to shout out @“Biscuit Butter” 's game " Kid’s Quest", which contained several mechanics I had figured out for my game. Along with that, @“Creeper Bones” ’ “Castle Jump” for the smooth camera along with @grazer 's tutorial (I’m pretty sure it was his…) and to @“JR 01” who helped me figure out a checkpoint system. A-Box was a lot of ideas that I had adjusted to fit with the game, and it was the most enjoyable and intriguing experience I had making any of my games. I did a lot of new things with A-Box, especially with my first credits scene (took me over a day to perfectly time with the music). Not to mention the wonderful work of @Eric_Matyas for creating such unique music that just fit so well with the game.
Thank you to everyone who supported me through this journey, it was probably one of my fondest memories. I won’t be able to repeat it. Thank you for all of the feedback, ideas, and fun times in the creation of this game. This community is strong, and makes games even stronger. Hopefully some day I’ll be able to buy Indie, improve A-Box further and create some more games for you guys. So, thank you. Thank you all. For the criticism, reviews, comments, everything. This has been such a dream. Don’t let people bring you down. Be stronger. Live your own life, for in fact you are you, not them.
Have a great day