A/N: I just realized I hadn’t posted this here, so I hope you enjoy it! Originally posted on Patriah’s itch.io page.
WELCOME TO PATRIAH, and thanks to everyone for your support. I’m gonna use my first devlog post to talk a bit more about what Patriah is and the scope of what it will look like when it’s done.
Patriah is a game that was inspired by the way that, as a woman, I find myself having to interact with men. In conversations with other women, I found that they understood this problem all too well. We’ve all been cornered in places where we can’t escape – like at work – where shunning a man’s advances may mean putting ourselves in real physical danger. But not shunning him puts you in physical danger, too. What do we do?
In Patriah, the protagonist’s entrapment is very real. She’s lived in this mansion her whole life, and she cannot leave. She is finally able to choose her husband who will keep her trapped somewhere else for the rest of her life, where her job will be to have as many children as possible. She really has no say in anything, but the system she’s ensnared in is made to look like she does. I think it’s a case of one person along the way who understood that the women in these houses are people who have no control. Maybe he arranged this choosing to make himself feel better, or reduce the odds of suicide.
Now that I think about it, I made this game thinking about gender politics, but it also contains a lot about agency. I’m crazy about agency in everything I read and write. Maybe it’s a typical thing that you can find in my work, but can you have a conversation about gender politics that doesn’t somehow involve agency and power?
I read a lot of visual novels and dating sims, so I had them in mind over 2016 and 2017 when I played Ladykiller in a Bind followed by LISA the Joyful. I think that these two games happening to me so close together were responsible for Patriah. In early 2017 I started applying for game writing jobs and I needed to have a twine game to show for something, but Patriah was the only idea I had. In the end Patriah didn’t get me a writing job, I just had this terrible monstrosity of a game concept about sexism that I couldn’t shake.
Programming Patriah in its original twine form is also how I realized that yes, I could figure out how to code on my own, and then I spent 2017 learning a lot about programming.
I shopped around a lot to find the perfect format for Patriah. I wanted a game with a lot of choices that was text heavy. I wanted the story to rely on the words so that the reader could imagine what they wanted into a text — so that the men who Patriah encounters were monsters of our own imagining more than what the game wants you to see. Twine was good for this, but then I realized that it might be more interesting to lean into the dating game aspect that I had already chosen to use. That’s when I moved the story into Ren’py over the fall of 2017. I’m happy with how the game works now, with NVL-mode overlay reading long pages of text, and potential bachelors in silhouettes highlighting only one definitive feature about them.
Joshua’s route is available in the demo, and came out at around 6000 words. Once the other bachelors are written and their variables are taken into account in his route as well, I imagine it will be closer to 10,000 words. When complete, Patriah should weigh in at around 50,000 words, the size of a NaNoWriMo novel: one route for each bachelor and a classic “true route” necessary for any good dating sim. I want the true route to be a real surprise, so don’t let me talk about it.
Now that I’ve released the demo I’m going to be taking a short break to catch up on other work I had put off to get this out there. I’ll keep the devlogs coming, and talk a bit about each of the bachelors soon. I hope for Patriah to be released in full before the end of 2018.
Thank you! Check out the demo!