Very Bunny started life as a series of drawings that Leilani had created. They had character and a cuteness that made Robert want to use them in game. So we started by putting them into a small mini-game in Unity that eventually became the Gem collection scene in Very Bunny Haha. This was then turned into her Senior High School project. Something that Leilani was to learn from while working on. She did an excellent job on the project and got to present it to teachers, parents and peers. This went so well that Leilani also got to present the project in the school sponsored STEAM presentation day, getting up on stage and talking about all she has learned about making games, with some specific areas of art discussed for requirements and time.
The school project was going to be relatively small, compared to what we now have in development for VBHh. It started out life as an homage to Harvest Moon and Poptropica. Even then putting both these games together was going to be quite large. However the core gameplay is based on farming and could be considered quite repetitive. We really enjoyed working creatively together on the project so continued on after the project was finished with as far as her school was concerned. We wanted to finish this game and publish it as we were rather proud of what it looked like and how it worked.
Robert is an avid reader of Gamasutra.com and game development sites, and one day came across an article that discussed making your NPCs (non player characters) more life like. He enjoyed the article so much that he shared it with Leilani who also thought it was brilliant. We had definitely felt our NPCs were very static in the game and this article pushed us towards trying to make our NPCs have more depth and character. So we took notes of what to do and tried them out on one of our NPCs. It was immediate and amazing. We came up with a personality and with it motivations and desires. This then quickly led to us wanting to add more quests that made sense for this character. More quests was OK for our quest system.. or that is what we felt. Then as we gave more and more of the games NPCs this
profile makeover we ended up with so many ideas from cross purpose motivations along with storylines that would match up with other NPCs. Somehow this had led us to have a village of characters... rather than a village of just player elements waiting to be triggered. We could have taken this further and have multiple storylines and endings etc, but we really had to draw the line somewhere, or this game would never be done. Also as we pursue the main story arcs we find other important quests to add to the game to fill out and round off some of the characters, or needs of the player.
So now we had something that we felt was wholly ours and unique and something that both of us were incredibly excited about. This did of course mean that the direction of the game has altered dramatically from a simply farming simulation with light questing to a Story driven with lots of Quests exploring game. This change we realized is going to add considerable time to the development of this game. However our excitement cannot be dulled and we both felt that this story telling style was something that made us unique, compelling and exciting. This was the way to go.