I recently responded to an e-mail. It was someone asking about Inner Vision, asking for some data and my motivations behind it. So, I thought I’d just share our conversation (I’m also too lazy to actually write a blog post about this, heh):

Message 1:

Hello Sunil,My name is [].

I am currently working on my PhD in Clinical Psychology and my research focus is in suicide prevention. Someone forwarded me your game Inner Vision some time ago and I’ve wanted to talk with you about it since.I think that the game was a fascinating experience. I wondered immediately if you had a background in psychology or were familiar with suicide prevention research, since the game is so evocative of what the science represents.

Also, I would love to know if you have any data about the game (e.g. how many people were “saved”, how many times the game has been played, how many people have seen the game, etc.). That my be wishful thinking, but I would love to see some data on the game.

If you wouldn’t mind talking about the game a little more in depth I’d love to talk to you about it. What motivated you to make this game? Why this presentation? Why suicide as your subject matter? I have a ton of questions.

But overall, I did enjoy the experience. I’ve forwarded it on to many of my colleagues.

As a final thought. I felt the music for the game was outstanding. I don’t know if you had an outside composer or if you did it yourself, but kudos. It was the perfect complement.


Message 2:

Hello [],

Thank you for taking the time to play my game, I really appreciate it. Now to answer some of your questions:

I actually have no background in psychology. I’m currently a junior undergraduate student going for a computer science bachelor’s degree. Some of the characters and conversations found in the game are based on real life situations I found myself in while having intimate conversations with friends. I wanted to share my experiences and feelings on suicide, so I decided to go to my favorite artistic medium: video games.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really implement any data tracking into the game. The only data I received were from the e-mails/messages I got from people who were really moved by the game. Here are some things that I’ve collected:

– People had the most difficulty with the last character, Oscar, who was homeless and suffered from drug addiction.
– People felt very sympathetic towards the first character, Miranda, who was struggling with her bisexuality (Interesting note: This character was 100% based on a real friend of mine)
– People universally hated Yama, the skeleton that heckles the player throughout the game.
– Everyone that I’ve gotten messages from stated that they beat the game and thought it was relatively easy/simple

I made the game at a very interesting point in my life. I was severely suffering from depression without really knowing the cause, and I needed an outlet to share some of my dark/morbid thoughts that had been circulating in my mind. Then the idea of making a video game out of my feelings came to my mind. I started to ask questions: Can I make a game that touches on serious/dark subject matter while still retaining a positive message? Do I even have the skills to do this? At the time I was very new to game development. I heard of a few success stories online, and just thought, hell, why can’t I make something too. So, I stared developing Inner Vision mostly to express the strong emotions I’ve held, and to prove to myself that I can make a game that derives from the norms and tropes of mainstream video games.

After spending a few months on it, spending all the spare time between going to classes, I finished the game. I posted it to Reddit hoping that some people might think it was neat/touching. Lo and behold, it kind of exploded. It got ranked number 1 on Reddit, video game outlets started writing articles about my game (Kotaku, RockPaperShotgun, etc.), and I started to receive e-mails. Since then, I’ve been working on another project that hopefully will delve into more topics that video games don’t really explore.

I hope this helped, and again thanks for liking my game. I would be happy to discuss the actual design of the game further if you’re interested.

Oh, and the music was not created by me. It was created by a very talented Cellist known as ‘Takenobu’.
The song is called ‘Exposition’ on Takenobu’s album called ‘Introduction’