Coming soon to Steam

Originally posted on cohost!

The Steam page for the game is finally live! It’s set to release on April 6th, but if you’re impatient you can play it on right now. It will also be released at the same time as the soundtrack, which is an optional way for people to support me on Steam and contains some unreleased prototype tracks for the game that I dug up out of storage. 👻

The Steam release will come with an updated version of Gender Dysphoria which includes:

  • Support for controllers/gamepads
  • Updated DMCA-free ambience
  • A command line launch option to run with all accessibility options enabled

(Don’t worry, these changes will also be released on itch.)

This means in the near future, you’ll be able to stream the game without getting your VOD muted and play it on the Steam Deck! Wait… I have a Steam Deck, why haven’t I installed the game yet to test that? 😱

Unfortunately, because of reasons, I won’t be supporting MacOS on Steam at this time.

Anyway, I hope the launch goes well! There are still a few things I need to wrap up apparently (like testing on the Steam Deck apparently…), but I’m looking forward to it. If you want to stick around, I have a few things to say about the trailer…

I made the trailer on stream, but it took me a while to get around to it because the idea of making a trailer for a text/audio-only game was a really intimidating task at first. There isn’t much to the game other than sounds and text, after all. What am I supposed to wow the viewer with? Walls of text?

Something that really helped me feel motivated was to treat the trailer as an opportunity to have the viewer experience a shortened version of the game. I want players to feel the same kind of anxiety when making choices, how overwhelming it can be, and how tired it can make you. After keeping that in mind, I had a much easier time clipping pieces of gameplay together to make a trailer, because I felt like I just needed to tell a story and that seemed somehow easier.

Anyway, I had the general outline in my head:

  • Show the viewer that you can make choices, starting with the first scene in the game
  • Show the viewer a variety of what kinds of choices you make
  • Show the viewer an increasingly chaotic jumble of clips from the game to increase the sense of anxiety and how overwhelming the experience is
  • End with the last scene in the game where the character expresses how exhausted they are

The chaotic jumble of clips was a little harder to make. I tried briefly to “accelerate” the pace of the dialog until it was an incomprehensible mess (kind of like the “bee movie, but sped up every time bee is said” meme). Unfortunately, this didn’t really work that well. Each line had a different length, so accelerating the pace didn’t feel like acceleration (plus, it took a long time). Instead, it was much easier to cut the acceleration out and jump right into the sensory overload.

At the end of the stream, I had a trailer that was roughly okay. I showed it off to a few friends and I got some feedback that I really wanted to address. In particular:

  • The transition to the chaotic section felt too sudden
  • The chaotic section felt too long

I solved both of these problems by adding extra audio that doesn’t show up in the game. To help build tension leading up to the chaotic section, I added a kick that slowly accelerated in tempo. For the chaotic section feeling too long, instead of cutting it I added a dissonant tinnitus sound effect that increased in volume. Both of these served as ways to increase the tension and let the viewer know that a change was coming.

All in all, I think the trailer turned out great. I keep thinking there are more things I could do to make the trailer better, but you’ve got to stop someplace and I’m pretty satisfied with where I stopped.

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