Ukie Student member Bojan Brbora discusses developing his first game "4pm"
Life changes forever when the clock strikes 4pm.
The development of a debut game by Ukie Student member, Bojan Brbora
After getting a cinematography degree in Serbia, and putting in a few years working in film and TV, I really wanted to do something with interactive narrative. At that point (the end of 2011) the National Film & Television School in the UK was starting a games course and I thought that this was the perfect chance to discover how I could take what I already knew and apply it to games.
I spent the first year of my course learning the tools, mainly Unity and Maya, with the second year doing a final project which would put all those skills to practical use. I had an experimental idea of two strangers meeting on a rooftop, seemingly by chance, with one standing on the edge and the other trying to save them. As the scene unfolded and the player negotiated with the man on the edge, a deeper story would be uncovered and we would realise that these two people are not there by chance at all.
I wanted to make a non-stylised, although heightened, contemporary experience, so as to attract people who generally don't play games or are not interested in them. It was also a case of having the game come out of the story, without any complex mechanics or point systems so that you would be carried to the end just by the characters and the narrative.
Since my knowledge and resources were limited, I decided to craft a short, but tense experience. This also helped in my aim to have everyone who played it get to the end of the game in one sitting, and then maybe replay to see the four different endings without having to spend hours just to see what happens. This came out of a realisation that most people never finish a narrative game unless it's quite short, or the story and characters are really strong.
What came out at the end of the course was a prototype for a project called "4PM" , I thought it was quite interesting and was pleased with what I'd created but I initially had no intention of carrying on with it, until we showed it at a few expos. The reaction was very strong and people really seemed to want to see it finished and the story completed so I decided to spend a few more months making it into a releasable product. I pushed it through the Greenlight process on Steam (where it got greenlit in just 13 days) and it's now ready for release.
I am unsure how the general public will react, but looking back over the last two and a half years it has been a tremendous journey of learning, hardship, solitude and perseverance. I hope that people appreciate what I was trying to do, even though it is slightly unusual, and that with their support, I can continue to do bigger and better projects.