Promesa 1st birthday


I've been wanting to write about the development of Promesa for quite some time, and now that it's been 1 year since the release of Promesa, I hope that this initial "birthday" post will help me to finally start writing.

It’s something I look forward to, since I feel that for the small community of developers making personal videogames, sharing thoughts and design stories can be as important as the works themselves.

Many things have happened since last year.

My grandpa Valentín passed away in may, and I wasn't able to visit him and grandma Rosa in these last two years. In the last days, when he decided to say goodbye to me, I was able to tell him that he would always be with me. I miss him, even if I missed him more when he was alive, but far away.

Valentín wasn't able to see the final version of Promesa. His sight was not very good in the last period, and his and Rosa's conditions were so that they were always bothered by something.

It was hard to explain to him what the project actually was. He was surprised when I told him I was using his words in it.

From the times I had shown him levels or videos from Promesa, I remember that the images were making him remember places and memories from his life.

From the many things I've been told about promesa, this is the feedback that makes me happiest. I like when people find the feel of the images to be evocative, when the images help them connect to their memory. It's something that I believe is rooted with the individual, personal relationship we have with the images in videogames, a mechanism that can work as a bridge with our memories.

Promesa was born to depict the distance between us and the way we were nevertheless connected, connected by life and intertwined in an underground stream of shared images, dreams, memories and fantasies.

It was born the day in which, for the first time, we talked to each other directly without the usual family formalities. That day, when I saw in front of me an old man openly talking about his fears and problems, laying restlessly in bed, unable to sleep, it was in some ways like meeting him for the first time.

While I was listening to him, I started to have strong and confused impressions of our memories and places from our lives, and I understood that for me, his words were more than their simple meaning.

In a conversation, words are like coins, showing a different side to the one who speaks and the one who listens. What I realized was that while Valentín was trying to grasp his thoughts and memories, trying to recall distant events and feelings, I was receiving dreams, images and fantasies instead. He was trying to go back to things, and I was taking these things as something to go towards. And this had been happening all my life, both as a child and while growing up.

As soon as I realized I had all these confused images in me, I decided that I would let them out, and began a work process that would then become Promesa.

This process lasted four years, and it was possible thanks to the help of a couple of dear friends. It was an unfunded and independent project that we developer in our free time. Being a self-taught developer and having not studied Game Design, I was mostly unaware of how the game industry worked. I could have applied for fundings or publishing somewhere during development, but didn't (Strelka Digital co-published the game simply to help with the fiscal aspect of publishing).

Things could have been different, but after this year (during which I also published another videogame, made on commission for a studio), I look back and understand how important and precious it was to develop something personal, something I made because I knew I had to.

Even if it feels like these kinds of projects are inherently destined to stay at the margins of the industry, I think that, as a friend of mine would say, it can be better to stay relegated outside rather than try to be accepted at all costs and become part of someone else’s narrative.

What I want to say is that sometimes the only thing we need is to be ready to accept our own share of responsabilities. These projects need to exist. It's a matter of what we decide to do with our energies, time and motivation.

To end this post, I would like to thank all the people who helped me to develop Promesa, especially my friends Domiziano and Andrea and my brother Martín. I would also like to thank everyone who took the time to wander through Promesa and who then decided to write or say something online. I still remember the surprise and excitement of the release day, when I saw many developers I admire come out to support and share the release, sometimes people I didn’t even know that had played the game! It felt like a tiny, beautiful ceremony to me, and I’m really thankful for it.

Hoping to write again soon,

Julián

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Comments

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(+2)

happy birthday Promesa :) 
this game was so inspiring to play and your words here are a great reminder of what motivates me as someone who also makes personal games "outside" of the the industry 

thank you for sharing your memories with us

(+1)

thank you flan!

(+3)

Your words immediately drew me back to the magical experience of playing Promesa, bearing the same soft, notstalgic touch.

I can't agree with you more that these experiences are the ones that are the most valuable. Undoubtedly taking the most time, energy and care to create, but being the most rewarding as a result.

Thanks for sharing such important, inspiring and motivating words.

I can't wait to experience your next personal project Julián, whichever medium or form it takes.

(+1)

Thank you! Hope to be able to work on something new soon :)

(+3)

thanks for sharing your thoughts, this was warming to read~