Why the girls are static
Yes, the girls in Life Pictures are static, they don't have animations. And that's a design decision. In this post we'll try to explain why the girls are static as best as we can, hoping that by the end you'll understand and agree that it's the best choice - or at least a decently good one.
Life Pictures is about an old man reminiscing about his life. He doesn't remember things very precisely and the order of events is blurry to him. He knows that he had met 3 women in his life. Who was the first and who was the last? That's up to you, the player, to discover.
To remember his past, our protagonist uses his album with pictures of his life - hence the name of the game. Each picture takes him back to his past, but since everything is a blur in his mind, he doesn't remember many details, neither about places nor people. He knows how these 3 women looked only from the pictures he has. He vaguely remembers the feelings he had for them and the important bits of what they were like as persons: passionate, joyful, loyal.
As the player, through the eyes of our protagonist, you enter through these pictures and see into his memories. Everything seems to take place in the same location, but that is only because the old man can't remember where things have happened and his mind conveniently put everything together in one place - a place that most likely isn't even real, but just a mashup of various memories blended together in this peaceful and serene location.
As you get closer to the stream of water, a memory will materialize in the form of the passionate redhead in his life. He begins to remember. What you see is a still, created in his mind from a picture of her and his vague memories. She is only there to be observed, to be remembered. You cannot talk to her, you cannot interact with her. She isn't alive, she's just a snapshot of the old man's memory of her. If you get close enough, you'll trigger more memories in the old man's mind. Events of his time with her. Happiness. Sadness. Resolution. Each of these events shows a different still of this woman, a memory deeply etched into his mind. Your purpose is to help him remember and to piece together the details.
Just as our protagonist keeps trying to remember the same things over and over, so will you as the player go over the same memories trying to find every detail. You use your camera to take pictures of various objects that cause the old man to remember some detail about that object. You can find memory glimpses and piecing them together will reveal even more about his past. And ultimately, you can help him find peace, by finding out something he believed in and showing him a life made only from the memories that are in tune with that belief.
So, you see, our game, as we stated so many times before, is not about dialogues and interactions, but about immersion, nostalgia, taking it slow, pondering, philosophy. It's about the joy of exploring, inspecting, looking for details and piecing together a story. If the girls in the game were animated, it would create the feeling of interactivity, the desire to talk to them, to influence their actions. If you add an animation, then it becomes quickly repetitive and the more animations you add, the more the need for interactivity and complex behaviors increases. Which is not what this small game is about. The girls are there to serve as visual testimony for our protagonist's memories.
We hope the information in this post helped you get a better idea of what Life Pictures is about and your purpose in the game. It's up to you how deep you dig to uncover everything about this old man's life. An ordinary life, with love and loneliness, suffering and happiness, but a beautiful life nonetheless, as all lives that are truly lived are.
Thank you for reading! And if you haven't already, please vote for us on Steam Greenlight!