What *exactly* do we call FLOW in games

Our developer Petar Kotevski (@PeroColera) is running a series of articles on Medium discussing how the idea for Sonder came into being. From his last article:

The excessive focus on mechanical flow pushes all other potential qualities of our medium aside, even some decidedly unique to it — like, for example, player agency in telling a story. We are quick to sacrifice any advance in more interactive storytelling, if it interferes with mechanical flow because that’s what we have trained players (and by extension testers) to respond to. Testers feel more useful if they can point to something that interferes with mechanical flow, rather than something that interferes with the interactivity of the story being told.

As a result, when it comes to using our medium’s unique strengths in telling stories- we are stuck in its infancy. We borrow storytelling tools from other, more passive forms of entertainment (like movies and books) and we only interrupt the mechanical flow of games for short periods of time (most commonly cutscenes), long enough to cram the shallowest form of exposition to justify asking the players to perform the same mechanical, menial tasks we have asked them to perform since forever.

Read more over at Medium.

Sonder timeline

When does Sonder. happen? If you are wondering when it happens in relation to other SciFi properties (movies, TV, videogames) - we borrowed this chart to demonstrate.

Sonder. is being released on Steam Early Access on Monday, 8th May 2017

KAMAi MEDIA announces Steam EARLY ACCESS release date for Episode 1 of their game “Sonder.” for the 8th of May 2017.
Bitola, R. Macedonia, May 3, 2017

KAMAi MEDIA, an independent game development studio is excited to announce the release date for the first episode of their game “Sonder.” (An interactive non-linear time loop) on Steam Early Access. Episode ONE will be available for purchase and download on May 8th 2017 via Steam.

Here is the Announcement Trailer for the release:
Steam product page:

“Sonder.” is a Hard SciFi third-person Mystery Adventure game unlike anything you have ever played before. It is an interactive nonlinear time loop where you are in total control of space, time and the lives of everyone in it.

You are given a section of time to analyze - you can observe from the sidelines as the same mistakes are being made over and over again, or you can take control of any character, at any time and experience events from that character's unique perspective. Then you may guide them to the choices that will ultimately lead them to salvation - or bring them to their doom.

Time marches forward mercilessly for the characters, but for you it is merely a resource. You can restart the time loop at any time, as many times as you wish. You can rewind to any past point within the loop and attempt to change what happens from that point onward.

The only place where information can survive from one loop to the next - is in your (the player’s) head! Story characters have no recollection of previous play-throughs.

“Sonder.” is a game that is experimenting with the formula of non-linear narrative design driven purely by player choice. We feel that we have created a good initial implementation for our ideas, and we are ready to bring in our potential players to the development process. Because we have a lot of unique and interesting features, Steam’s Early Access platform gives us the possibility to have a large amount of our audience provide feedback and help us shape the final product.

We consider our release to still be very much a Work-In-Progress. We are looking forward to the participation of our audience, and their feedback (positive or negative). Over the coming weeks we will be announcing more ways that the audience can engage with the development of our game.

The price point for “Sonder.Episode ONE” will be $3.99 for the duration of the Early Access phase. The price will increase once we enter Full Release.

“Sonder.” has a total of six (6) episodes planned. Each episode will be sold separately.


A small group of developers, consisting of veterans of game development as well as enthusiastic newcomers, established in 2011. They have since been working on developing technology that allows player-influenced non-linear narrative possible, as well as “Sonder.” the product whose idea and design inspired the technology.
More information at:
About “Sonder.”
“Sonder.” is an interactive narrative Third-Person Mystery Adventure game where every choice the player makes has a long term effect on the outcome of the game. The game can be played from the perspective of any character and features a unique rewind mechanic that allows players to make different choices and experiment with the results.
More information at:

Sonder.Episode One gets release date

Good news, everyone!

In little over a week, you will be able to try an Early Access build of Sonder. on the digital distribution platform Steam.
We have worked really hard on this project for a few years now, and we are excited to be able to show it to people and gather feedback about the many things we are doing in a new, different or plainly weird way.

We will have an official unveiling of our Steam store page in the beginning of next week, but for now check out our new Early Access Announcement Trailer to get you ready for an adventure unlike you have ever played.

You can help us get the word out by liking and sharing the video!

The Science of Sonder. (EP02)

Subluminal Space Travel: While playing Sonder., you will have to understand a lot about the inner workings of the environment that the characters inhabit to get better at the game, so it was important for us to ground everything that the player comes across in known science - and only go into science-fiction where it was absolutely unavoidable.

One of the early sources for heated discussions was the interplanetary distance that the characters in the game need to travel. Without spoiling too much, the characters need to travel distances that are simply inaccessible within a normal human lifetime. The civilization in Sonder. is incapable of superluminal speed of travel (faster than the speed of light), so the only other alternative was cryosleep for the travelers.


That decision created a bunch of other consequences, like the fact that their transport would need to be automated, or the fact that their transport needed to be robust enough to withstand years of hurdling through space while its occupants are asleep. There was also the question of the necessary amount of fuel to enable decades of travel, while also being able to accelerate its own mass.

We disqualified chemical fuel early on because of its storage size, volatility and non-renewability , so we were left with the only other viable option - ELECTRIC PROPULSION. The ship that the characters are travelling on is akin to a mule: it’s carrying small amounts of propellant as well as huge batteries for storing electrical energy which can be harvested from space when exhausted. As a result, it is not very maneuverable, nor can it accelerate or decelerate quickly - but it can maintain sustained thrust over longer periods of time, providing the necessary velocity over years.

The maximum attainable speed by such a spacecraft is still a fraction of the speed of light. But even at such speeds, it needs to survive travelling through the interplanetary medium for decades. A collision with even the smallest of debris could provide fatal for the ship and crew, so this is why the ship is equipped with magnetic deflectors that consume electrical energy and project a strong magnetic field ahead of the ship, along its trajectory, which deflects any particles in the ship’s path.

In this way, the only resource that the ship consumes voraciously is electrical energy. Conveniently, such energy is easily harvested from multiple sources in interplanetary space - like light or other kinds of radiation. Whittenoom Corp. ships are all equipped with panels that collect subspace radiation and convert it to electrical energy which is then stored inside onboard batteries. During the transport, the ship alternates between intervals of electrical energy expenditure (when thrust is generated) and electrical energy collection (when batteries are recharged). This process is fully automated and usually requires no human intervention, although management of that one vital resource (ENERGY) is something that every traveler has to be aware of - in case of emergencies.


(The Science of Sonder. is a series of articles about specific challenges we have encountered during development of the game, based on our desire to remain as hard SCI-FI as possible. If you have a specific question, let us know and we will do our best to answer it.)


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