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How to design your own game with Louis Morel

We talked to Young Talent Louis Morel about how he created the computer game Be You 2.
A title card for a video game showing the 'Be You 2' logo with a grinning skeleton girl in a frilly but gothic dress and black makeup against a stylised night sky background with floating hearts and a creepy eye.
Promotional image for Be You 2, a game by Louis Morel.

Young Talent Louis used game design to process some extremely difficult times in his life. We asked him about how he has levelled up with his chosen form of creative expression, and what drew him to make an immersive visual novel exploring trauma and grief.

The following interview contains frank discussions of suicidal ideation.

What’s the best part about the game making process for you?

Personally, I really enjoy writing. I’m very lucky; I tend to get very panicky about writing and have no idea what to say, but as soon as I start talking, all the text and ideas fall out of my head onto the page, even if I had no idea what I was going to write when I started.

What advice would you give to anyone who’d like to make games?

Making a video game is a lot of work, but the easiest types of games to make are visual novels - they require by far the least coding (hence why I try to make them!)

Not everybody is gonna be able to code, and with my dyslexic brain, it is something I wouldn’t be able to do. If you wanted to make something more complex than a visual novel, ‘RPG Maker’ is definitely one of the most accessible and easy game-making programs to use. It does have its downsides; for example you can only use pixel art, and you’re restricted to turn-based combat. But people have been able to do really incredible stuff with its limitations, and have made some of the most influential Indie games through it.

If you want to look into a more ‘professional’ game-making program like Unity or Gamemaker Studio, there are a lot of free tutorials online going over nearly every aspect of them.

To make a video game, you don’t need to take a course in it or go to college. Even if you can’t leave your room, all of the resources and tutorials you would possibly need are online. It takes a lot of time and effort to hone a skill, there’s enough information online if you have the time to put the work and practice in.

A screenshot with a black background featuring a spot illustration of a little group of houses at night. The houses have pointy dark red roofs and round windows that are lit yellow. The sky is shaded blue to black with stars and in the foreground there are pale green one-eyed creatures with big ears running around, arms outstretched. There is a caption in sketched box that reads 'Ground level is by far the most spiritually balanced.'
A still from Be You 2 by Louis Morel.

Can you tell us about Be You 2 and why you chose to create it?

Pretty much just venting trauma. I have fibromyalgia and extreme sensory sensitivity. I’ve gone through a lot of pain and felt very suicidal for large portions of my life. In the climax of Be You 2, you get to encounter one of six demons, which are based on some of the worst moments of my life.

I’ve been incredibly isolated because of my medical nonsense. Because of that, I didn’t have any friends or people to talk to. The only people I had to keep me company were silly YouTube videos, and there were two particular YouTube people that had massively positive effects on my life; Edd Gould and John Bain aka TotalBiscuit. Edd inspired me to try out Flash animation software, which is the software I make all my art with to this day, as well as bringing hours of laughter through his silly animations. And then there was Johnathan Bain, who was a video game reviewer. His videos really brought my love of video games to life, as well as keeping me company through some of the worst times of my life. But, both of them died of cancer. I never got a chance to tell them how much they meant to me, or how much of a positive effect they’d had on my life.

If you play through the game six times and find all six demons, you get to a secret ending which is very, very dark. When Johnathan Bain died, I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I had so many painful emotions inside that I had to let out, so I talked into my recorder (that audio file is the secret ending). Even though the audio isn’t great because I’m crying, I’m trying to work through my feelings and say even though it’s unimaginably painful losing someone you care about, knowing the impact they had on you makes the pain worth it, and their actions still can still live on through you, because they defined you and shaped who you are.. It’s definitely a strange situation; I never met these people, and they will never know who I am, but they had an absurdly positive impact on my life. In the end, the game is just expressing all those bad feelings and thoughts in my head, and letting them out so I can move on. That’s why I made it.

Where can people find out more about Be You 2?

Well, it’s a free game on Steam, so I guess the best way to find out about it is to play it! I know it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I’d be immensely grateful if you could give it a look.

A screenshot with a black background featuring a spot illustration of a one-eyed creature with a big head and claws floating in a white, cream, and green cloud against a starry night sky. The little creature is crying. There is a caption at the bottom of the screen in a sketched box that reads 'All your charming little creatures are gone.'
A still from Be You 2 by Louis Morel.

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues raised in this interview you can find information and help in English and Welsh through the Samaritans website or Mind's support hub.