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You can’t pet this dog, but you can take them on a road trip

And run away from a creepy giant robot

an image of a dog from the game sunset hills. the dog is wearing glasses, a cute hat, and a red scarf and is done in an illustrated art style Image: Cotton Studio
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

In the newly announced Sunset Hills, you can do a whole lot more than simply pet the dog. In this adventure, you can help one write a novel! According to a description of the game from its debut trailer, you’ll travel from city to city as Nico the dog, as they write a novel and make sense of a post-war world.

We have good boys and more in Cool WIP, Polygon’s weekly roundup of eye-catching clips and screenshots of works in progress. Each week, the Polygon staff scours the internet for the most interesting games still under construction, to give you a sampler of the coolest up-and-coming projects.

This week we have wiggling trees, a creepy behind-the-scenes look at animating characters, and a creepy bolder made of living bodies.

Help these dogs write a novel and go on a road trip

Sunset Hills is the latest title from the Shanghai-based indie studio, Cotton Game. A new trailer from the developers shown on the Wholesome Games account shares various moments from the game, including a clip of two giant dogs trying to fit into their teeny tiny car. Its laid back acoustic track and stunning art seem like the game will make for a tranquil, reflective adventure.

This creepy robot looks straight out of Evangelion

A clip from developer Pyro Lith shows off an enemy in the distance: a giant, creepy robot that looms over an entire deserted area. As the character runs, the robot fires at them all the way from where it’s stationed — maybe that’s why there are so few buildings or characters around. The robot’s stature and gangly nature remind me of something out of an anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s a great example of how a low-poly game like this can convey a sense of scale and also eeriness, despite a more lo-fi look. You can check out more work from the developer on their Twitter account.

All the work that goes behind a few goofy character renders

When the average person plays a game, they don’t see all the bells and whistles that go into making it. Foundational design features, like the animated faces of characters, require enough programming to make my head spin. Here, a developer named Scott shows off some animation for the the heads of two characters. In the short clip, we just see the faces looks from side to side and blink, as well as all the technical work that goes behind making them. It’s a nice reminder of what it takes to make a game of any scale.

A stumbling mass of bodies saunters towards you

This is an ingenious and also disgusting idea for an enemy. In this sci-fi action adventure from Section 9, you can fight a literal mass of bodies that slowly walks your way. As you shoot it, bodies break off and approach you like mindless zombies. It’s gross, it’s scary, and honestly, it’s everything I would want — if I was looking to be creeped out. If this is your kind of thing, you can check out the studio’s work on its Twitter account.

These trees will wiggle for you

The Twitter account Abdul GameDev posted this clip of some really wiggly trees. In the video, you can see a tree absolutely wobble its little trunk like there’s no tomorrow. The animation appears to be a bug from development, since none of the other trees are waving in the same way. However, I just really want to play a game that’s filled with a forest that wiggles through the wind like that. It’s just a really memorable image, and one that would make for a playful time.

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