04 5 / 2014
It’s a little late (something to the tune of five months late), but now’s a good a time as any to discuss AdventureX 2013, which Matt and I attended! So here’s a short rundown with some unflattering pictures.
We met a ton of great adventure gamers, developers and fans alike, and saw some amazing looking games being previewed. There were some stellar talks on a myriad of topics, including voice acting, distributing on Steam, and puzzle design. Pictured, Charles Cecil talking about Broken Sword.
We had a table with a laptop and tablet to show off our mini-demo of Automaticity, in addition to a previous little gamejam game we did called Narcoleptic Weight Loss Expert. Naturally, the later was more popular. After the first day, a bunch of us hit up the pub to continue chatting and discussing games. Pictured: Tom, Matt, and Mark.
After the conference, I and a few other attendees took the opportunity to tour London. See the sights. Have some drinks. The usual London stuff. Pictured, me, Berian, Tamara, Dave, Rebecca, and Arjon.
After a few more days in London, Matt and I continued on to Bruges to sightsee and brainstorm Automaticy. And drink.
So anyway, there you have it, a long overdue AX retrospective. In current game news, we’re moving forward at a brisk pace, writing tons of backstory and character stuff and drawing the new characters and backgrounds. In addition, Matt and I have been working on a short game on the side, which you can see screenshot of on Matt’s blog.
But yeah, expect more content from us here in the near future!
27 11 / 2013
twentytwotwo said: What engine are you using to develop the game?
21 10 / 2013
While we are busy working on the demo, I decided to take some time out and share my thoughts on the background creation process, which can also serve as a mini tutorial.
Backgrounds begin their existence as a rough layout. The main features of the background will be outlined in different colours so that they can be distinguished a little easier later on. Using a character sprite in this stage is also useful to make sure the scaling works correctly.
This step may go through a number of changes depending on feedback from Drew. Once this stage is complete, the layout is imported into the game editor to allow Drew to begin coding interactions and so on. In order for Drew to be able to begin coding the game, I create most of the backgrounds this way before I continue the process.
Stage two comprises of blocking in the structural elements of the scene. I researched some images of industrial launderettes and decided that a muted blue would work best for the overall colour scheme.
Using the outlines from the initial layout, the major elements of the scene were added. I decided to add more than what I had drawn in the layout as I felt the rear part of the room were empty and I thought a relatively high volume laundry room would have more than three machines.
I sometimes feel that the walls look a little bare. I think it is especially true in this background. I decided to add some wear and tear by ‘chipping’ off the painted concrete.
The final stage is to add some shadows to the scene. This is where the scene really starts to come together. Sometimes, I will begin the shadow stage earlier to give me a better sense of the space. However, this scene has pretty simple lighting so I decided to leave it for last.
Next time, I think Drew will be talking about the game interface and puzzle design. For now, I will waddle off back to my pixel dungeon.
08 10 / 2013
In September of 2010, Nick Tringali approached Matt and me with some of the basic ideas that would become Automaticity. The three of us started developing the backstory and characters, as well as some initial drawings. After a while, development petered out and we all went on to separate projects.
I think it was early this year that Matt and I decided to start work on the project again. His art had significantly improved and I had new ideas for the story. The first order of business was revisiting the characters. Initially, the protagonist was Sean Galloway, generic brown-haired white guy #581033.
I had a number of issues with Sean, the foremost of which was that he reminded me far too much of myself, to the point where I still use his dialog portrait as my online avatar. I strongly wanted to avoid making the main character too autobiographical. Once you start inserting yourself into the protagonist you’re writing, you open up a whole array of problems, including drifting into wish fulfillment territory and the audience feeling like they’re playing you instead of themselves through an independent character.
So a redesign was necessary. Incidentally, I had serious problems with the main supporting character, at that time called November Morgan.
November embodied every “feisty hacker girl” trope known to man, much to my chagrin. Like if an underweight Zoe Deschanel played Lisbeth Salander. Or if Ramona Flowers used linux. The game was set to be just another story where the boring everydude meets the crazy hacker girl and go on wild, sexy adventures, and I didn’t want that. So I decided to flip things around.
I swapped the two characters.
November was now the normal schmuck with a menial retail job and Sean became the adventurous computer expert. I also decided to change November’s name to Lila because I thought the name was stupid. (No offense to anyone named November or after any other month, or to Nick who came up the name originally).
So now Lila is the protagonist, and I have to say, the character dynamics are working so much better, and I’m having a lot more fun writing the interactions. I guess that’s all I have to say about the main character switch. The next post will probably be a thing from Matt about his design process for the art.