27 11 / 2013
twentytwotwo asked: 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.
05 10 / 2013
What is Automaticity?
Automaticity is a near-future speculative fiction graphic adventure, set in the New York City of 2024, when the globe is controlled by a handful of megacorporations. The story focuses on Lila Morgan, an ordinary retail worker who gets pulled into the dangerous hacking underworld to uncover a terrifying corporate conspiracy.
Who are we?
What is this blog?
We’ll be using this site to write about the game development process. Drew will provide insight into the story and characters, while Matt will discuss his work on the pixel art and animation.
When will it be released?
We came up with the original idea for the game in late 2010 and have been working on and off ever since, but we’ve recently ramped up development, including a full redesign of the art, so the current target is mid-2014.
So yeah, check out this space for updates on our little project!