This is Episode 2 of our podcast where we talk about the development of Ebenezer, my Old Testament adventure game. You can leave comments using the Facebook widget at the bottom of the entry page for this blog post. Episode 1 can be found here.
The show is about 55 minutes long.
Environment Concept Art
- Andy recently sent out some of my new concept artwork to the mailing list (sign up now!)
- We discuss the challenge of turning concept art into 3D content, particularly given the cartoony style we’re seeking
- The cancelled LucasArts project “Sam & Max: Freelance Police” had amazing (2D) concept art but ugly (3D) screenshots, and that’s frustrating
- Andy is on the look out for 3D Blender artists to model the environments – get in touch if that’s you!
- We discuss various 2D/3D hybrid approaches, such as limiting the camera angles or using 3D models but rendering them as 2D images
- A good example of one approach is the Monkey Island Uber Edition tech demo (here and here)
- The original motivation for going 3D was from “Simon the Sorceror 3D”: despite being unbelievably ugly it demonstrated the superior potential for drama from a 3D game
- Work is now underway to design the characters
- Though 1 Samuel 8-12 makes excellent game material, it features all Israel gathering, which means a large number of characters
- Part of the process involved writing a description of each character
- It revealed how shallow and ill-defined most of those characters are at the moment. They exist to serve a function within the story but as yet have no clear personality.
- Great quote from Ron Gilbert on adventure game design: “World, character, and story. In that order. Create a compelling place people want to visit, populate it with compelling characters, and then tell a good story.” (read it here)
- When developing Psychonauts, Tim Schafer apparently wrote Facebook profile pages for each of his characters to help him give them personalities (podcast here)
- The game used to be much longer than it is now, since a lot has been cut out
- The original story had a lot of anachronism in it, like the complicated nation-wide communication system: Quail Mail, and related internet cafes
- Andy’s approach to anachronism is similar to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books: reimplementing modern concepts with the technology available to them
- As part of all that, there is a coffee shop in the game, despite the many centuries between when the game is set and when coffee first started being drunk.
- However, so much has now been cut out that coffee has become the only anachronism left.
- Should we remove the coffee or add in more anachronisms elsewhere?
- How do you describe a Point & Click adventure game to people who have never played one? How do you explain the concept of a “puzzle”?
- We discuss what the target audience is and what kind of devices they’ll have: do we need to worry about the game working on the early versions of the iPhone / iPod Touch, given that it will probably be another 18 months or so before release?
- Given we’re targetting a niche market, we don’t want to make it any smaller than necessary by requiring cutting edge hardware.
- Using the Unity engine to target the iPhone has also become a potentially risky venture due to Apple’s recent Terms of Service changes. We discuss the pros and cons.
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