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Showing posts from December, 2009

Future of Adventure Game Interaction

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Introduction
Interactions in adventure games has gone from written input (aka "text adventures") to todays mouse controlled (and often single-button-driven) games. There still exist text adventures though, although now called "Interactive Fiction", and here the complexity of interaction has increased instead of becoming simpler. It seems like the way of interacting has on one end gotten more and more complex over the years, while on the other end it has gotten more and more simplified. What I want to explore in this post is if this great polarization has made us miss out on other ways to interact in adventure games and in what other ways interaction might be possible.


History
Before moving on to the core of this post I need to very briefly discuss the history of interaction. It is always important to know the past in order to figure a way to progress in the future.

The first adventure game created was Colossal Cave Adventure, aka "Adventure", which was built …

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season

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On Versioning (or how the simplest thing can save you from the hardest pain)

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Been there, know the feeling...

Long titles aside, this is no flashy post. Some will even find it a bit boring, but if at least one can learn anything from it, I will be happy. The motivation for it comes from an often overlooked issue. I now must tell how a work day can eventually turn out:

A freelance artist we are working with found this really strange and annoying crash bug in the LevelEditor. One point listed in the Luis's standard procedure manual when working with bugs says "first, check the logs, see if anything looks strange there", next one states: "try to reproduce, and work your way on from there". Happened that the logs looked alright, and no one in the team could reproduce the bug in their machines, me included. So neither of these points threw any light into the issue.

It started to look like I was staring at one of those errors that no one wants to deal with, caused by hardware incompatibilities or similar ├╝bernice stuff (oh boy).

A new log seemed t…

New Link

I added a new link, I was sadly remiss in not adding it earlier; the Yahoo group Sci-Fi Concepts And Designs. Hosted by the talented JBR; John Bear Ross

Description: This group is a forum for discussion, feedback, and showing off futuristic designs and prototypes made by professional and amateur artists, digital and otherwise. "Hands-on" Artists, 3D Artists, and vendors of prototyping services, CAD/CAM/CNC, and other aspects of production are welcome to post.

Also invited are those of you out there who are interested in turning visions of the future not just into pretty pictures, but models you can hold in your hot little hands.

This is where I and many talented digital artists and sculptors discuss sci-fi and computer aided design for the gaming industry.

Drop in and say hello.

Some work for MERCS

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John Bear Ross was stacked with work and very graciously referred his client to me to have some work done.

I recently had the opportunity to work with Tom, Keith and Brian over at MERCS http://www.mercsminis.com/ They make stellar miniatures for you 28mm sci-fi fans.
The art they supplied made my job a breeze, as I could see from the highlighting what the curve and angle of each component was meant to be in the design process.

Level Editor Video - The Inside Scoop

Continuing the topic of my last post, here comes a post about the creation of our latest video...

What we wanted to do in this video was to show how quickly you can create something playable using our Level Editor. So we decided to take 30 minutes to build something, use another 10 minutes at most to do some gameplay scripting and then finally show it all in game.

To make it all viewable without spending more than 40 minutes watching a video we time lapsed it all down to about 8 minutes. While working on the video we also wanted to add a voice, describing what was going on, but it did not work very well. To make this properly, you should write down what you want to say first, then record and edit the material after the spoken text. So it got difficult to make a voice that would have enough time to properly say what was going on during the very fast level editing (due to the time lapse). As I was battling with this problem I had a chat with Thomas, who joked that I could "write it …

Horror Tip: Beacon

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Name: Beacon
Type: Game (Windows exe)
Link:Download and short info
The core of the game is simple: You are trapped in a cave and need to escape. To do so one must go through gloomy caves avoiding darkness at all cost. Helping the player accomplish this are crystals that spread light and a mysterious beacon that moves around, illuminating the surroundings where it goes. The game starts out slow and then progressively get more challenging.

This is not really a horror game, but the way darkness is handled makes it quite interesting. First of all since darkness is deadly it serves as a sort of unseen foe and it is up to the player's imagination to decide what hides in the shadows. The brief and sometimes obscure text messages at death also add to this and leaves what happens to the player open for interpretation.

Even though the game is really simple in its graphics, the darkness makes one feel like there are more details than what there really is. Many times one gets a quick look at som…

Video Editing Hell - Linux to the Rescue!

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I'm the proud owner of the oldest and crappiest computers here at Frictional Games. This is very unfortunate, to say the least, considering I'm the one usually recording videos of our work, editing and then publishing it. For the Penumbra games it worked pretty OK, for Amnesia it works surprisingly well to record videos, probably thanks to a much more polished and optimized game engine. But as online videos increase in quality it puts more strain on my poor computers and I bet that "Security Update" is a synonym for "Force User To Upgrade Computer", which really does not help at all.

I record videos on my PC using Fraps and CamStudio, the former for doing full screen capture of in-game scenes and the latter for partial screen recordings of the editors. These programs save in specific formats that I have to convert into other formats in order to import the videos into the editing software. I have not been really happy with the software that I have used for th…

Leviathan Crusader and Mortis update

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I'm currently working on a project with a NDA so I cannot discuss it until he does a reveal... To fill the lack of posts I thought I would put up some updated pics of my Leviathan Crusader and Leviathan Mortis. You can see the upper leg and engine details that were not rendered in the last pics I posted.

When I get the chance I will model some extra armor for the Crusader as this mech will be heavily armored and slower than its brother Mortis. The weapon load out for each is different but these pics only have the Crusaders weapons as I need to get right back to my clients project.