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Chuggin’ along. One room left, and then animation. Basic room transition scripting is done as well. Dialog awaits, but I should have some assistance with that.

I guess I’ll post a couple more screen shots to keep everyone interested:

Closet

Hallway

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Progress. Brogress.

Much progress has been made on the adventure game. I feel I am now ready to reveal a few details:

The game tells the story of a new college student who is still young and impressionable. His father, his father’s father, and every generation before have been members of the university’s most prestigious fraternity, and now it is his goal to uphold the family standards and become an honorary member as well. As your journey begins, you soon discover that everything is not as it seems within this prestigious organization, thus begins a tale of mystery, deception, and supernatural encounters. Prepare yourself for…

Broquest: Act I – So You Want to Be a Bro

This game is the first part in a series of at least 3 parts. The plan is for each part to grow more complex (as far as scripting goes), as this is still a learning experience. The entire game will take place within the fraternity house and is made up of 7-8 rooms. Since there are not many locations, I’m working to make each room lush with detail, and really give the house a lot of character. So far, the basic layout is complete, and the rooms just need some polish. After completing the rooms, work will begin on animation and scripting. The artwork is the time consuming process, and since we already have the storyline fleshed out, things should move pretty quickly once the animation is complete. Currently, our completion deadline is still set for Jan. 4th, 2009. I have a feeling we’ll have a playable game by that date, but not a finished product.

Here is the main character of Broquest: Act I

 bro1

More updates to come.

Update: AGS

Upon further review, perhaps my deadline of completing the adventure game in 3 weeks was a bit optimistic.  I’m making steady progress in learning AGS, and am growing more comfortable with the interface and scripting, however, the artwork is quite time consuming. I’m determined to finish this project though, the world does not need another Duke Nukem Forever.

On a side note: AGS is awesome. It gives you all the tools to make what you want, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming to a newcomer like myself. In the process of learning the scripting commands, I’ve put together a random little game to test things out. Perhaps I’ll post it, I think it’s a good window into the learning process.

On the Horizon.

With finals coming to a close I’ve found a few seconds to update this thing. With a few weeks break between semesters, a new project of sorts is looming on the horizon. Upon completing Fallout 3, I went back to my roots by hitting up a couple abandonware websites. It was a toss up between retrying Blade Runner (which I played endlessly when originally released, but could not finish for the life of me) and the cyberpunk adventure, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. Obviously, any title like “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” wins hands down.

The way the game was designed makes it pretty easy to get into. You’re given the choice to play as five (or six, can’t remember) characters at the beginning, which basically breaks the game up into 5 shorter adventure games. For some reason this seems friendlier to the casual gamer than the normal one character format, even though I’m sure it will take me just as long to complete as any other adventure title. The game is enjoyable so far. Good writing, good animation, good atmosphere. However, I’m just not hooked. Everytime I sit and play, I just keep thinking how much I would like to sit down and make an adventure game of my own. Not that I could do better, but more as a creative exercise.

The idea seemed like a daunting task at first, but after a quick download of Adventure Game Studio and a little tinkering, it appears that it won’t be as difficult as I originally thought. I emailed a creative friend for a couple of his random-assed short stories as a basis for a game, and feel like I’m ready to begin.

So, the goal is as follows: At the end of my 3 week break from classes, I will have a finished (or at least completely playable) adventure game. I will post updates on the progress, wish me luck.

A bit about jumping puzzles.

While looking through some “Black Friday” sales ads this morning, I noticed that Eidos has a new Tomb Raider game out for the Nds. “Tomb Raider: Underworld”. It blows my mind that this franchise is still making money. Do people actually play these games? More so, do people actually get excited out the release of a new Tomb Raider game? Obviously the answer to both of these questions is yes. I remember past frustrations anytime I would encounter a jumping puzzle in an FPS or Third Person game. Every single time they would harvest a fresh crop of expletives from my mouth. But these people who play (and enjoy even) the Tomb Raider series actually yearn for these jumping puzzles!

This boggles my brain.

In my opinion, jumping puzzles in any environment other than a side-scrolling game are flawed. This is especially true for first person shooters. Game developers who implement jumping puzzles ask for accurate, precise jumping maneuvers and foot placement, while in the same instance, don’t let you see your fucking feet. Third person improves the situation quite a bit, but it is still far from perfect. In these games you can see your entire character, and use your character’s size as a scale to judge distances and heights. Generally scale and lack of depth perception is the flaw in the third person perspective. You often see a platform which looks obtainable from your current position, but as soon as you leap into the air you start trying to remember where you last quicksaved. Also, I’m surprised that after all the years of this style game, developers have yet to fix all the clipping and edge dectection issues that plague third person. Anyone who’s ever played Tomb Raider knows exactly how to nudge Lara Croft to the edge of a cliff until she is left hovering in midair like some scantily clad Wiley Coyote. They must be into at least the tenth installment of this series by now, and I would bet money that you can still do this. Additionally, I would bet money that at some point while playing I will curse aloud because of a shoddy camera angle that prevents me from seeing anything useful, and I will notice my head, back, and appendages gracefully disappear into at least twenty solid brick walls throughout the game.

Basically my point is that the Tomb Raider games are built on a foundation of flawed gameplay mechanics and idiotic jumping puzzles. However, people dont seem to mind, afterall, they’re still making (and selling) them. I guess it’s a love/hate thing. Either you can’t get enough of Tomb Raider and eagerly await each new installment, or you only played through the first TR until the charm of the nude patch wore off, then you went back to playing Action Quake over the LAN.

Update: Out of curiosity, I checked Gamespot for some Tomb Raider: Underworld player reviews. Here’s what I found:

tr_reviews1

Branston Pickle Review

…if you can keep up.

Dating: Fallout style

Last night, while venturing through the wastelands, I came across a new point on the map. Due north of Vault 101 lies Big Town, or Little-Big Town, or something to that extent. The whole place is boarded up and surrounded by a gate made of random junk that allows you only one point of entry. Now, as anyone who’s also playing Fallout knows, you find many areas like this scattered about the lands during your travels. They are usually chock full of bandits and super mutants and reward you with a few stimpacks. “Hideouts” if you will.  So upon arrival of this town, I expected just another hideout. I snuck up to the entrance to find a fellow waiting with rifle in hand. I quickly dispatched of him with a VATS style shotgun headblast (my preferred method) and then aimed at the woman next to him (who is running at me with a lead pipe). I targeted her, fired, and crippled her head (whatever that does) with the last of my action points. With only one bar of health left, she stopped attacking and ran for cover. I didn’t want to waste ammo in FPS mode, so I let her go and explored the “hideout”. Well, as earlier explained, it wasn’t a bandit nest. It was a town, and the two people I shot were not enemies. 

I explored some of the buildings and the few people inside didn’t care that I just exploded their friend’s head outside. This was to be expected, I’ll justify it by thinking they were napping and the booming shotgun blasts were not loud enough to wake them. However, I then walked outside and saw a skinny woman who looked oddly familiar. Sure enough, it was the woman with the newly crippled head. Her name is Bittercup. 

I “use” Bittercup and start up the dialog. Apparently she’s not too pissed about the headshot, she’s more concerned that the other townsfolk think she looks funny. I saw that as a perfect opportunity. I give her a wink and a smile and say, “Hey girl, I dig your pasty white skin and sunken eyes.”

Man, she couldn’t get enough. She immediately asks if I’m single, and I give the affirmative. Now she wants me to come back later and see her. I feel like Bittercup and I really hit it off. That critical hit to the head went straight to the heart.