Friday, July 04, 2008

Mail Order Monsters

Everyone who knows me knows that I have 2 big games in the pipeline. They might never come out, but that is - in a strange way - not the point of these games...their names are HeroTown and ALIVE.
This post is about ALIVE which is supposed to be a remake of Mail Order Monsters. That was not my idea. Now I'm currently working on a NES-like remake of Mail Order Monsters. Yes, that is the opposite direction of where we wanted to go with ALIVE, but it's fun. It's another competition, this time I have a whole month for it. Remember that my OROW game is not lost and forgotten, I just need to take a break from it. And Trebir still waits for a better name. And he waits to be finished.

ALIVE will be a very complex game, with economics and biology and don't forget the big fights. We once thought about some bacteria or parasites that could be researched later in the game, just to get a grip of how complex it's gonna be. And the story also progresses, there are monsters escaping from their arenas and the government decides to move the fights to other planets and then there's aliens. Of course there's aliens. There's always aliens.

The so called "NES-Verison" of ALIVE is gonna be nothing like that. You can buy about a dozen upgrades for your monster and fight through a handful of arenas. That's it. But then there's the big differencs: It will get finished.


Friday, June 27, 2008

All work and no play

No OROW for me.
I really started last Saturday, with an idea I liked. I really started drawing the background. I really started drawing characters with their respective walk cycles. I'm getting better at drawing faces. But I still suck at finishing things on time. But nontheless I'm gonna finish this game with the working title "Ballroom" or "I am the Goddamn Batman". The latter is in no way related to the contents of the game, there's only a small cameo by Robin the Boy Wonder (or someone who just happens to look a bit like him).
The background is near finished, and a small part of the game is already playable. There's some dialogue, but no puzzles. And you're gonna know my favorite TV shows after playing the full version.

I'm not tired but exhausted. But I look forward to buying the final paperback of Astonishing X-Men in about 5 hours. Yai.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

When Animals Attack!!!

I promised you to continue with "When Animals Attack!!!". That was my latest attempt in making an adventure game (I mean really trying). I like Buffy and I like Buffy comics. In one of them, there are evil dogs attacking and Xander mentions "When Animals Attack". Back then I assumed it was a horror movie, but I learned that it was a "shockumentary". Back then I thought it would be a nice title for an adventure game.

A group of high school kids solving a mystery about bloodlusty animals. Yes. That's it. Great, lots of fun dialogue to write. Simple graphics (just add a lot of blood and gore). Great. I don't know what kept me from starting to draw backgrounds and characters, i think I even drew the protagonist's dog which he accuses of having eaten his parents. But in reality they are on holiday (or they are superheroes who had to leave because of the bloodlusty animal emergency) and he has eaten the neighbors' poodle instead.

One of the things I really looked forward to was the title appearing on the screen in capital letters, with blood dripping from each letter and a horrible midi theme emphazising the b-movie feeling. WHEN! ANIMALS! ATTACK!!! doo-doo-do-duhhh!!!!

The opening scene should be a recurring dream of the protagonist in which he gets eaten by some animal (and then he wakes up, saying "oh no! not again!" and then his parents are gone) which will happen later on, but then of course he survives it, cause now he's got the knack.

One big problem I have with writing stories: I have a bunch of ideas at once, that all seem great and seem to stay great for some time and they all fit into one big picture. But once this phase stopped, there are lots of those "I have to work them out"-ideas, some threads that have to be woven together and I never get to "work them out" or connect the dots. They stay this way and there's no way I can add anything later on. Either that or I come with a complete re"write", that ends up with the same problems. sigh.

After the protagonist woke up and finds his dog with which he assumes are his parents' guts in his mouth and manages to escape to school, he can't convince his friends that there's a threat, the bare mentoning of the words "parents" and "away" cause any bystander to instantly think "party" and "tonite" and ignore anything else you might have to say. So there's gonna be a party and he has to recruite some people to help him stop the animals from attacking (because the animals ATTACK!!!) and while convincing a girl, it's gonna be like "I have to tell you something" "yes?" "it's really important" "ye-hes?" "the others all think I'm crazy" "YES?" "the animals all went crazy" "oh. I thought you'd confess your love to me." Something like that. And then I lost it. I don't know if it's ever gonna be a game, but I still like the idea. Though Trebir, even though he his game has a lamer title, has more potential to be a finished game. It's also gonna be shorter, that's also a big plus.

But then I found OROW. One Room, One Week, starting next week. I think I'm gonna participate, cause that's a real deadline. Yay. That's gonna be it. My first game...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trebir and his Trolif

I'm bad at inventing names. So this might or might not be a working title. I'll probably stick to this title or steal something from a random Staninslav Lem story, because the games supposed to be something like a short story by Lem, illustrated by MÅ“bius. Maybe some Philip K. Dick in it. All of that unintentionally, I don't plan a story like "oh, a bit of that and a piece of Philip K. Dick" it's more my inability to explain it "yeah it's cool and good and...yeah, like a Philip K. Dick short story...but cooler!".

So where do I start? My back hurts. Since a week or so I guess. So one day I took a walk around the block and I thought of a story: You are some kind of robot or android who isn't aware that he's artificial (but in the current state of the game, the player will see that at the first glance), he thinks of himself as human just like we think of ourselves as human. The world he lives in is like a little town, he lives there with his parents and each of the inhabitants has a "Trolif" (which is short for "tree of life"...nah, I have to change this) that grows in their respective gardens. They also have a charging station (like the borg) they have to recharge at each day at dusk, but to them, unaware of their artificial nature, it's more like a religious ritual. It's not only a battery charger it also transfers their (somehow filtered) thought and emotions to their Trolif, which makes the strange tree grow different sorts of even stranger fruit. Which the robots do not eat, because robots do not eat, so it falls to the ground (that happens once a day) and gets collected by some sort of miniature creatures that also live on that planet. They are about 1-2 foot tall and the robots don't know too much about them, cause they mean no harm and they are kind of cute.

And they need name! By the way, the name for the protagonist came from the combination of Tree and Arbor (tree in latin), which is coincidentally also Robert backwards which reminds me of a children's book I read when I was a child called "Robert und Trebor" about a child called Robert and his imaginary friend Trebor in the Jungle behind his wallpaper. If you wonder where the 'i' comes from...I'm not the world's best typer.

If anyone ever reads this and plans to play the game, be aware: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD
(I assume they will only be spoilers if the game will ever be released, but I'm pretty confident this time, because I already thought of an ending)

As the story progresses (well, there's not even a start yet, that's the next gap I need to fill) Trebir will fall in love and there are gonna be heart-shaped fruits on Trebir's Trolif, but his love interest is a rebel and eventually plans to cut down her own Trolif, assuming they play a pivotal role in the suppression of humankind (erm...robotkind?) by some unknown (ancient?) force that invented the charging platforms only to keep the robots from travelling far. Trebir is much more of the convenient type and is concerned about his girlfriend, he heard of people disappearing when their trees are damaged, but he doesn't know what to believe and what not.

The truth is that those tiny little critters are not only the suppressors but also the creators of the robots. Their diet consists of fruit from the Trolifs, but as industrialisation grew, they became less and less nutritios and sometimes even poisonous to the inhabitants, because the trees have some kind of conciousness and the fruits are the expression of their emotions. So the people tried to lighten the mood by using even more technology and after many failures they found a way to make the trees happy: The true happiness of their robot slaves, fed through a wire. Of course the robot slaves were not happy (this is the strangest part of the story...robots...emotions...maybe, pretty maybe the planet is a future earth and the inhabitants find relics of their predecessors and create the robots after their image.), so they had to create a nicer environment resembling human cities. While providing the necessary technology (charger, watering for the trees, etc.) they hide in faraway cities and disguise as harmless and simple animals.

The ending to the story, which is kind of only the beginning of a greater plot, that may continue in another game or most likely will be left to the imagination of the player, is something like this: The rebellious girl disappears, Trebir suffers and decides not to "recharge". Trebir shuts down and the tree, fed with Trebir's grief and some of his (artificial) humanity, grows arms and legs and walks away. End. So there's the possibility that the trees reach a new level of evolution and since Trebir lived on as his tree, his lost love might live on if the same fate happens to her...

The interface:
Because there's a lot of 'emotion' in this game, a special focus will be on the verb "think". This somehow resembles the idea of another adventure creator (whose name I forgot, but I will add is here later on), whose game will feature a short term memory, which adds more interactivity to dialogues. For Trebir, it's because in some way the protagonist is the tree and the only thing he can do (in the beginning) is thinking and growing fruit, which is linked directly, so thinking is essential to the game.

Those are my seconds thoughts about this game and there's already one screenshot:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Things I like

Things I like when I make adventures:
  • Coffee
  • Writing on paper on my balcony
  • listening to William Shatner
  • watching the sun rise (I'm doing this for the first time right now.)

HeroTown no more


I've found a way to find both my account name and my password (which I changed to the goram best password anyone can ever think of) and now I'm officially revamping this blog. Until now it used to be a blog about the progress of my very ambitious first project ever (well, following some tapes of adventures to my grandparent's own rainforest in their back garden): HeroTown. There was only one single post for about (insert time since last post here) and that had only one reason: there was no progress. At all. Nada.

Back then all I wanted to do was make the official franchise game to the project in the other blog (not really a blog, only technically): Ace Jackson. And there was progress. Although not too much. I tried to find my way into DirectX, but quit it, since it's dropped most of its 2D-content years ago, what a shame. And Ace Jackson was destined to be brought to life in an old school-320x200-point'n'click-2d-Adventure. That's when I found AGS.

I even drew some backgrounds and a horrible but both graceful and heroic walking animation and after a three-room-test-game, Ace stated that he does not need MacGyver lessons to hack a panel with a Trifore-like piece of stone. And that's the end of the story. A bunch of new backgrounds with very inconsistent style, the front view of the very enormous 3/4-goddess and a very pale hologram-god from Polkopolopol. I realised I could never bend the story, that was already on a very long and still ongoing hiatus, enough to fit it into an adventure game. Maybe one day it'll be finished. Ace even has a coffee maker in his underground cave so all the waiting won't be too hard on him.

Now that was again some time ago. Back then I searched my brain for ideas and story fragments I've come across over the years. The first one was "Jupiter - the true story" (that's the official translation of the title, I even thought of that back then. Yay me), a story about 3 aliens who disguised as schoolkids in search of a stolen crystal that was once the heat source of their very warm home planet and 3 other aliens, also disguised as schoolkids, who wanted to destroy the crystal, because it was causing their ice-covered home planet in a parallel dimension to melt. The six of them were all in the same class, so naturally there was a fight about the radiator controls...which was resembling a real fight in my class and as you can think the first 3 aliens were girls and the others were boys and I was on of the latter and had a crush on one of the first. After a lot of years, this story seems to have at least some potential, so I decided to make an intro, about two rooms and a few characters, but that's as far as I got. The thing that is killing me is the lack of a finished storyline.

'Why am I writing in english?' you may ask. Honestly, I don't know. Maybe so when I joined some AGS community the people there can read all about me and my unfinished games. I'll never know.

Up next: 'When Animals Attack!!' and 'Is there life on a pizza?!'