Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Helme man's Minionaise

This month's MAGS (Theme: The Only One) was won by Helme's game Minor Minion. Congratulations!

Interview Part 3: Legend of Leitor's Edge

An interview with Snake, the man behind Leitor's Edge!!

1)First question is,what is your favorite AGS game?

After all these years my favorite AGS game is still Hugos House of Horrors Remake, by Spyros. There's been plenty of great games over the years, but for some reason, there's something about that game. The music drew me in and the animations I especially liked. It was a great AGS adaptation of the original, which I had not played until long after playing this one. The AGS version was completely mouse driven while the original was strictly parser based... if I'm not mistaken of course.

Spyros did an ace job on that game.


2)Snake..Does the nickname have anything to do with Metal Gear Solid?

Heh - it has nothing to do with it. The nickname is actually a real nickname that a friend of my grandfather gave to me when I was little. I'm unsure of my age at the time, probably around 8 or so. But anyway, I used to stick my tongue out at him every time he spoke to me, so he started calling me Snake. And it stuck ever since. I'm called Snake more than I am Tom. I couldn't imagine having a different forum name.

2A) You seem to be very friendly for an oldie, and I barely recall you posting on a "Forums nowadays suck" type of topic..why's that difference?

I've been around the AGS forums since, at least, late 2000, back when it was on EZBoard (I was known as SnakeEggz there). I've seen quite a few people come and go. The "spirit" of the forums haven't gone (which is why those topics are rediculous) just certain individuals and the type of conversations and debates that they would spawn. I think that's what these people are refering to when they start these topics - they miss the old days with members that are no longer around. I've never really been a big part of discussions but I've read almost all of them... sometimes posting for comedic relief if need be - not that I get many laughs, but I'll try.

Most discussions that pop up with newer members have already been hashed over 40 times before, but with different members, you see it all the time. But even though these topics have been discussed before, they are always different because there are different people sharing their different views - it's not the same people over and over again.
What I especially find funny is when somebody who was new to the forums 3 or 4 years ago, complains about how the forums have changed.

Personally, I have just as much fun on the forums now days than I did "back in the day".

3)You've been on these forums quite a long while, and from 2003 or so, people are anxiously waiting for a game of yours, The Legend of Leitor's Edge. Recently I noticed you started working on it, releasing an April fools joke. So to finally reach to a question mark, how's the situation on the game progress? Are you working on it?

Yes, we've been working on it tremendously, especially this year we've made much progress with the story. Exactly one year and a day ago, we started rewritting the story. We gave it an almost complete rewrite. A few scenes are the same and the atmosphere is untouched, so in essence, it is the same game that people are looking forward to. A couple characters, along with their storylines, were taken out simply for their absurdity. New characters and storylines took their place, and I must say, are fantastic and work flawlessly within the main story.

Game progress is still in it's planning stage as to get every wrinkle ironed out first before I go and do programming and more artwork.

Lately progress has come to a screeching hault when a little over a month ago we discovered a hole in the story. Very little progress has been made as of late. I mentioned on my website that if this doesn't work out, Leitor's Edge is finished. I'm done rewriting it.

So currently our main focus has been this one thing before we continue on. I'm sure it'll be fixed, it's not something that would require a total rewrite. It's just been very mindbending.

4)Some time ago you posted on the forums that your game is getting you down, how's that?

It all boils down to being insecure about the game itself and whether or not it'll be as good as it sounds and as good as some of these people are thinking it'll be. There's just so many games out there that are recognized and talked about years after their release. I want Leitor's Edge to join them. I want it to be one of those games that is remembered (as does anybody else with their game).
I certainly have doubts that I can deliver what I can imagine as a great game.

5)Can you tell us a bit about the story of the game?

The Legend of Leitor's Edge is a science fiction story revolving around a boy named, Seth Reece, who accidently falls through a portal that sends him through time... only for a brief period. After being returned through time, Seth is unaware that he indirectly changed, not only his life, but the lives of everyone around him, creating a parallel universe. Now, with the discovery of a means of traveling the 4th dimension, one person threatens, not only Seth ever returning home, but existance itself.

6)The gameplay at the topic was said to be similar to Choose-You-Own-Adventure Books. Comment on that.

Yes, that was the original plan. I'm not too sure how much alike it'll actually end up being since the rewrite. But there will still be options that you will be given once and again, like CYOA books, that will change specific things through the course of the game. And other things that will not be so obvious that will change outcomes here and there (where you are not given choices), depending on the way you solve a puzzle for example.
But no, it won't be as dramatic story/character-changing as CYOA books. By that I mean;
choosing to go in through the front door or try to sneak in the window won't change a character's personality or anything. A good example in a CYOA book is an example somebody gave from the forums:
This person had said that he had read a CYOA book where at the end you had two options to choose from. One option made a specific character end up being the evil character in the ending, but in the other option a total different character was the evil one. That stuff just doesn't make sense to me.

Everything that changes in Leitor's Edge will still revolve around the same story, just different paths. And of course there will be a few different endings.

7)Wondering, who's still helping you with the game? Initially many forum members were part of the team, but then some changes happened, so I've lost track.

Currently it is just Me and David Olgarsson (Rincewind is his AGS forum name). I don't know where this game would be if I was working on it alone. It certainly wouldn't be as good with out David, that's for damn sure. He's given more to this story than I can even describe. This game is no doubt, our game. Not mine. Ours. I hope to be doing possible sequels with him.

Originally, back in 2003, I was working on it alone. Then I recruited Dave. After a while Dave didn't really have much time to work with me on it so I asked him if he thought it was a good idea if I asked on the forums for new members. He agreed after a bit and was sorry that he could participate as often.
The project then ended up with two more members, Vel ("Who Wants to Live Forever?"), Yufster ("Beyond Reality"), currently known as Meowster, and Squinky (Pirate Fry 1,2,3, Demon Slayer...).
After a while this got too overwhelming for me, which David did indeed warn about prior to, with opposing ideas and just WAY too many things going on at once. David called it, "Too many chefs in the kitchen"... heh, I love that phrase.

Vel, Yufster and Squinky are great people, but I ended up telling them that I was relieving them from the project, I think not even a year later. I still feel like an ass. I should, I mean, I jumped at the idea of more people without thinking too much into it. You live you learn, I suppose.


8)Are you planning on releasing this on a certain date, or that seems highly doubtful?

There is no release date. It'll be finished when it's finished. The only thing that is certain is the updates on the SITE.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sudoku

Nothing to do with AGS, but here's a fun animation from the BBC of Paul Merton talking nonsense about Sudoku on Just a Minute.


More here.

Interview Part 2: Resonance

So second interview and this time it's Vince Twelve (XII), the man (not just him) behind Resonance. Look down...

1)This is getting typical, but well, got to ask, what's your favorite AGS or non-AGS game?

Among AGS games, Nelly Cootalot, Gesundheit!, La Croix Pan, The Blackwell Series, Shifter's Box, Reactor 09, Cirque de Zale, and tons of others. Non-AGS games, wow, too many to count. I love the Myst Series, The Longest Journey, Silent Hill, The Dig, Portal, Braid, Armadillo Run, ummm... tons. I generally go for the more serious stories rather than zany comedies. I just love getting drawn in by immersive Sci Fi or Fantasy worlds.

2)How did you decided to start making games in the first place?

I've wanted to make games for as long as I can remember. I remember drawing huge Final Fantasy-like world maps with my friend on the floor of our fourth grade classroom. That interest led me to majoring in Computer Science, and eventually to where I am now, as a hobbyist/indie game maker. I might try the jump to a real game company some day, but for now, I'm satisfied with my business software development job, which pays the bills and feeds the kids, and my game creating hobby.

3)You've recently moved from the one side of the Atlantic to the other, and you've got a nice big family there. When do you get time to work with Resonance?

Actually, it was the Pacific! About a year ago, my wife and two year old moved from Okinawa, Japan to Omaha, Nebraska, USA. And recently we added one more kid to the family, so yeah, I keep busy. Other than the odd lunch hour, most of my Resonance development time takes place when every one else is asleep. I get a lot done on weekends, when my wife and kids are taking naps, and every night after 10 PM after everyone's in bed. I stay up most nights until 12:30 or 1 working and then get up the next morning at 6 to go to work. So I'm running myself a bit ragged, but I'm very dedicated to what I do.

4)How did you manage to gather a team full of talented people? Nikolas for the music, ProgzMax for pixel art, MashPotato, JBurger, You, Deirdra...So how?

Yeah, I absolutely love collaborating with highly-talented people, and I'm doing a damn good job of it on this project, if I do say so myself (and I do). Nikolas was the first team member. We worked together on Linus Bruckman and became good friends, so that was a no-brainer. To attract more talent to the project, I wanted to have some major work done to demonstrate my dedication and help sell the project.

So, after I had written the entire design document for the game, laying out every background, character, plot point, and puzzle (though it has changed quite a bit since then) I went looking for ProgZ on the AGS IRC channel. He was my number one pick to be the artist for Resonance, and to my surprise, he jumped right aboard! He actually had created the first concept version of Ed, the main character, within 20 minutes of me pitching the game to him!
It was a bit harder to find the backgrounder, because I didn't have anyone in mind, so I posted ads around the internet looking for artists and got several replies. I talked with ProgZ and Nik and eventually we picked Nauris Krause, who has been doing an awesome job with the backgrounds ever since! Mash, Deirdra, and JBurger all came a bit later. I asked Mash specifically if she could do some character portraits. And Deirdra and JBurger both answered some open calls that I put out on the forums and on my blog looking for writers and artists, respectively. I'm super happy with the team that I've got working on Resonance. It's a very talented, very international group of game makers!

5)I'm not sure about the rest out there, but I've really noticed a very innovative and very impressive interface. But there has been a talk whether the interface will be user friendly. Comment on that.

Who's talking about that?! :) I can guarantee that the interface will be easy to use. I tested it out on my Mom! I have previously worked as an interactivity designer focusing on usability at a giant multi-national corporation, so I've got some experience in this arena. Because of that work, I find myself always nitpicking the interfaces of other games.
I don't know that the interface will be perfect for everyone (is any interface perfect for everyone?) -- some people may not like it because it's different from most other adventure games -- but it should feel immediately familiar and natural. So hopefully it works out well!

6)From the poster and some of your posts on Twitter and XIIgames, I've seen that the story divides into four chapters (based on feelings), but I've yet to get a grasp on the plot. Want to tell us more about it?

Actually, the game has three acts. There are four playable characters, though, and that's who you see on the poster. But, yeah, the story takes place over three days, and each day makes up one act of the game. Each act is pretty different in tone and feel. Act I is the setup of the characters, setting, and plot, but keeps mixing up the gameplay to keep you on your toes. Act II opens the world up to more exploration and is more similar to standard adventure game pacing. And Act III pulls everything together and sends you spiraling towards the conclusion. Each Act has it's own set of goals and motivations, so it should keep things interesting! The plot surrounds a new discovery in the field of particle physics. Something that could be used for great good or great evil. So several different shady groups are after the research, and you have to make sure that you get it first! That's all I'm sayin'!

7)The graphics, the animation, seem all to be of high product value, so how much will this game cost?

The price point is undecided, but I can practically guarantee that it will be more than the fifteen bucks that it currently costs for a pre-order over on
Kickstarter

8)It has been previously said that AGSers don't really buy commercial games (even AGS ones), your thoughts on that? And how did you decided to go commercial?

I think that people interested in the game will buy it and people uninterested wont. I'm not too worried about sales numbers or profits, really. I started this project because I wanted to make the game of my dreams, so I've invested hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars over the last two and a half years to make sure that it got done and that it was of the highest possible quality.

I don't know if I'll break even on the project in the end, not really sure what to expect, but that was never my goal to start out with. Though, I did make the game commercial to help justify it to my wife. :P


9)When are you planning that the game will be ready?

That's the real question. When it's done. I'm hoping, (but it's only hoping) that the game will be done in 2010.

10)Final question, if you would propose a game of yours to someone, which one would that be?

I would show everybody Linus Bruckman, which I'm still super proud of three years after release. I think it's clever and unique and bizarre; all things that I love about games. It's not for everybody, definitely, but I'd like to think that people who like hard logic puzzles and brain twisters or just weird stories will enjoy it.


Thanks a lot for the interview Vince, it has been a pleasure! If you want to find out more on Resonance, go to the XII Games Website Section

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quid pro quo

Himalaya Studios have not just got their game on Dave Gilbert's site, but they've got his games on theirs! Check out the all-new Himalaya website and shop.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oooh, controversy

Well, following some of the recent comments on the blog, looks like some people think that too many AGS games are commercial, so the new poll asks that very question. Incisive journalism, eh?

Darn, dash and tarnation! They're down again?!

The forums seem to be down since Saturday..unless its really me. Which I doubt anyway. Ah, well, time to go fishing! If they come up, wake me. This times it seems really serious though. It's not the usual just-a-day-long maintenance thing. So guys if you hear me...

GET AGA!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Polls aint what they used to be

So, you're answers to the poll seem to conclude that 2009 isn't as good a year for adventure games as 2008 was. I'm intrigued as to why this might be. Please add your comments with any examples to this post, if you feel like discussing it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Divine Island

Adventure Island review Enter the Story: Divine Comedy.

Hey, that's MY adventure character

A company called Infinite Ammo have released this trailer for an adventure game called Marian. Hang on a second... let me call my lawyer!

Interview Part 1: McCarthy Chronicles


I've decided to go around interviewing AGSers as a new thingy. The first one, is Calin Leafsade, the man behind the McCarthy Chronicles!

Okay, then I'm starting with the questions:

0)So general info, favorite game genre, favorite game?

I dont really have a favourite genre of game. I try to treat each game on its merits and I can name games from all different genres that I love. If I were forced to choose at gunpoint however I would probably choose "Action Adventure".

My favourite game of all time is probably still the original Deus Ex. Just due to the fantastic blend of story and RPG elements. There is no point is Deus Ex where you feel you are wandering aimlessly. You always have an objective and its not always "shoot that thing until it stops moving".

1)About you now, is Calin Leafsade your real-life name?

Calin Leafshade is indeed my real name.. I was raised by elves.
No infact my name is Steve. Calin is a persona I've had for RPGs for many many years. I often use it for things since its surprisingly never taken and I abhor usernames with numbers in.

2) Since you're really a promising newcomer, I always wondered, how did find AGS as an engine, and what is your opinion on this community?

I discovered AGS by the usual route. Namely Yahtzee.
Up until that point I believed that polish was very important when delivering a gaming experience. Graphics were key in my eye.
I knew that they didnt 'make' a game but i thought that without good graphics a modern gamer just wouldn't appreciate the story that was trying to be told.
After playing 5DAS I discovered that it's perfectly possible to create a game in the modern gaming climate that can still appeal. I was genuinely frightened when the welder comes into the bathroom. The immersion of the game had completely got to me.
To contrast this I had recently been playing Deadspace for the Xbox 360 which is billed as 'terrifying' when the fact of the matter the only thing I felt when playing that was boredom. Shambling fleshy monsters in beautiful 1080p didnt scare me as much as a guy in a welders mask 30pixels high.. go figure.

As for the community I've been surprised at how helpful it is. Everyone seems willing to help and get involved whenever possible.. which is refreshing.

3)Ever made any other games (even on other engines), besides the one you're working on?

Other games? Hmm no not really. I had dabblings in various things (mostly the half life 2 engine) but I always wanted to create something special and i simply didnt (and still dont) have the artistic skills to pull something off in the 3d domain.. If something looks bad in 3D it REALLY looks bad.
I could have finished alot of those projects but I just wouldnt have been satisfied with the result and it would have been another mediocre map in a sea of mediocre maps.

4) You seem to give a lot of work and detail on the story side, even give more attention to the voice actors than anything else, why's that?

I've always been fascinated with video games as a method of telling a story. They have something unique which books and films can't capture. The pacing is all different. For example Final Fantasy VII takes around 30 hours or something to complete.. imagine a film that long.
I think with an adventure game the story is vital. If you dont have the story then its just a series of click click puzzles.. and whats the point in that?
As for the voice acting I'm still not 100% decided.
I think my particular game would work very very well with voice acting since the dialogue is all written in a very stylised, poetic manner. People dont really talk like my characters but its supposed to feel almost like a play. Even my rooms all look like stages.
I would really like a full cast of voice actors to really hammer home the interaction between the characters and convey their personalities more effectively.
However I'm not willing to compromise on the immersion. If I cant find a full cast that fits the bill perfectly, I will leave the voice acting out altogether.

5)Do you have any favorite books or AGS games? Has any one of those sort of "marked" your life in a certain way?

Favourite books? Easy. Clockwork Orange.. if they make a clockwork orange game I would walk through fire to buy it.
As for AGS games I'm a bit of a newbie. I've played all of yahtzees offerings but havent really had time to try anything else.
I find that comedy is very pervasive in the AGS community (largely influenced I imagine by the monkey island and Lucas Arts games) and comedy is not really what I want from a game most of the time.. unless its Portal.
Have any of them marked my life? I usually leave up to music and before you ask: David Bowie, Beth Orton, Nick Drake, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley.

6)Tell me a bit more about this game, how did you come up with it, who's doing the backgrounds (I'm guessing you), and why is it in episodic format?

My game is done entirely by me. With the exception of a single sprite which Babar did.. which also happens to be the best piece of art in the whole game.
As for the 'idea' for the game i'm not really sure where it came from.
But i didnt start with a character or a plot or anything like that. I started with a mood, an atmosphere. I wanted an excuse to write ridiculously over the top and extravagant dialogue. I wanted to make a game from a poem rather than a story.. if that makes any sense. Film Noir seemed like a good way to put that into practice.
I decided to do the game in episodic format simply so that I would be able to release sooner. I didnt want to get in a rut with a feature length game and never have anythign to show for it. Plus it allows me to receive feedback on previous episodes and improve the later ones.

7)Everyone that has seen the brilliance of your dialogs, even by those screenshots and really got excited for the game, even before you posted the second really cool drawn screen, is wondering, when is this game coming out?

Ah you're too kind. As McCarthy would say:

"Answers come like bubbles on a questioning breeze, scented lightly with the sweet smell of anticipation, before busting into oblivion never to be seen again"

Basically I havent got a f**%ing clue. When it's done.

See more of the game here, and just have a cool time watching the teaser trailer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

AGS Phone Home

Ah, yes, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that Clarvalon, the man attempting to conquest the world with the port of AGS games in every house, has taken a great interest on making a step that can bring AGS to the iPhone, by four steps!

Wowish by me so far! Check it out here

A rumor has appeared that the first AGS game will be Marian..thing is which part?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wake me up beFORE you GO-go!

Well, a certain intelligent individual has come up with the idea of bringing back the FOREGO awards, the awards for the AGS forum members.

On this stage, on this topic, you can nominate people you think deserve a certain title, or even yourself! We should have a best blogger award...(I'd win so we skipped it).

Promise for a ceremony of same style as the AGS Awards one!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Give Vince Money!

Vince XII has put his epic game-in-production Resonance on kickstarter in order to raise cash to enter it into IGF. Head over, give him some dosh and you'll get mentioned in the credits. Give him $250 and he'll base a character on you! With awesome people like ProgZMax, Nikolas and Deirdra Kiai involved, how could you not want to sign your life savings over to him?

Supersize Jazz review

Super Jazz Man gets a review over at the Slowdown and its very long review with loads of detail. Check it out while Dave's still selling the game at Wadjet Eye.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Best AGS game ever gets ported to Xbox

The awesome and hyper-intelligent beings who work on the XAGE adventure game tool have decided that they should port awesome open-source MAGS-winning game Pixel Hunt by some guy called SSH using their tool. If you want to check out the original (and who wouldn't!) you can download it from the AGS games pages.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sue perjures man

Herculean Effort's commercial effort Super Jazz Man is the latest game in Dave Gilbert's Wadjet Eye shop.

The annual forums-used-to-pawn topic!

This year's forum topic titled something similar to "Forums aren't what they used to be", is the one by Erenoth. Old forumites that stil lurk from the golden era of 2003-4, have posted their thoughts on the matter. They are relative to the list below:

A. Ah, when Yahtzee was here things were better!! (then he went arrogant and left.)

B. I remember Adventure Game Creator..(it was on DOS)

C. I remember Helm, he never let anyone insult him (he did it once and left the forums)

D. Self-referential jokes about "how nostalgia threads on the forums aren't as good as they used to be" aren't as good as they used to be.

Some people said that the forums are better now and that people should move on with their lives. Those that said it were stoned.

Another relative topic can be found here

Because there's nothing funnier than burning bishops...

...unless of course, you're a bishop. Anyway, if you fancy a bit more literary fun, why not download the second "Enter the Story" game demo... Dante's Divine Comedy or just go and buy the thing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lua of the temptress

Denzil Quixode tempts us with the sexy scripting language that is Lua. How, you may query? Well, he's only gone and written an editor AND runtime plugin to let you write all your data handling (since Lua is SO much better at that stuff than AGS) in Lua. Not only was Grim Fandango written with Lua but it also allows lots of puns! What more could one want? Check out the thread in the tech archive and then you'll be able to answer the question "Have you used Lua?" with something other than "Yes, sorry did I forget to flush?"

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy birthday to Blogger

Well, today is Blogger's 10th apparently. It's also the 45th of the Forth Road Bridge, but that has nothing to do with anything except being right next to where I live. Anyway. The whole point of this post is to say that google have just added native label cloud support to blogger, so I've moved to using their one and have put it down the bottom of the page because it was really getting too big for the side panel. Just in case you missed it...

While we're on a self-indulgent post, this is post #640, 1600 unique visits occurred over the last month and since I started this blog there have been over 40000 page views. Thanks!

Cheapwell

Everything at Dave Gilbert's Wadjet Eye store is 50% off until next week with the code "labor". Go and buy everything! Twice!