It's been a good week of work; finishing off some missing gfx for Blackenrock, building new ones and taking a walk on Solstice afternoon.
The Bear is Saxton's pub and Bed & Breakfast, but I'd forgotten to make the breakfast gfx. So, before any Saxtonian's fire up TripAdvisor I thought I'd better get in the virtual kitchen and make some greasy fry ups. Fruit and vegetarian options are available, all Low in Polys. Lucy does the washing up.
|Blackenrock - Fry ups and dirty dishes. Lucy does the washing up.|
Solstice was a great opportunity to get outside, the sun was shining and the birds and the bees were plentiful. We captured a short video, using the phone, to sum up our feelings. The soundtrack features NASA data, as wave forms, to suggest the landscape bombarded by photons.
This weekend, I'm adding some signage and props to the Wick Hollow Hall level of 'Glastonbury'. It's certainly starting to take shape, with a lot of detail. Matt remodelled the box hedging, which looks great now. It's supposed to be unkempt; the Wick Hollow Hall tourist attraction has been shut, for several weeks. The grass has grown and the privet hedge has gone mad. Learning to use the Tree Creator and making Detail Meshes has been cool, and it means we can make pretty much any plant we want/need for potions, alchemy and witchcraft.
Monuments: We added quite a few new 3D scanned objects too, as well as some grammetry. We are very keen to feature large stone carvings, from various eras. They look lovely in dappled light. Monuments will be important for alignment puzzles, later on, so they are likely to become kinetic in some way, I.e. Turn to face the full moon etc, the house, the sun, the Tor, etc.
One of the nice things about presenting the game in 3D is exploration. The world we are building is about a square mile, so it's easy to hide things. Stone plaques, rock cairns and secret stashes are a lot easier to hide in a live, realistic looking world. Deciphering old maps will be a definite bonus, as well as decoding any ciphered messages.
We also updated the Glasto pages on our websites. I got to use the nocturnal screen grabs. ;-)
|Natural day/night cycles will be used during Alignment Puzzles.|
NOTE: All the Glasto screen grabs are works-in-progress.
There are actually a few jobs on the go, as Matt untangles the scripts and anti-structure of Blackenrock. I won't be tackling a game that big again, unless I've got 100% time and attention. Delegating is not an easy thing for me, so it makes sense to stick to what comes easier, and that's art and stories, so I've got a few things ticking over in the background.
Dark Fall 4 is one of the background projects; I'm building that one bit by bit, when time allows. A seaside Pier needs a lot of 'stuff', pretty much everything has to be created from scratch, so it's a lot of work. Fun work. The last area, built about two weeks ago, belongs to the ghost-hunters, Nigel Danvers and Polly White. This will be their first adventure together since DF1, back in 2000. It's likely the Pier game will act as an anniversary game, if I work at it this Winter.
|WIP: DF4 - Storm Warning - The HQ of Nigel Danvers and Polly White|
My aim with DF4: Storm Warning is to make a game just like the first one; abandoned location, quiet atmosphere, nostalgic ghosts and series of puzzles which add information to the main, overall puzzle. It was a nice idea, back then, and made the game very non-linear. The funny thing, I didn't know how to write a File I/O function for Director (save/load), so Dark Fall was built with few changeable parameters and a limited inventory.
|The Bazelgette Pier survived many eras, from the faded Edwardian arcades to the garish 80's burger bar.|
Things are different now, but I'm still going to keep the non-linear feel. Exploring the creaking old pier will be ace, especially if you can take it at your own pace, and let your big detective nose lead you, rather than a constant barrage of Objectives. I do like a bit of 'hand holding' during big games, but often there's no point actually 'searching' the search area, when a big icon tells you where the objective/object is. So, a balance between the two would be ideal.
I'd like some repeatable puzzles/activities too. If any of the puzzles seem fun enough to repeat, I'll include a replay function. This will be especially useful for the arcade machines. There's no point setting a story on a pier and not having plenty of amusements. There are two arcades in Looe, with a fine selection of machines, from the latest craze to the 2p slot-n-roll machines. Yes, the 2p slot machines are still hugely popular. What is it with those old things? What will happen if our nasty overlords ban the copper coins?! Sniff. Anyway, they always prove entertaining, and my visitors always love them. A genuine physics approach is best, for the game version, so it feels real.
Obviously, I won't be hanging the entire plot on an old 2p slot machine, as it's silly and trivial (and the psychics might go wrong!), but it can certainly be one of those repeatable activities, alongside Fairground fun like 'balls in buckets' and the shooting range, ElectroDart and Bingo. The only problem will be the ghosts, they don't want you to win, so use the ever dependable ghost-hunting gadgets to see through the supernatural shenanigans. There's also a Mirror Maze, harder to orientate than you'd think, and of course, a Ghost Train.
So, back to work for me, thanks for reading.