Chapter 1 has been split into 2 parts and the puzzles have now been designed for both. Part 1 is complete and Part 2 needs some refinement, but….
This means i can jump into concepting out the environments while i work out the tiny details for Part 2, YAY!
I used to battle with being faithful to the ship layout and absolute specifics of the design but it always felt, well… a little sterile and forced. The deisigns will be as true to the original as i can make them but some changes will have to be made to certain room locations and contents. The long and the short of it is this: I’m now starting the concept art stage. So there =)
Sorry there’s nothing to actually show at this stage. There’re pages and pages and pages of puzzle notes, designs, sketches and brainstorming documents but they’re all a little…. well, spoilery.
After the puzzle dsign is finished then it’s on to the concept work and that i will be able to post. It may be pap but it’s progress.
It’s strange but, doing it this way keeps on giving me energy. When i was working in 3d, i was sort of rudderless but with each thing i’m doing here, i’m becoming really proud of what i’ve achieved. I’ve just finished work (“just” being over the last 4 days) on two puzzles which i would love to find in an adventure game and i can’t wait for the beta testers to try them out!
OK, so, back to it.
Having a jolly whizzy time, Byeeeeee!
i just had to learn too many things from scratch to do this is UDK, so, quite literally, i’ve gone back to the drawing board with AGS
Some prep work based on the earlier concept stuff:
I have to say that I’m all excited again about this and it’s become a labiour of love once more…. not a pain in the arse as it was becoming.
Until next time… hopefully not another year or so, though =)
So i’m getting my arse kicked in trying to tie up individual character’s story arcs.
The main story is fine and done but i wanted the player to be able to play any character they want. The reason i’m doing this is so you can feel like part of a team. Part of the crew. Unfortunately, the timeline has to be rejiggled (it’s a word, honest) to make it sequential and still make sense from the perspective of just one character. Depending on whichever character you choose, will decide where you come into the game, what specific tasks you have to accomplish and which storyline you affect.
so…. more of the same but i just wanted to say that i ain’t’n’t dead!
Okaaaaaay! So, in visiting the story again, it forced me to ask the following question:
“WHAT DO I WANT TO CREATE HERE?”
And the answer “a red dwarf game!” just isn’t good enough. After a couple of hours really thinking about it and what i want from it, i came to the conclusion that i want to create the experience of being part of the crew.
It’s not good enough to just want to create a puzzle game aboard red dwarf with the crew characters. It needs to make the player feel that they are really there and part of something. Not just completing something but creating something. Sooooo….
“WHAT DO I WANT TO CREATE HERE?”
The feeling of camaraderie and a real connection for the fans who’re usually watching on the sidelines. I want to create an experience for the player that will make them feel they’ve earned their place on the crew. I know that this all sounds lofty and unrealistic but i broke it down to smaller chunks by asking myself questions. It may sound a little weird but it really seemed to work!
“HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE PART OF A TEAM?”
You have a special talent/skill that has its place in the group
“WHAT ELSE MAKES YOU PART OF A TEAM?”
You realise that the other members of the team also have special skills/talents that you don’t… and that life may be easier when you’re all pitching in
“WHAT MAKES AN INDIVUDUAL FEEL LIKE THEY’RE VALUED AS PART OF A TEAM?”
Using their individual skills successfully for the benefit of the team
“WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT A TEAM ANYWAY?”
The player has a bond and reliance on the other teammates. The player gets to trust and rely on the team’s skills
“HOW DO YOU GET THE PLAYER TO TRUST THE TEAM?”
“HOW DOES THE PLAYER FEEL LIKE THERE’S ANYTHING TO LOSE FROM COMPUTER GENERATED TEAMMATES?”
This one’s tricky but i think this can be achieved by having planing stages for group tasks. The player gets to plan for the big group tasks and how successful they are depends on their knowledge of the team members strengths and weaknesses. Think, Red Storm’s: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6. The characters were given bio’s you had to read to find strengths and weaknesses. Now, having read these bio’s, if a mission went tits up, well…. you lost a character that you may have weirdly bonded to and it was down to your planning. A feeling of loss to promote the contrast of feeling worth for what you do have.
“HOW CAN THIS FEELING OF CAMARADERIE BE ACHIEVED IN A SINGLE PLAYER GAME?”
… Weeeeeeeell, that last one took me a while. After this while though, I figured that a three act story could work:
- Act One – player gets to know his individual character’s strengths and weaknesses
- Act Two – player meets the rest of the crew and gets to know their strengths and weaknesses
- Act Three – player must use their knowledge of the crew’s strengths and weaknesses (both cumulative and individual) to overcome the antagonist and achieve the story’s objective.
To get the player feeling more valued and part of the team, I decided that they should be able to select any member of the crew to play as but that they should stay as that character for the remainder of the game. The player will then start the game at one of 4 points along the storyline, depending on which character they chose to play as. Each character will have their own evolution arc as they learn to accept the thrown-together-band-of-misfits as their surrogate family.
I’m hoping that this approach will make the player feel invested in their chosen character and create the experience of value and worth for Red Dwarf and game fans alike.
Super wordy, i know, but i can’t post the diagrams i’m drawing at the minute because they obviously contain spoilers. More shiny-shinies soon!!!
Just an explanatory update today – i’m currently working the story over in OneNote with all my notes to get a clear and chronological story. after that i’ll be able to tailor the levels to exactly suit the flow of the story and know where i can bend the floor plan rules.
After some thought, i’m actually going to keep the simple and cartoonish styling as it reflects the type of game/experience i want the player to have. Lighthearted but still rooted in nostalgia.
I fully appreciate now why a solid plan is so essential to any project. I’ll now no longer be producing artwork on the hope of a congruent story, i will be redesigning the artwork to suit the story that’s very quickly taking shape.
I apologise if this looks a little wishy-washy and indecisive but i have to admit being directionless before but not anymore. I think it’s vitally important that the site candidly reflect my own shortcomings in managing this project. (managing is such a strong word when there’s only me in it…)
Anyway, i’ll be uploading more artwork after the next draft, yay!