“Daddy, please help us…”

I have updated the ABOUT page, with some different information about the direction of the story that STASIS is taking. For those who dont want to link around, here is the update:

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“Daddy, please help us…”

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Disoriented, drowsy, and in pain, John Maracheck opens his eyes. Nothing greets him, but the static of a nearby monitor, and a cold steel floor. Thick green liquid covers the floor and his body, leading to a nearby, steaming stasis-pod. He slowly gets to his feet, trying to take in his surroundings. Where is his wife? His daughter? What the hell is going on….?

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What is STASIS?

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Stasis is an adventure game, that puts you in control of John Maracheck. a man searching for his family, in a seemingly abandoned research facility. Going back to classic adventure game mechanics, you have to solve puzzles, and use objects around you to progress, and to find Marachecks family.

Graphically, Stasis is fairly unique in the adventure game genre, opting for highly detailed isometric graphics, as opposed to the more classic ‘side on’ views of other adventure games. Richly detailed rooms and fluid animations create an immersive environment for the player to explore, with danger lurking in every shadow.

The stasis-plug suit gives you direct access to an Emergency Medical Kit. A piece of equipment that has the ability to break down any object of a certain weight and size into its base elements, and store it for future use. While normally it is used to store small medical supplies, Maracheck uses it as an easy way to keep and transport found objects. Objects can be stored, accessed, combined, and brought back into the ‘real’ world at any moment.

At its core, Stasis is a story about an ordinary man, in an extraordinary situation.

Trapped in a place where humanities horrors come out to play, how far would you go to protect your family?

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Welcome to The Groomlake. We know you will enjoy your stay.

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I spoke in an earlier post about a few changes. These have come about after taking a hard look at the game, and really taking out the pieces that I didn’t feel were moving the story forward. The setting is still the same, by the story is now focused on  one mans hunt for his family inside this truly horrific place. This is a new direction I have been taking the game for a while, and I have to say that I think it is going to be a very emotional, tiring, and surprising journey for the player!

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The core mechanics haven’t changed at all with the new story, with the exception of juggling around some technical jargon. The Hyper Storage Device has become an Emergency Medical Kit, but it operates in the exact same way.  The salvage suit has become a Stasis-Plug-Suit, which will give the player feedback not only on the environment, but also on the characters own physical well-being.

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Most of the environments from the previous story stay exactly the same, except now the purpose for the player being in them has changed. I have to admit, its quite interesting how a small change in the ‘purpose’ of a scene can so drastically change how the scene feels. Fear not tho-this change of direction hasn’t messed up my time lines! The game is still very much on course, except I truely believe that it will be a far superior product! The advantage of indie development, and also solo development, is that I can alter things that aren’t working. Infact, I have actually been working even faster on the game, as the story is quite a bit ‘tighter’ (and more exciting) than before-something that definitely helps in the development!

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Here is one of the themes I have been composing for the game. (Click to download the Mp3)

Daddy Please Help Us

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I really wish I could tell you guys the full extent of the story. What is Cayne Corporation? Is death preferable to some fates? And just what is that whispering noise coming from the walls….?

-Chris

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Product Storage

No massive insite into the world of game-dev in this post, but I do have some candy for you. 😉

The more observant will notice a few differences in this screenshot compared to others. The main one is the lack of Hyper Storage Device in the corner. I have streamlined the interface even more, and hidden it as much as possible. The ‘ACCESS’ button will open up the Inventory (in a cool foldy/swingy out animation thingy) by hovering over it, and the inventory will close automatically when you are finished with it.

This has really helped, because I found myself designing levels around the interface-which is something I really wasnt happy with! Im quite enjoying the fact that the screen is pretty much entirely dedicated to the environment now.

The second thing is the new clothing that Maracheck is wearing….but that’s for another post. 😉

-Chris

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Time lapse of a level being constructed.

As requested, here is a timelapse of a level being constructed in 3D. Its important to note that this is only about 2 hours of work, with a full level usually requiring around 12 hours-so we are at around 10% complete here.

But this gives a pretty good idea about how I work when putting together a level. From here, I would render out the animated areas, and put them into the engine. I will record that process when I get there. :)

TIME LAPSE VIDEO

-Chris

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A few Consructs.

Hey Guys,

Unfortunately I havent had a massive amount of time to work on STASIS this past week-but did take a moment to create some new CONSTRUCTS for the levels. These are essentially genertic building blocks, which I use to ‘flesh out’ the game levels. Most of these CONSTRUCTS are really generic components. Pipes, wall pieces, furniture, computer consols. So while each screen still has a massive amount of custom modeling (each room has completely unique ‘stuff’ in it), having a library of these items really helps.

I use a library asset management system inside MAX, which has each CONSTRUCT labled under its room type. Medical, Corridor, Hero, Dead Bodies, Military, etc. These ones here are just a few randoms to show you. :)

I do have a blog post planned where Ill go a little more indepth into how I create these, and how I put everything into the engine.

-Chris

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Train Crash

GAMES AREN’T FILMS.

The past week has been VERY exciting for me. Ill admit, I was stuck. Call it writers block, artistic burnout, or just plain ‘middle of the year’ depression, but I found I was constantly circling the same areas of the game, affraid to move forward, because I knew that I just wasnt happy with where I was going.

But I did what any rational artist (ha!) does, and took a step back. The problem I saw was that I was basing so much of what I was trying to achieve through the pacing of films-a medium that I love. But the truth is that games arent films, and films arent games. They each run on a completely separate set of rules.

While a film can have a set 3 act structure, action points, highs and lows, turning point etc-a game doesn’t have that luxury. Now Im not talking about the story-but rather the pacing. I love slow movies. I love those times INBETWEEN the times that characters are doing things. The journey TO the Derelict in ALIEN. The conversations about how they are fortifying the base in ALIENS. The long speeches in Inglorious Basterds. But you cant have those moments in a game. A game, by its nature, needs to to DRIVE THE CHARACTER FORWARD. You always need an objective-even if the objective is finding out what that objective is.

Having that realization, I have jumbled about a whole lot of story elements in the game to make sure it flows better-and given the character CLEAR OBJECTIVES for each chapter in the game.

Alternatively now, the game has 15, shorter chapters, instead of 6 longer ones. Overall game play time isnt effected-but the game just feels…better. Its hard to explain without you guys actually playing the game-but believe me, this is a good thing!

TRAIN STATION CRASH.

And here is a treat for all you faithful blog followers, who are here for the candy, and not my ramblings. 😉 The one is a shot of the Rapid Transport System that I had on here a while ago-but its now completed. And the other is of STATION 1, with a tram that lost control, and ripped through the landing. You also get your first glimpse of Cayne Corporations logo…

-Chris

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