Inspiration

One of the most difficult aspects of ANY artistic pursuit is how to keep motivated to move on. I had a conversation a while ago with a friend who wanted to start his own game project. He gave me a whole list of really good ideas-but one stuck out to me. It could actually ‘feel’ the passion he had in the idea just from the writing alone. Unsurprisingly, this was the idea that he felt most passionate about-but was concerned that it wasnt ‘commercial’ enough.

At the end of the day, it comes down to this: A COMPLETED PROJECT, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS, IS MORE COMMERCIAL THAN AN INCOMPLETE PROJECT.

Trust me on this, if you are looking at moving forward with something-it had better be something you love! STASIS, if you break it down, really shouldn’t do well. In a game genre where Casual Games have taken over with Hidden Object games, and where the most popular games are Comedic. A Sci-Fi Horror with an Isometric POV really goes against the grain. BUT its a genre which I love. Its an art style that I love. Everything in the game contains strains and elements of things that I am passionate about. Even the names in the story hold some kind of significance to me. Its because of this that I can load it up, week after week, play through it, and still feel INSPIRED to move forward with it!

HAVE A WALL OF NERD!

Immerse yourself in your project. I have, in my office, my ‘Wall Of Nerd’. I buy toys, books, comics….anything that sets off a spark in my imagination. I CONSTANTLY watch DVD’s, read comics, and novels. I have a fairly large collection of ‘ART OF books, for everything from King Kong to Iron Man. Hell, I have a 1:1 Deadspace Plasma Cutter!

INSPIRATION IS PRICELESS.

When you get that artistic block (and it will happen), you need to have things around you that remind you why you started doing what you started!

-Chris

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Blood, Drills and Engines.

Just wanted to give you loyal blog followers some eye candy. 😉

ADMIN OFFICE

Fun note, check the blood stains on Marachecks CRYO SUIT. Gotta wonder just what he had to do to get that High Speed Neural Drill….

Im playing around with having the suit get dirtier and grimier as you go along in the game. Subtle changes-but I think it will make a difference to the immersion of the player!

COMPUTER INTERACTION.

A screen showing how you will interact with the various computers in the game. I originally had a hacking device, with a mini game attached to it-but it got tedious fast!

AND A QUICK SHOUT OUT!

Head on over to http://www.visionaire-studio.net and download the Visioniare game engine. Its free to use and learn on, and the guys there are really helpful with any questions you have. STASIS is entirely done using the engine, which is the same engine behind The Whispered World, and the latest A NEW BEGINNING (Man..just looking at that artwork makes me drool!). This is coming off like a paid advert (it isnt… 😀 ), but I cant show my appreciation enough for the guys behind this engine. Without it STASIS would only exist in my mind. 😉

-Chris

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Multiplayer Adventure Games, and Voice Artists.

Just spit-balling here!

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Ive been playing around (on paper) with some ideas for a multiplayer adventure game. In such a game, the setting is extreamly important. For my fictional game, Ive set it onboard a sinking submarine. Each player would start in a different part of the sub, and each character would have a different skill set. So a deep sea diver, engineer, and computer tech.

The idea would have each player needing to do things in their area, which would affect the others. So it would be co-op puzzle solving. The engineer would need to reconnect a computer system, allowing the computer tech to access the flood doors to allow the deep sea diver to get into the next room and turn the power on to the areas close to the engineer and computer tech.

In essence, it would be Day Of The Tentacle, which each player taking control of each character at the same time. This could open up some really cool timed puzzle areas, where you have to execute ‘something’ at the same time. I would also have an option where the players could ‘cycle’ from their chosen characters at any time. So if you are tired of playing as the diver, you could swap with any of the other characters.

I think its a cool idea, and its something that-if I had the programming ability-I would love to explore.

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On STASIS.

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Ill be the first to admit that STASIS has been a little on the back burner for the past few days. Work has really been kicking my ass, and coming home to a computer isnt high on my lists! So I have been doing a lot of work on paper, and getting quite deep into writing the actual script for the game. I got in contact with a really talented voice over artist, and have been putting together all the material for him. Full character bio’s, motivations, etc.

If you are a voice artist, and want to get involved, please send me a mail, or pop a comment below. There are quite a few smaller lines I need read-medical readouts, voice logs, etc. So even if you only have a mic, and 20 minutes of free time I can use you!

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Bug Hunt

This weekend I went bug hunting. I have a few pages of really small annoying things that I’ve been meaning to fix…but just havent. Its small things, like sometimes a door doesn’t slide closed, or the computer screen in the one room isn’t displaying the correct animation.

REASON FOR BUGS #1

Most of these ‘bugs’ are part of a design decision on my part to not have large scrolling areas, but rather treat each area as its own separate screen. But something you do in one room could greatly effect something in another room. One example, you do something that resets all the computers. Now if the game was one large scrolling environment that wouldnt be a problem…you just change the animation. But as each room exists separately from the others, I have to have commands set up that when you enter the room, it checks to see if anything has happened in the GAME WORLD which needs to effect what happens in that specific area.

While there are disadvantages to having lots of small areas as opposed to one large area, the one major advantage is level of detail. By treating each room on its own, I can add in a silly amount of incidental detail that makes the world feel more ‘dense’. A piece of paper that blows across the screen…smoke being sucked into a fan…

I really want each room to be able to stand on its own, ASWELL as be a part of the whole.

REASON FOR BUGS #2

The second reason for the bugs is probably the most important-they are things that are occuring when the player does things ‘out of order’. Essentially, I am trying to avoid the ‘You cant do that now’ problem that many indie (and commercial)  adventure games tend to have. Just because you aren’t supposed to pick up the hypodermic needle at that point in time, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to. But what happens when you pick it up, but haven’t accessed the inventory yet? What happens when you walk out of a room halfway though a dialogue sequence? How can I ‘force’ the player to enter the INFIRMARY before the ADMIN OFFICE? These are the things that can make you rip out your hair! But again, it goes back to the choices I’ve made in the beginning of designing the game. The choice to give the player a large sense of freedom in a game that ‘needs’ to be linear to work.

REASON FOR BUGS #3

This can be summed up in one word…inexperience. Im still learning not only the tools, but also the theory as I go along. STASIS is still a very young game (less than a year), and is my first attempt at a game and story of this size. I learn new things with each and every day that I work on it. Im also really trying to keep the quality consistency throughout the game.  I dont want the first part of the game to feel ‘less polished’ than the later bits. So that means backtracking to previous rooms and levels, and updating bits of code/graphics/ways of doing things.

-Chris

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