T-7 days till launch =)
things have been busy, which accounts for my very infrequent journal updates.
The website is ready, and all legal/accounting issues have been taken care of.
I have begun to shift my view to our next title.
Some of the following information is speculation, but some of it has truely been decided.
Unlike Morning's Wrath, this next title is going to be an adventure game (not an Adventure / RPG), and it will be in 3D, not 2D Isometric.
Raymond, why are you leaving isometric 2D?
For many reasons, some of which are:
Why not an rpg?
Morning's Wrath was made as a hybrid because the story required it. You simply could not have MW without battle, and battle without skill is rather pointless. So from these needs we blended the MW adventure story with certain elements from action RPG.
Our next game is likely not to need this. It will be structured at it's core, like a classic adventure game (Inidiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, The Dig, Monkey Island, etc.), however it will be an evolutionary step from these classics.
What is so great about it?
Classic adventures were in 2D, even so, they were great! They were great because of their challenging puzzles, beautiful landscapes, captivating stories and ease of interface.
These games were limited only by thier technological dimensions, in their ability to tell a story. As a result you would ususaly end up with, low-resolution,low-frame, low-color graphics and animation. Creating these resources took a TON of effort, since each frame needed to be hand made (roto-scoped or pixeled or rendered).
A very common ability you would want in a story driven game, is the ability to do a 'close-up' of a character, or perhaps a very wide shot; Doing these things in 2D is very challenging.
3D Solves many of these problems, however when the 2D Adventure waned and the 3D adventure tried to surface, it died a horrible death.
The Life and Death of Adventure Games
Adventure games hit their peak in the 'mid' 90's, especially between 1993 and 1997 with some exceptions. 2D Pixelated graphics had been the staple of adventure games ever since the text adventure game. As technology increased, frame-rates, color-depth, and resolutions increased, these were logical progressions, and made for better experiences, since the game could convey the scene better.
However in the late 90's, the new 'medium' of games 3D, took off. By that time, the makers of adventure games were very large companies, Lucas Arts and Sierra were the major players. Large efforts were made to convert 2D adventure games to 3D adventure games.
This was a problem, early 3D graphics were rather slow and very unpleasent, while they did offer the player another dimension of exploration, it was a huge step back from the lush hand-drawn landscapes of previous adventures, and because of this the adventure genre waned, and was considered a non profitable genre.
The Evolution of Adventure games
The time has come, the technology is now availible, to create near-photorealistic real-time simmulations in 3D. The adventure genre is due for a large scale comeback, and it will ride the wave of 3D Graphics technology; the same wave which drowned it will now serve as a medium for it to resurface.
So what IS an adventure game?
An adventure game, is a game which has a begining one or more distinct paths of progress, and one or more endings and driving this progression is one or more goals. The gameplay consists of travelling around the game world, and interacting with it to help achieve your goals.
As you progress, the story unfolds, ususaly in such a way to create further suspense, until it reaches the climax, wherin you then finish the game, with a sense of completeness having enjoyed the experience.
The staple gameplay element of the adventure game is the 'puzzle', it comes in many flavors and ususaly is a logical blockage which you must overcome by using your wit.
The most important thing to realize is that an adventure game is an interactive fiction.
The Evolutional Interactive Fiction
The adventure game of tomorrow, er. actually today =)
Above is our Rule-Ring, it gives a list of adjectives with which an EIF must adhear to. They are not all that different from the games of yester-year, except that they must be true according to the standards of today.
lustrous: then[16 color glory] now[HDR rendering]
melodic: then[general midi] now[multiple channel high defenition audio]
captivating: then[a well told story] now[a well told story] <- note this hasn't changed
natural: then[the point and click, use item on, interface] now[similar, but likely adapted to suit 3D]
challenging: then[typical puzzles] now[Advanced Character AI based puzzles]
These are natural progressions in medium.
In thier day, adventure games were the high-quality graphics and sound leaders, today this is no longer the case...
but we are going to change that =)
Big things on the horizion =)