Point ‘n click adventure game development (pt. 1 – The beginning)

Hi!

Some months ago – in my latest post, I wrote about creating background imagery for my point ‘n click game. Since then there hasn’t been any updates because I’ve mostly been busy developing the damn thing.

Over the course of last four months I’ve been surprisingly creative. I finally settled for a story for my game, studied some “motion capture” (rotoscoping or tracing, actually) 2D animation and started creating background images, or “rooms” as they often are called in the adventure gaming scene.

Story, world and setting

The story utilizes the common three-act story structure. It may also include a somewhat lengthy prologue and I haven’t ruled out the possibility of an epilogue. I have the beginning ready, as well as the ending and all of the major plot points when transitioning from an act to another. Rest of the plot details are still somewhat blurry, but that really isn’t an issue as this enables the possibility to tweak the story structure freely as I proceed. That is also the reason why there may or may not be prologue and/or epilogue as these can be infused into acts 1 and 3 respectively.

One of the first things I decided before even beginning this project was that the story would be movie-like (not episodic, like TV shows) and would have a single, cohesive story – a beginning and an ending. The genre would be “modern intelligent science fiction” which has been on the rise lately especially in movies (Inception, Source code, Looper…). I’ve also included influences from some of my favourite movies and TV shows such as Twin peaks (who hasn’t, really?), disaster movies, and pretty much everything Christopher Nolan has done. Of course, I’m going to include themes that are important to me – such as the environmental issues, nature preservation etc. without coming across too preachy.

Without revealing too much at this point (as I don’t want to announce anything that isn’t yet set in stone), the story is set in a not-too-distant future where the environment has gone to shit, world is suffering from an energy crisis and ecoterrorism runs rampant.

As I myself have been lacking on the intelligent department, I’ve spent a whole lot of time studying the science and technology behind my story.

Our protagonist is a scientist – or perhaps an engineer, an analyst or a researcher, for I have always sort of been fond of heroic characters who prevail against insurmountable odds using their intelligence, logic and bravery. But the main motivation for our hero is something else – something that stems from a personal tragedy.

The current status (after 4 months of development)

What I’ve accomplished: The story’s concept is ready, but the plot, dialogue and puzzles exist only in rough drafts. I’ve created a Spotify playlist filled with inspirational music and songs from which to gather influences for the soundtrack (this deserves its own post altogether when the time is right). I set a personal target that before my summer vacation I’d have all of the ACT 1 background images complete and I almost were able to hit it! Currently I have something like 20 more-or-less complete backgrounds for ACT 1 (which itself divides into three of four different locations). Some of the images are not as polished as others but they all are ready for implementing in Unity.

What I’m currently doing: I noticed that while creating a background image is surprisingly fast, getting it complete (populating it with interesting objects, hotspots and details) is very annoying, slow and frustrating. So for the last few weeks I’ve mostly been creating single 3D-modeled assets (such as traffic signs, office items, dumpsters etc.) which can easily be used and even recycled from scene to scene. I have a spreadsheet filled with single items which take from 15 to 120 minutes to create. It’s easy to create eg. 10 different books this way, which vary only slightly in shape and colour but which can be used to populate different book shelves or trash cans throughout the game world quickly when the time comes.

What’s next: After the asset-creating-marathon I’ll focus on the script to fine tune the plot. Then it’s time for ACT 2 graphics and perhaps some actual programming of the ACT 1.

 

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