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 Post subject: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:24 am 
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Hi all.

I bought the Al Emmo game recently from Himilaya studios and after putting it up in order for me to finish my final exams before giving it all I could, I finally got around to playing the game and finishing it within this three day span! I did use some hints, but most, around 70% of the game was solved entirely  by myself and roughly 20% using bona fide hints (just to get you thinking, but not outright tell you what to do) the remainder I got were outright spoilers. But enough of this meaningless estimate on my part, let's go on with the review. Starting with the good side.

First of all, the graphics... I was honestly surprised at the pre-rendered 3D used for the characters, even though I know that these aren't truly 3D art, I was sorta expecting 100% hand-drawn stuff. Maybe the AGDs could tell me the story behind why they chose this method of creating the characters, as I'm really interested in knowing. The cutscenes in the game were very, very impressive, and they came as a small bit of a shocker to me since I stood there marvelling at what could be achieved by AGS, and the scenes throughout the entire game, from start to finish were absolutely amazing. My favorite being the last scenes in the game in the mine, during the Aztec treasure chamber... just that scene alone, even without the gameplay in it (which was very challenging IMHO) would have equalled anything that Sierra could have done in their prime.

And speaking of matching Sierra, the voice acting and music was very well done, and the narrator... oh boy, not only did John Bell sound just like the Gary Owens from the Space Quest series (you did it on purpose, I know :p) the wit and humor, in addition to the seemingly never-ending insults and put downs he torments Al Emmo throughout the entire game made the whole experience a ton more enjoyable to play. In fact, the game would have been a whole lot less entertaining without him. Though I can almost understand Al Emmo's frustration with him towards the end of the game when he tells him to leave... there's only so much insults a guy can take, even if it's someone like Al Emmo who apparently gets less than nothing on a normal basis.

The general atompshere of the game of the game was very engaging and hilarious. By far the funniest scenes, in my opinion, where during the acts when Al Emmo must brave the Indian village abd deal with the chief. I will not spoil this part, just play the game and get to that part, you'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, it's that obvious, and it's that good. From the start to the finish, this game just bombards you with humor, from somewhat subtle references to outright ‘in your face' jokes. It really helped me get a lot of laughs and definitely worked to get my creative juices and imagination running, just like old Sierra games did in the past. Great job, guys. ;)

Now on to the protagonist of the game. One thing that sierra games did to us in the past is to create a lot of endearing characters that we fell in love with, cared for, felt for, and wanted to see in adventures again and again... Himalaya studios has achieved this task flawlessly with Al Emmo. From the very first on-screen appearance reading the mail-order bride magazine, you can tell that this guy is a noble version of Lesiure Suit Larry... more noble, and even more naïve than our playboy-wannabe friend (at least LSL had no qualms sleeping with prostitues and actively tried to seduce various girls and didn't seem too bound by any real ethical code (or so I believe... it has been a while since I played through the LSL games)), the guy does everything out of good-intentions and does have a heroic core to him regardless of all the insults and put-downs the narrator throws at him. I found myself laughing at him, getting angry with him, sympathizing with him, wanting him to win the girl (and everything else), and I even defended him in my mind if not outloud to my sister that watched me play the game, and of course, as with all promising adventure game heros, to see him in a sequel. What would he be off to next? Another treasure/bride hunt? Uncovering another group of crooks, saving the town he's in and bringing great prosperity to the place... only to have more rotten vegetables thrown at him as a reward? I don't know, only time will tell. Al Emmo really is the most unlikely protagonist in the Adventure Game genre, but despite all this, he comes off just as well, if not better, than most others.

OK, so now I've said most of what is good. The good in the game far outweighs any negative points, but there are nevertheless negative points and I believe they should be brought up. One of the downsides in the game is it's linear gameplay and lack of a points system. Though this kind of adventure game is just fine, and even some of Sierra's greatest classics were pretty linear (it was actually pretty easy to get full points in QFG 4 even without the use of a points list assisted walkthrough), it would added to the challenge and replayablity to the game to get all the way to the ending and realise that you missed two (or three or four) dozen points that you missed and rub your chin, thinking hard and visualizing the whole game again in your mind, wondering where and how you can get those last few points and get the perfect game at long last. From the looks of it, it seemed that you absolutely need to do everything that can be done in order to finish the core game with no noticable ‘extra' stuff. I really implore you, the AGDs here, to please look into this part in future games you create, it would be that much better for it.

One other thing, while not really a problem, and I've mentioned it earlier, is the use of pre-rendered 3D characters as opposed to hand-drawn. While this point was brought up jokingly in the game as an exchange between Al Emmo and the narrator, I just have this gut feeling that it would have been ever so slighty better with the hand-drawn characters in place of pre-rendered 3D.

So to conclude my review, I'd give the game 9 stars out of 10. It's good and true to all the adventure games of the past, has a great many memorable characters and scenes and a great story over all. The only defect I've mentioned is the one that I found the most troublesome... it's linearity and lack of optional questions or issues to resolve that could have added more challenge, depth and fun (not that it wasn't fun or deep enough anyways), and the very small thing regarding the pre-rendered 3D characters, that's why it didn't get the full 10 stars in my rating. But other than those two, it was just perfect.

Till next time stay cool :smokin


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 Post subject: From the Scribbler
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:50 am 
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Hey Paladinlover,

Thanks for the feedback (and your support!). Making that game was a lot of fun... well, it was for me: putting it on paper without worrying about how it was going to get onto the screen!

Glad you enjoyed the humour. (Or humor - whichever helped you ace a spelling test.) A teacher of mine used to describe it as "misplaced". Ah well.

It was encouraging to read a review that recognises the game for what it is: an adventure game by fans, for fans. Al Emmo was a heck of a learning curve, and won't be forgotten by this writer easily!

Thanks again,

The Bloke with the Pen


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:07 pm 
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Quote:
Hey Paladinlover,

Thanks for the feedback (and your support!). Making that game was a lot of fun... well, it was for me: putting it on paper without worrying about how it was going to get onto the screen!

Glad you enjoyed the humour. (Or humor - whichever helped you ace a spelling test.) A teacher of mine used to describe it as "misplaced". Ah well.

It was encouraging to read a review that recognises the game for what it is: an adventure game by fans, for fans. Al Emmo was a heck of a learning curve, and won't be forgotten by this writer easily!

Thanks again,

The Bloke with the Pen


Hi Cadbury.

Yes, it definately deserved the A rank I gave it, though I did note that you found it encouraging to find a review that recognises the game for what it is... what exactly do you mean by that? How many people considered this game intended for contemporary gamers? The kind who expect an 'action adventure' game would be along the lines of Resident Evil (not that those games are in any way bad... the latest games were excellent), and not  point and click adventure?

One thing that this Al Emmo did make me want to do was really go back and play the classics some more. Not just the Sierra classics, but all others as well, from Sierra's most staunch competitor, Lucasarts, to small and obscure adventure games that passed under the radar of most gamers or were even just considered cheap knock-offs (though the Legend of Kyrandia was a great game series on by it's own right).

In any case, I do have some suggestions for main protangonist characters for you people if you're interested. I say protagonists and not game ideas because, from the way I see it, most adventure games are not built around a story, they're built around a character. Notice the basic patterns in the QFG series? The KQ series? The LSL and SQ series? Though all the games in the series are different from one another, there is a pattern of humor and gameplay and basic story line that's unique to each series... and most of all, it fits the hero playing it. Do you think you could use LSL humor effectively if Larry was a tall, handsome, and overtly shrewd individual as opposed to the lovable chump that he was? Or the Space Quest styled themes can be done exactly as they were if Roger Wilco was a stoic, battlehardened ex-space marine (working now as a janitor since he wanted to keep a low profile)?

This is why I believe, in adventure games, it wasn't the actual story that mattered so much as the characters and hero they portray.

So if you're up for my ideas for a hero, drop me a line. Or make a post anyways. :p

Till next time stay cool  :smokin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:11 pm 
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Thanks for the review, Paladinlover.  Glad to hear that you enjoyed playing it. :)

Quote:
I was honestly surprised at the pre-rendered 3D used for the characters, even though I know that these aren't truly 3D art, I was sorta expecting 100% hand-drawn stuff.


The pre-rendered characters look pretty good against the backgrounds if your monitor places thin scan-lines across the screen. My monitor does this, so whenever I play the game, the sprites look something like Donkey Kong Country on the SNES.  But most monitors don't place scan-lines across the screen, which makes the pre-rendered sprites stand out a little more from the backgrounds. I noticed this when running Al Emmo on a laptop.

We did start out using entirely 2D based sprites, as a matter of fact. The game actually started its life under the name of "West Quest" and was a 320x200 project that was supposed to be finished in 2 weeks. It ended up being shelved at first, but we revived it again later on.

After picking it back up, we already had a basic premise for the plot. So we managed to pull off a really creative brainstorming speed-run where AGD1 and I wrote all the game's puzzles from start to end, in a single night. With the plot finalized, we started to write down all of the animations that would be required for every character in the game. There were literally hundreds (if not thousands) of them. Anyway, we started work on the in-game animations as 2D sprites, but before too long we realized that it was going to be extremely time-consuming to create as many detailed 2D sprites that were necessary for such a large game.  640x400 resolution takes at least twice as long by design, since the sprites need to be essentially 4 times more detailed than their 320x200 equivalents. And they generally need more frames in order for the animation to look more fluid, too.

Here are a few examples of what Al Emmo's sprite looked like in its 320x200 2D incarnation:

Image Image Image Image

And an example of the 320x200 version of the "Rita's House" background:

Image

After we revived, the project and upgraded the resolution to 640x400, we also upgraded Al Emmo's 2D sprite to look something like this (admittedly rough and un-refined) sprite:

Image

The backgrounds were also re-sketched and hand-painted to look like this:

Image


At this point, a professional 3D animator contacted us, who had played King's Quest 2 VGA and offered to help us out with the game. He remodeled Al Emmo in 3D to show us what he was capable of. He had a very unique style and made a great 3D caricature model of Al, based on the original sprites and conceptual art we sent him.  From that point on, we decided that using pre-rendered 3D animations for the game would result in it being done much faster. (Too bad about Murphy's Law rearing its ugly head.)

The 3D animator's new Al animations looked much more detailed, like this:

Image

Originally, he was cel-shading them (so they looked less 3D and more cartoon-like) but they didn't seem to look right in the game and the 3D ones actually looked better.  Once again, the hand-painted backgrounds were pixel-edited (to match the new detail of the animations) to look like this:

Image

A quick comparison of all assets combined, as seen below, should make it apparent why we opted to go with choice C:

Image


The main problem, I feel, wasn't that we went 3D. It was the fact that there were different 3D artists, working in different styles. Had all of the models been made by the same guy who modeled Al Emmo, there would have been a fantastic consistency to the characters and things would have flowed more smoothly, since we would have been able to rely on his 3D technical know-how to make them "fit-in" better with the 2D backgrounds, or make the 3D renderings look more 2D-like.

However, as things are, we weren't paying workers at that early stage, and real-life stepped in and threw him a curve ball. He had to bail out of the project; but he had already given us the model (and permission to use it in the game), and half of Al's animations had already been completed. We didn't want to throw them out and start on 2D ones again, so we then had to replace him with other 3D animators -- most of which were still in school and worked for us on an intern basis. Even one of the animators from Larry 7, Al Eufrasio, joined the development team for a while, but simply offered some advice and didn't contribute any assets to the project.  Quite a few of these modelers/animators were unreliable and dropped off the radar completely. Fortunately, I knew a few people who were friends (or friends of friends) and they helped things moving again. But I eventually decided to learn how to animate using 3D Studio Max with the biped plug-in, so that I could finish all the remaining animations myself without having to rely on outside parties.


These setbacks resulted in the game running about a year and a half over-schedule, but we picked up a LOT of very valuable experience along the way. Commercial games are a VERY different kettle of fish from fan-games and are much, much harder to get "out there". You certainly don't have the mainstream support that most popular games have, and since it's commercial, it's also easy for some people to influence others not to try the game based on forum buzz or 'bad things' they've heard about it. Whereas large numbers of people are always going to try a fan-game since it's a free download. I will say that a lot of the flack the game has copped is unwarranted; I think people were expecting this to be King's Quest 2 VGA but it's really a totally different type of game. Yet underneath, it still has the same level of depth, easter eggs, and care put into it as KQ2VGA did. And I think the Sierra-like qualities will be very obvious to anyone who plays it in depth.

The experience with Al Emmo has been nothing short of exhausting, and I now know how I'd do practically everything differently and more efficiently if I were to remake it again.

For all the trouble it took to get the game finished, I'm extremely happy with how the end result turned out, especially the quality of the improvements over the previous game we had worked on, which was King's Quest 2 VGA.

Oh, and the 3D cutscenes were originally going to be done by the same 3D animator who modeled Al, but we had to make other arrangements when he couldn't stay on. We got a really raw deal with the modelers who worked on the outdoor environmental models for the cutscenes, as they essentially turned in models that were rushed and, for all intents and purposes, unusable. They charged by the polygon, which limited how good the environments looked in appearance. Another guy who we hired to animate the 3D movies spent tons of additional time fixing all the bad geometry in these environment models as best he could (which he did free of charge, I might add). A lot was learned while making the 3D cutscenes, and I'm still glad that we did them and gained all the knowledge about 3D movies, which would not have been gained, had we gone with 2D comics instead.


Quote:
One of the downsides in the game is it's linear gameplay and lack of a points system. Though this kind of adventure game is just fine, and even some of Sierra's greatest classics were pretty linear (it was actually pretty easy to get full points in QFG 4 even without the use of a points list assisted walkthrough), it would added to the challenge and replayablity to the game to get all the way to the ending and realise that you missed two (or three or four) dozen points that you missed and rub your chin, thinking hard and visualizing the whole game again in your mind, wondering where and how you can get those last few points and get the perfect game at long last.


That's a good point (no pun intended). I guess the points system was dropped because we thought it was redundant or unnecessary at the time. We also scrapped death scenes because we we were so far behind schedule that we already had too much work on our plate. In the original screenplay, you could die in most places.

As for the linearity, well, we weren't really trying to do "the next big thing" with Al Emmo. It really only started its life as a test project that grew into something bigger. So the simplicity of the game remained intact, even though the rest of the game received several "upgrades". The complexity of other games we were working on simultaneously (such as QFG2VGA) also affected how complex we could afford to make this one. The more complex and less-linear a game, the longer time it takes to complete.  Additionally, I guess most adventures are somewhat linear in story structure, like you stated.

However, you may have noticed the Export file that gets dumped at the end of the game?  The reason for this, is that it tracks every multiple choice decision you made in the game (as well as pretty much every other variable, including your inventory items and their quantity, right down to which option you chose when the Bartender asks you a question). If we ever make a sequel to Al Emmo, then it will be possible to load your Export file into "Al Emmo 2" and have game number#2 recognize every decision you made, the exact way you solved all multiple choice puzzles, and the specific path you played through Al Emmo 1. This would mean that certain puzzles and story line paths would open up in "Al Emmo 2"; and these would only occur if you did certain things in Al Emmo 1. And Al Emmo 1's export file wouldn't only limit changes in Al Emmo 2, but could also have possible repercussions in, say, Al Emmo 4.  So, while each game is somewhat linear, the sequels (if ever made) are intended to have cross-game replayability in a way that would put QFG's export files to shame. :D It was my idea for adding a non-conventional kind of replayability to a genre that's normally known for its linearity.

Time will tell if we get to use the export file to it's intended potential, I guess.

Anyhow, thanks for the comments. Hope the insight helps!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:33 pm 
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I like choice B better. Being an old schooler, I don't really like nor play 3D games either :) Still happy with the 2D games from the 90's.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:46 pm 
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Quote:
The pre-rendered characters look pretty good against the backgrounds if your monitor places thin scan-lines across the screen. My monitor does this, so whenever I play the game, the sprites look something like Donkey Kong Country on the SNES.  But most monitors don't place scan-lines across the screen, which makes the pre-rendered sprites stand out a little more from the backgrounds. I noticed this when running Al Emmo on a laptop.


I knew there was a technical reason for hte whole thing, and yes, I can see that choice C is definately the best looking of the bunch, and who's to say that other characters and adventurers you make won't be fully 2D next? Or that Al Emmo won't be 2D eventually. I mean look at Leisure Suit Larry at his radical transformation in appearance from the first three LSL games to LSL 5... he was changed from a realistic human to a walking comic.

So I guess since you guys went through all that, I'll put back the .5 in the 9 rating, hence making it 9.5 stars out of ten from this point. :p :D

Quote:
The experience with Al Emmo has been nothing short of exhausting, and I now know how I'd do practically everything differently and more efficiently if I were to remake it again.


I don't think a remake is necessary... it's a lot, lot harder to make something from scratch than look back and think on how you could have improved it in hindsight. This experiance won't drag you guys down, just use what you've learned into the next games, and they'll be tons better. :)

Quote:
However, you may have noticed the Export file that gets dumped at the end of the game?  The reason for this, is that it tracks every multiple choice decision you made in the game (as well as pretty much every other variable, including your inventory items and their quantity, right down to which option you chose when the Bartender asks you a question). If we ever make a sequel to Al Emmo, then it will be possible to load your Export file into "Al Emmo 2" and have game number#2 recognize every decision you made, the exact way you solved all multiple choice puzzles, and the specific path you played through Al Emmo 1. This would mean that certain puzzles and story line paths would open up in "Al Emmo 2"; and these would only occur if you did certain things in Al Emmo 1. And Al Emmo 1's export file wouldn't only limit changes in Al Emmo 2, but could also have possible repercussions in, say, Al Emmo 4.  So, while each game is somewhat linear, the sequels (if ever made) are intended to have cross-game replayability in a way that would put QFG's export files to shame.  It was my idea for adding a non-conventional kind of replayability to a genre that's normally known for its linearity.


If that was to happen, then the games would have to be stored in seperate warehouses, transported to retail stores seperately and played on different computers, least the buildings collapse and the computers blow up... why? Because no computer or building can contain that level of awesome.  :rollin

Till next time stay cool  :smokin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:46 am 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:

This would mean that certain puzzles and story line paths would open up in "Al Emmo 2"; and these would only occur if you did certain things in Al Emmo 1. And Al Emmo 1's export file wouldn't only limit changes in Al Emmo 2, but could also have possible repercussions in, say, Al Emmo 4.  So, while each game is somewhat linear, the sequels (if ever made) are intended to have cross-game replayability in a way that would put QFG's export files to shame. :D It was my idea for adding a non-conventional kind of replayability to a genre that's normally known for its linearity.

Time will tell if we get to use the export file to it's intended potential, I guess.

Anyhow, thanks for the comments. Hope the insight helps!


That is one of the coolest ideas I have ever, ever heard. I always thought that importing your character in QG was an absolutely brilliant, [and it seems] never duplicated idea...and you took that idea EXPONENTIALLY higher!

And it is a shame that forum buzz is such a big factor on games...there's been games I played that I LOVED that got fairly bad ratings, and I'm sure I've skipped over some games I would likely have loved...because of reviews and/or buzz (or lack thereof).

Aside from QG2VGA (my fav game of all time, QG2) I'm really looking forward to your next commercial release more than anything...while more remakes are great, I think you guys can really offer some great new stuff, and even innovations. A lot of people might look at a simple thing like exporting EVERY option as a "little thing", but it shows that you're really thinking outside of the box. Major movies, etc became famous because of one innovation -- IE Citizen Kane for long focus photography, and The Matrix for bullet-time. That's not to say that they weren't exemplary in other regards...but a new idea, introduced at the proper time, can go a long, long way!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:13 am 
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johnb4467 wrote:
That is one of the coolest ideas I have ever, ever heard. I always thought that importing your character in QG was an absolutely brilliant, [and it seems] never duplicated idea...and you took that idea EXPONENTIALLY higher!
I'm not so sure about that never duplicated part. Offhand, I believe the Eye of the Beholder and Baldur's Gate  series'es had options to import your characters from previous games, although like QFG, the import was likely limited to character stats and possibly some inventory. Kudos to HS for trying to up the ante like they are, it sounds awesome!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:07 pm 
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Love the export idea. Keep up all the good work. And thanks for the reivew OP.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:51 am 
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Glad to see there are still people responding to my thread even though I reviewed Al Emmo many months ago! :D I can't wait till QFG 2 VGA comes out!

But I do have one question for the AGDs... what's their next commercial project? I went to the Himalaya studios website and I didn't see any future plans posted up for what might come. Are you people waiting to release QFG 2 VGA first before making any plans or what? I'm really curious, naturally. :)

Till next time stay cool 8))


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:06 am 
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With all this QFG2 excitement, why worry about what's next? I say just celebrate the game's rebirth while it's happening! After waiting for so many years, why tangle the community excitement up with a different game announcement? Enjoy the enchantment of QFG2 and the community spirit backing it, wait for the dust to settle, and then start thinking about what's to come.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:13 am 
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We have decided on a new Himalaya game, and a "screenplay" has already been written for it. But the current hurdle is funding the project. Once we have tied up all the loose ends here at AGDI, we'll be able to focus properly on that.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:04 am 
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Wow! That is great news! I promise I won't pirate it. :D

Funding? How does that work? Do you... take donations or are you looking for enough of a bid to quit your day jobs? That would be cool. 8-) Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:27 pm 
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I would assume they're looking for something to let them "quit their dayjobs," or at least to pay all the other people they'd be hiring, in order to ensure that the project has the money to go to completion before they start really investing in it. So I doubt they're taking donations, unless of course you're talking a very very large donation. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:49 pm 
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if accepting small donations is a possible option for funding the next Himalaya game, i suggest you guys start considering that now while the buzz is so strong for QfG2


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:44 am 
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Then it would seem like they're making money (through donations) thanks to QfG2, right?


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:21 pm 
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We're allowed to use the QFG2 remake to market our commercial games. We're just not permitted to receive money directly from the QFG2 remake itself.

As for the process involved in seeking funding, well, there are a few publishers who have shown interest in funding a future Himalaya project. But the problem is that they'd want us to utilize a very simplified, dumbed-down interface with only a single icon that highlights when you move it over 'important' areas of the screen. I fear that we'd probably lose a lot of creative freedom working with someone else's money; particularly any publisher who doesn't properly understand the complex style of commercial adventure game we're trying to create (i.e. for thinking gamers, not nitwits). That's a limitation you don't have when you're using your own cash.

Sadly, Al Emmo didn't make us back enough money to fund another project like we had hoped it would. And self-funding a project seems like the only way you can make a game exactly the way you want. So if any generous billionaire adventure game fans are reading, we gladly welcome your donation right now. :D


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:29 pm 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
...they'd want us to utilize a very simplified, dumbed-down interface with only a single icon that highlights when you move it over 'important' areas of the screen.
OMG... that's terrible, no wonder adventure games are dead now. In any case, thanks for making quality games instead of that sort of bull.

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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
We're allowed to use the QFG2 remake to market our commercial games.

Does this mean we'll see in-game advertising, like Alichica trying to sell us copies of Al Emmo?


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:45 am 
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No. I think there's an Al Emmo easter egg in there somewhere, just like there's some King's Quest easter eggs, but nothing that blatant...it's still someone else's game we're talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:14 pm 
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Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
We have decided on a new Himalaya game, and a "screenplay" has already been written for it. But the current hurdle is funding the project. Once we have tied up all the loose ends here at AGDI, we'll be able to focus properly on that.

I noticed that you had a poll up on the Himalaya Forum "What type of game would YOU like to see next?" With "...resemble an RPG/Adventure Fantasy Hybrid like QFG" winning so far by 52% So are we going to see a original Himalaya RPG/Adventure in the future? ;)
Also as far as funding, are you hoping that publishers might change their minds and give you more creative freedom after you release the download stats for Quest for Glory II VGA?


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:56 pm 
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Well, we really can't make any official announcements yet since it's still very early stages. But yes, the poll results had some bearing on the genre. And of course, whether we can even move ahead with developing this project will all rely on the funding aspect. One of the interested publishers was responsible for a localization of Al Emmo which they marketed at retail level, but not specifically toward adventure gamers or classic Sierra fans. The mixed results and customer feedback they received made them think that the Al Emmo interface was "too complex" for gamers in that part of the world and that people want 'simple' games they don't have to think too much about when using the Interface. Obviously, though, the correct demographic wasn't targeted, as the interface is very close to Sierra's.

I doubt QFG2VGA's download stats will have much bearing on publishers allowing us more creative freedom. After all, QFG2VGA is a free release and commercial publishers are only interested in knowing how successful and marketable our games can be at a retail level. So far we haven't proven that, so it's less likely they'd allow us to take (what they'd consider) 'risks' with the game design. Download stats are more useful for showing to Sierra and Vivendi to prove the popularity of the series to them.

With the Himalaya game, the best course will be if we fund it ourselves again, as that will allow us total freedom, but it also takes so much longer. With the funding that a publisher can provide, we could speed up our development process ten-fold, as then we could afford to hire more people to help us out. So it's a big trade-off.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:30 pm 
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Just don't betray the reason you started the company to begin with: to make classic style adventure games. I imagine it can be easy to give in and compromise. But then the games would be no better than any other modern day adventure game. And they all suck.

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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:40 pm 
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That's what's difficult about it because the more high-res and 3D you go, the farther away from the 'classic' style you get.

I'd love to just make the Himalaya games in 320x200 resolution just like the old Sierra games and our AGDI games here. It would be so much easier and cheaper, but then we'd never find a publisher willing to take them on or sell them at retail outlets, no matter how good the old-school graphics are.

It's very hard to stick to an original vision, keep it pure, and also remain cutting-edge unless you have a lot of funding behind you.


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 Post subject: Re: My Al Emmo review.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:44 pm 
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That's definitely true. Single-cursour adventures seem to be the way everyone's going nowadays. Take the Sam & Max episodes for instance and all the other adventure games Tell Tale Games does. TSL is sticking with the multi-cursour system, though, aren't they?

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