Anonymous Game Creator 2 wrote:
Hey, welcome back to the adventure alcove of the net! Thanks for your comments on Mage's Initiation, too. It's nice to know that the game resonates so well with the intended audience!
It's great to be back! I hadn't been able to do much forum-ing in the past 2 years or so but I finally have some downtime now and am catching up on a *lot*. I'd been lurking here and on the AGS forums a bit but hadn't been active. Glad to be up to speed on everything now!
Will check with some colleagues on this and see what I can find in the Internal Revenue Manual, I'm not 100% positive about the answer but I do remember a consignment shop that got totally fried because they had a box for clothes they wouldn't buy/trade off customers, said it was for charity, but repeat customers found things that were supposedly for charity...on the racks. Though those might've been different charges of fraud. Either way, I dropped a line at NATP and will see if I can learn anything further.
I think the rise of the Indie development scene is giving "outdated" artistic styles a more favourable second look-in. I've already seen a few high profile print magazines reviewing Gemini Rue (low-res artwork) and they didn't chide it for it's choice of graphical style. I just see 2D and 3D as different styles, which have different feels attached to them. The main benefit I can see with 3D is that character animation becomes much faster, easier, and more cost-effective.
That's definitely a hopeful sign. (That reminds me, I have to get on the Gemini Rue wagon...) While it may be easier and in a sense cheaper to animate in 3D, I just think that 2D is really the best medium and really shows off an individual artist's style-- like despite all three of these games being from the same era and in VGA resolution, you can tell that Simon the Sorcerer, Monkey Island 2, and King's Quest 6 had different artists. All this 3D stuff? I find it hard to see any particular mark or personal touch.
2D can be badly done too, and some 3D is done better than others, though I think 3D just makes it feel even more "fake".
This is an old post, but a bunch of folks in the comments actually claim that 3D may not be cheaper than 2D after all. http://grumpygamer.com/3258434
We're going to try and do the Mage's Initiation cutscenes in a style similar to the LucasArts classic, "Full Throttle". That is, including close-up scenes with overlayed character animation frames that are a scripted part of the game engine as opposed to movie files that get played back. The former approach tends to have a much more artistic sense and integrates with the game scenes more cleanly. Your description is the style of "era" gameplay we're trying to establish with Mages, albeit with higher res graphics.
That sounds awesome! While I loved Full Throttle, compared to most adventure games it felt a little more like an interactive movie. Scripting the animation in...as someone finally learning to code in AGS, (haven't coded in 6+ years-- still in beginner stage!) I will just say that I'm in awe. Higher res is good too! (I appreciate the 256-color feature in the engine, but the whole palette usage made me want to run and hide.)
I think it's possible for 3D to be done "right" in an adventure, but it just hasn't been yet. Either the current crop of 3D games strive to be too much like the old 2D ones and end up feeling like empty shells (or bringing the 2D limitations over)... or they just don't have the budget required to develop the type of huge 3D environment necessitated for the adventure protagonist to quest across and experience that "epic journey" quality. "Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl" is a First Person Shooter primarily, but it had quite a nice RPG/stat system built into it, with a HUGE world that could be explored on foot. Something like that might be the cornerstone for a new style of game that would revolutionize the adventure genre in such a way that hasn't been done before.
Good point-- some of these games, it's painfully obvious they went over-budget mid-production and you can just see the quality decline before your eyes. (Though some older games are guilty of this too, with notoriously bad QA, but I'm thinking Beast Within right now because it was supposed to be 8 CDs originally then got cut to 6, with the Ludwig scenes not being shot.) I agree about needing the big world to play out, I think that would be direly necessary for a 3D game to succeed-- but I'm still in my early 90's mindset, thinking about Freddy Pharkas which in game terms was only one town (20-25 rooms in development terms) but managed to totally work. It wasn't as long and epic as other adventure titles at the time, but it remains one of my favorite games.
I don't personally like the episodic format either, but I think the reason they sell for TellTale is because A) They license IP's with existing fan-bases; B) the Initial up-front cost of a season is low, so more people are willing to take a chance and buy; and C) Telltale have a near-monopoly on commercial adventure games at the moment. But only option B is a factor based on the episodic nature of their titles, and once A and C shift, they might hit a brick wall with B. I wouldn't completely rule out the episodic marketing model, though. It may be suitable for certain types of adventure games that are smaller in scale. I simply wouldn't want to unbendingly structure a company entirely around ONLY episodic games. I feel that tries to push EVERY game into a specific mold without respecting the diversity of different styles and formats of the originals. I think each game's model should be based on what's best for the game in question.
I think the episodic format would maybe work for some of these games that would qualify as "medium-length" such as the Ben Jordan series. If the game's TOO short, I think it's basically telling the player "Hey, this is one helluva money-making mechanism!" I haven't played Tales of Monkey Island, my first reaction was "OMGWTF Monkey Island 5?!!?" followed by "Huh? Episodes...?" then I learned all about TellTale. I'm wondering if it's worth picking up, I already know that I'm not buying the "Deluxe" versions of Monkey Island 1 and 2?* Come on, those games did NOT need to be remade.
Business is a funny blood sport though. TellTale may have the monopoly now but that can change. This just might be the time for resurgence after all.
BTW, I'll probably need to get you to handle my backdated tax returns.
No problem, my e-mail addy's the same, drop me a line or PM me! I'll get your tax issues sorted in no time.*-(I'm not going to lie, I *was* slightly curious, but other hardcore fans said it isn't worth it. Noted.)