We make games.
Oh, sorry. You obviously want more. Ok.
We make point-and-click adventure games. The ones where you're a character in a story and have to solve (usually odd) puzzles to move ahead. The ones with naked hamsters, lots of keys, wishing wells and well-dressed faceless men.
Our main influence were the old Lucas Arts adventure games, back in the 90s. So we tried to translate that into flash web games in late 00s, with some good results and an amazing reception from you guys. Now we're starting it again, and expanding it. A lot.
There's much more to come. And we hope you'll be there to check it out.
…we were building Cape of Storms, as you might or might not remember. We went as far as to write the whole, detailed script with all the puzzles (and then we found one of the puzzles being used almost exactly as we wrote it in The Cave, which was a fun coincidence but now we have to rewrite it – bummer).
Back then we had a new engine, used to build The Labyrinth. The problem was this engine was heavily dependent on perspective drawing, as opposed to the isometric we had before (protip: isometric makes some things really easy if you don’t know how to draw). So we found an external artist to work on the new game.
And that didn’t really work. The guy kind of disappeared.
That left us stuck in a corner. We couldn’t draw the game ourselves, and by then we had almost no spare time because of a series of other matters. So Cape of Storms was delayed. And delayed. And then we stopped updating the site. And then we also disappeared.
We’re rebuilding the engine. And planning new games. To be honest, both those things are easy. But we still have some roadblocks. Mainly, the ability to create scenes, characters and animations without the need to rely on artists. And that’s what’s taking our time right now – we’re building tools and the engine with the goal of making it easy and fast to make all the art involved.
The scenes are working fine, the characters are still in draft stage (there’s an unfinished example above) and the animations are the next thing to conquer. After that, the engine (which is a bit of menial work but it’s all planned already) and the games (yay! – the fun part). With a few changes in relation to the old games, but we’ll get to that in another post.
Does that mean we’re not calling artists anymore? Nah. We will do it, eventually, and that should be really interesting. We just need to make certain that, if that doesn’t work for any reason, we’re capable of working on a game by ourselves. And thus to be able to keep our deadlines and roadmaps.
Yes, we have roadmaps. Right now we have at least fifteen games planned. Seriously.
The first one? Cape of Storms, of course. Some time this year. It’s been delayed enough. :)
Meanwhile here’s some doodles:
Sorry about that. Blame the spammers and robots (always blame the robots).
The fact is we’re having to moderate a few hundreds of comments a day because of spam. And we’re not talking about any spam – it’s the kind you don’t mention in a blog post so not to attract undesirable visitors. Like the FBI. Pretty gross stuff.
Do you have any questions we didn’t cover here? There are several ways of contacting us.
When can we expect more games?
We’re aiming the second half of 2013. Ok, we know, it’s not a real deadline, but it’s the best we’ve got right now.
What are you working on right now?
Well, there’s a new engine coming. It is based in the previous one, but it’s more ambitious. We’re also studying forms of design for the games in order to have a quicker delivery. The idea is take as much time as we need in the preparation, so the actual game making will be quick after that. We’ll keep our blog updated as we go.
Why don’t I see anything about Matt Sandorf in the site? Where’s Matt?
Still out in space, probably. The thing is, even though that is still our favorite game, it doesn’t belong to us. It was sold and paid for by Sony. We would gladly link the original page here, but it’s not live anymore. Also, there won’t be any sequels unless Sony asks for it, and that’s not a decision we can make. So we decided to leave it behind and focus on new things.
However, it is probably still around somewhere if you want to play. Google can help.
Why do all Trapped pages say “classic version” now?
Because “old version” didn’t sound as good.
We’ll leave this one for you to figure out. If you don’t, you’ll have your answer in a near future.
I’m stuck in some place of some game you made. Can you help me?
No. Sorry, it just doesn’t seem fair. Part of what adventure games are about is the way each person can make a different path to get to the end of it, and our path tends to be the shortest (and less fun) one.
But there are several walkthroughs and forums online, so you’re free to Google them and get your answer. Just remember: there are always different paths. Don’t think of any walkthrough as the only way.
I’ve reached a dead-end. Do I need to start over or load a previously saved game?
Ok, here’s the answer for 99.99% of the the cases: no, you didn’t. There are more details about it here, but what’s probably happening is that you just don’t know what to do next. It’s one of the things that make adventure games fun. Keep trying. :)
What do you guys think of your own games?
We like them. Honest.
In the old Trapped series, we like The Dark the best. There’s not much we would change there. The White Rabbit was still a beginner’s work, and there were a lot of things there we would make different today. As for The Labyrinth, it is a good game, even though it has several signs of something hurried up.
Matt Sandorf (R.I.P.) is our favorite because, given the limitations of the engine at the time, it is the best it could be. We wouldn’t change anything in it except for, maybe, the graphics. It would be even better if we had dialog trees at the time, but we didn’t. That’s the direction we want to follow from now on.
Before starting any games, we needed to set up a few ground rules. Feel free to yell at us when they’re not followed. Here are our Four Commandments for Adventure Games:
The story comes first
Most important than anything else: all games need to have a story to be followed. With acts, characters and twists. It makes no sense to just make puzzles with no thread joining them.
All puzzles must be logical, yet unexpected
All puzzles need to make sense. But they can’t be obvious. This is a really thin line, and we may cross it from time to time (see the mutant pear in The White Rabbit). That’s one of the main reasons we have testers.
No Dying policy
You can’t die. This is more or less of a given in adventure games. Lucas Arts described the reasoning for this better than we could: the whole point of adventure games is exploring the environment and trying everything, so we can’t punish the player in any way for trying different things. Do all you feel like in our games, they’re risk-free.
No Dead-Ends policy
Oh, we had our share of compaints about this. So let us assure you: we extensively test all games to make sure there’s no way you can paint yourself in a corner/reach a dead-end/lose an item that’s needed to finish the game. To this date we only let one of these cases slip through, and the game was updated right away.
When we can, we create multiple ways for a puzzle to be solved. And it may seem like you lost an important item, especially if you’re following a walkthrough without trying other things. One real example is a puzzle where you had to ruin all the popcorn in a machine so you could sell a popcorn bag to a certain character. The first walkthrough that came about said that you needed to put the frog in the popcorn machine, which is right. But then there were loads of comments saying “I don’t have the frog anymore, do I need to start all over again?”. The reality is there were five or six different items you could use with the same intent, so the frog wasn’t really necessary. It was just the way the person who wrote the waltrhough solved it. So, if you think you’ve reached a dead-end, try other things. We wouldn’t be that mean to you.
Well, that’s a long story. Actually, more than one long story. We’ll tell you about it in due time.
So, are you back?
Not just yet. There are still things to set straight before we start things over. But we will be.
What now, then?
Er… Could you wait a bit longer? Please?
Great! Thanks. :)