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Which actualy means “coding and drawing games”. At the same time we move forwards with the engine – and the fact that we’re building PC, Android and Web at the same time is a big challenge – we’re drawing and testing Cape of Storms. Fun times ahead.

Meanwhile Bruno moved to China and there are over 2000 comments to moderate. You’d think the spammers would give up after they saw 2000 of their comments not going through, but it’s not the case. Not the smartest people in the world, as it turns out.

By the way, if you have any tips for getting rid of spam, please let us know. Next step will be to block all comments except from Facebook/Google users. But only when the game things are over – priorities, always priorities.

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tim_gordon_draft

…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.

Until now.

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:

doodles

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If I was someone who knows how to draw, I could look at something and put it on paper. Ok, I know it’s not that easy. It requires points of reference, models, a lot of practice and so on. Even so, I am not that person.

This makes it really difficult to draw the hard stuff, like the human body. I wish I could get one of those little wooden dolls, position it the way I want it and copy it. But I need something more exact to start from.

Then there are programmers, and when programmers find a roadblock we sit down and code a solution. Once again, not that simple. But it helps.

That’s how this little tool came to be – and believe me, it was tricky. Say hello to the virtual wooden doll:

character_tool_1

So, what does it do? Well, mainly the same as that other tool. It creates models for people, using the same perspective as the scenes. After all the variables are set up, it prints a page like this one:

character_tool_print

It is intended to generate the main positions for a character, but I’m not doing it right now – I’m mainly creating some random poses to some random characters so I can test it. So, after this is printed, we can start some concept art. For instance, here’s David Green:

character_tool_david

No, I don’t like it either. I don’t know why, but this guy was created with a common face that’s simply bland. If (some day) we get to work on Trapped again, this will have to be solved. But right now, it’s not a concern. Let’s move on.

Meet Tim:

character_tool_tim

And here’s a ghost/zombie:

character_tool_ghost

And, finally, this is Betsy:

character_tool_betsy

Next steps are to “ink” these drawings, much in the same way as the scenes. This is what the next post will be about.

Anyway, as a side note – before deciding to create the tool I researched a lot for free, simple ways to get the same kind of results in the Internet. No luck – there are some good references, but I really needed a tool. So when this one is over, after we enable animations, we’ll upload it here and leave it free for use to anyone who has the same issues.

Cheers.

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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.

As soon as we get the captcha working the comments will be back. Meanwhile, use our contact page. Or Facebook. Or Twitter. Your call.

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DOTT

When I was a child, we had an Atari for years. But the first video game I chose, and looked forward to, was an 8-bit Nintendo. This information isn’t really what I wanted to tell you, it just shows how old I am. Sorry.

Anyway, a few months before I got the Nintendo I started to collect a video game magazine to know what’s going on. And while I didn’t have the games themselves, I used to read the magazines from cover to cover. They were divided in sections for different platforms, and most of them didn’t interest me, but I had a lot of time in my hands. And by the end of the magazines, things got weird.

You see, all sections had walkthroughs and tips. And most of them looked a lot like each other: jump, run to the left, press A, B, some instances of the Konami code… It was like all the games were variations on the same themes. But the last, smaller section, was about PC games. And the tips for some of those games just made no sense to me. There was no “A, B, jump” there. It was more like “to get the golden pen, first pick up the chattering teeth and the explosive cigar in the present and send them to the past. Give the cigar to George Washington, replace his teeth with the chattering ones and wait until the fireplace is lit up. Pick up the indian carpet, climb the house and use it on the chimney.” I mean, how was that even possible? It wasn’t your regular Mega-Man-snake-shooter stuff. It seemed impossibly complicated. It seemed like magic.

Even after I got my Nintendo, I still was a couple of years from my first PC. A couple of years trying to understand those actions, cartoon-like graphics, trying to wrap my mind around how to play those games and what were they like. And then, with a lot of built-up expectative, I finally got my hands on a copy of Day of the Tentacle.

It was way, way better than I expected.

It was the most fun I’ve ever had with a game. We used to play in groups of friends, personally or by telephone, sharing tips and trying bizarre ideas. We could barely understand English. It was challenging, it was unexpected, it was funny, and it was like nothing I’ve seen before.

After that we started to collect adventure games (which was hard in Brazil back in those days). Each new one we got was a treasure. After DOTT came Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Sam & Max… you got the picture (unlike Bruno, I was never a big fan of Sierra). And those games marked me more than I can tell.

Then the adventure games fad was over. And everything changed.

Rest in peace, Lucas Arts. You were amazing. And even though you never launched anything relevant after the adventure games golden age (my personal opinion, feel free to disagree), I can’t avoid being saddened by the news.

It’s been more fun than a jump-suit full of weasels.

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