This is my ongoing project I first came up with the story for about six years ago. I’ve tried and failed to make it many different ways before, most of the reasons came down to having an immense amount of assets to produce.
Version 1: BlitzMax Pure Point’n'Click Adenture
I wrote the full engine for this including a windows GUI for the editor and a script language you could enter with code highlighting etc. The problem was animation… I could do a walk cycle fairly well, and render characters out of poser and use Max for the backgrounds, but the animation was beyond me in Max. Left it to simmer.
Version 2: XNA Survival Horror
After Soundless Mountain II I hoped I could use some of the apparent popularity of it to launch an indie career with a similarly designed game. I felt I could adapt Amnesia really well to this style. I had a great like-minded artist to work with, Phil Duncan on monsters and environments, and the mighty Dock (Tumbledrop / Sweatdrop Studios) to help out with portraits. But I didn’t really know where I was going with it at the time, partly because I still hadn’t fully figured out how it could survive as a survival horror but keep the story in-tact. But again, it wasn’t so much that but the fact that I felt the need at the time still to make it commercial, and that to me meant writing off a lo-res look we initially mocked up like the one above.
I learnt XNA and then we decided to use 3D models all because I wanted shadows. This was at the edge of our skills though (Phil & I certainly as Dock was busy with Tumbledrop – and rightly so!) Phil’s a great 3D modeler, but not yet that experienced with animation. In the end the prospect seemed too daunting, especially combined with other life pressures. Put on hold again.
Version 3: Lo-Stress, Lo-Fi BlitzMax Hybrid
I’ve begun again. I can’t help it. I keep coming back to it even though right now I have a really cool game coming on the iPhone that I really have to finish.
Above is a shot of the new tech I’m using for it – a way of applying a sort of 2D dynamic pixel-lighting. It comes out really organic and it feels more ‘magical’ than doing it by bump/normal-mapping, even if it is quite time consuming. I keep getting effects I don’t quite expect.
Anyway Phil is excited and has already started putting our main baddie into the new format. I’m excited too!
The idea this time is to keep it simple, hence going back to the BlitzMax language. So I’ll be working on it on and off, and I’m just trying not to consider money or anything like that.
Anyway just thought I’d share the story with you guys, I’ll keep you posted on it… For now, please enjoy this short video of the new lighting in action (it’s a really poor quality video, I’m afraid):