It’s a Beauty!

A description I’ve never used for any of my games before, and quite possibly will never have occasion to use again, but which I can use today: “award-winning”! :D

My OROW entry Beauties and Beasts has won the 2008 AGS award for Best Short Game! It was honestly a surprise and honour, as there were many quality short games last year. Thanks to all people who voted and played, played without voting, voted randomly without playing, and of course, lovely beta-testers Captain Binky and Nickenstien, AGS-maker Chris Jones, miscellaneous helpers Lemmy101 and Buloght, and The Ventures and DeVotchKa, whose music I stole ;)

If you haven’t tried it yet, why not click over to the games page and give it a download? Oh go on, it’s award-winning ;)

11th February, 2009 - Posted by MashPotato - 4 Comments

I Second that Emotion

Well, here we are a week later, and already I’ve fallen behind my pseudo- schedule of updates ;)  Part of the problem is that while I’ve made my site more blog-oriented in order to be able to keep development entries, I’ve realized that I don’t really know what goes into those!  While I figure it out what to do, here’s a small update (which I know belongs here) and spiel (which I suspect belongs here ;D) about talking portraits.

One of the things I wanted to do with Hatmaker is to make the characters memorable, and one of the key visual ways I’m trying to accomplish that is to have them show emotions that complement their dialogue.  It’s mainly for this reason I decided to go with the Sierra-style of  having a large talking portrait rather than the Lucas-arts style of dialogue appearing above the sprites, even though LucasArts is more near and dear to my heart.  When sprites are only about 50 pixels tall (including antennae), and their face occupies only about 8 of those pixels, it helps to have more space to work with.

Another good point I find about the talking portrait is that it allows the player to read conversations easily without having to shift their focus to another location when another character starts talking.  However, this good point also highlights one of the best points of the LucasArts system: that the player follows the action.  By being able to place dialogue wherever you want on the screen, it gives a more comic-book, lively effect, whether it be the back-and-forth nature of regular conversation, or placing dialogue in a particular space.  For example, a voice from off the screen can be put to the screen’s side, clearly indicating where it’s originating from.  In the system I’ve chosen (which is also limited by my lack of scripting expertise) this wouldn’t be possible, and would have to be conveyed more subtlely (eg. the character turns toward the voice), or perhaps more hamfistedly ;) (eg. “Someone’s voice is coming from my left!”).  It’s a tradeoff.

Hmm, I wonder if anyone read all that ;)

Anyway, after that long ramble, here are some talking portraits to pretty up the post!
Tom neutral: and Tom sad: Note that these are not exactly the same animations in-game, but they’re made up of the same frames which I mocked up quickly for the purposes of this post.

31st January, 2009 - Posted by MashPotato - 4 Comments

Announcing The Hatmaker’s Tale! (again)

Some might possibly recall I announced an AGS game about 2 years ago entitled The Hatmaker’s Tale.  Of course, I bit off more than I could chew at the time, and the game was never completed. .. but what’s this?  Yes, it’s back–and at a lower resolution! ;)  But beyond the resolution, the story, art, and puzzles have undergone a major revamp, and it’s something I’m truly excited about working on and, one day, sharing with you :)

Tom Clifton is a just a shy squidget living in the peaceful kingdom of Slimenia, toiling in his uncle’s bookstore while dreaming of a more exciting life… but little does he know a special book delivery to the royal castle will start an adventure he never imagined.

As work progresses I’ll have updates on this as well as any game-related musings that are might be interesting enough for other people to read ;).  Try out the RSS feed on the top-right there! (Really.  I don’t know if it works, so I’d be glad if people let me know ;D)

25th January, 2009 - Posted by MashPotato - 2 Comments

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