During the preparations for GDC, I left this project aside for a few weeks, and that helped me rethink a few things about the project. Not exactly about the game itself, or the story, but rather some design elements. I think this one is going to be the less "technical" article about this series, but it will be interesting to show how things can change as you develop games.
I previously mentioned that I had not decided if the game should play in third person or some sort of "first person." In the first case, the game would be more similar to Syberia or The Longest Journey, where the main character is always visible on the screen; in the second case, the scenes are visible from the character's point of view, with the difference that there's no free movement.
While this short "pause" in the development, decided to go back to the first square, remembering why this game was being made, what my target audience was, and how the game plays. Something important to consider about target audience is that, sometimes your audience might expect something extremely different to what they are used to, but sometimes a big change might not be too welcome. Personally, I thought it was better to follow a similar formula to comparable games, and focus more on the characters, story and overall writing.
The good part is that these changes were not really complicated. Adventure Creator needs a player character to be present, but it doesn't need to be visible, so I opted to change my player character (the redhead girl shown in previous articles) for an invisible character that could not move. Visually, the game becomes the "first person" game I mentioned earlier. Another change I could make is the camera angles. Since the character is no longer present, that means I don't need to worry about path navigation anymore, and I can place my cameras any way I want to create more dramatic angles. On the other hand, there will be cinematics between chapter transitions, so the protagonist will be visible in some instances, and that means her 3d model is still needed.
After making all those changes, I've continued with the rest of the game. The full game consists of four chapters, however I won't be reporting the advances I make for every one of those chapters, since it would be too repetitive. There are still some big elements I need to work on, like user interfaces and overall look, including lighting effects. I will report on those when I begin to work on them.
As you can see, these last weeks have seen a lot of changes. Luckily, those changes were minimal, so not much of the work had to be scrapped because the game concept remains pretty much the same. On a side note, in other cases, we've scrapped characters, levels or even a full working prototype. To be honest, things like this are pretty normal in game development, since changes can happen all the time, and sometimes you realize whatever you were working on is not working as you expect.
Sergio Aris ROSA
Sr. Staff Writer