During the past weeks I've been building some levels with the assets I bought from the Asset Store. I also exported another character from Poser so I can use him in the game. Just like my protagonist, this other character is an old man from the toon characters that ship with Poser Pro.
I've been mostly working on puzzles this time. As I've mentioned before (and also on my review), Adventure Creator offers the functionality to create an inventory, items, and item-based puzzles. Hidden object (and adventure) games mostly rely on puzzles for gameplay, so puzzles are really important.
I've designed the entire sequence of puzzles for this first part of the game, which includes picking up items that are used somewhere else. Sometimes, using an item on an object lets you pick another item.
One of the puzzles consists on "removing a spell" from some old man. For this prototype stage, I have two versions of the man: a gray stone-like version and a "human" version. The idea is that, after you lift the spell, that man can give you some information about that place.
The items manager lets you set an item to be carried on start. This is a very nice feature in general, but it's specially useful for testing. In this interior puzzle, I need an item that was obtained from a different puzzle. This means that, every time I wanted to test the house interior, I'd need to do the other puzzle to get that item.
However, I can set the item to be available on start, so I can use it right off the bat when this level loads. In hidden object games you also get camera zooms when you interact with objects. Luckily, you can very easily do this in Adventure Creator. In this house interior I have a second camera that lets you take a closer look at a fireplace. For it to work, I used a hotspot that, when clicked, will switch to that camera. Another hotspot in the fireplace lets you "go back" to the previous view. Camera switching can be animated, but for this specific game I think cuts work better.
Another asset I use a lot for game development is PlayMaker. Luckily, PlayMaker and Adventure Creator work very well together when it comes to sharing variable values. I use this to make some special setups that change objects based on variable values.
I am not sure if this game will have voices, since it's a game being made with very little budget, and it is possible that I won't be able to hire voice actors (in some cases you can offer royalties based on sales, but I'm not a big fan of that). Keeping this in mind, I thought it was necessary to let players know who's talking when. In the text boxes you can actually put the name of the character who speaks, but I also wanted a clearer visual aid. I decided it was a good option to put a portrait of the talking character, since the program allows you to do that (right now, portrait images are temporary, just like item images). However, when I was setting that up, I noticed you can also use a different color text for each character. I am not really thinking I should use a different color for every character, but a few color variations can be very nice: one for the protagonist, one for the good NPCs, and one for evil NPCs. Maybe even a white color for neutral dialogues or narrations can be used as well.
Some people say games cost nothing to make. But, as you see, there's no way you can say "you can make games for free" since you need to pay for assets. And we still haven't gotten into music and audio effects...
Right now, the entire intro sequence can be played from start to finish, which is a good thing. However, it's still missing story elements, and also music and sound. I have a pretty decent sound library of free sounds, or sounds I've purchased for years. If I have to guess, I think I have more than enough sounds.
More updates coming soon.
Sergio Aris ROSA
Sr. Staff Writer